Kim Possible copyrighted by Disney, etc.

Chapter 4
Old Friends Who Just Met

Grimm was impressed. The machine Ron was building was already large, towering up toward the high ceiling. A network of rails and gantries was also spreading out like a spider web around the machine, and Ron dashed here and there, fixing this, adjusting that, adding more components and more support structure as he flitted back and forth.

Finally, Ron jumped from the top and Grimm saw the Lotus Blade extend down like a pole with a clawed foot, which thudded onto the ground from high above. It gradually shortened until Ron landed softly on the floor, turning to look up at his machine. At the top, a wide circle of metal was perched, looking somewhat like a giant bubble wand. It was large enough for a fully grown man to stand with his arms and legs outstretched within the circle, and most of the wiring and other components led towards it.

Rhonda came up, standing by Grimm's side and staring. 'So, does it have a name or do we just call it 'the thing-a-ma-bob?' she said.

Rueful poked out of Rhonda's pack and draped his paws over her shoulder, staring and saying 'Ooooooooooh!'

'Behold!' Ron screeched, sheathing the Lotus Blade and throwing up his arms dramatically. 'The Mega Synaptic Transducer!'

'Do all your inventions have "Mega" in their names?' said Grimm, frowning slightly.

'Of course!' Ron said, his voice high and grating. 'The 'mega' makes it sound cool!'

'So what does it do?' said Rhonda.

'Oh never you mind,' said Ron, waving his hand dismissively. 'There are still plenty of things to do before we fire up this baby!'

'Such as?' said Grimm.

'I think it's time we clued in our dear Ms. Possible.' said Ron, staring up at the machine. He turned to Grimm. 'Knowing her, she'll probably get a bit shirty about the whole thing, so I'd better explain it myself. I'll need someone to bring her for a meeting. Would you care to do the honors?'

Grimm smiled. 'I was hoping you'd ask.'

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Mrs. Possible looked up the stairwell. Kim had come home from school without saying a word, and had gone straight up to her room. She could hear her rattling around upstairs, but had no idea what she was up to. Her curiosity was getting the best of her and she was just about to go up and ask what was bothering her daughter when she heard a knock. She stepped into the living room landing and opened the front door. There was a young man standing on the porch, dressed in some kind of uniform. His boyishly handsome face was smiling and he tipped his hat to her as she looked at him.

'Good evening.' he said, his voice kindly and polite. 'You must be the lovely Mrs. Possible. Would you please inform your daughter, Kimberly Ann, that her chauffeur has arrived to escort her to an enchanted evening with one Ron Stoppable?'

Mrs. Possible smiled warmly. 'Oh isn't that sweet!' she said. 'Come on in, I'll call her down.'

Kim was gathering things in her room, getting ready to leave. She'd explained things to Monique and was prepared to spend every moment she could spare in tracking Ron down. She checked in with Wade, and was just about to step out into the hall when she heard her mother's voice echo from downstairs.

'Kim! Ron sent a limo driver to pick you up.' she said, her voice sounding sly and amused. 'He said something about an evening of enchantment!'

Kim felt an intense thrill of relief. She glanced out of the window and saw a shiny black limousine parked on the roadside in front of the house. Ron wasn't missing after all - he had simply been planning some elaborate and probably goofy date. She had some trepidation, wondering what he had in store, but was looking forward to it all the same. She still wondered where he had been all day, adding it to a list of questions to ask once she saw him.

She ran to the stairs, but before she was half way down, the relief she had been feeling withered into an ashen dread. There, standing in her living room as bold as brass, was Grimm Probable, his insolent smirk hitched in place. He was dressed like a chauffeur, complete with a cap, and as she came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, he smiled and nodded.

'Good evening Ms. Possible.' he said, his voice lit with amusement and edged with menace. 'Ron Stoppable is most anxious to see you.'

Kim had been on the verge of leaping at him with a roundhouse kick, but at Grimm's words, she froze and fought hard to stay calm. The threat was plain in his voice - she knew that he had Ron and that he meant for her to keep quiet about it.

A few seconds passed in silence. Mrs. Possible wasn't sure why neither of them were saying anything, but she didn't pick up on the tension that had suddenly flared into the room. 'Well, have fun with Ron, Kim.' she said. 'Be sure and come back before curfew!'

