and looked back at him. 'That's the first thing you've said that makes
sense.' she answered, and she held up her wrist Kimmunicator. It was
beeping with several lights as she saw that it was working again. Whatever
effect had been jamming it now seemed to be lifted. She activated it
and Wade's face popped up at once.
happened?' he said. 'I've been trying to get through for ages....'
- contact the police and send them to the UNIT building pronto! Tell
them another gift-wrapped villain is waiting to be picked up.'
face fell in surprise and he looked impressed. 'Was it Grimm? Did you
looking down at her helpless enemy, who was glaring at her darkly. 'Yeah.'
on their way!' said Wade, tapping his keyboard almost merrily. 'Someone
locked the front entrance again, but I'll have it back open before the
cops get there. Sounds like cause for a Naco celebration! Hey, where's
not sure what to say. 'Stand by on that.' she said quietly, and turned
off the screen.
was still glaring as Kim started walking away. 'You're making a mistake.'
he said. His face and his voice didn't betray any nervousness, but he
jerked his arms hard against the wires that were wound around him, making
him swing slightly from the cable holding him up. 'Whatever they did
with Ron, they also did to Rhonda. We both have a stake in this. If
we put our heads together, maybe we can bring them back!'
Kim said, frowning. 'Help like yours I can do without.'
gone up against Maze before.' said Grimm, fidgeting in the wires. He
had spun half way around so he wasn't facing Kim anymore, and was twisting
his neck to keep her in sight. She would have laughed at the sight,
but she had other things to worry about. 'We know things about him -
and Monkey Fist! You have information we don't have, and we have information
you don't have - things even your hacker can't find out on his
just says I have more faith in Wade than you have in Jade.' Kim said,
and Rufus scampered after her, turning and sticking out his tongue.
They left the lab, Kim closing the door behind her.
Grimm's voice grated, rising almost to a shout.
away from the room, feeling immensely satisfied. Whatever happened afterwards,
at least she had finally dealt with Grimm. His words nagged at her -
they always did - but she had meant it when she said she had faith in
Wade. He had never let her down. He could hack his way anywhere, and
any information that Grimm might have, she was confident that Wade could
find it too.
as she felt a tugging at the cuff of her pants and saw Rufus looking
up at her pleadingly. She felt a sudden stab of loss. Ron and Rufus
had their routine down to an art form, and without him there, she was
forced to try and remember the list of tasks that she had memorized
back when she was Rufus-sitting.
Rufus.' she said. 'I don't have cargo pants like Ron does - there's
no pocket for you to ride in.' Rufus looked miserable. Kim glanced at
her hip pouch. She wasn't sure why she always wore it. Her new Kimmunicator
had a grapple line built into it, so the pouch was empty most of the
time. She unsnapped it and held out her hand to the mole rat. 'Guess
you'll have to crash in here until we find him.' Rufus paused, eyeing
the hip pouch warily, but he scampered up her leg and hopped into the
pouch, looking like someone in a new and unfamiliar place. Kim bit her
lip as she saw him circle around in the pouch as if looking for something
that was missing. 'Don't worry.' she said, trying to sound reassuring.
'We'll find out what they did to him and we'll have him back before
you know it.' She moved towards the annex where the elevator was located,
anxious for the police to arrive so she could turn Grimm into custody....
dangled from the wires in the lab, still glaring at the door where Kim
had left. He heard a sudden beeping from his pocket - his communicator
was working again. He twisted in the coils and finally managed to loosen
the bands that held his wrists together. Then he slithered an arm to
his communicator, turning it on. He heard Jade's tinny voice. 'GP! What
happened? I've been trying to get through to you for almost half an
he said angrily, 'Monkey Fist - banned!'
a sucker out of her mouth. 'Huh?' she said. 'Monkey Fist? I thought
he was M.I.A.....'
back somehow - and he's working with Maze.' He continued to squirm
in the wires, trying to free up more slack.
from Kwitcherbeliakin? Didn't Rhonda hand him his dignity with her footprints
all over it? And where the heck are you?' She tilted her head,
trying to see why he was rotating in a small circle, and why he wasn't
holding the screen more steady.
mind,' he grunted, finally getting both hands in front of him. 'The
more important matter is where the heck is Rhonda? Maze pulled some
of his shadow-medicine. Both Rhonda and Possible's sidekick upped and
disappeared right in front of us.'
mouth fell open. 'She's gone?'
