Well, the fat lady has sung, but Kim hasn't yet. Which means … well, read on, gentle readers, for the answer to that little mystery. My thanks to all whom have read, and especially CajunBear73, Katsumara, EnterpriseCV-6, Eddy13, campy and Mr. Wizard for their reviews and suggestions (and even the occasional correction). And now, the exciting conclusion…
Rufus caught the edge of the helicopter's landing skid, desperately clinging to the slender metal bar.
Kim yelled out, "Hold on, Rufus!"
He could only respond with a tiny whimper as the helicopter continued to gain both speed and altitude.
Kim pulled out her grappling hairdryer and fired at the rapidly ascending chopper. Her aim was perfect, snagging the rear of the helicopter's landing skid. She was instantly wrenched into the sky, a not so unwilling passenger now being swiftly dragged behind Dr. Maestro's whirlybird. Soon she was flying above the Middleton countryside at a dizzying height.
She hit the retract button, speedily pulling up closer to the chopper. She was now within inches of the frightened mole rat.
Kim yelled out, "Ok, Rufus, climb down to me!"
Rufus immediately obeyed, scurrying down the narrow skid to safety. He clung to Kim's shoulder in grateful relief after his very close call.
"Good boy! Now to get you back to the ground somehow."
Rufus vigorously shook his head back and forth. "Uh-uh! Staying with you!"
Kim nodded in appreciation at Rufus' devotion to both her and the mission, and tried to think fast. "Ok, so now what? If he can activate that Mahlerinator without landing the copter, we're both so toast. And if he activates that device, all the anti-depressants in the world won't be enough to counter the Mahler Effect. Somehow, I've got to take this craft down, even if it takes me with it."
She looked down at her best friend's faithful pet, realizing that although she was willing to risk her own life, she wasn't willing to make the same decision for her devoted compatriot. "But not if it takes you with it too, little Rufus."
Rufus smiled back in thanks and urgently gestured at her Kimmunicator. Kim pulled it out and made a last ditch call to her ever-reliable computer geek.
"Wade! Need your help!"
Wade replied, "Kim, I can hardly hear you! Are you in a windstorm or something? Where are you?"
Kim yelled back, "I'm a few hundred feet over Middleton and being dragged right behind Dr. Maestro's helicopter. If I don't take him down before he reaches Mt. Middleton, he's going to broadcast a signal that'll help him take over the world! Any ideas on how we can stop him without flattening both me and Rufus in the process?"
Wade quickly tried to think of their best options. "Kim, I'll try to reach Global Justice and get them to dispatch a hover jet. It may take awhile, but that's your best bet. I'll see what I can do."
Wade hung up, and not a moment too soon. Directly ahead loomed the massive chimneys of the Middleton Power Station, and Dr. Maestro was heading right for them.
The evil doctor snickered, "This will teach her that smoking can be hazardous to your health!"
Kim immediately tried to swing out of the way, barely missing the first chimney.
She gasped, "That was way too close. Too bad my laser lipstick is out of power, or else I could disable Maestro's chopper no problem."
Suddenly, one last desperate possibility came to mind. She again activated her Kimmunicator.
"Wade! What frequency would I need to use in order to shatter the windshield of a helicopter?"
Wade's eyebrows shot up in surprise at the unusual request. "Hard to say, Kim. It depends on the type of helicopter and the composition and thickness of the glass. The necessary resonant frequency can also vary due to temperature, wind speed, humidity, and …"
Kim yelled, "A short answer would be spankin', Wade! What's your best guess?"
"Stand by, Kim."
In the meantime, Dr. Maestro had swung around, and Kim again narrowly avoided being smashed into the next chimney.
"Now would be a good time, Wade!"
Wade swiftly reviewed Kim's transmissions showing the size and type of helicopter while simultaneously checking the Weathering Channel for local conditions. With one final keystroke, he had the answer.
Wade announced, "High C, Kim. But at your present distance from the helicopter, plus the powerful downdraft from its rotors, there's no way you can create the necessary decibels to shatter its windshield!"
Kim grinned. "Oh yeah? Have you forgotten that I'm the girl who can do anything? Be right back."
