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 9 of 10.
Dot dot da-dot!
It was raining hard while Kim and Ron drove the land cruiser to take Christiana and Mudib back to the ditches across the road.
“Answer it, Ron,” said Kim.
Ron pulled the kimmunicator from Kim’s pocket and pressed some buttons. “Ron here. Kim’s right with me, and Christiana and Mudib.”
Wade looked alarmed. “Tell Kim to stop.”
“I heard that,” Kim said, and skidded to a stop.
“I can’t pinpoint your location through the storm. Advise retreat.”
“What’s happening?” Kim asked, taking the kimmunicator from Ron.
“Looks like a massive troop movement on the east road from Kitanga, but I’ll have to wait for a D-phase Centaur to pass overhead before I get more than a hint. The C-phase Gorgon I’m using is just inadequate.”
“Are they turning onto the northeast road?” Kim asked.
“Not sure,” Wade replied. “They may not be there yet. And when they do turn that way, assuming they do, it may not be obvious at first. I can’t actually see the roads, just the truck engines.”
A blurry image appeared onscreen, showing vague dots winking in and out of view.
“I can follow this line of trucks back to Kitanga, which, by the way, seems to be pretty much cut off. The telephone lines are cut, and it seems like satellite phones are getting jammed, too, as if by this storm. Seems like Matombe’s taking some trouble to hide his movement. I recommend that you return to camp with Christiana and her cameraman—”
“Let us out,” Christiana said firmly.
“Are you sure you want to go?” Kim asked. “What if he takes you prisoner? What if he views your interview tapes of us?”
“Matombe’s clearly in escape mode right now,” said Ron. “The last thing he wants to see is a reporter with a satellite phone and a radio. He’s not gonna be real friendly.”
“You know, my lady, Kim and Ron have a point,” said Mudib. “This is a security risk for both these UN people and Dabel Matombe’s people. Best to let him make his move first, get settled in a new bivouac, and then he may again be hospitable to us.”
“Well, Kim, if I give you the interview tapes, there’s no security risk to your camp.” Christiana said, opening her handbag. “Here’s the tapes, and my card, with my London address. Send them from America by Fed Ex, all right?”
“Okay, Christiana, but what are you gonna do?” Kim asked, handing the tapes and card to Ron, who put them in his uniform shirt pockets.
“That— is a secret,” she replied. “Mudib, are you with me?”
Kim opened the door, got out in the rain, and flipped the seat forward to let her out.
“I’m coming, my lady, I’m coming,” Mudib said, sliding across the back seat and getting out Kim’s door.
Kim shook Christiana’s hand and hopped back in the driver’s seat, saying, “Good luck on your mission, whatever it is.”
“And may you have good luck on yours,” Christiana replied. “I’m sure we’ll have the pleasure of meeting again.”
And with that, Christiana started jogging toward trouble, or at least toward her own truck, with Mudib running to catch up with her.
Kim started the engine, carefully made a K-turn, and started driving back toward camp. She couldn’t see Christiana and Mudib in the rearview mirror. “She’s older than my mom,” said Kim. “She’s probably older than yours.”
“Yeah, I’d put her in the young grandma zone— not that I know if she even had kids.” Ron picked up the kimmunicator, which Kim had left on the seat. “Hey Wade, how’s the motorcade going?”
“I’m trying to get some sense of scale, trying to place the flickering dots on a map.” A view of flickering dots superimposed on a map showed some of them hundreds of feet off the road. “Obviously, I’ve still got it wrong, so I don’t know where they are. D-phase Centaur has precise scaling. One should be in usable range in about fifteen minutes, but these are harder to hack than the Gorgons.”
“I thought you already had the code,” said Ron.
“I’ve got the protocol, but each satellite has its own mutating password key,” said Wade. “Meanwhile, this fit looks a bit better.” Now all the flickering dots seemed to be on the road. Except maybe that one, and that other one.
“You’re recording this, aren’t you?” asked Kim. “Can you just add together every spot?”
