Chapter 33: Aftermath and Epilogue.
Amy regained consciousness just in time to see most of her captors depart. Two agents went one way, Drew, the teens and another agent went another way, the one-eyed woman led Monty back to the hut and the monkeys scattered. Only one agent was left to keep an eye on her. Stifling a smile, she started to struggle against her bonds.
"Prisoner, stop moving," the guard told her. The agent approached, with his shocker watch trained on the writhing villain. Amy continued to struggle.
"Prisoner, are you in pain?" The agent asked. Amy said nothing but continued to struggle.
"Prisoner, cease your escape attempt or I will take aggressive action," the guard told her. Amy continued to strain against her bonds.
"Prisoner, I have no choice," the guard informed his captive and touched a button on his watch.
The guard's aim was true. The watch's face flew off of his wrist, struck the struggling woman and poured 50,000 volts of electricity into her body. Amy arched and tensed with the shock, only flopping back onto the ground after the jolt ended. Gasping for breath, she whispered faintly to the guard.
"What?" The man demanded, rewinding the watch face. Amy whispered again.
"I can't hear you," he said, leaning a little closer. This time, he could hear Amy's faint breath but not comprehend her words.
"Say that again," he instructed her, now with his ear almost on her mouth.
"I said... thanks for the recharge."
With a quick flex of her muscles, Amy broke the plastic restraints that had been holding her. Before the agent could react, she grabbed him by the shoulders and unleashed a jolt. The agent was out before he could yell for help. Amy caught him and dragged him a short distance into the jungle, out of immediate sight. There, she paused for a moment and considered her options.
The child that she coveted was just about to enter the world, a short distance away. Unfortunately, there was no way she was going to be able to seize it. While she had eliminated one guard, there was no way she was going to be able to deal with Stoppable, Possible and the remainder of the Global Justice contingent. It was time to cut her losses and escape to scheme another day.
"Sorry, Avers," she whispered to herself, as she made her way through the dense plant growth. "But there's no way I can get you out of here, as well."
For the next several minutes, Amy pondered the notion that another villain might look up her former associate and motivate him with notions of revenge against her. She shook her head and concentrated on more immediate concerns. Since it was still well before noon, she put her face towards the sun and traveled east. Eventually, she would find a coast and then a city. After that, she would be able to find her way back to the U.S., where she maintained one, last hidden lab.
She would have to stay low, probably for a long time. Amy was also certain that her monetary assets had either been seized or worse, monitored. She was going to have to start with almost nothing but that was nothing new for her. Perhaps it was time to give up on villainy…at least for a little while. She had actually enjoyed her life as a Middleton Schoolteacher. As she continued to slog through the undergrowth, the idea of a relatively normal life was beginning to appeal to her. She could always go back to villainy…if the legal life grew stale. While Global Justice would be certain to keep a close watch on Shego, the other Team Go members were still viable DNA sources…if she ever wanted to take another crack at harnessing the power.
Kim led the way back to the monkeys' encampment. Just as her group arrived, two Global Justice agents approached from the opposite direction. The two burly men were carrying a crude stretcher, with a bandaged figure upon it. Two monkeys led the men to the camp and then quickly rushed up to Ron once the men set down the stretcher.
"I take it that this is Aviarius," Du remarked, examining the battered villain.
"Aviarius, or what Amy made of him," one of the agents retorted.
"And what Fiske left of him," the other added. "Looking at what the two of these guys did to each other, I'd say that the Englishman got the better of it. Of course, I'd have paid good money to see the fight."
"Why would anybody want to do this to themselves?" Kim asked nobody in particular, while examining the unconscious man's wings and clawed feet.
"There's many reasons," Drew answered, shocking everyone present that someone was actually answering the question. "Monty wanted to emulate monkeys. Jackie Oakes wanted power. Amy felt belittled by the world. Aviarius, who knows? Maybe he wanted to emulate birds or maybe he thought that he wouldn't be able to gain revenge upon Fiske in his old body. Not everybody is an admirable physical specimen, after all."
"Amy was ranting about that," Kim shrugged. "I don't buy it. I don't believe that not being pretty or athletic will make someone go to this length."
"Most people, no," Drakken agreed. "But some people feel driven to do various things and consider their own bodies to be inadequate for the job, so they alter their bodies."
"They take shortcuts," Kim sniffed. "I worked long and hard to become as capable as I am. Amy wasn't willing to put in that work, so she took a shortcut."
