Kim looked away from Grimm, who had an eager light in his eyes and turned to her Kimmunicator. A mission. This was what Grimm had said he's been waiting for, hoping that Kim would come across Monkey Fist or Maze while she was in action again, and she could feel his eyes boring into her as he quickly crossed the room to stand beside her at the couch, taking out his own communicator.
'Link us up Jade.' he said softly, and she saw the same image on his communicator screen that was on hers.
'I'm on conference call with Dr. Lurkin.' Wade said. 'He's got some info you'll want to hear.'
Kim blinked. 'Dr. Lurkin?' she said. 'Wasn't he....?'
Wade nodded. 'Gill's doctor.'
Kim had a sudden sinking in her stomach. 'Let me guess - his therapy isn't going well?'
Wade smiled faintly. 'You could say that.' Then there was a blip, and Dr. Lurkin's face replaced Wade's.
'Miss Possible!' he said his voice sounding both friendly and apologetic. 'I'm glad you agreed to speak with me on such short notice.'
'It's no big.' said Kim. Then warily she asked the question foremost in her mind. 'Gill's escaped, hasn't he?'
Lurkin looked very uncomfortable. 'Ah - I'm afraid so.' he answered. 'It's very distressing. I was so sure this time he was getting back to normal....'
Kim sighed. She wasn't sure what Dr. Lurkin's credentials were, but he had been snookered by Gill's 'reformations' twice now. Then again, she thought, he hadn't been mutated by Gill, or been part of his vengeful rampages. Dr. Lurkin was still talking, going on about the details of Gill's therapy when Grimm broke in, sounding impatient.
'Bottom line it, doc.' he said. 'How long has he been gone?'
Lurkin looked at Grimm questioningly. 'Who are you?' he said. 'You don't look like that Ron fellow Gil kept raving about.'
'I'm from the temp agency.' said Grimm. 'Now answer the question.'
'I'm not sure.' said Dr. Lurkin, fidgeting in his chair.
'How can you not be sure?' Grimm said sharply. 'He was either in his fish bowl or he wasn't.'
Dr. Lurkin bit his lip. 'Well - his mutation took a strange course. We had him on a round of anti-mutagens that we had pumped into his tank. But at some point when we began the treatment, he must have made his escape.'
'And no one noticed he was gone?'
Dr. Lurkin looked embarrassed. 'Well, you must understand - Gil would often go for long periods of time without saying anything - pretending that we weren't there. It's not uncommon among boys his age - they feel ignoring authority figures is some kind of rebellious victory....'
Grimm was glaring at him and rotating one finger while pointing at his watch, and Lurkin hurried on. 'Well - he shed.'
'Say what?' said Monique. But Grimm looked quietly impressed.
Dr. Lurkin nodded. 'Back at your cheer contest at Camp GottaGrin, when he jumped into that toxic pool, he mutated into a much larger, more muscular version of his previous mutation...'
'Don't remind me.' said Kim.
'I'm certain that the anti-mutagens we used triggered a reversal of his larger mutation, reverting him to his first level of mutation.' Lurkin said, seeming concerned that they might not be following him. 'But in reverting to his smaller form, he.... left the larger version behind in the tank.'
'Like a snake shedding it's skin.' Grimm muttered. 'Very clever. So you spent a number of days trying to have therapy sessions with an empty shell when the real Gill was long gone.'
Dr. Lurkin's cheeks reddened. 'The... remains were very life-like.' he said.
'Gorchy!' said Monique.
'So where is he now?' said Kim, though she was reasonably sure what he would say next.
'I'm afraid I have no idea.' he said.
'Did he say anything during his therapy that might give us a clue?'
Lurkin shrugged. 'In most of our sessions, he kept saying he was going to get even with the 'squeeb' somehow. Almost all of his talk revolved around that in some way.'
Kim glared. 'So he wants to go after Ron?' she felt her protective blood boiling at the thought.
