Balloons, Bolts and a Battle
Part One: Carry Me Back to Old Virginia
Author's Comments: Here is the second story in my "Kim Possible / Doctor Who" story arc. When I first began thinking about this I thought it would be one story; now, I'm not sure just how many stories it will be!.
My thanks go to all those who read the previous story, "A Fair to Remember," and either reviewed it, offered comments, listed the tale as a Favorite Story, put it on Story Alert or sent me a private message about it: Anonymous, Cajun Bear73, Chris Barat, Harubibunny, Jimmy 1281, Joe Stoppingham, Mahler Avatar, Muzzlehatch, Old King Betsy, Scott Simerlein, Sharp the Writer, Stormchaser 90 and Steve Robinson.
Now, let's join Kim and the Fourth Doctor in the control room of the Doctor's TARDIS, Somewhere and Somewhen in history and time. They are in pursuit of an Empath (from the planet Empathios) who has stolen a TARDIS from the Time Lords and is roaming through Earth's history for some unknown purpose.
"Well, Doctor, have you figured out when and where this Empath is headed?" Kim
asked the tall figure of the Doctor, as he studied the control console.
"Unfortunately, Kimberly, all that we can do is follow the course of the stolen TARDIS
until it materializes. Then we'll materialize about ten minutes later in approximately the same
"How close is 'approximately' going to be?" Kim wanted to know. "Alongside it? A
hundred yards away? Or fifteen miles?"
The Doctor shrugged. "Close enough to make it easy for us to reach it, but not so near
that we scare the thief into flight again." He looked at Kim with his usual grin. "I'll just leave
the details for the TARDIS to work out. Do a good job, now, old girl," the Doctor added, while
patting the console as if it were a puppy.
Kim rolled her eyes. For all his scientific knowledge and experience, at times the
Doctor seemed more like one of her younger brothers in the any-old-way he handled a
problem. Still, she had to admit that he seemed to be right almost every time.
"Ah, he's landing . . . somewhere in the eastern part of the state of Virginia," said the
Doctor. "Will you get Ronald and K-9, please, Kimberly? I believe we may be seeing some
Kim left the control room and went down the corridor a short distance, opened the door
to the room Ron was using, and found him sitting on the floor, sharing a piece of chocolate
cake with Rufus.
"Oh, hi, Kim. Say, you've gotta try a piece of this cake! K-9 gave me the receipe,
I made one in the galley, and it's almost as good as a naco!"
Rufus looked up from his perch on K-9's back and chirped, "Yup-yup!"
"If it's that good, it must be great," Kim replied. "But how would you know a cake
"The Doctor had me record a file of recipes that he has collected over the years, and
I suggested that Master Ronald and Rufus would enjoy trying this one," K-9 answered.
"Unfortunately, I am incapable of doing the same," he added in a slightly wistful voice.
"Well, we're about to materialize so we can start hunting the Empath, and the Doctor
wants us all in the control room," said Kim. "Cake recipes will have to wait; it's mission time,
There were only a few things that would get Ron Stoppable's mind off food, and one of
them was Kim saying 'mission time!' He bounced to his feet, scooped up Rufus and tucked
the mole rat in his special pocket with its fur liner. "Ready to go, KP!"
As they entered the control room, the central column on the console was still rising and
falling, but no sooner had Ron closed the door behind K-9 than the column stopped and the
Doctor spoke in a satisfied tone.
"Well, here we are."
"Yes, but where is 'here,' Doctor?" Kim inquired.
"Ten to twelve miles east by northeast from the city of Richmond, Virginia," the Doctor
replied. "I believe that the date is 29 May 1862."
"But that's during the Civil War!" Kim protested. She thought for a moment. "Richmond
was the capital of the Confederacy during the war. And in 1862 the Union Army was trying to
The Doctor regarded Kim with obvious respect. "Your knowledge of the American
Civil War is remarkable, Kimberly."
Kim shrugged. "No big, Doctor. Last semester I did a report on the Peninsular
Campaign of 1862 for Mr. Barkin's history class."
"I see that you've both found clothes appropriate for the period," the Doctor went on,
scanning the shirts, trousers and sturdy shoes both teens were wearing. "Yes, wearing your
hair in a pony-tail is a good idea as well, Kimberly." He turned back to the console.
"Which army is here, just now?" Ron asked as he gazed at the controls. "Do you have
something in your computer that can tell us?"
"It has a vast library of facts and information, Ronald, but not even the memory banks
of a TARDIS can hold everything!"
Ron nodded. "Why not look on the 'net for a map that shows where the armies were
back then?" he asked.
