Hi and welcome back to our latest chapter of 'Storm Chaser'. It's been a while but we're back. Life and other things to do along the way made for a little bumpy trip from beginning to end on this one.
But here it is, and we'd like to thank those who've chimed in in their own way: Darthcourt, Mahler Avatar, pbow, Randamwriter, Jimmy1201 and Sentinel103. Thanks to you all.
Previously, Kim and Wade have met up with their escorts in Japan to search for the elusive Ron Stoppable and give their new friends a non-Ron perspective of all things Kim and Ron, with a side order of tea leaves to finish their night. And to those of you who questioned whether or not Wade could have run pictures of Natora and Megana through face recognition software to see who they really are: Remember, they are Ninja, and have a few tricks at their disposal, old and new, to mask what could be computer-associated. And while the foursome prepared to start the 'Search' for Ron, he was not that far away getting started in a branch of study a little outside the lines of career path a Meteorologist might take. Betty made one of her 'unannounced' teleconferences with the Lipsky's while checking on business and pleasure between them. Sheldon passes some time shooting the breeze with an employee of his while some are clandestinely searching for the roadblock to eastern conquest, and finds a major information contact of his has bit the dust recently.
And before we get started, we'd like to starve the suits from Disney: Kim Possible and all the characters depicted within this tale are the property of Disney and their inclusion in our story brings us no moolah. Those recognized came from elsewhere and those created are Larry's…
Dim light from the city filtered through curtain gaps and onto the couple as they lay in each other's arms, resting peacefully after a very intense session of passionate lovemaking. Contentedly sighing, she raised her head slightly to gaze serenely to the man she had grown to love so very much in the few short years since her first love gently turned down her affections.
Eyes closed, her stirrings brought his attention to her, (Yes, Yori-chun?), as her face traveled to his and gave him a gentle kiss before she settled back into his arms.
(Just thanking you for your love, my husband.), she replied and gave him another kiss before her eyes changed from love's warmth to something more thoughtful.
In concern (What troubles you my wife? Is it of us…or of something else?), he asked her.
Looking away, then back to him, (It is Kim-san and her affliction, Hiro-kun. We must make Sensei aware of this; maybe there is time to fix this angst filled drama between her and Ron-sama.), Yori said, anxiety in her eyes.
Nodding, he kissed her forehead, (Yes Yori-chun, we must, but it must be his decision on how to proceed with this unfortunate matter between the Chosen One and his Chosen.), Hiro frowned. (If we interfere directly we may do more harm than good.), he replied as he lightly rubbed her shoulder.
Nodding, (Yes, that is my concern too. And I also worry as the Chosen One begins his internship.), Yori replied. (That he has decided on a career outside the clan will make it much more difficult to reunite him with his Chosen.), she sighed.
Frowning, (I agree with you on that also. It could take years before those two meet up again without our 'nudges' while he is here.), Hiro posed to her.
Sighing, the young woman snuggled deeper into her beloved's chest, (I wish we could fix this. The Wa is tainted and needs to be repaired…), she trailed off. (If I knew Sensei wouldn't punish me I would tell her where he is at this very moment.)
Gently squeezing her arm, (He might or might not…but have you considered the consequences of bringing them together without first undoing the perceptions the Chosen One has carried all these years?), Hiro warned. (It is very likely that harsh words would be exchanged, irreparably rending their relationship.)
Sighing in frustration, (Then we must continue to take this roundabout approach with them.), she replied, (Sensei has already suggested we pursue this course. Maybe in time, with subtle hints applied,), Yori squeezed Hiro's arm, (the fire of his love for her will rekindle.)
Then reaching up for a soft but intense kiss, (Now we should both go to sleep, we have a hard day tomorrow.), she looked to his eyes, (Kim-san will meet Sensei tomorrow.)
Down the hall:
Grimacing as she rubbed her legs, "Hi Monique how are you doing?", the former heroine groaned as she tried to get some blood flowing through them. In shape or not, a day of hard hiking in the mountains was something you just had to get used to. Though she would have preferred traveling in a vehicle designed for off-road travel, this was not an option, given their search involved trekking up mountain sides in nearly every case.
Hands free and busy with other muscle-knots as her Kimmunicator was set on a bedside table, she nodded to the background behind her friend, "And where are you? It looks like you're somewhere very fancy right now."
Waving nonchalantly behind her, "Oh, this? Just something I got called in for by Coco, for CB…", Monique said. "But enough of me for now, I'll tell you more later if this goes well.", she said to Kim's nod. "Right now it's all about you girlfriend.", the fashion diva replied through a much improved Kimmunicator Wade recently provided to Kim.
Intently peering into her screen, "Now how is the search going? It's been ten days."
Blowing out a frustrated breath, "Long and slow, but we're on the ground now and now fully realizing that this is going to be harder than I first thought.", Kim frumped.
Looking pensive through the updated Kimmunicator, which also doubled as a very secure video cellphone, "Hopefully we'll find Ron, but now I'm not so sure it will happen on our first try.", Kim bit her lip as she confessed to Monique.
To her friend's well-known raised eyebrow, "The couple helping us in our search said something about 'needle and haystack'", she finger-quoted, giggling, "when they met us…and after today,", heavy sigh, "I can see they weren't kidding, but I'm going to keep trying no matter how many times I have to come back here.", Kim said, her voice taking on a distant tone that Monique had no trouble hearing through the improved audio capabilities Wade installed in the device.
Taking Monique's non-reply as a sign to continue, "We've been through seven villages now,", Kim flinched when she hit a knot in her right calf muscle, "and twice we'd heard rumors of a secret place…", a determined look as she worked to loosen that muscle, "At one of them they used the words 'sacred mountain' and 'Yamanouchi' and something about a…Ahhh!", the relief on her face when that muscle released tension quite visible onscreen, "A 'Lord Toshimiru'.", she huffed. "Wade checked the name and it appeared in an old mission file so I think we are onto something here at last."
