I do not own any Disney character named herein, and am only borrowing them to tell a nonprofit tale meant for entertainment purposes only.
Kim Possible: Fallen Heroes
She knew, Kim decided.
Or, at the least, Dr. Director had a strong suspicion. That was what Kim decided as she walked into her basement workshop in the 'abandoned' tenement building she had leased under an assumed name, and then left it boarded up to hide her occupation of the building she only refurbished below the street level where eyes couldn't see what she was doing.
Her Roth was parked in an underground hangar that opened under the empty parking lot to one side that was surrounded by barbed wire and warning signs suggesting dangerous construction. Her own room was a small efficiency apartment to one side of the underground level she had turned into a workspace. The rest of the level was made up of several locked chambers that joined together to form a large laboratory. Each of them devoted to different experiments her eclectic mind might be considering at any given time.
One particular chamber was sealed with an insulated steel panel that was double-locked, magnetically sealed, and had its own power source.
Five cyro-beds filled that large, carefully refrigerated space. Two of the beds were already filled. Shego, and DNAmy occupied them. She had last seen Drakken running for home, promising never to even show his face again. She didn't know what happened to Dementor after the last time she had faced him. She had lost her temper, she admitted, and beat him so badly he could barely walk when he stumbled into a subway tunnel, and that was the last she had seen of him.
Shego, however, had been taken primarily as a favor for Ron.
She paused, staring down at the sleeping, green woman in that frosted tube that looked so…..different while she was still. She sighed, putting a hand on the tube as she studied her. She just wouldn't be reasonable. Had to push. Kim even tried to give her a second chance at the end. Why, even she couldn't say. She just….tried. Only Shego wouldn't listen. Wouldn't give up.
She still remembered when Ron had come to her just fourteen months ago, and told her honestly, "I just don't know what to do. I don't want to kill someone who isn't really that evil. Only she's going to keep pushing until it happens. You used to talk to her. Could you….I don't know, warn her off? Because if she interferes in our business again, I'll have no other choice, Kim," he had told her. "And I really would prefer not to have to make that choice."
She had been playing around with the cryo notion at the time when Ron had showed up unexpectedly after chasing Shego away from another Yamanouchi 'concern.'
Once the idea popped up, it didn't take her long to focus on a practical application. She asked Ron to keep her busy for a few months, and went to work. Six months later, Shego walked into a trap, and didn't walk out.
Still, she had tried to give her that last chance. One the green-skinned woman had thrown back in her face. She babbled about finishing her job once paid was a matter of honor. As if being a paid mercenary were any better than being Drakken's occasional lackey. She just didn't understand the woman. In the end, she was left with little choice, and she had put her in deep freeze, as Ron put it. Only she kept her close. To personally monitor her, and, in her mind, keep her…..safe.
From being prematurely released, she reasoned.
She would not accept any other reason.
Then, when DNAmy interfered with a ninja operation hunting her missing Monte, and endangering Kyoto with her bizarre creations, she was delivered to her, too. Kim told Ron not to come back after he had delivered her, though. If he wanted to cut their ties, he had to accept she was not going to clean up all his messes either. Besides, even she had qualms about what they were doing. Okay, slight ones, but they were there.
Still, even after all the time since she last took a mission, Drakken had personally come after her a few months later, thinking Kim knew something about his missing partner, and his apparently sometimes companion Amy Hall, too. A thought that didn't settle well in her mind after hearing it. Drakken proved his stupidity had not lessened by trying to jump her alone, at school, in broad daylight. Even without her best moves, she had run him off with such ease, she rather doubted she'd be seeing him anytime soon. Especially after the threats she had hurled after him as he bolted from a very bad whipping.
Dementor had just showed up looking for payback, and thinking that if she was building quantum projectors now, she could also build something for him. He seemed to think the expansion of her mind had somehow implied the degeneration of her skills.
When he injured one of her students she was teaching in a class she was supervising as a TA, she had to admit she had lost it. She chased him down the streets from the college, and the last she saw, he had escaped into a subway by falling into the tunnel.