'Not to worry, Mrs. Possible.' Grimm said, bowing. 'We're perfectly aware of Kim's.... limitations.' he gestured toward the front door, which he was holding open for Kim, gazing at her expectantly.

Kim said nothing as Grimm escorted her to the limo. She hesitated when Grimm opened the passenger door and motioned her to get in. Grimm stared at her coldly as she stood resolutely outside the car, her arms folded.

'I can wait here all day, Kim.' he said. 'But I don't think Ron can.'

Kim got in and as Grimm circled the limo to get in the driver's seat, Kim was frantically pushing the buttons on her Kimmunicator, trying to reach Wade. The Kimmunicator sputtered and beeped, but the reassuring view of Wade's face did not appear.

The limo tilted as Grimm got in, adjusting the rear-view mirror and starting the engine. 'Don't bother calling your hacker friend.' he said, signaling as the car started moving down the street. 'We've arranged for us to have some private time.' Kim glared at him. The limo drove on, entering downtown traffic.

Kim stayed silent as long as she could. She became aware that she was clenching her fists so hard that she was nearly breaking the skin in her palms with her fingernails. 'If you've hurt Ron...' she started, but Grimm cut her off.

'So the drama.' he said. 'There's no need to drag out the 'I swear I'll make you pay' routine, Kim Possible. I assure you Ron is in perfect health.'

'I don't believe you.' Kim hissed.

Grimm twitched his head, glancing back at Kim through the rear-view mirror. 'I was telling the truth when I said he wanted to see you Kim. This was actually his idea.'

Kim bit her lip. Grimm seemed to be enjoying this way too much, but as far as she could tell, there was no lie in his voice. Her whole body was tensed like a spring. Grimm seemed to sense it.

'Calm down.' he said with a smirk. 'If you're about to demand that I take you to him, as usual, I'm way ahead of you.'

It wasn't long before the limo parked in front of a small building. Grimm got out and opened the door for Kim, motioning her out with a bow. After leading her down an alley to a side entrance, he gestured to a door. 'He's waiting.' he said simply.

Kim kept her eyes warily on Grimm. But Grimm seemed relaxed, even casual. She stepped toward the door and walked in. She saw the place had been made up rather shoddily to resemble a Bueno Nacho outlet. But there was only one chair in the middle of the room, a swivel chair in which a figure was seated in half-light with his back turned.

'Greetings, Kimberly Ann Possible!'

Kim shuddered. It was definitely Ron's voice - but it seemed cold, manic, and somehow familiar....

The chair swiveled around Ron stared out at her, his fingers tented in front of him. Kim blanched as she saw he was dressed in a black outfit with a "Z" on his chest. He wore red goggles and a comical looking beanie, but the last thing Kim felt like doing was laughing as she saw his skin was tinged with a bluish hue.

'No....' she whispered.

From off to the side, a camera flashed. 'Oooh that was great!' said Rhonda, stepping out from behind the counter. 'Come on pom-pon - do it again!'

'Now, now,' said Ron, grinning and waving his hand toward Rhonda. 'Play nice my dear, after all Ms. Possible is my guest!'

Kim stared in shock as Grimm and Rhonda took places behind Ron, standing beside his chair like a pair of smiling bookends. 'Whatever you say, boss.' said Grimm.

''You're the top dog - woof woof woof!' shouted Rhonda, punching her fist in the air. Ron simply sat with a satisfied smirk on his face.

Kim glared furiously at Grimm. All the missing pieces thudded into place in her mind. Ron's disappearance, and what it meant. 'Turn him back!' she said, 'Now!!'

'Hey! Hey!' said Ron, frowning. 'I'm still here Kim Possible! Why not talk to me directly? Ask me what I want?'

'Ron,' she said imploringly. 'You're not yourself. They did something to you - made you into something you're not! Come with me! We can change you back....' She held out her hand to him, a dull ache of loss throbbing inside her.

'No, don't think so.' said Ron, his toothy smile returning. 'There's a world full of Nacos out there that still owes me big time! And I'm gonna give it such a pinch!!'

'Ron, please!'

