Thursday, March 31, 2016

I'm not invisible.

Today is the international trans* day of visibility.  I exist.  I'm not invisible.  I'm female.  My birth certificate disagrees (the fucker.)

Since writing stuff on the internet does not generally involve genitalia (it sure as Hell doesn't when I'm typing) none of this sex vs. gender shit should matter to anyone in the least.  We'll move on as soon as I have content to move on to.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Peter and Susan on Narnian Naval Weaponry

[So this really short bit was originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

Peter: Susan, I know that thou wisheth to make use of our dream knowledge from otherworld.
Susan: Peter, I know that you're going overboard with the really bad impression of old style English and want to pretend that England is a dream.
Peter: Dear Madam--
Susan: Which, how does that work anyway? How can there be English without an England?
Peter: Now my high, but not as high as me, queen, I thinkest that we goeth off tracketh.
*Susan tries not to laugh; she fails*
Peter: We do not haveth this powder of the gun to put in the noncanonical cannon.
Susan: Perhaps if we fired a phoenix from a ballista then?
Peter: Aren't you supposed to be gentle!?
Susan: I think it was the Americans who said, "Speak gently, but wield tremendous firepower," or something to that effect.


Some things don't require explanation.

Or maybe...

So they plan to be running away and yet are sure that they'll have no problem sinking enemy ships.  Running away rules out ramming, sinking instead of disabling rules out a lot more things.  So how exactly were they planning to sink the pursuing ships?


Monday, March 28, 2016

Fusion (Part 2)


Kim looked at the woman sitting across from her in the Bueno Nacho and tried to make sense of everything that had happened since the genetic zipper opened.

The way she'd asked about their date at Bueno Nacho had been all Shego. Far too smooth to be Ron, too confident --almost predatory. But it was Ron who had known that they were planning to return to the Middleton Bueno Nacho for a night of remembering old times. Back on the first hand, though, she'd said "Princess." Kim was "Princess" to Shego, not to Ron.

Ron had other names for Kim.

When the woman got weak, verged on falling, and called out one of those names, "KP!", it had been all Ron. Sure, the voice was as feminine as the body. But that was Ron.

"I'm half drugged here," too, seemed more of a Ron thing to say.

And then, after borrowing Kim's compact to get a look at herself, "Booyah!"

What was Kim supposed to make of that? "Booyah! I'm smoking hot."

In themselves the words were Ron, but they were about having a body that was definitely not Ron. The confidence was more of a Shego thing, but then it was followed by, "But ... do the freckles work with the green?" in a moment of Ronish insecurity.

By the time they reached Bueno Nacho the drugging had worn off enough that she could walk fine on her own. She'd ordered Ron's standard Naco Night order and had the money ready to the cent. Money taken from Shego's pouch as if she'd been paying that way for years.

Definitely a lot of Ron in there. In theory ...

"You're looking at me weird, KP," the woman said, breaking Kim out of her thoughts.

"Well this is weird," Kim said.

"I feel like we've seen stranger," the woman said.

"But that's just it," Kim said. "We haven't. I never met you until today."

"I've been your best friend since Pre-K," the woman said.

"No," Kim said. "Ron has. Definitely not Shego. I don't even know what to call you."

"You're acting like I got a new haircut or something," the woman said. "Actually, I guess I have, but look at it.' Kim did. It was Shego's length and color. It was Ron's unruly mess. "I'm still in touch with my quintessential Ronness."

"I thought it was 'essential', Ronness," Kim said.

"So I got a bigger vocabulary," the woman said with a shrug.

"That's hardly the only difference," Kim said.

"I know! I, as Ron, haven't felt this comfortable in a body since that time..." the woman got a faraway look in her eyes. "I wonder if my hair is flippy?"

Kim had a flashback to sophomore year.

Looking at her body through Ron's eyes while it practiced the Rita Hayworth maneuver. When she asked Ron what he was doing with her body, he'd responded, "Your hair: it's so . . . flippy."

It had freaked her out then, far more than simply being mind switched, and she wasn't up for a repeat performance now.

"Don't!" Kim said, perhaps a bit too loudly.

"Maybe later then," the woman said. "Anyway, your body was nice to be in, but this is a such a perfect fit. It's the first time my Ron side has been as comfortable in a body as my Shego side always has been. It's ... refreshing."

"That!" Kim said. "That's the thing. You're part Ron and part Shego and I ... I don't ..." Kim couldn't figure out what she wanted to say and ended up taking an easy out: "I don't even know what to call you."

"I hadn't thought of that," the woman said. "I mean I'm ... obviously some combination of 'Shego' and 'Ron' would make sense, right?"

Kim just nodded. Maybe it was all a dream and she'd wake up.

"Rongo. Nope. Rogo? No. Rego? Too much 'Shego', not enough 'Ron'. Sheron. No. It sounds like a weird way to say, 'Female Ron'. Shegon? No. Shron? Ugh. It sounds like a bad sci-fi movie."

For a time there was silence then the woman said, "Wait." Kim hadn't been doing anything, so waiting was easy. "Sheron," she said again. "Sheron, Sheron, Sheron," she said quickly. "Sharon! That's what you can call me, KP."

"Ok, Sharon," Kim said, "are you my friend or my enemy?"

"Oh, you know I've always got your back, Princess."

"Ron always--"

"Who saved you when you were captured by Drakken inside a giant cheese wheel?"


"Right, I did," Sharon said.

"But you also--"

"Who risked everything to stop you from disappearing by going on a dangerous expedition to find a rare flower in--"

"Ron, not She--"

"Who got the nanotick bomb off your nose?"

"Ron, but Shego was--" Kim shouted.

"Who saved you from Killigan outside of the Cloak and Dagger when you were too busy competing with Will Du to notice when Killigan showed up and attacked with--"

"Ron, not y--"

"When we were after the stolen Centurion Project, who saved you when the roof of the Cloak and Dagger collapsed?"

"Ro--" Kim stopped short. Ron hadn't saved her. "Shego did."

"Damn straight, Princess," Sharon said. "Didn't even crack a line about how I was the only one allowed to beat you. But, speaking of, ghost pirates and Warmonga. Warmonga twice in one mission."

"That's not fair, the second one was at least as much because of the Tweebs and--" And Ron. Kim didn't say anything.

"Me," Sharon said. "I was saving you with a little help from myself that time."


The people from away

[Weird origin of this fragment: for some reason into my head popped the idea to do a video game in which the main character is a skateboarder and the game consists of said character just having fun, running away from people who mean them harm, and occasionally defying physics in the service of both.  Then this came out]
[Astute observers will note that nowhere in this is skateboarding mentioned.]

First off, we're not aliens.  Sure, our predecessors were from elsewhere, but all of us alive today were born on earth.  Depending on exactly where we were born and the laws, if any, concerning entering that place's borders, we could be construed as the children of illegal immigrants, but we're not aliens.

We're every bit as much earthlings as you, or chipmunks.  You and chipmunks both.

You think you've heard our story, I know because I'm a big fan of science fiction and I've read those books, seen those movies, and watched those shows.  Some of them were even good.  But the thing is that you get so much wrong.

Yeah, refugees.  You got that one spot on.  Who else would send their children to be raised on an entirely different planet by its fragmented different cultures with little in the way of support?

But we didn't come here to resurrect our own culture, nor are we here as heroes who plan on saving yours.  We came here to survive a bit longer.  And when your world is invaded don't you dare blame us.  We found out about your world from their database of places they planned to get around to invading.  That's one of the few things about our culture that we still all know, now that the elders are gone.

We weren't great spacefarers , we'd barely strolled on all of the planets in our solar system when they came.  We stole their information and their interstellar travel thingy to find a place to run to and hide.

The hiding leads to another thing you often, though not always, get wrong.  We don't have advanced technology.  Our technology could be tracked, we destroyed it all.  The stuff we stole from them?  Same deal.  Probably burned in the same fire but that was before my time.

Surely, you must think, we have an advanced understanding of the way the universe works?  No.  Not really.  Part of how they exterminated our people on the old homeworld, when we proved somewhat able to defend ourselves in a fight, was some kind of poison or some such.  The longer you'd been exposed to whatever was released on the planet, the quicker it killed you --but it was still deadly, eventually, for those who left as infants.

Everyone from there is dead now.

By the time of my earliest memories the oldest then-surviving elder was Amira, she'd been twelve --earth years, she converted for us because we'd never known another kind of year-- when she left her old home for earth.  She didn't have great cosmological or philosophical wisdom to impart on us.

There are rumors that somewhere --shut down, lead shielded, and burred deep-- is a copy of our great archive.  Some sort of electronic library of everything our culture produced.  It's ... possible, I suppose, but I doubt it.

Now there's nothing left of the old world, this is our home, and the only thing that we have that you don't is something your stories get right but name wrong.  Our magic.