“Roger that,” said Wade, spinning in his chair to type unix code on a different keyboard. Now every light that winked on stayed there, gradually building up a dotted line, which Wade was soon able to match to the map nearly exactly. Some dots seemed to be as far as twenty feet off the road, but this was the Central Congo. How accurate was the map likely to be?
“Kim, the sparkling line’s almost reached the turnoff point,” Ron said. “Uh-oh, looks like this one’s passing it— no, I guess I’m wrong, there’s several sparkles on the side road now.”
“Show it to me,” said Kim. “Oh em gee, that was scary. That one could just be Christiana’s land cruiser. I hope she doesn’t get in trouble.”
“No,” said Wade. “That’s some guide vehicle blocking the main road and steering everybody the right way. If I go back to real time, you can see that spot getting dim. The motor’s shut off and it’s cooling off. You’re looking at a closeup of a few miles around the intersection. You’re way over here, almost at the camp. You can see where I marked the ditches, and the truck we targeted. Christiana’s should be almost the same place. We won’t start seeing a trace from her truck till the motor warms up.” Wade moved the center of the view back to the junction.
“I see the camp now,” said Kim, driving past the bulldozer tank and the stripped grader to the main gate, where Hans and Maria were standing guard. “See that?” Kim asked, showing them the kimmunicator screen. “That dotted line is a convoy of vehicles turning onto the northeast road.”
“Then we’re gonna be all right,” said Maria.
As far as Wade could tell, it looked like Christiana’s truck stopped some distance from the junction, cooled off, then moved on to Kitanga. He guessed that she had stopped to film the convoy, perhaps with permission, perhaps without. Such a clip was aired on SNN about 24 hours later, by which time Matombe’s troops had reached the eastern provinces.
Christiana also talked live about conditions in Kitanga, and showed interviews with a number of citizens about the behavior of the soldiers. The worse problem now was that Kitanga’s people mostly belonged to the western ethnic group, who noticed that the soldiers gave the eastern ethnic group people better treatment. The officials and police now had to protect the minority people, even though most of whom had no sympathy for either General Matombe or the rebellion. These social problems delayed restoring phone service and reopening the airport.
Luther Tully and Maria Inez flooded the UN aid office in the capitol city with forms and requests filed online, and made frequent calls with Ron’s satellite phone, Stephen’s satellite phone, even Hans and Dieter’s radios— as if the airport was usable, the road unblocked, and the villagers lined up and begging outside the fence.
So the tank was disassembled quickly, and the bulldozer bucket and grader body restored, by people the people who were most skilled at this taking turns welding around the clock. This wasn’t managed quite as quickly as the original build, but by evening of the third day after the convoy left on the northeast road, the east road was reopened to Kitanga, and the morning after this, the east road east of the camp and all the side roads were restored more or less to their original condition.
Now that the threat had passed, the coleman lanterns were again lit in the evening, and Dieter provided the soundtrack for about two hours of party every night, well, for those who had the energy to dance. Hans and Maria were noticeably absent from these nightly celebrations. Filing more forms from the laptop in Mr. Tully’s trailer? No, actually they were now enjoying a nightly tryst in Hans and Dieter’s tent.
Dieter, meanwhile, had at least an occasional dance partner, usually Ruthanne, Celia, or Judy. Ruthanne enjoyed his sophisticated European ways, as long as he didn’t actually try to do anything sophisticated with her. Celia liked his dance moves, but wasn’t much interested in talking with him. Judy was plain, quiet, and shy, a girl without many close friends in a place where everybody else seemed to be close friends.
Kim honestly hadn’t noticed Judy much until the night Dieter danced with her more than once, then quickly became nearly as concerned with protecting Judy from Dieter as she earlier had been about protecting Maria from Hans.
“What’s up with that?” Ron asked her. “You’re not worried about protecting Ellen from Stephen, and she’s only 16!”
“I didn’t know that,” Kim replied. “Guess that explains her reaction to Christiana with the blaster and the crying. Makes me that much more impressed by her choosing to train to use that gun. But, you know, Stephen’s such a church boy that I’m still not worried. A lot of these new couples are just holding hands and hugging. They’re not rushing into things.”