By then the transit police showed up after hearing reports of a woman rampaging through the crowds. Naturally, the cops came after her. No one ever found Dementor so far as she knew. She certainly didn't bother to help look.
She paused at the door to her cryo-chamber now, studying the life signs. Both were strong, but very greatly subdued. Shego and Amy both were still alive, and neither exhibited any harmful affects, or mental resistance to the sublims she was using from what her instruments told her. Of course, considering their individual levels of social anarchy, it would likely take far more than a few months of 'rehab' to affect any real change in these women. Or eight, in Shego's case.
She rechecked the instruments monitoring the cryo-chamber itself, and nodded in satisfaction at the sleeping woman.
True cryogenic suspension had proven unviable, and potentially lethal in the past because the people trying to employ it wanted to completely freeze the subject. The key was to reduce cellular activity to a nearly inactive state without actually freezing the tissue or blood. The cases of severe hypothermia she had studied in those that had been immersed in freezing water and survived had been a clue. As long as she kept them on the verge of freezing without actually freezing them, they would survive. And it worked. She had not only used the system on test animals with one hundred percent success, she had used it on herself using a remote timer that left her in perfect cryogenic suspension for three full months without any harmful affects.
Having proved it worked, she called Ron when she had been ready, and Shego became her first 'prisoner.' She now believed that Betty knew she had her, though. Likely Amy, too, though she couldn't be sure. But she doubted Betty dropping Shego's name had been an accident. Any more than showing up as she had was simple coincidence. She might be legitimately concerned and interested, but she already proved what she really thought about Kim even before Kim had pointedly lured her out to her just to finally share a potential solution to the prison issue with her.
On her terms. She still had issues with Dr. Director on a personal level, and that wasn't going away.
Two years ago, she learned GJ had an entire squad devoted to watching her. That they were actually expecting her to go rogue, and endanger the world based on some quack's statistics had her seriously tweaked. It wasn't quite so funny when she learned the unit watching her was instructed to take her down the moment she exhibited the slightest questionable behavior. That knowledge was discovered after they seized her then latest invention she had built trying to solve the problem of genuine teleportation. By then, she knew Betty was no longer truly her friend.
Walking into her main lab after a last look at her 'guests,' she studied the building security, and noted she was collecting some indigents along the front walk again. She'd have to discourage that. She didn't want to risk her home gaining the wrong kind of attention, or someone thinking to break in for a free crib. Putting that off for now, she headed for her working lab, and rechecked the data on the cryo-fields she designed, and downloaded a special flash drive. One designed to purge itself if anyone tried to download anything from it without the proper encryptions.
She still didn't trust Betty, after all, and she had the feeling that the moment she tried to open any files on a GJ hard drive, the woman would likely be trying to copy it.
Let her try.
"Okay, that takes care of the job fair. Now to check on the home front," she murmured. She was more than a little curious about the twins actually working for Betty. They had a reputation more suited for destruction than construction. Still, they did have a reputation of late for building solid and dependable rockets. Maybe a moon base was just the next logical step for them.
"I don't think you fully understand," Kim told the older man at the table with two women and two other men eyeing her. The guiding force behind Global Justice since Dr. Director had let the U.N. become its official sponsor to give her fledgling group credibility in the eyes of the world as it grew from a small, private investigative firm over the years to a genuinely global paramilitary law enforcement agency.
"You said you just freeze them, and then subject them to subliminal rehab. That's it? Right," the man shrugged.
"The cryogenic process is more delicate than just throwing a body in a freezer. You don't actually freeze the subject, which is why so many earlier efforts have failed. You must in fact, subject them to a controlled state of advanced hypothermia just short of actual freezing that slows the body's metabolic rate by a factor of….."
"I understand that," the man waved a hand of dismissal for her explanation. "But what about the subliminal programming? How do you know it works? Can you really be assured that you can make someone obey you just by making them hear anything you put in their heads?"
"And how do they hear anything if they're frozen," another man asked, making it plain that they either weren't listening, or they were….stalling her?
She ignored the questions, and looked over at Dr. Director who sat serenely quiet as she watched, and simply listened.
