cloudmonet’s kim stories

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Africa


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. This story 2009 by cloudmonet. Chapter 6 of 10.



Chapter 6.


72.

More than half the volunteers followed Kim, Ron, and Dieter through the gate, around the fence to the back, and across the open field to a large package. It was close to being a five-foot cube, padded on all sides by what looked like air mattresses, tied on with thick plastic rope.

“So, do you know what it is?” Kim asked Wade. “Should we open it here or try to roll it back to camp? I’m supposing everything here, including the packing, could be of some use.”

“For now, let’s just call it an anonymous donation, and no, I don’t know exactly what’s in it,” Wade replied. “If you can drop it from a jet without a chute, I suppose you can roll it, that is, if it’s not too heavy.”

“I guess it weighs about a ton,” said Dieter. “Let’s give it a push and see.”

It took a few moments to organize everybody into positions where they could all push or tug on the bundle, and it moved more easily than they expected. Slowly they rolled it toward the fence, slightly downhill, but not steep enough for the package to roll on its own. The sky brightened toward dawn as they got it inside the gate, like a group of worker ants wrestling some awkward food item back to the colony.

“Cut the knots carefully,” said Kim. “Let’s not puncture these inflatables.”

It tool several cuts before the network of ropes began to loosen. Inside the padding was heavy black plastic, like an oversized plastic trash bag filled with laundry.

“It is filled with laundry,” said Ron, carefully cutting the heat seal with his pocket knife. A whole bunch of compressed khaki and cammo clothes popped out.

“T’ese are UN peacekeeper uniforms just like mine, see?” said Dieter, holding up a shirt.

“We’re supposed to wear them, obviously,” said Kim.

“But why?” asked Bones.

“For SNN,” said Ron. “We’re supposed to fake out Matombe, make him think the UN somehow removed the volunteers and replaced ’em with armed peacekeepers.”

“I guess t’at’s right, t’ough I never heard of such tactics before,” said Dieter.

“Course not,” said Ron. “You can’t ever let people know if you’re sometimes just bluffing.”

“So let’s put spread these uniforms out on the tables, and try to sort them out so everyone gets one that’s about the right size,” said Kim, and they started sorting out the uniform shirts and shorts by size. These all had name badges ironed on, but Kim assumed these names were all bogus, or the names of the soldiers whose uniforms they were borrowing. She knew hardly anyone’s last name, anyway.

But before long, people started saying, “Hey, that’s my name,” or the like, and then Ron handed Kim a shirt labeled K. A. Possible.

“You know, I think someone made these uniforms just for us,” he said.

“Dude! There’s more in here than uniforms,” said Bones. “What are these long plastic boxes?”

One of these was also labeled, K. A. Possible. “Hold on, people,” she said. “Don’t mess with these boxes till I check this out.”

“I know what t’iss is,” said Dieter.

“What I think?” asked Kim.

“Ya.”


73.

Kim carried her box to a picnic table and opened it carefully. Inside was a plasma rifle, broken down into three pieces— stock, barrel, and trilithium power cell, and a small sealed envelope containing a note:


Dear Knockout,

Wear these uniforms and carry these weapons proudly. You are authorized to use them only to defend the food distribution camp. Do not attempt to liberate Kitanga. Do not attempt to take out General Matombe unless you can make a clean kill that will be blamed on his own soldiers. He is a Central Congo problem that should be handled by Central Congo personnel. I disavow any knowledge of this drop and never sent this note. Give the Factor a wet one for me.

Hugs and kisses, Patch.


Kim broke out laughing, saying “Whaaaat?!”

Ron shook his head. “Out of character!”

“And there goes the note,” said Kim, as exposure to light gradually darkened the paper to black, and then it started crumbling.

“I didn’t know you could actually make a self-destructing note,” said Ron.

“How many rifles are there, Dieter?” Kim asked.

“T’ere’s five more, and anot’er ten smaller blasters. But what is t’iss all about?”

“I happen to be friends with—” Kim hesitated, “an official who works for a UN agency, who sent us these uniforms and weapons, strictly unofficially. We’re supposed to act like real UN peacekeepers would act— defend this camp, and protect the innocent. At least at first, this is totally a bluff— but Dieter, you and Hans can teach us how to use these weapons. With these, plus our homemade tank, and satellite surveillance ability, I’m feeling much better about our security.”

Dieter laughed. “Okay, I’ll go along wit’ t’iss.”