Tilting her head, "A Lord, you said?", Monique asked incredulously. Shrugging, "Well at least it's a place to start. He might know the answer or at least know people who know the answer."
Nodding, "Yeah it is and the couple showing us around are the nicest people too; I'm so glad we met them last winter.", as she worked out one more knot in her other leg.
"Good to have friendly contacts when you're out on this kind of a wild goose chase, huh girlfriend?", Monique replied.
With a look of 'oh yeah while she loosened that knot, "That's what Wade said,", Kim agreed. "But he did look up the name of that Toshimiru guy… he was alive…some fifteen centuries ago? So we must be looking for one of his descendants.", Kim informed her.
"Maybe GF, but either way you have to admit you and Ron have gotten into some whacked things in the past.", she rolled her eyes.
The red head snorted, "Yeah and it'd be funny if I had Ronnie with me this time too.", at the irony.
Smirking, "But keep your eye on the prize, GF. That's the reason that you are over there."
Thoughtful, "Yeah I know, don't remind me.", she deadpanned. Looking to her, "And if I ever do something like this again make sure you hit me on my rock hard head with something heavy…maybe it'll get my attention."
With a look of 'you'd better believe it', "Don't worry red head…", Monique promised. Suddenly, 'Oh and that reminds me…I've heard from Felix…", suddenly halting.
At Kim's 'go on' nod, "And…he's already volunteered for that job…busting you on top of the head I mean.", the fashion diva teased.
Frustrated, "I wasn't able to get a hold of him before I left.", Kim looked down. Looking up, "Did he say anything about where Ron could be?...I mean, after what I did to him…if Ron was in contact with anyone from school it would be him…", hope in her eyes and voice.
Shaking her head sadly, "He didn't mention anything like that GF…but that doesn't mean anything.", Monique followed up quickly. "I'm not sure...but if he knows anything…he might want to reveal where Ron might be to you in person.", she fibbed.
Then changing the subject, "Now one of these days I'm gonna have to go on a vacation with you…that is once I have things calmed down with Coco and everything CB."
A bright smile, "Sounds like fun Moni, maybe a week at the beach…getting some sun...", she trailed off, thinking ahead.
Shaking her head, "But I can't do it this year, but maybe I can swing a week or two next year.", Kim sorta promised.
A knowing grin, "You mean depending on whether or not you find blondie right?", Monique teased.
Sheepishly, "Yeah, there's that, but right now that's a personal quest of mine…And I hope that we can find Ron on this trip…but like I said it looks like it's going to be harder than I first thought.", Kim sighed.
"Oh? Why is that?"
With a look that spoke of recently gained experience on the topic, "Well 'Nique if you look at a topo map of Japan you'll notice that the country is quite mountainous…", she paused in thought, "And I remember that where Yamanouchi was…", she pondered again, "it was in a very mountainous location, so we've started with places like that."
At Monique's stare, "And there are quite a few of them. Luckily Wade somehow narrowed them down to a couple of handfuls for us.", Kim's eyes glazed over, "Or we'd never make it through even one of Japan's islands before my time here is over."
"But the name…"
Shrugging, "Ron and Yori called it Yamanouchi; others here seem to know as something else…", Kim replied before she suddenly stopped.
Tapping her chin with a finger, "You know I just remembered something…"
"What is it GF?"
"Well you know that Ron was able to stomp those aliens…right?"
Nodding, "According to those videos we finally got to see? Yeah…"
A calculating look and glare, "And you remember Yori…right?", building with Kim.
Warily, "Yeah I remember she 'Whose name we will not speak!'…", Mo said as she wondered where this was going.
Looking pointedly, "Ok, Yori was a very good marital artist."
Dubiously, "Okayyyy, I'll have to take your word for it Kim.", she replied.
Smirking at Monique's disbelief, "Anyway.", the red head continued, "I remembered something Ron said after Yori kissed him on the cheek when we rescued the headmaster of that school. It was something about Yori being all 'ninja' about it.", Kim finger quoted.
Still not seeing Kim's point, "So?"
Trying to get Monique to see, "That's how she was dressed Moni…like a ninja…all in black like. If she was dressed that way and Yamanouchi is really a ninja school…", she trailed off.
Interrupting, "Kim you might be making too much of this.", Monique warned her friend who was known to jump to conclusions sometimes.
Cutting back, "Yeah, but if I'm not?"
A curt nod, "Then you might be on to something there.", Monique reluctantly agreed.
Eyes shining in askance, "So how should I approach this Moni?"
Crossing her arms, bringing a hand under her chin, "The couple showing you and Wade around are nice right?", Monique said after a few moments of thought.
Shrugging, "Well, yeah they are and they're in Japan's Defense Forces too.", Kim replied, then after a moment, "But maybe they're being paid to be nice to me?", her eyes wide in realization.
Pausing to consider, "That is a possibility, but in this case I don't think so…just chalk it up to something in the way you've described them to me.", Monique said. "But if they have government connections, and if this Yamanouchi place is real…and is a real ninja school, doesn't it make sense that they might know about them?"
Shrugging, "Yeah it would make sense to me if you put it that way."
Flashing a bright smile, "Me too GF, maybe the people you are traveling with can make a call to find out.", the African-American fashion diva winked.
Yawning, "I'll talk to them…but it's getting late here and I guess I'd better say goodnight and get some sleep.", Kim said, when she suddenly flinched, then slow-blinked, her eyes going wide in a way that reminded both women of a person who suddenly had an epiphany.
