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Mind Out Of Time

Part 2
Dress Rehearsal


Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Rufus, Wade Load, and Felix Renton are characters from the Kim Possible show, created by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, owned and copyright by the Walt Disney Company. The story takes place in May of Kim and Ron’s sophomore year of college, three years after “So the Drama,” and not long after “Mind Out Of Time, Part 1: Doing Time.” A shorter version of this part of the story won second prize in Taechunsa’s March 2006 short story contest at Ron Stoppable’s Really Neat Page. This story 2006 by cloudmonet. This is part two of a three part story.



“Ron, we’re running out of gas,” said Kim.

“But it was full when we left—”

The motor made chugging noises. The tricked-out black Toyota hybrid quickly lost speed, falling below a hundred miles an hour. The distant cloud of dust in the rearview looked a bit closer. “It’s not just the gauge, Ron. I’ll switch to electric.”

With a whine and a whistle the electric motor took over.

“They’re gaining,” said Ron.

Rufus, his pet naked molerat, climbed up the backseat to look out the rear window, panicked, and ran back to the front and dived into Ron’s pocket.

“I can’t make it go faster than seventy five,” Kim complained. “I mean fifty. Whoa! The battery’s nearly dead.”

“They sabotaged our car,” said Ron.

“There’s no cover!” said Kim. For several miles on each side of the road, there was nothing but flat, barren ground.

Dot dot dadot! beeped the kimmunicator.

An explosive fireball engulfed the little car, and consciousness flamed into blackness.



“I hate it when we die,” said Ron’s voice in the dark.

“It’s okay, baby, we’re not dead,” Kim replied with a soothing, confident tone. “We can change this.”

“How old were we when this happened?”

“What am I wearing?”

“Regular mission clothes, black turtleneck croptop—”



“Look at me carefully,” said Kim, driving the tricked-out black Toyota hybrid at a marginally insane speed down a two-lane desert road.

“I think we’re getting away from them,” said Ron.

Rufus climbed up the backseat to look out the rear window, shook his head, and scampered back to the front and sat on Ron’s left shoulder.

“Does my tummy have stretch marks? Do my eyes have wrinkles? Can you guess how old I am?”

“We just remembered this mission on the telepathy machine, like, last week!” said Ron, his voice rising toward panic. “We’re gonna die. I can’t remember how we fixed it. Do you?”

Rufus seemed puzzled about why Ron was so upset.

“We run out of gas, the battery goes dead, the kimmunicator beeps, and the car explodes,” said Kim.

“There’s a bomb in the car,” said Ron.

“Probably a time bomb,” Kim said, and stomped on the brakes, laying a long patch of rubber on the road before grinding to a halt. The distant cloud of dust in the rearview mirror was gaining fast.

Ron stuffed Rufus in his pocket. “Stay there, buddy.”

“Run to the rocks,” said Kim.

They got out, leaped a barbed-wire fence, and scrambled toward the rocks. On impulse, Kim tackled Ron and they went down behind some sagebrush.

The car exploded in a fireball.

“We’d better keep moving,” Kim whispered. “They may have seen us get out.”

Kim and Ron ran at a crouch toward the outcrop, which was bigger and farther from the road than it looked.

Dot dot dadot! beeped the kimmunicator in Kim’s pocket.

This time they heard a whoosh of wind, and saw a five foot long finned missile land a few feet away before the deadly explosion shredded their bodies with scraps of metal.



Kim and Ron floated in the darkness.

“That was horrible,” said Ron.

“It doesn’t have to happen,” said Kim. “Stay focused, baby. We’ll find a way. They’re using the kimmunicator signal to pinpoint us somehow.”

“Okay, run down what we know.”

“We’re in the desert, running away from someone. Which desert? Who? Do you remember?”

“I’m kind of remembering being in a glitzy hotel,” said Ron.



“Ah, señor, y bella señora, welcome to the Hotel Tropica,” said the smiling portly man behind the front counter in the spacious lobby. “I am Miguel Gomez. You are American, yes? Do you have reservations?”