Kim walked over to the hanging rusty car hood and started clanking it with a tire iron. “I want everybody’s attention, now,” she called out. A lot of people were already there, and this brought more people from the boys’ and girls’ tents. “Is everybody here?”

Someone was sent to fetch Mr. Tully, but he was already on his way. “Doesn’t look like breakfast’s ready, so I suppose this is trouble,” he said.

“No, I think we’re starting to get out of trouble,” Kim said, and raised her voice. “Listen up, people. We have an angel at Global Justice who’s sent us UN peacekeeper uniforms and weapons. Many of you have already found shirts with your names. We are all going to be, at least in appearance, a UN peacekeeping force, and one big enough to make General Matombe think twice about messing with us. So from now on, I want to see everyone in uniform at all times. Find your uniform, go to the boys’ or girls’ tent, change into it, and meet me back here ASAP. Dismissed.”

“Wow, that was just like Mr. Barkin would have said it,” said Ron.

“Who made you t’e commander?” asked Dieter.

“I’m the one who got the instructions,” said Kim.

“Let it be,” said Hans. “She’s goot at t’iss.”


74.

Kim stepped into the girls’ tent and pulled off her tank top and cargo shorts. The narrator will resist describing the large amount of skin and varied underthings made visible in there during the transition from civilian to military clothes and note instead the concern expressed by some of the girls about what was happening.

“Look,” said Kim. “This camp already has a disciplined routine, so not much is really going to change. It’s like we’re putting on disguises. I suppose it’s probably mostly gonna be the boys who’ll want to train with the guns in case we actually are attacked, but I would be proud if any of you sisters want to help me defend us.”

“I will,” said Maria.

“And so will I,” said Ellen.

Kim buttoned her uniform shirt up just far enough to cover her cups, then put her kimmunicator in her shorts pocket. The grappling hook gun wouldn’t fit, so she clipped it to her belt.

Ellen and Maria both looked at Kim and hesitantly unbuttoned one more button on their own shirts and spread the collars.

“It’s Africa, it’s hot, and you ladies want to look good, don’t you?” Kim said with a smile as she left the tent, carrying her other clothes. “Hurry up, now!”


75.

Ron and most of the boys were already standing in front of the picnic tables.

“You look nice,” Kim told him quietly.

“So do you,” he replied.

“There wasn’t any uniform for me,” said Luther Tully.

“I kinda thought there wouldn’t be,” said Kim. “For one thing, you’re too old for a peacekeeper, pretty much, and for another, General Matombe knows your face and voice. It could spoil the disguise for the rest of us. Someone thought this through pretty thoroughly.”

“Well, I don’t really want a uniform, but I would have worn one if you wanted.”

The girls came out of their tent together, most of them with their collars fixed like Kim’s, and joined the boys.

“First, I’d like Hans to show us how to give the UN peacekeeper salute,” Kim said. He did, and she copied the gesture. “Now is this any different if you’re saluting an officer, or if the officer’s returning the salute?”

“No. T’ey do it t’e same,” said Hans.

“Our cover story is that UN helicopters airlifted the volunteers out of here, and replaced them all with peacekeeping soldiers. Dieter, is that possible and plausible?”

“Of course it’s possible. Really, I don’t t’ink we would use t’iss many soldiers for a place like t’iss.”

“Maybe we should,” said Hans.

“Ya.”

“So, we have six more plasma rifles, one of which is marked as mine, and ten shorter-range hand blasters,” Kim explained. “These weapons can be used to give an opponent a painful shock, or knock them unconscious, or kill them dead, or possibly even vaporize their bodies and leave smoldering craters where they were standing.”

“I t’ink you need a bigger gun to do t’e smoldering crater,” said Dieter.

“Little bit bigger,” Hans agreed, and chuckled.

“My point is, these weapons don’t necessarily have to be lethal,” said Kim.

“Ya. About t’at—”

“Go on, Dieter, please. You and Hans are the experts here.”

“Ya. In t’eory, t’ese could be good nonlet’al weapons. In practice, it’s hard to knock someone out without killing t’em. It’s just like clubbing someone on t’e head. I could clobber Hans and give him a lump on t’e head t’at would just make him mad, or I could smash his skull in and kill him, or I could knock him out like I want. How hard do I hit him to do t’at? You see, it’s hard. It’s t’e same with plasma.”

“Not so easy to set phasers on stun as it is on t’e Space Passage show,” said Hans.