It can't be tracked in the way the energy signature or this or that technology can be, and it couldn't be removed from us (that we know of) anyway.  Being magic, it doesn't really follow any particularly logical rules of inheritance.  Siblings might have radically different magical talents, or different strengths to their magic.

One might be able to manipulate their mass while the other could produce light.  Total lack of relation.

I'm not sure if you people are incapable of magic, or you're just so out of touch with your magical side that you can't do more than nudge things within the margin of error.

Beyond the fact that we all learn to use our magic --without training or soul searching or anything of that nature-- where you don't, we're really not that different from you.  If you don't take a blood sample, an x-ray, or preform an autopsy then our bodies are more or less --wait.  MRIs, need to avoid those too.  We tend to steer clear of hospitals.  Anyway, our bodies are pretty much indistinguishable from yours.

Amira tried to explain to us what our species original natural bodies looked like.  I could never get a clear picture of it in my mind.  Now we look human.  And humans look us.  And the technology needed to make that fundamental change to the species?  One of the things that was destroyed as a part of the "run and hide" plan.

We have no great cause, we're just like you.  We want to live while we still have life left, and we have to find our own meaning because no one gave us any special purpose.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Proposed Star Trek fan fiction: Pale Moonlight follow up

Secrets come out eventually.

The Federation has been in the war since the beginning.  The Romulans are late comers.

Barring total victory by The Dominion, in which case no one will really care, at the end of the war (however it may end) the Romulan military would be in better shape than the Federation military.

So as soon as that episode happens you're thinking, "Good for the moment but we know that when the Romulans inevitably find out* the Romulans will go to war with the Federation, win, and make Earth into one of the minor outlying provinces."

But then things go sideways.

The Dominion recruit a powerful ally and the war turns to crap even with the Romulans on the Federation/Klingon/[OMGWTF The Sky Is Falling] side.  Why was this ally so powerful?  As near as anyone can determine, the entire race is composed of clones of Princess leia who favor the bounty hunter disguise she used at the start of Return of the Jedi.

The good less-bad guys never stood a chance.

They're called Breen instead of Boushh, but take a look and you'll know.

And that's when things get really fucking bad from a Romulan Star Empire perspective.  The people who end up being their saviors after this turn are the Cardasian resistance.

The Breen are people no one wants to fight, but they're also not great conquerors.  In fact, prior to their joining with the Dominion, every time they were mentioned in Star Trek (which happened frequently) it was because people thought they might be to blame for something but they never were.

You don't invade them, you fear them to the point of worrying every time that something goes wrong that it could be a sign the Breen are on the move (which is sort of like the four horseman teaming up with the Fenrir, the Midgard Serpent, Hel, and ... my knowledge of cool end times figures sort of ends with those two mythologies) and they're never actually involved in anything of note.

The Dominion recruiting them was really impressive since they don't tend not to get involved and it's really good for the Dominon's war effort, but it didn't exactly mean that there's a lot of Dominon new allied territory for the victors to divide.  The Breen simply haven't been expanding their empire enough for that.

The prize on this side of the wormhole was Cardasian space.  With the Cardasian's emerging as the saviors that prize is off the table which means...

All that's left is hoping to get territory on the other side of the wormhole and ... they don't.  Not a bit.

After all of the dead Romulans and all other costs of the war the Romulans have nothing to show for it.  They don't have new territory, they don't have revenge (the war ended in a peace treaty not subjugation or extermination or some such) they've got nothing but lost lives and lost resources.

The Romulans in charge are going to be called to justify a war that accomplished nothing, and the only thing they can point to is a single assassination and a computer record so beat up it can't be verified to be a non-forgery.  If the record is accurate then it was a defensive war and they can justify it to their people ... maybe.  But only if they can prove beyond all doubt that it is accurate.

Meaning they need to prove that the (non-existent) meeting the record purported to record really happened and really happened that way and thus the Romulan Star Empire was in existential danger because otherwise the leadership of the Romulan (Star) Empire might as well decapitate themselves to save the inevitable revolution the trouble,

No good came of the war for them.  They would have been much better off to sit it out and then, if it proved necessary, take on whatever war hammered powers came out the victors.  Instead those who run the empire find their hands drenched in Romulan blood and Romulans are nothing if not passionate.

The friends, family, and lovers of the dead are going to want those responsible to pay.

Thus the Romulans need to prove that they didn't go to war on inadequate evidence and they need to prove that the fake meeting happened and the dominion was responsible for the death of Vreenak.

Or at least they think they do.

And it shouldn't be too hard.  If the record is accurate than there would be mountains of supporting evidence and the wonderful beautiful part is that, as a result of how peace came about, they can simply go to the Cardasians and the Dominion to get the damn records.  The Cardasians switched to their side.  The Dominion has a peace treaty with them.

Except doing that will prove that it didn't happen which then means that the Romluans need to find out who set them up.  They need to otherwise, best case scenario, the entire leadership is kicked out of positions of power.  Worst case scenario the streets are stained green with their blood and the blood of everyone they ever associated with.

At this point it isn't even about the truth, though they'll probably learn the truth.  They need a scapegoat if they can't learn the truth, and this is where it gets fun.

The only logical scapegoat is Deep Space 9.  Even if they think they're lying to cover their asses, they'll actually be telling the truth: The Federation, specifically via their lies and manipulation, is responsible for the death of every Romulan lost in the Dominion war.

And this then raises the potential for the ultimate save for the rulers of the Empire.  The Federation has been getting their asses kicked.  For a long damn time.  They're worn down, their military is worn out, and the Romulans have the upper hand in all imaginable ways.  (The Federation has all of one cloaking device, and that difference is just the start.)

And they'll be without their allies.  Klingon honor wouldn't let them side with the Federation anyway once the truth came out (even though they would have appreciated the help it provided in the war) but Klingons have a particular aversion to assassination via bombs.  It's not quite a religious conviction, but in some ways it's even stronger.

Blowing up Vreenak was basically the ideal way to convince the Klingons not to side with the Federation in the inevitable Federation-Romulan war.

Going to war as a response to a war you shouldn't have gone to might not seem like a good strategy but it will provide everything the Romulans need to maintain their stability.

They need loot.  Territory, treasures, the spoils of war.  The Federation has it (right next door no less.)

They need vengeance.  All of the Romulans in the Dominon war died for nothing and if the outrage of that isn't channeled outward Romulan society will probably self destruct.  Since the Federation is responsible for the Romulans being in the war, and they did it just because the were willing to trade Romulan lives for a marginally better position in the war (so extra emotional resonance points) they're perfect.

They need to prove that they can still win wars.  Not tie them, win.  Come out the victor, gain new territory, expand the empire.  The low hanging fruit that is taking over the Federation will provide that proof.

So on, so forth.  War with the Federation is an answer to every problem.

The only thing that could save the Federation is if someone were to, say, blow up the Romulan sun and destroy one of their home worlds in a movie that started an execrable series intent on destroying all your dreams and turning people of color into Benedict Cumberbatch.

But let us say that didn't happen.  War between the Romulans and the Federation is inevitable.


And that war should be very interesting.

Especially, and this is important, the Romaulan politics going into it.

The top of the leadership needs to be able to tell the people who is to blame and, since the Federation really is to blame, that's already a reason.  They also need to prove that they're still an imperial power.  They just went to the biggest war they've been in in ages and they didn't expand their territory or get any loot.

They need to show they can do that otherwise they'll lose their power.

Others have historical reasons for wanting to take down the Federation.  Romulan Wars aren't supposed to end in peace treaties and neutral zones which means that for 200 years Romulans have wanted to get back at Earth.  More than that the Federation is literally the anti-Romulan coalition.

When the Earth-Romulan war ended the people who banded together against the Romulans decided to turn their wartime anti-Romulan alliance into ... well, the United Federation of Planets.

The Federation is seriously the Anti-Romulan league.  There's probably a bit of resentment.

But there are also going to be people who have had their fill of war.

There are Romulans who might want to normalize relations.  There have always been Romulans who supported reunification with Vulcans anyway and right now their economy could probably really use new trading partners.

And there's also the Steve Rodgers / Tony Stark split.  Vulcans and Romulans are two different races of the same species and that species has massive anger management problems.

Their emotions can be explosive and Vulcan and Romulus both had to find a way to not wipe themselves out with that shrapnel.

If you watch the scepter scene from The Avengers you've got sort of a human example of what happened.

Banner needs to not emotionally explode.  Rodgers says you need suppress, keep emotion entirely under control of your rationality.  That's the Vulcan way.  Stark suggests a different approach.  Let off steam so it doesn't build up until it explodes.  The Romulan way.

Romulans embrace their passions and thus by letting their emotions out they generally don't explode.

After the Dominion War, though, their passions should be boiling.

And then there's just the ordinary scheming that happens.  People who feel they can profit from war, people who think they can use the whole volatile situation for personal or political gain.  Trying to get someone you have a nice old bloodfeud with labeled as a Federation collaborator.