Muttering, "Ninja...school?", Kim's voice rose as her mind seemed to slowly gather momentum, "Super-secret…ninja school!", her eyes now wide in excitement, "That's what Yamanouchi is!", she exclaimed, looking out the window.
Then looking to Monique in confusion, "Why did I just think of that?", she blurted. "And more about the school, the mission, and…", she whispered and trailed off, nearly overwhelmed by a sudden rush of realizations flooding her mind.
Just as confused as Kim, "Think of what?"
Her eyes determined, "I'm sure of it now Monique.", Kim said in confidence.
Still confused, "Sure of what?", Monique replied.
Gathering speed, "I was missing something Monique…and,", looking to her in excitement, "somehow it just came to me…", her enthusiasm building, "I finally have a clue…Now I have to find this Yamanouchi place, and if I find it I might be able to get some answers as to why I've had these visions…and where Ron could be!", she looked ready to run out at that very moment.
Hands up, "Whoa girl, slow down, you still have to get through the night.", Monique brought her back to the present. "Now you gonna call tomorrow?"
Calming down, "You know it, but I want to talk to my 'rents first since I haven't checked in with them for about a week.", Kim replied. "But with our schedule, it's probably going to be a couple of days.", she gave Monique a lopsided grin of apology. "But give my best to Justine, ok?", a flash of a PDP.
Laughing, "You know it GF…Oh and guess what? She's working with your Dad now."
A knowing grin, "Yeah that's what Dad said the last time I talked to him.", Kim said. "Now, I've got to catch some sleep. Goodnight Moni, give my best to everyone.", she said then ended the call when Monique replied the same.
After the call ended, Monique smiled, 'At least she's getting this out of her system.', she thought happily. 'But it sure is weird that Felix has no idea where Ron went off to…', she frowned. 'But after that little rant of hers, she seems to have an idea of where to go, for now.', she sighed.
After tucking her pad into her travel briefcase, the fashion diva smiled as she walked into a boardroom, certain she was going to "Knock 'em dead" with a presentation that Coco Banana, and Martin Smarty, were counting on to move the Brand to the next level in merchandizing.
Though she was quite savvy at what she did and realized the far-reaching consequences of her actions, what wasn't known to her was that if she nailed this, she would end up very wealthy, with quite the secure future in the world of fashion.
As Monique cleared the door into the boardroom she grasped a hand extended to her from within. "Ladies and gentlemen,", Coco Banana announced, "may I present my protégée, and the reason for our meeting at this hour: Miss Monique Jenkins."
Pausing to allow the applause to wane, "She has been working diligently on Club Banana's new line which we plan to wholesale to other stores to gain market share and diversify our offerings.", Coco Banana said as he drew the young woman to him and gently kissed her hand.
Her Kimmunicator cradled to charge overnight, the highly intelligent former teen heroine sat on her bed, deep in thought, going over the vision that came to her during her call to Monique. Quietly mulling over what she quite suddenly visualized, memories of things long forgotten or buried in her mind for some reason started to fit together in her musings.
After working through everything she could put together, she realized there were gaps in what she now 'knew' that could only be filled when she and her friends made their way to Yamanouchi. Accepting this premise, Kim sighed, looked to her clock and realized more time had passed than she thought. Surrendering to the ever growing power of the pillow and blanket, Kim yawned and tucked herself in; receiving the most blissful, nightmare-free slumber she had had in years.
At a breakfast diner in Northern California:
Smirking lightly over her coffee cup, "Good morning Sheldon.", her voice a bit sugary. "How have you been?", Elizabeth Director asked her barely-able-to-disguise-how-disgruntled brother.
Glaring, "Not bad Betty, but why did you call me to a breakfast meeting?", he waited until just the right moment, "I flew in from Singapore last night…late.", Sheldon groused. "Sooo…What do you need now dear sister?", he bit out.
The edges of a smile appearing, "Nothing of consequence dear brother,", Elizabeth teased back as she put her cup down, "I just felt the need to see your smiling face…and since I am here we'll just call this a semi-official visit by GJ…unannounced of course."
An insincere smile cracked his frown, "Well far be it, sister, for you to miss the opportunity to mix business with pleasure, and get your shots in while you're at it, my face would, in fact, behold a smile of such grand joy should your agency implode upon itself, leaving you unemployed to the point where you'd have to come to me for financial support.", he bit back.
Not taking the bait, Dr. Director smiled at her twin as she reached over to cup his chin, "You have always said the most supportive things to me.", she said in mock-sweetness. "And while we're revealing some innermost secrets to each other, did you ever happen to tell Mom about your boyfriend?", her voice rose as she lightly shook his face.
Shaking out of her hand, "I thought we agreed never to mention that little episode with 'Clarence'.", the former villain frowned.
Petulantly, "If you must know, it was a mistake! One of which it seems I am still paying for after all these years.", Sheldon groused.
Shaking her head, "Sheldon you know that agreement was null and void after you tried to take over the world and when you kidnapped Ronald Stoppable.", Betty replied as he glared back.
Sighing, "I still kick myself for not locking you up and throwing away the key after Possible and I rescued him from your clutches.", leaning back in her chair.
Looking to him in concern, "Anyway I just want to make sure you are getting checkups every six months like your doctor wanted."
Glaring at the personal faux-pas she brought up, "It was a mistake doing so and thank you for asking.", Sheldon glared. Then softening, "I thought Stoppable was my ticket to world domination.", he said. "However it was Possible who was the real deal for that.", he lamented his 'lost' Agent Alphas.
A smirk and a headshake, "Like she would have anything to do with your schemes brother; she's one of the good guys."
A gloating smirk, "Ah, but I never got a chance to make my best offer to her.", his eye gleamed.
Snorting in disbelief, "That girl would never have taken your offer, Sheldon.", her eyebrow raised at his statement.
