Grimm's communicator over to one of the camera consoles and looked around
at the sleeping guards. 'Serves you right for relying on chemical stimulants
to do your job!' she said, her voice sounding tinny through the speaker.
out of the communicator, interfacing with the security panels. Jade
sat at her chair at home. Rhonda's voice beeped in over her own communicator.
'Grimm says - how's it going Jade?' she said.
eyebrows narrowed as she hacked. 'Tell Grimm this is tough. The UNIT
security grid has multiple layers of encryption and... OK I'm in!' Another
few minutes of furious clacking at her computer keyboard, and Jade tilted
the communicator screen to look up. Every monitor had gone black, and
all the consoles were deactivated. She licked her finger and touched
her other arm, making a hissing sound with her tongue. 'Oooh Jade, you
are hot, hot hot!' she said. 'Tell Grimm the surveillance is
down - you're good to go!'
barely a few seconds later when Grimm and Rhonda slipped through one
of the ventilation ducts and into the security wing. Grimm landed neatly
on his feet in a low crouch while Rhonda landed on her backside with
a squeal. 'Sorry GP!' she whispered.
motioned her to silence while his communicator skidded across the floor
on tiny wheels. He scooped it up quickly. 'Thanks Jade.' he said, looking
down at the screen where her face was looking back up at him. 'I feel
blindfolded on missions without this thing. Are you in the systems deep
enough to function solo?'
iron rust red?' Jade answered. Her face fell slightly at Grimm's confused
expression. 'That means yes.' she said. 'I've got full access
to their security grid and I'll have all the keycard locks open by the
time you hit the R&D section. Your chariot awaits!' There was a
soft ding behind them, and the door to the elevator opened.
the Sloth in front of the UNIT building. The skyscraper reached up into
the darkness of the night sky, its reflective windows wedged alternately
between rising columns of smooth gray cornice, making the whole structure
look like a row of alternating gray and black lines.
out of the car with Rufus peering out of his pants pocket. 'Nice place.'
he said, looking up at the towering structure. 'Very homey looking.
So what is it about this building that was important enough to interrupt
my first Naco night in three days?'
Nacos!' Rufus squeaked, his tongue smacking around his large front teeth.
you, Team Probable may hit this place.' Kim said.
said Ron hopefully. 'Let's go down to the local Bueno Nacho then - they
may strike there too....'
him her 'quit fooling around' look. 'We had an anonymous tip-off. Wade's
been going over the building. So far it looks OK. If it is, we go back
home. If it's not.... then we could be squaring off with Rhonda and
Grimm before long.'
nervous at the prospect, but he followed her as she made her way through
a small plaza that surrounded the building, threading through some benches
and a decorative bronze fountain. 'Uh... Kim?' and he paused, looking
a little sheepish. 'No matter what happens, before we go in - I just
wanted to say... thanks.' he said.
paused, turning to look at him. 'Thanks for what?' she said.
for everything.' Ron said. 'The training, the support, and.... well,
for just being there. You've always believed in me, even when
I didn't believe in myself. And you've always stuck by me, even when
I didn't come through or when I did something stupid. You're not just
a bon-diggety girlfriend. You're the best friend I've ever had.
I promise - I won't let you down.'
a bit uncomfortable by the praise. She still felt badly about essentially
browbeating Ron into tapping into his Monkey Power when he had
admitted to her that it frightened him. She opened her mouth to say
something, even though she wasn't quite sure what to say.
was already looking away and continuing towards the UNIT Building. Kim
faltered, the air of a mission in progress settling around them both.
She sped up and took the lead, but she resolved after the mission was
over that she would make things up to Ron somehow.
the main entrance with it's stern looking, but highly polished heavy
glass doors. The security lock was glowing red, but they could see through
the tinted glass into the lobby where the main desk was situated. They
saw a uniformed security guard, but only his head and arms were visible,
slumped over the desk as if he were asleep.
the glass, but the guard did not stir. He began dancing and waving his
arms. 'Hey! Guard guy! It's not that late!'
'No, it isn't...' she said. Even if the guard was just dozing, there
was no way he could be sleeping through the racket Ron was making as
he tapped his keys and mashed his face into the glass. The security
lock also didn't give any indication that any alarms had been tripped
by Ron's hammering on the door. She felt a rush of adrenaline. 'Wade
- someone is here! The lobby guard is knocked out or something.
Can you get us in through the front door?'
answering while typing. 'Could be tricky. UNIT's a high-profile, OK
you're in!' he chirped. The red light on the security lock turned green
and there was a friendly sounding beep. Ron's next push against it sent
him tumbling forward into the lobby with a yelp.