Also there's a question of what the war is going to be about.  For the Romulan government it's going to be best for it to be a war of conquest, but for those who lost loved ones for no reason other than Federation lies, extermination might feel more appropriate.

Trying to control and channel the anger and hurt into something that's productive for the Empire (the Romulan way of dealing with the Romulan-Vulcan emotional problems writ large) is going to be a difficult and complex task.  If it can be managed.

If it can't, then the war will spiral out of control.

Thus the proposal for fan fiction.  We know the Romulans and Federation would be going to war, we know the Romulans would have the extreme advantage, what we need is for people to tell that story.

Or rather... those stories.  The lead up to war, the war itself, and everything after the war would all be full of stories.

- -
- - -
- -

* Even if the cover-up were perfect which would sort of be like ... ok, I can't actually think of anything unlikely enough to compare to the suggestion that it's even possible to believe that the Romulans might not find out every detail of Vreenak's death in the post war galaxy using only ordinary means.

Did you know that falling up is actually within the realm of physical possibility?  The only reason that it doesn't happen is that the probability is negligible.  Even if some of the particles that compose your body did tend towards that end in spite of the massive probability against them, the vast majority would follow the much more likely path that gravity suggests: down.

Are you more likely to fall up the next time you trip than the events of In the Pale Moonlight to remain a secret?  Of course.  But you're so much more likely that the comparison doesn't even make sense.  It's like saying that the sun is more likely to come up than it to turn out that everyone in your life is actually a mutant lizard person who has been tricking you into believing that humanity is a thing as part of a massive universe spanning --most of the stars are just lights suspended in the geodesic dome around the earth in this scenario, but the universe is actually larger and space is, at the non-solar system level, more hyperbolic than Euclidean, and don't even ask about the speed of light because you don't want to know-- plot to create intelligent cheese.

Is it true?  Yeah, the sun is more likely to rise when it normally does than ... that other thing.  But the scale is just so different.

So, the point here, is that we know that using only fairly straightforward means the Romulans will find out.  The odds against it aren't merely too great to calculate, they are too great to imagine.  The human mind lacks the capacity.

But, if it didn't...

. . .

in that extremely unlikely event, time travel has been used as (an extremely mundane downright boring and routine) method of fact finding for over a hundred years by the time of the episode in question.

It's only used to find information about events in your own history because if you get caught in some other power's history then they'll kick up the time travel and start visiting your history and at that point there are only two options:

  1. Time War.  Even if your empire survives it is exceedingly unlikely that anyone you know or care about (yourself obviously included) will exist when the war is over.
  2. Temporal Cold War.  You don't even want to know.  Trust me on this.  I stuck with Enterprise way too long in hopes that it would get good.
But important events in your own history you check out using time travel, and after the end of the Dominion War the Romulans are really, really going to want to prove that the casus belli justified the cost which means that they have to investigate everything that happened surrounding Senator Vreenak's assassination down the position and velocity of individual subatomic particles.

"Can't be done," you say? Heisenberg compensators.

Plus, let us never forget, the Romulans create and ride black holes (every TNG/DS9 Warbird has one) more or less for shits and giggles.  The founders of Time Lord society on Gallifrey had mind-rending, eternity-lasting, reality-tearing trouble with the whole black hole making process.

We don't know if their ships are bigger on the inside or not, but it hardly matters.  Using time travel to investigate important events in your own history, like say why you went into a costly war, is old technologly.  It is to them what 1909 technology is to us.

Shortwave radio.

All that they need to do to find out what really happened to Vreenak is have a war free time (you do not want to fuck with time travel during a war) and be willing to deploy technology no more advanced to them than a shortwave radio is to us.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ugh (having trouble writing a four realms fragment)

So I'm having great trouble writing a series of three scenes which show insights into the relationship involving homeless by choice mostly-human transmale, emotion feeding succubus (as opposed to fluid feeding one), and genderfluid runaway human kid.

Mostly human is sexual aromantic, with a preference for sex with a friend or potential friend rather than, say, hookup culture.
"So friends with benefits?"

"I never liked that phrase.  All friendships have benefits, otherwise they wouldn't be friendships."
Succubus is largely the same way but she actually does have a smidge of romantic, which is rare for sex demons.  (They're almost exclusively completely completely aromantic.)  Very importantly: she's from a Succubus/Incubus community that believes strongly in consent which is far from universal in the species.

Runaway kid is initially young enough that sexuality isn't really known, but ze is sure about being binary conforming gender fluid.  (Whether he's a boy or she's a girl changes, but ze is always either a gender conforming boy or a gender conforming girl.)  Had to run away from home because dad didn't want "his son" to be a "sissy" and mom was pissed off because "being a woman isn't a part time job."

Mostly human finds runaway kid and knows exactly where ze can be accepted.

Succubus/Incubus culture is very welcoming into non-cis people.  The species never has a "body doesn't match identity" problem (they're not human and thus they operate in different ways) but ... while every Succubus is female, every Incubus is male, but the demons can freely change between the two.

They've got full time Succubi who were born Incubi, full time Incubi who were born Succubi, and a large contingent who change between the two all the time.  While they fundamentally don't get genderqueer people --or a lot of human gender sexual identity things-- they make an effort to be accepting on those fronts and generally do a good job of it.

Runaway kid's gender identity is practically a prominent Succubus/Incubus identity anyway and even if it weren't the culture would be accepting of zir identity, since Sucubus' group is all about consent, the comon dangers associated with Succubi and Incubi don't apply.

Skip to years later.

Succubus has adopted runaway kid and loves zir a lot but has a bit of a crisis when she realizes that runaway kid is asexual aromantic.  Mostly the asexual part.  So many of the things that she had panned to share with her child go up in smoke with that revelation.

Both of them end up talking with mostly human.

And that covers all that I've been trying to write in these fragments.

Scene one: Succubus and mostly-human meet for the first time.

Scene two: Mostly human meets runaway and brings zir to succubus.

Scene three: Sucubus talks to mostly human about discovering her child is asexual and her feelings surrounding it.  After she leaves, runaway talks to mostly human about the Succubus' reaction.  Mostly human's general reaction to both is: You love each other as child and parent, pretty sure that's more important to either of you than the sex thing.

I'm not having any luck actually writing it.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

KP EbE - Your irrational prejudice will be vindicated (Monkey Fist Strikes post 2)

[Added] I'm seriously wondering if I should go with with four posts per episode instead of two because this?  This is long.

Seems like it's at least twice as long as would be a decent size.  If it is indeed twice as long as a good sized post then the solution is to double the posts per episode.  But that would mean each post covered about five minutes and 20 seconds of actual content, which doesn't seem like that much in spite of the verbiage of this post that covers about twice that.

So, people who read stuff, do you have thoughts on sticking with two posts per episodes or or moving to four?  (I don't think the episodes divide into thirds well but I could look into it.)


In the first half of the episode:

Kim escaped having to see her cousin Larry at family game night by saving a baby eagle, complained about Larry apparently nonstop, through the trip home, the night, and the following school day in ways that varied between open hostility towards and dismissiveness of geek culture.  She was particularly appalled by conventions and cosplay, and particularly dismissive of a videogame that Ron likes called "Fortress".

Then Team Possible headed to Cambodia to loot recover a jade idol from a temple.  It was a monkey idol in a monkey temple which triggered Ron due to past trauma.  His vocal distaste for all non-human things simian caused friction between himself and noted British archaeologist Lord Monty Fisk.  Kim recovered the jade idol but it was stolen in the night by a ninja.

Upon her return Kim learned that, because she missed family game night, Larry's mom invited the entire family over for dinner Saturday.

* * *

Kim: Saturday is going to be Night of the Living Larry.
Ron: You know I gotta tell ya, this Larry ... he sounds like a majorly fun guy.

Ron gets some sort of special dispensation for being Kim's best friend since Pre-K, but his opinions are not taken into account.  We saw that at the beginning of the episode when him talking about his interest in the game Fortress (which Kim had just dissed) was responded to with sarcasm and not a hint of reevaluation.

Kim again responds with sarcasm.  She doesn't consider that maybe Larry isn't so horrible but instead they just have differing interests.  She just quips, "Want me to send him to your house?" which only works because of her "I'm not taking what I'm hearing seriously" tone of voice.  If it had been a serious comment it would be a logistical nightmare.  (Kim's whole family is going to Larry's house but she's going to send Larry to Ron's house?  Yeah, that makes sense.)

Wade pops in with new information on the monkey idol and temple.  The good news is that Ron is not reduced to a quivering mass of human misery nor does he experience a flashback to past trauma this time.  The bad news is that he avoids that by covering his ears and going:

La la la No Monkey Stuff!

and so forth until Kim puts her hand over his mouth.