"Shortcut?" Drew looked honestly amused by the term. He quickly took on the aspect of a professor about to lecture a student. "Tell me, is it taking a shortcut to make use of your expertise? I'm willing to bet that Amy put every bit as much effort into her genetic research as you did towards your physical training. Why shouldn't she make use of that hard-earned skill? I spent a great deal of time and effort inventing and selling things to Henchco. Was it taking a shortcut to use the money I made to hire Shego?"
"What are you getting at?" Kim asked, now troubled by his answer.
"I'm simply pointing out something that middle age has taught me, that you shouldn't look down on somebody else because they chose a different path in life than you did."
"I shouldn't look down at Amy because she tried to take over the world, then kidnapped Hanna?"
"I don't mean that," Drakken protested, holding his hands up in a mollifying gesture. "Amy's a criminal…like I used to be. By all means, look down at her for her criminal activity but don't look down at her capability. This sort of thinking is why jocks look down on nerds and nerds look down on jocks."
Drakken was honestly amused by Kim's sudden, shocked look.
"Yes, it's true," he continued, then pointed to the direction he thought was towards Middleton. "Go back to your college, disguise yourself as a nerd and infiltrate a group of awkward, socially inept nerdy engineering students." Now he politely pointed first to Kim and then to his head to illustrate his point. "Listen to what they say about the jocks' mental abilities. It'll be every bit as insulting as the jocks' remarks about the nerds' physical abilities."
"I'm sorry to interrupt this weird conversation," Ron interrupted. "But speaking of Amy, what happened after she blinded me? You said something about her not being able to see."
"Oh!" Kim suddenly remembered the brave, little monkey. "A monkey suddenly showed up and threw some mud…at least I hope it was mud…in Amy's eyes. She hit it and it flew over…here."
Kim led the way towards the tree the monkey had struck. Ron suddenly spotted the creature and rushed forward. As if recognizing him, the small primate opened its eyes and weakly reached up to the blonde.
"Is it badly hurt?" Kim whispered.
"She's... dying," Ron murmured, holding his subject's paw. "She sacrificed herself to save me."
"We have to do something!" Kim wailed.
"We have first aid equipment equivalent to an ambulance," Will Du informed the small group. "Monkey anatomy is close enough to human anatomy that we should be able to stabilize it…her. Then, we can rush her to the nearest veterinarian or zoo. They should be able to…"
"No," Ron interrupted, with quiet, somber voice. With a few tears rolling down his face, he continued. "She doesn't want that. She's had a rough life; first being a ninja then getting caught up with Amy's schemes. She enjoyed the last year, simply being a monkey. Now, she wants to meet her end as a monkey, with no human doctors or medicines."
"But she's all alone!" Kim protested, shedding some tears, as well. "Where did the rest of the monkeys go?"
"They're gathering up their dead and wounded," Ron answered, now resting a gentle hand on the monkey's forehead. "They'll tend their own wounded and help those who can recover."
"What about the ones that can't recover?" Kim asked.
"They'll make them as comfortable as they can…until the end. They'll carry their dead a safe distance from their settlement, so predators won't be attracted too close."
"No burials?" Du asked. "No memorials?"
"That's a human trait," Ron told him. "Monkeys miss those who pass on, but they don't mourn. They'll return their dead to the jungle."
The brave primate he was comforting let out a last sigh and relaxed for the last time. Ron bowed his head in sadness for a moment, before rising to his feet. Two monkeys emerged from the jungle, picked up their fallen leader and slipped back into the undergrowth."
"You'll have to forgive them," Ron told his companions, while gesturing in the directions the primates had gone. "Their contacts with humans haven't been very encouraging, so they'll avoid large groups of us. I'm concerned about those flying monkey things that Amy made. What happens if they get free and breed?"
"You don't need to worry about that," Drakken assured him. "Amy managed to make hybrids but she never managed to make fertile hybrids. I'll have our intelligence experts confirm it, as soon as they can crack the files she left in Seattle."
"Or we get her to talk," Du added. "Wait a minute! Where is she? Where's Ralph?"
"The agent who was guarding her. Ralph!"
The assembled humans spread out to search for the missing prisoner and guard. They quickly found the immobilized agent, who told them what had happened.
"Great!" Kim growled. "Now we have to find Amy and she has a big head start."
"I don't know how to track people through a jungle," Du admitted. "Do you?"
"Well…no," Kim admitted. "How about the monkeys? Can they track her?"
"I'm not going to ask them to do it." Ron told her.
"They've been through enough. They have wounded to tend to and dead to remove. Amy is a human and therefore a human issue. The monkeys have done enough and I'm not going to ask any more of them." A sudden cloudburst interrupted Ron's explanation. "Besides that, the trail is officially cold."