In equal skepticism, "And why wouldn't she have accepted my offer of matrimony?", Sheldon huffed. "If she had, she could have had the world in the palms of her hands…", he glazed at the resulting fantasy that never was.
A slightly patronizing look, "Well one reason was she didn't have it in her to go over to the dark side with you.", Betty smirked at his suddenly sullen look, "The other was that she eventually had a for real boyfriend who..."
Interrupting, "Yes, yes, I remember, Betty, she hooked up with the Sidekick after the Diablo Affair at her Prom.", in irritation, Sheldon cut off further gloating from his sister as he leaned forward.
Sitting back after a few seconds, "But whatever happened to them?", he sincerely asked. "Possible went off to college and I don't know much more than that, but…I mean the clown?", Sheldon sneered, "Though the selections at the time were slim, he was my second choice…"
After a few seconds musing on the two, "Did they, by any chance, get married after high school and have a few kids?", as he silently considered recruiting an Agent Alpha from the results of their union.
Shaking her head, "No, Possible works for me as a Junior Agent in Training.", Betty coolly said. Then examining his face for his reaction, "And we have no idea where Stoppable is…", she said, pausing for effect. "Sheldon? Do you know anything about that or did you have anything to do with his disappearance?"
Startled, "Me?", abruptly shaking his head. "No dear sister, I am out of that game remember?", his reply carried slight outrage, but sincerity in his words.
Satisfied with what she saw, "Good, I believe you Sheldon. And though you are no longer part of your old endeavors, with the state of the world right now I think being in the game would be so much more difficult than then."
Surprised, "Why do you say that?", the former Director of WWEE asked as he brought his coffee cup to his lips.
Reaching for her cup, she paused to form a reply, "We don't know why…but GJ is being denied access to certain regions in the world.", Betty vaguely conveyed company business that wasn't exactly classified.
Heck it was just a few months ago that TV News put on display GJ's petitioning China for access to their country after a raid the agency wanted to investigate. "And from that we can only surmise they may also feel the same way about the criminal element imposing there also."
Doing his best to keep even a hint of recognition from appearing in his eye, "Oh, really?", as the irony of receiving such stonewalling, albeit while on the other side of the legal coin, from the Orient in his 'business' struck him.
"So have you had any success in gaining access to that region?", as he studied her reaction to his reply.
Waving nonchalantly, a sign that he apparently gave away nothing in his replies, "Not much, but I have sent an envoy there to see if we can make arrangements to work together in the future.", Betty smiled cryptically at the irony of said envoy and her ties to the former WWEE Boss.
Confused at her smile, "I see.", Sheldon replied, "I hope it goes well for you.", he lied, and from her genuine smile in reply he figured she bought that too.
No further reaction from her, he continued, "But do you know who is trying to keep the Law Enforcement arm UN out of that region?", he asked in hopes of gaining insight into what GJ may know of this 'Mountain' and their ability to cow any and all criminal and terrorist organizations operating in the Far East.
Shaking her head and placing her cup on the table, "Not as yet, but we'd like to learn why it's been closed off to us for over three years.", Betty said with some exasperation.
Showing genuine surprise, "So long?", as Sheldon realized that this region of the world had rebuffed his criminal operation just as long as her legitimate outfit.
"Yes, but like I said things might be thawing in that regard.", she grinned. "I wish they would allow us to assist them in what we do best…we can help them in so many ways.", she sighed.
Trying to keep sarcasm out of his voice, "Yes Betty, I'm sure you can.", Sheldon replied with a well-orchestrated straight face.
Breaking from her musings, "But enough about my work…So how are your ventures going in Asia? I've heard you had some trouble..."
Taking charge of the topic, "Oh you know how business is,", he lightly waved a hand, "it runs in cycles. We'll just wait a few months and then we'll try again.", he assured her. "But we have other projects in play to keep my group busy in the short term so we just have to be patient."
A curious look, "You never informed me as to the complete nature of your business Sheldon.", Betty's professional interest piqued, "So what kind of business are you involved in? Your information regarding this in our database is not quite as comprehensive as we'd like it to be right now.", she said, fully aware of what he was 'officially doing' since the Truce.
She just wanted to see if she could trip him up if he wasn't doing what he claimed to be doing.
Gruffly, "Yes I did Betty.", he almost pouted, "I told you some time ago that I am in the import business.", he said indignantly. "We act to bring in products for other companies…hard to find products that is.", he said with a gleam in his eye.
Shrugging at the curious look she gave him, "Well since I have some associations from my past endeavors that have also left the business, it wasn't that much of a divergence from WWEE to what I am involved in with the import business. And it can be quite lucrative too."
Grinning, "So you are making money hand-over-fist?", as Betty went fishing for Intel that GJ just doesn't get from standard methods.
Smirking, "Not quite, but I'm nowhere near living in poverty either. Let's just say that I have to work for everything that we get in a highly competitive market.", he said with an air that Betty had dealt with so many times in the past.
Nodding "I more than understand brother, and I know quite well it starts getting messy when you come into your own.", Betty laughed as she poured another cup of coffee for herself and then offered to do the same for her brother. He of course accepted, but years of rivalry had him keep an ever watchful eye on her as she did so.
Picking up a menu, "Well Betty what would you like for breakfast today?", signaling he was done with their usual business talk in these 'meetings'.
Looking over her menu, "Hmmmm eggs Benedict sounds nice, with fruit.", she replied, agreeing to his ending her role as part of the UN Law Enforcement Arm for the day.
"Very nice and oh so decadent sister.", he lightly jibed her choice. "On the other hand I shall have the Garden Omelet. I am watching my waistline you know."
Smirking, "And later you should get twenty minutes of activity to get your heart rate up too.", she retorted playfully.