Kim: Please continue, Wade.
Wade: The temple was one of four built by the followers of Monkey Kung Fu. Each temple had a jade monkey.
Kim: Back up. What is Monkey Kung Fu?
Ron: Other than sick and wrong?

Ok, so, there are things.

"Kung Fu" is an umbrella term for several hundred different types of Chinese martial arts.  The temple was in Cambodia and the practitioners are dressed in a way that Kim and Ron immediately recognize as ninja garb -- ninjas being from Japan.

The show has just mashed all of Asia's Pacific coast (mainland and islands) between Indonesia and Russia into a single indistinct exotic eastern locale.

Good work there.

Apparently if it's in the eastern hemisphere, south of Russia, north of Indonesia, and touching the Pacific Ocean it's part of one big place we like to call, "Orientalist Mishmash."

And if there's one thing that we know of oriental martial arts, beyond the fact that they are completely interchangeable and require no fidelity to time or place, it's that they're magic.  Magic, magic, Crouching Tiger, Hidden MAGIC.  Did I mention that the exotic eastern martial arts people, whose location we can't narrow down to a radius of less than two thousand miles, happen to be magic?  Because they're totally magic.

Seriously.  Here is the very next line which doesn't actually answer the question, "What is Monkey Kung Fu?"

Wade: According to legend, when the four jade monkeys were brought together, they gave the warriors mystical monkey power.

Kim: It's the same drawing we saw at the dig.

No.  No it is not.  I will go frame by frame if I have to but that drawing wasn't there.  What's more: it wasn't a dig.  You went to an above ground non-excavated (it didn't need to be excavated) temple and looted it which ... good for you, but there was no dig,  There was you, Ron, an English Lord, and his valet.  There was no dig.  There was no excavation.  There was no anything-other-than-a-campsite.

Um, maybe I shouldn't argue with fictional characters so much.  Resuming:

Kim: It's the same drawing we saw at the dig. But why separate the monkeys?
Ron: Because mystical monkey power is sick and wrong!
Wade: Actually, the legend says that the warriors didn't want anybody else to get the power.
Kim: Maybe the thief believed the legend...

This isn't new information.  "Monkey Kung Fu" was new information, but Lord Monty Fiske already delivered the mystical monkey power bit (using a completely different drawing) before Kim even went in after the idol.  He dismissed it as superstitious natives, but Kim got this exposition dumped on her before.  Four Jade idols that when brought together would create mystical monkey power.

Maybe I'm being too harsh though.  Fiske just said that the legend was that the power would be generated, Wade has added the tidbit that people could be imbued with the mystical monkey power.  Moving on.

Lord Monty Fiske: Bates! Bates!
Bates: Coming, milord. You know milord. I do wonder if it might have been a mistake to call in Kim Possible.
Lord Monty Fiske: Nonsense, the plan worked perfectly. She retrieved the item, didn't she?
Bates: Milord could have handled those primitive booby-traps.

The valet to an English Lord has just called the actually quite awesome and advanced --for example the ancient automated flame throwers still worked, pause for a moment to consider the impressiveness of "ancient automated flame throwers"-- technology of an ancient people, whose artifacts previously mentioned English Lord was taking without so much as an indigenous adviser on hand, "primitive".

I'm not going to unpack that.  I'm not going to touch that.

If you want further reading then look up the fights the British Museum is still having with people who want their culture, heritage, and history back and note that the British Museum's standard response is that they're not yet ready to care for their own stuff.

Be prepared to cry.

- - -

Back to the story.

Bates trips over a plot placed bump in the plot placed rug (that only exists for the tripping scene itself not the other floor-showing scenes before and after) and this happens:

Fiske caught the entire tea set, without losing a drop, using his strangely hairy (but just on the back) hands and one of his very similar feet.

The great revelation of this whole sequence (He's the villain! He's not entirely human!) doesn't exactly come as a surprise, especially if you know the name which... I honestly don't know when they said the name of the episodes.  The names aren't revealed in the episodes themselves (there's no episode specific title screen) but they might have been in the surrounding media ("Tune in tonight for the new Kim Possible episode: Monkey Fist Strikes.")  Regardless, Monkey Fist == Monty Fiske is shown as a villain in the title sequence that plays at the start of every episode so... yeah.

Maybe the fact that he has modified feet is a revelation, and on that topic...

I get why he did the foot thing --a foot with all the versatility of a hand could be of great use in some situations-- but what value there was in modifying his hands is kind of lost on me.

Anyway he's been calm, collected, and generally avoiding reasonable suspicion thus far.  Time for that to change.

Lord Monty Fiske: And risk injuring THESE HANDS!

Yes, perfectly reasonable extreme emotional outbreak.

In a longer episode --one which was also better planned out-- there could be an arc where he becomes more and more unstable as he comes closer to his goal of attaining mystical monkey power.  Sure, it's a cliche but what in Kim Possible isn't?

I just think a gradual change would have worked better than the Cambodia Lord Monty Fiske / England Lord Monty Fiske dichotomy we do have.

In Cambodia viewers could tell that he was the bad guy (I think) but the characters aren't that genre savvy.  Shego's generally the most genre savvy of the lot and she's not in this episode.  Ron's not that bad, but he spent the entire time either non-responsive or irrational due to his past trauma having been triggered.

In fact, the only sign that Lord Fiske made of being a bad guy in Cambodia was intentionally triggering Ron and taking joy in it, but Kim didn't notice because she was looking away.  Even that could be dismissed as him just being a jerk, rather than a villain, who wanted to get back at Ron after Ron's anti-monkey rant and (this is the jerk part) wasn't above triggering Ron to do it.

He met up with Team Possible in bright daylight and then they spent the night with him and not once was there any kind of slip or outburst.

He was calm and collected.

While we might dismiss his willingness to break his calm here as him being comfortable in his own home while no one other than Bates is around (which is why he had no qualms about revealing his modifications with the catch) this is also exactly how he'll act in front of Team Possible when they eventually show up.

There's no transition, a switch has been flipped and he's gone from someone completely under control to someone who goes from calm, to an outraged ball of emotion, and back to calm all in moments.

I'll get to the "back to calm", but before I do I want to point out chronology.

* * *

It's hard as all hell to figure out how things go timewise in Kim Possible but:

On a school day Kim got the mission to Cambodia.  She probably didn't skip school.  School gets out at 3:00 PM, she hopped a military transport jet, assume the fastest around and we get nine hour flight.  This a 1PM arrival in Cambodia which is fine by the lighting of the initial scenes.  Scene lighting is way more important than real world travel time when trying to figure this stuff out.

Sometimes travel is impossibly fast in Kim Possible so if the lighting had disagreed with the military transport jet time we'd have to go with the lighting.  The fact is, though, that the sun wasn't up in Cambodia when Kim got out of school and it was when they arrived so in this particular case the lighting matches a vaguely reasonable travel time.

She stays overnight in Cambodia and arrives back home in time for breakfast.  We don't know how she got home but the good news is, it doesn't really matter.  She arrived at Cambodia in daylight, stayed over night, and got back home in time for breakfast.  That's all we need.

It means she was gone for a little over a day and a half.  39 hours, more or less, if we assume a Six AM breakfast.

Her parents aren't big on her skipping school so it must not have been a school day that she missed.  She must have left on Friday and gotten back on Sunday.

Thus the Saturday get together with Larry (when the A and B stories of the episode will both come to a climax) is a full week after Cambodia.  There's plenty of built in time for Lord Fiske to, say, set up a magical ritual thus allowing scenes during which he slowly becomes less able to keep a grip on things.

We could have seen him going from someone who had a tight lid on his true feelings and intentions to someone who was more and more unable to keep anything under the surface for long and thus had a semi-plausible transition between the two ways he acts in canon.

Instead it's like a switch is flipped and we get: Cambodia Fiske = sneaky schemer who can keep his true feelings hidden or, at the very least, incredibly understated, England Fiske = completely unstable guy who goes between seeming calm and a rage of angry exposition at the slightest provocation and could not possibly pass as a non-villain for more than a minute and a half even if his life depended on it.

* * *

The above aside of what could have been is there mostly because, as it is, you kind of wonder how he managed to avoid going off on a villainous rant for the entire time he was with Team Possible in Cambodia.

But I said I'd get to him returning to calm.

Ok, maybe I should have shown a picture of his outburst so that you'd understand how completely different he was for the "THESE HANDS!" moment that took place between this shot and the last one I showed.  But I kind of just want to get this done so plowing forward.

Lord Monty Fiske: Besides, by masquerading as the ninja I throw suspicion off me.

Who would have been suspicious?

I've got no idea.  Do you have an idea?

Was someone watching his Cambodian expedition that had all of the equipment and attendance of a small camping trip?

Did he avoid being prosecuted for artifact theft by saying, "I didn't loot it, Kim Possible did, and I don't have it, it was stolen"?

