A Kim Possible Fanfiction
by Greg Fisk (aka "Slyrr")

Kim Possible is owned/copyrighted by Disney and its affiliates, etc. etc.

Chapter 15:
Patience
Or: Keep The Home Fires Yearning

'And this was the scene at the GillCo soda factory earlier tonight.' said Dibble. Kim sat on the couch in the living room, her hair wrapped in a towel, and swathed in her nightdress and a pink bathrobe with slippers. Once the mission was over, she had come home and taken a long shower, then tuned in to watch the news reports after drying off and getting ready for bed. She often liked watching the reports just to see how close to the facts the media got, and how much they were only guessing, and she compared Dibble's report to her memories of the aftermath.

She watched the screen as blue and red lights flickered on the walls behind the factory. Police were swarming the building, and hazmat teams in white suits were spraying everything down with foam. 'MIDX news can exclusively reveal that the GillCo factory was actually a front for the mutant criminal Gil Moss. Gil, also known as 'Gill', was using the factory to distribute a soft drink, which was contaminated with chemical secretions that triggers mutations.'

Gill's gang was shown being led out of the factory in handcuffs and herded into a police wagon. Gill himself was wheeled out on a gurney with restraints on his wrists and ankles. Dr. Lurkin was walking beside the gurney, shaking his head and tutting.

The camera cut back to Dibble, who held up his microphone. 'Teen crimefighter Kim Possible and her associate Monique uncovered the plot, which is now known to be the cause of the recent sicknesses which have struck Middleton. A public alert has been issued - anyone who has purchased the soft drink "Eco-La" should bring it to the authorities for disposal. Anyone who has drunk Eco-La should report to their local hospital for immediate treatment.'

'Also captured was former celebrity Camille Leon, who is being charged for impersonating Hal Moore as part of Eco-La's ad campaign.' Kim couldn’t help smiling at the sight of Camille being frog-marched out of the factory, her hair tangled and ratty, her outfit stained and mottled by Gill's slime.

Dibble went up to the gurney where Gill was still struggling against his restraints. 'Dr. Lurkin, any comments?' he said. 'You've been Mr. Moss' therapist for over a year. Can you give us any details about how he was captured?'

Dr. Lurkin adjusted the collar on his white coat. 'I understand that Kim Possible did not capture him, and she hasn't commented yet, so we're not sure how Gil was subdued....'

At this, Gill strained, leaning his head up. 'It was the squeeb!' he shouted. 'Her boyfriend! He poured salt on me!' He nearly twisted his own arms as he struggled to crane his neck high enough to look into the camera. 'I'll get you for this Ron! You hear me? This isn't over!!'

'Now young man, that's enough!' Lurkin said, turning back to Gill. 'You're in plenty of trouble as it is - do you know how long we'll be taking away your TV time after all this?' Gill let out a sullen growl as Lurkin pushed the gurney towards a nearby ambulance. Dibble turned back to the camera, his microphone held high.

'As you just heard, Gill blames Ron Stoppable for his rather brutal capture. However, our sources say that Ron Stoppable is still missing. And given that witnesses confirm that Kim Possible was not at the scene, she could not have done it either. And so for now, the identity of Gill's assailant remains a mystery. But when you consider what the mutant criminal had unleashed on the city, it's small wonder that Middleton is resting easier knowing that Gill is behind bars and his factory shut down. A. U. Dibble, MIDX news.'

Kim turned off the TV and threw aside the remote, glaring as Grimm entered the room. He had left the factory and disappeared before the police had arrived, but she found him waiting when she got home later. Kim had been furious when, back at the factory, she had found a crumpled card in Gill's hand while she was helping to strap him into the gurney. She had pulled it from his grip and read in small simple type, Want to prevent this in the future? Make sure the odds of Probability are in your favor!

'Go home Probable, Monkey Fist isn't showing up.' she said, her voice strained.

'What's with you?' he said. 'The mission's over and you've got another feather in your cap. I thought you'd be out hamming it up for the cameras.'

Kim grimaced. 'I found your little note.' she said. 'Were you just using this as a chance to drum up more business?'

Grimm sniffed. 'I don't know what you think you found, but unless it mentions me by name....'

'You know it didn't!' she snapped. 'But what else could 'probability' with a capital P mean?'

Grimm shrugged. 'Beats me.' he said. 'Could have been a typo....'

Kim shook her head. 'Why do you keep doing stuff like this if you're serious about teaming up?'

'All I did was delay Gill while you were mopping up his gang.' he said, then added sarcastically, 'You're welcome.'

'I wouldn't complain if you'd used good methods!' she said.

'Good methods?' said Grimm, sounding frustrated. 'You mean as opposed to the evil methods I normally use?'

'Yes!' Kim said. 'If this is how you're going to act when we finally track down Maze, then I'm not sure I want you there!'

Grimm chuckled mirthlessly. 'Somehow I doubt Maze would care if I poured salt on him.' he said.