“Judy and Dieter aren’t even holding hands much, that I’ve noticed.”
“You talked me into giving Hans and Maria benefit of the doubt— the love at first sight, time together could be limited, all that. Judy’s just the girl Dieter noticed after all the others said no.”
As for Kim and Ron themselves, for those readers who may be concerned about their diminishing supply of birth control goods, the narrator will note that this happened to be that time of the month for Kim, and neither protagonist wanted to risk making, literally, a bloody mess on the bedding they had no easy way to launder. Just to make sure, Kim wore her bottoms and a fresh pair of cargo shorts while they were sleeping. As for Ron, well, we’ll quote a little bit of dialog from one of those nights.
“You don’t have a monthly thing, so you don’t need those.”
“Uh, are you sure about this, KP?”
“Lots of people do this,” she replied. “I’m curious.” After satisfying her curiosity for awhile, she giggled, saying, “This reminds me of being a little kid, and licking on one of those round candy things on a stick. Does it feel nice?”
The breakfast car hood clanged. Ron woke to a rear view of Kim apparently cleaning herself with baby wipes or something similar. He closed his eyes again, thinking she wouldn’t want him to see this. But she heard or felt him move, or something, and said, “I’m gonna wear a pad today, just in case, but I think it’s over.” She pulled up her blue Elizabeth’s Secrets unders, turned around, and kissed him. “Do I seem more like my usual cheery self?”
“Uh, you haven’t seemed grumpy at all—”
“I wonder why not?” Kim said, playfully ruffling Ron’s hair. “I think it’s because of you.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty happy myself,” he replied with a smile.
“Don’t just lie there, silly,” she said, fastening her blue clasp, sliding it around, and pulling the blue ribbons over her shoulders. “Breakfast won’t wait forever!”
“I’m just glad I’m not Ruthanne or Celia. They really have to get up early!” Ron put on boxers, cargo shorts, and a black T-shirt. “Hey, I’m not the first to be out of uniform,” he said. “These things need a wash.”
“I agree. I was changing every day before we got them, and now it’s been— what— a whole week?” Kim pulled on cargo shorts and a black tank top.
They pulled on their socks and shoes and crawled out the door. Rufus popped his head out of the pocket of Ron’s UN shorts, looked around, scowled and muttered, then saw the zipper move as Ron was closing the tent door, scrambled up the nylon, and jumped onto Ron’s shoulder.
“We almost forgot somebody,” Kim said with a giggle.
Rufus perched on Ron’s shoulder, chittering complaints.
“It’s okay, buddy. I would’ve missed you and come back,” Ron assured him.
Kim and Ron were standing in the breakfast line when they noticed a child peeking from behind a tree across the road. Kim smiled and waved, and in moments both Nanahno and Iko ran across the road to the fence, the little girl crying, “Kim! Kim!”
Maria got up at once from the table where she was eating breakfast with Hans, Dieter, and Judy, and joined Kim and Ron at the fence. Kim was touching Nanahno’s fingers through the wire netting.
“I’m so glad you’re okay,” Maria said. “You are okay, right?”
“We’re hungry, Maria,” said Nanahno.
“What is happening? When are the trucks coming back?” asked Iko.
“I’ve been telling them to come back every day,” said Maria. “They told me there’s an airplane coming to Kitanga today with aid boxes, but probably all of that will go to the people of Kitanga. The general and his soldiers looted all the stores to feed themselves. There’s a lot of people there to feed.”
“They’re not starving, not like us,” Iko said bitterly.
“How many others came with you?” Kim asked.
“No others,” said Iko. “They sent me to find the news, and Nanahno won’t stay home with our mother.”
“Then why don’t you share breakfast with us?” asked Maria.
“Thank you, thank you,” Nanahno said eagerly.
“I thank you also,” Iko said.
Ellen and Stephen were standing guard at the gate.
“So you’re out of uniform?” Ellen asked Kim.
“The crisis is over and I’ve gotta wash it sometime, but there’s bigger news. Turn around.”