Other than plot, what reason is there to have him throw suspicion off himself?  I mean, plot I get.  If he just took possession of the idol by retrieving it then Team Possible wouldn't be involved.  If he stole it by pretending everything was ok and switching it with a fake on its way to a museum then Team Possible wouldn't still be looking into things because they'd consider the matter closed.  So plot required something like the theft to happen because otherwise our heroes wouldn't be involved in this story anymore.

But, beyond plot, what suspicions?  He would have looked like an English Lord taking valuable antiquities from their native land for display in England.  That's kind of what the English are known for.  That and colonialism, which has roots in the exact same fucking mindset.

While Bates concedes that the Fiske knows best, Fiske tosses everything but the teacup and we hear it crash and shatter wherever it lands.  Again, how did he keep himself controlled in Cambodia?

* * *

They go to have a little chat in a secret room where the four jade idols are.

Now... ok, so, I know nothing about doing animation.  That means that this is going into "criticizing shit you don't know about" territory, but the thing is ... I don't have to know that much to know when it's fucked up.

Maybe there's a perfectly reasonable explanation.  Perhaps this was done in a somewhat rushed set of circumstances and there just wasn't time for all of the animators to touch base and make sure they were consistent with their ... it doesn't matter.  Whatever the reason, the idols as depicted in the room are really badly done.

First Fiske and Bates go over to examine the idol that they had Kim recover and then Fiske "stole" except... it isn't the idol that Kim recovered.  It doesn't look remotely like it.  It's not about lighting or texture or some such, the thing has a completely different shape so that if all you had was a basic silhouette you'd still know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that was not the one Kim retrieved.

It's going to be moved at the end of this scene, and we're going to see it in the new position in later scenes, and things will happen to it in the new position, and through all of this it will still be shown as being where it is right now.

It's obviously magic if it can be in two places at once and two shapes at once.  Or the animators were being really, really sloppy.

And it's not just this idol.  This one stands out because it'll appear in two different places in the same shot meaning that there are times where if you count up the four idols you end up with a result of five.  The other idols might not be two places in a single shot, but they change shape drastically from shot to shot and ...

Back to the story.

Bates assumes that Lord Fiske's desire for mystical monkey power is figurative because to actually believe in it as a non-figurative thing would be "crazy".

Lord Monty Fiske: *quickly escalating crescendo of emotion* Crazy, you say? Like it was crazy to spend the family fortune on radical genetic mutation and dangerous experimental surgery? Like it was crazy *starts beating his chest* to become a man-monkey, *gets in Bates face* who violates every law of nature and science!?
Lord Monty Fiske: *returned completely to normal* It's a touch unconventional.

Again, I question how he kept his cool for long enough to not tip Kim off in Cambodia.

Lord Monte Fiske: *menacing* Now, put the magic monkey in place.

* * *

Wade: The leading expert on all things simian is Lord Monty Fiske.

Humans are simians. Is he the leading expert on all things human?

Kim: We helped him, he'll help us.

Aren't you still helping him?  Unless you're trying to track down the ninja who stole the idol for vengeance, it seems to me like this is just an extension of the idol retrieval job he called you in for.

Kim: We helped him, he'll help us. We'll go talk to him this weekend.
Ron: Oh, that'll be a fun conversation!  Monkey this, monkey that, monkey, monkey, monkey!
Kim: Ron, look ... Oh!  Saturday, just remembered my dinner with Larry.
Wade: Can't you flake?
Kim: No, all flaking options denied.

Ok, so some things.  One is that Ron's mental state has actually improved considerably over the course of this episode.  He's gone from being turned into an incoherent quivering mass of trauma at the very mention of the word "monkey" to being merely extremely annoyed.

Second, what of Sunday?  Why not Sunday?  Why wait for the weekend?

I get that a part of what's happening here is a conflict between obligation to family (has to go to Larry's house) and her job/vocation/friends (Team Possible is her calling, her work, and her friends.)

Thus Kim has to choose, and making Saturday the only day for going to Fiske is the way that choice is forced.

It would have worked better if the meeting had been set up before Kim remembered that Saturday was Larry day.

Another reason why this might be better if it had been able to be a longer episode.  She could have gotten all of this talk done in a conversation where she wasn't thinking about Larry, as opposed to this one that started with, "Saturday is going to be Night of the Living Larry," and then after Wade had everything all arranged and called up at yet another time (there's a week to work with here) had that be when Kim realizes she's double booked.

As it is, it all comes across rather forced.

But it wouldn't be a real dilemma without an easy out dangled in front of Kim, right?

Holo-Kim: Can I make a suggestion? Send me!
*Kim walks all the way around the hologram getting a look at all sides*
Ron: Oh no, which one's the real Kim?
Kim: What do you think?

I think that the animators left in a placeholder effect and that's why the Kimmunicator is a basic red outline of a shape instead of the light blue device we've come to know.

Ron: Oh, sure!  Make fun!  But when holographic duplicates start running around, you can't be too careful.
Wade: Think about it, Kim.  My holographic simulator is ready for a field test.
Holo-Kim: Really, Larry?  That's very interesting, Larry.  Nice costume, Larry.
Kim: It rocks, Wade, but I can't do the virtual flake.  I promised Dad.  It is very tempting though.

The scene ends on the temptation of Kim.

Rewind.  Ron's right about the care needed when holographic duplicates are running around.  You can't go around poking people in polite company to make sure that they're the real them and not a holo duplicate.

That said, in spite of being ready for a field test here in episode 3, Wade is never going to use this technology again.  Late in Season 3, the original final season, Ron will mistakenly think Wade has used it again, and at the end of Season 3, the original end of Kim Possible as a whole, someone else will make use of similar technology, but all of the plot possibilities that this bring up?  Never going to be explored.

Well, never beyond this episode.

We're going to cut straight from here to Saturday and Kim's going to be in two places at once.  Which is the real Kim!?

Ron's comment, which is kind of absurd since he watched the real Kim get up and walk around the holo-Kim, is sort of foreshadowing.

On the other hand, what it's foreshadowing is a question just as easy to answer as his question here.  You're not really going to be in doubt about which is real and which is not.

But for the moment there's doubt.  Is Kim going to skip out on what could be a valuable trip for Team Possible where she, Ron, and Rufus (with Wade at mission control) work towards recovering a valuable historical artifact, or is she going to skip out on seeing the cousin who creeps her out, sending a hologram in her stead, in a move that's a direct violation of her father's trust?

Oh, I just can't wait to ... Actually, I can wait.  I could even take a nap right now.  But was there anything else we had to get to?

Oh, right, Wade's holo-Kim planning on being a patronizing condescending ... can't think of the right word so insert pejorative [here] to Larry.

Wade is a science fiction fan, he's a computer game fan, he's a computer fan, he's a geek fan, he's probably a nerd fan.  Why is Wade taking Kim at her word that Larry is a creepy guy who needs to be talked to this way?

Or is he?  Could this be Wade actually talking down to Kim by assuming that these are the only responses Kim could think to give to Larry while in fact being well aware that real engagement and actual discussion is a better route?  Is the holo-Kim's vacuousness a result of Wade taking Kim's word that Larry is vacuous, or a result of Wade thinking that Kim herself is vacuous and so any simulation of her ought to be too?

No idea.  Just something to think about.

* * *

Ron: So what made you decide to do the virtual flake after all?
Kim: Wade really wanted to test out the Holo-Kim.
*Kim waits at door and looks at Ron*
*awkward silence*
Ron: Are we gonna ring the doorbell? Knock? Something?
Kim: Uh, yeah... doorbell.
*Kim steps aside and gestures for Ron to ring it*

And now we know who the Holo-Kim is.  The way the scene at Larry's house is shot, with Kim not touching anything and making responses as vacuous as the ones Wade suggested Holo-Kim could make, makes me feel like they were trying to maintain doubt, but the fact is that the doorbell scene is more extreme than I can do justice in words.

Kim starts out between Ron and the doorbell, even after she steps back to give him space he has to lean in awkwardly, passed her, to ring it.

There's no way flesh and blood Kim would do that.

While Ron doesn't immediately realize, "HOLO-KIM!" the oddness of the situation is not lost on him and her does give an askance glance at Holo-Kim while he has to lean passed her to ring the doorbell she was right next to.

Before we cut to real Kim and Larry, the door gets answered and Bates is surprised to see them meaning that this was not a prearranged meeting meaning WHY THE HELL WASN'T IT JUST DELAYED UNTIL THE NEXT DAY KIM WAS AVAILABLE!?

Excuse me.

Sorry, it's just that the dilemma of "Larry or Mission" is so contrived that I'm more hung up on it than I am on Wade tricking Ron into going completely on his own to face someone Ron doesn't trust in a place composed of concentrated Ron-fear where his trauma might be triggered.

Anyway, Ron walks into the mansion with Holo-Kim who he thinks is Real-Kim.

Then we cut to Kim and Cousin Larry:

And oh my God, I never noticed the awesome purple dragon on the top shelf before.