“Ron and Kim Stoppable, Wednesday through Saturday night,” said Ron.

“Regretfully I must ask to see your identification, you know, with the world the way it has become—”

“No problem,” said Ron, getting out his driver’s license.



“That was our honeymoon, remember? Similar sitch, though. The drug lord’s guys shot up our room, tried to gun us down on the camino, and even the cop tried to shoot us.”

“We’re married?”

“Sweetheart, are you drifting again?” Kim asked, her voice gradually becoming more like a little girl’s voice. “Try to focus, cause you’re my best friend in the whole world and I wanna be your friend forever, ’kay?”

Kim and Ron were about six, walking down Pepperidge Street hand in hand, taking turns licking a single vanilla ice cream cone.

“You always come here when you get really scared,” said Kim. “But I know how to bring you back. You can finish the ice cream.”

“What are you gonna do?” Ron asked, biting the bottom of the cone.

“I’m gonna hug you,” said Kim, putting her arms around the boy and feeling him get bigger and stronger as her breasts swelled and her hips widened, “and kiss you,” she whispered, brushing her lips across his cheek to his mouth and gently licking his lips. She wiggled her hips against his developing interest. “I’ll be glad to do that too,” she said, “after we figure out how to survive that assassination you’re remembering next week.”

“Don’t you remember it, too?”

“Come on over, let’s look.”



“Where are we?” asked Ron.

“Heading toward the border,” said Kim. “Listen to me. Ali Abdullah’s guys messed with the car, which wasn’t as anonymous as I’d hoped. We’re losing gasoline, and I think the wires that charge the battery for the electric motor got detached.”

“Shouldn’t we pull over and try to fix this?” asked Ron.

“They’re gonna be on our tail. They’ve got short range missiles keyed to the kimmunicator, and maybe a bomb in the car as well.”

“Why didn’t we do something about this back in town?”

“Petajar’s got Central Asian Jihad guys all over. There’s nowhere to hide.”

“Better speed up, KS, I think I see them coming.”

Rufus climbed up the backseat to look out the rear window, then scampered back to the front and sat on Ron’s left shoulder. “Uh huh,” he seemed to say.

“It’s already too late to call for backup.” Kim said, handing Ron the kimmunicator. “I can’t do this and drive at the same time.”

She told him which buttons to press. The kimmunicator sprouted two propellers. Rufus seemed startled and excited by the transformation.

“Roll down the window and throw it,” said Kim.

Ron did so, and the kimmunicator buzzed away.

“There’s the rocks,” Kim said, and stomped on the brakes, laying a long patch of rubber on the road before grinding to a halt. The distant cloud of dust in the rearview mirror was gaining fast.

Ron stuffed Rufus in his pocket. “Stay there, buddy.”

“Run to the rocks,” said Kim.

They got out, leaped a barbed-wire fence, and scrambled toward the rocks. On impulse, Kim tackled Ron and they went down behind some sagebrush.

The car exploded in a fireball.

“We’d better keep moving,” Kim whispered. “They may have seen us get out.”

Kim and Ron ran at a crouch toward the rock outcrop, which was bigger and farther from the road than it looked.

The kimmunicator buzzed toward them, and beeped, Dot dot dadot! With a whoosh of wind, a five foot long finned missile landed a few feet away and exploded, shredding their bodies with scraps of metal.



Silence in the darkness.

“I’m sorry, babe,” said Kim’s voice. “I really thought I had it solved. Wade must’ve taken control of the kimmunicator and steered it to us.”

“You know, the pain of being shredded by shrapnel doesn’t last that long, but it’s intense. How many times have we tried to change this?”

“I’ll just take the battery out of the kimmunicator,” said Kim.

“How about avoiding the whole sitch?” asked Ron. “What are we doing at that hotel, anyway?”

“We’re looking for Ali Abdullah, who’s been spotted by one of Wade’s sources.”

“And he’s—?”