An infant's cry suddenly sounded from the hut, interrupting any protests about Ron's stance. Moments later, Dr. Director emerged from the small structure and climbed to the ground. The normally stern woman couldn't keep the smile off of her face.
"I'm pleased to announce that the next Lord Fiske has just arrived," she informed the assembly. "What's the situation?"
Agent Du quickly filled her in.
"Ron is correct," She told them. "We don't have the time and resources to pursue Amy at this time. Agent Du, take charge of Aviarius and transport him to the Global Justice medical and detention center. As soon as you do so, report to the operations officer. You have a flower to deliver to a special, young woman and he'll tell you where we're keeping her."
"Bonnie! In all of this I've forgotten!" Du exclaimed, smacking his forehead.
Once her agent regained his composure, Betty continued with her orders. "Kim and Ron, you will return Hanna to her home. I'll instruct your pilot to take you back to Middleton. Drew, you'll come with me. We will deliver the Fiske family to the nearest hospital and meet with Shego and Montgomery's former employer."
"Why do we need to speak to the smuggler?" Drew asked.
"We'll need to relocate the family," the commander informed him. "He's an honorable man and will try to locate them, if they simply vanish. We'll tell him that they're well and explain the situation, so he won't try to track them down. He may even help us find new employment for them."
"I guess that makes sense."
"Excellent! Now everyone, we have an injured agent, an injured criminal, a young woman who has just given birth, hosts that want us to leave and we're all standing around in the rain. Let's rig two more stretchers and get to the clearing, so our aircraft can pick us up. It's time to go."
The doorbell startled Mrs. Stoppable, as she wasn't expecting company so soon after her release from the hospital. Expecting to see a police officer or perhaps a federal agent, she was pleasantly startled to see…
"James!" She declared, opening the door for the slender rocket scientist. "What a wonderful surprise."
"It's great to see you, Jean," Dr. Possible gave his friend a quick, one-armed embrace. He was holding a briefcase in the other hand. "Anne tells me that Gene will be getting out of the hospital next week."
"Yes, and he's being a stubborn mule about it," she sighed. "He wants out now, even though he hasn't fully recovered. Still, it will be nice to have him home."
"Is Ronald available?"
"Yes," Jean Stoppable frowned. "And he's the other stubborn mule in this family. It's been over a week since the two kids brought Hanna back and a full week since classes started again, but he insists on staying here every night."
"I know," James nodded. "Kim has been traveling with him. According to her, the apartment isn't the same. Besides that, her car doesn't use gasoline, so she prefers to give him rides."
"That's not the worst of it. It's Friday Night, he and Kim should be out doing something fun. Instead, he's in Hanna's room, studying while she sleeps."
"I know Jean. There are a few things I need to speak to him about…man to man."
"Whatever they are, I hope you can snap him out of his funk."
"I'll see what I can do," he replied with a hopeful grin.
Jean Stoppable took the hint when Dr. Possible said 'man to man' and left her friend to speak to her son. James had never been nervous about approaching Ronald before. However, there were topics here that had to be discussed and they affected his daughter. As much as James didn't like certain subjects, James Possible never shirked his family duties. He braced himself before knocking, very quietly, on Hanna's door.
"What's up, mom?" Ron's whispered voice sounded through the door.
"It isn't your mother," James answered.
"Oh, Mr. Dr. P. Just a minute."
Moments later, the door swung open.
"What can I do for you, Mr. Dr. P?" Ron asked.
"Ronald!" James asked, upon seeing a pile of blankets next to Hanna's bed. "Have you been sleeping in Hanna's room?"
"I'm not taking chances. If Amy comes back after her again, she'll have to get through me."
"I'm impressed with your dedication but don't you think you're going overboard?"
"Mr. Dr. P, it wasn't your family that was attacked."
"True enough Ronald, but are you going to live the rest of your life six feet away from your sister?"
Ron only shrugged his shoulders.
"Tell you what, Ronald. Why don't the two of us have a talk in your room, where we won't wake her? Rufus can keep an eye on her while we're all of twenty feet away."
Rufus saluted the doctor, so Ron shrugged his shoulders again and led the way to his attic room. Once there, he offered his guest his desk chair before setting on the bed.
"Ronald, we can discuss your issue with your sister later. For right now, I want to talk about what you and my Kimmie have been doing."
Ron promptly went pale.
"I'm not talking about that…although we'll get to that... as well. What I'm talking about is your last mission to Europe. According to Kim, you're feeling very guilty about your actions you took in that Dementor Lady's lair."
