Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Rufus, Monique, Felix Renton, Drakken, and Shego 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 at the end of Kim and Ron’s sophomore year of college, three years after “So the Drama,” and not long after my earlier story, “Mind Out Of Time.” This story © 2006 by cloudmonet. This is part two of a four part story.
The morning sun shone around the edges of the curtains in suite 2 of the Krazy Koala Motel. Kim got out of bed, slipped on her silk robe, and tapped lightly on the doorway before looking around the corner at the other master bed. Felix was lying down under the covers. Belinda sat up, holding the sheet to cover herself.
“Where’s Monique?” Kim asked.
“I don’t know,” said Belinda.
“Felix? Are you awake?”
“Sorta,” he admitted.
“You were with her most of yesterday. Did she talk to you about anything? I’m just wondering what she’s thinking.”
“She was kinda talking about men,” Felix said. “It felt private and confidential. I don’t think she’d want me to spill.”
“Felix, if she went to a bar and picked up some guy, her life could be at stake,” said Kim.
“Maybe she called the kimmunicator and left a message for you,” Belinda suggested. “That’d be the responsible thing to do.”
“Yeah, let’s hope,” said Kim. “Monique and alcohol— not a good combination.”
“Sh’uh, she’s under 21,” said Ron, standing in the doorway wearing a gray T-shirt and spotted boxer shorts. He passed the kimmunicator to Kim.
“Thanks,” she said. “Don’t know the drinking age in Queensland. But underage or over, she can get herself in a mess. She was doing so well, too. She stopped going to fraternity parties, and— Let’s see, messages.” Kim pressed some buttons.
A recording of Monique’s face appeared on the screen, partially lit by a blue spotlight. “Hey, Kim,” she said, “just callin’ so you don’t worry about me if I don’t get back to the motel. I met this nice Australian guy, Chuck, who works at the zoo, and I’m— yeah, just a minute, hon, gotta leave a message— bye, Kim, see ya tomorrow.”
“Well, at least she didn’t sound drunk,” said Kim. “Just irresponsible.”
“She did leave a message for you,” said Belinda.
“She’s a fifth wheel on this mission,” said Belinda. “She doesn’t really have a role.”
“Kim doesn’t really understand being single,” Felix said.
Kim looked at Ron. “I guess I don’t.”
Dot dot dadot! the kimmunicator rang, and Kim pushed a different button.
Drake’s face appeared on the screen. “Bring the telepathy machine,” he said.
He passed his communicator to Dr. Ruiz, who said, “Yes, it’s time we tried it.”
“On our way,” said Kim.
Ron carried most of the portable telepathy machine through the hospital corridors. Belinda carried the interface helmets. Kim was already talking to Drake and Dr. Ruiz.
“Your daughter needs you,” the doctor was arguing. “Till we bring mama back, you’re all the family she has in the world. The nurses all say you have a good effect on her. It’s what Mom would want.”
“This could take awhile,” said Kim.
“There’s mad science going down and I can’t even watch?” Drake protested.
“There’s nothing to see,” said Belinda. “It’s like watching two people in a beauty shop under the hairdryers.”
“Come on, let’s go look at the baby,” said Ron.
Kim put on a telepathy helmet and lay down on the other hospital bed. Belinda dimmed the lights and began adjusting the console. Dr. Ruiz latched the door, and pulled down the window shades.
“I’m thinking all you have to do is stay away from experiences when Sheila used her flaming hands, and there won’t be a problem. Drake says she’s never blasted in her sleep, even when dreaming about a fight.”
“I don’t want to relive those experiences unless I have to,” said Kim.
“Then think about something better,” Belinda said with a soothing voice. “I want you to think of a time you spent with your friend Sheila when you were doing something you both enjoyed—”
There was silence and darkness.
“Sheila?” Kim asked hesitantly, with a low voice.
There was no response, not even a feeling.
“Sheila, please still be here, somewhere.”
Kim no longer felt like she was drifting in the darkness. She was standing, somewhere.