I'm not saying that I fully get Larry --I for example, would never build or buy a facade to put around my computer-- but just looking at the still I feel like the more you look at his room the more you'll find to like.

The UFO that I think is his ceiling light.  The random other space ship hanging down, retro future chair at the computer, at least one of those action figures has wings and I'm all about the winged people.  The Fortress poster has a woman in non-objectifying, non-revealing, sensible-looking clothing.  His rig has some sort of gaming controller attachment with twin joysticks.

I've never really looked, just looked, at Larry's Room before.

And would you look at that purple dragon?  Damn.  I want a purple dragon like that.  Somebody get me a purple dragon like that.

Ok, deconstruction.  Um... words.

Before we get to what's been said and done, there's a really important thing for you to remember in order to place this scene in context: Kim's been faking enjoying Larry's company since she was three years old. Her dad thinks that she's likes hanging out with Larry and Larry obviously isn't good at reading tone of voice or body language because he hasn't picked up on Kim's distaste either.

We need to view all their interactions in light of the fact that, so far as Larry knows, Kim likes hanging out with him and take into account the total lack of being able to read people, or at least read Kim, that that implies.

Now we're ready.

*Larry holding action figure*
Larry: *dramatic intonation* Greetings Kim, I am Olthar. Maybe you recognize me from Return to Ios.
Kim: Hello, Larry.
Larry: I do not know this Larry of whom you speak.  I am Olthar.  *normal voice*  You really don't get the spirit of role playing, do you, cousin?

Role playing fail on Larry's part for mentioning the movie the character was in even though in-universe the character wouldn't know about the movie unless was Return to Ios was a Spaceballs type film.  Though it could be that he's trying to set the scene for Kim by reminding her which movie.

Also, if he's in character it sort of makes one wonder why he's calling Kim "Kim" except that there's a perfectly logical explanation that doesn't infantalize Larry and make him seem like a small child who picks up a toy and wants the grown ups to address the toy while "the toy" calls the grownups by their real names.  Here's the explanation: Larry is probably aware of Kim's inability to keep in character.

Family Game Night seems to take place at Kim's house so she isn't at Larry's place much, which means that this kind of role playing with figures isn't likely to be how they usually interact but Kim's definitely been here before so Larry has probably tried this before and he doesn't need to be able to see through Kim's fake smiles to tell that she responds better to, "Kim," than, "Akasha of the Nine Mountains," or whatever.

Kim's "Hello, Larry" is not in her usual voice at all.  In fact it really reminds one of Holo-Kim's fake interest, as will everything else Kim says in this scene, which makes me think that there was supposed to be doubt about which was real and which wasn't and that whole thing was blown by Holo-Kim's inability to ring the doorbell in the first Saturday scene.

Leaving the meta and going back into the flow of things, Role Playing with figures didn't work so Larry tries a different tack.

He turns toward the figure shelf behind him and:

Larry: As you can see, my Ios collection has grown quite impressively since your last visit.
*Larry turns back with a different figure and holds it out to Kim*
Larry: Notice anything amiss?
*Kim avoids touching the offered figure*
Kim: *while shaking head*  Uh-uh.
Larry: It's a Bernalus Senator with a silver cape.  *laugh*  Rather dramatic error on the part of the manufacturer, given that the Senators wore only purple.
Kim: Really, Larry?  Isn't that fascinating?

This is actually an almost ideal approach to take with Kim all things considered.  That it fails is because it's the wrong type of collection.  (If it had been a cuddle buddy --stuffed animals that combine two different real world animals into a single plush toy-- she'd really be fascinated.)  That Kim is totally unable to see the point or find common ground is because she can't see Larry outside of the nerd shaped box and can't seem to imagine having anything in common with him.

In fact her "Really, Larry?  Isn't that fascinating?" has the Holo-Kim style false interest wearing off and her just seeming annoyed even though she's still trying to humor him.

Larry seems to pick up on that because he changes tack again.  He's changing tack so fast in this scene that it feels like he's sailing into the wind or something.

Larry: Can I interest you in a game of Fortress?  I can cheat code us right to level nine.
*Kim gives and awkward smile*

I've been playing games since I was too young to remember.  The early memories that I do have are of the Commodore 64 (Donkey Kong and Burger Time!*) and the TI (Star Trek, no other name, just "Star Trek") and in all that time I don't think I've ever heard "cheat code" used as a verb.

A cheat code is a noun.  Cheating is the verb you do using cheat codes.  Besides which, you'd just say, "I can skip straight to level nine."

That's not important though.  Kim's awkward smile could be seen as another, "Could this be Holo-Kim?" thing since Wade controlling Holo-Kim wouldn't be able to play any more than Wade controlling Holo-Kim could press that doorbell, but really the important thing is this:

In less than 40 seconds Cousin Larry has tried three different ways to keep Kim interested and happy.

Roleplaying didn't work.  Collectors items didn't work.  Now he's onto computer games.  If we didn't cut away then maybe we'd see even more things in his arsenal of "maybe this will work."

Kim isn't willing to put any effort into connecting with her cousin, Larry is putting a lot of effort into it.  He's failing utterly, but a big part of that failure has to be because Kim never offers anything he can use as common ground.  Hell, she never talks about what she is interested in so it's no surprise that Larry doesn't know that she isn't interested in this stuff.

She could have brought up the mission she went on.  Ancient temple, death traps that might be like the ones in his games and movies, valuable artifact, fight with a ninja, and meeting a famous archaeologist to boot.

It would be a topic of conversation and even if it didn't go anywhere (it would, for what it's worth) it would at least be something that Larry could play off of to find common ground.

Or, failing that, Kim could just be honest and tell her dad, Larry, and Larry's mom that she doesn't like the time she spends with him very much.

Instead she seems intent on suffering through this while pretending to be nice.  She's not going to actually try to connect or enjoy the time with Larry, but she's damn well not going to admit that she doesn't connect with him or enjoy this time.  Which ... why?

Ok, I get the whole Good Girls Tell Lies toxic culture thing but Kim is visiting other cultures left and right, hobnobbing with people in all walks of life, and generally doing things that should give her a glance outside of that toxic culture.

Yes, if she admits that she dislikes time spent with Larry as much as her brothers do she'll make her dad unhappy and fail to live up to expectations and blah.  But she's got to be meeting people who don't have that "I must lie and suffer to meet expectations rather than be honest with others about the fact that I don't want to meet those particular ones" mindset.

And beyond that, it's not like she isn't meeting with scientists whose work might interest sci-fi fan Larry.  If she's hellbent on hanging out with Larry the way her dad, Aunt June (Larry's mom), and Larry expect then there's no reason it has to be suffering.

She could try to enjoy it by seeing if there's anything where their interests overlap.  Of course first that requires admitting that she's not interested in the things Larry is talking to her about, which is tied up in lying about the whole situation since she was three, which is a result of trying to meet the expectations of others, which is ... go and read the Ana Mardoll post.  This isn't healthy and it doesn't make for a good role model.

And Kim is a role model.  She was thought up by two fathers who wanted a character for their daughters to look up to.

Kim's doing this when it comes to hanging out with a family member once a month, Bella did it with the dating scene.  It isn't good in either case.

Like Bella, Kim deals with the problem through deception and evasion that she knows won't work as a long term solution.  Unlike Bella, Kim doesn't have any longer plan in mind.  She has no out.  She's going to suffer through a once monthly meeting with Larry unless she can rescue a baby eagle as an excuse not to show up and if doing that just gets things rescheduled then she'll suffer through the rescheduling because when it comes to parents "it’s best not to sit down and discuss [not wanting to do the thing they want you to do] with them because that will hurt their fantasy of you as their precious little girl."

She literally says that she can't skip out on this because of her dad.  She's not willing to be anything but his precious obedient little girl.  When she finally does start getting sick of that it isn't the obedience she minds; it's the little.  It's that he still views her like a little kid to the point of dragging her to an event that's meant for kids so young she's actually babysitter to one of them.

Back to story.

* * *

Lord Monty Fiske: Kim Possible, and your monkey-phobic friend.  How delightful.

Bates had said that he'd announce their arrival at the end of the last England scene (I'm not quoting every line) so Lord Fiske has obviously had (off camera) warning and thus isn't shocked and somewhat dismayed the way Bates was, he just got off the chair he was standing on the arm of monkey-style, stood up straight English Lord Style, and put on a normal face in time for Ron and Holo-Kim to meet him.

He's perfectly calm and non-suspicious, the way he said, "monkey-phobic" was downright disarming even though ... well, you know.

Holo-Kim is acting normally, Ron just got spooked by a monkey painting and, in a show of how very much he really thinks he's here with another person, asked for Kim to wait and then ran to catch up so that he'd be less afraid with his best friend/action hero boss at his side.

