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

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

Chapter 32:
Dark

Ron Stoppable fidgeted in his seat on board a jet plane racing towards England. Rufus was poking his head around curiously from Ron's belt pouch. He was nervous about the coming battle, but just as nervous about the company he was going into battle with.

Grimm Probable was buckled into a seat across the aisle. Besides Ron and Grimm, there was no one on board except for the pilot. 'We'll be over the drop zone before long.' said Grimm, checking the straps of his backpack. 'If you've got any last minute last minute prepping you need to do, now's the time. I don't think it'll be any easier for us now than it was at the airport.'

Ron remembered. After they had left Yamanouchi and their copter had landed at the airport in Japan, it had certainly not been a leisurely take-off. With much of Japan in turmoil, and golems still running amok in the cities, the escape from the airport had been harrowing enough, apart from the prospects of the upcoming confrontation.

The jet pilot had been frantic when they got there. Even though Grimm had made sure the pilot had a Moo Goo gun in case he needed to defend the plane, he had taxied the jet into one of the hangars and hidden behind a stack of crates the whole time.

But they still needed to refuel the jet before they could leave for England, and they had been attacked by roaming golems twice while going about the task. Luckily, the Moo Goo Guy Gun had been sufficient to keep their attackers stuck in place while they helped themselves from the airport fuel storage tanks. Ron had protested taking the fuel without asking, until Grimm had reminded him that there was no one to ask. The staff, technicians and personnel, like most of the rest of the population, were all on the run from Maze's golems.

Finding a clear exit runway had been another problem. Many of the runways were partially blocked off by abandoned planes, wrecked and burning cars, or other golems. Ron had clutched an airsick bag as he felt the jet weaving along a bumpy path while they moved here and there. At last, they had found a stretch of runway long enough to build up enough speed for their escape.

Once airborne, Grimm had gone into the lavatory and re-emerged wearing his battle-suit. Aside from that, he had stayed in his seat, scowling the whole time. That had been several hours ago. The flight itself had been uncomfortably quiet. Rufus shrugged up at Ron, and again, Ron tried to break the ice.

'So why are we bailing from the plane over a dozen miles away from the lair?' he said.

'Because I don't want the jet anywhere near that Jammer.' said Grimm without looking at him. 'I don't know if they've got any systems in place for taking out approaching planes, but I'd rather not find out the hard way.'

'Then how are getting to the lair? I mean, usually Kim and I use parachutes, and it'll be a long walk if we land...'

'We're taking the Ksikkihkíni.' said Grimm, cutting across him.

'The... bikini?' said Ron. 'How will one of those help?'

Grimm rolled his eyes. 'Ksikkihkíni.' he said loudly. 'It's Blackfoot for 'eagle'. That's what my bike is named - you know, the one that can fly?'

'Oh. Yeah.' said Ron. 'Well that's cool.'

'The bike can come in low enough to avoid detection, at least I hope so.' Grimm paused, sniffing and glaring at the seat in front of him. 'That's if these coordinates are even legit.' he muttered. 'All we've got is an e-mail out of nowhere, with no way to verify it.'

'So... what do we do when we get there?' said Ron.

Grimm sneered. 'Don't ask me. Your monkey was the one who sent us here without a plan. If he thought we should have more intel before we left, he blew off every chance to give it to us.'

Ron thought back to the 'tips' that the Mystical Monkey had given him in Toshimiru's dojo. But none of them gave him any enlightenment about what they should expect once they were at Monkey Fist's lair.

Grimm was silent again, tapping his foot against the seat in front of him. In truth, he had gotten some more information before he left, from Chief Sakituya. The Indian Chief had drawn him aside before he had gone in to Rhonda's room to help her pack. But Sakituya's words hadn't comforted him much more than what the Mystical Monkey had said.

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'When you reach Maze's sanctuary, you must be careful not to destroy his machine immediately.' said Sakituya.

'Why not?' asked Grimm. 'Isn't that the whole point of this raid?'

'Eventually.' said Chief Sakituya. 'But first - there is the matter of the damage they have already done. Maze's shadow medicine has animated the inanimate. And the work of Ipi'kowa must be broken if the world is to be restored to peace.'

'But how?' said Grimm. 'We already tried knocking out Maze. Even when he's out of commission, his golems can move and act without his direction. And even if we actually defeat Monkey Fist, the world's statues and monuments weren't created by the Yono's power of stone. They'll still be golems, even if the Yono's power is broken.'

'This is true.' said Sakituya. 'But those who were petrified by Maokiiwa need not concern you. Your concern must be the statues which were solely brought to life by Sskipoyiwa.'

'I don't understand.' said Grimm, shaking his head.

'You do not need to.' said Sakituya gently. 'Simply know that this should guide your actions within the lair. If that helps you to focus your efforts, then it will be well enough.' He handed Grimm a leather shoulder pack.

Grimm opened the flap, and saw that it was filled with the same kind of colored sand that he had used under the Great Bear Spirit's direction when he was fighting the Ubergolem. 'What's this for?' he asked.

Sakituya looked at him gravely. 'The price which the Great Bear asked of you is not yet fully paid.' he said. 'You must now play the part of Ipi'ka'pssiwa, and break the enchantment which has brought the statues of the world to life.'

Grimm shook his head. 'I'm not a Blackfoot medicine man.' he said. 'If that's what needs doing, then you should come with us...'

'No.' said Sakituya firmly. 'Did you not swear to the Great Bear Spirit that you would do everything in your power to save Katasistsikoowa? This is part of the covenant you have made, Otaatoyiwa. You must be the one to fulfill it.'

Grimm stood in silence for a moment. 'I said I wanted him to bring Rhonda back. That's done now.' he said. 'What if I refuse to play along any further?'

Sakituya shook his head. 'You must decide for yourself, Otaatoyiwa.' he answered. 'I cannot constrain you or force you. I can only say that even though Katasistsikoowa is saved, unless you change with her, she will walk a different path from you.'

Grimm felt a chill. Those were the same words the Great Bear had said to him in his vision. Sakituya hadn't been there - how could he have known them too? Was it a coincidence? He sighed. 'I'm not saying I agree to anything.' he said. 'But for the sake of argument, what would I do with this stuff when I get there?'

Sakituya smiled.

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'Why?'

Ron's voice suddenly broke Grimm out of his reverie. 'What?' he said.

'I said why?' Ron repeated. 'Why do you keep giving Kim such a hard time?'

Grimm was getting tired of rolling his eyes at Ron's stupid questions, but he did it again anyway. 'Aw, what's the matter?' he said jeeringly, 'Can't your tough crime-fighting girlfriend handle a little pressure?' he said.

'Yeah.' said Ron defiantly. 'But what's your beef?'

Grimm looked away. 'I already told her.' he said. 'You and Kim played us that time in Drakken's old lair. I'm just settling the score.'

'You said that about the thing with the Mega Synaptic Transducer.' said Ron. 'But that was months ago.'

Grimm winced. Ron was too honest and straightforward for his taste. His simple good-hearted nature had no appreciation or understanding for the subtlety of things like revenge or spite. 'She's competition.' he said, wondering how to phrase it so Ron would shut up. 'Her activities cut into my profits, so I do what I can to ace her out. It's nothing more than that.'

'You don't have to be such a jerk about it.' Ron said. 'That stuff you pulled was really harsh.'

'She can quit if it's too tough for her.' said Grimm.

Ron didn't answer. He knew exactly what Kim would say. And he remembered what his Dad had told him the time he had been freaking out over the mathematics of Kim's safety. 'Some things are worth the risk.' Grimm was still talking. 'If she can't take a bloody nose now and then, maybe she should crawl back home into bed.' Grimm said, turning away. 'It's not safe out there, you know.'