“Sheila, your baby needs you. Your husband needs you. Sheila, you have to wake up.”
Still nothing, or not much.
Just a shadow, or a ghost.
“All right, I’m gonna focus on the last time we saw each other— it’s a lush tropical garden with a tiled swimming pool. We’re sitting on lounge chairs. You’re feeding a big female iguana you call Lizzie—”
It wasn’t working. The memory was no more vivid than a dream dissolving to wakefulness. Or maybe it was like a dream. A giant iguana, about twelve feet long, seemed to be taking shape in the blackness. Somehow Kim knew she was a girl iguana, a big one, and her name was Emerald— one of the giant iguanas Crocodile Jack took home to his zoo, maybe— the image slipped away like smoke—
“Thank God, Sheila, you’re alive! My suggestion brought back something from your memory— Can you talk? It’s Kim. I’m trying to bring you back. Your baby’s alive— she’s so cute— and Drake’s so worried.”
Kim was walking with Sheila through Crocodile Jack’s zoo. Kim was wearing a mission shirt with khaki shorts. Sheila was wearing a green peasant blouse and black shorts, and still pregnant. “This is Emerald,” Sheila said. “She’s a beauty, isn’t she?”
An iguana the size of a Komodo dragon turned her head to look at Sheila and Kim.
“You know, I’d like you to introduce me to Emerald for real—”
“Say what?” asked Sheila, and the scene started to fade. This wasn’t a shared memory, and didn’t look like a possible future. The last time Kim and Sheila were actually together was during Kim’s honeymoon, when she helped Crocodile Jack’s team catch these giant iguanas.
“I think she was the one we jumped on from behind while you were tossing her bunches of bananas.”
“Yeah, I’m glad Jack decided to keep this one,” Sheila said. “She’s very friendly. You want to come in her enclosure with me?”
“Uh, okay,” said Kim.
Now the scene was sharply focused and solid feeling again. Even the sign on the enclosure was detailed, explaining how Emerald wasn’t a new species, wasn’t a mutant, but the victim, or beneficiary, of a mad scientist’s experiments with modified lizard growth hormones. This dream was based on Sheila’s real experience.
“Why would I dream about the bloody sign?” Sheila asked.
“I didn’t say anything like that,” said Kim.
“It’s weird. It’s like I’m hearing your voice, and you’re saying a whole bunch of other stuff under your breath.”
“If we’re going into a giant iguana’s enclosure, we’d better focus on that,” said Kim.
“You mean don’t get complacent?” Sheila asked as she opened the gate in the high fence. “Emerald’s a sweetheart, and besides—” Sheila raised her left hand to remind Kim of her green plasma power— “You know—”
“You wouldn’t use that on Emerald, would you?” asked Kim.
“Well, just between you and me, I already have,” said Sheila. “Didn’t hurt her a bit, just calmed her down a little.”
“That seems wrong.”
Emerald the iguana noticed Sheila and Kim inside the enclosure and got up off her belly and began walking toward them. Kim was holding a white bucket in her hand, filled with heads of lettuce and cabbage, and a bunch of bananas.
“We’re gonna feed her,” Kim said.
“You okay, Kim?” Sheila asked. “You seem spaced out.”
“Sorry. I’ve got a lot on my mind.”
“Pass me a cabbage.”
Suddenly Kim noticed people gathering around the outside of the enclosure. Sheila switched on the cordless microphone she was suddenly wearing, and her voice echoed through the PA speakers.
“G’day to all of you. I’m Sheila, and here with the bucket is my friend, Kim.”
When Sheila said the word friend, Kim felt some tension, some darkness lurking in the void beyond this moment.
“We’re in the enclosure of Emerald, the giant green iguana from Venezuela,” Sheila continued. “Now, green iguanas normally don’t get nearly this big, but somebody at the research station slipped her a cocktail or two of modified growth hormone.”