"I tortured a man," Ron admitted. "He wouldn't turn off a machine so I tortured him into doing it."
"So Kim says. According to her, one of your classmates, Bonnie could have been killed if the man didn't turn the machine off. Also, she tells me that it was so complex the two of you couldn't do it without risking even further damage. Is this true?"
Ron just nodded.
"Wouldn't you say that inflicting a little pain on him was worth Bonnie's life?"
"That sounds like a cheap justification," Ron countered. "The end justifies the means has a really dark history."
"Yes it does," James agreed. "And at other times, it has saved lives. Tell me Ronald; even now, after you have had time to sit down and think through the situation, what would you have done differently?"
"I haven't really thought about it…"
"Don't lie to me Ronald!" James snapped as he shook his head in disapproval. "You wouldn't still be talking about it to Kim if you weren't thinking about it. Now, what would you have done differently?"
"I…I don't know," Ron admitted, shaking his head. "I keep trying to come up with something and I just can't."
"But you still feel guilty," James finished for him. "You felt so guilty that you reported your actions, in painstaking detail, to the German Police, didn't you?"
"That's the worst part! They didn't do anything about it! No charges for assault. Not even a reprimand! They acted like nothing happened!"
"Why do you think they ignored it?"
"Because I was with Kim and she's famous! They didn't want the public nightmare of charging Kim Possible's sidekick right after she saved the world."
"Or, none of them could think of another action they would have taken," James countered. "Ronald, are you familiar with the term vigilante?"
"Oh yeah," Ron replied. It was the first time James could recall the young man speaking sarcastically to him. "I've heard all the stories. When the law doesn't take care of the 'undesirables', you get a vigilante to take care of them. Trust me Mr. Dr. P, my family has spent a couple of centuries being the undesirables that everyone else wants out of the picture. A vigilante can do whatever he wants and everyone just turns a blind eye."
"That's one way of looking at it," James admitted, while opening his briefcase. He pulled out a large book. "You can also look at vigilantes as those who step up when nobody else will." The rocket scientist spent a few moments paging through the book. "Here we go. This is a picture of my great grandfather, Justin Barley Possible. He moved here with the town's original settlers. Of course, the small community that eventually became Middleton didn't have a police department, fire department, or any other emergency services. Faced with no emergency services, ol' Just Barley formed a vigilance committee."
"He was a vigilante?"
"Yes. He wasn't out to get anyone, he was just one of several people who did the best he could, in a situation he wasn't really prepared to face. Because of this, he made mistakes."
"What kind of mistakes?"
"He ran an innocent man out of town," Dr. Possible admitted. Seeing Ron's shocked look, he continued. "It isn't something that he was proud of, but he knew that he had to admit it. Here's the entry in his diary. 'Today, Mr. Nedding found Miss Rockwaller's milk cow in Upperton Canyon. Apparently the creature found a flaw in its pen, wandered off and became lost in the wilderness. While the creature's return is most welcome, it brings a troubling thought; Mr. Dempsey did not steal and slaughter the beast, as we thought. Clearly, the beef he was peddling did not come from the aforementioned beast, as Miss Rockwaller claimed. Instead, his claims of innocently purchasing a bovine from a passing trader seem to be true. Unfortunately, we have been unable to locate Mr. Dempsey. Yesterday, we informed him that unless he paid Miss Rockwaller for her livestock, we would flog him in public. Our rash decision has caused an innocent man to flee our community and we are only beginning to realize our loss."
"Just what does this have to do with the mission in Germany?"
"You and Just were in the same situation," James told the young man. "Both of you found yourself in a position that you were not trained to deal with. Both of you did the best you could and didn't necessarily make the best possible decision. That's not the only similarity you have with Justin."
"Justin's duties as a member of the vigilance committee took up more of his time as the population grew," James explained. "The other townsfolk realized this and pitched in to compensate him for the time and effort he donated to them. When they found out that his horse had gone lame, one of them traded Justin a healthy animal. When they realized that his roof was leaking, they patched it for him. Sound familiar?"
"Sort of like Senior giving us the apartment?"
"Exactly. Ronald, you and Kimberly don't take money for your services. Many people realize this, so they help you out in other ways. It says something about your character that you feel guilty about accepting these gifts but remember why people give them. They are both thanking you for your help and making it possible for you to keep helping others."
"Ummm…. Mr. Dr. P…about the apartment," Ron replied, with his hand rubbing the back of his neck. "I have a confession to make."
"You and Kimberly have taken a step in your relationship," Mr. Dr. P interrupted him.
