Right off let me apologize for taking so long to post. No excuses. I had hoped to present the final battle as one large chapter, however I am afraid this has turned out to be impractical. So instead I've broken it up into two parts. Look for the conclusion and a hint at what's next in the coming weeks. As always feedback is appreciated so write a review, send a PM or you can now hit me up on Twitter bcoolpro.
Kim had turned off the Kimmunicator when emergency lights around the room clicked on. The room was bathed in a sickly yellow glow and shadows were cast at odd angles.
"Back up generators in the basement, they can supply emergency power for up to 72 hours." Cora told her. A select few technicians rebooted their computer stations in a specific order.
"What happens after that?" Kim asked. Cora looked at her with an expression somewhere between droll and grim. "You don't want to know." A deep rumble punctuated Cora's statement and a slight vibration swept under their feet. Cora spun around gripping her gun with both hands.
"And something tells me you won't have to find out."
Kim felt her uneasiness grow. "What was that?"
"An explosion, close. My guess is they've breached the building." As Cora spoke Peterson was barking orders. The technicians with active workstations were typing at their consoles each following carefully rehearsed directives. Other agents mustered together and left the room in groups of three or four. Kim watched all this mesmerized then, shook it off and turned to Cora.
"Breached the building… You mean they're inside?" The older woman nodded.
"What are we going to do?" Kim asked.
"We've got security procedures to follow. The techs are performing a wipe of our systems while security forces are sent to deal with the threat." Cora said.
Kim frowned. Cora had technically answered her question but Kim didn't feel as if she really understood what was happening any better. It was all happening so fast. Peterson beckoned to Cora and she left Kim to join him. As they talked Kim closed her eyes and ran through the facts as she saw them. Shego and Bonnie had taken over Brotherson's syndicate. They must have leveraged some of the mobs foot soldiers to make this assault. However, the mobsters would simply be pawns. They would cause havoc and flush out the security. The real threat was Shego and Bonnie who would surely be taking up the rear safely behind their puppets. They would only move once the way was cleared.
Cora gently took hold of her arm. Kim shook off her thoughts giving Cora her full attention.
"Come on… we need to get to the armory and gear up before they make it to this level." Cora said.
"Where are we going after that?" Kim asked.
Cora shrugged. "That's up to you… Peterson said I was supposed to follow your lead and cover your ass."
Kim looked down at the contract she still held in her hand.
"I haven't signed anything… how can you be assigned to me?" Kim shook her head.
"Everyone knows you've got the most experience with Shego and Bonnie… like it or not there are going to be a lot of people looking to you." Cora said. Kim's shoulders hunched forward as if a great weight had been placed on them. She felt a bit like Atlas… a world of responsibilities unceremoniously dumped atop her.
"So even if I don't sign this…" Kim held up the paper. "You know I never asked for all this responsibility."
Cora smiled at her. "I don't think many leaders do… not in the way you would think." Cora paused watching as agents buzzed around the room. The sound of muted gunfire thumped through the walls. GJ's agents must have started to engage the enemy. Cora looked back at her.
"The fact is, the first time you laced up your shoes and answered a call for help you accepted it… all of it." Kim thought back to that first time. She hadn't known what she was stepping into and once she had found out it didn't seem right not to help. But, after that she kept on helping people. Whenever there was a call she was there. She had chosen this life and the responsibilities that went with it.
"Thank you…" Kim said. She walked to the nearest console and signed her name to the contract. She still didn't like the idea of working for Lindsay, but Lindsay wasn't there. If she were going to put her life on the line, fighting along side these agents, then she wanted to be counted as one of them.
A large group of agents were in the armory putting on flack jackets and selecting weapons from gun racks mounted to the walls. Cora strapped on a vest and tried to encourage Kim to do the same.
"My greatest asset is my maneuverability… I can't move in those things." Kim refused for the third time.
"At least take a weapon then." Cora said.
Kim shook her head. "I told you, I don't kill." Cora let out a frustrated sigh and snagged a weapon off the wall. It looked at first like a regular handgun but up close Kim could see it was something else.
"This is a BZK E380 non-lethal hand-gun." Cora held it out to her. Kim took it noting that it felt heavier then a normal pistol.
"It shoots darts that deliver an electrical charge and renders the target unconscious." Cora took down a similar looking gun.
"This is the newer S390 version that uses focused micro-bursts of sound to achieve the same thing. But, it has a shorter range and can cause more damage." Cora said.
"More damage then getting hit with a dart and electrocuted?" Kim raised an eyebrow.
"That's mostly superficial damage… the S390 attacks your nervous system through your ears. It can rupture your eardrums and in the most severe cases cause a brain hemorrhage."
Kim's eyes widened. "I think I'll stick with this one."
Cora put the S390 back in its place.
"I prefer that one myself." She said while pulling her own gun from its holster. She ejected the magazine, inspected it and then slid it back in place. She pulled the slide back chambering a round and disengaged the safety.
"So… what's the plan?" The armory was now empty except for the two of them. Gunfire continuously thumped and reverberated through the walls and floor. Mostly coming in three round bursts the cadence and pitch revolved back and forth, occasionally overlapping like a strange duet. Kim wondered which side was winning.