Kim shut off her Kimmunicator and pulled out the bullhorn she'd grabbed from Mr. Barkin just moments before. She was thankful now for his remedial vocal training after Mrs. Meistersinger, their high school chorus director, needed hospitalization after that unfortunate set collapse during last summer's musical review. She tried to recall the careful words of his training.
"Remember that singing is just like yelling on pitch, Possible. If you do it correctly and with abdominal support, you won't strip your gears. That's how I can keep on screaming at you kids day in and day out without getting laryngitis…"
Kim gritted her teeth in fierce determination. "It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to be on pitch. High C, here we come!"
She snapped on the bullhorn and cut loose with the only song she could remember from heart, her last minute submission for the talent show the year before.
"Have you heard
That I'm all about saving your world?
All you have to do is
Say the word!"
She hit the last note as high as possible and held it with as much power as she could manage, praying that it would be enough.
Her prayers were immediately answered as the helicopter's windshield suddenly shattered into a thousand pieces. Dr. Maestro howled as he threw up his hands in order to avoid the tiny shards of plexiglass. When he looked back down, he found that the helicopter's glass instrument facings had been destroyed as well. He was now flying blind, and by the seat of his still-oversized pants. Unable to maintain control of the chopper any longer, he immediately made an emergency descent toward the ground below.
Kim fired another grapple at the nearest chimney of the Middleton Power Station, swinging both herself and Rufus gracefully to the ground.
She grinned back at the crippled chopper. "Your broadcast's been pre-empted, Dr. Maestro."
The villain's out of control helicopter disappeared over the next hill, and a dull thud was heard as the craft hit the ground hard. Kim rushed to the top of the rise and spotted the downed chopper right away, but when she got to the wreckage of the craft, Dr. Maestro was nowhere to be found.
She growled in frustration. "nnnNNNGGGHHH! Where did he disappear to now?"
She flipped open her Kimmunicator. Wade anxiously asked, "What's the sitch, Kim?"
"Wade, the good news is that the chopper is down, so you can call off that GJ hover jet. The bad news is that Maestro's disappeared."
"Yeah, he's one slippery dude, Kim. But the police have just impounded his car from the airport parking lot, so we don't have to worry about him using his Mahlerinator again."
Kim exhaled quickly in relief. "That's great, Wade, unless …"
She had a sudden horrible thought. "Unless he's headed back to his lair to try and repair the first one! Wade, have Ron and Mr. Barkin meet me at Dr. Maestro's lair as soon as they can. With luck, we may still be able to catch him there."
Ron and Mr. Barkin were soon on their way back to Dr. Maestro's hideout. In a slightly discomfited state now that both of his angel and devil personas had taken off with Kim's respective counterparts, Ron sullenly moped in the front seat, alone with only his own thoughts for company. So he did the only thing he could do under the circumstances.
He hesitantly began, "Uh, Mr. Barkin?"
Barkin groaned, "What is it, Stoppable? Another question about that funny look you gave me in the ninth grade?"
"No sir, something different. I, uh, sorta have this friend who'd like to ask another, er, friend to the Junior Prom. But they're both friends with each other, and one friend doesn't want to risk the friendship by being too friendly, y'know? And the other friend may want to remain just friends. So, what would be the friendliest way for the one friend to approach the other friend?"
Barkin only offered a long-suffering sigh in reply. "Stoppable, haven't we had another conversation like this before? I seem to remember having to change my locks not once, but twice in order you keep you out of my house!"
Just then, they pulled up to Dr. Maestro's lair. A Hyundai Sonata was parked outside, its license plate reading "Moonlight."
Mr. Barkin growled, "Yup, this must be the place."
Kim and Rufus had also just arrived and quickly ran up to them.
"Let's move, Ron! Time to bust Dr. Maestro once and for all!"
They all rushed inside and down the stairs to the room where they had been trapped only a few hours before. The door was closed, and they heard frantic movement within as Dr. Maestro madly tried to repair the Mahlerinator. Kim tried to force the door open, but Dr. Maestro had jammed it shut.
She pounded on the door. "All right, Maestro! Drop the baton and come out with your hands up!"
