Rated M for Kim and Ron’s amorous behavior.
Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Rufus, Wade Lode, Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Possible, Jim and Tim Possible, Monique, Hope, and Dr. Betty Director are characters from the Kim Possible show, created by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, owned and copyright © by the Walt Disney Company.
Christiana Manowar is a fictionalized version of of a famous TV reporter. Mr. Tully is loosely based on a real black preacher once known by the author. All other characters are products of the author’s imagination. Everything in this story about the country of Central Congo, its civil war, its government, and the province and city of Kitanga, is pure fiction, though vaguely inspired by news reports of real events.
Mr. Tully also appears in “Wedding,” Colonel Lawunda also appears in “Big Monkeys,” and Brigetta Maelstrom appears in several stories as Hank Perkins’ legal secretary.
The story begins a few days or weeks after “Graduation,” and fills most of the rest of the summer vacation before Kim and Ron’s freshman year of college at Northwestern State University. This story © 2009 by cloudmonet. Chapter 1 of 10.
“Let’s not waste the whole summer, Ron,” Kim argued, as they ate dinner at a table in the Middleton Bueno Nacho. “We could be doing so much good in the world.”
“What do you have in mind, KP?”
“Have you been following the news about the African famine?”
“Uh, no, can’t say that I have. Is this about those two tribes that are trying to genocide each other?”
“That was a few years ago, Ron. This is about a drought and a bad harvest, I think, though there is some political trouble. I got a hit on the site from a Reverend Luther Tully, who’s in charge of distributing UN food relief in the Kitanga district, Central Congo, pleading with me for help. The food’s not getting through to the people who need it—”
“Well, it sounds a lot easier than aliens or giant robots. Been a while since we’ve done any humanitarian stuff.”
“So you’re in?”
“Kim, I’m with you forever. Whatever I can do to help, I’ll do, and if I’m useless, I’ll cheer you on.”
“You’re never useless, sweetheart,” Kim said, and reached across the table to squeeze his hand.
“But what about college?” asked Ron. “You still haven’t picked which university you want, and if I’m gonna go to a community college in the same city, I need to apply pretty soon.”
“No way. We’re both going to the same school and both living in the same dorm, and that’s that. Don’t worry, I’ve got Wade working on it. We’ll just go to a good state university, somewhere or other. There’s a lot of them.”
“Okay, KP, I trust you. We’ll save the Africans and Wade’ll get us into college.”
I can’t believe I’m so hung up about this, Kim thought to herself as she repeatedly walked past the window of the Elizabeth’s Secrets store in the Middleton Mall.
She needed new underwear, no big, right? What was the difference between buying it here and buying at Club Banana? Not much, really. It wasn’t even that much more pricey, just better made. She could ignore all the silly frilly nighties designed to make a girl look hot, and get something comfortable and practical, right? Right?
Kim had been to the tropics many times before. There was nothing worse than hot, sticky, uncomfortable undies that didn’t fit quite right.
She looked around nervously and darted in the door.
“Hey, Kim,” said Hope, from the cheerleading squad. “May I help you?”
“Oh, hey, Hope, I didn’t know you worked here,” Kim said, trying to sound nonchalant.
“First time customer?”
“Relax, Kim,” Hope said with a smile. “You’re a grown-up girl now. It’s okay for you to buy grown-up girl stuff.”
So Kim spent some time, actually more than an hour, trying on various undergarments in the dressing room, and found herself wondering, while looking in the mirror, whether Ron would like the way she looked.
The punchline, of course, is that the moment Kim walked out of the store with a plastic bag all too clearly marked Elizabeth’s Secrets, Ron was across the hall and spotted her.
“Hey Kim, you all right? You look sunburned or something.”
I’m blushing, you idiot, she thought, but what she said was, “Must be the light. There’s a lot of red nighties in the window.”
“Oh, yeah,” Ron said, apparently noticing the scantily-clad mannequins for the first time.
Kim wondered if Ron was imagining what she would look like in something like that. Of course, bright red wasn’t her color, but the nighties did come in other colors.
“As long as you’re here, let’s go to Club Banana and pick out some mission clothes for the trip. The way I see it, we need lots of cargo shorts.”
Monique raised an eyebrow when she saw the Elizabeth’s Secrets bag, but mercifully didn’t say anything.
“Bye, Mom, bye, Dad,” Kim said, waving out the window of her intensely-modified Pink Sloth. They were leaving Middleton not long before midnight, to arrive in Kitanga at about nine in the morning.
