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

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

Chapter 22:
Revelations
Or: To See - Or Not To See

Part I: Training wreck

The next day at Riddleton High was a bit more comfortable than the first. The marquee read, 'This verb is also a room in your house that you should be using.' Kim smiled, shaking her head as she and Monique entered for the next day of classes.

The classes themselves were also a little less baffling. They had at least learned to stay out of Ms. Darken's way. Grimm seemed somehow distracted, and didn't say much, which suited Kim just fine. Once near his locker though, she caught him humming a tune.

'We are sowing, daily sowing, countless seeds of good and ill...'

But beyond that he was almost unobtrusive, right up to the end of classes. The situation at cheer practice had now totally reversed. Before, the girls had been distracted in their exercises by the gymnastics team. Now the gymnastics team seemed to be totally distracted by the cheer squad. A spare uniform had been rustled up for Kim, which fit her surprisingly well. The other girls picked up on Kim's moves and followed her lead awkwardly at first, as if they weren't used to having anyone really take charge of things. But they soon got used to it and by the end of practice, they were performing fairly well. Rufus and Monique watched from the sidelines, with Rufus making periodic whistles and squealing shouts.

There was an occasional thud from the other side of the gym as sometimes a member of the gymnastics team, trying to watch the girls and do their own routines at the same time, would lose their balance and sprawl into the mats. Even Donnie seemed distracted, though his eye strayed more to Kim than any of the others. Only Grimm seemed immune, going through his own exercises with a focused, almost stony look on his face, as if he didn't notice anything else going on around him.

'Looking good guys,' said Donnie, facing the gymnastics squad, but with his head turned towards the cheerleaders. 'Looking very good...'

Grimm shook his head and rolled his eyes. 'Pathetic....' he muttered.

Enrique was also sitting by the sidelines, his eyes glazed over as he watched the cheer squad. Rueful scurried around him, tugging at his jacket, but totally failing to get his attention. 'Si....' he sighed. 'Muy pathetico....'

At least Kim called a halt. 'That's much better, guys.' she said. 'Once we've got these down we'll move on to some of the harder stuff.'

There was a chorus of moans. 'Do we have to quit now?' said Rachel. 'This is the first time we've had fun at practice...'

'You can practice the basics more at home.' Kim said, shaking her head. 'Try and have them totally down for tomorrow and we'll see where it goes from there.'

As they filed towards the girls shower room, Enrique called out to Grimm, who was re-chalking his hands. 'Are we... not going to get ready to leave as well?' he said. 'We should not let Senorita Possible get too far ahead of us.'

'Too late for that.' Grimm said, scowling. 'Thanks to her and the rest of the squad, we're going to have to stay late. With our great leader and everyone else mooning over the cheerleaders, our practice hasn't even started yet. Pathetic.'

Enrique's eyes fell on Monique, who was getting ready to leave, with Rufus perched on her shoulder. 'Que lastima...' he sighed.

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Wade's voice sounded quietly, almost furtively out of the speaker in Kim's Kimmunicator. 'Are you sure about this?' he asked.

'Totally.' said Kim with eagerness. She held the Kimmunicator up to the security pad which locked the gated entrance to the training yard, and activated the scanner. While it hummed, Kim looked around, hearing a rustle in the trees, but it was only a bird taking flight. The thick bushes and trees that surrounded the training yard like a green wall seemed otherwise deserted.

'This security pad is pretty heavily encrypted,' said Wade. 'There's dozens of subroutines and... OK I'm in!'

With a soft beep, the red light beneath the numbered keypad turned green and there was a click. Kim quickly entered and shut the gate behind her. The control pad which controlled the workout settings was whirring up from an enclosure in the ground as she walked in. Grimm was still at gym practice, so Kim had left Monique with Rufus to look after Indy as soon as they got back to Rhonda's place. Then she had sneaked over to the wooded area behind Grimm's house. She wasn't sure if it was pride or curiosity that was driving her, but she wanted a crack at the training yard.

'I've disengaged Grimm's voice control so you can enter the level manually.' said Wade. 'You gonna start low for your first try?'

Kim sniffed. 'I think I can handle the high levels.' she said, squaring her shoulders.

'I better close the channel before Jade turns up again. Good luck.' said Wade, and the Kimmunicator blipped off.

Kim looked over the control pad, which seemed to be a standard 10-key with a pair of up/down buttons, an enter button, and a red button marked ABORT. The red LED on top showed a blinking red cursor. Kim hit '99' and then Enter. A voice sounded from the loudspeaker mounted on the eaves of the changing room.

'The maximum level is ten.'

Kim shrugged, then re-entered '10'. She hurried to the red X where she had seen Grimm start his run, and went into a ready stance. The tennis ball guns zoomed up all around her from their enclosures, and Lynn (or Mim's) voice echoed from the loudspeaker.

'You're going down, bro!'

With hisses of compressed air, tennis ball began launching at Kim from every side. She twisted, flexed and cart wheeled, feeling them whizzing past her with rushes of air. She heard the loudspeaker again after one of her longer flips.

'Stay within the circle - minus five points.'

She winced and rolled back inside the circle, which was in a ten foot radius around the red X. She could see the timer mounted further away, still counting down. It wasn't practice like she'd ever experienced. Her cheerleader moves proved effective, but she was still getting several near misses. She tried shifting through several different kung-fu styles, trying to find out which was best for dodging and blocking. And she found herself using the Monkey Kung-Fu techniques she'd practiced while learning fifteen other forms of kung-fu.

She scooped up tennis balls to hit the flashing targets mounted here and there. It proved harder than she thought, but even with the constant dodging, she managed to hit several of them.

A buzzer sounded and she dashed into the second enclosure, where she knew the object was to get past the cannons and reach an upper platform. In this area, the cannons were tracking her instead of firing randomly within the circle in the first area. This felt more familiar to her, and she used a number of her cheer moves to swing and leap her way through the obstacle course, avoiding shots until she was near the platform.

It looked much higher from inside the arena than it had from outside, and she knew a standing leap wouldn't be enough. She doubled back, narrowly being missed by two tennis balls, and made a leap for one of the rings which were swinging by ropes.

After a few moments of dodging and swinging between rings and ropes, she aimed her leap and rolled through mid-air, landing firmly on the upper platform. Sweat was running down her face and her breathing was coming in gasps, but she felt more energized than she had in a long time.

As she took her place in the smaller ring, she watched almost eagerly for the attacking volley of tennis balls. She smiled as she blocked and weaved, knocking some tennis balls aside with her hands, and side-stepping others. A thrill of exhilaration swept over her. 'This isn't so hard,' she thought. 'I should ask Wade to set up a tougher course back at home...'

Thwapp!

There was a stinging pain on her back right shoulder. A grating buzzer sounded and all the cannons stopped firing, lowering and retracting into their enclosures. The loudspeaker blared out with Lynn and Mim's taunting voices.

'Gimme an L, Gimme an O, Gimme an S-E-R! That spells loser! Loser! Loooooooooo-serrrrrrrr!!'