Wade.' Kim said, stepping inside. They crossed to the main desk, but
were unable to rouse the guard. His breathing was steady though, and
he seemed unhurt. A tall cup of coffee was still steaming next to his
elbow. Wade's security scan slid across the cup without Kim doing anything.
drops.' he said. 'Not exactly highbrow, but effective.'
now?' said Ron. 'This building is huge - whoever's here, we don't even
know what floor they might have gone to...'
typing and looking left and right. 'The R & D labs are all on the
upper floors. The UDM is probably there. Better take the guard's keycard.
Most of the doors require one for access.'
dude.' said Ron, slipping the card out of the guard's belt. He heard
a beep behind him in the lobby and whirled quickly, but it was only
the elevator door opening.
it's not as exotic as coming in on the roof by parachute.' said Wade.
'But at least it's got muzak!'
elevator door closed behind Kim and Ron, the lobby remained quiet. Once
the hum of the elevator fell and grew faint, there was another beep
and a loud click as the security lock on the main entrance closed fast
and the light blinked red.....
and Rhonda reached the first of about six floors that comprised UNIT's
labs for research and development. Rhonda stayed at Grimm's elbow. The
floor had a dim look, with most of the lights being off for the day
and the few which remained on did not give much light to see by.
was holding up his communicator. 'Point me.' he said. But he did a double-take
as a rattling hiss emanated from the device instead of Jade's voice.
He worked the controls, trying various frequencies. But both the screen
and the speakers were overwhelmed by static.
bit her lip. 'What?' she said.
know.' he answered. 'Communicator's down.'
looked around. 'So how do we find this thing without Jade?'
shrugged, looking up and down the corridor where he saw several rows
of tiny green lights, one on each door. 'She's still got the locks disabled,
no need to panic. Use your communicator and keep trying to get in touch
with her. And in the meantime, we split up and check each lab. You and
Rueful take the east side, I'll take the west.'
up?' said Rhonda, looking fidgety. 'We're splitting up?'
smiled. 'Don't be so literal. And don't wig out - you know what the
UDM looks like, we studied it together. If you see it, grab it. If not,
we meet back here in ten and move to the next floor.'
turned left and opened a lab door, disappearing inside. Rhonda stared
after him for a moment, then tapped her backpack softly. Rueful popped
out and scurried down her leg. 'Keep your weasel-sense peeled, Rueful.'
she whispered. 'I'll need your eyes and ears.' Rueful saluted and posed
like a pointer hound, his tail extended behind him. Rhonda gulped, turned
right and hesitantly went down the hall towards one of the tiny green
Ron exited the elevator, the soft chime of the door alert sounding in
their ears. Ron had on his whining face, his head tilted slightly to
the side, his eyes almost closed and his mouth hanging slightly open.
'Awwww KP, how many floors are we gonna have to check? There
wasn't anyone on the last three...'
answer directly, but she admitted to herself that Ron had a point. They
needed a nudge in the right direction. She held up her Kimmunicator.
'Sitch me Wade.' she said. 'Tell us if we're wasting our time here....'
a moment waiting for Wade to answer, she looked down in surprise. Wade's
face was almost totally obscured by lances and bolts of static. His
voice was patchy and intermittent, and she could only catch a word or
two between protracted periods of hissing and popping. 'Kim...... -eing....
ja.... -ource! ....-rying..... break.....!'
she said, smacking the Kimmunicator with her free hand periodically.
She tried standing next to a window, hoping for a clearer signal or
something, but eventually the transmissions devolved into nothing but
happening?' Ron said. 'Did we run out of internet or something?'
he said we're being jammed.' Kim said. 'Try your communicator.'
out the small device from his pants pocket while Rufus poked his head
out of the other pocket. Except for the static now coming in stereo,
there was nothing. 'What does it mean?' he asked.
eyes narrowed. 'In general - I think it means Team Probable knows we're
here and they're trying to make sure we can't find them. In the short
term, it means we split up to cover more territory.'
said Ron nervously. 'Wouldn't that mean if we did find them that only
one of us would be facing all of them? And that without
communicators we'd have no way to call for help?'
worry.' said Kim. 'I'll be fine. And I know you'll be fine too.'
Ron still looked like he would rather be following her than going off
alone. She laid one gloved hand on the side of his cheek. 'Hey - this
is what we've both been training for.' she said. 'I'll check the left
hallways, you check the right. If you find someone... holler. If not,
we meet back here in five and try the next floor. Go get 'em!' And with
that, she turned left and started checking doors.
right and crept slowly down the hallway. Even though Kim was on the
same floor, the building was vast enough that he was quickly enveloped
in stillness and it was not hard to imagine that he was totally alone.