“Bye, Mr. and Mrs. Dr. P.,” said Ron. “—and, as usual, my own parents are busy doing something else.”
“They’re asleep, Ron.”
Kim turned the key, started the engine, turned on the headlights, and backed out of the Possible driveway.
“Five weeks? I just hope she doesn’t come back pregnant,” Mr. Dr. Possible muttered to his wife.
“There goes college, Annie, and with it, opportunity. She’s been accepted by nearly every college she applied to, and still hasn’t chosen one.”
“Kim’s not a career girl,” Mrs. Dr. Possible replied. “She’s made love the center of her life. It’s obvious. She just pretends to have big goals. Anyway, I don’t think they’re going all the way, but if they are, Kim knows how to protect herself.”
“She’ll pick a college in plenty of time.”
“From some outpost in Africa?”
“The internet is everywhere, dear.”
After a few minutes of cruising the streets, and stopping at Bueno Nacho just before closing to buy a last naco super special to go, Kim pulled down the ramp to the freeway, made sure there was enough clearance ahead for takeoff, and fired the rocket engines. Kim and Ron felt themselves flattened against the bucket seats as Kim fired the ion drive and climbed through the atmosphere.
For about fifteen minutes, they drifted through about a quarter of an orbit. Kim was talking to Wade the whole time, getting updated orbital correction and landing coordinates to bring them into the Kitanga airport.
The reentry burn went fine. The heat shield worked flawlessly. The drag chutes opened, then the parasail.
They were only doing about 200 miles per hour when they hit the runway a bit too hard, blowing out the tires. Then the brakes jammed. The car skidded on a sea of sparks. Fortunately the car had ejection seats, and fortunately Ron hit the panic button just in time.
“Yeah, you were right,” Kim admitted, as the Pink Sloth flew off the end of the runway, tumbled end over end, and exploded into a ball of flame just before splashing into the lake. “Worst landing ever. The Tweebs are gonna kill me for this.”
A medical team rushed onto the runway, to see if Kim and Ron were okay. They were, and so was their luggage, because the back seat also ejected, and with it, their backpacks. Rufus, Ron’s pet naked mole rat, was safe in Ron’s cargo shorts pocket. Even the naco super special was safe and unspilled in Ron’s terrified grip.
Nonetheless, this was so not the kind of entrance Kim wanted to make, and she and Ron found themselves in a bureaucratic nightmare, questioned for hours by portly, grumpy, Colonel Lawunda, who made them fill out form after form. Kim’s special green UN holographic passport proved no help at all. In fact, because she had this, he made her fill out an extra form or two!
None of the forms were easy to fill out, either, because none were printed in English, and Lawunda, though he spoke both English and French fluently, in addition to a couple of local tongues, didn’t read any language very well, and pretty much had to guess which forms were the right forms, and what was the right information to put in which lines.
Eventually Lawunda no longer objected to Kim using her pocket kimmunicator to call Wade. She left the wrist kimmunicator at home, for this one had a bigger screen and much longer-lasting battery.
It took Wade a while to find someone at the aid camp whose satellite phone was turned on. This person immediately found the reverend Mr. Tully, who said he was on his way to pick up Kim and Ron in his Toyota Land Cruiser.
“I deeply appreciate what you both have come here to do for the people of my unfortunate country,” Lawunda said, “and sincerely regret that regulations require me to do all this paperwork.”
Lawunda immediately released Kim and Ron to Mr. Tully’s custody when he arrived.
“I’m so glad you and your companion could make it, Miss Possible,” Mr. Tully said as Kim sat in the front seat beside him. He was a middle-aged African-American man, wearing a white short-sleeved dress shirt and khaki shorts. “You don’t know what a bureaucratic nightmare I’ve been going through trying to distribute food and medical supplies to these tribes.”
“Uh, yeah, Mr. T, I think we know just exactly what you’re talkin’ about,” said Ron. “That Lawunda dude couldn’t even read the forms he wanted us to fill out.”
“Be careful how you address anyone in the military, young man,” Mr. Tully said. “They’re very powerful here, and many are very corrupt.”
“Oh, I spoke to him exactly like he was highway patrol. Yes, sir, no sir, I’m sorry, sir, I don’t understand, sir.”
“Well, I’d appreciate it if you’d show me the same respect, at least in public. While we’re riding on a dirt track through the cane fields like these, you can jive with me all you like. Call me Luther, my man.”