The lizard, whose head was bigger than a shovel, gaped her jaws. Sheila tossed the cabbage, which Emerald caught, and after a perfunctory attempt at chewing, swallowed more or less whole. She went through the whole bucket of food rather quickly.
“And now, for desert,” rang Sheila’s voice, “Emerald’s favorite, bananas.”
After gulping a couple of clumps of bananas, Emerald became quite placid, and seemed to much enjoy having her head scales stroked by Sheila. “She’s so sweet,” Sheila said, putting her arms around Emerald’s neck. The next thing Kim knew, Sheila was sitting on top of the big lizard’s shoulders. “Giddyup!” Sheila said, nudging the sides of the lizard’s neck with her hiking boots. Emerald moved her front legs, then her hind legs, stood up, took a few steps, then stopped and sprawled out. Sheila dismounted while the crowd applauded. “I get more exciting rides on sunny days,” she explained. “I love this lizard. She’s so pretty, all green and black.”
“Did you know you’re dreaming?” Kim asked.
Kim somehow also had one of those cordless microphones, and her voice echoed all over the PA system.
“Sheila! Your baby’s already born! Wake up!”
Kim opened her eyes to the dimness of Sheila’s hospital room, and looked anxiously at Sheila, whose eyes were still closed. “Open your eyes, Sheila!” Kim said, but Sheila didn’t respond. “She’s in there,” Kim told Dr. Ruiz as Belinda flipped the lights on. “She’s dreaming. Her intelligence, her personality, she’s still with us.”
“Are you sure?” asked Dr Ruiz. “There seemed to be a slight rise in neocortical activity, which has fallen off again, but I’m not sure if that was really Sheila’s mind or you in it through the machine. I didn’t see any signs of rapid eye movement sleep indicative of dreaming.”
“Kim’s right,” said Belinda.
“I respect your opinion, since you have experience interpreting the machine. Can you explain how you know?”
“Uh, I—” Belinda hesitated.
“Her aura’s faint, but brighter than it was before, with increased brilliance in the crown chakra?” Kim asked.
“You can see this too?” Belinda asked, surprised.
“No, I’m just guessing what you’d say if Anna didn’t inhibit you.”
“Well, yes, that’s exactly right, but I didn’t think you—”
“Paid any attention to your psychic jargon?” asked Kim.
“You’re psychic?” Dr. Ruiz asked Belinda.
Belinda bowed her head, then looked at Dr. Ruiz and Kim with her deep, quiet eyes. “Let’s just say I have certain gifts and talents. I’m far from being the best at seeing what I see, so my opinion is only an opinion, but Sheila looks brighter now than she did before.”
At this moment Drake came into the room, holding baby Alicia wrapped in a soft pink blanket, followed by Ron.
“I heard voices. What’s happening?” Drake asked anxiously.
“The good news is I made contact,” said Kim. “I sort of slipped into her dream. Her consciousness and intelligence seem completely normal. The bad news, she’s still unconscious. We were at the zoo, in Emerald’s enclosure. Is one of the giant iguanas named ‘Emerald’?”
“Yeah,” said Drake. “Sheila really likes that one.”
“There’s your proof, Anna. I didn’t know the lizard’s name till Sheila told me just now.”
“Okay,” Dr. Ruiz said quietly. “I’m convinced. What do we do now?”
“First, let’s debrief Kim’s whole experience,” said Belinda. “Ron, you can help me.”
“It wasn’t like being with you,” Kim told Ron. “I tried calling her. She didn’t answer. I tried focusing on when we were together by the swimming pool in Venezuela, and somehow my memory of the two of us feeding a normal iguana suggested that we could feed the giant iguana at the zoo.” Kim went over every detail of the experience, as well as she could remember.
“So stuff like the bucket and the microphones would suddenly be there when you needed it?” Dr Ruiz asked.
“Yes. It seemed both natural and dreamlike. Hey, Drake, does Sheila ever do demonstrations like that at the zoo?”
“No, not much. Well, a couple of times I think she’s gone in with Kelly.”