Grimm actually laughed, and Kim gave him a furious stare before he stopped. 'Sorry.' he said. 'But if Gill broke out so he could get to your BF, he's in for a major letdown.' and Kim winced. For a brief instant, she had forgotten Ron was still missing and was therefore safe from whatever Gill was cooking up.
Dr. Lurkin had a concerned look on his face. 'If you can find him and persuade him to return to the institute, you'd be doing a great service.' he said. 'The police have been alerted of course, but your insight could be invaluable.'
Grimm started speaking. 'How much would you pay.....' But Kim cut him off.
'You can count on us!' she said, glaring darkly at Grimm.
'And please be careful with him!' said Lurkin. 'He's a kind, gentle boy - but if he feels threatened he might do something desperate.'
Grimm was out of sight on Kim's screen and so Lurkin didn't hear his derisive snort. But Kim nodded. 'We'll notify you once we've got him safe!' she said, then cut the transmission and brought Wade back up. 'Any ideas Wade?' she said. 'Where would he go first?'
Wade's eyes were creased as he typed. 'Well, the first thing he did when he went mutant last time was to go to the toxic pool at Wannaweep and increase his mutation.' Wade said. 'We should try there first to see if he's done that again.'
'If he has, he's been and gone for days.' said Grimm. 'Whatever plan he started off with, it's too late to stop. The only thing we can do if we go to Wannaweep is confirm whether or not Gill actually went there.'
Kim looked at him. He was crisp and focused, and not at all like Ron. Ron was all jokes, wild presumptions or repressed panic. Kim wasn't accustomed to having someone in the loop bringing up pointed criticism that made sense. But she shook her head, reminding herself that she trusted Wade a lot more than Grimm. 'We can still pick up his trail, and that's a start.'
'It's a waste of time, but this is your game.' Grimm said. 'Play it any way you like.'
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Soon they were speeding down the road in the Sloth, heading towards Wannaweep. Monique was riding shotgun, while Grimm lounged in the backseat, scratching Rueful behind his ears. Kim was tempted to use the Sloth's jump jets to shorten the journey and get it over with quicker, but she didn't like burning that much fuel unless she had to.
When Grimm was being quiet was when she liked him best - or rather when she disliked him the least. And he was quiet for most of the trip until they were getting close to the camp, and then he piped up again.
'Gill may not know Ron is missing yet.' he said darkly. 'That could make him even more dangerous since he'd be working towards an end game that's totally pointless. How many times did you say that Ron put Gil away?'
'Twice.' said Kim.
Grimm looked into his communicator screen. 'Jade - have you still got the details on both of those cases?'
'You know it, G-man!' she chirped. 'Forwarding the info now...'
Wade's voice suddenly beeped from Grimm's communicator. 'How did you guys get our mission files?'
'Oh please.' said Jade, and the sneer in her voice was plain to hear. 'You guys are so braggy about your missions, you may as well have pinned the details on a corkboard at the National Requestor.'
'At least we don't need to worry about the cops hauling us off because of our work!' Wade retorted.
'At least we aren't dumb enough to post our intel where any loser can find it!' Jade shot back.
'Losers like you?' Wade countered.
'Shhh!' Grimm hissed. 'Trying to read here!'
Wade and Jade growled simultaneously before the communicators beeped off. The drive was silent for a few more minutes. Monique turned to Kim and with a series of expressions and facial twitches, she sent a silent message to Kim.
'You sure it's a good idea to bring him along?' she gestured.
'No.' Kim said with a shrug and a roll of her eyes. 'But he won't go away!'
'I thought he had his own ride.' Monique signed, jerking her head towards him and miming the use of a steering wheel.
Kim shrugged again, bit her lip and moved her eyes back and forth.
'Whuh?' Monique mouthed, spreading out her hands.
Kim repeated the gesture, a bit more firmly. Monique shook her head, signing a question mark.