'Well it would be a lot safer if people like your bosses were in Cell Block D where they belong!' Ron retorted. 'Then maybe we wouldn't need to do stuff like, I donno, fly into a mountain lair to try and destroy an Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer?'

Grimm didn't really feel like arguing that point, so he switched to deflection. 'Speaking of which, we'd better work out a game plan.' he said. 'No matter what your monkey says, I want some kind of strategy for when we're there...'

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Dr. Drakken was inside the Jammer, high up in the Immersion Chamber. He entered coordinates and data into a display readout built into one of the armature supports for the machine. Maze was there, scowling impatiently. At last, Drakken stepped back. 'That should do it.' he said. 'I've set the screen to display the coordinates of each city that Monkey Fist hit before he stepped out. They'll scroll in sequential order by tapping the up and down arrow keys beneath the keypad. The Jammer is at full power, and you can start any time....'

'Now.' said Maze. 'Each city that falls to my rule weakens my enemies.'

'Yes yes, we're all in a hurry to weaken our enemies.' said Drakken, shrugging his shoulders. 'So... are you set for the time being? Everything peachy? You'll be hitting these cities for a while, right?'

'Yes.' said Maze, stepping into the enclosure and lowering the Immersion Helmet into place.

Drakken was backing towards the lift as he spoke. 'Ah well then, if you don't need anything, I'll be in the back cavern with Shego getting... rid of those empty crates.'

'Yes.' said Maze, distracted. He was trying to muster his concentration; to focus his will through the Immersion Helmet and into the Jammer in preparation for hitting his next target. And he found Drakken's voice even more grating than normal.

'Was that 'yes' you don't need anything, or 'yes' you do need something...?'

'Just go.' he said irritably, his vision blocked by the interior of the helmet. He was relieved to hear the lift door slide shut a few seconds later. He chanted softly, and felt the vast areas across the world where his influence could reach spring open to his mind. He felt the shadows bending to his will, and turned his powers towards the next city on his list. The crows for dozens of miles around his target heeded the call and took wing, flying to where hundreds of thousands of petrified people were waiting to be marked and join his army....

Part II: The Lair

The rear cargo hatch of the jet swung open, and Ron looked out with a gulp at the green landscape far below as it rolled past his view. They were several hundred feet up, much lower than he and Kim had ever been when using their chutes. Grimm was on the bike, his helmet on. Ron was trying to wrestle Rhonda's helmet onto his head. It wasn't his size, and the foam padding was scraping against his face. He buckled himself behind Grimm and triple-checked to make sure Rufus was secure in his hip pouch.

Grimm was talking to the pilot on the bike's communicator. 'Once we're clear, go to Heathrow and wait for us.' he said. 'Do whatever you can to lay low and protect the plane. Depending on how this goes, we may need a fast exit.'

'Roger.' came the voice of the pilot, slightly scratchy with static. 'We'll be over the drop zone in five... four...'

  bike freefall

'Stay gripped.' Grimm muttered to Ron. The bike turbines began emitting a mechanical whining sound.

'..two... one... go!'

The straps holding down the Ksikkihkíni whipped loose and they shot out of the plane. Despite all of his experience with plane drops, Ron found there was a distinct difference from a free-fall with a chute, and a free-fall while strapped to a motorbike. A glance backward showed him the jet was already a small dot shrinking in the distance.

The ground beneath them was zooming up far too quickly for his liking. He saw roads, woods, hills and checkered patches of green like farm fields shuddering below. Ron squealed his usual free-falling squeal before they leveled out about a hundred feet from the ground and soared straight and level.

'Dude - pipe down and stop hugging me!' Grimm barked.

'I'm not hugging you - I'm holding you!'
'That sounds even worse!'
'Well what am I supposed to say?'
'I don't.... look, just ease off!'

Ron relaxed his grip a bit, much to Grimm's relief. 'Maybe I should get a car.' he thought. 'This just gets too weird with other passengers.' But it was all the more uncomfortable with Ron because he was so similar to Rhonda in his manner of behavior. Rhonda also used to squeal at every free-fall, and not let go of him until they landed. He'd never minded it with Rhonda - it was actually fun having her hold him more tightly on the bike. But with another guy - he couldn't help remembering what Enrique had said. 'No es macho.'

They glided over the landscape, gradually dipping lower until they were barely thirty feet above the ground. 'Uh, you said you wanted to go in with a plan.' said Ron. 'Did we actually get around to discussing one?'

Grimm sighed. He had decided what his plan would be, but to get a shot at making it happen, he would need stealth. He had to find a way to reach his goal without anyone knowing what he was up to. In the time it took to get to the airport from Yamanouchi and onto the plane, Ron had slipped, stumbled, squealed or fallen every few minutes. So much so that Grimm had considered starting a spreadsheet to see if he could calculate exactly when the next slip-up would occur.

And that would be a disaster on this mission. Ron seemed to habitually make as much noise as an elephant strapped with pots and pans, even when he was trying to be stealthy. But Grimm needed to make his way through the lair without being noticed. And the minute Ron moved, he'd probably have Maze and the entire gang on him...

And the lights went on in Grimm's mind. 'All right,' he said, picking his words carefully. 'Here's the plan. From all the intel we gathered before, they built a smaller mini-Jammer first to see if they could use it to broadcast their enchantments by satellite. Once they proved it could work, they brought Dr. Drakken on board to make a full-size Jammer. That means there's probably two Jammers in the lair. A big one, and a smaller one. We have to take them both out. I'll handle the big one - it should be easy to spot. You take out the smaller one. Got it?'

'Absolutely!' he said. 'When it comes to breaking mad scientist doomsday machines, no one tops the Ron-man!'

'Well, we have to do it quiet-like.' said Grimm. 'We don't know how many golems they have guarding the place. If anyone spots us, they'll all come running.'

'Oh yeah.' said Ron. 'Uh, that would be a bad thing, right?'

'Yes, having an army of indestructible rock monsters all trying to pound you into jelly would land squarely in the bad things category.'

'I get it, I get it!' said Ron.

'So whatever you do,' said Grimm pointedly. 'Do not let anyone see or hear you. You got that? Be absolutely and totally silent.'

'Then don't breathe too deep, 'cause I'm gonna be like a puff of smoke!' Ron said, and his hand smacked loudly against his helmet as he saluted.

'Yeah, that ought to distract them.' Grimm thought. Then he thought about Rhonda and shook his head. 'Just in case they do spot us, you can run, right?'

'Well duh.' said Ron.

'If that happens, just do your best to stay ahead of them.' he said. 'Beyond that, we can't work things out any further until we get to the lair.'

A red light on the dashboard of the bike suddenly began blinking and there was a loud beeping. 'That doesn't sound good!' said Ron. 'What is it?'

'The lair.' said Grimm.

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A light on the computer console inside the lair blinked red and beeped. Drakken hastily turned off the computer speakers, silencing everything except for the sounds of the Jammer and the power generator. He sneaked a quick look at the monitors linked to the exterior surveillance cameras and saw an approaching dot in the distance. He turned and looked around the lair, using only his eyes and trying not to turn his neck too much.

The golems who had remained behind, about forty of them, were still and quiet. With the construction finished, they had mostly been sent to guard duty, and were dotting the vast cavern here and there. Drakken wiped his forehead in relief, smoothing away a layer of nervous sweat. None of the golems seemed to be coming at him, which meant they must not have noticed.