Kim lifted the pieces of her plasma rifle from the plastic box, studied them for a moment, and briskly assembled the weapon, as though she’d done this many times before. “Well, although the power is adjusted by a simple knob, the display window is digital, offering 99 precise power levels, and if you activate the automatic range finder, you can deliver the exact jolt you want to any target, and it will alert you if you can’t blast that hard that far away. For an average sized man, you want 54 to stun him unconscious. 57 will probably kill him.”

“T’ose are really low settings,” said Dieter.

“The automatic range finder boosts the level of the blast to compensate for distance,” Kim explained. “If I want to shoot 54 at that distant tree, I set it to 54, push the range finder button—” Kim did this, aiming her rifle, “—and hey, look, it resets to 76, which is how strong it needs to blast to deliver at 54 way over there.”

“If I wanted to shoot someone t’ere, I’d set about 75 to shock t’em and 85 to kill t’em,” said Hans. “So I guess it works. We were taught t’e fancy stuff is just for snipers.”

“Don’t forget glass,” said Ron.

“Yeah, to give the same blast through a windshield, add 2, and bulletproof glass add 5,” said Kim.

“So who’s t’e experts?” asked Dieter.

“You’ve actually fought with these guns,” said Kim. “I’ve just studied them a lot because my enemies use them. They have weaknesses and limitations. The blast will bounce right off anything really shiny. Strong electromagnetic fields can bend the blast. And most blasters can be neutralized with a silicon phase disrupter.”

“Okay, okay,” said Dieter. “We’ve got goot weapons for fifteen more people. We may have to kill some people wit’ t’em, t’ough maybe we can avoid t’at. Kim t’inks so. So who wants to learn how to shoot t’ese guns? Raise your hands.”


76.

To everybody’s surprise, the first person to raise a hand was Maria, followed quickly by Ron, Bones, Stephen, Mark, Jim, and Ellen.

“Come on, people, we need at least eight more,” said Kim.

“I just— I just don’t feel okay about doing this,” Claudia said, with tears in her eyes. “I came here to help people. I’m not okay with k-k-killing.”

“I understand how you feel and respect that,” Kim said gently, then raised her voice, “I never thought I’d be wearing any military uniform, though if I was ever forced to choose, this would be the one— UN peacekeeper. Need I remind you that at the moment we have no way out of here? We are trapped. The nearest airport is in the hands of General Matombe. We don’t have enough cars and trucks to carry everybody, if there even was any road we could use to get to safety. If I was running the UN, there’d be a Global Justice hoverplane on that meadow right now to fly you all away to safety, but that’s not what’s happening.”

Kim looked around at the faces of the volunteers. A few other girls seemed as scared and upset as Claudia, but most of the boys and many of the girls looked steadfast.

“But I’m guessing that some of you might not want to leave even if that plane was here,” Kim continued. “You believe we’re doing the work that God wants us to be doing. You don’t want His good work to be shut down permanently because of some corrupt, greedy general. You want to do what the UN should be doing, which is defending this site till better times return. Well, guess what?”

Kim tugged on the collar of her uniform shirt.

“Right now we are the UN,” she said firmly. “We have instructions to defend this place, we’ve been given these fine weapons, and I hope there’s at least eight more of you who are willing to learn how to use them.”

Almost all of the rest of the boys raised a hand, as did three more girls.

“That’s good,” said Kim. “That’s more people than weapons, so we’ll share them. One person can use it to stand guard while another sleeps.”


77.

In addition to the uniforms and blasters, the drop contained a state-of-the-art digital video camera with tripod, which Claudia, Ruthanne, and Mr. Tully used to film the supposed UN soldiers eating breakfast, then drilling and doing target practice with Hans and Dieter. The visual impact of this was enhanced when they started using tin cans partially filled with Wade’s explosive jelly for targets, which could be hit by plasma blasts at great distances to spectacular effect. They even filmed Kim, Ron, and a few others doing T’ai Ch’i exercises together on the volleyball court.

“Whoa!” said Wade, while he watched the uploaded video. “This is like those clips of that Central Asian Jihad propaganda film that SNN uses over and over and over. They’re gonna love this!”

“Do we look real?” asked Kim.

“We look like a solid team because we are a solid team,” said Maria. “We’ve been working together here for a long time. We’ve just got new jobs and new clothes, that’s all.”

There was some discussion about whether a widely-spread news story could make their families uncomfortable, or lead to the ruse getting exposed, and whether it might be better to avoid this by conspiring with the news people to just broadcast the story in the Central Congo, or even just in Kitanga.