“Oh, and you’re a minister in a church, some kind of Christian church, right? Cause I’m Jewish.”
“Ron, Ron, Ron,” Luther Tully said, “The Lord loves all His children, no matter how they worship or what they believe. He even loves the atheists. And Jesus cares much more about whether you’re a good man than whether you’re a Christian.”
“Ron is a good man,” Kim said firmly.
“Then Jesus is happy. And if he’s happy, I’m happy too. I’m really happy you survived that crash. Seems almost like a miracle. What were you flying, anyway, some kind of space capsule?”
“It was my car,” said Kim. “Fortunately it had ejection seats. What did we lose, anyway, Ron? What was in the trunk?”
“The spare tire and the jack, maybe some other wrenches and car tools. We got all our clothes and mission stuff.”
“What about the tent?”
“Right here,” said Ron, patting the bundle of fiberglass tubes and nylon cloth tied to the side of his backpack. “Something just told me, put everything in the packs. And then the packs wouldn’t fit in the trunk.”
“I love you,” said Kim, reaching her hand back to touch his. “We lost the car but you saved our lives, and saved the mission.”
It was after dark when they reached their destination, a fenced-in dusty clearing in a no-man’s zone between two tribal areas, lit up by coleman lanterns, around which flittered a host of large tropical moths and bugs. There were two big long canvas tents on either side of two rows of fiberglass picnic tables. Several young people were sitting at one of the front tables, going over stacks of old-fashioned folded computer paper with colored markers.
“I hope the next convoy of trucks comes tomorrow, Mr. Tully,” said a dark-haired teenaged girl. “We’re just OUT, of everything. No food rations, no baby food, no medical kits, no birth control kits. This paperwork says we signed for a lot of stuff we never got.”
“Maria, you need to get your rest,” said Luther Tully. “If the trucks do get here tomorrow, you’re all going to have a very busy day.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Tully,” she replied, adding, “Goodnight,” and went into one tent. The three boys also said goodnight and went into the other.
“If you want to use our tents, which have good-sized, comfortable beds, that’s the boys’ tent and that’s the girls’. If you want to set up your own, go over that way, and you’ll see three other tents in a small clearing.”
“That’s what we’ll do,” said Kim. “When I’m on a mission, I want Ron right next to me, at all times.”
“I didn’t know that,” Ron said, as he followed her on the trail to the small clearing.
“Shuh,” said Kim. “There’s danger here, real danger. Everything seems just a little bit off, you know? We could go for days or weeks with nothing happening, and suddenly find ourselves fighting for our lives.”
“I heard that,” Ron replied.
The clearing was lit by only one coleman lantern hanging from a tree branch. Sounds coming from one of the tents suggested a couple greatly enjoying each other’s company. Kim covered her mouth and giggled. Ron sighed and rolled his eyes.
With some additional light from Kim’s headband flashlight, assembling the poles of their little dome tent went smoothly, and soon they slid them through the nylon skin, unzipped the doors, and climbed inside.
“Whoo! it’s hot,” said Kim, unzipping all the windows to let the night breeze pass through. She unrolled her sleeping bag and shoved the rest of her backpack outside.
Ron unrolled his beside hers, pushed out his backpack, and zipped the door closed. A lone mosquito hummed annoyingly till Ron swatted it.
When Kim turned off her flashlight, it was completely dark at first. “Remember when we were kids and camped out in the back yard?” she asked. “We’d pretend we were in an African jungle with lions and rhinos outside, and crocs in the river. We’re really in Africa, Ron! That’s awesome!”
“We’ve camped in Africa before.”
“Does that make it any less awesome? And we’re gonna help people. That always makes me feel good. Do you miss being a kid?”
“I don’t know. When we were kids it seemed like all we talked about is what it would be like to be grown up.”
“I guess. I like what Luther Tully said.”
“About Jesus caring more that you’re good than whether you’re Christian. From what I remember, that is how he thinks.”
“I think Mr. Tully’s good road. Why? Where you going with this?”
“I think we were born to be together.” She slid her hand over in the dark until she found his.
“Yeah, I think so too.”
“So why did God— assuming there really is a god— put us in houses with different religions?”
Ron laughed nervously. “Kim, I have no idea.”
“It’s okay to talk like this, isn’t it? We can talk about anything, right?”
“I’m not offended. Confused, maybe, but not offended.”
“I don’t know. It’s like, you’re Kim, but Kim from ten years ago.”