Biting his lip, he turned off the monitor screens and stood up from the desk, clearing his throat loudly. 'You statue people!' he called out. 'I'm going to the back to clear away a few things! Why don't you all come and lend a hand?'

Several seconds passed. None of the golems responded. 'Nnnn! Fine!' Drakken spat. 'Shego!' he called out, and Shego was there a moment later. 'You come with me and help out!' Shego said nothing, but followed him as he walked towards the rear caverns. 'We'll be pretty far in and may not be out for a while...' he said loudly. 'Yessir - got a lot of crates to get rid of... way in the back.' Then they passed through the opening that led out of the main chamber and were swallowed up in the shadows.

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Even Ron, by sight alone, could tell which mountain was the lair. All the other surrounding peaks, hills and moors were green with trees, grasses and other vegetation, and had dark patches where rock and stone poked through. But one mountain had a flattened top, and a faint light was funneling upwards from the summit. And barely visible, they saw the spiked and gleaming points of something metallic jutting slightly above the crater.

Grimm had landed the Ksikkihkíni some distance away from the mountain itself, and insisted they go in on foot. They had hiked steadily, flitting from cover to cover until the mountain filled all their vision. They felt vibrations beneath their feet, as if they were approaching a restless volcano.

Grimm motioned Ron to stop, and darted behind a copse of gorse bushes on the slopes. 'This is it.' he said, his voice barely above a whisper.

'Ya think?' said Ron. 'Like the glowey stuff wasn't a giveaway? I'm surprised no one else found them...'

'Gotta hand it to them, they picked a good spot.' said Grimm, pushing aside leaves and twigs. About thirty yards from where they crouched hidden, Ron saw the start of a path. And following the path with his eyes, he saw it led back and forth, ascending up the mountain. One hundred feet up, nearly hidden by overhanging bushes, he saw the wide entrance of what looked like a cave.

'Good spot?' said Ron. 'There's not a Bueno Nacho within fifty miles! This isn't good!'

Grimm winced, and finally decided that Kim was to be admired - for somehow putting up with Ron in a mission setting. 'It's isolated enough that the Jammer still can't be spotted except from the air.' he said. 'From a distance, the lights blend in with the light pollution from distant cities. The tremors must be vibrations from the generator. But only hikers would get close enough to feel it - the nearest town is at least five miles away.'

'So what are we waiting for?' Ron said, starting to push through the bushes. 'Let's climb up, find a ventilation duct and...'

Grimm hauled him back and pushed him down. 'Not on the path, doofus!' he hissed. 'It's probably wired! We go up a stone's throw away from the path!'

'Yeah.. makes sense I guess.'

But some time later, fighting his way up the slopes without a path, Ron decided it didn't really make sense at all. They had to scramble on their hands and knees in many steep places, getting scratched and scraped by thick bushes and rough rocks.

At last, Grimm peered around a tumble of weathered rocks covered with moss and lichen, and saw a wide space which had been beaten smoother with the coming and going of heavy feet. Around the bend was the entrance of the cave.

'Send him in.' Grimm whispered, flattening himself against the mountainside as best he could.

Ron knelt down and opened his hip pouch. 'OK Rufus, you're on!' he said. Rufus hopped out and gave Ron a salute. Then he scurried off rapidly, reaching the entrance area and turning around the bend. He was out of sight for a few minutes before he darted back into view, giving Ron a thumbs-up sign.

'All right - no guards at the front door!' Ron smiled, and he started forward.

Grimm followed after him cautiously. 'Don't drop your guard.' he said. 'And remember, once we're inside, you're on your own.'

But Ron didn't seem to be listening. He was edging towards the dark entrance of the cave. Grimm kept his finger near the belt control which would activate the stealth technology on his battle-suit.

The cave mouth yawned wide around them as they entered, and Ron felt the slightly colder air washing around him. Soon they were enveloped in darkness and Ron stopped, letting his eyes adjust. They crept forward again, letting Rufus scout ahead. A rumbling, mechanical noise was growing steadily louder as they went on. Then at last Rufus motioned them to stop, and they saw a light ahead of them which was not daylight.

They leaned their heads around the rim of the widening tunnel, and saw a vast cavern spreading out before them. It was huge, with wires leading up the walls to several light fixtures mounted in the high roof. The distant edges of the cavern were littered with crates and other miscellaneous equipment. About twenty yards away, they saw a few stone tables, fitted with banks of computers and connected wires.

      the lair    

But dominating the scene was something that Ron recognized, having seen it before in one of Professor Dementor's lairs. A towering metal construct that stretched up to the roof of the cavern. It was surrounded by railways and gantries, with an elevator lift attached to the superstructure. The cavern roof had a gigantic sliding metal hatchway, which was open. The pale sky above was mostly blocked out by the top of the machine, which had several spiked protrusions raised towards the sky like a thorny robotic finger. Thick cables connected the machine to a large power generator, which rumbled and growled, it's massive turbines spinning rapidly.

'Hey...' Ron whispered, '... that thing looks just like...'

Grimm quickly covered Ron's mouth with a gloved hand, motioning him to be quiet. He pointed slowly into the cavern, indicating several different spots. And then Ron saw the golems. He had sort of skipped over them because of the massive Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer, but following Grimm's lead, he now spotted dozens of figures, standing still and silent around the edge of the cavern, mixed in among the crates and other parts lying around. Some of them looked human, with clothing and features that would have been considered intricately carved, if they had actually been statues. But Grimm knew they were Maze's petrified and enslaved victims. There were other golems though, which were rough and lumpy - misshapen stones carved into vaguely human forms.

None of them appeared to be looking towards the cave entrance. All of them were oriented towards the table, the generator, or the Jammer. 'They've been ordered to protect the machines...' Grimm thought. He looked around intensely, but he couldn't see Maze, Monkey Fist, Drakken, or even Shegolem.

'I'm heading for the big one.' Grimm whispered. 'Find the mini-Jammer, and don't forget - be silent!' Then he activated his stealth mode and darted into the cavern.

Rufus looked questioningly up at Ron. 'Mmm-hmm?' he squeaked.

Ron grinned. 'Not to worry, Rufus!' he said softly. 'You're forgetting we spent a week at Yamanouchi - so I don't need a battle suit to be.... invisible!'

Rufus put a paw over his eyes and shook his head as Ron picked up a rock, held it in front of his face, and started slinking into the cavern with exaggerated ninja postures.

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Maze was relishing the heady thrill of control which he felt while using the Jammer, and wondering what the total number of new slaves would reach once Monkey Fist returned to petrify more cities. Even if some parts of the United States could not be turned to stone outright, they would soon be overwhelmed with sheer numbers.

He indulged in a long-nurtured fantasy in which he imagined the foolish leaders in Washington DC, defeated and on their knees, giving into his demands. And he envisioned himself, returning to the remnants of the Blackfoot tribe as the hero who had reclaimed their land and rights to power. Not much longer, perhaps only another day or two, and those dreams would become real.

But the pleasant images were interrupted by a loud clattering noise that seemed to come from somewhere outside the Jammer. He gritted his teeth as the sound died away, leaving only the soft thrumming pulse of the Jammer. He started concentrating again when the clattering noise repeated, even louder and more prolonged. 'Clumsy blue fool!' he thought angrily. He removed the helmet and unbuckled the gauntlets, stepping out of the Immersion Chamber and picking up his staff. His patience with Drakken was running out. Now that the Jammer was built and working, he was looking forward to getting rid of him, either by throwing him out or having Monkey Fist turn him to stone and silence him permanently. He stormed over to the lift entrance and started down to the cavern floor.