And the timer counters mounted around the training yard were now flashing the word loser in red letters from several angles. Kim rubbed her shoulder where the tennis ball had struck, feeling a lingering, burning pain which she knew was going to translate into a spectacular welt. The tennis balls were all rolling down their networks of collecting gutters, disappearing back underground where she knew some of Jade's widgets must be automatically re-stocking them for another run, like a bowling alley setting up pins.

She winced and leaped back down, using one of the swinging rings to arrest her fall. Looking back at the upper platform, she felt oddly frustrated. She hadn't even gotten to the point in the exercise where the cannons went into overdrive. She didn't want to make excuses for herself, but the fact was that the exercise was all about deflecting, blocking and dodging. There wasn't any equipment set up for attacking, at least not that she knew of.

In her own experiences, she always focused on putting the villain down as quickly as she could. Dodging and blocks were part of that, but it was just to let her get close enough to put the bad guys down for the count.

As she reached the starting point, she saw two girls stamping down the thick grassy path that led to the training yard. Lynn and Mim were looking around eagerly, but when they saw Kim their faces fell in confusion. 'So it was you going through the training yard?' said Lynn.

Kim nodded. 'How did you know someone was here?' she said.

loser

'We set it up so that if Grimm ever got hit, an alarm sounds in our room.' said Mim. 'This is the first time it's ever gone off.'

'Aw man...' said Lynn, looking disappointed. 'Grimm really is better than her!'

'Don't be stupid!' said Mim. 'Kim just started off with the max level, that's all!'

'Start off on level six or something and work your way up.' said Lynn. 'Even Grimm only went to level ten once...'

Kim sighed as the twisters rustled their way back up the path towards the house.

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Grimm was sitting cross-legged in the wooded area behind Rhonda's house with Rueful nosing around in the undergrowth. He felt embarrassed, sneaking into the backyard of his girlfriend's house, but he didn't want Kim or Monique to know he was there. He hadn't given up trying to contact Rhonda, or at least have them contact him in some way as they had with Monique. But as the minutes stretched out to an hour with no results, he felt more and more frustrated.

He tried to concentrate, to focus his mind on something peaceful. But peace and serenity always seemed harder to achieve when he was trying to achieve it.

'Omahkkiaayowa...' he chanted in a low voice. 'Omahkkiaayowa...'

As more time passed without anything happening, he let part of his mind drift, wondering if Possible had cashed Mr. Matter's check...

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Ron and Rhonda watched as the vision of Grimm ghosted in and out before their eyes. The grove itself, and Rueful, remained in their sight.

'Why's he fading like that?' said Rhonda. 'We'll never be able to get his attention like this.'

'Maybe he forgot to get that HDTV converter box.' Ron said.

Rhonda doubled over in a sudden giggle. And based on nothing more than the way she was laughing, Ron knew what was about to happen. As she ran out of air to laugh with, she took in one ragged gasp that sounded like a grating snore. At once, her hands flew to her mouth, covering it up.

Ron smiled. 'Hey, you snort! That's so cute!'

A look of genuine panic was on Rhonda's face. 'Don't tell Grimm - please?' she said, and there was a pleading tone in her voice so desperate that Ron paused.

'Uh... OK.' he said. 'But... why not? If you two really stay together he's gonna find out eventually.'

Rhonda's face fell. 'I don't know if you've noticed this,' she said, 'But being a mercenary working for super-villains doesn't leave you with much to laugh about.'

Ron frowned. 'Well, even so, he wouldn’t care if his GF has the laughy-snort, would he?'

Rhonda looked down, even though there was nothing to look down at. 'I don't know.' she said, and her voice was low and sad. 'Ever since we started shipping it's felt like I've got a bulls-eye on the back of my head. Like everyone at school is looking at us and saying 'What's a cool guy like him doing hanging out with a loser like her?' Do you have any idea what that's like?'

Ron saw a list of unspoken rules flashing before his eyes, comprising the protocol of 'the food chain'. He remembered the constant suggestions from people who didn't even know Kim that she should be 'trading up' - sometimes given to her when Ron was right there watching. He heard in his mind every snide expression of disbelief, from super-villains down to Bonnie, when they heard the words 'Kim Possible is dating Ron Stoppable'. And he suddenly realized, no one ever said 'Ron Stoppable is dating Kim Possible.' As if even on a subconscious level, he had already been ranked and pigeonholed as a subordinate entity, below Kim Possible's station.

'Yeah.' he said at last. 'I hear you.'

'That's why I keep little stuff like this from him, even the laughy-snort.' she said. 'I have to be as perfect as I can. I keep expecting someday that he'll wake up and realize that almost every girl in school has an eye on him. That it's only a matter of time before he realizes it and starts looking around and... and comparing.'

She moved over to the spot where Grimm's visage faded in and out of sight. 'If only he knew how much I miss him...' she sighed.

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Grimm looked blankly at the dream catcher hanging from one of the tree branches in front of him. He tried to remember Rhonda's face, her voice, the way her hair looked. 'If only you knew how much I miss you...' he said in a whisper.

And Rhonda saw Grimm clearly. His form was less shadowy and more solid to her eye. Rueful stopped exploring and came charging over, squealing excitedly. 'Hey Rueful!' she said. 'Long time no see!' Rueful tried to climb onto her arm, but fell through it and landed comically in a pile of leaves.

'Think he can get your BF's attention?' said Ron.
'Worth a try...' said Rhonda.

Rueful started scurrying around in a tight circle as if he were chasing his tail. He chittered loudly, standing on his hind legs and waving at the air in front of him. Grimm stared. The clearing seemed even quieter than before somehow, despite Rueful's actions.

'She's here isn't she?' Grimm said, staring at Rueful. The weasel nodded, thumping one foot on the ground.

      touched

Grimm stared around wildly, as if trying to will himself to see. 'Come on baby...' he said. 'If you're trying to tell me something, help me to listen!'

Rhonda felt a tug of sadness, hearing his voice speaking as if in a distant echo. Tell him something? She already knew what she wanted to say, but it seemed impossible that he would hear it. She got right up to Grimm's ear. 'I miss you.' she said.

And to her surprise, Grimm jolted, his hand shooting up and clapping over the ear she had spoken into. His eyes were wide and his mouth was open in shock. He stayed that way for almost a minute, and Rhonda saw a bead of moisture pooling at the edge of his eye.

'Me... too.' he said.

'Way to go!' said Ron. 'He actually heard that? Have him order us some Nacos!'

Rhonda tried shouting other things, but Grimm didn't seem to notice. He was growing more shadowy to her eye, and she heard his communicator beeping. He and Rueful seemed to draw away from her somehow, no longer responding to her. 'Dang...' she said. 'I thought for a minute we were really simpatico...'

'We kind of are.' said Ron. 'Well, more than we were before. Haven't you noticed? We're still seeing stuff instead of just fading to black.'