“If I were Kim from ten years ago, would I do this?” She fumbled with her hands till she found his head, kissed his lips, and twirled her tongue into his mouth.
“I don’t know if it was exactly ten years ago, but, yeah, you did.”
“No I didn’t.”
“You kissed me right on the mouth, at least twice, maybe more times, I’m not sure, when we were little kids.”
“Are you serious? I really don’t remember that.” Kim flopped back on her own sleeping bag. “I want to snuggle against you but it’s just too hot.”
“No duh. You mind if I take my shirt off?”
“If you can do it, I can do it,” said Kim.
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Wanna dare me?”
At this moment, a loud moan from the other tent made them both giggle nervously.
“I can’t help it,” whispered Kim. “It just sounds so funny, or maybe so fun.”
“Would you like to do what they’re doing?” Ron asked.
“Not tonight. We don’t have birth control.”
They talked about other stuff, off and on, in between trying to go to sleep. At some time during the night when he thought Kim was sleeping, Ron did take off his T-shirt. In the morning light, he awoke to the somewhat startling sight of Kim’s bare back, interrupted by a silky pink strap with lace trim, and matching pink ribbons over her shoulders.
Someone was clanging something outside, probably a call to breakfast.
Kim shook her head, rolled over, and smiled at Ron. The silky, lace-trimmed pink cloth showed no more of her breasts than either of her string bikini tops, but somehow the sight was far more intimate and awesome. “We’d better get it together,” she said, pulling her black tank top on over her head.
Ron put his T-shirt on and followed her out of the tent.
Kim counted at least 36 people, almost all of them either teenagers or people in their early twenties, seated at the picnic tables, with bowels of stew and rice, with a few stragglers still coming in.
“And here they are!” said Mr. Tully, waving to Kim and Ron. “Meet our newest volunteer aid workers. This is Kim Possible, who’s proven herself to be an organizational expert at several natural disasters, in addition to performing some heroic rescues of persons in distress. I brought her here to help straighten out the inventory difficulties we’ve been having. And her friend and assistant is Ron— uh—”
“Ron Stoppable,” he said.
“I beg your pardon, sir, yes, Ron Stoppable. You’ll immediately want to get to know Maria, Stephen, and the two Marks, who were up late last night with the paperwork. So pick up a bowl and spoon, and Ruthanne will serve you.”
“Hi, Kim,” said Ruthanne, scooping a measured amount of mashed potatoes, making a crater, and then another girl filled this with stew.
“Hi, Kim, I’m Celia,” she said.
There was no room to sit anywhere near Maria, Stephen, and the two Marks, and most of the other tables were pretty full, so Kim took a seat at the last picnic table, opposite two short-haired girls and a boy, and Ron followed her there a few moments later.
“Last call,” said Mr. Tully, banging on a rusted car hood hanging on a rope. “Then I guess I’ll say grace.”
Everyone bowed their heads.
“Praise God! may He bless this meal and bring the gifts of peace and prosperity to this troubled land. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“Amen,” most of the people said together.
Ron sighed, smiled, and looked down at his bowl, only to see Rufus, munching away. Gently, Ron picked up the little molerat, who struggled a bit, then gave Ron a dirty look.
“Ewww, what is that freaky thing?” asked the girl sitting across the table.
“This is Rufus, my pet naked mole rat, a species which I understand is native to these parts. You’ve had enough, buddy. Leave some for me. We’re in the famine zone here. I can’t ask for extras.”
“Oh—” Rufus squeaked, then made some chitters of exasperation.
“He’s kind of cute,” said the girl next to the one who said ewww. She picked up a little cube of meat with her fingers and offered it to Rufus.
“Yummm,” he said, then chittered something that sounded almost like “Thank you.”
“Did he say thank you? It almost sounds like he’s talking. Hey, Ron, and Kim, I’m Ellen and this is Marsha and Bones.”
“Bones?” asked Kim.
“Actually, I’m a third Mark, but one meal I was really hungry and chewed up the chicken bones along with the meat, so now I’m Bones.”
The big trucks arrived not long after breakfast.
Maria gave Stephen, the other two Marks, Kim and Ron, inventory lists and told them to check the packing number on each box. The items were listed in numerical order, but packed in the trucks completely randomly, which caused the six of them to constantly get in each other’s way.
“Wouldn’t it be easier to take everything out of the trucks and sort it out first?” Kim asked Maria. “We could just check everything off in a few minutes.”
“That’s true, but did you see the line we’ve got already? The moment we pull stuff off the truck, people will rush the gate and start grabbing stuff.”