Once the lift was half-way down, a shimmering distortion slipped over the railway leading into the Immersion Chamber from the upper gantries. Grimm Probable deactivated his stealth mode and approached the machine, removing a bag of colored sand from his belt...

Part III: Ronneybrook

Ron Stoppable was scrabbling back up to his feet. 'A bucket!' He thought. 'They actually had a bucket here - and I tripped over it - twice! Man, what is wrong with me?' As he dusted off his knees, he heard a steady thumping from all around, the sound of many approaching footsteps. The golems who had been standing guard were closing in. He backed up towards a stone table which held the computers and keyboards.

Ron cleared his throat in a sheepish laugh. 'Hey guys,' he said. 'Is this the address for the next Rolling Stones concert?'

None of the golems answered. They formed a half circle around him and slowly stumped nearer.

'Woah - tough crowd.' Ron muttered. 'Really tough!'

The golems stopped as a low, angry voice shouted from several yards away. 'Who dares trespass in my domain?'

Ron turned. Standing next to the entrance of an elevator lift was a man in a brown cloak and poncho, holding a staff in his hand. As his eyes fell on Ron, an expression of amazed bewilderment spread across his face. 'You...' he breathed. 'Ipi'sskinao'siwa!'

'Ippy-sisky...whoozis?' said Ron, hopping up onto the table and still backing away from the golems. 'Doesn't anyone just use regular names around here?'

'How can this be?' Maze hissed. 'I banished you to the world of spirits! There is no way you can possibly have returned!'

'Really?' said Ron, stumbling over computer monitors and keyboards, 'Uh... maybe your powers have an expiration date...'

'But if you have returned, that means...' And Maze's face contracted in sudden rage. 'She has returned as well!'

'Who - Rhonda?' said Ron. 'Yeah, we kind of came back on the same bus.'

'Where is she?' Maze snarled. 'I will make certain this time that she shares your fate!'

'Uh... dude I can't really talk much right now - your rock guys are crowding my personal space and it's kinda off-putting...'

Maze ground his teeth. 'Very well then.' he said quietly. 'Perhaps your spirit will be more compliant once your body has been broken! Slaves - destroy Ipi'sskinao'siwa!'

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Grimm heard Ron's high-pitched wailing even from the Immersion Chamber high above. He could also tell the voice was moving, circling around the Jammer, meaning that Ron was running.

'Just keep away from them a little longer,' he thought, laying out the last trails of sand from his bag. The metallic enclosure was now surrounded by sigils painted on the metal steel floor, and Grimm stepped gingerly into the machine. He turned his attention to a pair of keypads set on armatures near the Immersion Gauntlets.

On one of his wrists he had pinned a scrap of paper with some of Jade's notes, listing Dementor's basic instructions on how to run the Jammer. On the other wrist, he had a note scribbled with words written in Blackfoot. He took a deep breath, and then started working the keypads. He worried for a moment, wondering if Drakken had made any alterations to the controls. But he was relieved as he heard the Jammer revving up to full power. Quickly, he lowered the helmet onto his head, then slipped his hands into the gauntlets.

Wondering if this would possibly work, he began to chant, concentrating and trying to focus his will into the helmet.

Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa
Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa...

grimm

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Ron was running around the lair with the golems plodding after him. He was running so fast that soon he had caught up and was directly behind the pursuing statues. 'Oops.' he said, as they paused and stared at each other. Then he turned around and ran screaming in the other direction.

Maze stood watching the proceedings incredulously. Despite the fact that Ron was constantly squealing at the top of his lungs, he was still running full speed, apparently without any shortness of breath. 'Perhaps he should be named 'Needs No Air.' he thought.

It was a frustrating chase from his perspective. The golems were simply too slow to keep up with Ron, and Ron didn't seem to be getting tired. The pursuit seemed endless, and Maze watched like a tennis spectator, glaring at the proceedings as Ron and the golems moved back and forth and around the Jammer in a perpetual cycle that went on for several minutes.

At last they seemed to have him cornered as Ron scrambled up a scaffolding crane like a kitten up a tree. The golems began pulling and heaving at the base as Ron reached the top. The lurching motions pitched him loose, and with a prolonged wail he fell.

Maze grinned with triumph, but it was short-lived. Ron caught hold of the hook and chain at the end of the crane boom as he fell. The boom swung around in a wide arc, sending Ron wheeling around the cavern until the boom smashed into a tower of crates.

'Woops - sorry!' Ron yelled, crawling up on top of the boom. Empty wooden boxes rained down, smashing on top of golems, until a number of them were buried. The other golems were still pulling at the base of the crane, and Ron fell backwards onto the boom as it started swinging the other direction.

Ron felt his stomach churning at the sudden changes in g-force and the sight of the lair spinning around beneath him. 'Oh man!' he said. 'I'm glad I didn't have any hot dogs on the plane...!'

  ron swings

Rufus was leaning out of his hip pouch, looking green. 'Mmm-hmm! Queasy!' he squeaked.

But Ron was able to clearly register one sight. The crane boom was speeding swiftly on course to smash fully into the cavern wall. Fighting against the nausea, he pulled himself along the length of the boom until he was at the pivot point. There was a loud crash, and the entire crane shook violently. He felt himself falling loose again, and reached out with his hands, trying to grab anything solid.

He wound up with both arms wrapped around one of the crane support struts, and slid down like a fireman on a pole. Grateful for his gloves, he tightened his grip, feeling his clothing squeal against the smooth metal until he came to a stop. Opening one eye, he saw the cavern floor just a foot or two beneath him.

'We made it!' he shouted, dropping to the floor. 'Ron one - gravity zero!' He laughed, until he turned around and saw he was in the middle of the golems who had been at the base of the crane. 'Oh crud.'

'Finish him!' Maze crowed from across the cavern. But then his mouth fell open as he saw the boom for the crane snap loose. It fell twenty feet, landing squarely on top of the golems. They were flattened against the cavern floor with the twisted metal of the crane entangled around them. When the dust cleared, Ron was still standing, covering his head and cringing against the cavern wall.

He looked around at the wreckage, then sheepishly looked at Maze. 'Uh, I want it on record,' he said. 'Your guys did that, not me!'

Maze shook his head in disbelief. How could one pale-faced boy cause so much havoc? 'Get up!' he shouted. 'After him!!'

Ron darted through the midst of the crane wreckage and the fallen crates as golem arms and limbs pushed or smashed their way through the debris. 'Why couldn't I have come here with Kim?' he thought. 'She usually takes out the bad guy by now! Where's Grimm?'

Maze's attention was focused on Ron, and as such, he did not notice as the main computer bank at the base of the Jammer flicked on. It was the display which showed the globe and it's surrounding satellites, which were all suddenly blinking, changing from yellow to white...

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

Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa...

Grimm kept chanting, though nothing seemed to be happening. All he could see was the interior of the Immersion Helmet, and all he could hear was the pulsing of the Jammer, along with Ron's faint squeals from below.

'Come on, Great Bear!' he thought, abandoning his chant as he had before fighting the Ubergolem. 'I was ordered here - Sakituya said this was part of my price! I'm here for Rhonda's sake, so if there's something else you need from me, take it!'

But again, nothing seemed to happen.

Grimm sighed, gripping the handles inside the gauntlets hard. 'Please?' he tried, desperately.

And he suddenly felt the light - all the light across the globe, light which the shadows fled from. Grimm paused for a moment in awe of the sensation he felt as his will melted into the light. It didn't feel as if he were bending the light to his will - rather it felt as if the light was using his will to bend itself. The light reached out, and touched the rampaging golems across the globe...