'You know what I mean.' Kim growled. 'I don't want any rough stuff, not even with them.'

Grimm looked like he was about to argue, but he bit his lip and shook his head. 'See you tomorrow.' he said, sounding resentful. 'Beep me if Monkey Fist shows up during the night.'

Even though it was off, Kim looked fixedly at the TV screen while Grimm moved towards the door. Grimm stopped just at the doorway, looking down. Then he turned back to Kim. 'Oscillation Overthruster, Waveform Harmonicizer, CMC Transmat, and the Universal Decryption Matrix.' he said.

'What?' said Kim, turning to look at him. He looked uncomfortable, and didn't meet her eye.

'Those are the items my sources say that Monkey Fist and Maze have gathered.' he said. 'You knew about some of them, but not all. Pass it on to your techie. Have him and Jade put their heads together and see what they come up with.' Then he left the room and Kim heard the front door open and then close.

Kim looked after him in surprise for several minutes after he'd left. She had been expecting Grimm to withhold that information, and here he had simply dropped it in her lap. She began texting to Wade, trying to remember all the multi-syllabled words and guessing how some of them were spelled. She knew Wade was asleep, so she sent the information as an e-mail with a note to ask him about it in the morning. When she finally went to bed, she laid awake for some time, her mind buzzing with questions.

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'Look out!!'

Drakken hollered as a pair of workers, both made of stone, lost their grip on a heavy girder. The statues had been moving it into position on a skeletal framework of similar girders which now reached up nearly twenty feet from the floor. He squealed and rolled, trying to get out of the way of the falling steel and hoping that the angle of it's fall wouldn't mean that he was diving straight into it.

There was a deafening clang. Then Drakken timidly moved his black gloved fingers away from his eyes and rolled to a sitting position. Shego had leaped between him and the girder and had caught it in her hands, holding it above her head. She paused, then lowered it to the floor of the cavern and hoisted Drakken back to his feet.

Drakken wiped his brow in relief, then stared back up. The statues were already climbing down wordlessly, heading towards the girder to pick it up for another try. 'Be more careful!' he grated, his rasping voice echoing through the cavern. 'That's the fifth one you oafs have dropped today, and every mishap delays construction!'

But the statues merely picked up the girder again, awkwardly climbing back up the scaffolding. Drakken gritted his teeth. 'Rrrrrrr!' he snarled.

'Problem?' came a smooth voice from behind him.

Drakken started and turned, seeing Monkey Fist and Maze staring at him. 'Problem?' he said. 'I'm having nothing but problems!'

Monkey Fist folded his arms. 'We've given you workers and resources - what more do you want?'

'I want a crane - I want forklifts - I want something more versatile than these... well whatever these things are!' he said, looking at the seven or eight statues scattered through the cavern.

'They are doing everything you tell them to do.' said Monkey Fist quietly. 'Perhaps if you were better at giving orders...'

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'Hey, I never had this much trouble building stuff with my normal henchmen!' said Drakken defensively. 'I didn't have to micromanage them 24/7 like I do with these guys! If you'll just let me call in my own workers...'

'We have already discussed this.' said Maze. 'We will use only workers which I choose - ones I am sure will not betray us.'

Drakken bit his lip so hard he was worried he might bite through it. 'If you want this thing built before the next ice age, I'll need better than this!' he said. 'If you won't let me use my own men, then give me more of yours - at least twice as many as I have now! I know you've got more back there somewhere...'

'They are working under my direction,' said Maze, his voice less patient. 'On a project I feel is nearly as important as your machine, and I cannot spare any of them.'

Drakken sputtered, but Monkey Fist spoke quickly. 'I think that both of you are correct.' he said, 'Since neither of you have enough workers, the only logical solution is to increase their numbers.' He turned to Drakken. 'Is the original machine ready?'

'Yes, yes!' Drakken snapped. 'It's in perfect working order, but it still won't be able to do more than hijack one satellite...'

'That will be fine.' said Monkey Fist. 'We must select a suitable target, but I think it's time we continued gathering new conscripts.'

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When Kim got downstairs for breakfast the following morning, Grimm was already there, loitering outside the kitchen while she went in and ate with her family. She steadfastly ignored him through her morning routine and he did not say anything himself until they were halfway through the drive to Middleton High.

'What's with the silent treatment?' he said, sounding irritated. 'Are you still grousing about Gill? He's alive and well and I hear he's already planning to get even. Everything's back to normal.'

Kim glared, even though she knew Grimm couldn't see her face from the back seat. 'Planning to get even with Ron.' she said. 'He thinks Ron was the one who took him down and it's your fault!'

'So what?' said Grimm. 'He was going after him anyway.'

Kim sputtered. 'That's... not the point!' she said, and was furious when she saw Grimm rolling his eyes in the rear view mirror.

'You know,' said Grimm, who was starting to sound just as annoyed, 'you're not an easy person to help. Do you ever let anyone just do their own thing, or do you always try to brow-beat them into doing it your way?'

