Wade didn’t want to let Kim see the pictures that Lisa had included in what was basically a ransom note, but Thomas insisted that he show them to her. “Miss Possible needs to understand what she’s up against.” The older agent had said. “If you don’t show her these pictures, she might underestimate the situation.” Wade didn’t agree and had said as much, but Thomas stood firm and told Wade that being a mission director was hard enough when everyone in the field knew all the risks. As Kim’s mission director, it was Wade’s responsibility to her, and to the mission, to provide as much information about the situation she faced as possible. If he sugarcoated the situation, he was going to get her killed. Maybe not today, but someday she would encounter a surprise that she couldn’t overcome. Her best shot at making it home in one piece was to know the true severity of the situation, no matter how unpalatable.
Wade gave in and reluctantly sent her the pictures. He forced himself to listen to Kim’s tears of anguish, knowing he could offer nothing to ease her pain. Thomas rested his hand briefly on the young man’s shoulder, offering what comfort he could.
The narrow street was deserted. Pre-dawn fog hung lazily in the air, creating halos around the street lamps and diffusing their light. Muffled footsteps broke the silence. Strong and even, they grew louder and from the fog emerged a demon. Clad in black and trailing swirling fog, she moved forcefully through the pre-dawn haze. Her red hair billowed around her head. Her hands, curled into fists, swung powerfully at her sides and her green eyes burned with the promise of vengeance.
As she approached the warehouse, the fog seemed to move out of her way. First parting, as if it was unwilling to stay between her and her objective, then swirling around behind her as though the intensity of her passage had agitated it too much to return to the calm state it had enjoyed before she passed by. She stopped before a nondescript door and examined the number plate attached to it. Satisfied, she turned her body slightly and braced herself for impact. The lock on the door snapped under her strong kick and the sharp retort echoed around the docks, gradually fading away as if fleeing the scene. A gull shrieked in the distance.
The interior of the warehouse was dimly lit creating shadows around the perimeter and barely illuminating the high ceiling. It was easily twenty meters deep and nearly forty wide; support columns reached up into the shadowy overhead at five-meter intervals. It was completely empty save for two figures. One standing arrogantly against the back wall directly across from the door and the other laying in the center of the cavernous room, its normally graceful shape distorted unnaturally by cruel bonds. Kim ran toward the twisted figure, creating a small dervish of dust in her wake.
“Stop right there.” Lisa didn’t shout but her voice was firm and carried easily across the room, echoing slightly. She took a few steps away from the back wall.
Kim ignored the command and continued toward Shego’s motionless form. Suddenly the pale woman’s plasma flared. Her body convulsed and a muffled cry of anguish escaped past her gag. In an uncanny moment of clarity, Kim was able to focus closely on Shego’s face. There were tears of pain leaking from her tightly shut eyes, trailing down her dust caked face and a small rivulet of blood dripping from around the gag in her mouth. When the pale woman opened her eyes, Kim saw only despair.
Standing motionless she held Shego’s gaze and tried to convey hope to her lover. I forgive you for running. I forgive you for leaving me without even saying goodbye. I am here for you, Shego. I’m right here. Out loud she said softly, “What do you want, Lisa?”
From the corner of her eye she saw the slender brunette point a remote control at the helpless body of her friend. Shego’s plasma flared again and her body shuddered once more. The smell of charred flesh reached Kim’s nostrils and she fought the urge to gag. She kept her eyes pinned to Shego’s face and when the woman’s tired eyes opened, Kim projected once more, willing with all her heart for Shego to understand and find comfort in her thoughts. I’m going to get you out of this! Don’t give up on me! Don’t you dare give up! Lisa pushed the button again. And again Kim forced her eyes to remain open and hopeful for Shego to see when her spasms passed, but she couldn’t control her voice or her legs. She dropped to her knees and screamed, “What do you want from me?”
All of the cruelty done to her by this woman’s family passed through Kim’s mind; the loathsome demons that still haunted the recesses of her unconscious mind, the physical privations to her body and the emotional liberties that had been taken with her heart and mind. For years she had been a slave to the manipulations of this unholy family and tonight, it was going to stop. Kim felt the pain and anguish retreat deep into her body, completely subsumed into an unearthly calm. Her hand closed around a jagged, fist-sized piece of concrete on the floor, and with a new clarity, born of detached logic, she decided her course of action.