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

And from one side of the world to the other, golems suddenly halted. Animated statues stopped their attacks. Egyptian statues returned to their ancient stands, took their places and went still. The sphinx settled back into its sandy foundation, raising its mysterious head and returning to its silent vigil.

The Statue of Liberty heaved itself back onto Ellis Island, stood on her dais and raised her torch before falling back into lifelessness. Across Europe, Asia, Africa and Russia, monument statues all stopped, returned to their places and went still, as if nothing had ever happened.

Crows which had been laboring to scratch the emet symbols onto petrified victims took flight and scattered. The will that had gathered them and guided them was suddenly gone, and they fled from the light to return to their forests and nests.

In Washington DC, Mr. Probable was still aiding in the defense of the city. But it was obvious, even to the troops, that they were only delaying the enemy. They had exhausted their Moo Goo guns, but there were still thousands of golems marching into the city from all around. The soldiers' RPGs and other weapons could do little more than knock them down and slow their advance, but they couldn't stop them. Slowly, but gradually, the golems were entering the city.

Mr. Probable's radio man had one earphone pushed against the side of his head while the surrounding soldiers fired another volley of shells. They were trying to disrupt the advance of a horde of golems, which were marching up a freeway towards the city.

The soldiers began a sudden cheering when they saw that some of the golems had fallen still, and were not getting back up to rejoin the attack. Mr. Probable stared, wondering what might have happened - their latest onslaught hadn't been any more powerful than the previous. But as he looked around with his binoculars, he could plainly tell that a number of golems were now stiff and motionless.

'Getting reports from the north and east flanks, sir!' the radio man shouted above the din. 'We've got enemy troops going down all around the city - and the statues in the containment foam have stopped moving!'

Mr. Probable nodded. One of the more enthusiastic soldiers shouted towards him from across the way. 'We got 'em on the run, sir! Should we drive 'em back?'

'Use your eyes, soldier!' Mr. Probable shouted. 'We're not out of the woods yet.'

Hundreds of golems were still moving, re-gathering and continuing their relentless advance. Leaving behind the others, the resumed their march. 'Maintain your firing lines and range from targets!' Mr. Probable bellowed. 'There's fewer enough now that we might be able to keep them out of the city, but do not attempt to engage in melee combat!'

The soldier nodded and returned to his squad, who were reloading their RPG launchers for another volley. But they were running out of ammo for those as well, and the tanks were also running low on shells. The battle resumed, and Mr. Probable tapped his fingers on his binoculars. 'That's my boy.' he thought. 'Whatever you're doing, keep it up...'

Part III: Darkness Falls

Ron was backed into a corner, with Maze's golems closing in. It might have been the adrenaline rush, fueled by so much running, but he felt a giddy defiance of the odds that he often felt when things seemed hopeless. 'You think you guys scare me?' he yelled. 'I've faced down bruisers before - and I've got the same message for you that I had for them! Eat knuckle!'

He went into his best kung-fu stance, let out a yodeling shout, and lashed out with a hard strike into the gut of the lead golem.

'Ow!' he squealed, pain exploding in his hand. He drew back his arm, shaking it hard. 'It hurt when I gave that message all those other times too....' He flinched, hiding his eyes and expecting a return punch, but the Ultra Atmospheric Jammer suddenly thrummed loudly.

Both Ron and Maze turned and looked up, distracted by the Jammer. It glowed piercingly bright in the dark cavern, and the generator was whining when a wave of light bubbled out from the machine, traveling through the lair like a physical thing. Ron felt it going through him, and Maze was shielding his eyes.

Then the light faded. Shadows rose again in the cavern. Both the Jammer and the generator seemed to die down, the tumultuous noises ebbing out.

Ron looked back down again, but the lead golem hadn't moved. It remained in front of him with both arms stretched out to seize him, but it remained frozen in that pose.

'What are you waiting for?' Maze shouted. 'Take him!'

But only about half of the golems moved to obey. Others remained still, standing where they had been when the light had flooded the lair. Seeing an opening, Ron dashed around the motionless statues, dodged around the approaching ones, and made his way to an open space, breaking back into a run.

Maze felt bafflement added to his frustration as the ridiculous chase resumed. The golems which were still active were the ones who had been petrified by Monkey Fist and later animated. The golems he had carved and crafted from the stones in the cavern were all frozen. That strange light from the Jammer had done something to them...

As Ron ran screaming past him with the remaining golems lumbering in pursuit, Maze's eyes narrowed. 'Enough of this,' he muttered. He began tapping the small drum hanging from his hip, and chanting in a low voice.

Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nimaataakaniiwa...

After a few seconds of running and dodging, Ron was starting to feel more confident and was screaming less. As tough as these guys were, they just weren't very fast. And they were not spreading out to cut him off, they remained together in a disorderly mass as they chased after him and Rufus. Keeping ahead of them was a snap compared to evading football players on the field.

'Looks like the mad running away skills are still good!' he thought. He saw a dark opening that looked like a passage, and started dashing towards it. 'Let's try a change of scenery!'

But suddenly he stopped short, and felt like he had run straight into a solid wall. He fell backwards and landed gracelessly on his backside. Rubbing his smarting nose, he looked up but he could see no wall, or anything that might have blocked him - there was only a veil of shadows that stretched out before him.

He felt a chill fear, for the rippling shadows looked very similar to the veils of darkness which he had spent a month enduring. For a terrifying moment, he thought Maze had somehow opened another portal that would cast him back into the spirit world - this time totally alone. He crab walked backwards until he felt another collision, this time against his back, and against something much more solid.

Powerful hands seized him, and he found himself being hauled up and frog-marched until he was standing right in front of Maze, who stood glowering over him, his dark eyes gleaming. 'I will ask you only once,' he said, his voice low and dangerous, 'How did you find me? How did you come to be here?'

 

ron swings

Before Ron could speak, they heard a thumping noise on the cavern floor. Maze looked and saw several small metallic spheres, each about the size of a baseball, lying at the feet of several of his golems. He drew back with a gasp as the spheres exploded with loud popping sounds. And globes of expanding white foam grew rapidly into existence. The nearby golems were engulfed, their heads poking above the rising blooms.

Ron took advantage of Maze's distraction, wrenching his arms free from the golem's fingers and scrabbling away from the foam.

'I brought him.' came a voice. Maze looked up, and Grimm was perched on a railway above them. His face was drenched with sweat and he was breathing hard, but he was smiling as he looked down at Maze.

Maze gritted his teeth. 'Otaatoyiwa...' he growled. 'I should have known.'

  grenades

Grimm threw down more of the Moo Goo grenades that Jade had prepared. Ron shouted and ran off again, while Maze gestured quickly. Several golems moved forward, standing between Grimm and Maze. They were caught as the Moo Goo grenades went off, and were soon flailing and struggling within muffin-like semi-spheres of white foam.

Soon the remaining golems were imprisoned, or stuck fast to the ground. Grimm leaped down to help Ron, who had his leg caught by one of the Moo Goo grenades. He was pulling hard, but the foam was nearly at his hip by the time Grimm reached him.

'Hold still!' Grimm shouted, taking an aerosol spray flask out of his hip pouch. 'Jade gave me some solvent, just in case...' He sprayed the Moo Goo where it enveloped Ron's leg, and the foam began dissolving at once, like bubbles off the top of a soda drink. Ron's leg pulled out with a squelching sound, and he fell backwards with a yelp onto the cavern floor.

They backed away, and Ron was relieved to see that no golems were coming after them. All of them were trapped in Moo Goo. 'Now there's just Maze.' said Grimm, smirking. 'He shouldn't be a problem unless....'

