Story: Fears and Favors (chapter 8)

Authors: A Markov

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Chapter 8

Title: Decoder Ring

“You really think you can take me down?” Shego asked calmly.  She surreptitiously checked her escape routes and found them covered by GJ agents.  She was a little surprised that there was no sign of the Prince's Carabiniers around but figured it meant that the woman in front of her was hoping to avoid the complications and paperwork that came with local government involvement. Glancing around at the ever-present street monitoring cameras, the pale woman wondered how GJ was going to explain this to the French.  She had to be very careful not to damage anything more than necessary, she also made a mental note to swing by the police station at her earliest convenience and have them return the squeeze she had paid out. She moved into a defensive stance and started running scenarios in her head.  There was no way she was going to let the woman take her into custody.

“I almost had you in the hospital room.” The one-eyed woman snarled. “If that incompetent fool hadn’t picked up the gun when he did, you’d be dead along with your little red haired slut.”  

Shego digested the information the woman had just given her.  If the woman at the hospital had been a clone, there was no way whoever was standing in front of her right now could know about the details of that fight.  Still, the woman obviously expected that statement to goad Shego into an attack, so the pale thief obliged even though it hadn’t enraged her.  After their first exchange, Shego knew the woman she was facing was not the equal of the woman she had fought in the hospital; her timing was off and her movements were stiff and stilted. As they closed once again, Shego raked the claws of her glove across the woman’s abdomen.  The woman screamed in pain and frustration and most of the agents raised their firearms.  Shego made a careful note of which ones were slow on the up take.

“Not yet!” the brown haired woman hissed at her underlings. Noticing the smirk on Shego’s face, she continued, “But if I hit the ground… Shoot her!”

The blood oozing from the woman’s stomach showed she wasn’t a Syntho-drone. The pale thief kept her attacker at bay, landing punches that were hard enough to crack bones but delivered in a way that the one-eyed woman kept her balance; each time she rocked the woman back, Shego noted which agents were reacting quickly. Even though the woman obviously lacked the speed and skill of the original Dr. Director, the ego was still there.  Shego concluded that it had to be a clone.

“The real Betty Director got her ass kicked when she faced me.” She taunted, dodging a kick. “What makes you think an impostor has a chance?” She stopped next to a man-hole cover.

“You got lucky!” The woman growled, swinging wildly.

Shego caught the woman’s wrist in her left hand and twisted it, forcing her off balance. “Do you remember it?” she whispered. “Did the cloning process give you the memory of how I humiliated you? Do you remember how I kicked your sorry ass out of the window?” She drove her knee into the woman’s solar plexus. Gasping the brown haired woman tried to speak but Shego grabbed her by the throat and brought their faces close together.  She lit her free hand.  “Does it feel familiar? It should, clone.”  The pale thief drew back as if to strike the gasping duplicate but surprised everyone by pulling the brown haired woman after her and swinging her around to fling her forcefully toward the most alert gunman while melting the man-hole cover they were fighting near with a plasma burst. She heard automatic gun fire and an anguished scream of pain as she dropped into the sewer.  It was a ten meter drop and she slowed her descent by grasping the outside of the ladder.  When she hit the bottom, she let fly another plasma burst up the shaft she had just come down, a large but relatively cool ball that quickly expanded when it reached the street level. That should slow the pursuit a bit. She thought and headed for the marina.


Kim pulled up to the Pier Nineteen dock house.  There was a chain across the entrance and a closed sign in the window of the Go City Bay Tours company building.  Before she could pull out her Kimmunicator, a young man wearing a tour guide uniform came out and asked, “Are you Kim Possible?”

“Yes, Wade said...”

He held up a hand and smiled at her, “No need to go into detail, you're at the right place.  You made it with several minutes to spare.” he unhooked one side of the chain, “Go ahead and board with the others.” He stopped her from dismounting. “Bring your bike too.”

Others? She thought.  What others?  This was starting to get really mysterious.  In the back of her mind, she thought about the time that Drakken had overshadowed Wade's system and got her to steal Dementor's teleportation device for him. And she was wondering if something like that was going on now, but when she got to the ferry, she saw Ron and Bonnie standing together near the railing by a ruggedly handsome middle aged man with long blonde hair and an eye-patch.  Rufus was standing on Ron’s shoulder eating a cheese puff.