And Rhonda looked around. It was true, they were still kind of 'in' the wooded area. The normal wall of darkness hadn't closed around them. She could still see Grimm and Rueful, but not so clearly as before. 'It sure beats the Darkness Channel.' she said with a faint smile, and another laughing snort.

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Grimm answered Jade's call more curtly than he intended. He could have sworn that he'd heard Rhonda speaking, but couldn't be certain. For a moment, he even thought he could smell her shampoo. 'What?' he snapped, and at once the calm he had felt before disappeared. The moment was gone.

'Sorry....' said Jade, shrugging. 'Did I interrupt something?'

Grimm sighed and shook his head. 'No,' he said. 'What's the sitch?'

'Just had word from Lynn and Mim that Kim busted into the training yard tried it out on level ten.'

Grimm paused. 'Did... she make it?' he said.

'No,' Jade answered. 'But she got further than I thought she would on a first try. A little practice and she might match you.'

'Maybe.' Grimm said. 'But I don't think she'd have the patience to stick with it. She's more into attacks, and people with that mindset don't like playing defense.'

'Want a photo from the security camera of her getting hit?' Jade said.

Grimm sighed. 'I'm tired of taking jabs at her fighting skills.' he said, shaking his head. 'I'm more interested in knowing if she cashes Mr. Matter's check. If she does that, then I can really say I've scored a hit on her, no matter what the scoreboard in the training yard says.'

'She's been working all those years and never taken a dime.' said Jade. 'What makes you think now will be any different?'

'Everyone's got a breaking point.' said Grimm. 'I've been chipping away at her as patiently and steadily as I can ever since our first fight. I came pretty close to pushing her over the edge in the Zorpox sitch, and again in that fight in her backyard. But she still hasn't really given in. Hitting her with the big moral dilemmas has weakened her a little I think. And with Monique's family feeling a financial pinch, Mr. Matter's offer just might get her to start doubting.'

'The money's not really dirty.' said Jade. 'It's not like cashing the check is going to mean you've beaten her somehow.'

'I was never interested in beating Kim physically.' said Grimm, smirking. 'But to get Ms. High-And-Mighty to check her principles at the door? Now that's what I'd call a victory....'

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Part II: My golem told me you better shop around

There were a great number of abandoned warehouses and factories in Go City. The mayor didn't like to talk about it much, but the fact was that there were a number of businesses that failed every few years. And the warehouses for failed manufacturers became magnets for every super-villain who wanted someplace quiet to set up shop in Go City and try their schemes.

The mayor had to have a unit of police assigned specifically to patrol the known warehouse locations, just to make sure there were no villains in them. One of the patrol cars assigned to that detail drove by one of the warehouses on the outskirts of the business district of Go City. This particular warehouse was fairly well known as the launching point for several villains' schemes, including Aviarius, WEE, and Dementor. Jack Hench had also used it once to host a Go City villain’s exposition.

The officer in the passenger seat of the car flashed his spotlight as they drove past the warehouse. Everything seemed quiet, with the light sliding over pools of shadow. Seeing nothing unusual, they didn't bother stopping the car to get out or check anything. They had several other warehouses to patrol, and not much time to spare. As the car moved off into evening traffic, they didn't notice the shadows pulling back from one corner of the building like an inky veil....

Maze released the shadow cloak as the police moved off, and turned his attention back to Dr. Drakken. Monkey Fist and a gang of about twenty golems were flanking Drakken and Shego while Drakken worked at a computer console set up on one of the tables. They were all gathered in one of the large upper rooms of the warehouse. In the distance, visible even past several surrounding buildings, was the Go City Research and Development complex, a vast building which housed the most brilliant scientists in Go City.

'How much longer?' said Maze impatiently. Even though night was falling, Go City and it's towering skyscrapers made him uncomfortable. The sooner they finished the job, the better.

'Patience!' Drakken hissed. 'Hacking into the R & D's security cameras isn't easy you know! This is one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the city, with all the other poser villains taking a crack at it every couple of weeks...'

'We're fortunate then that we don't need control over any of their systems, only access. If you can arrange for us to see what their cameras are seeing, that should be enough.'

'Even that's going to be tricky,' Drakken muttered, his fingers dancing over the computer keyboard. 'Those eggheads don't like being spied on, believe me. I'll have to route in through the city's power grid, piggyback from the electrical systems into the security network, then... ah, there we go!'

The computer screen suddenly subdivided into a number of miniature windows showing views from surveillance cameras, arranged with scrolling lists on the left margin. 'Excellent.' said Monkey Fist, leaning closer. 'Now - focus on the areas of the building where the equipment you say you need will be located.'

Drakken typed and the screens shifted to a number of storage rooms. 'Nearly everything I'll need is packaged and waiting for any scientist who wants them for their projects.' he said. 'They always keep a stockpile of circuitry and materials at hand. But looking at it doesn't get us any closer to being able to take it...'

'Actually, it does.' said Monkey Fist with a smirk. 'Sskipoyiwa - it's your turn.'

Maze looked over the various screens which showed rows and rows of boxes stacked and labeled. He stared at them one after the other for several minutes, and then pointed. 'There!' he said, jabbing his finger at a darkened section of the storage rooms.

'Make the image larger and clearer, if you can.' said Monkey Fist to Drakken, who maximized the window and boosted the resolution. 'Now - let's get out of his way.'

Monkey Fist and the golems backed away, and Shego pulled Drakken out of the chair and off to the side while Maze stood in front of the monitor, his staff raised. He closed his eyes, and slowly began to chant.

Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nitaanistsi'toyiiwa,
Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nitaanistsi'toyiiwa...

Drakken sighed, tapping his feet as Maze prayed. After a couple of minutes, he looked at his watch. 'Can I step out for a bucket of extra crispy?' he whispered. 'This nonsense isn't getting us anywhere...'

'Shhhh.' Monkey Fist said curtly. 'Watch and learn.'

Drakken scowled and watched, getting bored again very quickly. He was about to fish out his communicator to play Mineswooper when he saw it. A patch of shadow in the corner of the room was getting thicker, spreading over the wall. After another few moments Drakken saw, or thought he saw, the R & D storage rooms. It was as if the wall had dissolved and revealed that they had somehow been inside the R & D building the whole time.

'What the fandango...?' Drakken breathed.

'Move quickly.' said Monkey Fist in a low voice. 'It isn't easy for him to maintain shadow passages.'

And Drakken found himself being hustled along with Monkey Fist, Maze and the other golems into the R & D storage room. He blinked and looked around in amazement, reaching out and running his hand over one of the boxes as if he were positive this was some kind of illusion. Maze let out a gasp and leaned against one of the shelves.

'Well done,' said Monkey Fist in a hushed voice. 'Maze can't use his shadows to travel someplace, unless he has a clear visual objective to aim for. Normally, we can't enter a building from the outside. But with your assistance, we were given the anchor we needed to enter without detection. Maze, shroud the cameras.'

Maze raised a weary hand and chanted again. Shadows from the edges of the room washed over the surveillance cameras, covering them like a black sheet.