"Yes Betty I know.", he grumped. "You and Mother have been telling me that for years."
A curt nod and smile of triumph, "And both of us are right, you know.", Betty got the last word as the waitress appeared to take their order.
Earlier that night at Yamanouchi, Japan:
Bowing, (Sensei.), Wanda Wang waited patiently for permission to speak of what she and Suzie had learned. Several members of her team, Suzie included, fanned out along the walls of the room.
(Yes my child, what is it?), Sensei replied.
Straightening, (Yori-kun and Hiro-kun passed along the message that they feel Miss Possible is ready to find the Sacred Mountain again.), Wanda informed the carefully plotting Ninja Headmaster.
Nodding, a pleased look visible through his beard, (Good.), Sensei said, before looking to those gathered, (We should make ready for their visit. By morning have everything in place to welcome them.), he directed.
A knowing look, (Miss Possible and friend must be quite foot-sore by now and we do not wish to prolong their suffering.), to those who will take care of this request.
Taking on a neutral look, (Also, I wish to speak with her, alone, and hear her side of the story of what happened between her and Ron-sama before deciding what should be done…), he said to all.
Then glancing to a few to the side, (When dismissed, make sure the watch is set on the walls and get some sleep, I have a feeling that tomorrow we will receive a visit from a young woman and her friend who are quite curious of us…), he said then paused in thought, (And may find they want to train with us of things they do not, but may want, to know.), he announced to a more than a few subtly raised eyebrows.
Taken aback, (Train with us?), Wanda blurted out. (Master do you think that is wise?), she asked what was on the minds of those assembled.
The white haired ninja master replied, (Yes child, how better to learn of your comrades…or foes?)
Chastened, (I see, forgive me Sensei), she bowed.
A gentle smile, (There is nothing to forgive.), he assured her. To all, (But tell everyone to speak Japanese once our guests arrive and tell them not to reveal any of our secrets to them.), his smile faded. (Remember Miss Possible is an intern with an organization whose capabilities…we must study.)
A calculating look, (Then you plan on lifting the fog which has been placed in the minds of her and her friend?), Wanda asked.
Nodding he looked to the assembled, (Yes, I only gave her enough detail to remember the Sacred Mountain, but not much more than that.), Sensei followed up. (Though each in her party has a connection to varying degrees to Yamanouchi, I worry about their association with the international police organization...)
After pausing to let this sink in, (And as they are members of Global Justice, we should be on guard of shifting allegiances that are a part of their operational lives. They are susceptible to the whims of their ever changing international masters.), Sensei warned.
Countering, (But Sensei, for the most part that organization has not pursued an agenda against us, nor have they been successful in ascertaining our existence.), Wanda reminded them all.
(And even as a blind squirrel eventually finds an acorn should it blunder into one, so could Global Justice of Yamanouchi…Even so, we do not know their entire agenda so we should remain guarded in their 'discovery' of us.), Sensei countered, with a fading grin.
Then with a firmer demeanor, (We also should remember the tasks our government has charged us with. There are many who wish us harm. Intentional or inadvertent discovery matters not, we must always take care.)
Nodding, (This shall be guarded as directed, Sensei.), she bowed. Then upon rising, (But what do we do about Stoppable-sama if she asks of him? And something tells me she is going to ask.)
Sitting quietly for a few moments in contemplation, (Our story is…true, for the most part. He is off at college after having studied here for several years.), the old man replied.
A raised eyebrow, (But that is not the whole story…)
Shaking his head slowly, (Of course not my child,), Sensei agreed, (but we cannot reveal secrets which may compromise national security…and Stoppable-sama is a national security concern that we must not disclose until we are sure of Miss Possible's and her organization's true agenda.), he cautioned.
After looking to the assembled, (What we are aware of is that Global Justice has been very active in recent years to ascertain what goes on within our and our allies' borders. This they do via a mandate given them by the United Nations.)
Lightly smiling, Wanda was happier after the described analysis, (And if she asks us of Ron-sama's whereabouts?), she left hanging.
Shrugging, nonplussed, (We are ninja, are we not?), he simply replied.
Smirking, (Yes Sensei, that we are…So we lie to her?)
A flash of a grin, (Would you expect to give her truthful answers to every question she asks of us?), Sensei replied. (We inform her of what we can while we keep our secrets. Otherwise shade or misdirect her from them in your answers.), he directed.
(And what of the severed ties between The Chosen One and his Chosen? Do we continue to keep them separated or do we strive to reunite them?), Wanda voiced a question on everyone's mind.
Sensei sighed, (I have meditated many hours on their relationship…and I feel that as things are now, is how they must stay, for now.), he sadly replied.
Urgently, yet respectfully, (Master, not that we would second-guess you on this, but though we are ninja, at times we do the honorable…), Wanda said in rising optimism. (If we were to tell Possible-san all that we know, to put it out in the open for her to decide whether to end or continue her quest, we would at least give her the opportunity to continue on with her life regardless.)
A slight shake of the head, (I feel this must not move too fast, Wanda-kun.), Sensei replied cautiously, (It is Ronald Stoppable's reaction that I fear should he should learn of this at this stage of his life after what he perceived from her silence those few years ago.), he said to Wanda's deflation.
(To that end I feel we must take the long road, we must take this information and prepare it and offer it to him as you would a child just learning to consume solid food.), he directed. (Too much, too soon…), his eyes met those present, (will give the baby a bellyache. So for now we will play this out with deliberate speed, never rushing, yet always moving slowly forward to the desired destination.)
Nodding in acceptance, (It will be so Sensei. But will we inform Stoppable-sama that his 'One' will be at Yamanouchi?), Wanda relinquished her request, yet produced another she hoped he would accept.