'I called you here as a courtesy, Kimberly Ann.' he said, ignoring her. 'After all, what's a villainous plot without a do-gooder trying to get in the way? Boring, that's what!' He took a small box wrapped in a shiny red ribbon and tossed it to her. 'Happy birthday to you!' he said, gesturing dramatically.

'What is this?' Kim asked.

'I told you - a courtesy.' Ron sneered. 'You'll want to keep that close, believin' you me!' He paused for a moment, taking a deep breath, then he sat back, looking relaxed. 'Well, that's it. Door's behind you, don't let it hit you on the way out!'

Kim tensed up. 'I'm not leaving without you, Ron.' she said.

'Oooooh, get a load of Ms. I-Can-Do-Anything!' Rhonda squeaked mockingly. 'Thinks she's gonna take us on all by herself!'

'If I have to.' Kim said, her voice low and dangerous.

Grimm and Rhonda started around the chair but Ron held up his hands. 'Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah!' he said, gesturing them back. 'No need for the two of you to git all rowdy! We all know that she won't be satisfied until she's tried to take me by force!' Grimm and Rhonda stepped back. Ron stood up and glared, his smile now thin and tight. 'Well Kimberly Ann - I believe you said something about not leaving without me?'

'Sorry Ron,' said Kim. 'You'll thank me later!' She leaped forward with a flying kick and was wondering how much force she dared to put into it when she saw Ron twitch his cape aside and take out a gleaming sword from his belt.

In a sundered instant, the blade changed into a tendril of metal that shot toward Kim. She gasped, shifting her stance to a forward roll. Whatever it was that Ron was using, it altered it's course, twisting and following her roll. Kim landed and cartwheeled to the side, narrowly avoiding the metal, which snaked after her like a tentacle. She went into a series of flips and jumps and finally landed a few feet in front of Ron. With a cry, she charged at him.

But she suddenly felt something clamp around her ankle and lurched as she was brought to a stop in mid-leap. Looking back she saw a hand had formed at the end of whatever it was that Ron was holding, and it was closed fast on her leg. She struggled, hanging in mid-air and grappling with the hand.

'Thank you!' Ron said in a sing-song voice.

The metal cable whipped backwards. Kim was pulled back with a sudden jerk and thrown onto the floor. She stared at Ron in amazement.

'Neat, huh?' he said. In a flash, the sword had reappeared in Ron's hand. 'You've heard about the Lotus Blade, but you haven't seen it in action yet. Impressed?'

Kim rose to her feet and charged at him again. She screamed, putting all her energy into her kick, and flew at him. But the Lotus Blade transformed in the blink of an eye into a gleaming shield and Kim heard a loud clunk as her kick was absorbed harmlessly. She rolled and landed fair on her feet. But from the hilt of the Lotus Blade, she saw four tendrils whipping towards her. Each arm and leg was quickly grasped in a clawed hand. Kim was held immobile and she grunted with the effort of trying to break free.

Behind Ron, Grimm and Rhonda were clapping their hands. 'Drama and comedy!' said Rhonda. 'Whatta performer!'

With a wicked grin, Ron bowed to Grimm and Rhonda, then thrust out his arm. Kim found herself catapulted out the door, landing in the alley, trash cans rattling around her.

'Farewell, Kim Possible!' came Ron's shout, echoing through the door. 'The next time we meet, I hope you'll prove better sport!' The box Ron had given her came spiraling out the door, landing next to her with a thud. 'Booyah-hahahahaaaaaaaaaa!!!!'

Kim rose up, panting, and dashed back into the building, but they were gone.

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Kim did something she had never done before and hailed a cab. She gave the driver her address and was soon heading back home. 'Wade!' she said, taking out her Kimmunicator. 'I found Ron!'

'That's great Kim!' he said, looking relieved.

'So isn't!' she broke in. 'Team Probable is here - in Middleton! And they used an Attitudinator on Ron!'

Wade's eyes flew wide open. 'You mean Ron is....'

Kim nodded. 'I just got my butt royally handed to me by Zorpox. And it looks like Team Probable is working for him!'

'Oh man,' said Wade. 'Someone has been ghosting my network for the last couple of days. I think it's Jade.'

Kim nodded again. 'We need to find out what they're up to - fast!'

'I could use a starting point.' Wade said, poised over his keyboard.