'Wouldn't it be easier to just have Shego take them out?' Drakken huffed.

'And just as easy for the security systems to alert people that they were no longer working.' said Monkey Fist. 'At least this way, we'll have some time to work while they try to figure out why there's no picture. Now - let's gather all you need into one place....'

darkness

At a gesture from Monkey Fist, the assembled golems began taking supplies down from shelves and stacking them in a corner of the huge storage room. Others fanned out to take more boxes down from other shelves. None of them noticed, distant on the far side of the storage room, another door silently closing.

One of the R & D facility janitors had been taking an unauthorized 'break' in the storage room, having found a section which the cameras didn't cover. He used it as a refuge when he didn't feel like sweeping or otherwise looking busy. He was there on a summer internship to get into Go City college, doing grunt work, cleaning and other such things in exchange for a foothold to be accepted at GCC.

But he had seen the bizarre entry of Monkey Fist and his group, and sneaked out as quickly as he could. He thought about telling his supervisor, but then remembered someone else he wanted to alert.

Finding an out of the way room, he fished a cell phone from his pocket and dialed out. After a few seconds, he heard a voice on the other end.

'Radcliffe?' said a tired voice. 'That you? I was sleeping, man - I don't need you to call braggin' about your internship again...!'

'Twitch - you remember those guys you said we should be watching out for?'

'Yeah....' said Twitch.

'They're here.'

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The Sloth and the Ksikkihkíni were both rocketing through the evening sky. 'This was sudden.' said Monique, who was gripping the upholstery in the front seat very hard. Kim had her eyes fixed on the back of Grimm's bike, the faint taillights keeping it from disappearing into the descending gloom. 'I mean, I was just settling in for the night - we haven't heard a peep from Monkey-boy for days, now suddenly we're rushing to Go City like this is the final match?'

'It could be.' said Grimm, his voice unusually grave.

'How do we know this is on the level?' said Kim.

'We don't.' said Wade's, his picture popping up on the dashboard screen. 'All we've got is a word from this Twitch character...'

'Hey, don't you be dissin' the Twitch!' said Jade's voice, her image appearing in split screen. 'He and the Irregulars haven't let us down yet.'

'We're depending on a gang named 'Irregular'?' Wade said, his image staring at Jade's.

'If Twitch said they're at the Go City R&D, then that's where they are!' Jade said angrily.

'If they were spotted there, how come the alarms haven't engaged?' Wade shot back. 'If they had, my computer would have alerted me...'

'Twitch held off - he wanted Grimm to have the first shot...' said Jade.

'We should alert the building right now!' Wade said. 'It'll take time to get there, and they could be long gone before we...'

'Uh uh, bad idea super-genius!' Jade said. 'You raise the alarm and Monkey Fist and his gang will be off like a shot. Haven't you figured by now they can run rings around rent-a-cops? And if they have any golems in tow, they'd roll right over them anyway...'

'Well if they're gone by the time we get there, we'll never know, will we?'

'Our contact inside the building said he'd pass it on if they were getting ready to leave...'

'How's he gonna tell that if he's hiding in the basement?'

'I'd bet my reputation on it, but going up against your reputation means I'll have raised the ante higher than you can afford!'

'That might be true if you had a reputation outside of Riddleton...'

Jade growled, her eyes narrowed and her teeth gritted, Wade growled right back with a similar expression. They fired back and forth in a series of snarling growls, sounding exactly like two dogs playing tug-of-war over a bone.

Grimm's voice broke in over the dashboard communicator. 'Guys - knock it off!' he shouted. 'Don't make me get the garden hose!' Both Wade and Jade fell silent, looking sheepish but still glaring angrily at each other.

'Wade raises a good point though,' said Grimm. 'How can we be sure they won't leave before we get there?'

'We've tapped into the R&D cameras,' said Jade with a sidelong glance at Wade's half of the screen. 'There's a number of them in the storage rooms that are blacked out...'

'It's Maze.' said Grimm. 'As long as he's there, he'll have his shadows covering their tracks. That's something, anyway...'

'Storage rooms?' said Kim. 'What are they after, Wade?'

'I've worked with the Go City R&D before on some science projects.' said Wade. 'The storage rooms have a lot of multi-purpose equipment that can be used for any number of things - circuitry, bulk metal, wiring... the really intricate stuff is kept separate, but on the same floor.'

'But neither of them are scientists....' said Kim, shaking her head. 'This sounds more like something Drakken would do.'

'Somehow they got the UAJ working.' said Wade, shrugging. 'But I'll bet they did a bad job putting it together. Maybe they're getting replacement parts. It would explain why we haven't detected any moves from them lately. Their Jammer may be down for repairs and they were lying low.'

'We'll soon find out.' said Grimm. 'Go City's dead ahead.'

Kim was surprised. They hadn't been traveling all that long, barely an hour. But they had been traveling fast - with the Sloth's jets, they could easily have covered a couple hundred miles. She checked her battle-suit, and saw that all the energy readings were green and ready to go. She glanced to the side and saw Monique looking scared, but determined. Rufus was in back with Enrique, and both of them were similarly quiet.

Kim fished a long, slender tool from her hip pouch. It was like a spike with a handle grip and a flattened edge - sharp and rather wicked looking. 'What's this thing for again?' said Kim.

'It's a titanium diamond-tipped stylus.' said Grimm. 'Wade and Jade cobbled them together yesterday. If you get the chance, slash it hard over the Aleph symbol on the back of any golem's left hand. It should cure them like it did me. And I'll double Mr. Matter's check if you can do it to Monkey Fist.'

Kim put the stylus back in her hip pouch, sighing. She'd never carried a weapon into a combat sitch before that she could recall. Even Wade's EMP gun wasn't a weapon in the strictest sense - it was only good against electronics. And her hand reflector was more of defensive tool...

Grimm seemed to be sensing her thoughts. 'Relax - you won't be using it on people.' he said. 'Whatever they were before, they're under Monkey Fist's control now. So don't hesitate to use it if they present a target. You'll be helping them, not hurting them. Get ready to land.'

The reflective glass and steel skyscraper that was the Go City R&D building loomed ahead. It had several smaller structures attached, making for a ragged, but still impressive looking facility. They swooped overhead and Grimm's bike went into a stationary hover, lowering down smoothly onto a helipad on the main building's roof. The Sloth's jets meant Kim had to circle and lower a few times before she was in position to land.

They quickly moved their vehicles off to a darkened section of the roof. Grimm had already released Rueful and pried open an air conditioning vent, sending him off with an encouraging pat. Rufus jumped in after him and they both disappeared.

They gathered in front of a door leading to an inner stairwell, but didn't enter yet. 'We clear on the plan?' said Grimm quietly, looking like he was gearing up for a high-dive.

'Split up and cover the storage rooms in stealth mode.' Kim said. 'The minute either of us find Monkey Fist, we target him first.'

'Right.' said Grimm. 'Once he's down, that should immobilize the other golems. After that, it'll just be a matter of taking out Maze and breaking the enchantment on their victims.'

