Wade stopped the playback.
“What are you doing?” Kim shouted.
“You’ve seen it enough.” He said gently. When she had contacted him from Go City, he had been very relieved. But she had insisted that he playback the footage from the court room. For the last half hour she had done nothing but watch Ron get shot over and over. He didn’t know what she was looking for, but it was certainly not making her feel any better.
“I have to know where the bullet hit him!” she cried.
“Kim, I’ve analyzed it thoroughly, and I can’t tell-”
“What about other angles? There were more cameras in the court room…”
“I’ve already gone through them, they don’t show anything more. I’ve told you, he’s listed in critical condition at Mercy Hospital.”
“Yeah, but you don’t know it’s him!”
“It can’t be anyone else.” He said soothingly, “He’s the only patient in the high security wing of the hospital... He was admitted twenty minutes after the shooting… it fits, it’s gotta’ be him.”
“Unless he’s dead, and it’s someone else completely.”
Wade sighed inwardly and began a comprehensive scan of the high security wing of the hospital. He knew that tone of voice; she wouldn’t be satisfied until she saw Ron in person. He could get her in to see Ron, but he didn’t think that she would leave without him once she was there. She was choked up with grief and guilt and if he helped her get in, she would probably do something stupid and get captured along with Ron. Steeling himself, he prepared to do something he knew would make her angry when she found out about it. He was going to lie to Kim. “I’m sorry, Kim. I can’t get you inside… the security system is on a separate grid. I don’t have access.”
Wade could tell she was skeptical about it, so he came up with something to keep her mind occupied. “I’m uploading the caravan route that they take from the prison to the court house. Figure out the best place for an ambush, it’ll be our best chance at freeing Ron.” With Kim occupied, he turned his attention to the discussion in agent Thomas’ office.
“…not acting like Kim at all.” Will was saying.
“That’s because it isn’t her.” Wade confirmed. “I just got off the Kimmunicator with the real Kim, she’s holed up in Go City; and according to her, the real Shego was in bad shape lying in a hospital bed when she left Paris last week. That’s not Shego either.”
“Well, no shit! If it was Shego, she would have melted the place, not spent all that time cussing at everyone. So it probably isn’t any of them-”
“Synthodrones don’t bleed when you shoot them, they melt.”
“Does that mean that it’s really Ron?”
“I don’t know what else it could mean.”
“Could they all be clones?”
“Maybe, but clones can’t be programmed the way synthodrones can, and that was definitely not Kim’s personality.”
“Where does that leave us?”
“Ron is Ron. Kim and Shego are synthodrones, and Betty is…”
“I don’t think it’s her.”
“I agree, that’s a clone.”
“Well, you two know her a lot better than I do, I’ll trust your judgment.” Wade turned to his second computer and began typing. “I’m giving you guys the same thing I just sent to Kim, a map of the caravan route. We need to figure out the best place to hit it, so we have the best chance of rescuing Ron.” Agent Thomas cleared his throat. “If you get through to Dr Grain, none of this will be necessary,” Wade conceded, “but I want to make sure I’m ready to go if you don’t come back.”
The agent nodded his head and stubbed out his cigarette. “You’ll know in about three hours.” He gathered up the files they had prepared for the Security Czar and put them into a briefcase. “Wish me luck, gentlemen, it’s been an honor and a pleasure.”
As the door closed behind him, Will turned to Wade’s image and said, “Let’s get plan ‘B’ up and running.” And they went to work.
Bonnie had never felt so alone in her life. Outside her hotel room she could hear people celebrating. Shouting joyfully out of their windows and sharing the glad tidings with those out on the streets that might not have access to a television or radio. One of the terrorists was dead. Some right-thinking nurse or doctor had pulled his plug while he was hospitalized by a gunshot wound. Someone had killed Ron, and they were all rejoicing, whooping at the top of their lungs and dancing in the street. “Ding-Dong, the witch is dead.”
There was a hole inside of her that threatened to consume her. She was alone, in a foreign country, Ron was dead and Kim was on trial for treason. She’d seen her sitting in the court room with her head in her hands, crying and saying she was sorry. And even though Bonnie knew that Kim wasn’t responsible for the attacks, there was a part of her that raged at the red head for involving Ron in her messed up life. Dragging him all over the world, risking his life for people who didn’t care, she had known Kim would get him killed one day, and the day had finally come. He had gone to help Kim and she had gotten him killed. She raised her voice in an anguished howl, venting her rage and frustration verbally. She screamed until her throat was sore, and then collapsed on the couch, sobbing into her pillow.