“So you need some crowd-control cops,” said Kim. “I’m pretty tough and so’s Ron.”
“You can talk that over with the reverend later and see if he goes for it, but it’s not easy to control a crowd of people who are hungry and desperate, don’t understand our language, and don’t really understand what we’re trying to do.”
“Okay, why don’t we have people who speak their language? Has anyone tried looking for someone who speaks English in any of these villages?”
“Just check the numbers, Kim, okay? We can go over all your ideas later.”
A little bit later, Kim had a simpler idea. “What if we each had a complete copy of the list? We could each stay in one truck and check off everything.”
“We don’t have a copy machine,” said Maria.
“Maybe I can get one,” said Kim.
“We don’t have electricity either.”
“Maybe I can get some of that, too.”
“If we ran a generator, people would hear it, and someone would come and try to steal it. We don’t want to be loaded with goodies to attract the treacherous and well-armed.”
By the time the inventory was complete, and yes, about a third of the listed packages were missing, there were hundreds of Africans waiting in line, or at least, sort of in line.
Kim ran up to Mr. Tully. “Before we unload anything from the trucks, I want to try looking for a translator.”
She flipped herself over the fence and moved around the edges of the crowd, repeatedly asking, “Do any of you speak English?”
A middle aged woman wearing a blue blouse and black skirt said, “I speeg little bit English.” She had a pretty smile, though her teeth were yellow and some pitted with cavities.
“Hi, I’m Kim,” she said slowly and clearly. “What’s your name?”
“Raronamu,” she said, or something like that. “That my name. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Do you know what UN means? Stay in line? Please wait your turn?”
Raronamu looked a bit confused by some of these, but smiled when she heard please, and said, “Please come in. Please how are you?”
“You might do if I can’t find someone a little more fluent. Um, Thanks.”
Raronamu smiled. “You’re welcome.”
“Do any of you speak English?” Kim continued.
A little girl in a pink jumper looked excited, but the bigger boy in shorts next to her said something to her that made her scowl. But then she stomped her foot and said, “I do speak English. I speak it very well. I learned in school. Why shouldn’t I tell her?”
“What’s that?” asked Kim, squatting to be eye-to-eye with the little girl. “My name’s Kim. What’s yours?”
“I’m Nanahno. I’m here to get some medicine for my mother from the United Nations.”
“Well, I’m here to give you some medicine for your mother and I hope we have the right stuff,” said Kim. “Do you speak the same language as everybody else here?”
“My teacher says I speak the Hurendu dialect. Some of these people speak the Kitanga dialect. They’re similar.”
“I’d like to meet your teacher,” said Kim.
“You can’t,” Nanahno said sadly. “She got killed by—”
The older boy angrily said something, probably in Hurendu.
Nanahno glared at him, and finished, “—some people.”
“And you obviously speak some English as well. Are you her brother?”
“I don’t trust you,” he said sullenly. “Why do you make us stand in the hot sun so long? Why can’t we just take the food and medicine and go home?”
“Come with me, both of you, you can help,” said Kim.
“They’ll beat us or shoot us if they think we got special treatment.”
“Well, I want to help Kim. She’s like teacher Nicole.”
People were crowding around Kim and the children, trying to figure out what was going on.
Kim picked Nanahno up and held her in her left arm. “You want to go for a ride through the air? It’s really fun!” Kim quickly pulled out her hairdryer grappling hook gun, shot at a high tree branch, winched herself up, and swang above the heads of the people in line, holding the little girl tight and saying, “Wheeee!”
This stunt at first startled then amused the gathered crowd.
Nanahno was laughing when they landed a few feet away from Reverend Luther Tully.
“Mr. Tully, meet Nanahno. She’s going to be our translator today. What would you like to tell these people?”
“Okay, Nanahno, can you tell them we don’t want any of them to get hurt or trampled, so could they please follow instructions?”
Kim lifted Nanahno up on her shoulders, and the little girl spoke loudly and clearly in Hurendu, then quietly added in English, “I told them I’m translating for you. They might not listen cause I’m just a little girl.”
“Can you ask everyone who needs a food ration to raise his or her right hand?” said Mr. Tully.
“Me too,” Nanahno said, raising her hand, and then she asked this in Hurendu. A murmur went through the crowd, as the Kitanga speakers learned what was wanted and most of them raised their hands.
Ron climbed on top of one of the trucks to count hands, and told Maria, “Looks like about two hundred thirty, but maybe not everyone understood.”