Wade was totally against sharing the secret with anyone, especially the satellite news network. With so many people from around the world with divergent political opinions working for them, they tended to leak whatever anyone knew rather quickly.

“Okay, I’m sending this to Dr. Director, and her people will leak it. UN peacekeepers guard food distribution camp east of Kitanga. The one problem we might have because of this is Christiana Manowar, who I believe is trying to get to Kitanga to interview General Matombe about his downfall and current plans. It would be interesting to hear that, actually, but she’s stuck at a Central Congo checkpoint on the south road right now. She could show up at your camp.”

“We’ll just shut up and let her interview Hans and Dieter,” suggested Ron.

“I’m the one who should take any interviews,” said Maria. “I’m paid staff, and I don’t want to get too cocky, but I’m already pretty good with this plasma rifle already.”

“We’re all good shots!” said Ron. “These rifles are the gun equivalent to point and shoot cameras. I’ve gotta admit I’m not so good with the hand blasters.”

“I’m feeling a whole lot better about our sitch than I was yesterday at this time,” said Kim.


78.

Mr. Tully seemed to be in a better mood as well. He helped prepare the chili for dinner and said grace with some of his old enthusiasm.

“Lord, bless this food which we are about to eat, and help us bring peace and prosperity to this troubled land, and help us hold in our hearts those who are less fortunate than ourselves, and remind us constantly that we’re here to help them. Amen.”

“Amen.”

At the table, as always, were Kim, Ron, Ellen, Marsha, and Bones, all of whom now shared bits of their meal with Rufus. For the second day, Stephen sat on the other side of Kim and across from Ellen. Maria and Hans were sitting at the next table with Dieter, Ruthanne, and Big Tom.

“So hey, Stephen, how do you like the Rufus table?” asked Marsha. “Here, little buddy,” she said, putting a bean on the table with her spoon.

“Okay,” Rufus squeaked, sniffed the bean, and promptly swallowed it.

“Oh, don’t be so stingy,” said Ellen, offering him a spoonful. She stroked the molerat’s little pink head with a finger while he licked the spoon clean.

“Uh, well, okay,” Stephen said hesitantly, offering Rufus a spoonful of beans.

“Yum,” Rufus said. “Thank ’oo.”

“Sometimes I almost think I can understand what he’s saying,” said Ellen.

“Yeah, well, that’s the problem,” said Ron. “There’s molerats living under the roots of the tree near Bones and Marsha’s tent, but they can’t understand him cause he speaks English and they just speak molerat.”

“Blah blah blah, blah blah blah,” Rufus said, and shrugged.

“He can’t figure them out,” said Ron.

“Ron’s kidding, isn’t he?” Marsha asked Kim.

“Hmm? ’Bout what?” she replied. “There are a few little holes in the ground under the tree and the bush.”

Rufus ran back over to Ron, who was always willing to give him plenty of spoonfuls.


79.

While Kim and Ron were washing their bowls and spoons, Mr. Tully approached them. “I don’t know how I can ever tell you how sorry I am,” he said.

“Oh, it was no big!”

“Well, I think it was a big mistake for me to yell at you like I did yesterday morning. That was a brave thing you did, warning Nanahno and her people like that. And I don’t know how you and Wade talked your angel at Global Justice into shipping us these weapons and uniforms—”

“Forget I mentioned Global Justice, okay? I probably shouldn’t have said that.”

“Somebody did a lot of work, really quickly,” said Mr. Tully. “And every single uniform fits!”

“Aren’t databases wonderful?” said Kim. “Probably the machine that embroidered the patches works like a computer printer.”

“Yes, I guess so.”


80.

After this, Kim and Ron passed their rifles to Ellen and Stephen, and retired to their tent with one of the air mattresses.

“I can’t think of any offensive or defensive use for this, but it could make our bed more comfortable,” said Kim.

They let some of the air out to make it softer, and put it under the two sleeping bags.

“Oh, am I ever gonna owe Betty big for this!” Kim said, sitting down and unbuttoning her shirt.

“You sure?” asked Ron, who just undid one button on his own shirt and pulled it off over his head like a T-shirt.

“Yeah, she just made this sitch her cause because I made it mine. She wouldn’t even know about this except for Wade, who wouldn’t be involved himself if not for me.”

“But it’s the right thing to do.”

“Morally, yes, bureaucratically, not so much. She’s doing all of us a favor, and I’m the one who’s useful to her.”

“What are you afraid she’s gonna want?”