'She said, He didn't think it was necessary!' Grimm snapped, making both of them jump in their seats. 'Now knock it off so I can concentrate!'
Monique paused, glancing back towards Grimm, but he was still staring intently at his communicator screen, reading. She looked back to Kim, then with a small nod and a smirk, she said, 'He's good.'
Kim sighed and turned her full attention back to the road. But it wasn't long before Grimm spoke again. 'Wow.' he said. 'You used up all the hot water and unplugged Bonnie's alarm clock? I thought you only went evil that time you played me and Rhonda. And all for a plastic stick - nice, Possible. Who knew you had it in you?' He looked firmly into Monique's eyes, jerked his head at Kim and narrowed his eyes shiftily in a look that said, 'She's evil.'
'That wasn't evil, that was rivalry!' Kim said.
'You're the one who said you didn't like my tactics when I got Bonnie to lay off on you.' said Grimm. 'Maybe you should have said you didn't like anyone else using your tactics.'
'Get real Probable, there was a world of difference.'
'I guess.' said Grimm, sounding smug. 'I was actually a lot less vicious than you were.' Kim was gritting her teeth, but Grimm seemed to catch that he's pressed the point too far and changed the subject. 'Anyway, there's not much more intel on Gill than what we had. He's just a kid who's got a thing for swimming around in toxic sludge and not a penny to his name.'
Kim glared into the rear-view mirror. 'Why not use your villain-ly influence and get him to turn himself in?' she said.
'Maybe I could if I'd had any direct dealings with him.' said Grimm. 'But what did I just say? Not a penny to his name. He never contacted me with any offers, otherwise he might have done better.'
Kim felt herself gripping the steering wheel even tighter. 'You'd have helped him if he'd paid you?' she said.
Grimm sneered. 'Gill?' he said, and his voice was disdainful. 'That's giving him a lot of credit. A loser like him couldn't even pay attention.' Kim blinked in surprised to hear Grimm talk like that about one of his potential 'clients'. But Grimm was still talking. 'He's got mutant powers and delusions of grandeur, but his life's ambitions are focused on only two things. One - bullying Ron. And two - having his own mutant 'gang'. It's stupid, but it should make predicting his moves easier - all we have to do is determine what he'd try to carry out either of those options.'
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The blackness of the fully fallen night gave Camp Wannaweep an eerie, otherworldly quality that Kim had now come to expect. During daylight, the trees and the surrounding green hills were friendly looking and beautiful, but at night they took on a sinister appearance. Maybe it was simply Kim's past run-ins with Gill that made her suspicious of the thick pine woods and the shadowed cabins, but there was no denying the place looked more foreboding at night.
The Sloth came to a stop in a large clearing near the entrance of Wannaweep. The familiar wooden sign was still there, and "Camp Gottagrin" was nailed back in place, concealing the word "Wannaweep" from sight.
Kim and Monique got out of the Sloth. Kim had to admit, the new mission clothes looked good on Monique as well. Rufus was shivering in her hip pouch. 'Mmm hmm - bad road!' he squeaked, pulling the flap closed.
'I'm heading for the grotto where the toxic pool was last time Wade.' she said. 'I'll keep the scan running.'
'Got it!' said Wade.
'Monique, keep your eyes peeled.' she said. 'If you see anything green and slimy jump out, or spit anything at us, then duck and holler.'
'Got it.' she said, but with much less forcefulness than Wade.
'How about me?' said Grimm.
Kim sighed. 'Just stay out of the way.' she said. Grimm sniffed and stepped back a few feet.
They progressed through the camp and Kim glanced aside at cabin 13. She could almost see Ron on his knees at the cabin door with his hands raised towards the sky, almost hear his voice sounding next to her in a shrill scream. 'How does this place keep pulling me back in? Oh man....!'
She wanted to laugh because the image was so real and intense, but the happiness never rose further than from the core of her heart. For it was just an image - a shadow, with no more substance than the air around her.