"Well, yeah," Ron admitted. "I…well…we…"
"Ronald," James sighed. "This isn't easy for me and I really wish that your own father would have this conversation with you. However, it's the two of us here and we might as well deal with this. I really think that you got into this too young, but what's done is done. You can't go back and change things. I know that Kimberly loves you and that you feel the same about her. Furthermore, I know that neither of you forced the other into an action you didn't want to take. For right or wrong, good or bad, the two of you have taken that step and you're just going to have to deal with it."
"So you're not mad?"
"I'm not mad, I'm concerned, very concerned. Ronald, the two of you are very close so if things don't work out for you, it's going to hurt both of you a great deal. While I wish the two of you would have waited until you were older, and ready to face any potential consequences, I have to admit that the two of you are very much in love and that your romance has a solid foundation in friendship. I can only hope that the two of you face the future with the mutual respect that got you to this point."
"Mr. Dr. P, I…"
"Hold on for a moment Ronald, I'm not finished. I know that the two of you spent some extra time in Germany. It wasn't that long ago that I was your age, so I can imagine just why the two of you wanted to spend a few days away from parents and chaperones. Note that I said 'the two of you'. I'm fully aware that Kimberly chose, as well as you, to do this. However, the two of you have mixed this up with what happened to your family. Ronald, although Kimberly knows that neither of you are to blame for what happened here, she's so close to you that when you suffer, she does. Because you're feeling misplaced guilt, she's feeling misplaced guilt and in order to help my daughter, I have to help you deal with this."
"But if we had come right back…"
"If you had come directly back, you could have been out of communication for several hours. Think of it this way. If had Wade arranged transportation right away, before this emergency occurred, the young man would have sent you home via slow transportation. With the satellite communications off line, he may not have been able to re-contact you until you were back in Middleton. Because the two of you stayed in Germany, he had a known place to contact you, as soon as he found out about the attack. Because of this, he was able to reach the two of you fairly quickly and arrange for faster transportation."
"That sounds like justifying what we did," Ron accused.
"It is," James admitted. Then to clarify himself to the teen he quickly stated, "I'm referring to the staying... Not the extra activities."
Ron looked down, still trying to get his head wrapped around their discussion. James saw that it was time to bring home the point to his long time extended family member.
"Ronald, what you don't seem to realize is that what happened to your family is not your fault. You have a life to live and it isn't going to be spent inside this house, at least not if you're going to be my son-in-law. The only one at fault is Amy Hall, and she isn't one to try the same thing twice. Sure, she got away but that doesn't mean that you need to spend the rest of your life on guard, here. If you do, you'll take Team Possible out of operation and that will be your fault."
"So what do I do?"
"You trust those around you. You trust the law enforcement officials to warn you when they suspect that Amy is up to something again. For now, since it's Saturday night and you have an upset fiancé a few blocks away, I suggest you take her out for a movie, dinner and dancing."
"So you're okay if we…"
"I'm not okay!" James interrupted at first with and evil glare but then a smile. "I'm your future father-in-law, so I'll be watching you like a hawk to make sure you don't do anything to upset my daughter. Now get the heck out of this house and be a young adult instead of a middle-aged worry-wart."
"I must say, Miss, that I find your production facility very impressive."
Herman Goodsell, newly promoted purchasing manager for Bueno Nacho and Hego's secret identity, looked around the vast greenhouse with an appreciative eye. "Such an undertaking must have cost a great deal to start. Where did you find the investors?"
"I had some funds left over from some previous endeavors," the young blonde woman replied.
"What sort of endeavors?" Herman was only slightly curious. He was more interested in the facilities. He also had to admit that he found this woman quite alluring.
"I prefer not to talk about those times," she shuddered. "In fact, I consider that time to be a previous life. I'll provide full disclosure if you make a formal inquiry but…"
"No need," Herman assured her bringing up his hands. "Our legal department is satisfied, so I won't pry."
"This facility represents the last of that cash," she told him. "So I can assure you that I'll be very serious about supplying Bueno Nacho with the best, fresh produce available."
"I had no doubt about that. I'm no farmer but I know that you're getting incredible results here. How do you do it?"
"Oh, I've always had a knack for genetics so I was able to develop lettuce, tomatoes, onions and other vegetables that thrive in a greenhouse environment. I can assure you that in this carefully controlled climate, I'll produce my wares with no pesticides or herbicides. This is a totally green operation."
"Well, I'm convinced," Herman assured her. "I hope you're ready to ramp up production, because once the public tastes what Bueno Nacho makes with your produce, demand is going to go through the roof."