Swift memories of the time spent coaching her brothers’ soccer team flashed through her mind, but she decided not to bring it up. 'I don't mind how people do things as long as it isn't evil.' she said.

Grimm sounded defensive. 'It wasn't evil, it was practical.' he said. 'Evil would be if I'd injured him or maimed him, but he's fine.'

'You crossed the line.' Kim insisted.

'Would it have been all right if I'd punched or kicked him into submission like you normally do with the people you fight?' he said, and his voice was suddenly vicious and sarcastic. 'Yeah, it's so much nicer to just bludgeon people until they're unconscious - or maybe I should have knocked him into a tower and made it collapse on him. That's more your style, isn't it?'

Kim had to remind herself that she was driving, otherwise she would have rounded on him to retort. 'I don't attack people, I defend myself!' she snarled.

'I studied the security videos.' Grimm said, sounding smug and feeling he'd scored a point. 'Shego wasn't attacking you when you clobbered her. You did it out of spite. So why don't you stop acting all holier-than-thou and just be glad that Gill's out of the picture?'

Kim returned to her frosty silence, and neither of them said another word until they were at school and when she met with Monique at her locker.

Monique was taking a large white capsule and downing it with water from the nearby drinking fountain. She had a plastic case with a few more capsules in it, which she slipped into her book bag.

'You know, you only need one of those.' said Kim. 'Wade and Lurkin both said the diluted mutagen is weak enough that a single dose will wipe it out.'

Monique shuddered. 'As long as taking more doesn't hurt me, I'm taking them all.' she said. 'I want to make dang sure all Gill's bugs are dead and gone!'

'I wanted to thank you for coming along.' said Kim. 'You did great - you even made the news.'

Monique smiled faintly. 'Yeah, I saw.' she said. 'And Dibble wasn't nearly as snarky. The press coverage last night was actually pretty good...'

'As opposed to the evil press coverage I normally get.' said Grimm, who was leaning against the lockers and looking sulky.

'Say what?' said Monique, confused.

'Nothing.' said Kim, with an angry glance at Grimm.

'What about the factory?' said Monique, turning warily back to Kim. 'That whole tank full of Gill's goo went down the drain. Does that mean it got into the sewers and we'll be having another army of mutant roaches invade the city?'

'No.' said Kim. 'Wade says the drains in the main production room were used for recycling purposes in case of a major spill. They lead to self-contained storage tanks so material can be reprocessed, or treated if it spoils. The Hazmat teams put a big batch of Lurkin's anti-mutagen in the tanks last night and everything was sterilized.'

Monique squinted. 'They sure?' she said.

Kim nodded. 'Wade scanned the whole place when they were done. It's clean.'

'How about the Mutants?' said Monique.

'Being treated.' Kim answered. 'Along with everyone who drank any Eco-La. They'll all be perfectly fine - including you.'

Monique mimed flicking away some imaginary sweat from her forehead, but she drew Kim closer and spoke in a low mutter. 'You both look like you had dill pickles and lemons for breakfast.' she said. 'Everything all right?'

Kim sighed. 'It's fine, it's just that.... well, he's Grimm.'

'Yeah, I noticed.' said Monique, smiling. 'So are you, kind of.'

Kim smiled, but before she could answer, a familiar voice sounded out like a gunshot in the corridor, and they both jumped. 'Probable!' a sudden bellow sounded out from the side. Mr. Barkin was standing there, looking at Grimm with a severe expression. Grimm went into a salute at once, but Barkin didn't give him a chance to say anything. 'My office - five minutes. I believe you already know where it is.' Then he turned and left.

Monique turned to Grimm, who was looking after Barkin's retreating figure through the milling students in the hallway. 'Oooooh, I know that tone of voice!' she said slyly. 'Someone's in trouble....!'

Grimm snorted and followed after Barkin.

'Kinda wish I could sneak in and hear it.' said Monique after he was gone. 'Glad it's not me.'

Kim didn't speak, but she agreed with Monique. She wondered if it had anything to do with what Grimm had done yesterday when Rueful and sneaked out of Algebra class. But their first period was about to begin, and she followed Monique through the hall while Rufus poked his head out of the hip pouch and blew a raspberry at Grimm's retreating figure. Kim blushed and looked down at him. 'I told you not to make that sound when you're so close to my backside.' she whispered. Rufus winked and disappeared back into the pouch.

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'Problem, Jade.' Grimm said into his communicator. He had paused once out of sight of Kim and Monique, keeping his eye on the hallway clock to count down to five minutes.

'Hummm?' Jade said, typing and clearly distracted.

'I think Barkin's onto us.'

Jade stopped and suddenly looked more attentive. 'Details.' she said.

'He just called me in. He must know we hacked into his files.'

Jade pushed a breath out through pursed lips. 'Well, I wouldn't worry too much.' she said. 'I took all the normal safeguards so he couldn't have traced it back to me. He's probably just miffed that his office got broken into. Keep your cool - he may yell for a while, but since you didn't actually take anything, the worst he might do is suspend you.'