"We need to find a way outside. I think it's were Shego and Bonnie will most likely be." Kim inspected her weapon. She found she had to flip one catch to ensure the darts were charged and a second to turn off the safety.
"It's also where the fighting will be heaviest." Cora told her.
"Is there some way we can get around them? Get outside without having to fight our way through?"
Cora thought a moment. "There's an emergency bunker with a secure exit to the transportation hub, but we'd need administrator level clearance."
"Do you think Peterson will grant us access?"
"One way to find out." Cora gestured toward the door. They made there way back to the OC where Peterson watched video feeds of the siege on a large plasma screen. The current images showed the battle going on outside. GJ forces were attempting to surround the enemy but Shego's men had their flank against the building. A large jagged hole had been blown in the wall into which foot soldiers disappeared. Also on screen were Shego and Bonnie. Bonnie wore a leotard similar to the ones they had used in cheerleading minus the skirt and in Shego's trademark green and black. Bonnie was lifting cars into the air and sending them flying at GJ agents. Shego hit the cars with a plasma bolt causing them to explode effectively turning them into missiles.
"Damn it where are my sniper teams? I wanted them in place on the roof ten minutes ago!" Peterson snapped. An agent piped up explaining the sniper team had been pinned down in a stairwell and wasn't making much progress. Cora strode up to Peterson who was swearing, Kim followed on her heals.
"Sir!" Cora said getting his attention.
"What are you two doing back here?" Peterson asked with more curiosity then irritation.
"We've got an idea to use the secure exit in the bunker to get outside the enemies perimeter." Cora said.
"And you need clearance." Peterson nodded. "Done… get moving, I'll make sure your way is opened."
Cora hesitated a moment and then said. "Yes sir!"
A single elevator led down to the bunker along with a flight of stairs. In the elevator going down Cora had fallen silent, almost stoic.
Kim said. "You seemed surprised Peterson agreed to this plan."
"Well, it isn't exactly according to protocol…"
"You mean he could get into trouble?"
"Worse, this is a crisis bunker reserved for high level emergencies. Once the elevator reaches the bunker it cannot be recalled until computers register an all clear." Cora said. Kim scoffed internally. Cora answered almost every question in an efficient and technical way. Unfortunately the more time Kim spent with Cora the more she became aware that she wasn't as well versed in the jargon as she thought. However, be that as it may, she thought she understood Cora this time.
She said. "So Peterson and the others are stuck up there."
"That's right…" Cora nodded. "He may have just sacrificed their lives to give us this chance."
The women fell silent with that thought weighing on both of them. The elevator slowed and came to a stop unsettling Kim's stomach. The doors slid apart revealing a large circular room. The center of the room contained three rows of computer consoles covered with plastic sheets. A large display loomed over the workstations. The left side was taken up with cubicles intended for use as office space. The right side contained a small area for food preparation and a row of bunks stacked three high. There was also a doorway leading to a unisex bathroom that contained showers and lockers. All in all, the bunker appeared to have space and provisions for a team of 12 people to work and live for days at a time.
"We can run the entire network from this room." Cora said surveying the space. Kim glanced around again and noticed something missing.
"Where's the entrance to the garage?" Kim asked. Cora led her around the room and over to the large screen that stood over the workstations. To one side of the screen was a security panel. Cora ran her badge through the card reader and entered a code into the keypad below it. The screen rumbled upward revealing a door behind it. Cora pushed it open and they exited into a concrete garage bay.
Three cars sat side by side. Two black sedans that looked like the kind government officials rode in and a military Humvee complete with a .50 caliber chain gun mounted on the roof. Cora pointed at the Humvee.
"Get in." She ordered. Kim obeyed climbing into the passengers seat. Cora slid behind the wheal. When she took a set of keys from the sun visor Kim raised an eyebrow.
"Really… you really use that old trick?" Kim smirked.
Cora shrugged. "Who's going to steal it?"
"Us…" Kim chuckled. Cora smiled, slid the key into the ignition and turned it. The machine roared to life.
In front of them a ramp led upward into darkness.
"You might want to belt in." Cora said pulling on her own belt and clicking it into place.
"Why?" Kim asked.
"First because I've never driven one of these before…" Cora put the Humvee into gear and slammed on the accelerator. The vehicle nearly jumped forward pressing Kim back into her seat. She fumbled for the shoulder strap.
"Second…" Cora said. "There's a security gate at the top of this ramp that I can't open." Kim found the strap and pulled it around her. She saw light peaking at the top of the ramp. Kim grasped the buckle and tried to secure it. She missed the receptacle. The light grew and brightened as they sped toward it. Kim tried the buckle again and missed. She looked down but had trouble seeing in the semi dark. Kim looked up and could make out the chain link of the gate. She looked back down and thought she could make out the receptacle. She tried one last time and felt the buckle click firmly in place. When she looked up again she barely had time to blink from the light before the Humvee smashed into the gate. The force of the armored vehicle wrenched the metal, twisting and pulling it. The sudden deceleration threw Kim forward and she felt the shoulder strap cut into her chest. The breath was pushed from her lungs and she wondered if she would have bruises later. The clasps holding the gate pulled apart and the gate flung open expelling them out of the tunnel.