In one fluid motion she stood, whipped her body around in a full circle and let fly the stone at Lisa with all her might. As the rock left her hand, her powerful legs pumped and began pushing her body toward the sadistic woman before it unerringly hit its mark. Lisa dropped the remote when the stone impacted her forearm and before she could retrieve it, Kim fired her grapple at the startled tormentor. The woman dodged and the heavy claw missed her head by inches. But the evasion carried her further from the torture-inducing controller and by the time she recovered her balance, Kim had reached her.
Lisa wasn’t ready for the intensity of Kim’s initial attack and the red head dealt punishing blows that powered through her spur-of-the-moment defenses. Unable to block or even slow the blows being rained on her, Lisa tried to retreat, only to be denied even that surcease. Desperately, she closed on the red head, ignoring the blows to her head and neck and clenched her tightly around the waist. Still absorbing fierce punishment, Lisa managed to wrap a leg around Kim’s ankles and tumble them both to the ground. They recovered almost simultaneously but Kim had lost the advantage.
They closed and began feinting and testing each other, trying to find or create a weakness. Soon they were fully engaged; attacking any perceived opening and landing glancing blows that would be devastating if not countered. They fought in silence, without banter or insult. The only sounds coming from flesh impacting flesh or feet skidding across a dusty floor. Occasionally, a grunt of surprise would escape the lips of one of the combatants but the grim silence seemed to take on a form of its own and dominate the colossal arena. They ranged all over, engaged in their deadly ballet. Lisa landed the first serious hit and Kim’s cry of pain reverberated through the room. Lisa allowed herself a grim smile.
Kim was rocked back and executed a series of acrobatic evasive maneuvers to prevent Lisa from gaining a lasting advantage. She managed to avoid most of the brunette’s attacks by varying her movements and choosing random, often risky, defensive moves. Her evasive techniques frustrated Lisa and caused her to over extend a couple of times, but not enough for Kim to launch more than a cautious counterstrike. Recognizing Lisa’s frustration, Kim engaged in even more bizarre and unpredictable acrobatics, taunting, not with her voice but with her body until, finally, Lisa lost control and let her guard lapse completely in an all out effort to strike the evasive red head.
When Lisa overextended herself, Kim’s attack was explosive. She landed devastating blows on the woman’s body, knocking her around like a rag doll. She never let Lisa recover, and never dropped her guard, even when the woman seemed to be completely helpless. Time after time, she hammered her hands and feet into the body of the woman who stood against her. Her fists were red with the blood of her opponent and yet she continued to drive them into the woman’s chest and face. Still feeling curiously detached, she clenched the limp body between her thighs and grasped the unseeing face in her hands. She was just about to twist when a pleading moan penetrated her tranquility.
She looked around and met Shego’s concerned gaze. The pale woman was shaking her head and trying to speak through her gag. Confused, Kim glanced down at the broken body between her legs and her emotional calm deserted her. In a split second, she relived the entire fight. The fresh memory of Lisa’s lifeless eyes rolling back up into her head while her fists drove into the woman’s body blossomed in her mind. Did I kill her? Horrified at the thought, she dropped the limp body to the ground and frantically searched for a pulse.
“Hey, dude. I’m not very good at geography, but I don’t think there’s a big ocean between France and Spain. In fact, I’m pretty sure that there’s no ocean between them.”
“What’s your point?”
“Well, I looked out the window, and I saw this ocean… thing... underneath us… ya’ know…”
“So… where you takin’ me?”
The pilot nodded to his crewman and the man knocked Ron out. “Sorry, kid,” he muttered to the unconscious figure, “the reward money’s just too good to pass up.” Rufus burrowed into the deepest pocket he could find and bit every finger that came within range of his formidable teeth. They finally trapped him by removing Ron’s pants and putting the entire garment in a cage.
Agent Will Du glanced into the room one more time, just to be sure. Four figures sat woodenly at a plastic molded table; each of them instantly recognizable and incredibly life like. But their expressionless faces and motionless bodies gave him the creeps. He knew three of them personally and one of them by reputation and he knew that none of them would act like this. He carefully made his way out of the holding cell area, covering both his electronic and physical tracks. As he walked through his own office area, he called out to one of the research assistants.