'I can deal with yelling after Ms. Darken.' said Grimm with a smile. 'As long as home base is secure, anything else he dishes out is fine.'

'It that it?' said Jade, 'Got some irons in the fire here if you're done, but you sound a bit edgy.'

'It's... nothing.' he said. 'Possible's just being a pain about how I took down Gill for her.'

Jade sighed. 'It was neat work, but it was a little nastier than your normal thing.' she said. Then she looked at him keenly. 'Are you just frustrated over Rhonda being gone? You letting it spill over into your work?'

Grimm's eyes gleamed darkly. 'I've always said you were too smart for your age.' he said.

'I'm not hearing 'no'.' she said. 'You want to talk about it....?'

'I'm gonna be late for Barkin.' said Grimm, looking quickly off to the side. 'Gotta go, but let me know when you and Wade are done.' Jade looked like she was about to say something, but Grimm shut off the communicator and stumped to Barkin's office.

When Grimm entered, he found Barkin seated behind his desk and staring at him with a pronounced scowl. 'How may I help you, sir?' Grimm said.

Barkin didn't answer right away. Instead he leaned back in his chair, tenting his fingers and continued staring at him in silence. Finally he spoke, and his voice was an accusatory drawl. 'It may interest you to know Mr. Probable, that I set up a nanny-cam in my office, in case any students try to break in and commit acts of vandalism or theft.'

He resumed staring at Grimm, who didn't react. There was silence for a few more seconds, and then Barkin went on. 'Yesterday at ten-hundred hours and fifteen minutes past, my office was broken into and someone gained access to my computer files.'

There was another pause in which Barkin's eyes were so narrowed, they became gleaming slits. He reached up and swiveled the monitor screen of his computer around so Grimm could see it. A video playback was paused and showed Rueful crouched at the keyboard at Barkin's desk. 'I believe this is yours?' he said, and glanced up at Grimm's shoulder, where Rueful was cringing behind Grimm's neck and looking comically apologetic. Grimm didn't answer, and Barkin's voice sank to a dangerous growl. 'An explanation - if you please.'

Grimm hesitated. 'Permission to speak frankly - sir.' he said.

Barkin didn't stop frowning, but nodded slightly and said, 'Granted.'

Grimm nodded back. 'I was curious sir, as to why so many teachers here experience so many absences which require you to fill in for them. I knew an open question would be impertinent, so I resorted to covert ops. I sent Rueful to access your files in hopes of finding an answer.'

'And what did you find?' Barkin said, his voice not losing it's thick and dangerous edge.

'I found detailed information which proves that most of the absences are deliberately engineered by you.'

Barkin's face reddened, but Grimm quickly went on. 'At first I thought you were doing it for profit - trying to eliminate competition and enrich yourself by getting paid for the extra work. But I found that wasn't the case. If that were true, there would have been a more random spread of absences among the entire school - but there was a clearly visible pattern.'

Barkin looked suddenly less angry, but more embarrassed as Grimm continued. 'In fact, I found that every absence coincided with classes attended by only two students - Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable. I also found that most of the cover stories of accidents were falsified. I found in fact that none of them were accidents at all. You arranged with the teachers in advance, volunteering your time to cover for them and sometimes even helping to pay the costs of the vacations they took.'

'Given the fact that you were actually sacrificing time and money, I ruled out personal profit for the motivation.' Grimm said. 'So the only thing left was personal.'

Grimm paused here and looked into Barkin's eyes directly. 'I couldn't determine any personal motives, except for two. One, you don't like them and you wanted to make their lives more difficult by hounding them and assigning extra homework. But I found files in which you comment on several students, and in the files for both Stoppable and Possible, you speak of them almost fondly. Which left only one conclusion.'

Grimm now sat down in the chair opposite Barkin's desk and leaned over the edge to speak at him. 'You do it because you care about them.'

Barkin didn't answer.

'I know you don't have any kids of your own.' Grimm went on. 'And as a teacher you care about all your students. But you seem to have taken a more parental interest in Stoppable and Possible. They say the biggest troublemakers are the ones some teachers end up liking the most - because they don't want them to come to harm.'

There was dead silence which drew out for nearly a full minute. At last Barkin spoke. 'You're a sharp kid, Probable.' he said. Again, silence fell between them and neither spoke for some time. 'I could have you suspended for breaking into my office.' he said at last.

Grimm nodded. 'I admit I acted rashly, but I'll only say I did it for the same reasons you did. I was.... concerned about their well-being and thought you might be acting against them. Since that isn't the case, I could help you keep an eye on Possible, and ease your burden a little.'

'Is that a bribe, Probable?' said Barkin.

Grimm shook his head. 'Call it an understanding. Hopefully I won't be here for much longer. But as long as I am here, I can assist you in your work.' He stood up and saluted. 'Request permission to return to class - sir.'

Barkin regarded him for a moment. 'May I count on your discretion in this matter?' he said.