Once Kim got her bearings she recognized they had emerged on the far end of the GJ compound by the helicopter landing pads. They could hear gunfire and explosions and Cora turned toward the sounds.
"Okay… maybe this is a bad time to be asking but do we actually have a plan once we find Shego and Bonnie?" Kim asked Cora.
"Yeah, we kick their asses." Cora replied. They rounded a corner and a scene of carnage rushed up to meet them. Dead agents littered the ground. Fires burned in patches of grass as well as destroyed vehicles. Bonnie and Shego stood in the midst of the slaughter. Men ringed them with assault rifles exchanging fire with GJ agents bunkered down inside the building.
"Think you can drive?" Cora asked her.
"Come again?" Kim looked over at her.
"Take the wheal… I'll get on the .50 up top." Cora unbuckled her seat belt.
"Um, I'm not sure that's going to work…" Kim said. Shego and Bonnie turned toward them, saw them coming.
"So much for the element of surprise…" Cora swore. Bonnie stretched out her hand toward them and then slowly raised it. The humvee lifted off the pavement and rose into the air.
"What the hell?" Cora gripped the steering wheal.
Their momentum carried them forward as they continued to ascend. Kim unbuckled her seat belt and reached for the latch.
"Cora… I think we better jump…" Kim said her eyes focused not on Bonnie but on Shego who was building a charge of green plasma in her hands.
"What?" Cora said. Shego pulled her arms back, the space between her hands a swirling green ball. Kim shoved her door open.
"Jump… now!" Kim shouted. Shego let the condensed ball of plasma fly toward them. Cora kicked her door open and the women bailed out of the vehicle. The plasma ball struck and the humvee exploded. Kim and Cora hit the ground, tucked and rolled away from the blast. The burning wreckage crashed to the ground between them cutting them off from one another. Kim had gotten to her hands and knees when she heard the sound of gunfire and bullets popped over her head. Kim tucked back in and rolled behind the burning wreckage that had been the humvee. Bullets tore into the vehicle as Cora rolled up beside her.
"Hey…" Kim smiled at her.
"You alright?" Cora asked through gritted teeth.
"Fine… you alright?" Kim replied.
"Think I tore something when I landed." She winched.
"I can't support my own weight and I'm fighting the urge to pass out… other then that I'm great." Cora managed a pained smile. Kim felt helpless looking at her. Cora couldn't fight in this state and would quickly become easy prey if she left her. More bullets popped overhead and pinged off the humvee.
"You've got to find better cover then this." Cora said, her voice straining.
"What about you?"
"I'll cover you while you move." Cora took out her pistol. "I can do that much."
"I can't just leave you…" Kim protested.
"You can, you have to." Cora put a hand on Kim's shoulder. Kim shrugged it off and shook her head.
"Go… That's an order!" Cora yelled and gave her a shove. Technically since she signed the paper Kim was part of Global Justice. Cora was a superior and she was required to obey her direct orders or face disciplinary actions for insubordination. Though the ink on the contract was barely dry she was already contemplating just that. If she left Cora she would almost certainly be killed. Kim wasn't going to let that happen. She already had enough deaths on her conscience. Then Kim heard the sound of a plane over head. A shadow fell across her and Cora as something passed in front of the sun. Then, as if in slow motion, Ron landed on the roof of the humvee. The impact struck like a microburst of air that immediately put out the flaming vehicle. Kim looked up, saw him kneeling on one knee above her, his arms outstretched like a bird that just landed. Bullets whizzed through the air past his head.
"Ron." Kim heard his name and was vaguely aware that it was her voice that spoke it. Ron leapt off the humvee backward, flipped once and landed with them behind the vehicle.
"Sorry we're late." Ron said far too casually for the kind of entrance he just made.
"We?" Kim said.
"Yori landed on the roof… said she wanted to help the people inside." This brought an immediate question to Kim's mind. If Ron and Yori were here, who was with Monique? However, it wasn't the time to ask personal questions that would just distract them. Instead she saw an opportunity to obey Cora and save her life.
"Ron, she's injured, can you get her somewhere safe?"
"Kim…" Cora started to object, but Kim cut her off.
"You won't last long injured… please let us handle this." Cora's eyes narrowed and Kim once again felt as if she could read the older woman's thoughts. Cora was a fighter and didn't like to back down. Kim returned Cora's stare and just slightly shook her head. Cora sighed and held out her gun to Kim.
"You know I don't kill." Kim said.
"Just take it!" Cora thrust it at her again. Kim reluctantly took the weapon from her hand.
"Any last orders?" Kim asked.
"Yeah, don't die…" Cora smiled and then turned to Ron. "Alright boy wonder, get me out of here." Ron picked her up in his arms, threw a pellet at the ground and disappeared in a puff of smoke.
In the next chapter:
Kim and Ron face off against Shego and Bonnie but the final confrontation may not end the way any of them expected.