'Kim?' Monique's spoke softly. 'Are you OK?'
'Yeah.' she said quickly, and so firmly it sounded curt. 'I was just... never mind.'
All the way to the grotto, Kim kept glancing from side to side, sweeping her Kimmunicator back and forth. Monique stayed close behind Kim. Grimm remained further back, but was aiming his communicator the other direction, as if scanning where they had been instead of where they were going. At last they reached the grotto, and the first thing that Kim noticed was what was missing. Namely, there were no barrels with biohazard labels on them poking up out of the water. There was no green glow and no luminous fumes. In fact, the grotto was totally dark and only the LCD light from her Kimmunicator allowed her to see anything at all.
Her light swept across the surface of the grotto pool. In the dark, the water seemed black instead of looking green and slimy, but where her light shone she saw occasional patches of blue. In the shallows, she could see smooth round pebbles at the bottom.
At last she spoke again, and her voice seemed to echo slightly in the stillness. 'How about it Wade?' she said.
Wade shook his head. 'Gill's in for another letdown.' he said. 'I've scanned the surrounding areas and gone over some news reports. After what happened at the cheer competition, there was some pretty heavy backlash against the science camp. People blamed the camp owners for hiding all the toxic sludge in one grotto without telling anyone. After that, a federal hazmat team was sent in to make sure the waste was cleaned up and the whole area was sanitized.'
'So Wannaweep...' Kim said quietly.
'Is totally clean.' said Wade. 'Ron would be skeptical I'm sure, but I've conducted several short and long-range scans. There's no trace of any toxic residue for miles around, above ground or below.'
Kim nodded. 'So he won't be able to 'bulk up' here anymore.' she said. 'Whatever level of mutation he's at now, he's stuck.'
'Give thanks for small favors.' said Wade.
'Ahem.' Jade's image popped onto the Kimmunicator screen, splitting it evenly between Wade and Jade. 'Need I remind you that your notes say Gill can produce his own mutagenic sludge?'
'So... this Gill guy didn't have any reason to come here?' said Monique, sounding relieved.
'That's not to say he didn't.' said Grimm. Kim turned and saw the beam from his communicator light shining on a patch of ground at his feet where he stood a short distance away. He had quietly moved away from them and gone towards an incline that formed a low, sloping ravine from the higher ground above into the waters of the grotto.
As she looked down where the light was shining, she saw the distorted marks of bipedal footprints. But the prints had only three toes, each toe ending in a pointed claw. The tracks led in and out of the pool. Kim was no tracker, but even she could see that the prints were several days old - dried out in places further from the water, but smoother and spread out by the shore. 'We were right - he was here.' Kim said, and she felt Rufus shivering in her hip pouch.
They trudged up the slope, following the prints until they vanished into the harder ground. 'Can you trail him, Wade?' Kim said. 'If he's still as oozey as he was the first time, he must be leaving a toxic trail that lights up like the Fourth of July.'
Wade was grimacing as he answered. 'If the tracks were fresh, maybe.' he said. 'But these are nearly two weeks old. I'm not getting any trail I can lock onto.'
Kim sighed and stared at the pillared walls of the surrounding trees and the darkness between their trunks. Only rustling and the sound of crickets and frogs came to her. It would have been simpler if Gill jumped out and attacked. Nice and normal - a takedown just like any other.
Grimm was looking out into the night as well. He was looking at his communicator, but for the most part his eye was on Rueful, who had his head poking out of Grimm's pack and sniffing. The weasel trilled and shook his head, and Grimm looked disappointed. 'Maze's not here.' he said bitterly. 'Monkey Fist's a no-show too it looks like. There's no sense wasting any more time here - let's go.'
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They were speeding back towards Middleton within a few minutes. Monique sighed and tapped her foot. 'So... that it for the night?' she said hopefully.
'As if.' said Kim with a smile on her face. 'This is just a setback.'
