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

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

Chapter 21:
Compromise
Or: Heart of the Matter

Mr. Matter strode back and forth across his control room, where dozens of screens and instruments were performing a ballet of light and sound before his eyes. 'Excellent!' he said, though the room was empty. 'Soon my plans for global domination will be finalized, and once I have moved into the deployment phase, the entire world will tremble before the genius of... Mr. Matter!'

He leaned back his head and clenched both of his gloved fists, sending a cackling laugh echoing through the large control room. Once it was done he took a deep breath and wiped his forehead. 'Ooooh, that was a good one!' he said, delighted. 'I think all those hours of practicing laughter have really paid off!'

He smiled at the thought of the next HenchCo convention. It seemed every year that all the attendees could never remember his name - Professor Dementor, Killigan, the WEE bigwigs, even Dr. Drakken. Each convention he attended, he was always asked the same thing - Ah, who were you again? It was a source of constant vexation to him. Even villains that he considered sub-par, like the Mathter, furrowed their brows in confusion and asked who he was - despite the fact that he had a name tag like everyone else.

But all of that would change once he took over the world. And he smirked as he thought about the other villains. For all their fame, none of them had taken over the world yet. They were too high-profile. Every hero in the world was on the watch for them, spying on them around the clock. Yes, he thought - you only need to take over once. And to do that, you needed a cunning plan that would catch the fools at Global Justice off their guard. As a lesser-known villain, he felt he was ironically in a much better position to launch his schemes.

He looked from side to side and snorted. 'And those lunkheads weren't here to see my brilliant speech!' he sniffed. He glanced up to the surveillance cameras. 'Ah, but the security system will have it on tape!' he cackled. 'I'd better burn a DVD copy of it before I forget... It'll be historic viewing someday - Mr. Matter begins his rise to power!'

  mr matter

He scuttled to the main panel and brought up a screen which was supposed to be linked to Control Room camera. But he frowned as he saw a haze of static. 'Malfunctioning?' he thought. 'How dare this equipment malfunction during the best rant I've ever pulled off!'

Underneath the window was a scrollbar showing thumbnail representations of all the other cameras in the lair, and he saw something odd. He scrolled through them, bringing up one camera after the other, and saw only the same static, hearing the same hiss of white noise.

'All of the cameras are down?' he thought, 'What could possibly cause all the surveillance cameras to...' then he stopped. 'Of course! Global Justice - or Team Impossible - or that teenager Kim-something-something...! Somehow some meddlesome heroes have gotten wind of my plans and sent someone to come after me! Well, we'll soon see about that!'

He punched a red button on the console. 'My idiot minions!' he shouted into a microphone, 'We have a security breach! Report to the control room at once!' He waited several seconds, but nothing happened. Again, he shouted into the mike. 'Get in here, you useless lumps of muscle! What in the world am I paying you for?'

He repeatedly jabbed at a large red button with ALERT stamped on it in black. But beyond a soft clicking sound, nothing happened. The lair was utterly silent. 'Egad!' he shouted. 'They've taken out the security system as well?' He was feeling a bit nervous by now, and the dim shadows of the control room, which he kept darker on purpose for a more villainous effect, now seemed threatening. He was sure someone was moving towards him silently - getting closer and closer....

'Minions!' he yelled. 'Spring forward and defend your master!'

Then he heard firm footfalls behind him. Mr. Matter whirled around, and through the darkness, he saw hands reaching out to seize him....

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'What?' said Kim. She was in the hallway at Rhonda's house, just outside of Rhonda's room. She had been about to get ready for bed when she heard a knock and found Grimm waiting in the hall.

'I said a mercenary mission just came up.' said Grimm. 'You in?'

Kim sputtered in disbelief. 'What makes you think I'd go out and help you do jobs for your villain buddies?'

Grimm smirked. 'Just thought I'd offer. I know you're still trying to scrape together enough evidence to put me in jail - what better way than to come along and document one of my missions?'

Kim frowned. There was something entirely too smug about the way he was treating this chance for her to gain 'evidence' against him. After the fiasco with Rhonda's photo album, she found herself feeling more cautious. 'I don't believe anything you say anymore.' said Kim. 'What's the catch?'

'No catch.' said Grimm. 'I just had so much fun helping you take out Gill, I thought you might enjoy a walk on the wild side.'

'As if.' said Kim.

Grimm was walking back to the stairs which led down to the living room. 'I already beeped Enrique - he volunteers as a stand-in for Rhonda sometimes. We'll be waiting outside in a few minutes. If you've got the guts - come along. Or stay here, hide under the bed and let the men take care of it.' Then he disappeared down the stairs.

Kim felt her face going red and incoherent sounds of anger gurgling in her throat. 'If I've got the...' she stammered. 'Let the men take care of...?' It was blatant manipulation and she knew it - a barb with none of the subtlety that Grimm usually showed. But as far as buttons went, that was perhaps one of the hottest ones Grimm could have pushed.

She stormed over to the door for the guest room. Before she could knock, it opened and showed Monique staring at her with a cunning eye. 'Did... you... hear that?' Kim said.

'Uh huh.' said Monique. 'You know he said it on purpose to get you mad, right?'

'Yes!' Kim said.

'You know he's got a lot of girls on his team and he didn't mean a word of it, right?'

'Yes!'

'We're still going on this mission, aren't we?'

'Snap, yes!' said Kim.

From Kim's hip pouch, Rufus smiled faintly and clapped a pawed hand to his forehead.

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As quickly as they could, they geared up and went outside the Fatigable house, gathering by the curb underneath a street light where the Sloth was parked. Grimm and Enrique were already there standing next to the Ksikkihkíni, with Rueful peering over Grimm's shoulder and sniffing the night air. Enrique's eyes sparkled as soon as he saw Monique, who flinched and stayed a step behind Kim.

'So what's the sitch?' said Kim. 'If it involves stealing anything, forget it.'

Grimm smirked. 'Unless it involves stealing from Professor Dementor or HenchCo?' he said slyly. 'You'd be fine with that, right? I may have to take tips from you on how to steal if that's the case - Dementor said you were a pretty good thief.'

Kim gritted her teeth, her fists clenched. 'That was...' she sputtered, her cheeks reddening again, 'Drakken tricked us!'

'The same Drakken you keep saying is a pathetic loser?' Grimm shot back. 'Who's the real loser? The loser - or the people who let themselves get tricked by a loser?'

'Why don't you and Monkey Fist get together and figure that out?' Kim spat.

Grimm's eyes narrowed and his own face seemed to redden a bit, but Monique shot forward. 'How about you sitch us first? You can play verbal lawn darts after we learn if the mission's a zero or not.'

'Fine,' Grimm said, holding up his communicator. 'Jade - sitch me.'

'Wade, patch us in.' said Kim, both her and Grimm looking determinedly away from each other and at their video screens. Jade popped up an instant later.

'I didn't get much more out of Matter.' Jade said, taking a sucker out of her mouth. 'He wanted to fill you in personally. He only said he was having trouble at his lair.'

Grimm nodded. 'Where does he want to meet?'

'The diner.' said Jade. 'I think he's there right now.'

'On it.' Grimm said. 'But stand by - we'll probably need more info once he's given us the details.' Jade nodded and saluted as the communicator screen blacked out.

'Senor Grimm,' said Enrique quickly, with half an eye still on Monique, 'I was thinking - two guys on a motorcycle - no es macho. Since Kim has a car, perhaps I might... go with the senoritas?'