- I think I managed to record Maze's chant on my wristwatch during the
fight - and I'm sweeping the room with the scanners as we speak. When
I get back, we'll need translations, analysis, and we also need to find
out why he and Monkey Fist are chumming it up! I'll be back soon.' He
turned off the communicator.
was scurrying around underneath Grimm, hopping on his hind legs. 'Stand
back little guy,' Grimm said. Then he folded back the cuff on his glove
and hit a button on his wristwatch. A pencil-thin beam of red light
shot from a module on the side.....
door opened and four burly policemen strode briskly towards Kim. She
was glad to see them, being anxious to start Wade on scanning the lab,
but she wanted to make sure Grimm was locked up before turning her attention
to finding Ron. She hadn't heard anyone leaving and was still close
to the door leading back into the lab where Grimm was securely tied.
in here, boys!' she said pointing them to the lab. The policemen stormed
into the room with Kim right behind them.
right here what Ms. Possible?' said the tallest cop. Kim shouldered
her way past them and saw a mass of severed wires hanging from the ceiling,
still swaying gently, holding nothing but empty air.
into the upper floor of an abandoned building. Rubbish was strewn here
and there on the floor and there was an occasional piece of dusty furniture
- mournful remains of whatever business had once been located within
its walls. Maze's breath came in deep, ragged gasps. Monkey Fist entered
behind him and helped him over to a dark corner near a grimy window.
A simple bed of scattered straw topped with a blanket was set up there,
along with a small cache of supplies. He lowered Maze onto the bed and
stepped back, looking down as his ally lay trembling and sweating before
scoped out this building in advance because it was near to the UNIT
headquarters, derelict enough that they would not be disturbed and yet
visible enough that they would not be noticed. Maze had warned Monkey
Fist that if they succeeded in their scheme, he would be extremely weak
and would need somewhere close by to recover.
require anything?' said Monkey Fist off-handedly, setting down the case
which contained the UDM. 'Medicine? Water?'
one hand feebly. 'No....' he said. 'I simply need rest. The shadow-medicine
we used is extremely powerful. I would never have been able to complete
the banishing without your strength. Your assistance removed some of
the burden from my shoulders, giving me the power I needed to complete
the banishing. Even so, the effort was... most painful. It could have
rest now.' said Monkey Fist, his stone lips curling into a faint smile.
'I will stand guard while you regain your strength. We can't risk moving
until you have recovered enough to mask us with your shadows, and we
can't proceed any further until we return to the lair. Though our enemies
are defeated, our plans are only just beginning.'
quiet and lay breathing deeply. Monkey Fist moved a few feet away and
sat in the Lotus position, letting his mind focus. Tai Shing Pek Kwar
was mostly mental discipline, as he always maintained. And he looked
on this as an opportunity to practice that discipline while guarding
Maze. It seemed unnecessary since they were the only ones there, but
since he no longer felt weariness, he kept at it. Soon the only sounds
were an occasional creaking, Maze's soft breathing, and the faint sounds
of traffic and people moving around outside and in the surrounding buildings
while the night moved towards dawn....
were still milling around the lab, inspecting the damage of the battle.
Some had gone down to the security suite to tend to the recovering guards.
Kim was staring at the blinking screen of her Kimmunicator. She didn't
want to have to start this next conversation, but she had swept the
labs several times and found no trace of Ron. She answered and saw Wade's
face staring out, looking confused and concerned.
he said, his voice sounding suspicious. 'I just read a police wire.
They said there's no sign of whoever broke in.'
Kim said. 'I screwed up. I went out into the hall to lead the police
to the labs, but when I got back he was gone. I thought he was tied
securely enough that I'd hear it from the hall if he tried to pull free.'
look accusatory or frustrated as he raised his hands as if to start
typing. 'Want me to see if I can start tracking them?' he said.
Kim answered quickly. 'As of now, Team Probable is off the table. I
need you to shift focus to finding Ron.'
Ron?' said Wade, looking confused.
I need you to scan the labs. There was someone here looking for Grimm
and Rhonda. He said his name was Maze...'
I found him nosing around while I was looking for Grimm. He said he
was a Blackfoot holy man and... well things got kind of fuzzy after
that. The next thing I remember I was in the labs, and I saw Ron and
will you please stop repeating the last words of my sentences?'
said Wade. 'But... people don't just disappear!'
know!' Kim said. 'Which is why I need you to scan the lab!'
Hold on a sec!' Kim held out her Kimmunicator and the greenish beam
from the scanner swept out. Kim circled the lab several times, letting
Wade go over everything twice. She waited for several minutes afterwards
while Wade typed, his head spinning from monitor to monitor.
Kim said, feeling uncomfortable as some of the policemen sweeping the
lab were beginning to stare at her.
mouth was pulled into a lopsided grimace. 'Uh... I'm not getting anything
unusual Kim.' he said. 'Just the normal background radiation and activity
on the electrical grid...'
back the instinct to say are you sure. She knew Wade well enough to
know that if there was something to double check, he would do it. But
because she wanted to be doing something more, she couldn't stop herself
from making suggestions. 'Is there anything I can do on this end?' she
said. 'A... bigger scanner or something?'
faintly. 'The Kimmunicator scanners are among the best.' he said. 'Having
designed it myself, I know. I'll chew on the data, but Grimm could have
engineered the whole thing. It's not the first time he tried to get
to you by getting to Ron. You're sure you don't want me to try and get
a trace on Grimm?' he said hesitantly.
her head. 'I don't think so.' she said. 'Whatever happened to Ron, it
looked like the same thing happened to Rhonda. Grimm said he didn't
'I... don't know.' she said at last. 'If it was a dodge, or if he was
acting, it was a really good act. And good isn't the sort of
thing that comes easily when he's around. If the scanner data doesn't
go anywhere, then we can start by finding out everything we can about
Maze.' A sudden flash of memory came to her and she hastily added, 'And
there's something else - I'm pretty sure I saw Monkey Fist in
the lab as well.'
jaw fell open. 'Monkey Fist? Cheese, was everyone down there
at UNIT tonight?'