Monique shook her head. 'But if he wasn't at Wannaweep, and if Wade can't track him...'
'Then we try and deduce his next move.' said Grimm from the back seat. 'With a one-track mind like his, it shouldn't take long.' He nodded towards Kim without looking at her. 'You and Gill have such a storied history, Possible - what would he shout manically to the heavens once he escaped from the institute?'
Kim hadn't thought of it that way, but as clear as her vision of Ron had been, she could see Gill emerging from a sewer pipe or something and shaking his clawed fists at the sky. 'I'm coming to get you squeeb! You haven't heard the last of Gill!' 'I think you were right.' Kim said, and she couldn't keep the resentment out of her voice. 'The first thing he'd do is go after Ron.'
Grimm nodded. 'Then I suggest our next stop should be my home away from home.'
Before long, they had parked the Sloth outside of Ron's house and were trooping around the yard with their scanners out. 'Uh, should we tell his folks?' said Monique, feeling awkward walking around in Ron's yard.
Kim looked almost mischievous. 'This is my way of telling them.' she said quietly.
'Hold it!' said Jade's voice from Grimm's communicator. 'That patch of ground under the window near the living room - sweep it.'
Kim got there first, and it didn't take Wade long to finish. 'Got it.' he said. 'The traces are faint, but they haven't decayed fully. He was here all right.'
Kim felt a shiver. Gill had probably crouched there, staring through the window, maybe looking right at Ron's parents or at Hana, waiting for Ron to appear so he could burst in and attack. Except Ron was trapped in the spirit world. He hadn't shown up. And Gill had left empty-handed without his revenge.
Grimm seemed to have been thinking along the same lines. 'Time to start chillin' like a villain.' he said to Kim. 'If it were one of my clients looking for payback, and the target wasn't where he expected him to be, there are a few ways it would normally play out.'
'You're the merc.' Kim grumbled. 'Tell us.'
Grimm smiled and shook his head. 'Let's see if you've been paying attention.' he said. 'What did I say at Club Banana just a few hours ago about my clients and their ideas?'
'You said they were all dumb, and all destined to fail.' she said, glaring. 'And that it guaranteed you a steady supply of money.'
Grimm nodded, still smiling. 'And....?' he said, sounding like a school teacher who was only given part of an answer he expected.
Kim thought back, trying to remember. 'You said it wouldn't matter if you told them their ideas wouldn't work. They're all too proud to admit it.'
Grimm's smile became more eager. 'So - if Gill's plan to 'get Ron' failed when he came here looking for him.....?'
Kim picked up on it much more quickly. 'He wouldn't believe it.' she said, a distant gleam in her eyes. 'He'd think we were onto him - that we'd hidden Ron, or set a trap for him.'
Grimm twitched his fingers at her expectantly. 'Which means....?'
Kim's eyes sharpened. 'He'll try to find a way to lure Ron out in the open - like he did at the cheer camp!'
Grimm folded his arms, smirking. 'Not bad, Possible. I'll make a merc out of you yet.'
Kim glared at him. 'Quit acting like this is some kind of victory for you.' she said. 'How do you know you're not starting to think like me?'
Grimm chuckled. 'Find a way to turn it back on them.' he said. 'Common ground again.' Kim growled, but Grimm was looking back down at the patch of earth Wade had scanned. 'He was beat twice in direct fights with Ron, so he may try to get to him by doing something more underhanded, like going after something he values - or someone.'
Kim stared at him. 'You think he broke out to come after me? If he was right here, why didn't he try for Ron's parents - or Hana?'
Grimm cocked his neck. 'Just a guess.' he said. 'But he captured you... twice - so he may figure he could lure Ron out by turning you into a mutant.'
Kim shuddered. 'So not gonna happen.' she said. 'We're going to take him down long before then.'