Grimm rolled his eyes, but looked questioningly at Kim. Kim rolled her eyes as well. 'Backseat.' she said, jerking her thumb towards the Sloth.

'Excellent!' Enrique said, delighted. 'As we are joining forces on this mission, it is for the good of the team that we get to know each other as best we can, and the backseat is the perfect place for quiet conversation....'

Monique was suddenly looking at him with a smile. 'It sure is, homeboy.' she said. 'And if it's quiet conversation you want, have I got a partner for you....'

Within moments they were speeding down the streets of Riddleton with Grimm in the lead. Monique sat in the passenger side front seat of the Sloth. Enrique was in back, and buckled next to him was Rufus. The mole rat smiled and waved at Enrique, winking at him and growling playfully.

Enrique sighed, looking up towards the heavens through the roof of the car. 'This is not what I had in mind...' he said mournfully.

'Well that mission brief taught us nothing.' said Kim to the dashboard speaker. 'Are mercenary mission briefings always that lean on intel?'

'The initial contact - yeah.' Grimm answered, his voice crackling back through the speaker. 'You have to understand that almost every client is paranoid about something. Paranoid about being caught, paranoid about sharing their secrets, paranoid that someone will rip off their ideas... Sometimes you don't get the actual mission details until a second or third meeting.'

'And what if you decide you don't want the mission?' Kim said.

'Play it Belgian.' Grimm answered. Kim paused and shrugged to Monique who shrugged back, but didn't seem to understand it any better than Kim did. 'The time-honored art of waffling.' Grimm continued. 'Some double-talk here, some cagey phrases there... A few questions answered with questions of your own... They do it too of course. It's kind of like talking to a used car salesman, but as long as you're patient you can usually waffle it out of them.'

'You'd be better off taking jobs with clients who play it straight.' said Kim. 'When you don't take jobs from the bad guys, you don't have to worry about your clients pulling a fast one on you.'

'Not every client's a "bad guy".' said Grimm's voice, 'Sometimes clients are victims of espionage and they hire us to get their stuff back. Sometimes the clients are people you'd actually like, Possible. You might want to give them a chance before you write them off.'

'So what kind of villain is this client anyway?' Kim said.

'He's not really a villain.' said Grimm. 'He's more like a villain wannabe. He made a fortune as a business tycoon and was able to retire early. But he got bored with that pretty quick and decided he needed something to occupy his time....'

'And he decided super-villainy was the way to go?' Kim said.

'Pretty much.'

Kim groaned and shook her head. 'Why do bored rich people always try to take over the world?' she said. 'How come none of them ever try becoming super heroes?'

'Thing is, a lot of them believe they are heroes.' said Grimm. 'Most of them think they're the smartest people on Earth, and that their ideas for running things are the best. And they want to prove it to the world whether the world wants it or not. It never occurs to most of them that the world could do just fine without them.'

'You'd think that fact that none of them have taken over the world yet would be a big tip-off.' Kim said, grumbling as she kept her eyes on traffic. 'That and the fact that no one likes them. People don't like being bossed around by jerks who think they're better than everyone else.'

'It's the same thing I told you before.' Grimm's voice answered. 'You can present them with all kinds of facts and evidence that their ideas won't work, but they'll totally ignore it. Even when their lairs are blowing up around them, they'll still insist that the only reason their plans failed is because everyone else was too stupid to realize how brilliant they are. Heads up, we're almost there.'

Grimm was turning into a square, paved lot with a small building in the center. Kim followed, parking in an empty spot and getting out to look at where they were. It looked like a shabby restaurant. The parking lot was rough, broken in some spots with potholes. The building had a large sign that blared white in the darkness with black letters that read 'The Losers' Last Chance Diner'. The large plate glass windows that spread across every wall of the diner looked piercingly white against the surrounding darkness, but even so, it couldn't hide the dinginess of the restaurant interior.

Grimm and Enrique were already heading inside and Kim and Monique followed. A scratchy radio was playing in the background. Linoleum and chrome seemed to be the dominant theme. A smattering of faded photographs behind greasy panes of glass lined the walls above the windows, along with a number of rusty road signs.

The diner seemed to be deserted except for a lone waitress who stared at them from behind the counter as if the arrival of customers was something she hadn't planned on. But from one of the corner booths, a figure shot up.

'Mr. Probable! I'm glad you came so quickly!' He gestured them towards the booth, seeming wary of the others.

Kim stared. The man was dressed in a white lab coat and black boots. He wore industrial rubber gloves and had a pair of welding goggles pushed up onto his forehead. His hair was thick and bushy, but slightly unkempt, as if he started each day by sticking his finger into an electrical socket. The coat had an indented stripe across the front that looked like a stylized letter M.

'Mr. Matter - it's been a while.' said Grimm with a nod. He went to the booth and the others followed him, squeezing into the upholstered U-shaped bench that surrounded the table. Enrique didn't sit down.

'Should I get the usual, Senor Grimm?' he said, jerking a thumb towards the counter.

'Yeah,' said Grimm, handing him a twenty dollar bill. 'You guys like smoothies?' he said, 'They make a berry-banana here that's to die for.' Kim and Monique shrugged, doubting that anything the diner made would be good, and Enrique moved off to the counter. 'So what's the sitch, Mr. Matter?' said Grimm. 'Jade said you were having problems at your lair, but she didn't give me any more details.'

Mr. Matter's face contracted. 'I didn't want to discuss it over a wire.' he said peevishly. 'It's rather embarrassing, but I currently don't have a lair - it's a long story....'

'I'm all ears.' said Grimm, leaning back against the upholstery. Enrique returned with several cups and handed them out before eagerly sitting down next to Monique. He also brought a nacho caddy, which both Rueful and Rufus noticed. They sprang from their respective pouches and started nibbling at the chips, pausing every so often to lean in and growl at each other.

But Mr. Matter was still looking at the others suspiciously. 'Have you... expanded your team since I hired you last?' he said. 'I thought I remembered you having a blonde girl in your group. Did she dye her hair red?'

'These guys are on board for this mission.' said Grimm. 'They're OK. This is my friend Enrique, this is Monique, and her friend - Kim Possible.'

Mr. Matter sprang to his feet, pointing at Kim with his eyes blazing. 'I thought I recognized you!' he shouted. 'You're that crime fighting girl all the other villains keep raving about!' He turned to Grimm, looking furious. 'You've betrayed me!' he said. 'You're in on the whole thing with them, aren't you? Whatever they're paying you I'll double it once....'

'Matter - chill!' said Grimm. 'Yeah, she's a crime fighter, but right now I'm guessing you're the victim - which means she's on your side.'

Mr. Matter sank back down slowly into his seat. 'But... to accept help from a hero?' he said quietly. 'What will the other villains say at the next convention?'

'No need for them to know about this, I'd say.' Grimm answered. 'Who's gonna tell them?'

'Well... I suppose even if they heard about it they wouldn't believe it.' Mr. Matter said more doubtfully. 'I'm not sure I believe it either... You're sure she's not here to arrest me?'

Grimm shrugged, taking a sip through the straw of his cup. 'Let's ask.' he said, turning to Kim. 'You here to arrest him?'

'Arrest him?' said Kim, 'I've never even heard of this guy. Why is he called "Mr. Matter" anyway? Can he control matter or something?'

'Not exactly.' Grimm said. 'He calls himself Mr. Matter because he's made of matter.'