Kim glanced at the ribbon-wrapped box Ron had given her. She tugged at the ribbon and opened the package. It looked like a medical bracelet, but it had a rectangular plastic pad on top full of circuitry. 'What do you make of this?' She held it in front of the Kimmunicator scanner, which sent out a green light that slid up the bracelet, and then from side to side with an electronic whirring sound.

'Analyzing.' he said. He looked at his monitors. 'Woah.' he said. 'I've never seen anything like this before!'

'Can you tell what it's for?' she said. Her heart was beating rapidly, a sensation of anxiety building within her. If Ron moved as quickly now has he had the last time, she guessed they didn't have very long to figure out a plan.

'I'll need some time...' he said, shaking his head. 'It looks like it uses similar technology as the Attitudinator, but it's heavily modified...'

'Keep me posted!' Kim said. They were drawing near her house now, and she fiddled with the change in her pockets, getting ready to pay the driver. 'I think I'll change into something more... flexible.'

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Ron re-entered the warehouse. 'Time to get it on!' he cackled. 'And by it I mean that,' he said, pointing to the Mega Synaptic Transducer. 'And by on, I mean on!' He flipped open one of the compartments on his belt, revealing a number of buttons and controls. He hit a larger red button, and suddenly the floor of the warehouse rumbled.

Around the Mega Synaptic Transducer, the floor was rolling away on either side. A large panel was also sliding back in the roof, and the Transducer began to slowly rise. Four large support struts unfolded, looking like colossal spider legs. The Mega Synaptic Transducer continued to rise up, showing that it had even more components and bulk below the floor than it had above ground.

Rhonda's mouth fell open. 'When did you do all this?' she squeaked.

'Oh, I threw it together while you were powdering your nose.' Ron said casually.

The support struts locked into place with rolling metallic booms as the Mega Synaptic Transducer halted, towering above the level of the warehouse roof. Ron hit another button and lights flickered on all across the vast bulk of the machine. It began to whirr, louder and louder. Upper segments of the machine began to slowly revolve, gaining speed. A glowing halo surmounted the circle of metal atop the Mega Synaptic Transducer, and began to suffuse into the circle itself. Two shades of color were discernable - blue and red. Ron smiled and went to the table where a number of parts and equipment still lay.

'Kim Possible will be here eventually, and I want to have a suitable welcome prepared!' he said. 'Oh by the way, while I was working I made this for you.' He gestured to a bundle lying on the table. 'Trust me, when she gets here, you'll find it useful.'

Grimm picked up the bundle, which unfurled, showing a black outfit with reddish-orange bands.

'Ooooh, stylin'!' said Rhonda. 'Can't wait to see you in it!' she said, smirking at Grimm. 'Don't I get one?'

'Oh no,' said Ron, gesturing absent-mindedly while still welding circuits and other material to the mass of parts and metal on the table. 'I've made some other special toys for you, my dear!' He tossed a thick bracelet over his shoulder, which Rhonda caught. 'Put it on!' he said without looking back at her. 'It's a remote control. Instructions are on the sticky.'

Rhonda pulled a yellow square of paper off the bracelet and began to read. After a moment, she clamped the bracelet on her left wrist with a wicked grin. 'Oh man,' she chirped. 'This is gonna be so boss!'

Ron threw two more objects over his shoulder. Grimm and Rhonda each caught one. They were another set of bracelets, smaller and thinner than the other one Rhonda wore. 'And put these on - now. There's a smaller one for the weasel taped to yours, my dear!'

Grimm and Rhonda put on the bracelets obediently, and Rhonda took a chirruping Rueful from her backpack and slipped a ring-sized bracelet around his paw. Grimm saw a similar band around Ron's wrist, and he stared up at the Mega Synaptic Transducer. The echoing sounds it was making were now leveling out and going quieter, though the machine was glowing brighter than before. The shades of red and blue within the circle were separating and dividing.

'So, planet Earth - steal my Nacos, will ya?' Ron screamed, raising his arms in the air, his cape billowing behind him. 'Well, take this!! Wedgie!!' He threw a switch on the main console and the Mega Synaptic Transducer began to emit pulsing waves of sound. The blue and red glowing portions within the circle suddenly swapped places.....

Chapter 5
Yin-Yang Yonder

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