'How about us?' said Monique. 'Sorry, but I left my stealth-mode battle suit back home...'

You're backup.' said Kim, putting a hand on Monique's shoulder. 'If we can't stop them, then having you raise the alarm is our plan B. They may not be able to bring Ron back - but if we capture them, we can at least put the brakes on whatever else they've got planned. Coordinate with Wade and Jade and get to the lower floors.'

Monique nodded, and Enrique nodded to Grimm. 'Buena suerte.' he said softly, and Grimm nodded back.

'All right,' said Kim, squaring her shoulders. 'Wade, Jade? We're going in. Make sure we don't trip the alarms.'

'Right.' they both said at the same time. Wade continued. 'Opening door in three, two, one... go!'

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The door opened and they both dashed in, their images flickering out in the distorted haze of their stealth modes. Without speaking, they ran through the corridors until they got to the elevator. They each pried one side of the door open, checked the shaft to make sure the elevator wasn't running, then slid down the cable until they reached the floor Wade said was the storage level.

They couldn't see each other, but Grimm whispered 'Here,' and Kim saw that the elevator doors leading into the storage level were warped, bent, and wouldn't open. 'Looks like they don't want visitors.' Grimm said softly.

Rufus' head poked out of a vent in the wall of the elevator shaft at that moment. 'Rufus!' Kim whispered. 'Find another vent and see if anyone's waiting on the other side of this door!'

Rufus gave the OK sign and whipped out of sight. A few seconds later he reappeared and gave them the thumbs-up. 'Help me out here.' said Kim, turning back to Grimm.

Grimm nodded and took out his stylus, forcing it into a crack between the doors. They heaved and pried in unison for a few seconds, and the doors wrenched open slightly, allowing them to force them open to the point where they could squeeze through. The corridor went both directions, stretching nearly out of sight before rounding distant corners. 'I'll take the left, you take the right.' Grimm muttered. 'Set your communicator to vibrate - if you find Monkey Fist, buzz me.'

And they split up, racing down the hallways.

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'This is kind of exciting!' said Ron. 'I never realized how much our missions must look like a TV show when you're just watching. It sure is different when you're spectating.'

Rhonda nodded. They were both watching what was happening in the labs, but it was a kind of split-screen vision. She was seeing what Grimm was doing, while Ron seemed only to see Kim. They were also seeing through the stealth mode somehow, as if through a haze. 'Come on G-Man,' she whispered. 'Taking these jerks down could be our big break...'

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Kim sped silently through the storage level, swiftly checking every door she passed to see if any were open. There didn't seem to be anyone around, but she stopped suddenly, seeing a lone scientist standing motionless in the corridor. He was holding up a clipboard as if screening his eyes, but he wasn't moving. She moved more cautiously until she noticed something strange. His coat wasn't white, it was gray - rough and stiff looking. His arms, hair and neck were similarly stone-like in appearance. Circling around to view him from the front, she saw he was indeed petrified. 'Looks like Wade owes Twitch an apology.' Kim thought.

Then further down the corridor, she saw a small group crossing from one side of the hall to the other, passing out one door an in through another. She caught an echoing fragment that she was sure was Monkey Fist's voice.

'...quickly, there's no telling how long before....'

She glanced back at the frightened looking, but petrified scientist. She didn't like just leaving him there, but there was nothing she could do for him except to defeat Monkey Fist. She sidled down the corridor until she reached the door where the figures had entered and peered in.

She felt a thrill of anticipation as she saw Monkey Fist, and a pair of golems. Monkey Fist was standing a few feet inside a lab room filled with intricate looking gadgetry. The golems were taking items down from shelves and pulling others loose from housings in the wall. And she felt a sudden jolt of surprise as she saw another figure, further inside the room, overseeing the golems - a man with dark hair and light blue skin.

'Dr. Drakken?' she thought. 'Now he's mixed up with this?' she tapped her Kimmunicator to alert Grimm.

'Can you go any faster?' said Monkey Fist. 'Without Maze, there's no way to escape from this building. We should get back to him as quickly as possible.'

'We'll need a lot of this stuff!' said Drakken. 'Just a few more minutes...'

Kim checked that her stealth mode was still on, and she entered the room. Monkey Fist was only a couple of feet away now, his arms at his sides, his left hand totally exposed. She took the stylus out of her belt, edging closer....

Watching from the spirit world, Ron was biting his nails. 'Oh man!' he said. 'It's the suspense that gets me!'

She was so close she could see every detail on the roughened surface of Monkey Fist's petrified skin. And she could faintly see the Hebrew symbols on the back of his left hand. She raised the stylus, ready to strike...

There was a sudden popping electrical noise, and the shield mode on her suit activated, bubbling out and shutting off her stealth mode. The shield faded as soon as it had flared up, leaving Kim standing in plain sight.

Everyone in the room stood frozen for a moment, staring. Monkey Fist's mouth hung open in surprise. He saw the stylus in her hand, and saw where she was standing.

Kim brought the stylus down with all her strength. Monkey Fist's face showed a flicker of shock, and he twisted, turning to the side. Kim's strike went across his back, sending sparks flying out.

They squared off and Kim saw Monkey Fist put his right hand quickly over his left hand, covering the emet symbols. 'Kim Possible!' shouted both Drakken and Monkey Fist.

'So it seems you did a little studying while you were hiding from us.' said Monkey Fist, looking at the stylus again. 'Who knew you had it in you?'

Kim glowered. She wasn't sure how she would get to him now that he was on his guard. But on the plus side, he seemed more wary of her. 'Come on, Monty.' she said tauntingly, moving closer to him, 'It's polite to shake hands, isn't it?' She noted that Monkey Fist was actually backing away.

'I don't think so.' he said, shaking his head. 'If your studies cover what I think they've covered, then you'll understand if I decline.'

'Then let's see how good your kung-fu is when you can't use both arms.' Kim said.

Monkey Fist smirked. 'Another time perhaps.' he said. 'I'm on a bit of a timetable, and besides, there's someone else here you forgot to greet...'

Kim saw a blurry shadow descending from above, and in an instant, she raised her shield. Something large and heavy impacted against it with a flash of blue light.

Kim allowed herself a smirk as Shego rebounded off the shield and went sprawling into a number of desks and chairs, scattering them around. Kim went into the ready position as Shego clambered onto her feet, stepping forward through the dimness of the lab.

'You're not as sure on your feet as you used to be, are you She....' and Kim paused as Shego stepped into the full light. Her face was flat and expressionless, and every part of her was gray and stiff. 'She...golem?' Kim said.

Shego charged at her like a stampeding rhino, bringing her arm down in an overhand chop as Kim leapt aside. Her strike split one of the desks in half with a splintering crash as Shego righted herself and attacked again.

'That's it, Shego!' Drakken shouted, shaking his fist as he popped up from behind one of the chairs. 'Give her the old one-two!'

'Gather what you can and return to the main room!' said Monkey Fist, backing out of the door. 'I must return and warn Maze. I trust Shegolem can handle things, and I can't abide girl talk.'