“We’re good,” said Maria. “Have the little girl tell them there’s enough for everybody this time.”
“They say there’s enough for everyone today,” Nanahno said in her own language, and the crowd started cheering.
“So there should be no problem for you to come in groups of twenty,” said Mr. Tully, and Nanahno repeated this.
The first group of twenty came in, each greeted by a friendly volunteer who passed him or her a box of food.
Mr. Tully asked the group, through Nanahno, if any of them also needed baby food, medical kits, or birth control kits.
“We call them red cross medicine and purple box medicine in Hurendu, and we know what they’re for,” Nanahno said to the reverend.
He laughed. “I’m glad to know that, because I really wasn’t sure.”
And in less than half an hour, everyone went home, except Nanahno and her brother, who seemed somewhat friendlier than before.
Kim tried to explain to him why they had to count the food and medicine before giving it away. “Somebody has to pay for the food and medicine. They want to make sure it’s getting to the people who need it, but the trucks always come with less food than what’s supposed to be here.”
“Sometimes more than half is gone,” said Maria. “This time it’s better.”
“Soldiers,” the brother said darkly. “If the trucks pass through checkpoints, they’ll take what they want first.”
“They’re bad, nasty and evil,” said Nanahno. “But every country has soldiers. That’s what teacher Nicole said. They killed her. Soldiers killed her.”
Kim tried to hug away the little girl’s tears.
By dinnertime, Kim had learned the names of nearly everyone at the camp. She’d say, “Hi, Mark, hey, Claudia, hi, Jim,” but Ron would usually say “Hi, uh— I’m sorry, I’m still learning all your names.” He did always remember Mark, Mark, and Maria, from working with them, and Bones, just because it was a funny nickname with a good story behind it.
After dinner, Luther Tully took Kim and Ron aside. “I really want to thank you for everything you did today. I don’t know why, but I never would have thought to approach the problem of communicating in such a straightforward and simple way.”
“I’ve done it before, right, Ron? The Santa Lucia flood, the Yucatan hurricane, the Ghana flood— if there’s a crowd or a large group almost anywhere in the world, there’s some chance someone will know enough English for the two of us to figure out how to communicate. I really scored with Nanahno. Her English is better than mine.”
“Now, General Matombe warned me against getting too close to the villagers,” Mr. Tully said. “He made them sound almost like, well, gangsters and addicts from the worst Los Angeles ghetto.”
“How much do you really think you can help any people without making friends with them?” asked Ron. “That’s just like, duh.”
“You know sir, that’s just how the Lord Jesus went around helping people,” Mr. Tully said. “Damn! I’ve been blind, blind, blind! You two just opened my eyes. You have no idea how embarrassing this is to me. I’m supposed to be the the holy man, the leader of the flock. I’ve been taking way too much advice from cynical, worldly people.”
“Well, if God did somehow lead me to you, I hope I continue to be helpful to you, and most of all to these people. I’m really excited, Ron.”
“This could be a possible career for us, doing World Hunger work like this, or maybe disaster relief. Not that I have anything against occasionally roughing up a supervillain.”
“We got a supervillain right here, Kim. He’s probably named General Sumpthinorotha, his modus operandi is stealin’ UN food and fencing it on the black market for big bucks, which he uses to buy grenade launchers and cheap Korean lasers.”
“And his henchmen are a whole army, or at least a whole division,” Kim replied. “How do I deal with that?”
“So we try to expose him,” said Ron.
“No, no,” said Luther Tully. “General Matombe assured me that it must be only a few renegade soldiers carrying out the robberies, and that if we can just prove who they are, he will arrest them and punish them severely according to the law.”
“But Mr. Tully, what if General Matombe himself is the evil mastermind?” asked Ron.
“I don’t want to believe that’s possible, at least not without very convincing proof.”
“Of course, we’re just guessing,” said Kim, “but it’s guessing based on years of experience with all kinds of evil schemes. General Matombe either lied about the villagers to you, or knows nothing about them but hearsay. So would he know who these so-called renegade soldiers are? If he does, he’s almost certainly getting a share of the booty. If he doesn’t, someone under him is pulling wool over his eyes. This has been going on for some time. You’ve complained. The UN people have complained. It hasn’t stopped. Someone with enough power to cover stuff up is behind this. Exposing him could be very dangerous.”
“Well, if we just find out who he is and what he’s doing, maybe we can get the relief supplies delivered some other way,” said Mr. Tully.