Kim: Sorry to bother you, Lord Fiske. But we wanted to ask you some questions about--

Lord Monty Fiske: So! You know all about it!
*Lord Fiske walks to a candles on the wall by the fireplace and pulls one*
About my obsession with Tai Shing Pek Kwar.
*fireplace lowers to reveal the passageway to the secret room with the idols*

Like I've repeatedly mentioned wondering: how did he keep a lid on this in Cambodia?

Also, is that a picture of a monkey in a bikini top in the upper left hand corner?

I haven't talked about it because it didn't seem important at the time, but when he's not pretending to be a normal person Lord Fiske here does the kind of knuckle walking you'd expect to see of apes.  Think "gorilla" and you'll have a pretty good sense of it.  Monkeys don't do that.  Monkeys walk on all fours the way a cat or a dog might.

He's not about to do that just yet.  But this a position he favors over ones that arguably look more human.

Anyway, lets talk about Camboida vs. England again.  Ron provoked Lord Fiske in Cambodia.  Ron yelled that anything that can hold stuff with its feet is a freak of nature.  Lord Fiske can hold things with his feet.  Ron insulted everything Fiske is obsessed with.  Not a hint of villain.

Kim directly asked about the symbol for mystical monkey power, the very thing he's obsessed with getting.  Calm explanation and subtle lies.

Now they showed up and, other than dropping by for tea, the only thing they could be doing is coming to ask questions yet as soon as the questions are mentioned he loses his cool and starts going on a "villain explains everything" monologue / unexpected confession because he's just that bad at putting up a non-villain front.

Don't believe me on how bad he is?  This is how Holo-Kim (Wade) and Ron respond:

Ron: Say again?

They don't get it.  They have no idea what he's going on about, so he could, at this point, dial things back.  Be all, "Oh, sorry, thought you were talking about something else.  What did you want?"

In spite of the earlier talk of "crazy", rich and powerful people never are.  They're "eccentric" and while the poor and powerless may become pariahs for their difference from the norm, it's totally ok for the rich powerful eccentric people to have their eccentricities.

It would require a bit of fast talk and adaptation, but this was not a game changing lapse because "Kim" and Ron are completely lost and primed to hear an explanation.  What's more, they've come to him for help (even though they should be thinking about this as trying to make their previous help to him actually count) so the obligation is on them to humor his oddness and not raise any objections.

Cambodia Lord Monty Fiske could have seen that fact and pulled off a save even after this uncharacteristic (for Cambodia Fiske) momentary lapse.

England Lord Monty Fiske is so far gone that it's its beyond lapses or even being lapsed.  It's apostasy and instead of seeing revealing too much as a problem he instead sees the fact that they don't recognize/acknowledge what he's revealed as the problem.

*Lord Fisk has discarded his robe and is now in his Kung Fu outift*
Lord Monty Fiske: Oh, we're playing stupid, I see.
Lord Monty Fiske: *Shouting* Tai Shing Pek Kwar! Monkey kung fu!
*Lord Fiske makes a sort of "urgh" sound and heads down the secret passage*
Ron: Is it just me, or is he walking funny?

Yeah, Ron.  Yeah he is.  But I've already talked about the knuckle walking.

Ron and "Kim" follow into the secret chamber with the Jade idols.  They shouldn't.  Wade, at this point, should have Holo-Kim whisper to Ron that she's not the real Kim and they should wait until they have Kim on hand to investigate.  Then Ron should get the hell out of there.  With Lord Fiske down the secret passage the only one to stop an escape at this point is Bates and Ron can make it past Bates especially if Wade uses the Holo-Kim to be a distraction.

But no.  they follow.  And Ron has no idea how much danger he's in because he thinks that Real-Kim is by his side.

Fiske continues his villainous "reveal everything" speech in the secret chamber

Lord Monty Fiske: But did you know that I spent the family fortune to get these?
*Lord Fiske yanks off his gloves and shows "Kim" and Ron his modified hands*
*Ron gasps in horror*
Lord Monty Fiske: And these?
*Lord Fiske jumps out of his slippers and lands so he's supporting himself on his hands*
*his modified monkey feet, held aloft, are in clear view for "Kim" and Ron*

*Ron gasps again, holds Rufus protectively, and turns to "Kim"*
Ron: Bad road, bad road, bad road!

*Lord Fiske laughs, not maniacal, more like he's being lightly tickled or something*
Lord Monty Fiske: Bow to my power!
* glow ends, Lord Fiske lands on the floor*
Lord Monty Fiske: I.  Am.  Monkey Fist.
Rufus: Bye-bye.
*Rufus runs away*

And we cut to commercial.

This was mostly exposition with a tiny bit of action so there's not that much to talk about.  I do question how he managed to spend the family fortune on his body modification and yet still retained enough money to maintain possession of the castle, fill it with monkey art, install a secret passage and secret room, cover the passage with a large stone fireplace that's on some sort of elevator to allow it to move out of the way, retain or hire Bates, become world famous for his archaeology which is something he seems to do on his own money, and retrieve all four of the monkey idols.

On the topic of the idols it's worth noting the shape.  They'll switch back and forth between two shapes.  One is a cylinder with a rounded top that's carved with a suggestion of a monkey head.  The other is what we see in this scene (also what Bates and Fiske were looking at that was supposed to represent the idol Kim got.)  The first shape can still be seen in the new shape, but the nose, mouth, and ears all protrude outward from it.  Unless they're made of multiple pieces, the second shape would have to be carved from a larger hunk of Jade than the first shape.

Anyway, now would also be a good time to run.

And if you're Wade now might be a good time to call Kim, the cops, backup, people who owe favors, or anything of that nature because Ron's in there all alone.

(This is one line of dialog per shot in the above four part image.  Actions between lines of dialog happen between the shots)

Monkey Fist: So, now you know my secret.
*Monkey Fists posture and expression change*
Monkey Fist: Which you will take to your graves.
Ron: How can you be sure?  I mean a lot can happen in the next sixty or seventy years.
*Monkey Fist approaches Ron and grunts*
Ron: Oh.  Gotcha.

I considered including a shot of how utterly terrified Ron was before the cutaway for commercial, but have you seen all the pictures in this post?  Anyway, either Monkey Fist's brief switch back to calm helped Ron in recovering, or the question of how Monkey Fist could be sure helped.

Plus, while she's not in the shots above, "Kim" is right next to Ron and dropping into a fighting stance as they speak.  So he thinks he's got Kim to protect him.

Monkey Fist tries to attack her, goes right through, and the momentum the attack should have killed takes him right into a wall.

Monkey Fist: She is good.
*Ron looks at "Kim"*
*Ron touches "Kim"*
*"Kim" flickers*
Ron: You're the Holo-Kim!

This was not a good move on Ron's part.  Monkey Fist didn't realize he'd gone through a hologram.  He thought that Kim had somehow dodged or some such.  Now he knows that Ron is the only one there.

That said, it's not like it was a planned move on Ron's part.  More like an exclamation of horror.

Monkey Fist: What!?  Then where is the real Kim Possible?

* * *

Kim has taken to ignoring Larry entirely and we cut to her just as shes starting to watch a Knowing Channel documentary featuring our good old friend Lord Monty Fiske.  Because yeah, the Kimmunicator can do that.  This episode aired in 2002, smartphones were sci-fi back then.  Well, some countries were ahead of the curve (the US was behind it), but real-time streaming video on a portable device of that size ... science fiction.

So when Larry takes a look over Kim's shoulder we get this:

Larry: Is that real-time streaming video?
Kim: Yeah, a Knowing Channel documentary. I'm sure you wouldn't be interested.
Larry: Au contraire. Long have I followed the career of Lord Monty Fiske.

Remember what Kim's dad said last time about Kim knowing better than to judge a book by its cover?  No.  No, she does not.  She takes a look at people and assumes that she knows everything about them.  We'll see this again in episode 18: It Is Positively Inconceivable That A Fashionable Black Girl And A Schlubby White Boy Can Share An Interest Pain King vs. Cleopatra.

If Kim had told Larry about her interests instead of assuming that Larry couldn't possibly share any of them then she would have started out by saying that she just recently met this famous archaeologist she thinks is cool named Lord Monty Fiske and we could have skipped straight to this:

Larry: A little-known fact. He is a master of Tai Shing Pek Kwar.
Kim: *in a bit of shock* What?
*Larry snorts in a "How do you not know this?" kind of way*
Larry: Monkey kung fu?
Kim: *quietly* Monkey kung fu?
*Kim gasps while Larry takes the Kimmunicator from her*
Kim: He was the ninja!

Revelation of who the villain is without Monkey Fist going off on his totally uncalled for villainous rant.  I'll get to the implications of this in a moment, but ...

Placement of quotes is problematic.  This exchange actually goes on for a bit longer, but the rest of it is more about Larry than the revelation on Kim's part and the consequences thereof.  So I guess I'll hold off on the rest of the quote for now.