Wild laughter rose behind them, and they turned to see Maze standing in a metallic harness with his hands encased in a pair of Immersion Gauntlets. The machine was humming, and the shadow shaman glared at them with a wicked smile.

'...unless you didn't destroy the mini-Jammer.' Grimm winced, looking angrily at Ron.

Ron sputtered. 'I didn't have a chance to find it - I was being chased by an army! What were you doing anyway?'

'Didn't have a chance..?' Grimm shot back, 'What was all that racket? I thought you'd wrecked something..!'

'I was trying to get away from the statues!'
'You were supposed to be good at wrecking equipment!'
'I am - look at that crane!'
'We didn't need the crane destroyed...'

'Silence!!'

They both snapped their focus back on Maze. The mini-Jammer was humming even louder, and surrounding both the machine and it's occupant was a swirling, rippling wave of darkness, as black as the Moo Goo was white. The shadows of the cavern were pooling around Maze like a mass of living tar, rising above his knees.

'I wish to enjoy the sight of your defeat,' Maze laughed, pushing back the Immersion Helmet. 'But I do not wish to hear you speak - except to beg for mercy!'

Grimm activated his stealth mode and darted to the side, making towards the cavern edge. As he ran, he thought about the EMP grenade in his backpack. 'If I can shut down the generator...' he thought. But he heard Maze shouting.

'You think you can hide from me in the shadows, Otaatoyiwa? The shadows are my servants!'

Grimm felt himself being pushed violently back into the midst of the cavern, landing with a thud next to Ron. He tried to run again, but bumped against a solid wall of darkness. Like at Basalton, he was encased in a dome of shadow, and he pounded against it in frustration.

'It was foolish of you to try and stop me!' Maze laughed, feeling the Jammer's power. 'Especially here, where my powers are strongest! And as for you...' He turned to Ron, who was trying to lift the shadows surrounding Grimm by digging his fingers underneath them. '...I believe that Otaatoyiwa would find it most humiliating if you were the one who delivers the final blow!'

Maze concentrated, and the shadows which covered the walls of the lair shot out like strangling tentacles, latching onto Ron. He closed his eyes, letting his will sink into the shadows, and he opened them again, expecting to be looking out from Ron's eyes.

But Ron was still standing in front of him, swatting at his arms as the shadows curled around him. 'Dude!' he said. 'Get this stuff off me!'

Maze stood in astonishment. 'What is this?' he hissed. 'No one can resist my shadow possession!' He concentrated again, more fiercely. But again, his awareness remained in his own body, and Ron seemed unaffected. He gripped the gauntlets, baffled. His shadows had never failed him. The shadow possession used the darkness - the shadows - in the hearts of other persons as a bridge to allow him to take control of their bodies. There was only one reason why it might not work, and the realization of it struck him like a physical blow. 'There... is no darkness in your heart!'

Ron was shrugging off the enveloping shadows. 'Thanks - I guess.' he said.

'Impossible!' Maze spat. 'You are a pale-face - all pale-faces have darkness in their hearts!'

maze darkness

'Maybe you've been hanging out with the wrong ones.' said Ron, now moving forward through the shadows which curled around him like low-hanging black smoke.

Maze wasn't afraid of Ron - after all, he was little more than a child. But he didn't know if this boy had any other tricks. He saw no reason to risk letting this whelp get any closer to him, not while he still had other uses for his shadow medicine. The shadows around him reformed, covering him like a dome as he chanted.

Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nimaataakaniiwa!

'There's a lot of syllables in there...' said Ron, who reached out, but his hand stopped short against the shadow barrier. Ron paused, then pushed against the invisible wall with both hands. He tried hitting it a few times, but was unable to get through.

Maze chanted again, and the barrier expanded to surround Ron. Maze's face narrowed into a malicious scowl. 'I have always wondered if I could use my shadow barriers to crush a trapped enemy.' he sneered. 'But I've never had the opportunity to try it... until now.'

Ron felt himself being pulled back, and the bubble surrounding him begin to shrink. It was contracting, and Ron strained hard, bracing his hands above him. Grimm was also bracing himself, looking as if he were struggling under a heavy weight. 'Should have... taken... mime class!' Ron grunted.

Grimm shuddered as he fell to his knees. His eyes were closed and Ron heard him muttering under his breath.

Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa..!

But Maze was laughing. 'The Great Bear will not save you this time!' he shouted. 'Not without his 'Chosen One' present to act for him! I am sure Maokiiwa will not begrudge me being the one who destroys you.' he said. 'Struggle all you like - Katasistsikoowa was the only one who ever broke through my shadows!'

Ron felt the shadow barrier closing around him, and knew that soon he wouldn't have enough room to even move. And if it continued to get smaller... 'Rhonda could break this?' he thought, his panic growing. 'Man, why didn't the Monkey send her instead of me? I could really use a Chosen One about now...'

And he remembered sitting across from the Mystical Monkey in the dojo at Yamanouchi. 'You are the Monkey Master.' he had said. Ron's eyes lit with realization. 'Wait a second..' he thought. 'I'm a Chosen One!'

Ron stopped pushing against the restraining shadows. He held one hand palm out in front of him with the other raised behind. Try as he might, Ron could think of nothing except for the weird 'tips' the Mystical Monkey had given him back at Yamanouchi, and Maze paused in confusion as Ron started hopping up and down on one foot, making high pitched, monkey-ish squealing noises.

'Wauuuuu!' he shouted. 'Come on, Monkey power!' he thought. 'If you're there, the Ron man needs some love!' 'Waaaauuuuuu!!!'

Grimm stared as the air between Ron and Maze seemed to start rippling. It was vibrating like a mirror with trembling glass, and there was a high pitched tweeting sound. Ron's wail reached a piercing shout.

'Waaauuuuuuuuuuu...!!'

        rasengan      

A sudden burst of blue light lanced from Ron's hands and passed through the shadow barrier as if it weren't there. It was accompanied by an echoing, piercing sound like the chattering screams of monkeys. Maze had only a bare instant to wonder what went wrong before he was flung backwards with the force of a blow that felt like he had been kicked by a horse. The support structure of the mini-Jammer tore apart, and he bounced back and forth within his shadow dome, propelled by Ron's attack.

Grimm felt the shadows which bound him suddenly release and he surged to his feet. He saw Ron standing in front of Maze, and also the swirling, dark field of the shadow barrier. But the barrier faded out of existence a moment later.

The mini-Jammer was lying in smoking pieces around Maze, who was standing stock still, his eyes open but vacant, his jaw slack. Then he fell to his knees and pitched forward, and the Immersion Gloves fell clattering from his hands.

Ron let out a sigh of relief as Maze slumped to the ground. He looked at his hands in surprise. 'Cool move.' he thought. 'I'll have to remember that one - might come in handy someday...'

Grimm was looking back and forth between Ron and Maze. 'That was pretty boss.' he said. 'You never did that when you were Zorpox - you just kind of... stomped on the ground.'

Ron was putting his hands out again, this time aiming at the full sized Jammer. But nothing happened. He tried a couple more times, stretching his arms and grunting. 'Still just comes and goes...' he said. 'Glad it worked that time, though.'

'Guess I owe you one.' Grimm said. He looked around, but besides the trapped golems, and the unconscious Maze, there was no one else about - they were alone. 'No sign of Monkey Fist. I guess that means we won.'

'Hey yeah.' said Ron, a slow smile spreading across his face. 'We won! We kicked their kiesters!' He started doing the bon-diggety dance, and Rufus jumped down next to him, copying his moves. 'We woooon! We woooon! That's right - we wooon!' he chanted, going into an end-zone shuffle.