“So Sheila likes the iguanas, but this is more wishful thinking than memory?” Kim asked.
“I guess so,” said Drake. “I don’t think anybody’s ever tried to ride either of them.”
“So we’re back to what do we do now,” said Dr. Ruiz.
“I think we need to get Sheila out of dream consciousness into something more like memory,” Belinda suggested. “There must be some really vivid experiences you’ve shared that could strengthen the contact and wake her up.”
“Yeah, about that—” Kim began.
“It’s all about fighting,” said Ron.
“Of course then we’re back to the danger of her getting stimulated enough to actually blast something,” said Dr. Ruiz. “We don’t want that with all this electronic equipment.”
“I have an idea,” said Drake. “If Sheila's power can be activated by electrostimulation, maybe grounding her hands could prevent the activation. We could ground her and see if it neutralizes the effects of the defibrillator.”
“Okay,” said Dr. Ruiz.
“So much easier said than done,” Kim said, sitting with Ron in the hospital cafeteria, stirring yellow chicken gravy into her mashed potatoes. “They can’t ground Sheila through the hospital’s electric system ground, because that could cause all kinds of equipment failure. They can’t ground her to the lightning rod ground, because it’s cloudy, it could rain, there could be lightning. We can’t just install a new ground wire, and we can’t just spring her from the hospital and take her somewhere else because she’s comatose.”
“We’ve got Belinda,” said Ron. “Maybe she could, um, persuade the boss dudes to be more reasonable.”
“The real problem with bureaucracy is the number of people who need persuading. This is a unique problem we wouldn’t have with anyone else.”
At that moment, Monique walked in, looking slightly odd in her evening dress. She looked at Kim and Ron and cautiously approached their table.
“Hey, Monique,” said Kim. “You look like you’ve got a story to tell.”
“You’re not mad, are you?”
“So not the drama,” Kim replied.
“Been awhile since I’ve heard that one,” Ron remarked.
“Yeah, it’s pretty dramatic here,” said Kim. “The controversial ground wire. We can’t get it, and can’t go on without it.”
“Say what?” Monique asked.
“Wanna go for a walk? I need to clear my head.”
“Here we are,” said Kim, standing with Ron and Monique in front of Emerald’s enclosure in Crocodile Jack’s Zoo. “Everything looks a lot like it did in Sheila’s mind.”
“I think she’s the one we coaxed out of that tree,” said Ron.
“Naw, that was a male. We jumped on Emerald from behind while Sheila was tossing her bananas. Isn’t she beautiful?”
“Not exactly how I’d describe her, but she is kinda cool,” said Monique.
“I’m kinda seeing her through Sheila’s eyes.”
“The whole thing mind-boggles me,” said Monique.
“What? Telepathy? Giant lizards?” Ron asked. “You oughta be used to stuff like this.”
“Can I say it, quietly?” Monique asked quietly. “Don’t think anyone’s listening.”
“She means Shego,” Kim explained to Ron.
“Mm-hmm,” Monique agreed. “You’ve always been all, ‘Shego, Drakken, evil scheme, giant robots, laser cannons, blah blah blah— and now they’re your buds? What happened?”
“They seem to have realized the error of their ways and turned over new leaves,” said Ron.
“Or they’re playin’ you like Wendell played me,” said Monique.
“I kinda understand why they were the way they were, not that this excuses anything, but they outgrew their evil together, and I’m afraid, if one of them were to die now—”
“The other would backslide,” said Monique.
“So why exactly do you want to use the machine to go back to when you were enemies?”
“I don’t, but I may have to, if these are the only memories vivid enough to kick start her consciousness—”
“Her bad consciousness,” said Monique.
Dot dot dadot! Kim pressed a button and Drake’s face appeared on the screen.
“What’s the sitch?” she asked.
“The ground strap is working. We’re ready for you.”