Kim winced as Monkey Fist disappeared into the corridors, but she couldn't go after him. Shego blocked her way, hurling a desk at her with a swift heave of her arms. Kim rolled to the side, but the desk crashed into the door leading out, blocking it.

Kim traded blows with Shego for several seconds. Shego seemed as invulnerable as all the other golems, but she had superior fighting skills. Shego struck quickly and forcefully enough that Kim was on the defensive, and she tried shifting to Tai Sheng Pek Kwar, blocking and waiting for a chance to use the stylus....

    shegolem

'Use your glow!' Drakken shouted, pushing dozens of loose components onto a hand truck and motioning the other two golems to pick up the heavier items. 'Show her who's boss!'

Shego's hands flared up with green energy, and Kim flipped through the room with a series of handsprings. Desks, chairs and other objects exploded behind her as Shego's attacks blasted into them.

Kim paused and braced herself, activating her hand unit. The reflecting module spread out over her fingers and she caught the next incoming fireball, smoothly sending it back with a pivoting whirl.

The blast hit Shego square in her stomach and she flew backwards. Dr. Drakken squealed and dived out of the way as she flew past, smashing into more tables before coming to a stop near the back wall.

'Booya!' Ron shouted, pumping a fist in the air. 'Insufficient postage - return to sender!'

'By the way Shego, Midas called asking about your new skin treatment.' said Kim, tauntingly. 'He wanted to know if they could use you as a hot stone in their massage spa.'

Drakken was still cringing, shaking his fist as Shego stood up, broken fragments of wood and tile crumbling off of her. 'You don't have to take that!' he shouted. 'Hit her with everything you've got!'

Shego raised both hands and a massive beam of green energy lanced across the room. Kim raised her shield, but found herself sailing backwards through the wall, rolling like a ball as the shield bubble was surrounded by the energy blast.

Drakken stared at the hole left by Shego's attack, seeing a few bits of drywall crumbling to the ground. 'Oooh.' he said. 'That... was pretty good.'

Shegolem said nothing, but hoisted a crate of parts onto her shoulder and strode towards the door. She kicked the smashed desk through it and left, practically dragging Dr. Drakken behind her. The remaining golems followed them in silence, hauling their burdens.

Kim pushed bits and pieces of shattered furniture off with a low groan. Shego had never unleashed that much power before. She remembered Monkey Fist saying that his golems were unaware of pain or fear, and thought that must be the reason - without any regard for her endurance or limits, she was able to release a lot more energy with her glow. Kim got up and saw that she had been blasted clean through at least two sets of walls. She dusted herself off and went back in pursuit.

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Part III: Withdrawal symptoms

Maze stood in the large storage room, watching over the remaining golems as they continued to pull boxes from shelves and stack them in the corner. The pile was sizeable now, and he knew it would take effort and concentration to move themselves and everything else back to the warehouse.

He didn't like letting Monkey Fist or Drakken out of his sight, but he knew following them while they searched for more equipment would be pointless as he knew little about such things. He watched with growing anticipation as their pile of supplies continued to grow. Everything they took brought him that much closer to his final goal...

He suddenly went sprawling, feeling something kick him hard on his backside. He flailed, tripped and crashed painfully against one of the surrounding metal shelf units. He struggled, getting clumsily to his feet and trying to set his cloak aright, as it had flapped over his head.

He whirled around, looking around for his attacker, but he could see no one. The golems were still collecting supplies as if nothing had happened. 'Who dares to strike me?' he said, his voice echoing through the corridors between the high shelves. 'Show yourself!'

'You got it, Sskipoyiwa.'

Maze's eyes flew wide as a figure with auburn hair stepped out of the shadows, wearing a black suit with glowing orange bands. 'No...' he said, his voice dropping to a low whisper. 'It can't be you! It's not possible!'

'Not possible... probable.' said Grimm, and despite himself he couldn't resist pausing to take in the sight of Maze's face. He had always discerned dislike, hatred and contempt behind Maze's eyes in each of their encounters, but now there was something he hadn't seen before - fear. 'That's right, Maze. We've found out the secret of your golems, and how to cure them. Your shadow-medicine isn't as strong as you thought - we'll find a way to bring Rhonda back too. Your scheme is finished!'

Grimm had started checking the inner rooms once his circuit of the main corridor revealed nothing. He had quickly spotted Maze and the golems at their labor, and was unable to resist the target, even after feeling Kim's buzzer alert. He felt confident that Possible could hit Monkey Fist - after all, attacking was her specialty.

Maze gestured, and a number of golems left their work and surrounded him, forming a protective wall and blocking Grimm's path. 'Destroy him!' Maze shouted, and they charged forward.

Grimm used his shield and wove his way through their midst, focusing not so much on blocking their attacks as avoiding them. And sure enough, one of the golems punched with his left fist. One dodge, and the sigils for emet were right under his eyes. The stylus flashed out and struck true, sparking and leaving a deep scratch across the aleph symbol.

At once, the golem froze in place. There was a hissing as of something burning quickly in a sudden flame, and the stony skin seemed to melt from the golem. It was a middle-aged man who fell to his knees with a gasp, looking around and cowering as the other golems continued to attack Grimm.

Grimm raised his shield and slid to a new place, waiting for another attack and another chance to strike. Maze felt another surge of fear and anger as he saw his former golem slave attempt to run, crawling and scrambling outside of the attacking circle. Unfortunately, the man bumped straight into Monkey Fist, who emerged through the door.

'My good fellow,' said Monkey Fist, smiling at him, 'Why would you want to leave now when things are just getting interesting?' There was a blast of yellow light and the man stood petrified once again.

Grimm saw this out of the corner of his eye. 'So Possible blew it.' he thought bitterly. 'Do I have to do everything? What could have made her drop the ball like that....?' But the question was answered a moment later when Shego and Dr. Drakken came through the doorway as well, with more golems carrying more supplies. 'Oh snap.' he thought, suddenly realizing how the odds were stacked against him at the moment.

'What the... Probable?' said Dr. Drakken in surprise. 'Why are we fighting him? He's one of my best hirees!'

But Monkey Fist was pulling the petrified man back towards the stacked boxes. 'Defend Maze!' he shouted to the golem workers. 'He's our only means of escape!' Then turning to the shadow shaman, he spoke quickly. 'They know about the golem enchantment, and they're targeting me.' he said. 'Concentrate your power and get us back to the warehouse so we can regroup and return to the lair - we can't afford to stay here any longer!'

Maze nodded and retreated to the stacked boxes, sitting down and concentrating. Several golems surrounded him and Monkey Fist shouted again. 'Have them protect their hands - we mustn't lose any of them!'

Monkey Fist turned back to the fight and saw Grimm weaving through the other golems, rushing towards him. Quickly, he covered his left hand with his right, shielding the emet symbols. 'Remain calm, and focus...' he thought. He felt a jarring blow against his chin, but held his ground and ignored it, keeping his eyes closed. 'With the symbols protected, he can't harm me - I must release my anger to bring out the power of destruction...'