Grimm paused. Finally he sighed. 'Possible would probably think the truth was funny, sir.' he said. 'So I have no problem keeping it from her. But if I might make a request, sir?'

Barkin looked wary, but nodded.

Grimm looked uncomfortable, as if he were treading unfamiliar territory and seemed to be choosing his words carefully. 'This business with Stoppable has affected her.' he said. 'Until it's resolved, I suggest that it may be prudent to ease off a little. Just so she can cope with everything else that's going on.'

Barkin didn't nod or shake his head, but he spoke in a voice that was more normal than his usual bellowing or growling. 'I'll... see what I can do.' he said.

Grimm nodded, then turned and left the office. But after a few seconds walking, he paused in the hall. Classes had already started, so the corridors were deserted, gleaming under the overhead lamps and carrying his every footstep with a lonely sounding echo. Thoughts raced in his head. The information he'd taken from Barkin could have been used any number of ways. He could have leveraged Barkin into being even harder on Kim. He could have used it to blackmail Barkin into being his informant. Or he could have just spilled the beans on Barkin to the school board and watched the scandal unfold.

And what had he done? Asked him to ease off a little. Asked him to be nice to Possible so she'd feel better. He let out an empty laugh. Jade had said what he'd done to Gill was nastier than normal - what would she say about this? He remembered getting hit with Jell-O in the cafeteria the other day, and not doing anything to get even with the jocks who had thrown it. He felt strange, as if a fortune teller had predicted something drastic was about to happen to him, but hadn't told him what to expect.

Are you just frustrated over Rhonda being gone? You letting it spill over into your work?

Try as he might, he could think of no counter to that question. He could only decide, as weak an argument as it felt, that keeping his 'be nice' promise to Kim was leading him to let out his frustrations on the people who weren't a part of that promise. But again, it left more questions in his head than answers, and he made his way to Kim's classroom while Rueful's nose snuffled out from the gap in his backpack.

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'You sure held onto this long enough.' Wade said, glaring at Jade's image on his monitor. He had gotten Kim's message early that morning and gone over it, and was now in tele-conference as Kim requested. 'If you'd given us this right away, we'd be a lot further along!'

'And we'll get a lot further along once you stop whining about it.' Jade answered. 'I haven't studied any machines that use all of these devices in concert. What have you got?'

Wade went over the list again, sipping a soda as he often did when he was concentrating. 'It rings some kind of bell....' he said. 'I'm sure I've heard of them being used together for something....'

'Something, huh?' Jade sneered. 'Wow, that's brilliant. It's a good thing we had this little jamming session or we'd never have figured out the parts could be used for something.'

Wade was about to fire back, but suddenly something clunked into place in his mind. 'Jamming!' he said, typing hard. He brought up a mission file that was a few months old and mostly forgotten. It contained pictures of a massive tower with a spiked electrode at the pinnacle, like a thorny robotic finger. 'The items on your list - they're the main components for Dementor's Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer!' said Wade nervously.

'Oh yeah,' said Jade, sudden understanding spreading over her face. 'I heard about that thing when Kim wrecked it a while back, but Global Justice wrapped up the base before I could swipe any blueprints. He almost took down the whole global satellite network. What a guy!'

'Don't tell me you admire him!' Wade blustered. 'If he'd succeeded, internet across the world would have been taken out!'

'Hey, he wouldn't have done it if everyone had just ponied up the ransom!' Jade retorted. 'It was Kim raiding his base and taking out his henchmen that drove him to try and take down all the satellites!'

'And what's Monkey Fist planning to do with his?' said Wade angrily. 'Extort more rocks?' Jade glared, but didn't answer. 'The only reason we were able to stop Dementor the first time around was because he got careless and gave a forwarding address to have his equipment delivered!' Wade went on. 'But Monkey Fist is playing it close to the vest and covering their trail. If they build a full scale Jammer and use it to take out global communications, all our networking could disappear overnight!'

'So what do we do?' said Jade. 'We can't take out the Jammer unless we can find their base. And we can't find their base because of the Jammer. Paradox anyone?'

'Monkey Fist isn't a scientist.' said Wade. 'I don't think he or Maze would know how to build a Jammer large enough to affect the whole globe. But they could probably assemble the components they have into a smaller version. Based on the size of the components, what could they do with one that small?'

Jade was typing at her keyboard. 'As you so smartly noted, they can totally hide their base of operations.' she said. 'They could also use it to monitor our communications. It's also powerful enough that it could hijack one satellite at a time as long as it's in range.'

'They aren't taking any out yet.' said Wade, checking his own screens. 'If satellites were dropping regularly from orbit, I'd have heard about it.'

'That's a start.' said Jade. 'We may not be able to stop them if they try eavesdropping, but if you share the specs you took from Dementor's computers, we might be able to create a detector that lets us know if they're listening in.'

Wade looked thoughtful. 'Maybe.' he said. 'And if that works, then we'd also be able to set up an alert system that lets us know if any satellites have been taken over by the Jammer.'