“Oh, my goodness!” Ellen said, seeing the two children. “Our translators are back.”
“Did you become a UN soldier?” Nanahno asked.
Ellen hesitated. “Well, Kim, Maria, what should I say?” she asked.
“They didn’t have enough real UN soldiers available to protect this place, so they gave us some clothes and guns and told us to do our best,” said Kim.
“I think we did them proud,” said Ellen. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m still on duty.”
“Then open the gate, noble guard,” Maria said playfully. “Your assistant director so commands.”
“Yes, my lady,” Ellen said with a giggle, and did so.
Nanahno and Iko rushed in, both immediately embracing Kim.
“I’m so glad you’re still here,” Nanahno said. “You’re going back to America soon.”
“About ten more days,” said Kim.
“I hope things don’t go back to how they used to be,” Iko said, looking with suspicion at Maria.
“No, Iko, Kim’s reforms at this camp are permanent,” Maria said. “When Kim leaves, I’ll still be here. I want you and Nanahno and Rutoba and Humba to translate for us.”
“Maria’s nice now,” said Nanahno, opening her arms and hugging her.
“How was I not nice?” Maria asked, with tears in her eyes. “I spent years of my life here, working hard to try to make life better for you and your people. How was I not nice?”
“Well, you’re more nice,” Nanahno said.
“We came here for two years and saw you, but you didn’t see us,” said Iko.
“I didn’t know you could speak English,” said Maria. “You heard us speak English. Why didn’t you ever talk to us?”
“Soldiers,” said Iko. “Soldiers told us don’t speak English. Soldiers told us don’t ask for special treatment.”
Kim and Ron got in line with Nanahno and Iko.
“I guess Maria said this is okay?” Ruthanne asked.
Maria, who was sitting with Hans at the front table, said, “It’s fine!”
Ruthanne filled their bowls with oatmeal, and they sat at the table with Maria and Hans.
“Where’s Mr. Tully?” Kim asked.
“He’s on his way to Kitanga, to meet the first plane, to try to get some aid sent our way,” said Maria.
“Are you watching your bowl, Ron?”
“Okay Rufus, I think you’ve had enough,” Ron said, separating his molerat from a partially eaten bowl of oatmeal. “I don’t want you getting sick again.”
“Is that a naked molerat?” asked Nanahno. “Nicole told us molerats live here but I’ve never seen one.”
“This is Rufus,” said Ron. “You may have seen him perched on my shoulder or peeking out of my pocket.”
“Hello,” Rufus squeaked.
“Are molerats any good to eat?” asked Iko.
“Yike!” Rufus exclaimed, and dove into Ron’s cargo shorts pocket.
“Oh, now you did it!” said Ron. “It’s okay, buddy, I’m not gonna let anybody eat you. I don’t know if molerats are good to eat, but it’s like eating a cat or a dog. There’s some things you just don’t do.”
“Ron, it’s kinda different for these folks,” said Kim. “I think a roast cat would look pretty good to them right now.”
“Oh, yeah, right, sorry.”
Nanahno ate another spoonful of oatmeal. “This is like one kind of food you give us,” she said, “but it’s more sweet.”
“It is the same kind of food,” said Maria. “Most of the time, we have to make our own meals from the same stuff we give to you. This is called oatmeal. Ruthanne just added some sugar when she cooked it, that’s all.”
“I didn’t know that,” said Iko. “I thought you ate good food like Americans eat.”
“This is American food,” said Maria. “Maybe it’s not the best there is, but it’s good stuff. It’s all in how you cook it.”
“Can you teach me how?” asked Nanahno.
“Okay, we could do that. We cook breakfast before dawn, and dinner in the afternoon, so if you could be here at one of these times, I’ll talk to Ruthanne about this, and you can learn what we do.”
“That’s great,” said the little girl.
Dot dot da-dot!
Kim wiped her hands dry on her shorts and pulled the kimmunicator from her pocket. She was at the laundry tubs, and Nanahno was helping her and Ron wash clothes.
“Hey, Kim,” said Mr. Tully. “I’m hoping I can talk to Maria this way.”