“KP!” Ron greeted her, “Captain Ron was just telling us how you saved him from getting capsized by the Nimitz!”

“Well, if he had been paying attention to where he was going instead of trying to impress the ladies, he wouldn't have needed my help in the first place.” Kim replied teasingly.

“They usually get out of your way...” Captain Ron began slyly.

“Yeah,” Kim interrupted him, “If you're driving the Saratoga!” And they shared a laugh.

“Well, I've gotta go pretend to drive this thing...  Don't know where the other passenger is, but we got a schedule to keep.”  The rakish captain turned to a crewman standing nearby. “Tell the boys to get us underway, we've got places to go and people to meet. Miss Possible, it's good to see you again. Rufus, m’lad, help yourself to anything you want from the snack machines.” And with a wink and a slight bow, he turned away to see to the running of his boat.

Kim turned to a nearby crewman, “Where are the other passengers?”

“There are only you three and someone who isn't here yet. A woman named 'Monique' was also supposed to join us.”

The three friends exchanged glances while the crewmen went about the business of getting the ferry underway.  They were just starting to move when Kim saw Monique climb out of a taxi at the end of the pier.  “MONIQUE!” She yelled. “C'MON GIRL!  RUN!”  Kim turned to one of the crewmen and asked, “Can we wait for a second? She's right there!”  The crew started yelling back and forth but the ferry slowly and inexorably pulled away from the pier.  

Monique started running. She wasn’t going to make it.

Kim got a running start and leapt back to the pier, it was only about six feet and she made it easily. She activated her rocket skates as soon as her feet hit the pier and she described a smooth arc around behind the dark skinned girl.  “Brace yourself!” she yelled as she approached Monique from behind at breath taking speed.  Even prepared for the jolt, it threw her off course and they were heading fast in the wrong trajectory.  “Lean left!” She yelled and Monique tried to oblige as the twelve inch piles whizzed past them at nearly twenty miles per hour.  One of Monique’s bags caught on a pile and it ripped from her hand causing their trajectory to move even further from where Kim wanted to go. Suddenly, Kim found herself out of room.  The pier was ending and she was headed a good fifteen degrees away from where she wanted to end up.  Monique’s weight was pulling her further off course and the ferry was out of range for her grapple.

“Drop your bags!”

“My clothes…?”

“On my signal, Mo.”

“Do I have to?”

“Three… two… one… NOW!”

Monique sighed and let go of her clothes.  She hoped Kim and Wade realized what a huge sacrifice this was and mentally told herself that someone was replacing her wardrobe when they got to wherever this super secret location was.  And it better not come from Smarty mart, or someone’s head was gonna roll.  Then Kim let go of her and she screamed.


Shego ran down the tunnels of the Monaco sewer system as fast as she dared.  According to what the NSA had told her, the woman she fought in the hospital was a clone. She didn’t buy it now, judging by fighting skills, the person she had faced in the hospital had been the original Dr. Director and, since they had told her that it was a clone that had later died, she must have somehow arranged to switch places with an actual clone while in GJ custody.  Despite the findings of the inquiry, this woman had been in it from the beginning.  On some level, Shego admired the cold calculating mind that had arranged for a decoy clone to be treated as a captive so she could throw suspicion from herself when the time came. Shego wondered briefly how the calculating bitch had arranged a switch under the watchful eyes of the NSA and Mi6. She also thought about the possibility that they were all part of a vast conspiracy, but dismissed it quickly. Even if there was some massive plot by all the spooks to take over the world, it wasn’t her problem. Right now, she needed to concentrate on her next move.

Clones meant that blue skinned scientist, Dr. Drakken, and if what Kitten had told her about that Director woman working with her dog-toting brother was true, the annoying freak probably had access to all of the resources of GJ and WEE combined.  With that kind of influence they could be set up anywhere in the world. One of her priorities had to be figuring out where they were so she could avoid the place.  Wouldn’t do her any good to set up shop and find out the psychotic, power hungry, despots that wanted to use her against her girlfriend were right next door.  EX-girlfriend, she corrected herself with a stab of pain.  I’m not that person.  I’m not that weak. I don’t need her. I don’t need anyone. She brutally shoved the pain back down into her gut where it got lost in her anger. China was probably a good bet.  The government was paranoid and jealous of its power. They were very unlikely to allow anyone not directly connected with the government to set up a secret laboratory anywhere within its borders.  She’d have to look into that after she got away.