'Yeah.' said Jade, quietly. 'And if that works, we might be able to determine where their base is. If they're using the closest satellites to their location we could at least make a rough guess....'

'Better than nothing.' Wade said. 'Let's get to work.'

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The school day went almost normally for Kim after that. Classes, lunch and everything else came and went without incident, and she got the impression that Grimm wasn't up to anything because he looked bored the whole day. Classes ended, and she gathered with the cheer squad in the gym for more practice. Grimm was nowhere to be seen, and Kim started to relax a little as practice went on.

Kim stared sidelong at Bonnie. Bonnie seemed leery of being her normal snarky self to Kim directly, and so she was turning her attitude on the rest of the squad. She was making veiled jabs at their performance every time a mistake was made and offering her own advice on solutions. She did it mainly when Kim was looking the other way, but Kim could still hear her. She felt a stab of annoyance at the abashed and affronted expressions on her teammates faces under Bonnie's needling.

She waited for a moment when the rest of the squad was stretching and Bonnie was heading for the cell phone in her gym bag on the sideline. 'I was thinking.' she said, trying to sound pensive, 'Maybe we need some new members on the squad.'

'No!' said Bonnie, waving her hands. 'No - we don't want to mess with the team dynamic in the middle of the season!'

Kim had to fight to keep from laughing as Bonnie seemed to deflate from strutting peacock groveling toad. She tried to make her voice sound as disinterested and curious as she could. 'Maybe.' she said. 'But the team's gonna need some people next year who know what they're doing. Most of us graduate this year. It may be time to swap some of us out and find some new talent...'

'No!' said Bonnie again, and she actually laid a hand on Kim's shoulder. 'I mean... They'll train a new squad next year whether we take on any new people or not.' she said, her voice sounded off-handed and non-concerned, but there was a high squeal in it that betrayed nervousness. 'That's what the coach is for, right? We haven't even seen her in ages because she's trusted you to run things. She'll whip next year's squad into shape - no need to rock the boat!' She ended with a chuckle that was muffled slightly as she forced it through a tooth-gritting smile that didn't extend to her eyes.

Kim hummed as if considering. 'Well,' she said with an artful pause, 'It's still something to think about.' She looked appraisingly at Bonnie. 'Are you getting back in line now?'

Bonnie quickly darted back to join the rest of the squad.

The rest of practice went smoothly, and eventually the squad went back into the locker room while Kim stayed out to put away the equipment.

'See how easy it is?'

Kim jumped and turned, hearing Grimm's amused voice. He had been around the corner behind the bleachers and leaned out after Bonnie had left. He smirked and bowed slightly. 'You don't even have to boot her from the squad if you don't want to.' he said. 'Just keep thinking of clever ways to hold the threat over her head and you'll own her.'

Kim flushed a little. 'I didn't do it to own her.' she said. 'I only did it to get her to back off the rest of the squad.'

Grimm spread out his hands. 'Hey, I'm with you on this.' he said. 'She had it coming - and I think anything you do to protect your friends from her is... justified.' Then he turned away with a sly look.

Kim wanted to argue. But he had just agreed with her - and that disturbed her more than anything else he might have said. She sighed and returned to putting the equipment away.

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Evening was passing, but Kim finished her homework a bit early. Barkin hadn't assigned her nearly as much as he normally did, and she wondered briefly if he was going soft. But as she put her books away, she noticed that Grimm was missing.

Immediately suspicious, she went through most of the rooms on the lower floor, but there was no sign of him. She took Rufus out of her hip pouch and set him down. 'Find jerk guy.' she said, hoping that would be enough for him. Rufus signed OK to her and scampered off, sniffing here and there.

Rufus eventually went into the kitchen and began scrabbling at the sliding glass door. Kim shook her head, guessing where he was. She had no idea why he was so fascinated by the woods behind her house. He had stashed his bike there before they made their arrangement, but his bike was now in the garage at Ron's house - why was he still haunting the area behind her backyard?

She picked up Rufus, made her way stealthily to the small wooded area and saw that he was there, kneeling on the grass with his head bowed as if he were meditating. She edged slightly closer, and heard him chanting the same words he had used before. Puzzled, she backed away and returned to the house, activating her Kimmunicator as she went.

Wade popped up, but he was wearing welding goggles and had a soldering iron in his hand. A veritable tangle of wires was behind him, sending out occasional sparks. 'I'm kinda in the middle of something Kim.' he said without preamble. 'Important?'

'Maybe.' she said. 'I was just wondering if you'd managed to translate those words I gave you yesterday.'

'Oh yeah, I forgot.' said Wade. 'I had the translation earlier, but I got sidetracked when I started on this thing.'

'So how about it?' she asked.

'Do you want it literal or flowery?'

Kim took a look at the eager glint in his eye and smiled. 'Flowery.' she said. And Wade smiled back. A string of words popped up on Kim's screen and she read them curiously.