"I'm being duped again, aren't I? Or are these people really this stupid?"
"Now see here," one of the men sputtered.
"Kimberly, we do have legitimate questions. I know I do, and I actually understood most of what you have told us. For instance, the rehab portion of your program? Just how does an apparently inactive mind…."
"The brain isn't inactive in cryo," she cut her off. "That's a misconception."
"And how do you know that," the same older man asked.
"Because I used the process on myself to assure my theory, and method was correct before I attempted to publish my findings," she blurted out.
Not one of the people on the council didn't gape.
"Yes," she nodded firmly at the man. "So I know firsthand that it does work. And work well."
"The time period you were missing," Betty realized. "I assume you had someone trustworthy helping you then?"
"Yes," she said cryptically, not mentioning it was her then experimental AI that oversaw the entire experiment. "The point is, the system works. And the brain is active in a fugue state akin to REM sleep. During that period, if you can find and tap the precise neuro-frequency of a particular mind, you can influence its patterns."
She paused, eyeing each of the six people around her. Especially Betty.
"You cannot program human robots," she told them. "I will say up front that you cannot make someone simply do what you want. But I do believe that you can subtly influence them to reconsider past behaviors. Which is the whole point of genuine rehabilitation that current prisons misses."
"All right," the hitherto silent woman spoke up. "I have to say, if it this method works even a tenth as well as you suggest, we have to consider it. Frankly, even a lunar prison where we have to keep guards, resources, and other critical material constantly supplied would soon become as prohibitively expensive as current prisons. But a storage facility of…..frozen prisoners, unlikely to become a new threat in the future….. That is worth considering," the younger woman on the board nodded at her. "I vote aye."
Four votes later, they agreed to let her speak to the U.N. ruling council that would give final authority to her to oversee the building and setup of her cryo-prison on the moon. She still felt something was off here, but this was what she had been wanting. A chance to finally prove herself without using her fists, or her feet. A chance to show that world that Kim Possible was about more than just kicking butt.
Three weeks later, she would have cause to regret her decision to ignore her instinctive mistrust of Betty and her council at that moment.
Kim stared around her at the images of a fully functional prison annex she finally discovered on the lunar surface, and realized one thing instantly.
"You lied to me," she hissed, glaring at Betty as they stood in a secure monitoring room where she saw the first beds based on her own design were already being set up. After weeks of work, she thought they were only getting ready to start building. Betty, however, had been a full ten steps ahead of her without her even realizing it.
"No, Kim. I didn't. I said we were creating a prison on the moon, and we are. Only we couldn't perfect the cryo-sleep program that you did. We needed your system. We needed you. Only you still don't want to fully cooperate, and we still have to consider you might yet turn against us. Your actions of late have proven you are the verge of doing just that, too. You must see we can't allow that."
She fixed a baleful glare on the woman and demanded, "What actions?"
"Incarcerating Shego and Amy Hall in your private prison without a judge or jury even seeing them? Or what of the assault on Drew Lipski, and the fatal beating of Professor Demenz."
"Fatal," she sputtered, not reacting to the other accusations from Will who stood directly behind her.
"We found him in a side tunnel in a local subway tube. He died of his injuries before he could reach help," Betty told her.
"I never heard that," Kim murmured.
"We kept it quiet," Betty told her. "We didn't want you hearing the news, and bolting."
"He attacked me first. I was defending myself."
"Even the witnesses claimed they were afraid you had snapped after you went after him. He was fleeing, and you still chased him down eleven city blocks, and subjected him to a brutal beating before transit authorities intercepted you."
"Likely on your orders. And if they had listened to me, they would have found him, and he wouldn't have died. So you can't put that one on me," Kim spat.
"Do you hear yourself? Justifying an innocent man's death," Will demanded.
"Innocent," Kim spat back at Will. "Dementor was never innocent. He put one of my student's in ICU that day while trying to grab me."
"The point is, we found your lair," Will told her smugly. "Even you couldn't hide from satellite tracking once we knew you were staying in the immediate vicinity of the university. We're already pulling your victims out, and….."