She still wasn’t sure if they wanted to kill her or capture her. The second possibility concerned her more. If she was captured, they’d probably hold her out as bait for…  Would Kitten come for me if…? Would I come for her? She wondered. Shaking her head, she concentrated on putting distance between herself and the GJ agents behind her while working out how to get the painting to the person who hired her to steal it.  She had to admit that she was surprised when he had contacted her about the job.  Especially after the disastrous way her relationship with his son had gone. Still, the man was loaded, his kid was kind of cute, in an overly self-indulgent way, and she could think of worse places to hide from Global Justice while figuring out what to do next. One of them was this sewer.  As she neared her bolt hole, one thought haunted her.  Would she…?  Would I…?


Wade fended off yet another cyber-breach and turned his full attention to the work he had started three and a half hours ago.  He figured he still had thirty minutes or so before they pinpointed his location, and maybe fifteen minutes after that before they arrived in force, but he still hadn't arranged transportation for everyone on his list. He set the timer for twenty five minutes and continued to type furiously at the several keyboards he had set up around him.  The Possibles would be on their way to Osaka, Japan, while the Stoppables would soon be in Sapporo. Dr Freeman was set for Vladivostok and Dr. Porter was going to Moscow.  But he hadn't been ably to contact the Rentons at all and Monique's parents weren't willing to just pick up and leave.  He kept at it, arranging rides for his friends and their families until the alarm went off.  Just one more, he thought as he acknowledged the buzzing sound, I can finish this one.

A sudden pounding on the door was accompanied by shouts of, “We know you’re in there, Mr. Load!”  Wade looked up wild eyed.  He had lost track of the time and they had found him.  They were outside the door right now!  He typed in a command and the computer began running a code that would overwrite not only the units here, but all of the other servers he had tapped into as well.  He had written this one himself and he thought it was probably the sneakiest thing he had ever come up with.  As he watched it start the calculations, he considered the size of the network he had been using and thought I might just get a Nobel in mathematics for this one.  Then the wall behind him exploded in toward him and he stared at a rubble covered apparition in shock.


Kim caught Monique on her left arm.  The sudden shift in weight pulled them sharply left and had her nearly lined up with the ferry she wanted to be on.  A gangplank carelessly propped against one of the piles made an excellent ramp and she crouched as she hit the incline and used her powerful legs to launch herself skyward off the end.  Monique’s scream continued unabated into her ear as she fired the grappling gun at the ferry, praying that she was in range.  The hook stopped just short of the upper deck railing but fell to the lower deck.  As soon as she saw the hook in contact with the ferry’s lower deck, she snapped the cable to her belt and looked down at Monique, still flailing and screaming.

“You might want to close your mouth,” Kim said offhandedly, “we’re going swimming.” And she hit the retract button.


“We’re so close!”

Two figures watched the Corduroy News Network. The male was built like a Sherman tank and cut an imposing, almost frightening picture with his wild hair and eye-patch over his left eye.  Only the little Chihuahua nestled in the crook of his arm gave any indication that he might have human emotions or feelings. He stroked the dog slowly, savoring the feel of the coarse fur under his finger tips.  With each stroke the dog whimpered nervously, but the man didn’t seem to notice.  The female was a rapier to his broadsword, thinner and more flexible, but no less deadly. She stood with her arms crossed, her right eye socket covered by a patch and her left eye staring impassively at the screen.

On the television, several panel members were arguing about which branch of the military was going to be most effective when congress declared martial law and which agency was going to be appointed by the Joint Chiefs to head up the search for the terrorists.  The discussion was interrupted by a bulletin stating that another city had been hit, this time in Canada.  Two thirds of the population of Yellowknife, in the Northern Territories had been afflicted with a form of turrets syndrome. The shot cut to a live scene outside of the white house where thousands of people had gathered to beg the government officials to lock down the country for their safety.

“We’re so close.” The man whispered again.

“They haven’t given us control yet.” She warned.

“Oh, but they will.” He said gleefully, placing the shivering dog up near his face. “And they’ll do it soon.  Won’t they, Pepe?”

[End notes: Next Time:
Chapter 9- Bottle in a Ship

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