Grimm hacked at Monkey Fist's hand with the stylus, but with the right hand covering the left, he couldn't reach the symbols and he knew he wouldn't be able to pry the other hand away. All of the golems were doing the same thing, looking slightly ridiculous, as if they were all getting ready to swing invisible baseball bats.

He turned his eyes to Maze. If Monkey Fist was on to the ruse, then their next best option was to take out Maze and prevent them from escaping. He geared himself to attack when Kim suddenly burst into the room.

'What?' Drakken shrieked from his hiding place behind Maze. 'She's wasn't fried? Nnnn! Shego - use your glow and keep her away from me!'

The Shegolem's hands flared green, and she began hurling plasma energy at Kim, who tumbled and rolled until she was side by side with Grimm. Both their shields were up, forming half bubbles of blue and orange.

'Where were you?' Grimm said, plasma bursts flaring outside their protective domes, 'I thought you found Monkey Fist first - how'd he get away?'

'Where were you?' Kim answered, activating her hand module, 'My stealth mode shorted out and I had to take them on alone!'

'Great.' Grimm sneered, and he saw a yellow glow building around Monkey Fist. 'Keep him off balance - we can't let him use the Yono's power!' They dropped their shields and attacked, with Kim using her grapple line to swing up towards Monkey Fist and Grimm cutting a weaving path through Shego's attacks, dodging them as if they were tennis balls back in the training yard.

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Ron and Rhonda were both biting their nails as they watched the scene unfolding in front of them. 'Go on, Grimm!' Rhonda shouted. 'Teach that double-crossing jerk a lesson!'

'Go on, Kim!' Ron yelled. 'Steamroll that bad road!'

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Monkey Fist opened his eyes, ready to attack, but saw a white and a black blur descending from above. The yellow light of the Yono's power built, but seemed to fizzle as both Kim and Grimm struck at the same time, sending Monkey Fist slamming against the wall. They both took hold of one of Monkey Fist's shoulders, then rolled backwards, pulling him down and activating their booster soles.

Monkey Fist went sprawling into the middle of the warehouse, separated from Maze and the other golems, who were standing guard around the shadow shaman.

Between their shields and their timed maneuvers, they kept Monkey Fist on the defensive most of the time. He put up a tremendous fight, fending both of them off, but he was also trying to protect his left hand, leaving him less able to defend himself.

Kim and Grimm kicked hard and flipped backwards, landing on their feet while Monkey Fist tumbled and crashed into one of the walls. He stood up awkwardly, looking angry.

'Don't let him call on the Yono's power!' Grimm shouted again, and they charged again.

Kim looked at Grimm, and for the first time since their shaky alliance was formed, she felt a sense of genuine understanding. They both nodded, braced themselves, and charged at Monkey Fist as one.

They cycled and timed their moves almost perfectly. Kim concentrated on striking at him, aiming for his left hand with the stylus. Whenever Monkey Fist struck back, Kim would circle out, looking for a better striking position, and Grimm would take over, using his defensive techniques to fend off Monkey Fist's attacks.

If Monkey Fist hadn't been totally annoyed, he would have appreciated the graceful and nearly choreographed appearance of Kim and Grimm's attacks. Kim struck again, keeping him pinned against the wall, while Grimm leaped high and caught her arms in mid-air, using his own momentum to send her whirling back towards Monkey Fist. Kim caught on at once and spun at him like a ballerina through the air, lashing out with a powerful kick, timed with her shield. The impact sent Monkey Fist blasting straight through the wall, skidding nearly a dozen yards and cutting a rough swath through several more desks.

unity
unity

He was too disoriented to be able to concentrate and focus his emotions to bring out the Yono's power, and could only brace himself as he saw Kim rushing at him again, ready to strike. But just a few feet away, Kim seemed to freeze in mid-step. Her suit was sparking in a few places and she looked as if she were struggling.

Seizing the opportunity, Monkey Fist surged forward and seized her ankle, pivoting and swirling her in a wide circle. Kim gritted her teeth, hammering on the control for her shield. It flared up just as she collided with Grimm, who had been rushing forward from behind. Then at once, he leaped back through the hole to rejoin Maze and the others.

Both Kim and Grimm flew sprawling backwards, tumbling and crashing through the debris which had already been scattered around during the battle. Grimm heaved up first, pushing Kim off of him. She also tried to get to her feet, but her suit sparked again and she couldn't move her right arm or leg.

'It's damaged!' she said, 'Go on without me!'

Grimm nodded and hurdled over a desk, heading back into the main storage room. Without waiting, he dashed through the hole in the wall. Turning on the flashlight built into one of his wrist bands, he looked desperately around, darting through corridors between high shelving units.

But he knew it was too late. There were no other sounds, no activity at all and he knew he hadn't been so far behind Monkey Fist that they could be out of sight in a room this big. They were gone again.

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Ron remained near to Kim, and Rhonda followed Grimm as he searched in vain. Their disappointment was palpable. 'Oh man...' Ron moaned. 'That was so close...'

And Rhonda's vision of Grimm faded as he looked back to make sure Kim couldn't see him. Then he pulled one of the smaller boxes off the shelves and threw it threw it across the room, chasing after it and kicking it several times with a furious look on his face.

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Soon after Maze's and Monkey Fist's escape, Monique and Enrique had arrived with the building's security. Once the fighting had started, Wade and Jade had been unable to stop the building's silent alarms from going off. Monique and Enrique had been halfway down to the main levels by then, but had quickly run into a squad of guards. It had taken them several long minutes to explain that they were trying to lead the guards upstairs to where the real theft was taking place. By the time that had all been sorted out, the fight was over.

The petrified scientist was taken to one of the labs for immediate study, but neither Wade nor Jade felt that this would lead to anything since they had learned pretty much everything they could when Grimm had been turned to stone. The other scientists who had questioned them after the battle were understandably skeptical about golems and the 'Yono'. After strongly stating that these were the facts, the scientists smiled patronizingly and assured Kim that the matter would be 'taken under advisement'.

Grimm had quickly found Rueful, reactivated his stealth mode and disappeared the moment the fight ended, leaving Kim to sort out the mess. The R & D administrators, learning that the famous Kim Possible had been involved, seemed quite understanding. After the questioning, they seemed to accept her being there on a mission without objection.

One of them seemed suspicious that so much equipment had gone missing, and suggested that Kim might know more than she was letting on. But he quickly fell into muttering silence when his peers asked him where the supplies might be hidden if Kim was still there and the supplies weren't.

'You and your friends are free to go, Ms. Possible.' said the head administrator, Dr. Kleiner. 'After helping Team Go to defeat the Mathter a while back, the entire city owes you a great debt!'

'No big, Dr. Kleiner.' Kim answered. 'Though Mr. Stoppable, the Actuary of the Year did all the heavy... mathing. If your people can find out anything about how Monkey Fist got away, the info could help a lot.'