Spirit of the Bear,
hear your servant's prayer
Strength from mother Earth,
break the evil curse

When she was finished reading closed the window and brought up Wade's face again. 'What does that mean?' she said.

'Pretty much what it says.' said Wade, shrugging. 'He's asking the Great Bear Spirit for help.'

Kim blinked in surprise. 'Thanks....' she said off-handedly. Wade had nodded and was back working on the mass of wires before she had turned off the Kimmunicator. Kim sat down on a picnic table bench on the patio, thinking.

She remembered that Maze had mentioned the Bear Spirit when they met at the UNIT labs.

'It is a mystical power that belongs to my people - the Blackfoot Indians. These two came among our tribe some time ago, they deceived us and stole the power for themselves....'

Kim felt troubled. She knew Grimm was a louse, he had proved it time and again - even when he said he was trying to help her. But if he and Rhonda had somehow 'stolen' the power of this Bear Spirit, then why was Grimm asking it for help? The normal pattern for when a villain got some new power was to crow about it and jump around saying 'now this power belongs to me' or 'now this power is mine to command'. It just didn't seem like Grimm to supplicate himself to anyone. She tried to see it from another perspective, wondering what his angle was and what he was trying to accomplish. But again she could think of no answers, and went back into the house to get ready for bed.

Grimm continued to kneel and chant softly, trying to shut out any distractions, trying to ignore even the feel of the air around him and the sound of Rueful nosing around in the grove.

Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa,
Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa...

He sighed, cracking his eyes open to look at his watch. He could only spare a few more minutes before he had to tend to other things. 'Come on Great Bear...' he thought in exasperation. 'I'm trying to help you here, why won't you answer?'

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Ron was talking eagerly to Rhonda. While sharing truths, somehow they had gotten onto the subject of his camp experience. It had started off normally enough, but Rhonda had stared at him with such intensity as he spoke, and had sympathized so perfectly, that the conversation had turned into a full-blown emotional tennis match as they rapidly spoke back and forth.

'...and they made me share my cabin with the camp's rabid monkey mascot!' Ron said.
'I had to share mine with a grizzly bear cub!' she said.
'...there was poison ivy everywhere! I was itching for months...'
'...everything I touched caught on fire - they called me "Firebringer!"
'...I had to hide food under a floorboard in the cabin, or the monkey would eat all my meals!'
'...the Kwitcherbeliakin food was always 'healthy'! I never had to hide it because no one ever wanted to steal any! They never had pizza night...!'
'...there was a bully there who hassled me every day! He called me squeeb!'
'...two jerks from my troop ditched me in the woods...!'
'...the lake was full of toxic waste and they wanted us to swim in it!'
'...none of the animals would leave me alone!'
And both of them shouted at the same time. '...and my parents wouldn't take my phone calls anymore!'

'No one believed me when I told them what it was like!' Ron said, holding out his arms. 'They all said I was just imagining things! Do you have any idea how much that hurts?'

Rhonda threw her arms around him. 'Yes!' she shouted, bursting into tears. 'Yes! Oh god, yes!'

They hugged for a few seconds before they seemed to realize what had happened and then they quickly broke apart, stammering uncomfortably.

'Ah, OK I guess that's enough truth sharing for now.' he said, twiddling his thumbs.

'Yeah. Yeah.' Rhonda, looking off in the distance. 'I... feel much better, guess we should call it a night... or a day... or whatever they call it here.'

An awkward silence fell in which Rhonda wiped away the tears from her eyes. She really was feeling better - the uncomfortable sensations that had oppressed her seemed mostly gone, or maybe they had simply been replaced by the feelings she had shared with Ron while remembering their camp days. As much as she liked Grimm, he simply hadn't grasped what a nightmare it had been...

As her mind drifted to thoughts about Grimm, it seemed to her that the mists in front of her drew aside, forming a ragged window. As if through a foggy glass, she saw a teenage boy with spiked hair kneeling down on a patch of grass in a wooded glade. Distant and echoing, she heard a voice chanting.

Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa,
Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa...

'Grimm!' she shouted. 'I'm here! Help me - please...!' For a moment, she saw Rueful stop, his head swiveled towards her as if he could see her, and she waved desperately, but the vision faded into swirling dark mist. 'Wait! Don't go!' she shrieked, but she knew that she could hardly control whatever had happened just by shouting.

Next to her, Ron was smiling. 'Hey, you saw your BF, didn't you? Looks like the Ron-man's got the mad training skills!' But he fell silent as Rhonda broke down in tears, burying her head into his chest.

'I saw him!' she sobbed, her voice half miserable, half overjoyed. 'I saw him.... I miss him so much!'

Ron felt awkward, but it didn't seem right to just push her away. He knew somehow that she needed this, to cry and just be held by someone who understood. He raised one hesitant hand and patted her on the back, wishing he could have had another vision of Kim just then to hopefully hear some advice on how to deal with a crying girl....