In theory, a really vivid memory of an experience shared by Kim and Sheila, might link the contact solid enough for Kim to pull Sheila back to consciousness. Kim tried focusing on the battle with the terrorists in the Snowy Mountains of the Hindu Kush. She tried focusing on the awkward interview with Will Du, George Rasp, and Steve Wind of Global Justice in that remote Queensland farmhouse. She tried focusing on the battle with the Japanese whaling ship ninjas. The pictures faded as quickly as Kim could bring them up.
In the darkness, something formless was waiting, moving around, observing.
“Okay, fine, if this is what it takes to bring you back alive, I’ll do it!”
Kim was wearing her white battle suit, walking through the starlit shadows of the central lobby of Bueno Nacho corporate headquarters. Ron was beside her in his usual mission clothes, but no more than a memory, a shadow. What was much more real was the blast of green plasma coming down from an I-beam far above.
Dot dot dadot! Ron picked up the kimmunicator and walked out into the hallway. “Yo! Ron-man here. What up?”
“Where’s Kim?” asked Wade’s face on the screen. “You’re in Queensland— right?— I’m guessing for Sheila’s baby. I’ve got a mission for you.”
“Uh, well, Sheila’s in a coma, and Kim’s using the telepathy machine to try to make contact with her, so, can it wait a few hours or maybe till tomorrow?”
“Not so well,” said Wade. “A gang of speedboat pirates is looting a cargo vessel in Indonesia even as we speak.”
“I could totally handle that. I’ve got all the gear, the jet, the stealth bike.”
“I don’t know, Ron.”
“Who else ya got? I know about Yori’s Z-12 in North K, so she’s unavailable. I got Felix, Monique, maybe Drake. What do you think we can’t handle?”
“Wanda Hu Khan,” Wade replied, slowly and emphatically.
“So I’m guessing there’s secret stuff on the cargo ship she wants to sell to terrorists?”
“If so, it’s secret from me. I think this is just about building up cash to pay her henchmen.”
“Can ya patch me through to Felix and lay the details on us?”
“Ron, I’m sorry, but you’re no match for Wanda Hu,” said Wade.
“How do you know who I’m a match for? Were you watching me fight in the Hindu Kush, the cruise ship, or Dr. Mekong’s laboratory? Did you see me knock out Killigan when Kim was having trouble? Not that I’m claiming to be better than her, or even as good, but all I need is a good plan, help from Felix, and—”
Ron noticed Drake Jones standing nearby in the hallway.
“Hey, Dr. D—”
“Alicia’s asleep, and the door’s locked to Sheila’s room. Nothing to do but worry and wait.”
“I got something better for you to do.”
“Help me smack down the forces of darkness.”
“You? Me?” Drake asked.
“Wade says it’s kinda urgent.” Ron looked at the kimmunicator and saw Felix’s face.
“Meet me at the airport,” he said.
“I need to call Monique first.”
“I’m already here,” said Monique, crowding next to Felix.
“Then we’re on our way,” Ron replied, stuffing the kimmunicator in his pocket. “C’mon, dude, let’s move,” he told Drake, and the two men hurried down the corridor.
“There you are, Shego!” Kim said, almost instinctively dodging the blast. For a very long minute or two, Kim dodged Shego’s blasts, tumbled and jumped on the high beams, and punched and kicked at her, before remembering her real purpose.
“You know, Erik’s kinda cute,” Shego said. “Maybe when you’re out of the picture, I’ll date him.”
“News flash,” said Kim. “Erik’s just a stupid synthodrone. I’m married to Ron, you’re married to Drakken, and you’ve just given birth to a baby girl. I’m in your head with a telepathy machine, trying to bring you out of a coma.”
“That’s crazy. Wait, what? You know about Erik?” Shego was still pushing on Kim’s elbow, but no longer making green flames.
“Duh. this all happened more than three years ago.”
“Oh, yeah, I kinda remember. This totally didn’t work, did it, the diablo robot thing?”
“There was a lot of property damage and some pretty bad injuries, but as far as I know, nobody got killed. You’re lucky.”
Inside Kim’s jet at the Airport, Felix was talking to Monique. “You don’t know how to fly the plane,” he argued.