'It feels that way. We could also get information by contacting the
Yamanouchi school to confirm if Monkey Fist is still walking the path
of the Yono.'
could be tricky.' said Wade. 'They're a ninja school, and they love
their secrecy. Usually they're the ones who try to contact us...'
now's as good a time as any to find out if they've got a phone.' said
Kim. She felt a bit more focused now, having talked with Wade. They'd
come up with several ideas for places to begin their search, and now
it was a matter of doing the searching. She turned her attention back
to the lab as the Kimmunicator screen went dark, preparing to search
the room yet again...
nearly midnight before Kim finally left the UNIT building. She made
her way back to the Sloth, checking on Rufus, who was sleeping in her
belt pouch. She put the key in the ignition, checking in with Wade once
more before getting ready to leave.
went over everything with a fine tooth comb.' she said. 'Ron's just
gone. One minute he was there, the next... nothing but empty
shaking his head. 'It had to be some kind of portal technology,' he
said. 'Except... you're sure Monkey Fist was there?'
her hand to her head. Her memories of the events between when Maze was
chanting in front of her and seeing Ron and Rhonda disappearing right
in front of her were clouded. 'I'm almost sure he was, but... there
was something different about him. It looked like he was still made
of stone, but he was moving.'
his head slightly. 'If he was really involved, then it limits the scope
of what I can find out.' he said. 'Monkey Fist's plans deal in mysticism,
not science. And magic isn't something I know a lot about... or study
much.... or believe in.'
sharply at him. 'Wade - it's real. I told you about what happened
at Yamanouchi with the Yono, I saw the Yono myself. I saw what
the Lotus Blade can do when Ron's holding it. It wasn't just smoke and
looked skeptical. 'I... didn't see it myself.' he said.
not believe in magic,' said Kim. 'But do you believe in me?'
answer, looking like he was thinking hard. 'I... don't think you're
lying about what you saw.' he said carefully. 'But you may not
have seen what you thought you were seeing. There are all kinds of scientific
ways that those things might have been done. Holograms, energy weapons,
hypnotic suggestion... Monkey Fist could have set it up to make you
think it was magic...'
way, he and Maze are our best place to start searching for Ron.' Kim
said. She wasn't ready to start debating the existence or non-existence
of magic with Wade, and was anxious to find out anything that Wade's
searches might uncover, whether he 'believed' in it or not. 'Have you
back to his computer screens. 'Systems are still processing the data
from the scanners, but I did find out some more about Maze - was this
him?' And a black and white news photograph flashed up on the Kimmunicator
screen. The man pictured was dressed more normally than he had been
in the Labs, but the beak-like nose was there, and the mane of dark
hair. He appeared to be speaking at some kind of rally.
him.' Kim answered. 'Who is he?'
with his eyes on one of his screens, his face turned away from Kim.
'An expert on Native American artifacts and folklore, recognized as
a leading specialist. He used to be active in trying to secure more
legal and political rights for the Blackfoot tribe, but over the last
ten years, he's spent most of his time alone searching for artifacts.
He's recovered several famous relics, but he's passed up a lot of sweet
job offers to stay out in the field.'
colleagues we could hunt up?' Kim said.
his head again. 'He doesn't seem to have had many friends, at least
none that are recorded. Here's something interesting though... within
the last year he sold a number of artifacts and seems to have vanished
from public life completely. No one's seen or heard from him in months.'
eyes narrowed. 'No criminal record?' she said.
I can see.' Wade answered. 'Doesn't mean there isn't one though...'
Yamanouchi?' said Kim. Were you able to contact them?'
he answered. 'I haven't been able to contact them before, and I still
can't. I tried to trace the hits they put on your website, but it led
me to 'askaninja.com'. If they have some means of communication, it's
Ghost.' said Kim quietly.
eyes perked. 'I forgot about that.' he said. 'Sensei seems to have some
way to contact Ron...'
Ron's not here.' said Kim grimly. 'All right. We try to track down Maze.
In the meantime, I need to visit Yamanouchi and see for myself if Monkey
Fist is really gone. I don't think the Sloth can get to Japan - can
you find me a ride?'
smiled. 'I had a feeling we might start there.' he answered. 'It'll
be hard, but I think I can get you transport by tomorrow after school.'
Kim said. 'But I think the hardest part is still ahead.' said Kim, sighing.
Mrs. Stoppable stared blankly at Kim. They had seemed nervous somehow
when she awakened them in the middle of the night, and even more so
when they saw Ron was not with her. 'Kidnapped?' said Mrs. Stoppable,
her thin face with its triangular glasses stretching as her mouth fell