(Not at this time Wanda-kun.), Sensei replied. (After speaking with Yori-kun on this matter, I believe we cannot be certain of Ron-sama's reaction should he learn of her presence at Yamanouchi. After years of burying his feelings regarding what he believed was her dismissal from her life and her heart, I fear what would happen if he learns anything of her until he has been properly prepared for that information…), he advised.
Somewhere above the Pacific Ocean:
"Prepare for insertion into the eye wall again.", Colonel Warmarster warned over the intercom as the C-130 shuddered. The 'Old Man' was trying to keep the 'Herc' level so the drop could be made more accurately.
Two flight suited individuals stood ready at a pipe sticking out of the floor of the airplane, awaiting notification to perform their assigned tasks. Another sat off to the side observing the drill.
"Ready…drop.", came through the intercom, accompanied by a signal light. Tech Sergeant Andy Reed stared at his watch for timing purposes as he observed the blond American in the early stages of the training he'd need to gain a working knowledge of this part of the job.
Sighing, "I hope we're closer to the target than last time.", Dean replied.
Smirking, "Couldn't be much worse Mister Kaminsky, last time you were only ten miles off.", Kevin Jordan informed his trainee.
Frowning, "I don't like to simply toss them away…"
Shrugging, "Dropsondes are expendable; I mean the casing is basically cardboard."
"Yeah but the measuring device costs something,", Dean countered. "and performing the operation this way adds up to quite a bit after a while.", he fretted. Waving a hand behind him, "And we carry so many of them…"
Nodding, "Between one thousand and fifteen hundred all told…So between them and the fuel we burn, training does cost some money, but when you look at the cost of not being ready for a major storm...", Kevin pointed out, "Well there's no real comparison."
"I suppose, but I think that if we construct durable ones with a transponder for training we could recover them afterward and save some money.", Ron/Dean explained, "Using the transponder signals we could recover and reuse them to save some money."
A weary grin, "It's above my pay grade sir,", the Tech Sgt. replied, "but I think any way we can save taxpayers' money, the more we'll have to make sure we can do the work we're doing."
A figurative light going off overhead, "Does the Air Force pay suggestion money for cost saving ideas?", Dean asked.
Shrugging, "I don't know, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.", he answered.
A curt nod, "I'll think about it Sarge.", Dean said. "And maybe suggest they change the design a little so that the practice dropsoundes are more durable.", he started, "I mean why waste them for training?", Stoppable/Kaminsky thought aloud. "Of course then they have to communicate with satellites…and that would call for a decent battery so that they can be found and reused.", his excitement growing.
"Sounds like spending more money…", countered the NCO Devil's-Advocate.
Shaking his head, "Not that much more, mostly for development.", Dean replied. "If they're undamaged we put new batteries in them and put them back in service.", he offered. "If not, when recovered we can get them repaired at some minor cost…I'll bet that we could add a couple of electrical engineering students to put this together and all we have to pay them is room and board like I'm getting."
Andy smirked, "And you have a great chance to learn something that goes with what you're studying.", he said before laughing, "And it's going to look good on your resume too."
Sheepishly, "Yes it would…", Dean replied, "but after taking part in the 'Pilot' of a new program introduced here, I hope to get another chance like this next summer.", he answered.
Taking on a more distant look, "And if the word gets out I might have a stampede on my hands to get back into this again, too. I'd need all the help I can get to return.", he said.
To their confused looks, "You see when I go for my post-grad…I don't know if I want to go further into Meteorology or Climatology."
Shrugging, "What's the difference?", from Jordan.
"Well, Meteorology is concerned with what's happening maybe two to three weeks out weather-wise, while Climatology looks out a lot further.", Kaminsky said making the explanation very brief, "In Canada they are more concerned about Climatology. In the U. S...I guess it's a tossup."
"Would it be tough doing both?"
Shrugging, "A dual PhD? Yeah I guess it can be done, it'd take some effort…"
"And if you study hard you might make a name for yourself too."
With some hesitation, "I suppose…", Dean said, "I hadn't thought about it much, but I'd bet it would keep me off the streets at night and make Mom and Dad happy.", he winked to his crewmates, not mentioning that the dual track would keep him so busy it might blunt the dreaming, day or night, of all things fiery red, emerald green and wrapped in an explosive temper he had that still plagued him after all these years.
Noting the far off look in Kaminsky's eyes, "Sooo, what are you thinking about Dean?"
Sighing, "Someone I knew once, she was very special."
"Was? I guess by the way you said that, I'd say that you loved her…I take it something happened?"
"Yup, but she didn't love me back…it took me a while but I finally figured it out.", Dean said with some loss in his voice.
"Brutal man, I take it she hurt you.", came the commiserating reply.
Tentatively, "Maybe…maybe not.", Dean shrugged. "It depends on the context of the situation and whose side of it you're looking at it from…At the time I was a lousy student and she had taught me how to study, which is why my grades are good, and I got into a good college.", he paused for a moment, Kim's face appearing in his mind for a moment.
Shaking his head to clear her out, "And shortly after she left for school elsewhere… nothing."
"Nothing?", the Tech Sgt. asked. "What do you mean nothing?"
"Just that, nothing.", he said, drawing a long breath, then exhaling. "Even to the point her folks didn't even acknowledge me on the street, or at their door."
"Man, that's cold.", Kevin said. "So what happened after that?"
Shrugging, "I made a clean break from home and ended up here.", Dean said waving out to where he thought Japan was. "When I came to Japan I had a hard time handling things, being a kid and all, but then I just immersed myself into the culture and after that everything just sort of fell in place.", he said with a small smile.
"You said your parents were here in Japan too, do you see them much?"
Nodding, "Only a few times a year since school is so busy.", avoiding mentioning that they were actually in Norway, "Anyway they really didn't understand what I was going through so it's better this way."