“Central Asian Jihad operative, pilot of the death plane, shot down and imprisoned by General Chao. He’s either already escaped from Jao Dung Prison but we haven’t heard about it yet, or he will escape soon.”

“Okay, so we end the telepathy session, call General Chao to find out the score, and maybe the escape won’t even happen.”

“No good, Ron. I think that’s how we got into this. That’s right. Ali Abdullah has already escaped.”

“Oh, tricky,” said Ron. “How about if we wore disguises?”

“I am not wearing one of those blue burqas!”

“KS, it’s a fashion with possibilities. Think of the weapons you could be packing.”

Kim gasped. “Ron, I think that’s what we did.” Her voice sounded weak and disturbed. “Ron, I blew him away.”

“You killed him?”

“With a small caliber handgun supplied by our CIA contact. Jingles was his code name. He really got me into wanting to kill Ali Abdullah. After all, this man tried to blow up a quarter of the United States with the Chixulub bomb. Yeah, it was plotted by Zafir the Scorpion or Strong Horse himself, but Abdullah’s the man who almost pulled it off despite all the trouble we gave him.”



Kim followed Ron into a hotel in central Petajar, a northern city where many people had Central Asian Jihad connections. Ron’s face had a week’s worth of stubble dyed black with Grecian Formula, his blond hair was covered by his black turban, and his skin was darkened. Rufus was hidden in his pocket. Kim wore a headscarf under her turquoise blue burqa.

I’m not nervous, Kim thought to herself. I can do this. He deserves to die.

The man in front of Ron wore a black suit with his black turban, and carried an automatic rifle.

“Ali Abdullah, it is good to see you again, my friend,” said another man with a black beard and black turban. How they recognized each other through all that facial fuzz was a mystery to Ron.

“Forget that name, friend Nasar. I have come here to disappear.”

“And how many men named Ali Abdullah live in this town?” asked the man. “Many, many. The Chinese never come here.”

“The Americans have a price on my head.”

“Hm, hmm. There were some journalists here awhile ago. Kidnapped and beheaded, I believe. Pakistani police have so many questions, but I don’t know anything. Did any Americans come here to ask questions? No, they did not. No worries, my friend, no worries.”

With her right arm hidden behind Ron, Kim reached through the burqa into her pocket, pulled out the tiny handgun, and shot a bullet into the back of Ali Abdullah’s head. Ron grabbed Abdullah’s automatic rifle and they fled the room quickly. Rufus squirmed nervously in his pocket.

“Don’t use our car,” said Ron. “It’s been sabotaged. Get out your skeleton key and just steal a car.”

“Uh, okay,” said Kim, sticking her cybertronic skeleton key into the door of a new-looking gray car. After a nervous moment while the key adapted to the lock, she got in, started the engine, opened the other door for Ron, and pulled off her burqa.

“How’s the fuel?” he asked.

“Three quarters full,” she said, trying to maneuver the maze of side streets without hitting any children, chickens, or goats. Finally they were on the highway, nominally paved, but the tires kicked up a cloud of dust. After awhile, another cloud of dust appeared in the distance behind them.

Rufus climbed out of Ron’s pocket, ran up the backseat to look out the rear window to see what was happening, then scampered back to the front and sat on Ron’s left shoulder.

Ron pulled the kimmunicator from Kim’s pocket and took out the batteries. “When it beeps, a missile comes and hits us,” he explained.

“Forty miles to the border, and we’re home free,” said Kim. “Good idea you had, stealing a car. I don’t get it though. If they knew who we are and sabotaged our car, why didn’t they do something to us in the hotel?”

“Okay, I’m going conspiracy theory now, but maybe they wanted Ali Abdullah killed, and wanted us killed too.”

“Why would they want Abdullah dead?”

“I don’t know. Maybe they think he betrayed them while he was in jail in China. Maybe he’s an unworthy loser because he failed. Maybe they used him to lure us here so they can get revenge.”

“You’re starting to make sense,” Kim said, gradually flooring the accelerator. “This thing isn’t as fast as they are. They’re gaining.”

“Uh-oh, I just saw a flash of light.”