“I guess,” said Kim. “Hey, guess who came to visit? Nanahno, you want to say hi to Mr. Tully? I think he’s in Kitanga.”
“Can he see me?” Nanahno asked, looking at his face on the little screen.
“I surely can, Miss Nanahno, and I can hear you, too,” he said politely.
“Kim and Maria gave me and my big brother breakfast, so I’m helping her wash the clothes,” Nanahno said. “Do you know if the trucks will come back soon? I’m okay now, but my mother’s hungry, and she’s sick again, cause we ran out of medicine.”
“I was gonna talk to Maria about that. There may be a truck or two late this afternoon if I have my way, but by tomorrow for sure, so you go tell your people to watch out for them. I’m overseeing the distribution here, and it’s going pretty well.”
“That’s great news,” said Kim. “Ron, can you and Nanahno take it from here till I find Maria?”
It didn’t take too many askings of, “Have you seen Maria?” for Kim to locate her. As usual, she was with Hans, this time sitting at a picnic table with Ruthanne and Celia, discussing the possibility of Nanahno and the other English-speaking girls getting a few cooking lessons.
“These people have no real cultural reference about how to cook some of this stuff,” Maria was saying. “The pictograms will guide you to a basic meal, but just something as simple as adding a bit of sugar or honey to the oatmeal never occurred to them.”
“Much less Ron’s special chili seasoning,” Kim added. “Sure, we’re not giving them spices, but I’ll bet anything they know which jungle herbs to use for seasoning, if we tell them what kind of seasoning makes the food we give them taste better.”
“That sounds reasonable,” said Ruthanne. “What about the fear they have of soldiers beating them if we give them special treatment? Do we need to worry about this now?”
“I don’t think so,” said Mr. Tully’s voice from the kimmunicator.
“Oh, right, Mr. Tully wants to talk to you,” Kim told Maria, handing her the kimmunicator.
“I think I can send two trucks our way today, but if not, tomorrow for sure,” said Mr. Tully.
“That’s good. We’re starting to run low on supplies ourselves,” said Maria.
“I know that,” said Mr. Tully.
“Yeah, we’re just a day or two from cutting rations,” Ruthanne said.
“I’ll bring a couple of boxes back myself before I let that happen,” said Mr. Tully. “That’s partly why I’m here. Okay, well, I gotta get back to work. I just wanted you to know.”
Everyone at camp was eating dinner— except Mr. Tully, who was still in Kitanga. Nanahno not only helped Ron and Ruthanne make the chili beans, but contributed a wild spice which was actually growing under the trees by the volleyball court.
Iko appeared outside the fence. “The trucks are coming,” he said. “Everyone will be here soon.”
Maria stood up. “Mark, Mark, Stephen, Hans, Dieter, Kim, Ron, Ruthanne, and anyone else who can help!” she called. “Eat as fast as you can and come to the gate!”
Everyone cheered, blew air on their bowls, and many burned their gums wolfing down what they had planned to savor.
Three trucks arrived, well-stocked with goods, and already a crowd of villagers was gathering, many of them smiling and cheering. Iko stood at the gate, apparently reminding the crowd of proper procedure and protocol, for they began arranging themselves in a line.
“Let’s not make them wait,” Maria told Mark, Mark, and Stephen. “Just count the boxes, okay? Ruthanne, what do we need for the camp, minimum?”
“See if you can find it in the first truck. Try not to open more than two or three boxes, okay? Dieter, help her carry.”
“Kim, can you get a rough count of the villagers?” Maria asked.
Kim shot her grappling hook gun into a big tree, swung up to a large branch, and started counting.
“I guess everyone here wants a food package,” Maria said to Iko.
“Have you got this many?” he asked.
“I really, really, really hope so,” Maria said. “We have more than Mr. Tully thought he could send.”
“There’s about 430 people,” Kim called down from her perch.
Mark, Mark, and Stephen counted 154, 162, and 144 boxes in each truck, respectively. It was hard to tell how many of these boxes might be filled with baby food or medical or birth control kits— these were supposed to be stacked on top, but it didn’t always work out that way. Probably there would be about thirty boxes of baby food, and ten of the other stuff.