"I can't consult the Internet, Ronald, because it won't exist for over a century," the
Doctor replied, with some amusement.
"Oh," said Ron, "so you can't read a map before its time, huh?"
The Doctor paused, and gave a sigh. "No. But we can take a look outside." He tapped
a control and the viewscreen lit up, but instead of open fields, a forest or a town, it showed the
inside of a rather small, dark wooden room.
"The TARDIS seems to have landed inside a building." The Doctor frowned. "That's a
bit on the odd side."
"It looks like the inside of a barn. A small one," Kim observed. "Come on, Ron, let's
take a look." She reached past the Doctor, moved a control on the console, and when nothing
happened, brought her fist down firmly on the panel.
The door promptly swung open, and Kim went out, followed by Ron. The Doctor
gave a sigh and muttered, "That girl needs some lessons in stealth and caution." Then he
glanced at K-9.
"If anyone besides us tries to enter, K-9, use your laser to stun them." He clapped on
his hat, and hurried after Kim and Ron.
Stepping outside the Doctor found his two companions and the TARDIS were taking up
nearly all the space in a simple wooden building equipped with racks, overhead hooks, and a
strong smoky smell.
"Whew! Whoever owns this place needs to put in some ventilators!" Ron remarked.
Rufus stuck his head out of his pocket, gave a choking snort and ducked back out of sight.
"It smells like a smokehouse to me," said the Doctor.
"Or a place to store smoked meats?" Kim pondered aloud. "But there's nothing
Ron tried the door, and found that it was locked from the outside. He poked and
prodded the metal casing that held the lock's mechanism and finally shook his head.
"No good, Kim. I don't think Rufus can even get into this thing."
The Doctor pulled a slim, silver-colored cylindrical device from one pocket and
said, "Allow me."
He knelt down and held one end of the device to the casing of the lock. To Kim it
looked something like an old-fashioned pocket telescope, about eight inches long, made up
of a thin tube that could slide into a slightly larger tube.
Slowly, the Doctor moved the object up and down the door where the lock was located
and then stopped. There was a faint humming and then a sharp 'CLICK.' The door opened at
"Sonic screwdriver," the Doctor explained, upon seeing Kim and Ron's questioning
looks. "Handiest thing imaginable."
They cautiously opened the door and then stepped outside. A small cluster of trees
surrounded the smoke-house, but looking between the branches and tree-trunks they saw
some sort of a camp a short distance away. There were two covered wagons and two others
with square-built wooden bodies. A number of tents had been set up, and men were moving
about the area. But what immediately caught their attention was the large balloon that was
floating in the air above the camp, attached to four long ropes that were being tended by
groups of men on the ground.
Kim had noticed a feeling of moisture in the air as soon as they came out of the
smokehouse, and now a few drops of rain fell on her head.
"Somewhat risky, making an ascension in unsettled weather," the Doctor remarked.
"That balloonist must have a serious reason for going up at this time."
"KP, when you did that history report did you find out who used balloons in the Civil
"During the Peninsular Campaign both sides did, Ron. But mostly the Union," Kim
answered absently, as she watched the buoyant craft above them.
"Judging by that red-and-white striped cloth on the balloon basket I'd say that it's a
Union balloon," said the Doctor. "And look down there."
The Doctor pointed to one of the tents, out of which two men in blue uniforms had just
come. "Those appear to be Union officers," he said. "We'd better - "
"Hold it right thar, mistur! Who are yuh, an' what're yuh doin' sneakin' 'round here?"
Kim, Ron and the Doctor all looked in the direction of the voice and saw two soldiers in
blue uniforms covering them with a pair of long-barrelled muskets.
Kim and Ron both tensed, but the Doctor just nodded, and smiled happily.
"Yes, I'd say that we are definitely in Union-held territory."
TBC . . .
Author's Disclaimer and Notes:
The Disney Company owns the Kim Possible concept and characters.
The British Broadcasting Corporation owns the Doctor Who concept.
The term TARDIS is also copyright by the BBC.
The plot of this story is my responsibility.
Yes, both Union and Confederate forces used balloons ― some hot-air but most gas-filled ― for observation during the Civil War. There was more ballooning by the Union during the conflict, but Confederate balloons were also active during the 1862 Peninsular Campaign.
Because of the use of balloons for observation by Union forces, as early as September 1861 Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard issued an order to his command that "every precaution [be] taken to prevent the enemy from discovering by balloons . . . the number of our advanced commands or outposts. No lights should be kept at night except where absolutely necessary, and then under such screens as may conceal the lights from observation." Although he didn't use the term, Beauregard had invented the 'blackout.'
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