The dim, gray silence unsettled him and he went into karate poses several
times at the movement of his own shadow as he walked. But he saw no
sign of anyone, and heard no noises. He yelped as he felt a tug at his
ankle, but quickly calmed down as he saw it was Rufus. The mole rat
was pointing down another T-junction and chittering excitedly.
knowing Rufus had seen something. He took out his communicator, but
was again bombarded with an array of static. He put it back in his pocket,
squaring his shoulders and trying to remember some of Sensei's calming
techniques. 'OK Ron,' he whispered to himself. 'Time to step up again!'
opened a door leading into another sprawling lab. There were only a
few work desks in this one, and her footsteps echoed through the room,
even stepping softly. She looked around, but she could see nothing that
resembled the UDM. She was glad now that Grimm had made her study the
design drawings Jade had hacked for them before the mission. Without
him there beside her, and without Jade guiding them, the mission seemed
somehow more foreboding. She touched the velcro patch on her left shoulder
which covered her birthmark, wishing the power of the Great Bear included
some kind of 'spider sense'.
and whirled where she stood in the center of the lab. Standing in the
doorway she had come through, she saw a freckle-faced boy with blonde
hair, looking at her with eyes that were focused and determined.
felt her nervousness fading. Here at least was something she had trained
and prepared for, something she was used to. 'Hey there, doofus-boy!'
she said with a sneer. 'I was wondering if you'd turn up!' She tapped
the floor with her foot twice, and Rueful darted to her side, appearing
as if from nowhere. Both Rhonda and Rueful went into a mirror pose,
standing at the ready. 'I suppose you and carrot-top are the reason
why our communicators went on the fritz?'
as he and Rufus went into stances of Tai Shing Pek Kwar. 'Don't play
dumb lady, you're the ones fiddling with our communicators!'
Ron shot back.
face narrowed and her eyes glittered as if Ron's denial was some kind
of clever retort. 'Did not!' she repeated more loudly.
and Rueful were sticking their tongues out at each other as their masters
continued back and forth. Ron was just about to switch and say did not
to see if Rhonda would switch too like a Bugs Bunny cartoon when they
heard a noise to their left.
looked to the side as another door opened on the west end of the lab.
Grimm entered the room, but stopped as he saw both Ron and Rhonda facing
off. 'So they are here.' he said, his familiar smirk creeping
into place. 'I should have known.'
his stomach going tight, a feeling which had nothing to do with a longing
for Nacos. This was just what he had been worried about - facing Team
Probable by himself. He glanced to the east end of the lab, hoping to
see Kim come in through another door, but nothing happened. It was just
him and Rufus. 'So it's me against the greesome threesome!' he said,
trying to charge his voice with more bravado than he was feeling. 'And
judging by the looks of you, this lab must be where they're developing
the ugly stick!'
looked at him coldly. 'What's with you?' he said. 'We haven't
even done anything.... yet.'
up is your girlfriend be illin!' he said, pointing at her while Rufus
said Grimm, turning to her. 'Do you be illin'?'
said Rhonda quickly, but she looked sheepishly down as Grimm stared
at her. 'Maybe.' she said again, more timidly. She glanced up at him,
but her eyes flicked away almost at once. 'Yes!' she said at last, looking
up at him. 'But there was a 'ch' sound in front, I swear!'
looked back at Ron as if sizing things up. 'Want any help mopping the
floor?' he said.
shook her head. 'You want to finish the mission, right?' she said. 'Go
on - I can handle things here, even if Ms. Priss shows up too!'
nodded. 'You know the drill.' he said, backing towards the door he had
come in through. 'We hook up back at the entry point when we're done.
I'll be waiting.'
worry,' said Rhonda, cracking her knuckles. 'This won't take long!'
Grimm disappeared through the door. Ron remained at the ready. Rhonda
was walking towards him with a fierce smile on her face, tearing open
the velco patch on her shoulder.
think your stupid lip gloss is gonna save you this time!' she said.
'We both know you've got nuthin!' She brought her hands together,
closing her eyes, her voice rising in a soft chant.
Ron remembered this was what she'd done last time before she started
kicking butt. He ran forward, thinking that if maybe he could drop her
before she finished chanting, he could stop her from using her powers.