“I just hope she’s not hitting on me,” Kim said, unsnapping and unzipping her uniform shorts.

“She was just joking, like Baby Bear does,” said Ron, removing his own.

“I guess. Wanna unsnap me?”

“Kim, it’s still totally daylight.”

Dot dot da-dot!

“Oh, for—” Kim muttered, and grabbed a black tank top and pulled it on. With a careful eye on where the kimmunicator’s camera lens was aimed, she said, “Hey, uh, ooh, Mom. What a surprise! What’s happening?”

“Did you join the army, the UN army, I mean, cause we watched the morning news and now your father’s all worried you’re not gonna go to college—”

“Ron and I will be starting classes at Northwestern State University at the end of August,” Kim replied. “This is just a mission thing. Don’t talk about it, okay?”

“I need to reassure your dad.”

“And he talks to everybody at the space center. Just tell him about college. The tuition and dorms will be much cheaper than he thought. He should be happy about that.”

Mrs. Dr. Possible sighed. “We were hoping you’d choose one of the more, um, prestigious—”

“Mom, I’m going to college with Ron, and if you’re not okay with that, we really will join the UN peacekeepers!”

“Northwestern State it is, then.”

“Didn’t they send you the paperwork already?” Kim asked.

“Well, maybe, I’m not sure, there’s so many envelopes filled with college admission stuff.”

Now Kim sighed. “If you’re too busy to deal with it—”

“No, I’ll do it.” Mrs. Dr. Possible carried her portable phone to a desk in the hall with a pile of large padded envelopes. She muttered, “Columbia, Berkeley, Cornell, Princeton, ah, here it is, Northwestern State University, Springfield, Oregon. It’s a lot thinner than the others—” she picked up a nail file and sliced it open. “Ah, okay, it’s just a welcome letter and a bill for one year’s tuition and dorm rental. We can certainly afford this. You’re sure this is what you want to do, Kim?”

“I am so sure.”

“So if you’re not really in the UN peacekeepers, what are you doing?”

Dot dot da-dot!

“Sorry, secret mission, can’t talk about it, got another call, bye. Thanks for college.” Kim pressed some buttons, and now Monique’s face appeared on the screen. “I gather you saw me on the morning news, too.”

“Girl, I didn’t mean for you to join the peacekeepers! I thought we were gonna go to college together.”

“We are, we will, don’t worry,” said Kim. “I can’t say any more ’bout what I’m doing here, top secret. Anything else you wanna talk about?”

“Well, okay, Bonnie broke up with that rich Spanish playboy.”

“I am so not surprised.”

“Me either.”

“What happened?” Ron interrupted.

“Bonnie and Junior broke up,” said Kim.

“Yeaaahh—” Ron said, stretching the word through a long exhale. “That’s probably good. We don’t want Bonnie hooking up with the dark side.”

Monique spent the rest of the call talking about how she was majoring in business, applying for a job at the Club Banana near Northwestern State, and how much fun they were going to have being roommates.


81.

Kim turned off the kimmunicator, and put it face down on top of her uniform shirt, counted to ten, and when it didn’t ring again, she looked at Ron, who was holding his satellite phone.

“Oh, do you have a call?” she asked.

“Mm, no, just a moment, let me save and shut down,” he replied.

“Oh, good, you’re just playing a game,” she said, and pulled off her tank top. “Now where were we? Ah, it’s twilight now.” Kim stroked the sides of Ron’s face, slid into his arms, and kissed him slowly. “About that clasp—” she whispered.

Ron undid it, and she smiled while he pulled the straps off her shoulders.

Kim put her arms around him, but almost immediately pulled back, saying, “We’ve got a dilemma.”

“Too hot? We can wait awhile,” said Ron.

“By the time it cools off, it’ll be too dark. There’s no moon, not while we’re still awake anyway, and we stopped lighting the coleman lights, for security, and the flashlight is dead, dead, dead.”

“I don’t need to see you. Sure, you’re beautiful, but we close our eyes to kiss anyway.”

“I mean the rubber thing! We have be sure to get it on you just right.”

“Oh, right,” said Ron. “We can just use the kimmunicator as a flashlight, like we did before.”

“Uh, no,” said Kim. “No way. When I turn it on, Wade gets a signal, and he’ll think I want to talk—” She giggled, and blushed. “I just got this image of him in the middle of a business meeting, and he hears a beep, and suddenly sees a closeup of—”

“The great unrolling?”

Kim laughed harder. “Oh, no, no, no! Why’d you have to say it? Now I really can’t stop laughing.”