Ron cleverly added, "Yeah, Maestro! The gigue is up!"
Mr. Barkin winced helplessly at Ron's pun.
But from behind the barricaded door, Dr. Maestro's angry muffled voice could be heard, clearly revealing the strain of his last-ditch effort.
"Not a chance, Team Possible! I don't know how you shorted out my little toy, but I've just replaced all the fuses, and my device now can easily overpower all of you! The game is still afoot!"
Kim shouted back, "More like you're the heel, Maestro! And we're here to trip you up!"
"Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin, Kimberly Ann! This lair is impregnable to all but the most powerful explosives, and by the time you call in your reinforcements to huff and puff and blow this door down, it will be too late!"
Mr. Barkin joined in as they made one last-ditch effort to force the door open, but they were again unsuccessful. And as Dr. Maestro had built his lair with no external air ducts, there was only one way in or out. She looked anxiously over at Ron.
"If what he's saying is true, we're still in ferociously big trouble. This could actually be so the drama."
But just as she reached for her Kimmunicator to sound the alarm to Wade, Rufus jumped off of Kim's shoulder, chattering away as he quickly squeezed through the tiny lock. All of a sudden, a huge commotion was heard as Dr. Maestro vainly tried to catch the scurrying naked mole rat.
"Hey! What are you doing! Get off of there! Don't touch that! No, don't push that button! Arghhh! Noooo!"
From behind the door, the muffled sound of a song began: a song more mind-numbing, more soul-sucking than anything else that has ever been written before or since. He immediately fell under the powerful sway of the Mahlerinator, and ironically, as he had designed his device with no off-button, he was now powerless to stop it.
"It's a world of laughter, a world or tears
It's a world of hopes, it's a world of fear
There's so much that we share
that its time we're aware
It's a small world after all …"
Rufus reappeared through the lock, grinning from ear to tiny ear. Dr. Maestro's horrified screams could be heard from behind the door as the song repeated over and over.
Rufus giggled, "Continuous loop!"
Ron beamed, "Why, you little scamp!"
Kim smiled in relief as well. "Way to go, Rufus! That serves him right for trying to toss you out of that helicopter."
Kim flipped open her Kimmunicator. "Wade, we've finally cornered Dr. Maestro, and I have a strong feeling that his next gig will be performed from Cell Block D. But we're going to need the Middleton Fire Department and their Jaws of Life to extract him from his lair."
Wade responded with a relieved look as he responded, "My pleasure, Kim."
He continued with a snigger, "And congratulations on orchestrating his capture. This is one jailbird we'll all be happy to hear singing from behind bars."
Ron looked over at Mr. Barkin with a confused look. "Now, when Wade said bars, did he mean in jail, or did he mean measures? Or maybe he's going to sing in back of a local pub?"
With an increasingly irritated look, Barkin's voice rose in warning. "Stoppable …!"
An hour later, the door to Dr. Maestro's lair was finally pried open, and the dazed and incoherently babbling villain was easily taken into custody and strapped onto a gurney for transport.
The policeman turned to Kim with a look of thanks. "Good work, Miss Possible. You've done it again. We're in your debt."
Kim smiled and gave a small shrug. "No big, Officer Hobble. It's what I do. But I couldn't have done it without the help of both Ron and Rufus here. They're my closest friends, and they always have my back."
Her smile widened as she said, "You guys both totally rock."
Ron grinned, "And that goes for classical, pop, and rap, too, KP!"
Ron and Rufus immediately gave each other a high-five, then broke into an air guitar duet in happy celebration.
Still in a dazed trance, Dr. Maestro barely noticed the joyful hoopla, but he did have one last fleeting thought as he was being wheeled away. He recalled his last conversation with another particular doctor of villainous reputation, and his final words of caution.
"You can try all you want, but I'm just warning you that no matter what you do, your plan is doomed to ultimate failure. I should know, after all the times I've attempted to defeat her. No matter how foolproof my plan, she and that sidekick of hers have always succeeded in foiling every one of my plots. I'll never give up trying, but I've finally concluded that, nnghh, well, maybe she really IS all that …"
Dr. Maestro then lapsed into a merciful state of unconsciousness, and while that ubiquitous melody continued to reverberate throughout the dark recesses of his numbed mind, Dr. Drakken's last words echoed as well.