Kim blinked. 'But... everyone is made of matter!' she said.

'Indeed yes!' said Mr. Matter, rubbing his hands together. 'But with my brilliant gray matter, I will soon take over the world, and then all matter will be under my sway! Hahahaha-haaaaaaaaaaaa!!'

Kim felt her mouth hanging open and closed it. Her hopes of gathering enough evidence to jail Grimm faded. She wasn't sure she could get a local judge to arrest Mr. Matter, never mind State or Federal. If she presented a 'villain' like him as evidence, she might be laughed out of court.

'Coolness.' said Grimm, with a warning glance at Kim. 'So what's your latest plan?'

'Ah.... well....' said Mr. Matter, suddenly twiddling his gloved fingers, 'There are a few snags that I've run into, but I have every confidence that they'll clear up.'

'And one of those snags involves your mansio... ah, your lair?' said Kim, trying to get him to focus on the actual task he wanted them to do. 'Maybe if his plan is 'criminal' enough....' she thought.

'Alas, true.' said Mr. Matter, now clutching at the air above him, his face taking on a grieved appearance. 'I'm afraid that I'm no longer in control of my lair - I need you to get it back for me!'

'Kind of like old times.' said Grimm with a faint smile. 'What is it - another malfunctioning security system?'

'Sort of.' said Mr. Matter with an angry grimace. 'As you may recall, the security system which I installed in my mans... ah, my lair, was brought into a state of malfunction because of my two henchmen, H1 and H2.'

'That was like my first job! How did you regain control?' said Kim, curious.

'Oh, Probable jumped through some lasers or something, details - details!' said Mr. Matter, waving his hand.

Kim shook her head. Here was yet another way in which her life and Grimm's seemed to intersect.

'He didn't seem all that sure about taking the money I offered him until that girlfriend of his convinced him...' Mr. Matter said.

She shook her head again. So it was Rhonda who had steered him into working for money? She glanced at Grimm and wondered what he might have been like if Rhonda hadn't put in her two bits at just the wrong time.

'I remember.' said Grimm. 'Go on.'

'The situation is similar now, but different. It seems my henchmen are rebelling against me.'

Grimm's eyes opened a little wider. 'Rebelling?' he said. 'I thought those guys worshipped the ground you walked on.'

'So did I!' said Mr. Matter, wringing his hands. 'That's why I kept them around - I've never had a minute's trouble from them before - at least in terms of loyalty. True they're ham-handed, ignorant goofwads; and neither one of them could think their way out of wet tissue paper, but they were always obedient! Now all of a sudden, they throw me out of my own lair and they've sealed it against me - madness!'

'Can you think of any reason why they'd do it?' said Grimm, punching information onto his communicator.

'None whatsoever!' said Mr. Matter angrily. 'I can only deduce that they've spent one day too many admiring all my stuff and they've decided that they want it for themselves.'

'You do have a lot of stuff....' said Grimm, smirking.

'Yes, and I miss it!' said Mr. Matter with another glare. 'So if you'll just... do whatever you did last time and get my lair back, I'll pay you the same as before.'

'If we do, what'll happen to your henchmen?' said Kim suspiciously.

'They'll be punished severely!' said Mr. Matter with a crazed grin. Kim leaned her Kimmunicator closer to record anything villainous he said as he ranted on. 'I'll lock both of them in the Tickle Dome for an hour or so! That will teach them the consequences of defying my will! Mwuh-ha hahahahahaaaaaaah!'

Kim turned off her Kimmunicator, a feeling of disappointment and embarrassment sinking into her. There was no way anyone would take him seriously enough that they would throw Grimm in jail by association. 'Fine, let's get it over with before anyone I know sees us together.'

Mr. Matter turned to her with an appraising look, then turned back to Grimm. 'She's a lot lippier than the blonde was.' he said.

'Tell me about it.' said Grimm, smirking. 'Don't worry Mr. Matter - we'll get your lair back. Team Probable is on the case!'

'That's your team battle cry?' said Monique, finishing her smoothie. 'Pretty lame.'

Grimm shrugged. 'Fine.' he said, standing up. 'Team Probable - transform and roll out!'

Kim groaned as everyone but her and Monique cheered and headed for the door, even Rufus. 'Boys.' said Monique, shaking her head.

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Within half an hour, Kim found herself parking the Sloth a few dozen yards away from a vast complex. They were in what looked like a huge gated community within a colossal gated community, having been admitted through a wrought-iron gate with the words 'Manor Meadows' in the arch at the top.

Grimm seemed to know the way, though Mr. Matter was now in the backseat with Enrique, giving Kim directions as she drove until they reached their destination. Kim looked around and saw nothing but large manors and mansions with high gates all around. Clearly they were in a section of Riddleton set aside for the richer people to build their manors and try to out-do each other in terms of the opulence of their yards.

Nearly every mansion was set on a hill, and Kim caught distant glimpses of hedge mazes, pools, statues and all the other useless trappings of people who had more wealth than they knew what to do with. All the mansions had various grand architectural stylings, but when Kim spotted one that looked similar to a Transylvanian castle, she knew this one had to be Mr. Matter's 'lair'.

And sure enough, when Mr. Matter got out of the Sloth, his attention fixed directly onto the castle-mansion with a twitchy, eager look. 'Enjoy my foosball room while you can, you lunkheads!' he crowed, standing majestically on the curb and pointing towards the manor. 'You're about to learn that trifling with me is no laughing... Matter!' And despite his words, he broke into a long string of laughter. Kim wouldn't have been surprised to see a lightning bolt and a thunderclap in the night sky behind him.

'Johnson - have you actually got something going on tonight?' called a friendly voice.

Mr. Matter flinched as he heard the friendly voice behind them. Kim turned and saw across the street a man in a polo shirt looking out through the bars in the gate surrounding the well-lit lawn of his own manor. 'Ah - good evening Charlie.' said Mr. Matter, his face going slightly red as he glanced at Grimm and the others.

'I was just getting in some evening putting practice when I overheard you.' said Charlie, hoisting a golf club and adjusting a cap with a puff ball on the top. 'What's your scheme tonight, eh? These don't look like your normal bodyguards.'

the team  

'Nothing for you to worry about Charlie.' said Mr. Matter, gritting his teeth and trying valiantly to sound sinister. 'There are some annoying pests in my manor and this is just the extermination crew.'

'Ho hoooo, well let me know how it goes during tea tomorrow!' said Charlie, tipping his hat. Then he disappeared further into the grounds behind his gate.

'Annoying chattel.' Mr. Matter fumed. 'Vapid neighbors are the price I pay for the strategic location of my lair. They act like they know all about my plans, but they know nothing - nothing I say!' And he laughed again.

'You've been practicing.' said Grimm. 'You'll get that 'Best Laugh' trophy from HenchCo yet.' Mr. Matter seemed pleased at Grimm's words and nodded as Grimm took out his communicator again. 'Before we go in, we'll need all the intel we can get on your security systems.' he said. 'If your henchmen are controlling the lair, then we won't be just fighting against them - we'll be fighting against the whole building.'

Mr. Matter straightened his collar with a dignified sniff. 'The secrets of my lair are many and varied.' he said mysteriously. 'Even if we stayed out here for days I could barely touch on the smallest fraction of....'

'Got it, GP!' Jade's voice chirped through his communicator. 'There's a 3rd degree laser grid at the top of the main fence....'