“Well no—” she admitted.
“So it’s that simple. I have to fly the plane, and you have to fight. You’ve gone on missions with Kim before. I know you can fight.”
“Not in this little dress. I’m gonna need to borrow some mission clothes, or something.”
“Go in the back,” said Felix. “I’ll be right behind you.” There was just exactly enough space between the seats for his wheelchair to roll. In the back, he activated a cyber-robotic tentacle, which stretched toward a biometric sensor lock on a cabinet.
“What are you doing?” Monique asked. “You can’t get in there.”
But the door opened in response to the tentacle’s claw, and it pulled out a white and blue jumpsuit with matching gloves and boots.
“Are you serious about this, Felix?” Monique asked, taking the white and blue jumpsuit from the grip of the tentacle. “Kim is not gonna approve.”
“This is life and death, Monique. We have a cargo ship crew to save.”
“I am so out of my league here, especially without Kim.”
“And this suit will put you in the league,” said Felix.
“Hmm. Well—” Monique held it up to herself. “I guess it’d fit me okay. It’s kind of stretchy, like a cat suit.”
“I want to see you in it.”
“Hmm. Well, okay. Go back in front and let me change.” Felix rolled back toward the front of the jet and Monique closed the curtain.
Beep, beep, beep!
Felix pushed a button on his wheelchair, and a small screen unfolded from the left arm. Felix sighed. The face on the screen was Kelly, again.
“Hello, Kelly,” he said quietly. “I’m kinda busy.”
“Just give me one minute, mate, okay?”
“What do you want to say?”
“I just want to know the real deal with you and Belinda, cause she tells me she wants to keep it open, and she’s fine with us, you know, and we had a really nice time in February. Why you gettin’ so cold, mate? I thought you liked me.”
“I’m sorry, Kelly, I do, I just— I’ve got a mission. I’ve got to fly the jet for Ron. Gotta save some people, okay?”
“Don’t pull my leg, mate. Be straight with me.”
“It’s true. Watch the sky if you don’t believe me. Kim’s black jet will be going north.”
“Okay, mate, okay. Can I call you later?”
“Kelly, I can’t make a relationship work when we’re eight thousand miles apart.”
“We’re no eight thousand miles apart right now! Come see me before you go home, okay?”
“Bye, Kelly,” said Felix, pressing the disconnect button.
“That sounded kinda mean,” said Monique, pulling the curtain open.
“I told you I didn’t want to see her. She keeps bugging me, and I— Wow, Monique, you look—”
She smiled. “How do I look?”
“Beautiful and mighty.”
“How’s it work?”
“I’m not supposed to know, but I’ve read the manual. It’s pretty simple, really. To turn it on, you just—” Felix ran his left index finger along his right wrist a certain way.
“Like this?” Monique asked, doing the same thing. “What about the belt? These look like more controls.”
“They are,” said Felix, and began explaining what each button did.
“Is this a bon-diggity ride or what?” Ron asked Drake, handing him Kim’s helmet while putting on his own.
Drake studied the black rocket bike. “Is it as fast as it looks?” he asked.
“Oh, yeah.” Ron kick started the motor, which purred quietly.
“No vroom?” asked Drake.
“Can’t sneak up on the bad guys if it vrooms,” said Ron. “Hang on to those grips. The acceleration is fierce.”
“I’ve ridden in all kinds of extreme vehicles,” Drake said.
“You ready?” asked Ron.
With hardly more sound than the whooshing wind, the stealth bike rocketed from zero to eighty and beyond in the blink of an eye. Drake hung on, gritted his teeth, closed his eyes, and fought off panic while Ron drove toward the airport with maniacal glee.
Kim and Shego sat in a cell with stainless steel walls, ceiling, and floor all polished into mirrors. Shego was in an orange jumpsuit; Kim was wearing her white battle suit. An infinity of reflections of the two of them, the little bed, and the toilet, stretched off four horizontal directions, above and below.