He didn't like the idea of clobbering a girl who was just standing there,
but he reminded himself of what Rhonda was now capable of. Just as he
reached her, he saw her eyes open, and a white glare was glowing behind
them like silver fire. Her hand gripped his and he felt a crushing pressure,
a bluish glow surrounded Rhonda's body.
and shifted his stance, twisting and rolling with her throw as she went
into a judo toss. He sailed a fair distance before landing on his back
and sliding head first to the far end of the room with a squealing sound
as his belt and his pants scraped against the tile.
scurried around the desks and through the legs of work stools and chairs,
following after his master. But a streak of furry brown suddenly darted
out in front of him and Rueful was rearing up in front of him. Rufus
tried to feint and slide past him, but Rueful was very quick and flexible,
his long body slithering through the desk chairs in pursuit.
to his feet just in time as Rhonda leaped forward, her leg coming down
in a powerful kick that slammed into the floor like a pile driver. He
rolled backwards, feeling a shockwave expanding around him like a bubble
made of sheer force. There was a deafening boom, and he moved sideways,
dodging as Rhonda threw one punch at him, then another.
and weaved, using every evasion technique he knew, barely staying ahead
of her strikes. 'I'm gonna knock you so hard your Sensei will
feel it!' she snarled. 'You think your Monkey Kung-Fu is gonna stop
me? I've been training against Grimm, and he's a master, you
scruffy-looking nerf herder!'
Who's scruffy-looking?' he said, narrowly avoiding another blow
which caved in the top of the lab desk next to him. But the crack about
Master Sensei caused him to think about his training at Yamanouchi,
and that set him thinking about his training with Kim. He remembered
how he'd felt before that burst of power that had wrecked the target
comes when you call...' Kim had said. And he remembered being swarmed
by Monkey ninjas while the Yono was going after his sister, and shouting;
'Where are my monkey powers when I need them?' And he realized
at that time, he hadn't called on them - he'd just expected them to
work when he wanted it to.
back against the wall of the lab now, and another punch from Rhonda
plowed straight through the sheet rock as he stepped aside. 'Come
on, Monkey Power....' he thought. 'If you're there, I'm calling
opened his eyes, a faint smile on his lips.
was sending a fist towards him, and was barely inches from connecting.
'Gotcha!' she thought. But she blinked, and in that split second,
Ron had disappeared. She stumbled, and her punch crumpled a metal bookshelf
that was against the wall in front of her. She looked around wildly,
and saw Ron standing beside her, standing in a posture that was much
more monkey-ish than he normally used. She struck again with
a whirling kick, but Ron did a graceful pirouette and her strike hit
empty air. She frowned, sensing something different. When Ron dodged
her next wave of strikes, his body curling perfectly around her punches,
she backed off a couple of steps. He looked relaxed and strangely zen,
his eyes nearly closed as if he were thinking about something else rather
than confronting a dangerous enemy.
been holding out on me!' she said. 'Been studying ballet or something?'
into a crouch with one arm curved above his head and one curved below
his chest so he looked like one of the plastic monkeys in a barrel.
'Ballet? I beg to differ - oooh, oooh, oooh!' and he twitched
his arms tauntingly.
nearly flinched, because he looked just like Grimm when he did that,
a posture of Monkey Kung Fu that she'd seen him using reflexively hundreds
of times. Rueful skittered to her side just as Rufus popped up beside
gritted her teeth. The mark on her arm burned white and the glowing
blue light surrounded her again. She screamed, a thundering roar like
a bear filling the lab and making the floor itself quiver. Ron grimaced,
and a similar blue glow blossomed around him. He smacked his fists together
and the glow suddenly flared brilliantly, taking on the shape of a fierce
monkey before fading back into the halo that clung to him. The two chosen
ones faced each other, scowling.
Ron said, looking at her and at himself. 'That was pretty cool.'
paused. 'Yeah...' she said, and there was a touch of regret in her voice.
'Too bad no one else was here to see it.'
at each other in silence for one more second, then at the same instant,
they charged to the attack.
made the circuit of the main hallway that ran around the entire floor
like a ring that connected the central block of labs. She was just about
to open one of the doors, when she caught a glimpse of something moving
down the long, tunnel-like hall.
staring at a lone figure who was also crossing the hallway on the opposite
end. It paused, looking at her. The dim lights cast only a faint yellow
outline on the figure. But there was no mistaking the spiky-haired silhouette.
The figure called down the hallway, and Grimm's voice had an echoing
quality is it came to her ears. 'We gotta stop meeting like this, Possible.
People will start talking.'
in Kim's gloves creaked as she clenched both hands. She thought about
calling for Ron, but was sure if she took her eyes off him for one instant,
she might lose him. For a few seconds, she said nothing, until Grimm
finally piped up again. 'Isn't this where you usually say, "You
are so going to jail"? I can't help wondering sometimes if
you do-gooders ever get tired of the cat-and-mouse game.'
tense, every muscle ready and twitching. 'You can always come quietly.'
said Grimm, curling his own finger at her. 'Some of us actually like
the game. Bring it!'
her teeth together, racing down the long hallway towards him. Despite
the fact that she was running as fast as she could, it still seemed
as if she were moving in slow motion.