'And pressure-sensitive pads scattered beneath the grass on the other side....' said Wade's voice, breaking in.

'Which alert security robots on the grounds disguised as lawn ornaments...' Jade said, sounding annoyed at the interruption.

'The doors and windows are all equipped with laser tripwires....' said Wade.

'And they're linked to motion-sensitive stun gun batteries in nearly every room....' Jade said.

'Spinning tops of doom in the larger areas....' Wade said quickly.

Mr. Matter stood spluttering in disbelief as Wade and Jade continued listing off different security features. 'How did you....?' he said angrily, 'Where did...? That information is supposed to be secret!'

'Uh... a lot of it's on FacePage.' said Jade's voice. 'Your henchies posted some pictures in the 'my day at work' section....'

Mr. Matter gnashed his teeth, his fists trembling. 'Those... lunkheads!' he grated. 'I told them not to...'

'Can you upload it all as a hazard map?' said Grimm.

'Sure.' said Wade and Jade, speaking at the same time.

Grimm knelt down, took off his pack and removed several objects that looked like metal orbs of some kind. He rolled a few towards Kim, who stooped down to catch them. 'What are these?' she said.

'Gas bombs.' said Grimm, then at Kim's pointed look he said, 'Knockout gas.' He laid down his communicator and a glowing green holographic projection sprang up that looked like a map. Several spots were labeled with red dots. 'The lair's vents and air intakes are marked here.' he said, pointing to each dot in turn. 'The main air conditioning unit is on the roof here. If we flood the lair and knock out the henchmen, then all we'll have to worry about are the automated defenses.'

The map highlighted a room inside the mansion floor plan and Wade's voice spoke up. 'The control room for the security system is here, deep inside the mansion.' he said. 'If you can hook the Kimmunicator into it, then I can take control and the mission should be over.'

'Sounds simple enough.' said Kim, though Monique was biting her lip. 'What if the henchmen have got gas masks?'

Mr. Matter's snorted. 'Don't worry about them.' he said. 'Those sun-baked hams haven't got the brains to anticipate anything past their next meal!'

Grimm nodded and touched the glowing red dots on the left side of the mansion. The dots turned into Kim Possible's logo. 'You and Unknown take the vents here, Enrique and I will cover the main AC unit and the vents on the others side...'

'My name is not Unknown!!' said Monique angrily, but Grimm was holding up one of the gas bombs.

'Set the detonation timer with these dials on the top half,' he said, twiddling a pair of knobs. A small black screen showed red numbers clicking up minutes and seconds. 'To activate, twist the top a quarter turn until you hear a click. You can deactivate them with the black button on the bottom.'

'What's the red button on top for?' said Monique suspiciously.

'Impact detonation.' Grimm said. 'Just push it, give it a throw and the bomb will go off when it hits the ground. Make sure it lands a few yards away.' Monique gingerly took some of the orbs while Kim put the rest in her pack. Monique took care to make sure the red buttons were pointing straight up, even though the buttons were indented. 'It's not likely, but the henchmen might be monitoring communications.' said Grimm. Once we're inside the grounds, we keep radio silence unless it's an emergency. We'll meet in the control room as soon as we can. Once Wade or Jade control the system, we'll take down H1 and H2.'

'Don't pull a 'Gill' on them.' said Kim. 'I don't do rough stuff.'

Grimm sniffed. 'Shego might disagree with you on that.' he said, 'But I don't think we'll need any rough stuff. Still, if you think you can get to them first, go for it.'

'What about me?' said Mr. Matter, looking miffed. 'This is my lair, I should be involved more actively in it's liberation.'

Grimm had a knowing gleam in his eye. 'You've got the most important part of all.' he said. 'We'll need you to stay out here and come up with a victory speech for when we've got your henchmen in custody. We'll let you know when it's safe to come in and deliver it.'

'Ah, of course!' said Mr. Matter, rubbing his hands together. 'Yes, this will be my finest hour yet!' Then he whipped a notepad and pencil out from the pockets of his lab coat and began scribbling furiously, using the hood of the Sloth as a table.

'That should do it.' Grimm muttered under his breath to Kim. 'Enrique and I will enter from the west wall, you take the east. Set your gas bombs to go off five minutes from now.'

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Getting past the lasers lining the top of the fence was simple enough with her cheer squad training. Getting Monique over them safely made it a bit harder, but she managed it, motioning for a safe spot to land in the lawn past the fence.

Kim made her way across the lawn, taking cover to avoid swiveling surveillance cameras and using the map in her Kimmunicator to avoid the pressure sensors beneath the turf. She motioned Monique to follow in her wake and Monique proved surprisingly good at timing her dashes into safe zones when the cameras swiveled the other way.

The mansion loomed nearer and nearer in the darkness, with it's tall towers looming high above. It reminded her starkly of Monkey Fist's draconian manor before she remembered that it had been pulverized by the power of the Yono.

They made their way silently around half of the manor, planting gas bombs in each air vent they could find. Finally Kim's watch beeped softly. 'Five seconds!' she whispered, and she and Monique backed away quickly.

There was a series of popping hisses and they saw clouds of gray vapor billowing here and there around the building. Kim brought up the internal map showing the location of the control room, then handed Monique a breathing mask. 'Put this on.' she said. 'We're going in through one of the windows.'

'Aren't the rooms full of gas now?' said Monique.

'It's the path of least resistance.' said Kim, smiling.

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Grimm signaled Enrique to wait a few seconds before he opened one of the main vents on the roof of the manor. So far, no alarms had gone off, even after the gas bombs had released their fumes into the lair.

Over a minute passed before Grimm signaled that it was all right to remove the masks. 'It should have saturated the lair completely and dissipated by now.' he said. 'If anyone is inside, they'll be down for half an hour.'

'Facil, no?' said Enrique.

'Maybe.' said Grimm. 'But don't let your guard down until we've actually got them.'

But Enrique was adjusting his outfit. 'Do you think Senorita Monique likes me in these mission clothes?' he said, but Grimm cuffed him softly on the back of his head and they both went into the ventilation duct.

Grimm kept his pace slower so that Enrique could keep up. He had to pause and motion him to silence several times as Enrique did a lot of puffing and bumping against the walls of the ducts. He knew Enrique was doing his best, and that most people wouldn't hear him, but his trained ears flinched at any sound which broke the silence.

Rueful was scouting ahead, his furry feet making no sound at all as he scampered along, peering out of various grates until he finally stopped and motioned with his paw. Grimm patted the weasel on the head and Rueful scurried up his arm and into his backpack.

A second later, the vent grating was silently removed and two figures slid down a rope line into a large room that looked like a central hub to the lair. It was more 'mansion-like' than the exterior, with polished marble floors that glinted in the dim light. There were large vases, sculptures and other finery adorning the walls, and sweeping staircases curved on either side of the room leading to the upper floors. Beside those, another set of stairs led down. A massive chandelier glittered from a dome-like recess in the ceiling, and far beneath it was an equally shimmering fountain.

'I think a room can be said to be too big when another person's house could fit inside it...' said Enrique in a hushed whisper, looking around in wonder.

Grimm eased Rueful out of his pack again and turned him loose. 'Go, little fella.' he whispered. 'The main control room is on the lower levels, to the left and the tenth door down. Stick to the shadows and keep us informed if the coast is clear.' Rueful saluted with his paw and started scampering off towards the staircases.