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beyond the veil

Grimm stopped his chanting, hearing a series of high-pitched squeaks. Rueful was scurrying around in a circle, stopping every so often and pointing at an area in front of him. Grimm watched curiously, for it seemed like Rueful was desperately trying to show him something, but he couldn't see anything but the trees and the grass.

It was getting late, and he had homework to finish, and strategy sessions with Jade. He also figured he'd have to watch Hana again and try to find a way to keep her from running around on the ceiling. There was no answer from the Great Bear, and he couldn't afford to spend any more time tonight in trying. He hoisted himself to his feet, shouldering his book bag.

'Come on little guy.' he said. 'Today's another bust - let's head back to Ron's.' And ignoring Rueful's chittering, he made his way back through the field behind Kim's house.

Rueful lingered in the grove for another minute, dashing back and forth around the point where he had felt Rhonda's presence. But it was gone now, and with a mournful sounding squeak, he followed after Grimm.

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Monkey Fist watched with some amusement as Maze prowled around the mini-UAJ, looking anxious. Unlike before, Maze now seemed to have no apprehension about using the device. Indeed, he now seemed eager at the prospect, his dark eyes glittering as the machine continued to power up.

  the jammer

Drakken was manning the computer consoles. 'You'll only have an hour or two to do... whatever it is you're doing.' he said. 'After that, the satellite goes out of range you'll have to wait for another one with the same transmission capabilities.'

'That will be enough.' said Monkey Fist, lowering the helmet onto his head and fitting his arms into the harness. 'Ssikipoyiwa - prepare yourself to act once I've finished.'

Maze nodded and stood back. A revving hum began to echo through the cavern. Energy pulsed through the cables that spread out behind the machine, and the machine itself began glowing on it's various readouts and gauges.

Monkey Fist concentrated on his chosen target. It was another rural town, very much like Graniton, with a modest number of homes and an isolated population. It was an out of the way community, and not likely to be investigated anytime soon. He focused, trying to dredge up within himself the same feelings of hate as when he had fought against Kim.

The gleam in Maze's eyes became more bright and yet more cold as he saw a yellow glow begin to form around his ally...

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Kim had finished breakfast, and was pondering in her mind about how a few days ago, the prospect of having Grimm Probable in her house would have sent her into a fury. Now she passed by him like a hat stand as she went about her preparations for the new day.

There was a tuneful beeping from her wrist, and she raised her Kimmunicator to see Wade's face. 'Good news, Kim!' he said brightly.

       

'As opposed to the evil news I normally get.' Grimm muttered from the background.

'Huh?' said Wade, looking confused.

'What's the sitch, Wade?' Kim said, cutting across Grimm with a hard stare.

Wade sat back, looking smugly pleased. 'I put together a machine that should let us detect when Monkey Fist and Maze are using their jammer to commandeer any satellites. If we're lucky, then we'll also be able to identify any satellites they're controlling.'

'Spankin!' Kim said.

'What's Jade been up to?' said Grimm, looking into his own communicator. 'She was supposed to be helping you.'

Wade looked resentful, but answered. 'There were two phases to our work. I was on phase one - making the machine that might let us find them. Jade's on phase two - coming up with something that might help us when we find them.'

Grimm nodded curtly but asked no more questions. Wade stepped to the side, revealing a large device behind him. Unused parts and tools were scattered on the floor around it. The machine hummed with a regular pulsing sound and a large pane of black glass showed an oscilloscope readout, flatlined and at the zero position. 'The principle is simple.' he said. 'All the normal frequencies of all the satellites communicating with earth are entered in. The minute an aberrant signal shows up, the alarm goes off.'

He tapped the screen proudly, but jumped back as a light on the screen suddenly jumped and a high pitched beeping sounded.

Kim looked at him with a raised brow. 'You didn't break it already did you?' she said.

But Wade was at his keyboard typing madly. 'Woah.' he said. 'That was fast.'

Grimm was leaning forward. 'This isn't a malfunction is it?' he said seriously. 'They're on the move.'

'Looks like we got lucky.' Wade said. 'If our detector is working right, then they're using their jammer right now.'

'Can you trace....' Kim started, but Wade broke in.

'No - the jammer's signals are too encrypted. All we can do is trace which satellite they're controlling. We can't trace it back to their base.'

'Can you find out what they're using the satellite for?' Kim tried again.

Wade was staring at his screen. 'There was a massive energy spike. The satellite is relaying some kind of signal to a target on the ground.'

'Where?' Kim said.

Wade was typing frantically. 'It's.... England again.' he said. 'I can't get an exact location, but I can get you within a dozen miles or so.'

'We'll take it.' said Kim firmly. 'If Monkey Fist is there, and if he uses the Yono's power again, then all we have to do is follow the yellow lights. Let Monique know, and see if you can find fast transport. Otherwise we may have to use the Sloth's sub-orbital jets.'

Wade nodded and blipped off the Kimmunicator screen.

Kim looked back over to Grimm. 'What are you waiting for?' she said. 'Suit up.'

   
Coming Soon:
Chapter 16