"You know you should tell that girl what she missed out on…"
Waggling a hand in the negative, "Nah I'd just embarrass myself out of existence trying something like that, and it would come off as desperate or something like that on my part. Besides I like being in the background and since I've devoted myself to my studies it's better for me this way in the long run."
Not giving up, "I still say you could at least send her a note, or something. Maybe it didn't go down the way you thought it did."
A resigned smile, "It doesn't matter anymore…it was a long enough time ago that she probably doesn't even remember me…"
"That's what yearbooks are for…"
Shrug and a smirk, "I never got around to having my picture taken. I wasn't popular and I was real camera shy."
"So the epitome of a wallflower, huh Mister Kaminsky?"
A cough/chuckle, "Yeah that's about right…a wallflower. That's one of the reasons I took up Karate in Japan, at least I wouldn't get beaten up by a boyfriend for looking at his girl.", Dean snorted.
Disbelief ,"That stuff still happens?"
A knowing look, "It did when I was in school Andy, and I don't think it's changed all that much."
Disgust, "I hate bullies…"
"I know what you mean, the D hall ones where the worst."
Common thread, "You had them too?"
"Yup still traumatized by it.", waving a hand over him, "Doesn't it show?", Dean laughed.
A look over, "Not very much, you seem to have your head screwed on right."
"Thanks sometimes it didn't feel that way…aren't we coming up to another drop?"
Andy looked at his watch again and pushed the intercom button, "Hey Colonel, are we on course and on time?"
Colonel Warmarster replied back, "Two minutes and thirty-three seconds. I will notify you when we are one minute out."
Off the intercom, "He's a happy guy Dean…errrr Mister Kaminsky.", Tech Sgt. Reed recovered his military bearing.
"We grew up near the same place so I know where he's coming from, but he's alright if you do your job."
Two hours later the C-130 turned for home after a long and exhausting day in the air. Groaning quietly and lamenting the four hour flight back to Japan, Ron wondered if he would ever get used to long days like these in what, to him, a tricked out and loud cargo plane.
After a few more minutes of grousing, he sat down for a few minutes on the hard deck and closed his eyes to relax.
Looking over from his seat, "What are you doing?", Tech Sgt. Reed asked.
His eyes closed, "Just trying to mediate for a few minutes before I go up front and get some more time on the computers."
Nodding, "Never hurts to know them backwards and forwards from what I'm told."
"Well you can only get so much from them…I just hope we get to see some real storms instead of this puny stuff.", Ron/Dean told Andy.
Andy's voice lowered, "Don't ever wish for that Kaminsky.", he said solemnly. "I've been in a Hercules when it was tossed around like a toy and thought the wings were gonna come off. And it's the safest plane you can be in while flying through what we do.", he looked knowingly at Dean.
Raising an eyebrow, "If you get to ride all season with us you're gonna learn religion."
Smiling, "I'm a Jew Andy; religion is a way of life for me…", then frowning, "Though I haven't been to Temple lately."
The Air Force NCO smiled, "Good we need more chosen people on board…"
Ron snorted, "Yeah we were chosen by Hitler to be Germany's scapegoats. Most of us just want to get by and practice our religion in peace just like everyone else."
"Well, Karate isn't all that peaceful…"
Ron smiled back, "Think of it this way Sergeant; Peace is the offered carrot and Karate is the inevitable baseball bat; if they don't like peaceful, bust em over the head. One way or the other you'll get some peace out of it."
Mystified, "But I thought you said that you were picked on by high school bullies. Sounds to me like you're a bully yourself."
Smirking and shaking his head, "Past tense. I was picked on when I was a kid, if it happens again I'll educate them. Heck if I ever decide to go to a high school reunion and one of my former tormentors picks on me, I'll even drive him to the clinic.", the blond Meteorology student promised.
Shrugging, "The town really wasn't big enough to have a real hospital.", continuing the cover story of his 'hometown'.
The Sergeant chuckled, "Seems like you've got a future appointment to meet some of them in dark alleys…"
"Not true, just don't want to meet any of my old tormentors.", he said before smirking, "Ole Dean-san grew a little."
"Yeah I guess,", he reflected. "So you're gonna do this meditation thing?"
"Yeah it relaxes me and helps me to see the goodness in all of Yahweh's creatures…even the assholes."
"Alright, I'm going up front for a few minutes, so I'll give you about thirty minutes of peace and quiet."
"Thanks, I'll make use of the time."
Spying him as he came forward, "Hey Sergeant, you looking for some coffee?", Captain Hernandez playfully asked, "cause if you find some that you can actually ingest let us know."
"I was thinking about getting some.", as he reached to the heavy-duty coffeemaker for a cup.
Looking behind him, "So where's the rookie?"
Nodding back to the console area, "He's meditating.", the NCO said. Then after catching the 'look' from the crew, "I mean it, that's what he said he was going to do I guess he uses that when he does his Karate."
"Karate?", the Captain blurted in disbelief. "You mean the American is a Kung Fu fighter?", he chuckled.
"Sensei, are you there?", the 'Asset' called out in his meditation as he ascended to another plane of spiritual awareness.
There was no answer so after a minute Ron called again, "Sensei, are you there?"
It was another minute later before a serene presence entered his mind, "My good friend, how are you?"
"I am well and I hope that you and all the others on the sacred mountain are too."
"We are and are glad you are too.", Sensei replied. Then after a few seconds pass, "It is good that you are well my friend, but after all this time alone are you lonely?", from Sensei.
"No Master, lonely I am not. They keep me so busy here I cannot be so. Right now, for instance, I am on an airplane and we are returning to Japan after a long day practicing the art of dropping devices to sense atmospheric data. I have dropped nearly one hundred of them today."