But Grimm still had a faraway look in his eye. 'Lurkin said he began Gil's reversal treatment about two weeks ago - that would be near the time when Ron and Rhonda disappeared. And Lurkin didn't notice that Gill was gone until last night. He went to Wannaweep first, probably on foot, which would account for the first few days. That would have given him at least one clear week to come after you - if that was his plan.'
They had all gone to the curb of the sidewalk and sat down as they talked. 'Then why didn't he?' said Kim, talking more to herself than anyone else. 'If he was at Ron's, then my house wasn’t far away. Why didn't he come after me?'
'He might have.' said Grimm, also looking thoughtful.
Monique almost chuckled. Kim and Grimm looked like bookends, sitting with their knuckles pressed against their chins in exactly the same posture, with almost identical expressions.
'Except I've been out a lot lately, trying to find Ron.' Kim said. 'Japan, and England.... I haven't been at home as much lately. He might have gotten tired of waiting.'
'So his first raison d'etre to 'get Ron' was a bust.' Grimm muttered. 'But there's still the second - starting his own gang.'
'How's he gonna do that?' said Monique. She felt like she was intruding her opinion on their musings, but she wanted to be useful, even if it was nothing more than participating. 'Put up posters of his face that say I want you - to be a mutant?'
'Actually I've got a lead on that.' said Jade, her voice piping through Grimm's communicator. 'Just in case you forgot I'm here. I've been going through your local news reports.' said Jade. 'Want to see what I found?'
'Let's see it Jade, quit workin' it.' said Grimm.
Jade stuck her tongue out at Wade, then her side of the screen blipped out, replaced by a video of a blonde-haired woman sitting behind a desk.
'Good Evening. I'm Summer Breeze, KMID News. A rash of bizarre sicknesses has struck Middleton. At least a dozen people have checked into the hospital, displaying a highly unusual skin rash.'
The video showed a number of people resting in hospital beds, looking nervous. Kim bent her head closer, and saw the skin of each person was a pale green, and their skin showed patches of scaly protrusions here and there.
'Doctors have so far been unable to determine the source of this strange malady.' said Summer's voice. Victims have complained of shortness of breath and sensitivity to bright light, leading some to suggest they are suffering from a new form of erythropoietic porphyria, also known as Gunther's disease. Though this does not explain the greenish tint.....'
'Shut it off.' said Kim. 'It's Gill.'
'A rash of mutations in your own hometown and you didn't notice?' said Grimm, sounding smug.
'Well let's see...' said Kim hotly, 'I've found myself slightly distracted the last week or so because someone banished my BF to another dimension!'
'But how has he been mutating these people without them noticing?' Monique said.
Kim thought. 'All the times he mutated people in the past, he did it by trapping them in his goo. It affected people by being absorbed through the skin.'
'These guys aren't fully mutated.' said Grimm, looking at his own communicator. 'So whatever he's trying now isn't his normal method.'
'There haven't been any reports of attacks or abductions.' Kim said, shaking her head. 'He's using his slime on people in a way that can't be seen or noticed.'
'I think people would notice a big, drippy mutant spitting ooze on them!' said Monique. 'How can somebody ooze somebody else up and keep it secret?'
'I've got it.' said Grimm, smiling sidelong at Kim. 'Think sneaky.'
Kim had a distant look in her eyes again. 'He's not oozing people up.' she said quietly. 'He's getting people to breathe it... or eat it....' Then she paused and clenched her fist. 'Or drink it!' she said. 'He's been putting it in the city's drinking water!'
'Close, but not quite.' said Grimm. 'Even at his most concentrated, he couldn't produce enough mutagen to do the job. The city's water would dilute it too much, and if it was working, the cases would be more widespread. He'll have found a way to get people to drink it in a more concentrated form.'
'How do you get someone to willingly drink mutant ooze?' said Kim.
'Advertise on television?' said Monique.
Grimm's eyes gleamed. 'Exactly.' he said.
Monique felt her jaw drop. 'I was joking.' she said.