“They finally figured out a way to hold me,” Shego said. “I can’t blast out. It just reflects till it hits me. I have to look at what a mess I’ve become, all the time. Do I deserve this? You probably think I do.”
“Not anymore,” Kim said.
“They’re trying to get me to spill on Drakken, but I won’t,” Shego said bitterly. “He’s earned my loyalty. Too bad I never realized how much he cares about me.”
“Do you think I don’t care about you?” asked Kim.
“You?!” Shego shouted. “You hate me and I hate you.”
“I did,” Kim admitted.
“Spare me your pity! If I ever do get out of here—”
“You’re so out of here!”
“Don’t mock me.”
“Sheila, I’m just trying to wake you up, for your husband and baby.”
“Sheila! I was Sheila when I was a dumb little goth geek who hated high school, especially girls like you.”
“It’s the name you’re using now.”
“I’m gonna wake up and still be in this damned cell, right?”
“You’re in a hospital in Queensland. You’re free, well, as long as you keep your Shego identity secret.”
Ron skidded the stealth bike to a stop next to Kim’s black jet. “Action and adventure,” he said. “I’m hooked on it. Uh, you can get off the bike now, Dr. D.”
Drake unclenched his hands from the hand grips and awkwardly dismounted. “Who do you think you are, Crocodile Jack?”
“I’ve graduated from comical sidekick to comical action hero.”
“Sure thing, Ron,” Monique said from the top of the ramp, with a bit of skepticism in her voice. She was wearing Kim’s white and blue battle suit.
“Whoa!” said Ron. “Are you sure about wearing this? Do you know how to make it work? More importantly, is it working? I don’t think we’ve run it through the tests in over a month, and—”
“Man, I feel strong, like I could clobber a whole gang of street brawlers. C’mon at me, brotha pirates, Monique’s gonna teach you some respect!”
“Uh, Monique, better amp that down till we get there,” said Ron. “You leave it running too long, you’ll get all hyped up and twitchy.”
“Okay,” Monique said, running her right hand along the left sleeve to a control spot.
Ron and Drake rolled the stealth bike up the ramp.
“I don’t wanna wear a mask!” a teenaged Shego protested to her older brother. “I finally get to be somebody cool and no one can know what I am? I’m not somebody from a stupid comic or cartoon!”
“The comics do have a point, Sheila,” said Herman. “If the villains knew who we really are, they can come after us at home. They can kidnap our parents or friends.”
“Drakken did kidnap my dad,” Kim said quietly. “Hego wasn’t completely full of it about that.”
“Oh, right,” said Shego.
The jet rolled down the runway and rose into the air. Felix manipulated the controls while talking to Wade on the satellite link. Ron went into the back of the jet and started checking equipment. Drake sat next to Monique.
“So, you’re Monique,” he said. “I’m Drake Jones. Ron invited me to come along for this mission as, um, a scientific consultant.”
“Alias Dr. Drakken, alias Drew Theodore P. Lipsky,” she replied, crossing her arms and leaning away from him. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Most of it bad, I guess.”
“Yeah, well, not so much lately. But I’m more suspicious than Kim. She’s got such a good heart. You could be playin’ her.”
“Monique!” Ron said sharply, pulling the curtain aside.
“I’m just sayin’—”
“Nothing but love, you hear me? Drake’s on our team.”
“It’s— it’s okay,” said Drake. “I— I made a lot of mistakes.”
“That’s an understatement.”
“The world’s in such a mess, and so was my life, but I thought I could, maybe, improve things—”
“You don’t really wanna go back there, dude,” said Ron.
“Uh, yeah, I don’t really wanna go back there,” Drake repeated.
“Thing is, ya don’t have to do it all yourself. Little things, you know. Wanda Hu’s doing some speedboat pirating in Indonesia, took over a cargo ship, and that’s a bit of badness we can stop. All the other problems in the world, well, we’ll take them on later, if we can, if someone else doesn’t do it first.”