Kim swerved to the other side of the road. A five foot long missile flew past them and exploded about a quarter mile ahead. Rufus panicked and dived into Ron’s pocket. In a few seconds, they ran over the shrapnel and their tires started going flat.

“We’re doomed,” said Ron.

He was right. There was another flash of light. This time when Kim swerved, she lost control of the car, which left the road and tumbled sideways a couple of times before coming to rest on its crushed roof.

“I think I’m all right,” said Ron. “Good thing I thought to snag this,” he added, grabbing Abdullah’s automatic rifle. “KS, you all right?”

Rufus screamed. Ron managed to turn his head to look at Kim’s side of the car. Her neck was broken, her eyes open, blood running down one side of her pretty face.

Then the car exploded in a fireball.



Again, silence and darkness.

“KS, you there?”

“I’m thinking.”

“The only thing worse than getting killed is seeing you die first.”

“I want to get us both through this mission alive. You’re right. It’s gotta be some kind of trap. How do they know we’re bad news? Somebody must see us talking to that CIA guy.”

“Or maybe the CIA guy is a double agent. Remember Chinatown Charlie?”

“So we’ll leave him completely out of the mission. Let’s see if we can put a marker— one of Wade’s microchips, on Ali Abdullah, so Baby Bear can track him. I’ve got a blowgun instead of a real gun, and whoot! The microdart goes into his neck. He thinks he’s been bitten by a mosquito. We walk away, muttering that the hotel’s too expensive, drive back across the border, no problems.”

“If the trap’s not happening, will Abdullah even be there?”

“If he doesn’t know about the plot, why not? Let’s find out.”



Kim followed Ron into the hotel. His face had a week’s worth of stubble dyed black with Grecian Formula, his blond hair was covered by his black turban, and his skin was darkened. Rufus was hidden in his pocket. Kim wore a dark headscarf under her turquoise blue burqa.

I’m not nervous, Kim thought to herself. I can do this.

The man in front of Ron wore a black suit with his black turban, and carried an automatic rifle.

“Old friend, it is good to see you again,” said another man with a black beard and black turban.

“I must disappear for awhile.”

“I know, my friend. You are always welcome here.”

“I thank you for that.”

With her right arm hidden behind Ron, Kim reached through the burqa into her pocket, pulled out the tiny blowgun, and the microdart hit the back of Ali Abdullah’s right ear, injecting the microchip.

It took him a moment to react, to swat at his ear. He saw a little bit of blood on his finger.

“Too expensive,” Ron muttered. “Let’s go.”

They walked out of the hotel to their white Hyundai. “I’m driving,” whispered Ron, unlocking the passenger door for Kim.

He started the car and rolled down the main street toward the edge of town, slowing down for children and chickens. Rufus started to get out of Ron’s pocket but Ron pushed him back in. “Stay there, buddy— and you keep the burqa on, woman. Stay in character. This town is a total vipers’ nest.”

“I think it’s working this way,” Kim said. “No name dropping, probably no trap.”

Ron drove past the sagebrush and rock outcrops, the barren ground with no cover, and climbed toward the mountain pass. They reached the border without incident.



The lights came on and Dr. Avrum Hurlbetter, a psychology professor at Northwestern State University, walked into the room where Kim sat on a reclining chair with the telepathy helmet on her head. She pulled her kimmunicator out of her pocket, pressed a few buttons, and began typing on the screen keyboard.

“What are you doing?” asked Dr. Hurlbetter.

“Shush. I’ll talk to you in a moment. This is life and death, and classified. Let me note what’s important before I forget.”

“But—”

Kim gave him the Kim glare. There was no arguing with the Kim glare.

When she finally stopped typing, he asked, “Can you tell me anything about your experience?”

“Memories of our future again, a mission that hasn’t happened yet,” Kim replied. “We got killed. We kept changing things till we found a way to do it without getting killed. At least, I think so. We made it to the border with nobody following us.”

“So the future you remember can be changed?”