"I already have six of these greenhouses in operation," she assured him. "And this farm has room for plenty more. I'll produce whatever you can sell."
"Thank you, Miss…"
"Amanda," the blonde woman corrected him. "Call me Amanda."
"Amanda. Very well, I look forward to working with you a great deal, in the future."
"Yes, I hope we develop a very close relationship."
Amanda Adams watched as her guest and customer climbed into his corporate vehicle and drove away, down the dry, Oklahoma road. Once the diminishing dust cloud told her that he was well away from her high-tech farm, she returned to her chores.
Last year, when she wore a small brunette body, with enhanced strength, these chores would have been so much easier. Still, she found the tasks strangely appealing. She kept busy and was actually making an honest profit. She was safe from the law because she was working inside the law. After the debacle in Guatemala, it was time to lay low.
Later that evening, with the day's delivery boxed up and on a truck to the Bueno Nacho distribution center, she sat on her back porch and looked out over the dark prairie. From this distance, Go City's lights showed as a faint glow on the horizon and the peaceful surroundings leant themselves to introspection. She didn't know if she would ever return to a life of crime. Her time in Middleton; interacting with the Stoppable and Possible families, had taught her that there may be more satisfaction found in a simple life than in uncovering and harnessing genetic power. While power's lure might eventually pull her away from her current life, she was content for the moment. Perhaps she would eventually find a husband and live the complete family life experience.
That last thought brought a speculative smile to her face. Hego's secret identity had proven almost insultingly easy to uncover. After learning the name he carried, when he wasn't in costume, she investigated his past and found pictures of the two women he had dated in the past. Both women were tall and broad.
Looking at her reflection in the picture window, she noted that she was only a couple of inches under six feet tall and had a very strong physique. While most of the male population would find her attractive but not stunning, Hego had had difficulties keeping his eyes off of her. Surprisingly, his reaction to her appearance had given her a pleasant feeling, rather than a feeling of predatory triumph.
She had targeted Hego in order to keep close to a potential source of Team Go DNA and to influence his buying decision. Still, other benefits could be reaped from that action. After thinking about the situation for a few more minutes, she decided that she would pursue a relationship with the Go City hero. A carefully executed campaign to win his heart should prove intellectually stimulating and if she ever wanted to harness additional Team Go DNA, there would be a much more conventional way to obtain it.
"At ease, Agent Du, and deliver the two year after action review." Dr. Director motioned for the young man to take a seat.
"Yes, Dr. Director," Will slid into the offered chair. "If I may, I would like to start with DNAmy."
"As you know, we still haven't been able to locate her. With Mr. Lode's help, we tracked down one of her secret laboratories. To the best of our knowledge, shortly after escaping from us in Belize, she used it to change form and hasn't been seen since. We haven't been able to track down any other facilities."
"She's perfectly capable of making a legitimate living," the one-eyed woman pointed out. "She could either be laying low temporarily or she may have decided to live a law-abiding life. There's no way of knowing."
"I agree, ma'am. I've worked with Agent Blue and he's put out feelers in the underworld that supplies criminals. If we see anyone purchasing the high-tech equipment she used, we'll be ready to make some inquiries. Other than that, we'll simply have to deal with her if and when she re-emerges."
"I hate playing defense, but I see no other option," Dr. Director shrugged. "Staying with the criminal element, how has the Fiske family adapted to their new life?"
"So far, they seem to be doing well enough," Du shrugged. "They have established themselves in a pirate band, working the Strait of Malacca. They have actually decreased the violence by substituting tribute demands for armed attacks. The band they serve has increased its power and has claimed control over more of the strait. This has actually made that section of the strait more secure, as the pirate band considers itself honor-bound to defend tribute-paying ships from other pirates. On a more personal level, both Shego and Montgomery seem to enjoy being parents. The two children are apparently a handful and have kept the adults too busy to pursue any sort of world-conquering ambitions. While Montgomery performs some occasional, illegal archaeology, parenthood and piracy seem to occupy the rest of their time."
"How about the monkey band?"
"As per Mr. Stoppable's instructions, we have intentionally neglected the monkeys," Du answered. "The last contact we had was via a predator drone, three weeks ago. There are still well-repaired huts in the trees, indicating that the monkeys are still thriving. Other than that, it is our intention to leave them alone."
"Have any of the flying monkeys turned up?"
"No. While they were capable opponents, I don't think that they were prepared to live in the jungle. Additional research from Amy's captured records indicates that these creatures, which she called mongels, are sterile and short-lived. Any impact they have upon the environment will be minor and temporary."