“Ask who’s here to carry a baby food box,” Maria told Nanahno.
Nanahno did this, and Kim counted 23 hands.
“Tell them to stand over there.”
They started handing out boxes of food, but most of the people who took them didn’t leave.
“They want purple boxes,” Nanahno announced after inquiring.
Stephen found a box of medical supply kits, and two boxes of birth control kits, which he opened. The purple boxes were much more popular than usual.
There was a bit of discussion, back and forth, between the last people to take food and baby food boxes, but it seemed like everyone was satisfied, if only just barely. Most of the villagers left with their boxes while there was still some daylight left.
When dusk fell, and all the villagers were gone, there was nothing at all left but about half a box worth of medical kits, and only one little purple box, which Maria proposed to divide between herself, Kim, and Marsha.
Then Judy appeared. “Don’t judge me,” she said defensively.
Maria smiled, “Calm down, Judy, there’ll be more coming soon. We can split this kit.”
“I’ve got four left,” said Kim. “I guess I can wait.”
“Oops,” said Maria. “I think I have six.”
“I’m totally out,” said Marsha.
“I’m not absolutely sure I need any,” Judy said, “but—”
“You’d better be ready,” said Maria.
“If Kim takes two, and Judy and I each take five, then we’ll all have five or six,” Marsha suggested. “That’s fair, isn’t it? Then there’ll almost certainly be more before any of us run out.”
“I’m fine with that,” said Maria, tearing the strip of packages apart at the perforations, and giving each girl what Marsha suggested.
They heard the sound of Dieter’s MP3 boombox playing some sort of techno.
“Whoops! I’ve got a date!” Maria said, and jumped off the back of the truck.
“I’m gonna check out the party,” said Marsha.
Judy unbuttoned the bottom of her UN shirt and tied it up, baring her waist. “You don’t think this is too much, do you?” she asked Kim. “I’m not quite as thin as you.”
“You look fine.”
“Then what’s wrong? You don’t approve, do you? Fine, I don’t care!”
Kim sighed. “Then why ask? Do you want me to tell you what I think or not?”
Judy sat down on the tailgate of the truck. “Sure. Lay it on me.”
Kim sat beside her. “I’m just worried that maybe Dieter doesn’t really care much about you. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Do you think he’s evil? I don’t think he’s evil. I know I’m his last choice here. I know, he’s probably not gonna care that much about me unless I make him care about me. Can I do this? Hey, it’s my challenge. What’s your secret? How’d you make Freckles so devoted?”
“Ron just really, really loves me,” said Kim.
“But how’d he get that way?” asked Judy.
“As near as we can figure out, we were best friends at first sight, fourteen years ago, and we’ve always been together. I always loved him, even when I was trying to pretend not to love him.”
“You’re so lucky. Well, I’d better go dance with Dieter. Wish me luck.”
Kim squinted away a tear she didn’t understand and forced a smile. “Okay,” she said, and somehow her smile became real.
“Thanks.” Judy said, and hopped off the truck.
And now it was time to ask, “Have you seen Ron?” over and over. The music was loud, and even with the coleman lanterns, most of the area where people were dancing was pretty dark. Dieter and Judy were already dancing wildly, spinning around each other. Ellen and Stephen were doing some mutant version of “the robot,” and some of the other couples and dance partners got into this.
Ah, there was Ron, dancing near Ruthanne and Celia. Bon diggity dansah? He was certainly into it, anyway, and this weird music was inspiring some weird moves. Kim got up, and danced her way over to him. He put his hands on her bare shoulders and looked into her eyes, she wrapped her arms around his arms, and they both leaned and twisted this way and that, and started doing something somewhere between a rock dance and a lively ballroom dance while the recording of drum machines and synthesizers pulsed on, and on, and on.
Finally Kim took Ron’s hand and danced him to the edge of the dancers, then walked with him around the far side of the boys’ tent, and up the trail to the clearing with their own tent.