"… maybe she really IS all that …"
The band competition was quickly rescheduled for the next day, to be immediately followed by the regional cheer competition. Now unhampered by the insidious influence of the Mahler Effect, Middleton High won both events hands down, and Kim happily mounted the stage to accept the first prize trophy for the cheer squad. Even so, Bonnie was in a foul mood.
As Kim descended from the platform, she queried, "Hey, Bonnie. Why the sour expression? We just totally blew away our competition! We won!"
Bonnie snarked back, "Of course we did, thanks to me, K! But Brick and I just broke up, so I'm really not in any mood to celebrate. Now I have to find someone high enough on the food chain to go to the prom with, and the pickings are getting pretty slim."
Kim folded her arms and tsked, "What, again, Bonnie? That's the third time in as many weeks that you've been Splitsville with the Brickster." She smugly added, "And a few of the girls have already started calling you Yo-Yo Bon-Bon."
Bonnie immediately blushed at the comment, growling "Losers!" under her breath. But always ready to prove the adage that misery loves company, she shot back, "Oh, and by the way, just who are you going to the prom with, Kim?"
With a trace of a smile, Kim shrugged dismissively, "Haven't decided yet. It's so not the drama with me like it is for you, B."
A wicked smile pulled at the sides of Bonnie's mouth. "Well, you better hurry, or you'll end up being stuck with that loser, Stoppable. Just try and keep his gorchy mouth foam away from my prom dress, all right?"
Pleased with her parting shot, Bonnie turned with a huff and walked away, leaving Kim in an introspective mood. Her smile now gone, Bonnie's words began to sink in. Anger began to rise in her as she realized that Bonnie, as usual, had really gotten under her skin.
Kim tried to calm herself with a few deep breaths. She realized Ron wasn't perfect, but he was by no means a loser either. He had stuck by her through thick and thin all these years, and had even just saved her life. She was quick to realize however that much had just happened in a very short space of time, and the emotional roller coaster she'd just been on would take awhile for her to sort out. But any feelings for Ron beyond just friendship were still a big question mark in her mind.
Kim knew that she would need to talk this over with someone very soon, as her avatars had been strangely missing, not having bothered her for well over a day now. Maybe she could confide in Monique. She'd never steered her wrong before.
"But what am I really feeling? Between Dr. Bortel's Moodulator and Dr. Maestro's ferociously sick and wrong Mahlerinator, I'm not sure how far I can trust my feelings right now."
She sighed heavily and decided, "Well, I guess I'll have to figure this ish out later. Right now, there's work to be done, and I can't afford to be distracted by my own feelings, whatever they are."
She promised herself that she'd spend some time trying to sort all this out soon. But just not right now.
"Evil never takes a holiday, and until then, it's back to work. The world's counting on me, and I can't let them down. I've got their back."
But a still, small angelic voice in the back of her mind echoed back, "Just don't forget Ron's back. He's got yours."
She tried to shrug off the thought just as she walked through her front door. As she walked up to her room, her Kimmunicator suddenly beeped.
"Sitch me, Wade."
"Kim! Drakken and Shego have just broken out of prison. And get this, they're headed for Tokyo!"
Pleased to be distracted by this new threat, she ordered, "Then you better find a ride for us, quick, Wade."
Just then she heard a yell from downstairs. Mr. Dr. Possible had just witnessed a tow truck pulling into their driveway with his now wheeless vehicle.
"Kimberly Ann Possible! What happened to my car, young lady?"
"Oops." She suddenly realized that she hadn't explained that sitch with the Embarrassment Ninjas.
"Uh, gotta go, Wade …"
After arranging a ride, Wade immediately called Ron to give him the heads-up on their new mission.
Ron scoffed, "Drakken and Shego heading for Tokyo? Maybe they're just off on a vacation."
Wade drolly replied, "After just breaking out of jail?"
"Oh, yeah. Heh. There is that. Oh, and can you have our ride pick me up here instead of at Kim's? My scooter's pretty banged up."