Fox walked into the room and went over to Shego. “Are you alright?” She was nearly fully healed now, with just a few light bandages on some of the worst of her wounds.
“What the hell do I care, I never liked the little buffoon anyway.” She snarled. “I’m more concerned about that synthodrone of me, if I ever get my hands on Dr. D, I’m gonna rip his head off and shove it up his-”
“Careful moving around, you’re still not a hundred percent.”
“I’m well enough to kill that bastard and all of his friends.”
“I don’t think she’d take too kindly to that.”
“Your little angel, I think she’d be pretty upset if you went on a rampage and started killing-”
“Take a good look around. Do you see her?”
“She’ll come back.”
“I won’t be here.” Fox studied her from half lidded eyes and she met the penetrating gaze full on, defiantly. “I got wrapped around her finger once; I’m not letting it happen again… Don’t just sit there smugly nodding your head, I’m too young to give up my life for someone, no matter how cute they are.” She gave her head a little shake, “I don’t see how you did it.”
“Oh,” Fox smiled predatorily, “I’m still a mercenary, I just use different methods now.” Her face softened, “You should go to her, she’s going to need someone to lean on.”
“She can lean on that nerd of her’s. I’m busy.” The words were harsh, but the timbre of her voice betrayed her true emotions. Fox pretended not to notice and lent what comfort she could to her former pupil, now friend.
“Miss Possible…? Kimberly…” Will spoke softly, trying not to startle the woman sitting distraught on the bed, there was no response. He reached out and gently touched her shoulder and several seconds later she turned her head toward him. Her mouth moved a few times but no sound came out. “Come with me, I’ll take you to a safe house.” She shook her head, weakly, mouthing the word no. Will picked up his communicator, “Wade, she’s almost catatonic. I’m going to have to carry her. Can you have Sadie meet us in the alley?”
The normally exuberant teen, was subdued. He listlessly put down his soda and typed a command into the computer, “You’re linked directly now, Will.”
“Wade…?” Kim mumbled.
“I’m taking you to him, Miss Possible.”
“They killed Ron.”
“We know.” He picked up her unresisting form and carried her out of the room and shut the door. Several minutes later, a window opened and a shadow poured into the room. It glided around, briefly inspecting the mussed bed and the few personal items that had been left behind. When it was apparent that the room was now empty, and the occupant would not be returning, the shadow glided back out the window and closed it from outside.
Dr. Grain looked over her glasses at the old man sitting across from her. She shuffled the stacks of paper he had presented to her and glanced through one of the documents once more. “This is a serious accusation, Jim.” She pulled out one sheet of paper and held it up. “On this list is a former Speaker of the House, the current head of the FBI and the Vice President... I can’t just walk into the West Wing and arrest the VP, now can I?”
“Actually, under the provisions of the Security Protocol, you can.” He said evenly.
She sat back in her chair and studied him through narrowed eyes. “Before I take any actions, I’m going to want to verify this independently…”
“If you do, you’ll be dead before you find anything out.” He kept his voice and body language neutral. “These people are moments away from implementing a total dictatorship in the United States. All the stuff with Global Justice and those kids is slight of hand to distract you.”
“So, I can prevent a totalitarian government by taking unilateral action against the people who want to set it up… kind of ironic.”
“They’re the ones who set the trap, I think it’s only fitting that you use it to catch them.”
After Agent Thomas left, Dr. Grain spent almost half an hour deep in thought, referring occasionally back to the mound of evidence he had brought her, and making notes. Finally, she called in her secretary and arranged another meeting. She was standing at a crossroads in history. The actions she took today would shape a nation, possibly the world for generations to come. As the men and women she had called on filed into the room, she allowed herself a moment of regret that Thomas would have to die, then turned her full attention to creating a new world.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have just received irrefutable evidence of a vast conspiracy stretching all the way to the West Wing. It seems that someone wants to set themselves up as the absolute ruler of the United States. We’re going to stop them.” She began handing out notes to each of them. “Unfortunately, stopping this is going to leave a power vacuum at the highest levels of our government.”
“Who’s going to step in?”
Shego sat watching the replay of the explosion on the news. She paused the broadcast and hit the eight-second button again. Her face was clearly visible in the shot and then the bus was engulfed in the explosive flames once more. She paused it again. Rewind. Pause. Her face... plainly visible in the window… then, a huge fireball. She pushed play and let it run.
<click>…ead. The three remaining bio-terrorists were loaded onto the bus at exactly nine oh six a.m. The Justice Department has not released a statement yet regarding how the bus was bombed, but the general consensus from the public is one of relief. There is no possibility that these depraved terrorists will escape justice now. We now join Kitty at the scene of the... <click>
“How does it feel to be dead?”