At that moment, every light in the room suddenly blazed and they shielded their eyes for a moment. Grimm heard a gruff, deep voice from above, coming from one of the upper staircases. 'Daaah, I know you! You're that Grimm Possible kid from a few years ago!'

Another voice sounded from the other set of upper stairs. 'Daaah, he's not Possible, he's Probable! Possible was that girl the boss was always worried about.'

'Oh yeah, I forgot.' said the first voice.

Grimm's eyes adjusted to the light and he looked up. At the top of each set of stairs was a large, hulking figure. They were both dressed in gray jumpsuits with black boots and gloves. They wore visors that looked like a reflective letter M set into their headsocks. Each of them had a small white circle emblazed on their chests, with one reading "H1" and the other reading "H2". 'Hi guys,' said Grimm. 'Been a while.'

  H1 and H2

'Daaah, what are you doing here?' said H1, taking a shock prod out of his belt.

Grimm smirked. 'Just felt like stopping by to see if Mr. Matter needed any jobs done.' he said. 'Things have been kind of slow lately and I'm trolling for business....'

'Daaah, don't play dumb!' said H2. 'Mr. Matter hired you to try and stop us!'

Grimm saw Rueful's tail whisking off to the side behind one of the banisters and hurriedly spoke up to keep the henchmen distracted. He held his arm out, keeping Enrique behind him. 'I should have known you guys would be too smart for me,' he said. 'So what are you after? If you tell me, maybe I can get Mr. Matter on board with you.'

H1 waved frantically to H2. 'Daaah, seal off the control room!' he shouted. 'I bet his pet ferret is trying to get in!'

H2 whipped a large remote control from a holster on his bet and fiddled with it. Somewhere in the distance, he heard a ringing boom that sounded like heavy steel doors slamming shut.

'Daaah, don't let him try anything!' H1 yelled. 'Send out the tops!'

H2 nodded, and Grimm heard several heavy doors sliding open on either side. A quick glance showed spinning tops of doom inside hidden alcoves. He glanced up at where H2 was standing and looking down at them, the remote control firm in his grip. In a splintered second, several thoughts raced through his mind. 'They actually wired the entire lair into one remote control? And they're sending in the spinning tops of doom first? Those things take a few seconds to rev up to full speed...'

He quickly pushed Enrique down under a decorative iron bench in front of the fountain. 'Stay down!' he said firmly, then sent his grapple line into the ceiling high above.

'I think you would say that's a 'no-brainer'.' said Enrique, scrabbling to fold himself securely under the bench.

Grimm was already high above the spinning tops by the time they spiraled onto the polished marble. Their saw blades whirled, and their heavy points left deep grooves on the floors as they rumbled around the fountain in a deadly circle, searching for a ground level target. H1 was shouting something, but Grimm landed lightly on the railing of the second staircase and started sprinting towards H2.

With a rolling leap, he landed on the hallway between the stairwells and moved towards H2, keeping his back to H1. He heard heavy footsteps racing towards him from behind, but held back on purpose. 'Hand over the remote and no one gets hurt.' he said.

'Daaah, forget it Probable!' said H2, slipping the remote into it's holster and taking out a shock prod of his own. 'We're not scared of you!'

Grimm felt a rush of air movement behind him and darted off to the side. A loud yelp from H2 let him know that the trick had worked perfectly. He pivoted and saw H2 reeling backwards from H1's shock prod.

'Daaah, watch it, that hurts!' said H2 angrily.

'Pathetic.' said Grimm loudly, going into a ready stance. 'No wonder H1 said you were a loser.'

H2 glared back and forth between Grimm and H1. 'Daaah, what?' he said, looking angry.

'That's right,' said Grimm. 'I hacked into the phone lines before we got here. H1 was bragging to one of his FacePage buddies about how he was gonna get rid of you and have the manor all to himself.'

H2 turned to H1. 'Daaah, that wasn't the plan!' he roared. 'You said we were gonna...'

'Daaah, don't fall for that old trick!' said H1, dodging a lunge from H2's shock prod. 'He's just trying to mess with us!'

H2 was swinging again. 'Daaah, how else would he have know about our FacePage....'

'Daah, it's the internet!' H1 said, blocking with his own shock prod. 'Anyone can see it!'

They were so busy fighting and arguing that they didn't see a brown, furry shape jumping up from behind. Rueful landed on top of H1's head and scurried around in a circle, chittering and squeaking loudly.

'Daaah, it's the ferret!' said H1, dropping his shock prod as he scrabbled at his head sock. 'Get him off me!'

'Daaah, I got him!' shouted H2, and he brought down the shock prod with all his strength just as Rueful leaped away.

There was a sparking flash and H1 flew backwards, looking groggy even through his visor. 'Daaaaaahhhhhhhh.......!' he said in a long, drawn out wail, and then he fell to the red carpeted floor with a crash.

'Daaah, sorry H1!' said H2, looking dismayed. But an instant later he flinched as he felt Grimm's hand pulling hard on the holster of his belt.

Grimm winced. The holster had a binding clip on it that kept it closed, and he would need to position himself differently to get it open, but H2 was already aware of the ruse. Grimm spun aside as the shock prod whooshed by him, leaving a buzzing trail of sparks.

H2's free hand closed over the holster. 'Daaah, nice try Probable!' he said triumphantly. 'But there's no way you're getting this from me...!' A second later he gasped as Grimm snaked around in front of him and hit the button on his belt buckle, unclasping it. The belt, holster and all, whipped from around his waist as Grimm darted back out of reach. 'Hey - come back here with that!' he yelled, chasing after him as Grimm slid down the rail.

Grimm looked down, hearing a shout. The bench where Enrique was hiding had nearly disintegrated. Two Spinning Tops of Doom were on either side of the bench, their heavy bulk slowly grinding it into filings. 'Senor Grimm!' Enrique called out.

Grimm sent out his grapple line again and swept down just as Enrique tried to make a dash for it to escape the tops. Two more were still circling around the fountain, but Grimm pulled Enrique up above the reach of the tops. He couldn't hold the grapple line, and Enrique and H2's belt though. He tried to hold the belt between his teeth, but it slipped out and disappeared below him.

'When I let go, start running!' Grimm shouted, and Enrique nodded, looking a bit shaken. He let go of both Enrique and the grapple line, and both of them landed directly on top of one of the Spinning Tops of Doom. Like joggers on a treadmill, they kept running, keeping their balance as the top careened around the room.

'I like these things better when they're on my side.' Grimm said, while Enrique nodded, puffing as he tried to match his pace with the spinning of the top. The other tops seemed to be registering Grimm as a target, and they closed in on their top, blades whirling. 'Jump!' Grimm shouted.

They both leaped clear just as all four tops collided with a deafening boom. Grimm felt the shockwave of the impact move through him as they both tumbled to the floor. Enrique's landing was less graceful as he broke his fall with his backside.

'Ow...' he said, getting to his feet with a slight limp. 'Why do I come on these missions? I'm a lover, not a fighter.'

Grimm was looking around for the belt, but grimaced as he saw H2 picking it up and fishing out the remote.

'Daaah, time for the big guns!' he said, punching several buttons.

'The tops were not big?' said Enrique.

Grimm pushed Enrique down as stun gun batteries suddenly swiveled out from panels in the wall high above. He prepared for a rolling leap to make another try for the remote.