Wade agreed, "Yeah, I saw. But it could have been worse. At least it looks like the damage to your moped was fairly evenly distributed."
He snorted in laughter. "I can tell, because the front is as good as the Bach!"
Ron frowned. "That's right, Wade. Just mock my loss."
He offered, "No big, Ron. Maybe the Tweebs can do something with it. If not, there's always Zany Ziggy."
"Yeah, I guess." Ron took a deep breath before changing the subject to one even more close to home. "Hey, uh, do you know if, uh, Kim is going to the prom with anyone?"
Wade sensed what was on Ron's mind and grinned slyly.
"Dunno. Who's asking?"
Ron self-consciously rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, let's say that the sidekick of a particular world-saving-heroine might be, uh, interested in finding out.
Wade chuckled, "Yeah, I remember you two lip-smacking not that long ago."
Ron sighed heavily. "Yeah, but that was because of that Moodulator."
Wade replied with a sparkle in his eye. "That's true, but after this sitch with Dr. Maestro, I've been studying Dr. Bortel's specs for that. I found that while it can drastically change and amplify your moods, it can't create something that's not already there."
Ron's eyes widened. "So, when Kim was crushing on me, those really were her feelings deep down?"
"That's right, Ron. But after having her moods monkeyed with like that …"
Ron grimaced. "Uh, can you please not use that term, por favor?"
"Sorry Ron. Forgot about your monkey issues. But the answer is no, she's not going to the prom with anybody, at least not yet."
"Thanks, Wade." As Ron hung up, he had finally come to a firm decision, but putting it into action would be a bit harder.
He stated out loud, "I, Ron Stoppable, will ask Kim Possible to the Junior Prom."
He looked down at his faithful pet for confirmation. No, much more than a pet. A faithful friend as well. Rufus smiled and nodded in approval.
"Okay, good buddy, as soon as Kim calls again, I'll pop the question."
Rufus beamed even wider and shook his head vigorously. "Uh-huh! Uh-huh!"
At that very moment, the phone rang. Ron instantly went into panic mode.
"What if that's Kim? I'm not ready yet!"
He picked up the phone. It was Kim.
"Ron! Drakken and Shego have just broken out of Cell Block D and are headed for Tokyo. Stand by for a ride arranged by Wade. We'll leave asap."
Ron replied, "No problemo, KP. Wade just called. I'll be ready."
Beads of sweat began to appear on his forehead, and his throat suddenly became as dry as the Sahara Desert.
"Oh, and, uh, er …"
As Ron began to waffle, Rufus tugged at his sleeve and began chattering away.
Encouraged, Ron took a deep breath. "By the way, Kim, can I ask you something?"
Kim cut him off, "Sorry, Ron, but can it wait? I have to get ready, and we both know that evil never takes a holiday."
His resolution temporarily deflated, he mumbled, "Sure, Kim. Not really important right now." He sadly hung up to await Wade's transport.
He looked down at an equally sad Rufus. "But I will ask her, Rufus mah man. I just have to wait for the right moment."
Rufus moaned softly and shook his tiny head back and forth. He thought to himself, "This is going to take a lot longer than I thought."
The doorbell rang, and Ron could hear his mother talking to his ride.
"Ronnie? Your ride is here! Good luck on your mission!"
Ron looked down at Rufus with a bit more resolve. "Showtime, little buddy. Time to go. And I'll ask her as soon as I get a chance, I promise."
With Rufus now happily perched on his shoulder, Ron strode down the stairs and out the door, looking forward to their next adventure. Happy to be part of the team, he was deeply thankful to have Kim Possible as his close friend and crime-fighting partner.
And maybe even a little more in the very near future, but that of course is another story…
A/N: Well, it's been a fun ride, and my own alter-ego is now safely locked up in Cell Block D. But perhaps I'll let him out for a little while in a future fanfic. There are just so many musical puns out there, and the poor Doctor really does need a sidekick … And for those who'd like to see more of Kim and Ron's angelic and devilicious avatars, stay tuned for my parody on Mozart's operatic farce Cosi fan tutte, or, "Angels Are Like That."