“Yeah, yeah, okay, but we’ve also got my phone,” said Ron. “I can load a game on the screen and turn off the phone part. That’ll give us light.”

Kim stopped laughing, looked at Ron, gave him a quick kiss, and pulled back and smiled. “Now what can we talk about till the tent cools off?” she asked, laying down on her back. “All I can think of right now is what I want to do with you! I missed doing it last night, and the night before we had to stop.”

“Yeah, me too,” Ron said, looking down at her and squeezing her hand.

“It’s so wonderful! Why do people make it sound icky and ewww?”

“I don’t know. Well, you don’t wanna know how some of the guys talk.”

“I’ve got some idea,” said Kim. “I’ve read guys’ magazines and stuff.”

“Oh really?”

“Yeah, one night Joss and I— you remember my cousin Joss, right? In fact, I think this happened while you were in Montana with us, two summers ago. Late one night she showed me some of her dad’s magazines.”

“Wasn’t she only thirteen or something then?”

“Yeah, but what? Was I gonna tell on her? I was curious myself.”

“Okay then.”

“The pictures made me feel kind of funny about myself, though, cause all the girls had, you know, big breasts, and the guys even wrote about how they like big breasts— but my mom’s are small, so I knew mine probably wouldn’t get very big—”

“Naw, yours are perfect,” Ron said, and touched them both in the fading twilight.

Kim giggled. “I’ve noticed you like them.”


82.

Dot dot da-dot!

The kimmunicator rang at dawn. Kim already was awake and wearing her aquamarine silk Elizabeth’s Secrets undies. She quickly pulled on her uniform shirt and fastened the buttons.

“Elevation 31.3 degrees, charge 10 kilos,” Wade was saying. “Oh, hi, Kim. You probably want to be part of this. Meet me at the tank.”

“What?!” Kim exclaimed. “Give me just a moment. I’ll be right there! Kim out.” She put the kimmunicator face down, pulled on her uniform shorts, and yelled, “Ron, wake up!”

He jolted to a sitting position and reached for his boxers.

“I think we’re under attack or something! Meet me at the tank.”

Kim pulled on her socks and shoes, and fumbled with the laces, while Ron pulled on his uniform shirt, shorts, and somehow managed to get his socks and shoes on by the time she was unzipping the tent door.

They ran down the trail, and along the outside of the boys’ tent.

“What IS the sitch?” Kim asked Wade, just as he said, “FIRE!”

One of the two propane tank cannons attached to the bulldozer tank boomed loudly, and a screaming, whistling projectile flew through the air.

“What are we shooting at?” Kim asked Hans.

“Enemy target vehicle,” Hans replied. “Look, let’s see how we do.”

Mr. Tully’s laptop showed an aerial view of a truck stopped at the first ditch on the main road. Two men were walking around, looking at the ditch. One of them stomped on the ground off road, apparently wondering if it might be possible to drive off the road around the obstacle, when this question was rendered moot by a homemade shell striking the truck’s front hood and exploding in a fireball.

The two men both dived for the ground, took one look at their truck engulfed in flames, and ran as fast as they could in the opposite direction.

People cheered and applauded, and a few boys shouted “Ooh rah! Bam!” or the like.

“Good shot, Mark!” said Wade. “Right on the money!”

“Wade, are you sure those guys were enemy and not refugees?” Kim demanded. “Not that I want to spoil the party or anything.”

“The truck came from the airport parking lot. A number of other guys spent some time talking to the two who got in the truck before they left. I suppose they could have decided to desert Matombe on their way here, but probably they were doing their job to check out SNN’s story. If we’re really lucky, that one good shot is confirmation enough.”

“When are we ever that lucky?” asked Ron.

“Ya, I t’ink t’iss could be just the beginning,” said Hans.

“I wish I could’ve been a bit more involved in that,” Kim told Wade.

“If it was starting to happen now, you would be,” he replied. “Your shift goes from sunrise to sundown. If any enemy crosses the barriers you made, everyone gets roused.”

“That sounds reasonable,” said Ron. “This sitch is bigger than just the three of us.”

“Okay, I can accept that,” said Kim.

“I t’ink we did pretty goot,” said Hans. “Don’t know how long before somet’ing else comes t’ough.”

“I’m not picking up radio— wait, what’s this? Hmm. Low-grade encryption. Piece of cake.” Wade typed furiously, sending the signal through his many code-cracking applications.



Continued in Chapter 7