Kim had even been allowed to go back to the roof unescorted. Grimm and his bike were gone, but Enrique seemed more than happy for the chance to get back in the Sloth and glue his eyes back onto Monique. Kim had been worried that Grimm had ditched them completely, and they wouldn't be able to find their way back to Riddleton. But soon after she had taken off into the night sky, the Ksikkihkíni swooped in front of them and she began following.

Grimm didn't say a word on the flight back. It wasn't until he'd guided Kim along a winding, twisting path back to Riddleton that he spoke again. Once they were inside the Fatigable's garage he started, and he sounded angry. 'What happened back there?' he snapped as Kim and the others got out of the Sloth. 'You were fighting like you were working with Monkey Fist!'

'The suit's malfunctioning!' Kim fired back. 'It wasn't my fault...'

'Faulty carpenter blames his tools.' Grimm said, glaring. 'If it wasn't for your klutzing around, we might have had him...'

'Look I'm sorry.' said Kim heatedly. She was used to Ron apologizing for some mistake or other, she wasn't used to being the one responsible for a failed mission. It felt doubly weird apologizing to Grimm of all people. 'The suit was acting funny after the fight in Basalton,' she said, 'But it seemed all right afterwards...'

'Give it to Jade so she can fix it.' said Grimm, his stare turning icy. 'We'll need the suits more than ever now.'

'Why?' said Monique.

Grimm sighed, sitting down on a stool near a workbench. 'I spilled the beans to Maze that we know how to cure the golems.' he said. 'I should have kept my cool, but I didn't. Plus, Kim made a direct try for the symbols on Monkey Fist's hand, so he knows we're onto him as well. Ten to one they're putting metal gauntlets over his hand right now, probably the other golems too. We blew our best chance of taking Monkey Fist out of commission.' He shook his head, running his hand across his eyes.

'It's not so bad, Senor Grimm.' said Enrique, shuffling uncomfortably. 'They ran away - perhaps they're not so strong.'

'They ran away with most of the stuff they came for.' said Grimm. 'And we're not any closer to finding out where they are. They'll be even more on their guard, and the ball's totally in their court now. If the best we can hope for is for them to screw up and give us another shot, then that's not saying much about our chances.'

'We might be in luck then.' said Kim. 'It looks like they have Dr. Drakken helping them out. Finding his lair is always a piece of cake.'

'Use your brains, Possible.' said Grimm sullenly. 'They turned Shego into a golem - which means they've got him on a tight leash too. They're keeping him under wraps just like the rest of their operation. No wonder Drakken hasn't called with any job requests lately - he's been working with them.'

'What do they want with him anyway?' said Monique. 'I thought he was like a 'D' list villain.'

'He's an A-list reverse engineer.' said Jade, her voice piping in through the communicator in Grimm's hip pouch. Grimm fished it out and held it up absent-mindedly, letting Jade speak. 'He may not be much for inventing his own stuff, but he's got a real gift for taking other people's inventions, duplicating them and adding his own little twists.'

'Oh crud.' said Wade from Kim's wrist Kimmunicator. 'The stuff they were taking - it could be used to make a bigger version of the Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer!'

Grimm slapped the workbench, shaking his head. 'Bingo.' he said, frustration edging his voice. 'Once they've got a full-sized version of that thing, they could target an entire city with the Yono's power. If dealing with twenty golems was tough, just think what it'll be like going up against a million of them.'

'I went over an inventory of the missing stuff.' said Wade. 'They're still missing some key components to duplicate an Oscillation Overthruster.'

'Then we've still got two leads we can use.' said Kim.

'Two?' said Grimm, still leaning over the workbench and looking down. 'I only see one.'

'I see another.' said Kim, smiling faintly. 'If they're using Drakken to duplicate the Jammer, then I think it's time we had a talk with the guy who invented it.'

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Back at the mountain lair, Maze was storming back and forth, clutching at his staff. 'Otaatoyiwa knows my secret!' he shouted. 'He knows how to release my slaves from the enchantment!'

'It changes nothing...' said Monkey Fist, shaking his head, but Maze shouted over him.

'It changes everything!' Maze said, 'If they can cure my golems, they can also return you to your immobile state! And if they can do that, the entire plan is in jeopardy!' He kept pacing, wringing his hands, lashing out with his staff and knocking a few items to the cavern floor.

Drakken watched Maze's ranting with a raised eyebrow. 'Is... that how I look when I do that?' he said.

'Sometimes.' said Monkey Fist with a shrug.

'We have to destroy them!' Maze hissed, a wild light in his eyes. 'We have to destroy them now! I won't let them stop me, not when I'm so close to...'

'Calm yourself.' said Monkey Fist. 'Possible has gone into hiding with Probable. We can't destroy them if we don't know where they are.'

'Where does he live?' Maze said. 'You trained him - in your past dealings you must have found out where he...'

'No.' said Monkey Fist, shaking his head. 'He was always very guarded about where he lived. No one who hired him ever knew - he always came to us.'

'We can't let them walk free!' Maze shouted.

'I agree.' said Monkey Fist, calmly. 'But it must be planned carefully. We must find a way to draw them out into the open - on our terms.'

Maze nodded, seeming to calm down a little, though his brows were still knitted. 'How shall we do that?'

'I doubt I could talk Probable into revealing his hiding place,' said Monkey Fist, stroking his chin with a stony, grating sound. 'But.. there is still Possible. I know where her home is.'

'Let us use the machine.' said Maze, nodding. 'I will turn her whole town into our slaves...'

'I have a better idea.' said Monkey Fist. 'Turning her friends to stone would not harm them. But Possible will never stand idly by if she thinks her friends are in danger.'

'Then what do you suggest?'

Monkey Fist strode towards the inner chamber. Maze followed him, and seeing that no one seemed to notice him, Drakken also followed. He felt a thrill as he entered the cavern, like a child sneaking downstairs to peek at his Christmas presents. He saw that the inner cavern was nearly as large as the main cavern. Several golems were laboring, some carrying out baskets of rock chips, others climbing up and down a series of ladders. 'As fate would have it,' said Monkey Fist, 'Your side project may be just the thing. I believe it's time we made our dear Ms. Possible aware of the forces she is now dealing with.'

He and Maze stopped and stared up at a vast shape that reached from the floor of the cavern nearly up to its sixty foot high roof. Drakken's mouth fell open as he saw that it was a statue, hewn out of the mountain rock.

'As an Englishman, it goes against my grain to use a German turn of phrase,' said Monkey Fist. 'However, in this case I can think of no better word to describe your creation than... the Ubergolem.'

        unity    

Chapter 23

It can be paper - or lenses - or understanding...

Author: Shego + golem = Shegolem. I've been waiting for ages to spring that little gag! As promised, the action is heating up. What will Maze do with the Ubergolem? Is this their endgame? Or do they have yet more riddles wrapped within riddles? Don't miss the next chapter as the physical battles turn spiritual as well, and one member of the shaky Possible/Probable alliance discovers a strength they never knew possible...

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