Kim frowned, and glanced not at the eleven armed GJ agents around her, but at her small watch. The dial, which she had not noticed until then, was now glowing red instead of the usual gold.
"What does that mean," Betty asked her, noting the direction of her gaze.
"It means," she said quietly. "Your idiots have triggered my fail safe defenses. You have three minutes to evacuate your people before my so-called lair self-destructs, and takes the entire block with it."
"You're bluffing," Will hissed.
Betty didn't bother. "Alpha team. Abort. I say again. Abort. Get out of there now!" "But, Dr. Director," came a confused reply over her own wrist radio. An older design Kim recognized at once. "We're in the main lab now. We have Shego and Dr. Hall out, and in the portable containment facility, but we're still sifting the…."
"Get out now. That place is going up in…..two minutes!"
The man's curse was eloquent.
"Clear the entire area, Alpha," Betty advised them. "The entire block is a no-man's land. Copy?"
There was no immediate reply.
"Alpha? Alpha, report," she hissed as the channel remained silent.
Betty stared at Kim, who said nothing as she stood there, mentally assessing her situation even as the men tightened their grip on their weapons. All of them now pointed at her.
"Dr. Director, Alpha leader….here. Sorry. Ears….still ringing. The whole building just came down. We secured the omegas, but nothing else. It's a complete loss. Sorry."
"Did everyone get out?"
"Yes, ma'am. It was close, but you warned us in time to clear the building."
"Thank God," Betty said, and turned to eye Kim again. "Not a lair," she asked.
"I doubt you let anyone just walk into GJ. I was defending my home and property. Deal with it," she snapped.
"Take her to Luna-1," Betty snapped.
Kim only stared at her, her fingers brushing her watch again as she sent a single command to a certain computer just in case.
"No judge? No jury," she asked coolly.
"I'm not operating under American authority, Kimberly. Remember? GJ has an obligation to proactively protect the world. Even from its former heroes."
Kim never felt the jolt of the taser in her side.
Ron heard about the destruction of Kim's lab, of course. Even GJ couldn't silence the sources he had as the newest head of a global ninja network. He didn't believe for one moment that Kim Possible had apparently died in the 'accident' they declared had claimed her private laboratory.
It was just two days ago that the Roth had appeared outside the walls of Yamanouchi, and he had thought at first it was his old friend coming to visit. Instead, the AI had brought itself to him on autopilot on Kim's instructions. If she were caught, or incapacitated, she was to go to Ron seeking a hiding place, and shut down after protecting itself as best she could until summoned again.
'She,' as Kim considered the AI she nicknamed Jade to be a sentient being in her own right after she began to develop and mature.
Jade, Ron knew, was part of what Betty had been hunting for all along when rumors of Kim's work on an experimental artificial intelligence first hit the Web. Even though nothing was ever made public, Betty knew Kim too well to just believe she had either failed, or given up when nothing materialized. Especially as Kim had been growing increasingly secretive, and hostile.
Ron had been unable to do anything but watch the pair as things grew more and more uneasy between them. And now Kim was allegedly dead, and her car had come to him to hide.
Ron let Jade hide in a deep cavern where the robotic car that began as a Detroit nightmare cloaked itself in an electronic mask and then activated the magnetic shield to await its mistress.
Ron then set to work seeking Kim's current whereabouts. Covertly, of course.
It didn't take long, but even a mystically-powered ninja of his skills couldn't reach the moon. Even he couldn't find a top-secret military prison that could have been located anywhere on the lifeless satellite orbiting the planet. He considered everything, and then cut Yamanouchi's final ties with Global Justice, his first official act as the new Sensei of the ninja academy, and in his own way, became a far greater threat to Dr. Director's hopes for a united world than she had ever imagined.
Especially as Japan, following their champion's less than subtle lead, eventually kicked GJ out of their country, and refused to allow their operatives to enter the nation any longer. It was the start of a long, downward spiral for Dr. Director's once proud organization.
That, however, was a tale that was soon lost to time.
To Be Continued…