“Obviously, if we can remember both growing old together and dying on a mission next week. Something’s changed to make this a real concern. An enemy just pulled off an improbable escape from prison, and that sets up real trouble for me.”

Ron popped into the room, with Rufus on his shoulder and Belinda Brockmeyer behind him.

“They need to debrief this mission first,” Belinda said. “I’m afraid this session won’t be much use for your research.”

“Yeah, Kim and I gotta talk in private, make sure we remember every detail. You got a great machine here.”

“On the contrary, Belinda,” Dr Hurlbetter said as they walked out of the room. “This is Nobel Prize stuff, if there’s any way to reproduce the results with other subjects, and if—” “If the government doesn’t slap a Z-12 on this machine,” Kim muttered after the professor and Belinda were out of hearing range. “I hope we are the only people who can use it this way.”

“Let’s run down the plan,” said Ron. “The way I see it, we want no contact with Jingles, and can’t do anything that tells the black hats we’re the enemy.”



Dot dot dadot! Kim picked up the kimmunicator and turned it on. Ron sat in the upholstered swivel chair reading a history book and taking notes while she lounged on the bed and Rufus dozed in his nest box. They were in their dorm room on the third floor of Mathom House at Northwestern State University. Ron had a few day’s growth of blond stubble on his face.

“Wade, run the security updater to change the protocol on my kimmunicator. We’ve got a bad security breach. Don’t try to trace the hack. These are serious geeks.”

“Uh, okay,” said Wade, and his face was replaced by a series of random color flashes and moving progress bars.

“That’s a good idea,” said Ron, giving Kim a smile before turning back to his book.

After a couple of minutes, Wade’s face reappeared.

“I’m guessing you want to talk about Ali Abdullah escaping from Jao Dung prison,” said Kim.

“You know about that?” Wade asked. “I have an update from a CIA operative in Islamabad, code named Jingles. Abdullah is staying in Petajar.”

“A viper’s nest of terrorists,” said Kim. “It’s a trap. This Jingles is either a double agent or he’s being watched and used. I don’t want to meet with him, and don’t want him to know if I come after Abdullah at all. I’m not sure whether the Jihad geeks can decode the kimmunicator signal, but they’re going to try to use it to guide a missile to my car. We’ll be in disguise. They’re planning to let me kill Abdullah. They’ll sabotage my getaway car and hit me with missiles when I run out of gas.”

“You’re one up on me this time,” said Wade. “I tried to tell Jingles you’re no assassin, but he thought he could persuade you.”

“He’s probably one of them,” said Kim. “Those guys kill themselves to make hits. They don’t understand me at all.”

“What are you planning?”

“I can’t go into Petajar with a big enough force to capture Abdullah. The best I can do is mark him with a microchip, and hope he doesn’t deactivate it.”

“My microchips aren’t that easy to deactivate,” said Wade.

“How many did Drakken deactivate?” asked Kim.

Wade chuckled. “Point conceded. But Drakken’s a nanoengineer, and I’ve improved the shielding since then. The easiest delivery system is probably a little blowgun about the size and shape of an eyedropper that fires a microdart.”

“That’s exactly what I have in mind.”

“You’ll have to be pretty close to him.”

“At 11:30, Saturday morning, I’ll be about six feet behind him.”

“That’ll work. You’ve really got this planned. How did you learn all this?”

“I’ll tell you when Abdullah’s back in custody.”



“The more I think about this, the weirder it is,” Kim told Ron. “We learned about this plot against us from a man we never met, and from experiences we’re not going to have.”

“It’s just like a video game,” said Ron. “If you get killed, you reload your saved game and try again, knowing what doesn’t work.”

“Yeah, a simulation, but doesn’t that violate causality somehow?”

“You can’t outrun the speed of light, Kim. How do you know where to put your mirror to bounce the laser? How do you know when bullets are gonna fly through the door? This isn’t so different, just less immediate.”

“That’s almost instinctive. I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this one. I remember what Jingles looks like, the sound of his voice, the phrasing of his arguments. I hope we never do meet. He could actually talk me into an assassination.”