'Daah, no more tricks Probable - or your friend gets it!' said H2, twiddling a knob on the remote. Red lights from targeting lasers suddenly dotted Enrique, who stood up, fidgeting as he tried to brush them off.

tops of doom

Grimm scowled. He could avoid the guns easily, since he knew their specs and their capabilities. But there was no way Enrique could escape with H2 making sure the guns tracked him. He slowly put up his hands in surrender.

'And call out your ferret! I don't want anymore funny stuff.'

Grimm whistled and Rueful came scurrying out from behind a sculpture. H2 scooped him up, put him into one of several large, decorative vases, then put a heavy chunk of debris from the ruined tops onto it. H1 was stumbling groggily down the stairs, shaking his head.

H2 nodded, then turned to face Grimm and Enrique. 'Daaah, now we just have to figure out what to do with you two...'

- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

Monique followed Kim down one of the many hallways. Kim was following Rufus while keeping an eye on her Kimmunicator. Using her laser lipstick, she had made short work of one of the decorative windows, cutting high enough so they could step through and not break the laser tripwire. From there, they had made it into the mansion easily enough, and found their way to the lower halls. Monique paused as Kim stopped.

'This is where the control room is suppose to be.' said Kim. But they were looking at a blast door, very solid and strong.

'That wasn't listed on FacePage.' said Monique.

'Wade, can you open the blast door from outside?'

'Sorry Kim - the only access now is through the control room.'

'Then we'll need another way in.' Kim said.

'There's a vent a few feet down that hall.' Wade said. 'It looks like it leads right into the control room.'

'That's convenient.' said Monique, looking down the hall and seeing the vent, in the wall just above the baseboard.

'Yeah.' said Kim, and she suddenly reached out to stop Monique, who was about ready to pry the grate off. 'Hold it!' she said, 'Wade, I'm scanning the vent - tell me if there's anything unusual.'

The scanner beam hummed, and there was a pause. 'Woah,' said Wade. 'The grate's been wired, Kim. If the panel breaks contact with the ductwork it's set to trip a silent alarm. And it looks like all the vents are rigged the same way. If one of the grates is tripped, the security system can tell which one is compromised.'

Monique flinched as a loud rumbling seemed to echo through the halls. 'I think someone tried the vents.' she said.

Kim was punching at her Kimmunicator. 'Probable!' she shouted. 'Come in! Probable!' But there was no answer.

Jade's voice came through the speakers. 'They're fighting the henchies on the main floor!' she said.

'H1 and H2 were smarter than their boss thought.' Kim muttered. 'Wade - keep trying to get the blast door open. Looks like we have pull our 'stealthy mercenary' out of the frying pan.'

- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

Grimm and Enrique were tied back to back, their wrists bound tight with cords. H1 and H2 were keeping an eye on them from near the fountain, talking quietly back and forth. 'Sorry, Senor Grimm.' said Enrique. 'If it hadn't been for me, you could have beaten them.'

Grimm laughed softly. 'Wow.' he said. 'For a second there, you almost sounded like Rhonda.' He glanced over at the vase where Rueful was imprisoned. He could see his paw poking out through a small gap, but he was unable to move the chunk of metal which covered the rim.

'Still - to be captured like this...' said Enrique. 'I fear I've ended your impressive winning streak.'

'Still not a loss for me.' Grimm said with a smirk. 'I was caught by a villain's henchman - not a hero - so this doesn't count.' Then he heard a whisper from behind him.

'Not from where I'm standing.'

Grimm's eyes twitched briefly to the side, then he snapped them back towards the henchmen. 'Took you long enough.' he whispered. He knew from the maps that Kim must be hiding around the bend leading into the lower stairwell, about two feet away from where he and Enrique were tied.

'Still think I should have stayed home under the bed?' Kim said.

'So!' said Grimm, with a loud voice. 'You wired the entire mansion's security system into that remote you're holding. Very clever!'

Kim nodded and darted back deeper into the stairwell, motioning Monique backwards as H1 and H2 stared at Grimm.

'Daaah, yeah.' said H2. 'You thought you could outsmart us, but you were wrong! We knew someone might try to come in through the vents, so we made sure if it happened, we'd know exactly where to be.'

'But if those auto-tracking stun gun batteries weren't on,' Grimm nearly shouted, 'then anyone could come along and clobber you.' Kim glanced out again and saw the remote in H2's belt holster, and she also saw the gun batteries lining the walls far above.

'But it looks like they have trouble with targets smaller than a human.' Grimm yelled. 'I bet something like a naked mole rat could get past them without activating them!'

'Daaah, shut up!' said H1, stepping forward. 'We're not through plannin' yet! If Mr. Matter sent you after us, then we want to come up with a way to fix you so he knows that we were the ones that beat you!'

'Sure thing.' said Grimm. 'I was just noting how brilliant you guys are.' H1 and H2 glared and moved further away to resume their talking. Grimm's hip pouch was facing away from the henchmen and with his tied hand, he motioned to the communicator in his belt.

Kim nodded and sent out Rufus, who crawled along and tapped a button on the panel. She saw Grimm's lips moving, but couldn't hear him. She turned on her own Kimmunicator and heard his voice speaking in a soft whisper.

'That remote is the only way to get control back now.' Grimm said, 'The main control room's sealed off.'

'I know.' Kim whispered back.

Grimm nodded. 'I've got a bladed lockpick in my glove, and I can get out of these cords in a second or two, but it won't do any good with those guns activated. And if anyone besides H1 or H2 moves out there, they'll be targeted.'

'I don't know if Rufus can get the remote all by himself.' Kim said. 'What we need is some kind of distraction.'

'The noise quieted down!' said a sudden voice from across the room. 'Is it safe to come in? Is the lair mine again?'

  hmmm....

H1 and H2 turned and stared as Mr. Matter strode into the room, looking around at the wreckage of the spinning tops. He paused suddenly as dozens of targeting laser dots lit him up like a Christmas tree in a lab coat. 'Ah...' he said sheepishly, 'That would be no then...'

Kim saw all the guns had targeted Mr. Matter and sped forward, making a bee-line for the henchmen. She vaulted over them and landed between them, going into a ready stance while they turned to face the new interloper.

'Daaah, who are you?' said H2, staring. 'You're not Grimm!'

'No,' said Kim, 'I'm perky.' She maintained a low stance, waiting, and saw several of the targeting laser dots swiveling from Mr. Matter to aim at her, with some of them lighting on the henchmen who stood between her and the gun batteries.

'Daah, don't shoot!' said H1 frantically, but H2 was already punching several buttons on the remote, looking nervous. Mr. Matter squeaked and dived behind the fountain as some of the guns opened fire.

The henchmen scattered as Kim cartwheeled to the side, several stun blasts popping loudly where they had been standing. H2 mashed his hand on the remote and the guns paused in their firing.

Kim leaped forward with a whirling kick that landed firmly in H2's chest. H2 stumbled backwards, flailing to keep his balance, and dropped the remote control. H2 stooped to seize it, but Monique darted from the side and flicked out with her foot, sending it spinning across the polished floor.

'Oops.' she said, smirking.

H1 grunted and dived for the remote, but from off to the side there came a pink blur as Rufus scuttled in out of nowhere, hoisted the remote onto his back and scampered off with H1 in pursuit. 'Daaah, come back here you freaky little rat!' he shouted, but he tripped and fell as Grimm rolled suddenly into his legs.

Kim saw the cut cords on the floor where Grimm and Enrique had been, then saw him ascending on his grapple line.

'I'll handle the guns!' he shouted. 'You take the henchmen!'