“Wanda Hu?” asked Drake with a bit of nervousness in his voice. “You didn’t say anything about Wanda Hu.”
“Right, you used to know her,” said Ron. “So spill. What kind of pirate would she be? What kind of weapons does she like? What do you think she’s after?”
“Why are you wearing a bikini?” Shego asked.
“Cause I just got out of the pool,” Kim replied, sitting on the lounge chair beside her.
Shego was wearing a one-piece bathing suit, and about seven months pregnant. “Oh, yeah, I kind of remember this. You’re on your honeymoon, and Ron’s mired in a term paper, and I’m feeding slices of mango to an iguana named— Emerald? No that’s wrong. Her name’s Lizzie.” Shego chuckled. “So original of me, to name a lizard Lizzie! Isn’t she pretty, all green and black?”
“Isn’t that a male iguana? It’s so big.”
“Jack says Lizzie’s a ‘beautiful little sheila,’ just like me, and Jack’s the reptile guy. He should know.”
“Does Jack know anything about your past?”
“He still thinks Drake and I are retired secret agents, and doesn’t ask questions,” Sheila said, taking a sip of iced tea. “Better to keep it that way.”
“I got plans, though, after Alicia’s born. I’m gonna do the hero thing again.”
“The action in the Hindu Kush inspired me. Wish I could’ve fought better, but Alicia was kicking and fussing inside. She hurt me more than the terrorists. But more than that, you inspire me.”
“Seriously, Kim, you’re my hero,” Sheila said, dropping her voice, though no one else was nearby. “When I was sick, pregnant, and helpless, you not only brought me a doctor, but found one who wouldn’t turn me over to the authorities. Remember what you said to me that day? ‘One way or another, your evil career is over.’ You changed my life. I knew, no matter where I went in the world, no matter what I tried, you’d find me, and if you didn’t like what I was doing, you’d stop me, and I’d be back in the Shego cell, and never get out again.”
“Sheila, we’re almost there,” said Kim.
“I really said that, didn’t I? I really mean it! I can feel all the emotion behind it. Kim, who am I?”
“These days, you’re Sheila Jones, Drake Jones’ wife and Alicia Jones’ mother.”
“I don’t remember the baby.”
“Of course not,” said Kim, “You nearly died giving birth. Alicia burned you on her way out, and you lost a lot of blood.”
Sheila blinked her eyes and saw Dr. Ruiz, and an unfamiliar girl with haunting brown eyes, and Kim sitting up on the next bed, wearing a helmet with a bunch of wires.
“Can you talk?” asked Kim, and she also heard the voice in her mind.
“Waa—” said Sheila, but in her mind, Kim heard Sheila say, “Tell them to give me some water.”
“Sheila says she needs a cup of water,” said Kim.
“Here you are,” said Dr. Ruiz, helping Sheila hold the paper cup.
“Thaggs,” she said, and cleared her throat. “What’s with the handcuffs?”
“Grounding straps,” Belinda said, unfastening them, and removing the telepathy helmet.
Kim took off her own helmet and pressed Sheila’s hand. “I’m so glad you’re okay,” she said. “I’ll go get Drake and Alicia.” She opened the door and stepped into the hall. “Ron? Drake?” she called out. “I bet they’re playing with her.”
Alicia was sound asleep in a crib partially surrounded by lead screens from the radiology lab, placed there to prevent any inadvertent blasts of green plasma setting the room on fire.
“Please don’t fuss,” Kim whispered, gently picking up the baby and carrying her back to Sheila’s room. Alicia stirred, partly opened her eyes, and squirmed a little bit.
Belinda was packing away the telepathy helmets and console; Dr. Ruiz was helping Sheila sit up. She coughed and smiled.
“C’mere,” she said hoarsely, reaching for Alicia, which was a bit awkward with an IV still attached to one hand. She took the sleeping baby girl into her arms. The baby opened her eyes and looked at Sheila’s smiling face. “Hey, Alicia,” she said. “Mommy loves you.”