Grimm rolled his eyes yet again, and then a gleam flickered in his eye. 'Well, with the Jammer under our control, we can probably communicate freely.' he said. 'Someone should go back to the bike and check.'

Ron was still dancing, doing the moonwalk. 'What the rush?' he said. 'After all - we woooon! We woooon! We....'

'Monkey Fist is still out there somewhere.' he said. 'And until he's back on the path of the Yono, it looks like his victims will stay petrified.' He paused, putting a curious inflection in his voice. 'I wonder where he is now? I hope he hasn't gone after Yamanouchi....'

At once, Ron froze. 'You think he might have?' he sputtered. 'Then... we have to try and get in touch with Kim! Maybe one of us should go back to the bike and try your communicator!'

'Good idea.' said Grimm sarcastically. 'You're supposed to be such a great runner, think you can get back down faster than we got up?'

'Just watch me!' Ron shouted, and he picked up Rufus, dashing back to the cavern exit. He paused for a second, looking back. 'Hey - you coming?'

'I'll follow after.' Grimm called. 'I've still got the make sure the big Jammer is out of commission for good.' But Ron had turned and dashed pell-mell out of the cavern before he could finish.

Part IV: 'Green' Energy

Once Ron had left, Grimm waited for a few silent seconds. Then he took out some plastic cords and went up to Maze, who was still lying prone and limp on the cavern floor. With some satisfaction, he bound Maze's knees, ankles, wrists and elbows, making sure that the bands were uncomfortably tight. He knew Maze couldn't hear him, but he couldn't resist muttering under his breath. 'Be grateful I don't hang you upside-down from the ceiling.' he said, remembering his experience back at the UNIT lab.

Then he went past the Jammer, past the generator, and into the inner cavern. There were only a few distant lights on, and almost everything was dark except for stacks of empty crates along the cavern wall, some scaffolding mounted high above, and a jumble of broken stone and rubble. 'This must be where they built the giant golem,' he thought, looking around. Everything was silent except for the humming of the generator in the main cavern.

'You can come out now.' he called out, his voice echoing from the rough walls. 'It's over - Stoppable's gone.' At the far end of the cavern, nearly fifty yards away, Dr. Drakken crawled out from behind a jumble of crates, then stood up, dusting his coat.

Grimm raised his eyebrow as he approached, with Shegolem following him. 'It was you, wasn't it?' he said. 'You were the one who tipped off Kim's website about where to find the lair.'

Drakken glowered, but it was a more gentle glower than his normal grimace. 'I'd have done it sooner, but they were watching me like a hawk from the moment they brought me here. It was only after they launched their scheme that they relaxed enough for me to sneak out an email. My scanners detected you coming - I had to make sure Shego and I were out of earshot so she wouldn't be part of the fight.'

'Why'd you do it?' said Grimm. Drakken was walking back into the main cavern, and Grimm followed him. 'World domination was always what you've wanted. Their plan might have worked if you hadn't squealed.'

'I told those posers when they first showed up!' said Drakken, his arms folded. 'When it comes to taking over the world, Dr. Drakken doesn't share! It's the whole ball of wax or nothing!'

'Well,' said Grimm, nodding. 'Just remember Team Probable if you need any jobs done.'

Drakken twiddled his fingers nervously for a moment. 'Ah... you won't tell any of the other villains I ratted out to Kim Possible, will you?' he said.

'Give us 10% extra on our next mission, and it's a deal.' said Grimm. 'What will you do in the meantime?'

'What will I do?' said Drakken, striding to one of the last crates next to the computer tables. He hurled the lid open and heaved out what looked like some kind of futuristic bazooka. 'I'll tell you what I'm gonna do!' Then he threw back his head and his voice rose to a raspy scream that filled the entire cavern and echoed from every corner. 'I'm a-firin' my LASEEEEEEERRR!!!'

Then he shouldered the device and a piercing beam of white light screamed through the cavern with a reverberating boom and sliced straight through the center of the Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer. It pierced all the way through and blew a chunk out of the cavern wall behind.

With peals of maniacal laughter, Drakken fired again and again, sending blast after blast ripping through the Jammer until it resembled a towering, smoking pile of metallic Swiss cheese. Finally, there was an ominous, squealing sound. The Jammer pulled loose from it's restraining gantries. It swayed, tottered, and then fell with a mighty crash to the stone floor, splitting open and spilling it's innards of wire and circuitry everywhere. There was a hail of sparking flashes and a rise of billowing, acrid smoke. The huge generator sent out a flurry of sparks, whirred feebly, and then fell silent.

Grimm raised his eyebrow as Dr. Drakken tossed the cannon aside and dusted his black, gloved hands. 'You know,' he said warily, 'If you did that to Kim Possible, you might actually win.'

'Bah!' said Drakken, waving his hand. 'Like I need such pedestrian methods to deal with her!' He turned to Shego, who had stood still and silent through the entire sequence of events. 'What about Shego, she's not stuck like this forever is she?'

Grimm wasn't exactly sure. He had only been freed from the golem enchantment himself when Kim had scratched out the Aleph symbol Maze had branded onto his left hand. This hadn't been done to any of the petrified people in the lair. And he realized suddenly why all the golems on Earth had been stopped after he used the Jammer - all except for Monkey Fist's petrified victims. The constructed statues had no 'spirit' of their own - but Monkey Fist's victims did. The Great Bear's power had banished the shadow medicine Maze had used on the statues - but there was still something that prevented the spell from working on those who had been petrified with the Yono's power. They still needed, as he had, for the golem enchantment to be fully broken.

He took the diamond-tipped stylus from his hip pouch and handed it to Drakken. 'Let's find out.' he said. 'Make her hold out her left hand, palm down.'

Drakken ordered her, and Shego raised her arm. 'Scratch out this symbol here.' Grimm said, pointing to the Aleph mark. Drakken hesitated, then drew the stylus hard across Shego's hand.

The symbols all began to glow, and then smoked as if they were on fire. Her stone skin began melting away like a layer of ice, and an outfit of bright green and black showed through. After a few more seconds, a grating female scream tore through the cavern.

'Draaaaaaken!!!' Shego screeched.

Drakken smiled. 'Shego - you're back...!' But he yelped and scampered away as a burst of green fire exploded at his feet.

'You made me cook for you again! I can't believe you! What is it about you and the stupid Dodo bird??!!'

Grimm tried to step aside, but Drakken was ducking back and forth behind him, using him as a shield while Shego leaned to and fro, trying to get a clear shot. 'Out of the way kid, or I fry both of you!' she yelled.

Grimm sighed and activated the suit's shield mode. A glowing orange sphere spread out around him, throwing both Drakken and Shego backwards.

Drakken yelped and dashed away. 'Come on - I got bored with it, didn't I?' he shouted, dodging more green fireballs.

'You made me wear... that... stupid... apron...!'

'At least it wasn't a cheerleader outfit!' Drakken sputtered.

She had him cornered against the wreckage of the Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer, and Drakken cringed. Shego's hands were glowing green and she stood there wheezing in rage, her eyes glittering. But she had stopped attacking. 'I should burn you extra crispy!' she hissed. 'But... you did save me just now.' she said, almost resentfully. 'And it was pretty cool the way you blew up the giant doo-dad.'

'So... everything's square?' Dr. Drakken said timidly.

'I'll... decide later.' she said, through gritted teeth. Her eyes turned to Maze, who was still lying bound and unconscious next to one of the tables. 'He wouldn't feel it if I hit him right now, would he?'