Kim nodded and intercepted H1, who had recovered and was closing in on Rufus. Rufus had backed into a corner of the room and his black eyes gleamed as H1 approached. Kim was too late to stop the ensuing tackle, but was relieved to see Rufus rolling up and across the floor as if he had squirted between H1's fingers. But he was no longer carrying the remote.

Grimm acted as if he were back in the training yard. Using the claw of his grapple line as an anchor, he swung and ran along the circumference of the room, bracing his feet against the walls and using his momentum to carry himself forward. Stun blasts burst around him, but several of the guns exploded as they were hit by the guns across the room as Grimm circled through their midst. The second to last gun battery sparked and whined as it was struck by a blast, and then there was only one left.

Another swinging arc and Grimm landed on top of the last gun battery, fishing a sapper unit out of his belt. There was an electrical buzz as he slapped it in place, and the gun sputtered, lowered and deactivated. Enrique had turned Rueful loose and both teams closed in on the henchmen. H1 and H2 were backing towards one of the staircases leading down to the control room.

'Give it up, fellas.' said Grimm, dropping back to the ground. 'All the defense systems in this room are wrecked.'

'Daaah, says who?' said H1, and he pushed a large red button on the remote.

Two sections of the marble walls slid open, revealing dark alcoves that were nearly fifteen feet high. A red light lit up in each alcove, and with thumping footsteps that shook the floor, two robots lumbered out.

Mr. Matter squealed from his place behind the fountain. 'You ordered Doom Bots and you didn't tell me?'

'Daaah, surprise boss!' said H2. Missile pods, gun emplacements and other weaponry snapped out of compartments all along the arms, shoulders and chests of the Doom Bots with a rapid series of clicks.

'Oh snap...' said Monique.

Enrique was backing up. 'Senor Grimm - I did not sign on to fight 'Doom Bots!'

Grimm squared his shoulders as the Doom Bots drew closer. 'Take out the henchmen.' he said to Kim. 'I'll distract these guys.'

'You can't take these things by yourself.' Kim said.

'No, I can't.' Grimm said. 'But I can give you the shot you need to finish the mission. I'm not as good at frontal attacks. Just hurry.' And without waiting, Grimm shot forward, running between the Doom Bots and winding his grapple line around the legs of the first one.
Kim didn't wait to see what happened next, she weaved around both of the robots as they focused on Grimm. She caught up with the henchmen quickly.

H1 and H2 laughed. 'Daah, a scrawny little girl like you can't beat us!' H1 snorted.

'That was so unenlightened.' said Kim. 'I think you both need a chill pill!' And with a smooth motion, she swept the last gas bomb out of her pack, hit the red button and threw. She covered her mouth as it went off, a cloud of gray mist billowing out.

Kim aimed carefully and fired her grappling line towards the upper balcony. The hook and cable lashed around a large marble sculpture that was set next to the rail. With a hurried throw, she hooked more of the cable across one of the outcroppings of the chandelier high above.

The henchmen emerged from the gas cloud wearing masks from their own belts. 'Daah, nice try red, but you're not smart enough for us either!' said H2.

Kim smirked and pulled hard on the cable, activating the retraction winch at the same time. The sculpture was pulled over the rail and swung down, arching straight towards the henchmen. H1 and H2 turned and stared at it's swift approach as if hypnotized, and both their voices sounded out at the same time. 'Uh oh!'

Monique averted her eyes for an instant and heard a loud crash followed by two yelping shouts. When she looked back, she saw both henchmen sprawled on the floor, groaning feebly, with the sculpture on top of them pinning them down.

Kim knelt down and pried the remote out of H2's limp hand. 'And that's how the good girls kick it!' she said.

Grimm was pinned down by a huge metal hand, struggling to push it up. Kim was tempted to drink in the sight a little longer, but she hit a button marked FAILSAFE on the remote, and the Doom Bots both stopped, whirring down to motionlessness.

'About time.' he grimaced, managing to pry himself loose.

'You're welcome.' said Kim sarcastically.

Mr. Matter stood up again, dusting himself off and straightening his goggles. 'Ha HA!' he crowed, rushing up to his henchmen and pointing down at them. 'It looks like all efforts at rebellion just didn't matter!'

'They're out cold.' said Grimm.

'Ah, they can still hear things.' said Mr. Matter, waving his hand.

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kim wins

Once they had scanned the remote, Wade and Jade had quickly been able to restore control of the mansion and unlock the main control room. Kim wasn't quite sure how she felt about this mission, but no one had been hurt, and even Rufus was looking cheerful as Grimm and Enrique hauled the sculpture off of the henchmen and tied them up.

H1 and H2 were set one of the benches next to the fountain, and it didn't take long for them to come to. Mr. Matter stood in front of them with his eyes flashing. He took out his notepad, looked at it, then grimaced and put it back in his lab coat. 'I had a speech all prepared for when I caught you two lunkheads, but this whole business has roiled me so much that I'm too mad to read it! Did you fools really think you could get away with double-crossing the mighty Mr. Matter?'

The henchmen looked down, seeming like two overgrown children with their hands caught in the cookie jar. 'Daaah, no.' they both said quietly.

Mr. Matter puffed in his anger. 'So that's all you have to say for yourselves, eh? Well I'll be going through the lair very carefully to take stock of all my stuff! And everything that I find damaged or missing is coming out of your salaries - double!'

'Daaah, we didn't touch any of your stuff, boss.' said H1, sounding almost indignant. 'We wouldn't rip you off.'

Mr. Matter looked dumbfounded. 'But... if you didn't want any of my stuff, then why did you take over my lair?' he shouted.

H1 and H2 dug their toes sheepishly at the floor. 'Daaah, we just wanted to prove we were good henchmen.' said H1.

Mr. Matter sputtered incoherently for a few seconds. 'By... throwing me out?' he said at last.

'Daaah, we thought if we could show you that we could outsmart you then you'd respect us.' said H2.

'Daaah, yeah boss - you don't treat us all that good.' said H1. 'How come you're always calling us idiots all the time?'

'Well for starters, you keep beginning every sentence by saying Daaaah!' Mr. Matter said. 'That doesn't exactly scream 'super genius!'

'Daaa...' H2 started, then he seemed to catch himself. 'We just want a little respect, boss.' he said. 'We like working for you, but just because we're the muscle of your operation doesn't mean we don't have feelings.'

'You're my hired goons, you're not supposed to have feelings!' Mr. Matter said.

'Aw come on, boss.' said H1 with a hangdog expression. 'Even you gotta admit, we did pretty good planning our little takeover. We were careful about the whole thing - none of the stuff was rigged to actually hurt anybody.'

Grimm raised and eyebrow and walked over to one of the wrecked tops. He ran his finger along the wicked looking blades that jutted out, and to his surprise he saw they were made of rubber. And it was true the Doom Bot could have mashed him flat, but it didn't.

Mr. Matter stood with his arms folded, looking down at them, and then his expression seemed to soften a bit. 'You really mean to say you did all this just to... impress me?'

'Yeah.' said H2. 'We always made a good team, boss. We thought you'd be proud if you knew we were tough and smart.'

Mr. Matter's eyes gleamed. 'You know something? You're right!' he said. 'For the initiative and daring that you lunkhe.... you men have shown in this caper, I'm promoting both of you to co-chiefs of security!'

'Daaah, thanks boss!' said H1, and both he and H2 seemed delighted.