“Like there’s a hole in my gut, and I’m falling into it.”
“It wasn’t her on that bus, any more than it was you-”
“You don’t know that! I don’t know that!” Shego screamed. “I should have been there…”
Fox held the beta unit out to her but Shego felt a strange reluctance to taking it. As long as she didn’t have confirmation, she could believe that Kim was still alive. She could walk away right now, and Kim would always be alive. Vibrant, healthy, perhaps married… maybe with children… She’d be a great mother. If she kept her hands at her sides and walked away, Kim could be alive. Tears streaming down her face, she reached for the device.
“Your ride will be there in about five minutes.”
“Is he going to take us where we want to go or knock us out and turn us in for the reward money?” Her voice was full of bitterness.
“That’s not fair, Kim. I-”
She interrupted him, “I don’t want to hear-”
“Miss Possible, you’re not being fair to the boy.” Will tried to calm her.
“He got Ron killed.”
“Wade didn’t have any control over-”
“Wade got him the ride. Wade kept me from going to the hospital.” She turned an accusatory eye to the former GJ agent, “Now who do you suppose is responsible for his death?”
“Greedy mercenaries who will do anything for enough money and overzealous vigilantes,” Will replied evenly, “not a grief stricken friend who is still willing to give you his help and support while you heap scorn on him for something he had no control over.”
Kim sniffed disdainfully. “If I’d been there in the hospital, Ron would still be alive.”
“If you had been in the hospital, you would both be dead. I fail to see how that would be an improvement.” Will said coldly.
They boarded the jet in silence. Kim spent the entire trip ignoring Will and everyone else on the cargo plane, ostensibly studying the schematics of the lair she and Will were going to storm. At the designated spot, they jumped from the plane and unfurled their gliders. As they glided past the familiar beach and over the Turner’s hotel resort, Kim tried to let go of her anger and pain. Stopping Gemini and Dr. Director wasn’t about revenge for Ron’s death; it was about making sure the world was safe. Will was right, Wade had done everything that he could to make sure they would be able to stop the evil, if she lost track of that and let her anger control her, she would be dishonoring Ron’s memory.
She allowed herself a moment of reflection and pictured Ron’s goofy grin. She remembered Ron in a series of snapshots; his mouth crammed full with a Naco, Beaming over the top of the podium at his Bar Mitzvah, Arms raised in victory in the middle of Drakken’s self-destructing laboratory, Dancing enthusiastically in his Middleton Mad Dog’s costume, High Fiving Rufus… Rufus… her mind stopped there, she and Wade would have to find out what happened to Rufus… She and Wade… Wade… She was being very unfair to Wade.
As she lit on the ground she thought about the day eight years ago when she had first come to this place. She had been eager and willing to start a new phase in her life, excited at the chance to do something for her country. Now she was back to put an end to the scheming and pain that emanated from this vile location and the people behind it all. She had come full circle. She looked at Will standing beside her and pulled the Kimmunicator out of her pocket. She could try to heal a little bit of the pain right now.
“What’s the sitch, Wade?”
“There’s a lot of activity inside, power and energy fluctuations all over the place, but there are no alarms. They changed the codes since the last time you were here, but I’ve overridden the lock at your entrance.” His eyes were puffy from crying but his voice was steady. “You’re all clear, Kim.”
“Thanks. And, Wade…”
“Pardon to interrupt, Rockwarer-san.”
Bonnie screamed and jumped up. Facing her was a short… person of indeterminate gender clothed from head to toe in flowing black pajamas. “Who the hell are you, and what do you want with me?”
The ninja reached for her menacingly. “I will make you to join with Stoppable-san.”
“Like hell you will!” Bonnie picked up the nearest thing she could reach, a table lamp, and began swinging it at the black clad intruder. “You stay away from me! I’m not gonna' just sit here and let you kill me too!” One of her swings took the lamp to the end of its cord and it jerked out of her hands. She started picking things up at random and throwing them at the intruder. She never saw the second ninja behind her and never even knew that she had been darted. As she lost consciousness she heard babbling in a language she didn’t understand.
*What did you say to her?*
*I told her that we would bring her to Mr. Stoppable.*
*I thought she liked Mr. Stoppable, why would she not want to join him?*
*I don’t know; American women are weird. Let’s take her back anyway, and if she wants to leave, I’m sure Sensei will allow it.*
*I hope she decides to stay, she has the spirit of a great warrior... and she is also nice to look at.*