"Very well," Dr. Director appeared satisfied with that. "What about Avers?"
"We were able to reverse-engineer Amy's processes enough to restore the former Aviarius to his normal body," Du reported. "He is currently serving a six-year sentence for various parole violations. While he has expressed a desire to gain revenge upon Amy, for abandoning him in the jungle, he is also terrified at the prospect of leaving prison."
"Why is that?"
"A certain agent," Will smiled. "Let him know that the smugglers, who the Fiskes worked for, considered his attack upon them to be a personal insult. While they aren't a large band and don't have a presence in North America, they just might take out a contract on him."
"Innovative, Agent Du," Dr. Director nodded her approval. "What about Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable?"
"As you know, Global Justice digs into the personal lives of prospective agents to a degree the public would not approve," Du reported. "Kim and Ron seem to have endured a short, rough time in their personal relationship. Shortly after recovering Hanna Stoppable, the two exhibited signs of stress and guilt for roughly a week. After this, they seem to have accepted the fact that they were not responsible for the attack upon the Stoppable household. Our staff psychologists suspect that their relationship then reverted to a casual dating status, which deepened over time. In essence, they returned to being girlfriend and boyfriend for the better part of a year, before continuing where they had left off. They still intend on marrying after graduation."
"What are their employment prospects?"
"As of this time, Miss Possible is deluged with job offers. While Mr. Stoppable doesn't have as many prospects, he still has several to choose from, including a potential professional football career. Miss Possible continues to express an interest in working for Global Justice."
"Don't let her get away," Dr. Director instructed her subordinate. "Make sure that recruiting keeps her steered away from the covert agent section. I want the complete Kim Possible, and that means I want her to maintain her relationship with Mr. Stoppable. While Kim is formidable on her own, Ron's presence makes her even better."
"We'll recruit him, as well," Agent Du assured his superior. "Although we don't have the budget to challenge the NFL, he might find the work more satisfying."
"We're almost finished," Dr. Director declared. "And it's getting close to quitting time. The last subject is Bonnie Rockwaller."
"Supplementary Agent Rockwall…"
"Will, considering your relationship with her and the fact that she isn't a Global Justice employee, you can refer to her in a different manner."
"Yes, Dr. Director," Agent Du blushed slightly as he continued. "Bonnie made a complete recovery after I delivered the orchids to the medical center. As agreed, Global Justice expunged several of the more egregious offenses from her criminal record, which prompted several colleges and universities to accept her applications. She continues to attend classes part time, while modeling for Club Banana. According to her, it's great to live a dream but a backup plan doesn't hurt."
"She's learned some wisdom," Dr. Director commented. "I'd have our records branch check on her, now and then, but I don't think I'll have to do that, will I?"
"Dr. Director," Will mumbled. "I don't know if she'll…"
"C'mon Will" Dr. Director was actually smiling. "I'm not blind! Since she isn't a full agent, your relationship isn't unethical. You're keeping tabs on her, with her approval and for personal reasons, so I don't have to allocate resources to do so. I also suspect that you're about to make a certain…merger proposition…to this subject. Will you allow me the honor of performing an equipment check?"
"Please," Will replied. Despite his blush, Will pulled a small box out of his pocket and placed it on Betty's desk.
"When are you going to pop the question?" She asked, while examining the contents.
"Agent Du, I would wish you luck but I don't think luck will apply," Dr. Director closed the box and tossed it back to the Agent. "She's going to say yes. Instead, I'll wish you luck for your future. While being an investigative and executive agent is more family-friendly than being an undercover agent, balancing a family and this job will still be challenging. I hope the two of you are up to it."
"So do I."
"Agent Du, when you defied my orders and rescued Miss Rockwaller, you actually went above the call of duty. I changed your department out of gratitude and in the hope that you could establish what I couldn't, a fulfilling family life. Global Justice owed you for your extraordinary actions, and Global Justice always repays its debts."
"I think I understand."
"Excellent. Now, it is past quitting time and although the answer to your question is a foregone conclusion, it will be very poor form to be late to ask it. Dismissed, Agent Du, and I expect that ring to be on Miss Rockwaller's finger by this time tomorrow."
"You can count on me, Dr. Director," Will sprang to his feet, then paused. "Dr. Director, I have a question for you?"
"What ever happened to the clones of Shego and Stoppable?"
"That's classified, Agent Du," Dr. Director told the agent, although her voice wasn't stern. "I appreciate your concern but it's need to know information. I will tell you that they aren't institutionalized and are living a fairly normal family life."