'Very well!' said Mr. Matter, and it seemed to Kim that he had forgotten the rest of them were even there. He untied H1 and H2 and motioned them to stand up, gesturing dramatically towards the stairs. 'Let us repair to my labs so that I can continue with my plans for global domination! With the lair's security in your hands, I am confident that no meddlesome heroes will be able to interfere!'

'Daaah, you can count on us, boss!' said H2.

Kim watched them as they trooped back towards the stairwell, disappearing out of view. 'This is what mercenary work is like?' she said, turning to Grimm and shaking her head. 'Nothing's changed! The henchmen were in charge of the mansion's security before all this happened - that promotion was totally meaningless!'

'I don't think so.' said Grimm, looking almost warmly towards where the trio had left. 'You saw them - they're happy now. Mr. Matter has his lair back, and his loyal minions. H1 and H2 got the respect they wanted, and nobody got hurt. Looks like everybody wins.'

'Un trabajo bien hecho!' said Enrique, slapping Grimm's hand in a high-five.

'So... why are we still milling around here?' said Monique. 'It's getting late, and there's still school tomorrow.'

'One last thing.' said Grimm. 'Mr. Matter gets carried away sometimes, but he doesn't forget.'

And at that exact moment, Mr. Matter came puffing back up the stairs. 'I almost forgot!' he said. 'I owe you - for another successful mission! Let me just write you a check....'

But Grimm shook his head. 'I'd love to take credit.' he said, looking suspiciously humble. 'But the fact is it was Kim who took down the henchmen and got your lair back. Make it out to Kim Possible.'

Mr. Matter looked warily at Kim, then shrugged his shoulders. 'Well, I still say it feels odd giving payment to a hero.' he said. 'But fair is fair - here you are my dear - the same amount I gave to Mr. Probable the last time he saved my house.' He tore a check loose from his checkbook and handed it to Kim.

Kim was already shaking her head. 'I don't work... for....' she said, looking down. And her mouth fell open in amazement.

'Wah.... Wow....' said Monique softly. 'You'd think something with that many zeroes would be worth less....'

'I... can't accept this.' said Kim.

'Nonsense!' said Mr. Matter, turning back and hopping back towards the stairs. 'The laborer is worthy of his... or her... hire! I asked you people to get my lair back and that's just what you've done! It's a fair price for a successful job and worth every penny!' Then he was gone again, leaving Kim with a set of very confused thoughts.

As they left the manor, Grimm closed the door behind them and glanced over Kim's shoulder at the check. 'Yep, that's pretty much what I got.' he said. Then as if he were speaking to himself, he said softly, 'That could buy a lot of crime-fighting gear. Or, it could be used to help someone in need. Yeah... a person could do a lot of good with that money...'

Kim turned to glare at him, but he was already walking past her down the marble driveway towards the gates leading out of the mansion.

  hmmm....

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Back in Rhonda's room at the Fatigable's house, Kim kept taking out the check and looking at it. She knew she could never accept it. But she heard the sounds of Monique getting ready for bed in the nearby guest room, and her resolve to tear up the check and throw it away wavered.

She could call in any one of a number of favors from people who owed her - at government levels, state and local. Surely they would pitch in and help Monique's family out. But she knew Monique would never accept that, and would probably be embarrassed since any help that came through those sources would certainly carry a high level of media attention. Monique might even be resentful and angry at Kim - parading around her best friend's problems in front of the whole world.

She looked again at the check, and the large number of zeroes that trailed across it. She didn't need or want the money herself - but it would help Monique so much... It was enough to pay off their house completely, and would free her whole family from a tremendous burden.

She almost crumpled the check, but couldn't bring herself to do it. 'This is villain money!' she thought angrily. 'This should be a no-brainer! So why is this so hard?' She kept picturing Mr. Matter and his two henchmen in her mind. As 'villains' went, they seemed almost harmless. Mr. Matter's fortune, like Senor Senior Senior, was entirely his own and not gained by theft. And like Senor Sr., Mr. Matter seemed more concerned about having people think he was a villain as opposed to actually being one.

'And we did earn it by finishing a harmless task for him...' Kim heard herself thinking. 'He just wanted his lair back - how is that any different than the first job that I took so long ago?' And like a seductive whisper, Grimm's casual off-handed remark went through her mind again.

'...a person could do a lot of good with that money...'

Her own thoughts kicked in, and she was surprised to her how similar it sounded to Grimm.

'I could help Monique out so much... and no one would ever have to know...'

She couldn't make up her mind, no matter how hard she tried. Just a couple rips, and the matter would be ended, but for all her strength, she somehow couldn't muster enough to tear up a small rectangle of paper. At last, she folded it and put it into one of the pockets of her suitcase. She would leave it alone for the moment. Unendorsed, it had no value at all and she could put it out of her mind. She had other things to think about, and this matter was too big to decide quickly after a long day. Instead, she looked over a student map of Riddleton High, trying to anticipate what riddles might need solving tomorrow...

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Maze looked through the vast cavern of their lair. The addition of more golems seemed to have paid off. The Ultra Atmospheric Jammer was definitely taking shape, rising higher towards the cavern roof. It still seemed gutted though, even to his untrained eye, with large gaps here and there in it's structure and wires and components spilling out like entrails from a wounded animal.

At the moment though, there seemed to be a lull in the work. The golems assigned to help Drakken with the construction were standing around the machine doing nothing, while Drakken looked up at the Jammer with scowling eyes.

Monkey Fist emerged from the inner chambers of the lair and paused, looking at Drakken, then at the Jammer and back again. 'Is there a problem?' he said dryly.

Drakken looked irritated by the question. 'Of course there is!' he said. 'I told you at the outset that we would need more materials than what you had gathered here! I suppose you didn't believe me, but here's the proof!' He gestured at the incomplete Jammer, then back at the storage area, which was now empty except for a few broken crates and bare pallets.

'How close are we to completion?' said Monkey Fist.

'Oh, it's well past the half-way point.' said Drakken dismissively. 'But we're not getting any further without more circuitry, wiring and metals - plus there are several specialized components that can't be made here...'

'Do you know where we might obtain these materials?' said Monkey Fist, a smirk of anticipation crossing his lips.

'Well d'oy!' said Drakken. 'The R&D facilities in Go City! But of course you won't let me go get them, and many of these items are delicate so I don't want to send your piledriver patrol to get them either...'

Monkey Fist turned from Drakken, motioning him to silence. 'What do you say, Sskipoyiwa?' he said. 'We've been cooped up here such a long time that I think a day of shopping might be good for all of us.'

Maze's fingers twitched around his staff, and he nodded slowly.

   
Coming Soon:
Chapter 22

What has 22 Chapters, 1 Prophet and a whole lot of visions?

Author: Back to the main plot we go at last! Now that both Kim and Grimm have walked a few miles in each others' moccasins we can return to Monkey Fist, to Maze and their grand scheme. What have they been cooking up while Kim has been in hiding in Riddleton? Now that Ron and Rhonda are figuring out ways to contact their BF/GFs, what will come of that? And... why was there no 'Senior Prom' episode for the Kim Possible TV series? All those answers and more will be answered by the end of the story, so stay tuned for Chapter 22!

Special thanks goes again to fanfiction author DarkWarrior for allowing me to use the characters he made up in "Team Probable: The First Odd Job". Namely, Mr. Matter and his two henchmen. They were funny in his story, and it was fun writing my own slant on them for the Grimm/Kim mercenary mission.

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