'But in this case the theory's sound.' Grimm said. He held out his communicator. 'Jade - I need you to cross-reference the mutation cases in Middleton with any new products or ad campaigns that have taken place.'
Kim had her Kimmunicator running at the same time. 'Wade - you get that?' she said.
'Working.' he said.
After a few seconds, Wade and Jade's voices sounded out with information, each speaking as if they were trying to outshine the other.
'The hospitals started reporting cases about a week ago....' said Wade.
'There have been about ten product launches in Middleton within a week of that starting point....' said Jade hurriedly.
'...with corresponding commercials and media blitzes...' Wade broke in.
'Two were for brands of bath soap...' Jade said.
'One was for... uh, feminine hygiene....' Wade said, blushing.
'One new restaurant and two new food lines for other restaurants...'
'One pizza place and one at Bueno Nacho...'
'One breakfast cereal...'
'A new soft drink....'
'A new flavor of potato chip....'
'Profile the soft drink.' Kim and Grimm said at exactly the same time, and then glaring at each other.
'It's called Eco-La.' said Wade. 'It brands itself as the only environmentally friendly, purely organic cola on the market that has no carbon footprint.'
'Sounds disgustingly PC.' muttered Grimm. 'Possible would have loved it.'
'Would not!' said Kim angrily.
'I'll have the commercial up in...' Wade said, but Jade broke in.
'Too slow, Wadey.' she said. 'Fix your peepers on the screen guys, you're gonna love this.'
The communicators brought up a group of hip young people at what looked like a beach party, playing volleyball and laughing it up until one of them went to a cooler and fished out a can of soft drink, opened it and began drinking while a deep, soothing voice spoke off camera.
'Are you looking for a guilt-free, environmentally friendly way to quench your thirst? Then try all-new... Eco-La!'
CGI trees began sprouting up around the partying youths, and they were joined by frolicking deer and bunny rabbits. Kim heard Grimm groaning and saw him covering his eyes, his head shaking back and forth. The announcer was still speaking.
'Every drop of Eco-La is made with the finest all-natural organic ingredients, and lovingly sealed in recycled aluminum cans by registered Vegans who ensure that each case is manufactured with zero carbon emissions! A portion of each sale will be donated towards planting trees and ensuring a greener earth!'
Grimm was looking steadily more skeptical with each passing second. 'Oh please.' he sneered.
'Shhh!' Kim hissed.
'So if you really care about about going green, then buy refreshing Eco-La! Because if you don't - it means you support global warming.'
The screen blacked out for a moment, then a man in a dark gray suit and a green tie appeared. He was middle-aged and looked slightly porky, with graying hair and a rather toothy grin. He held up a can of Eco-La, and in a rather flat voice he said, 'I'm Hal Moore, and I approve of this cola!'
A rather airy fanfare played as the screen faded to black, with simple white text popping up that read, 'Do it for the children - you don't hate children - do you?'
'Gag me!' said Grimm looking angry. 'What kind of pathetic sponge would fall for that load of malarky?'
Monique cleared her throat. 'Excuse me Mr. Bad Boy! I got some last week!'
'How is it?' said Kim.
Monique shrugged. 'It's... OK.' she said. 'Not great, but OK.' But Grimm had stepped forward, seized Monique's wrist and forced her finger into a port on the side of his communicator. There was a sudden hiss and Monique yelped. She struggled, but Grimm held her still for a second before releasing her. By this time Kim had pushed Grimm back as well, though Grimm kept his balance and turned away, typing quickly on his keypad.
'What... is... wrong wit' you?' Monique sputtered, holding her hand and looking at her finger. 'He pricked me!' she shouted to Kim. 'Oh that is it - Kim, you go kung-fu on his sorry butt!!'
'Chill!' Grimm said. 'I was just collecting a blood sample.' He turned to the screen. 'Jade - how about it?' he said, paying no further attention to Monique.