"From the airplane?"
"Yes Master it was like bombing water."
"But with no explosives?"
"No Sir, the devices are like me…expendable.", Ron/Dean enlightened his teacher.
Snorting, "You are not expendable Ron-sama."
"All of Yamanouchi are expendable Sensei, in the right circumstances."
Sigh, "In that light you are correct my friend."
"I have meditated on this as have you. One day I will meet the founder I hope and then we can discuss matters for the betterment of our colleagues."
Changing the subject away from the Bachelor-Founder, "You understand my friend that my Granddaughter is concerned about your happiness.", Sensei tried to steer an apparent fellow traveler of that philosophy to less empty grounds.
"I am happy Master. Yori-kun is just worried about me propagating my line.", Ron countered.
"You know how women are, always looking out for friends and loved ones, but she has found someone for you she thinks you will be happy with."
"You understand Sensei; my heart cannot venture to another. That it still belongs to one that is unattainable to me, she still haunts my dreams, is why I will not bring another into a lie when what she deserves is complete and unrestrained love.", Ron replied.
"I see.", Sensei replied. "So you have come to terms in your heart of what restrains your desires?"
"Yes…", Ron confessed. "I am not totally over her and it would be a lie to say that I am. I understand this now, after having spent so much of my life here trying to deny it…but I can't any longer."
"So, is it your intention that you will see Miss Possible again, should that come to pass?", the ninja master posed the question to gauge his friend's reaction. He hoped Ron's answer would lead to an impromptu reunion at Yamanouchi in the near future.
Only to have them dashed, "No Sensei, I do not have plans to seek out Kim for any reason, for the foreseeable future, if at all.", Ron replied. "I have gone on with my life and though I am still in love with her, I cannot commit to a relationship with any other woman. It would be an act of disrespect to the loving intentions of any woman, should she set her heart in pursuit of mine."
"Your Mother will not be happy with this decision of yours..."
"I know, and I have tried to explain it to her before Sensei…I must go, others will come in here soon and when we land I must get some sleep before we get ready to do this all over again tomorrow.", he informed Sensei of the timetable his life was under these days. "But before I go, Mom wants to move back to the States and the family might move back next summer."
"Will they move back to Middleton, Colorado USA?"
"I don't know right now, but Hanna is going to be starting real school by then and I think Mom and Dad want her in the States.", Ron continued. 'And I'm going to put out applications for post graduate schools this fall and I think I'll have a better chance of good schools with this internship under my belt."
"So you will be going to college in the United States in the future?"
"Yes Master, next year is my junior year and that next summer I am going to take another internship. After I graduate I will move back."
"So your parents and Hanna will return a year before you do?"
"Yes Master that is their plan. The only problem is what to do with Rufus and Wade Load."
"What is it with Load-sama and Rufus-san?"
"If he looks for me he might also have Mom and Dad's pictures on file somewhere.", Ron let that settle for a moment, "And if that is the case he might be able to track them down…" Then he snorted, "And Rufus can be bought…especially by Kim, if Wade tells her where they are."
"Ahhhhh I see. So would it not be better for your family to not go home to your country before you do?"
"Yeah that's what I think too, but Mom wants to at least be back in the States…I think she's getting homesick. Even spending all last winter skiing didn't change that."
Ron continued to concentrate, "Anyway that is all Sensei, it was good talking to you again."
"As it was with you Ron-sama. Take care and I will expect you back to visit during the autumn; remember, you must refresh your training."
"Thank you Master it was my pleasure. And of course I am always on call should you need my services.", Ron sent before he broke off the connection.
After taking another deep breath and letting it out he opened his eyes.
"Nice break Kaminsky.", Colonel Warmarster noted, looking to his watch, "Almost exactly thirty minutes."
"Uh yes sir, that's what I was going for. Somehow my mind makes a pretty good stopwatch."
The 'Old Man' looked at the younger one, "I've heard from several sources that you are practicing Karate.", he said, sizing Dean up. "Are you up for some light sparring in the morning?"
His mood light, "Yes sir, do you practice as well?", Ron asked, cringing inside.
"I sure do, and I'll try not to hurt you too much.", he grinned. "In fact, I just got promoted to third Dan and I haven't had a decent workout since I've been here."
"Oh yeah? Well congratulations Colonel, I hope I can give you a bit of a workout then."
The larger man clapped Ron/Dean on the shoulder, "I'll try to go easy on you.", he ribbed what he took to be a newbie to martial arts.
Ever playing the underdog, "I appreciate it Sir…I mean I'm only a gray belt…"
An eyebrow cocked in mystification, "Gray belt?"
"Yes sir my Sensei doesn't believe in the color belt system of ranking. The darkness of your belt indicates experience in our dojo.", the blond explained as he easily got to his feet.
Not sure what to make of this the Colonel replied, "We'll be back to the base in about ninety minutes son, so be ready to disembark then.", he advised as he returned to the cockpit. "Oh and see you in the morning at about oh six hundred at the base gymnasium."
Nodding, "Yes sir, Six AM.", Dean continued to play along. "I'm looking forward to it, maybe I can learn something."
And another chapter for your entertainment. Kim and Wade are turning into mountain goats and Ron's finding there can be life other than standing before a weather map, or gathering data in some lab. Sensei's meddling with Kim's memories of Yamanouchi is revealed as he prepares the site to welcome and train their guests, while adhering to the 'Trust, but Verify' standard between a Secret Ninja Academy and an International Police Force. He also finds that Ron still yearns for the redhead, but he's closed the door to that room in his heart. The Directors get together and bicker while dining, but not much else…And Ron has been challenged to spar with the ever unsuspecting Colonel. That should be interesting.
Hope you enjoyed. Laters!