“Ali Abdullah wanted to blow a hole in the eastern United States so big that the side effects could have killed billions all over the world,” said Ron. “If you can be talked into killing anyone at all—”

“Don’t get me into it,” said Kim. “That’s the problem. He so deserves to die, but that doesn’t mean I want to kill him. Well, if the only way I could stop Abdullah from taking all those lives is to kill him, I’m okay with that. But that’s not what’s happening now.”

“Yeah, I understand that.”

“If we’re using the mental powers of prophets or shamans, enhanced to total accuracy—”

“We’ve gotta be, like, extremely moral.” Ron said, looking into Kim’s eyes.

“Yeah.”



Kim followed Ron into the hotel. His face had a week’s worth of stubble dyed black with Grecian Formula, his blond hair was covered by his black turban, and his skin was darkened. Rufus was hidden in his pocket. Kim wore a dark headscarf under her turquoise blue burqa.

I’m not nervous, Kim thought to herself. I know exactly what to do.

The man in front of Ron wore a black suit with his black turban, and carried an automatic rifle.

“Old friend, it is good to see you again,” said another man with a black beard and black turban.

“I must disappear for awhile.”

“I know, my friend. You are always welcome here.”

“I thank you for that.”

With her right arm hidden behind Ron, Kim reached through the burqa into her pocket, pulled out the tiny blowgun, and the microdart hit the back of Ali Abdullah’s right ear, injecting the microchip.

It took him a moment to react, to swat at his ear. He saw a little bit of blood on his finger.

“Too expensive,” Ron muttered. “Let’s go.”

They walked out of the hotel to their white Hyundai. Ron unlocked the passenger door for Kim. He started the car and rolled down the main street toward the edge of town, slowing down for children and chickens. “We did it,” he said. Rufus tried to leave his pocket, but Ron pushed him back in, saying, “Stay there, buddy.”

“Smooth as silk,” said Kim, making no move to take off her burqa. “I like being able to rehearse.”

Ron drove past the sagebrush and rock outcrops, the barren ground with no cover, and climbed toward the mountain pass. They reached the border without incident.

The American soldiers maintaining a checkpoint took them into custody. Soon they were in the back of the troop carrier, removing their disguises. “I think I got pictures,” said Ron, looking dubiously at his turban clip.



Kim and Ron sat in General “Baby Bear” Branson’s office. Kim and Rufus looked normal. Ron’s skin still looked tanned despite repeated scrubbing, but his face was clean shaven.

“Just checked with Dog Chow,” Branson said. “Showed him your pix. He’s sure you tagged the right guy. We got him tracked.”

“Don’t trust Jingles, or the Petajar cops,” said Kim. “They’ll just tell Abdullah he’s been chipped and he’ll get it deactivated.”

“What do you know about Jingles?”

“At best, he’s been compromised. The black hats are at least watching and using him, and he could actually be one of them.”

“What makes you think this?”

Kim shook her head. “I can’t explain that. It’s—”

“Mystical kung-fu simulation,” said Ron.

“Like the Ghost?” asked Baby Bear, referring to Yori.

“Yes, exactly,” said Kim.

“I hate to say it, but the CIA bungles more often than they succeed. They’ll stubbornly cling to a lame operative and pull a good one. But they can do stuff on that side of the border and I can’t. So you’re saying, unless Jingles gets pulled from the loop, just wait till Abdullah goes somewhere else. I suppose I could pick him off with a mini-cruise, but the locals hate that and I’ll catch hell.”



A small black jet with “KP” monogrammed on the tail flew over the Pacific Ocean toward America. Felix Renton sat at the controls, his cyber-robotic wheelchair locked in place. Kim and Ron were unfolding the bed in the back of the plane. Rufus was curled up in his nest box.

“Well, we did it,” said Ron. “We tagged Ali Abdullah and got away alive.”

“Yeah, I wish we could have done more,” Kim said. “But to actually snatch Abdullah from a city like Petajar, we’d need—”

“—a wide aerial spray of antiexplosive foam, and a big squad,” said Ron. “And even then, they’d have all kinds of munitions sealed in bunkers and basements.”