“Jan, please get me all the information we have on Dr. Drakken’s Syntho-drone project and a contact number for Special Agent Johnson at the FBI.” A little misdirection never hurt anyone, he thought as he readied himself for a for a field trip that he might not be able to return from, and the old man owes me a favor already. Will could only hope that Thomas would believe him when he brought him the information. It was too bad that he couldn’t get pictures of the four of them sitting there like dolls on a shelf; life-sized living breathing, if not actually moving, dolls of Kim, Ron, Betty and Shego. He wondered who wanted them and what they wanted them for.
A fluttering beat touched Kim’s fingers and a rasping breath proved that she hadn’t imagined it; Lisa was still alive. She pulled out the Kimmunicator. “Wade, get me an ambulance and tell Ron to get his butt in gear.” Kim bound the hands and ankles of the unconscious woman and turned her attention to Shego. First she went after the remote, but Wade warned her not to destroy it.
“It’s giving off some kind of signal.” He broke in when she raised her foot to crush it. “I think that’s what’s keeping her goons out of there. If you destroy it, the signal will stop and they’ll be all over you.”
She left it lying on the floor and went over to examine Shego’s bonds. The loops of wire holding the pale woman’s arms and legs were cutting deeply into her skin, Kim pulled out her lipstick laser and tried to cut the wires but Wade interrupted her again.
“Don’t waste your time, Kim. It’s a new kind of poly-filament wire, as long as it’s under tension, you won’t be able to cut or break it.”
“Then how am I supposed-”
“Look for a tool like this…” He uploaded a photo of an odd looking pair of pliers, it had two sets of jaws, set about an inch apart, and three pivot points. “Grab the wire with both sets of jaws and lock them in place, then squeeze the lever, bringing the two sets of jaws together, that will release the tension in that one area, you should be able to cut the wire with a regular pair of side cutters.”
Kim found the tool in Lisa’s pouch and ran back to Shego. “She’s got some kind of box on her chest…”
“It’s a muscle stimulator, just pull out the leads.”
“Got it,” She began to cut the wires. She started with the loop holding Shego’s wrists and ankles together. “Where is the ambulance? Where’s Ron?”
“I’m not calling an ambulance until you and Shego are out of there, and Ron… isn’t answering.”
Kim was working on the loops holding Shego’s arms together, starting from her elbows and working down to her ankles. “Shego needs an ambulance too, Wade. She’s in no condition to get anywhere and--Ha! Last one.” She cut through the final loop around Shego’s wrists. Shego hissed as the blood began circulating once more through her numb hands. She tried to sit up but put too much weight on her dislocated shoulder and collapsed back to the floor grunting incoherently.
“Oh, baby!” Kim cried in distress, “I forgot about your gag, let me--Wade! She’s got some kind of cables wrapped around her body and one’s in her mouth… Can I take them off without hurting her?” She helped Shego into a sitting position.
Before wade could answer, Shego reached up with her good arm and ripped the gag out of her mouth, ignoring the puss and bile that spattered out and dribbled down her chin. She looked at Kim and, shaking her head, said very slowly, “Moh ambooam.” She began slowly and deliberately pulling off the other cables, ignoring the oozing blisters underneath them.
Kim winced in sympathy, “I don’t understand…”
“Moh ambooahm…” Shego insisted, “Boh home.”
The pale woman nodded.
“Can you walk?”
Shego closed her eyes, as if she didn’t want to see Kim seeing her like this, and shook her head. Kim picked her up and headed for the door. In the distance, a siren broke the silence. It was a long two blocks to her barrowed car. Shego kept getting heavier and heavier with each step. Kim pretended not to notice the tears running down her face or the small hisses of pain she let out when Kim adjusted her hold. She kept up a running monologue about being safe and getting better and how it was all going to be alright now, while her mind raced with worry about Shego and Ron. She forced herself not to fall over or drop her precious cargo.
The Plane taxied to the hanger and stopped just outside. Four men exited the craft; two of them carrying a four foot square box, one of them holding a covered cage. They met two men wearing dark suits. The men in the suits, looked inside the box, and lifted a corner of the sheet covering the cage. They nodded to each other in satisfaction. One of them gestured and three much larger men came out of the hangar, one of them carrying a large suitcase. The case was laid on top of the box and opened so that all four men could see the contents. There was a short celebration and the four men collected the case and returned to their plane. The three large men picked up the box and the cage and took them into the hangar.
As the plane took off, an unmarked white panel van exited the hangar. When the van reached the main gate, a shadow detached itself from one of the piles of rubble that littered the area and flowed across the tarmac to the main building. The rays of the rising sun glinted off the edge of a fan hanging from its belt.