Will nodded and turned to leave.
"Agent Du," Dr. Director's voice halted him. "I want you to know that I sacrificed a possible family life for the good of Global Justice. While I have no regrets for this sacrifice, I occasionally wish that I could have had it all. I honestly hope that you and Bonnie can complete each other."
"I do to," Will murmured. "Dr. Director, if you sacrificed a family for the sake of Global Justice, and Global Justice always repays its debts, how will Global Justice repay you?"
"It already has," Dr. Director smiled. "Now get out of here and hand a special young woman that piece of gold and carbon."
Agent Du didn't need further prompting. As soon as she was alone in her office, Betty Director keyed her phone and informed her secretary that she was off duty. Two years ago, before the incident she had just reviewed with Agent Du, Dr. Director would have continued working for several more hours before going home in uniform.
Things had changed.
Betty Director stepped into her personal locker room and changed into civilian slacks and a blouse. She removed her eye patch and examined her false eye. Satisfied that she looked like a typical civilian, she stepped into her personal transport tube for a quick ride to a Middleton parking garage. Once in the parking garage, she mingled with the other commuters as she made her way to her private vehicle, a mini-van.
Minutes later, the mini-van pulled into a daycare center's parking lot. Looking like almost any other middle-aged woman, Betty walked into the center and waved to the attendants. At this time of day, the small horde of children were playing together in the center's backyard playground. Smiling, Betty walked out of the center's back door and dropped to a knee. Almost immediately, the children noticed her.
Two toddlers broke free of the loud group and ran towards her. With joyful screams of 'mommy, mommy' the blonde, freckled boy and the pale girl, with lustrous black hair, threw themselves into her welcoming arms.
This, my dear friends and readers, is the end of my tale. I must also inform everyone that this is the last story in the 'To the Mat' arc. If you're curious to know why, there are three reasons. First, this story arc is becoming a little stale to me. The premise that I built the arc upon; Ron using high school sports to explain his growing competence, seems to have run its course. Secondly, I made the error of boxing myself in by writing a 'years down the road' epilogue after the second story. Since we all know what will happen to the main characters in the future, much of the surprise is gone from writing about them in the present tense. The final reason is that the OCs I included were starting to take over too much of the tale. While Trudy Dementor, Ellie Minated, Oscar Williamsen, Cindy Grouse, Rita Richards and others were fun to write, they weren't stock characters and were starting to headline the stories, rather than supporting the show's characters. These three items combined with each other to make this thread difficult to continue. Since it was still fairly popular and fresh, I decided that it was time for it to end.
I know that I've left several issues unresolved: Tara and Monique exchanging boyfriends, Cindy and Oscar's continued courtship and wedding, and if Amy will actually go straight. However, I believe that there should always be something left to the reader' imagination. Hopefully, you'll enjoy occasionally contemplating how these and other issues will resolve themselves. I feel that I set the groundwork, so it isn't too hard to imagine Oscar and Cindy's college years, Tara and Monique continuing to realize that they have more in common with each other's boyfriends than their own or even Will popping the question to Bonnie.
I'd like to take a few lines here to wax nostalgic to anyone who cares to read. I started this arc in January of 2008. Back then, I seldom proof-read, had no beta and wrote paragraphs about 1200 words long. As time passed, Joe Stoppinghem stepped in to beta for me (more about him later) and I started to proof my own work and write longer paragraphs. I hope anyone still reading this noticed that my writing became better as time went on. Finally, the Kimmunity lost some cherished members during this time frame: Commander Argus, cpneb and Screaming Phoenix come to mind. Not to diminish the loss of the other two, but SP was a frequent reviewer and we traded frequent PMs, so I truly miss him. SP, I really regret not finishing this arc while you could tell me what you thought. Hopefully, someday we'll be able to meet in person and swap some tales.
Last, and opposite of least, I'd like to thank my ever-patient beta reader, Joe Stoppinghem. Joe offered to beta for me about a quarter of the way into 'Ron Goes to the Mat' and made an immediate, long-lasting and continued difference to the presentation. If you enjoyed this arc, please express your appreciation to him, as well.
Before I close, I'd like to say how much I've enjoyed writing for you, the reader. Your reviews and PMs let me know that there were people out there who enjoyed the view I had on the characters and the series. I want you to know that I'm not turning away from the Kimmunity; I'll still be reading, reviewing and dropping the occasional forum comment. I fully intend to write a bit more KP work in the future…after taking a bit of a break.
So, until my next endeavor makes it to this site, my best wishes to everyone;