“It’s politically impossible,” Kim said. “Petajar’s too close to the provincial and national capitals. Even on a moonless night— I can’t see it.”

“Everything would have to go exactly right,” said Felix. “I understand you rehearsed or simulated this mission on the telepathy machine.”

“Belinda talked to you about that?” Kim asked with an edge in her voice.

“Well, yeah. I’m on your team, right? I’m your pilot. She wouldn’t tell anyone else.”

“We haven’t even told Wade yet,” said Kim.

“You’d tell him if tapping the kimmunicator signal wasn’t part of the plot against you.”

“What scares me is the idea that my enemies could get a machine like this and rehearse an assassination. The fewer people who even have the idea that this kind of simulation is possible, the better, as far as I’m concerned.”

“I understand. You know, I think It’s not so much Ali Abdullah you need to worry about as the other guys in Petajar who consider him expendable.”

“So true, Felix,” said Kim. “A Global Justice spy tick on Ali would’ve told us a lot more, but he’s used those himself.”

“Do you know how many times we got killed trying to find a way to accomplish anything on this mission and survive?” asked Ron. “It hurts. It does something to me, makes me want to kill them back, and I don’t want to go there.”

“Yeah, I want to use the next telepathy session to just comfort and heal each other,” said Kim.

“I guess I don’t know what it’s like to use that machine,” said Felix.

“It’s intense,” Kim said, frowning. “I don’t think it’d be possible to rehearse a mission with a big squad. There’s too many variables. The key moments in this mission were simple.”

“I wonder if Strong Horse is in Petajar,” said Felix.

“Doubt it,” said Ron. “He’s tall as a basketball player, and one of the most famous faces in the world. Even in Petajar, someone unfriendly to his cause would spot him.”

“I don’t like the thought that Strong Horse could be taking personal interest in me,” said Kim. “How did Ali Abdullah’s escape from Jao Dung set this trap in motion? Abdullah could have seen me at the caves of Zafir the Scorpion, when he and his partner got away with the plane. The Petajar guys might know Zafir’s been captured, if not by whom. Putting it together, yeah, they might wanna kill Kim Possible.”

“At least they tried to lure us to their turf to get us,” said Ron.

“This time,” said Kim. “But it’s not so hard to find out where we are. If people like Wanda Hu Khan can break into Wade’s lab, how secure are the secret defenses of Mathom House? Wade designed both systems.”

“There’s the telepathy machine,” said Ron. “If there’s immanent danger, we’ll remember it.”

“That’s not our equipment. We can’t just use it anytime we want.”

“We could ask.”

“How much do you think we can take Avrum Hurlbetter into our confidence?” Kim asked. “I like him. His machine’s a very powerful tool for us.”

“Get Wade to do a background check,” suggested Felix.

“Ron?” Kim asked.

“You’re the one who spends time with Dr. Hurlbetter. I’m talking to Belinda, you know, and I’m— okay, Belinda’s manner seems kinda spooky and her big dark eyes are a little scary, but I’m understanding her better, I think. What Kim and I do with the machine, Belinda kinda does with everyone she gets close to, whether she wants to or not.”

“Yeah,” said Felix. “Sometimes she’ll talk to me about some experience she thinks she had with me in medieval Ireland or ancient China, and it’s almost like I’m there with her, seeing what she’s describing.”

“You’re in love, aren’t you?” asked Kim.

“Absolutely,” said Felix.

“Maybe the four of us should get together more often,” said Kim. “I’ve gotta agree with Ron. The experiences Ron and I shared on the machine make me feel more, well, interested in Belinda’s point of view. Not that I necessarily believe I was ever a priestess of Athena, you understand.”

“Hey, you’d look great in one of those ancient Greek dresses,” said Ron.

“You’re sweet,” said Kim, giving Ron her Mona Lisa smile and pulling the curtain closed between the cockpit and the bed.



Concluded in Part 3