'Doubt it.' said Grimm.

'Well I'm darn sure gonna hit something that can feel it before today's over!' she growled.

'You can start with the henchmen!' said Drakken, an eager light rekindling in his eyes. 'To the hover-car! It's time to blow this popsicle stand and return to my lair!'

'Your hover-car is here?' said Grimm. 'Why didn't you bolt sooner?'

'They chained it down!' Drakken said angrily. 'The whole thing is covered with padlocks! And Shego wouldn't let me get close enough to it...'

'Hey - who was golem slave?' Shego shot back.

'Well you're not a slave now - how about cutting through the chains?'
'Oh you want me to do all the work?'
'I've been working on their stuff for weeks - I deserve a break!'
'I got your break right here...'

Grimm shook his head as Dr. Drakken and Shego moved further back into the cavern, their voices fading, but still bickering. Before long, he heard a series of small explosions, and distant flashes of green light. Then there was a humming sound, and a rounded metal craft appeared, hovering upwards above the Jammer's twisted remains. It circled once above the cavern, rose through the open hatchway, and disappeared into the distance.

Grimm looked over the wreck of the Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer and unshouldered his backpack. 'Time to make sure the job's finished.' he thought.

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

Ron was still stumbling and scrambling back down the steep slopes towards where he thought the bike was hidden, when he heard explosions. Turning back he saw blooms of light rising from the mountain peak, and a billowing smoke.

'So that's what a blowing up lair looks like from the outside!' Ron thought. 'I guess it just seemed bigger all those times I was at ground zero...'

He was puffing and wheezing by the time he got all the way down, and was looking around. 'Aw man!' he said. 'Did we park by the big rock surrounded by little bushes or by a big bush surrounded by little rocks?' After dashing to and fro for a while, he heard Rufus squeaking, and saw him pointing over a small bluff.

Relieved, Ron saw the purplish gleam of the Ksikkihkíni, nestled among some brush and overhanging branches. He ran over and started hitting buttons on the dash. 'Which one's the communicator?' he said.

'Unauthorized access - engaging defense mechanisms.'

Ron paused as he heard the computerized female voice, and then a spark of electricity snapped into the hand he was using on the console. 'Ow!' He jumped back away from the bike, sucking on his finger. He tried to approach the bike a couple more times, only to get zapped again.

'Come on - Grimm sent me here!' he shouted uselessly at the bike. He was tired and impatient. He thought about going back up the mountain to get Grimm, but he was anxious to get information now. 'This is just great!' he said, kicking the ground. 'Kim could be in trouble! If only I had a communicator...'

Rufus was poking out of his hip pouch and tugging at his sleeve. Next to him inside the hip pouch was a familiar, sleek object with several buttons and a screen.

'...of my own.' Ron said, slapping his palm into his face. He took out Kim's old Kimmunicator and turned it on. At once it started beeping with a well-known four note tune and he answered, seeing Wade's face.

'Ron!' he said, sounding relieved. 'My detector says the global satellite network is freed up! Does that mean...'

'You bet!' Ron said proudly. 'Monkey Fist's Jammer is officially jammed!'

'That's great! I'm spreading the word as fast as I can - NASA and other control systems should be able to start taking control again. Global communication should be back up and running before long.'

'What about Kim?' said Ron. 'Is everyone OK?'

'Still haven't been able to get in touch with Yamanouchi.' Wade answered. 'I'm working on it. I bet they've got news of their own...'

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Maze came back painfully to himself. He found he was lying on the cavern floor and he tried to sit up, but his wrists and ankles smarted as he tried to move. He saw he was bound with cords around his ankles, and knew his hands were tied behind his back as well. He looked and saw Grimm Probable using a sledgehammer and smashing bits of the miniature Jammer they had labored so long to build. Looking further back into the cavern, he saw the full sized Jammer was already wrecked.

Fury rose in him, but also fear. He didn't know how Possible's clumsy friend had defeated him, and he looked swiftly around the cavern. All his remaining golem slaves were still trapped in that strange white substance. But he tried calling them just the same. If even one of them could pull free, they might come to his aid. 'Come to me.' he said in a muted whisper, focusing his will on them.

The golems seemed to be struggling inside the Moo Goo, but the foam held them in place. The sculpted statues made into golems remained motionless. Maze could sense that the power which animated them had been broken somehow.

Probable was distracted for the moment, but for how long? The female golem, Shego; she could burn through the substance that held his golems prisoner. But he could not see her anywhere in the cavern, and to raise his voice would only draw Otaatoyiwa's attention. The blue one - Drakken - was also gone, and he knew suddenly how Probable had found them.

Betrayal - he had not watched Drakken closely enough, nor ordered his golems to oversee him. Too eager in the success of their operations, he had allowed himself to relax his guard - and the blue one must have sent out a message to guide Otaatoyiwa to the lair. He gritted his teeth as he struggled in his bonds, trying not to move too much for fear of Otaatoyiwa seeing him.

He focused his will again on the golems nearest to him. 'Come to me...!' He saw them shifting and twisting in the spheres of white foam, but none of them were able to budge from where they were stuck, frozen in place.

Grimm was wrecking the computers on their desks now, and that would only take him a few more minutes - he was running out of time. Maze looked wildly around the cavern for something - anything that might aid him. He looked at the boxes, the desks, the wreckage of the Jammer, and his eyes fell on a bird.

Wild hope sprang in his mind. The crow. The crow he and Monkey Fist had petrified and then animated over two weeks ago - to test if the Yono's power of stone would work with the golem enchantment. It had remained on its perch - silent and forgotten - as he and Monkey Fist had turned their attention to other matters. And it was still there, waiting for orders.

'Come to me.' he whispered, focusing all the will power he could muster and staring at the petrified bird. 'Release me from these bonds....!' And the crow hopped down from it's perch, moving towards him...

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Grimm wiped his forehead as the last computer console was smashed. He went over the desks one more time, knowing that the hard drives of some computers might still be intact, and he double checked to make sure each one had a sizable dent. He fingered the EMP grenade in his hip pouch. Once he had wrecked the computers physically, all that remained to make sure they could not be salvaged was to set it off. It was based on the EMP dart specs that Jade had stolen from Wade's hard drive while they were in Middleton - a handy way to make sure that once he left the lair, no one would be able to recover any components or usable data.

Drakken was long gone, and Ron had been away for nearly half an hour. He smirked, wondering if Ron had realized that the bike was still locked down. The buffoon had left without even asking him for the access key. But it was just as well he had the time alone. Like his meeting with Dr. Drakken, there were other things he wanted to get done without any of Possible's crew being the wiser.

He looked around once more to make sure that all the things Jade had said he should wreck were properly damaged and smoking. Then he drew out the EMP grenade, put it on the table and set the timer.

The golems wouldn't be harmed by it, but he still felt he should get clear in case any power surges were triggered by the EMP. He turned to get Maze, and was looking forward to the satisfaction of dragging him out of the lair like a sack of grain.

Then he was slamming his fist onto the table with frustrated rage. There were several strands of severed cord on the floor. Maze was gone.

                             
   
Coming Soon:
Chapter 33

Which came first - the phoenix or the flame?

Author: Yes, this was only the first of two showdowns. Maze may have been beaten, the Jammer may be destroyed - but unless Monkey Fist goes down too, it could start all over again! What has been going on with Kim at the Yamanouchi School while all this was happening....? Only the next chapter will show! Don't get tired of the story yet, because:
1 indestructible golem Monkey Fist + the power of the Yono + 1 Kim Possible + 1 ninja school = a showdown you won't want to miss!

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