For now just realize that all Kim had to do was mention Fiske to Larry to figure things out.  In fact, it takes all of 22 seconds to go from Larry saying he's followed the career of Lord Monty Fiske to Kim calling Wade to let him know that Fiske is the bad guy.

That means that if Kim hadn't been such a prejudiced ass Wade would have known that Fiske was the bad guy before Ron and Holo-Kim ever got face to face with Monkey Fist, which would mean that Holo-Kim could have turned Ron right around and gotten out of there.  Ron never would have been in mortal peril.

On the flip side, if Kim weren't such a liar (she could be prejudiced as much or as little as you like in this scenario) then she would have let on that she didn't want to see Larry, would have been available to go to see Fiske on this day, and would thus be there to protect Ron.

It's definitely Wade's fault, not Kim's, that Ron went alone.  That blame can't and shouldn't be shifted.

However it's only because Kim lies to her family, most notably her dad, that she wasn't available.  Without that Wade wouldn't have been able to trick Ron into going alone since the opportunity wouldn't arise.  And it's only because she views Larry as a stereotype in an entirely different pigeon hole than herself (a creepy person that she has nothing in common with), and interacts with him as such, that this revelation is coming too late to actually help.

One last note before we get to the rest of the Kim-Larry scene.

We're back with Kung Fu Ninja again.  Granted here the reasoning is a little bit better than, "Eastern arts are all the same."  Here it's because Kim suspects that the thief, who happened to be a ninja, wanted it for reasons related to magic having to do with a certain type of Kung Fu.  Even so Kung Fu means Ninja is problematic because ... no.

Japan and China are two different places.

Now for the rest of the Kim-Larry scene:

*Larry looks at Kimmunicator*
Larry: Oh, can you play games with this?
*Larry pushes buttons*
Kim: Ron was right; he is bad road.
*Larry holds the Kimmunicator to his ear*
Larry: Hello, away team, do you read me?
Kim: Give me that!
*Kim presses buttons on Kimmunicator.

I... I've got nothing.  Um... 

It's the "Hello, away team, do you read me?" that leaves me flummoxed.  Larry is very much not stupid.  He's not going to think that holding it up to his ear and calling for an away team he doesn't have is going to accomplish anything.  Did he give up on finding out if it could play games so fast that he decided to treat it as a toy?

There are characters who do exactly that sort of thing in all sorts of movies and shows (and real life) but they're nothing like Larry.  Moreover the silly fun with advanced electronics clashes with the fact that he was seriously trying to figure out its capabilities mere seconds ago.

What.  The.  Fuck?

So far Larry has been a nasally voiced person who hasn't been able to engage with Kim (because he's trying all the wrong things) and doesn't seem to realize how much she despises him.  Nothing has set up for this.

He's been presented as too serious and, honestly, humorless for the playful act of taking advanced tech you don't understand and using it as a toy with which you reference sci fi shows.

But the only alternative would be that he actually thinks he's going to magically contact an away team and ... no.  He's been presented as too smart for that.  It's like he was switched out with a different character mid-Kimmunicator-fiddle.

* * *

Back in England Monkey Fist's fight with Ron is interrupted before it can start by "serenity chimes" which lead to Monkey Fist taking a ten second break to "center" (he sits in a meditative pose with his eyes closed.)  Bates says it's because "monkey kung fu is half mental."  Ron thinks "It's completely mental" and bravely runs away.

* * *

Not totally sure what happened between her grabbing it back and here, but it obviously was not something Larry liked.

Kim: Wade, Lord Monty Fiske stole that icon.  I think he believes in mystical monkey power.
Wade: It's worse.  He has the power!  And now he calls himself Monkey Fist!
Kim: And you know that how?
Wade: Ron's in his house right now.
Kim: Why did he go there alone?
Wade: He didn't, exactly... You're with him... sort of.
*Larry now looks interested, perhaps concerned, not angry*
Kim: The Holo-Kim!?

Ok, so, when did it change from an idol to an icon?

Anyway, Kim can now communicate directly with Ron via the Holo-Kim.

Thus we get things like this:

Kim: Ron!
Ron: Kim! Tell me you're real!
Kim: I wish. Wade got carried away with his new gimmick.
. . .
Ron: Gimme a boost.

Kim: Uh, Ron.....I'm not really here, you know.

Everyone involved can see that it's not working.  In fact it leads to this:

Ron's being outrun and outmaneuvered --plus Monkey Fist is the sort to intentionally trigger people and while it isn't leaving Ron immobilized anymore saying "monkey" to him still makes him involuntarily scream in terror-- and back in Larry's room Kim's at loss as to what to do.

Kim: I don't know what to do. If I were there, I could help him, but...
Larry: Give it to me. I have an idea.
Kim: *shouting, angry* This isn't one of your stupid science fiction games, Larry!  Ron's facing a kung fu mutant with bioengineered hands *hesitates* and mystical monkey powers and...
*pause in which Larry just looks at Kim*

Kim: Here.

The beginning of the outburst may be the first time she was honest with Larry in her life.  She thinks his games are stupid, but she's never told him that before.

That's probably why Larry's been having a such a hard time finding common ground.  He's been getting bullshit feedback.  She says she likes things that she doesn't.  She says she's fascinated when she's bored out of her mind.

Anyway, Larry has an idea:

*Ron is boxed in at another dead end and shaking in terror*
*In England a hologram of Larry appears next to Ron*
Ron: Huh? Who are you?
Larry: Kim's cousin Larry, but that's not important.
Monkey Fist: I will no longer be distracted by holograms! Prepare for pain.
Larry: Remember level nine of Fortress? To defeat the Cloud Guardian you must drink from his enchanted well.
*Back in Larry's Room*
Kim: That's supposed to help!?
Larry: Eh; it's a geek thing.

Ron sprints passed Monkey Fist and Bates and heads back into the jade idol room.  In his head he says the words "I must become that which I fear most."

Ron: Hey Monkeys, hit me!

It doesn't look like the magic was created with naked mole rats in mind because while Ron is centered, lifted up, and so forth, Rufus has to hold to keep from being pushed out.  But hold on he does and thus he gets the power too.

Monkey Fist: No!  Mystical monkey power is reserved for me and me alone!
*Ron gets into a monkey Kung Fu stance*
Ron: I must disagree.
*Ron makes monkey sounds*

Cue epic fight between Monkey Fist and Ron in one part, Rufus and Bates in the other.  Rufus wins his fight.

Ron holds his own against Monkey Fist for a while but is eventually pinned to the ground and at Monkey Fist's mercy.

Monkey Fist: Mystical power or not, you have no chance against a master of monkey kung fu!
Ron: That's why I'm pullin' the plug. Rufus! Search and destroy!

Rufus kicks the idols off their pedestals one at a time.  Monkey Fist catches them all:

Remember me ranting higher up about the inconsistency with how the idols were portrayed?  The idol in the background on the right under the candles is one of the four idols.  So how can it be there when Monkey Fist is holding all four of the idols.  Also, they've reverted to their rounded cylinder/bullet-esque shape but when Ron was hit with the power they all had the monkey head with big ears and snout that sticks out shape that the one in the background does.

Monkey Fist drops the one from his mouth into his hands which frees up his mouth for the talking thing.

Monkey Fist: I saved them all!

The one he's holding with his foot magically jumps teleports for a closeup where all four are in his arms.

Monkey Fist: Mystical monkey power will still be mine.

And back down to his foot so that he's forced to stand on one leg (the one not holding an idol) and thus not maneuverable enough to dodge Ron's one liner fight ending knockout kick.

Ron: Monkey this, you hairy freak!

Monkey Fist ends up lying unconscious on the floor surrounded by the now broken idols.  Police cars pull up outside the castle.

* * *

We've finally made it to the end.  The very last scene.  We're back in Larry's Room.

Larry: ... and the rebellion on Bernalus was given such a passing mention in the film.  I wrote my own story about the battle.  You can imagine the debates that raged when I posted it on the fan site, Kim.
Kim: *bored beyond measure* Really?
Larry: I'm not boring you, am I?

And here's the thing.  Larry tries.  He obviously can't read people, not even tone of voice.  Not even over the top body language and over the top tone of voice.  Yet he's trying to make sure that he's not boring Kim and you know that for the past ... twelve to thirteen years probably, every time he asked that question before she lied and said, "No."

That's why Larry is such an unpleasant experience for her.  When things are terrible she gives positive feedback and so things stay terrible because Larry doesn't realize they are terrible for her.  He's taken in by the positive feedback.

This time, though, this time is different.  Is it different because Kim will finally say, "Yeah, I am bored, could we maybe talk about [insert something she's interested in]?"  Not quite.

Ron: No.  No, no, no.  Go on, please.  This is fascinating stuff.
Larry: Hey, you wanna see outtakes from Moon Beyond Ios?
Ron: The deleted footage of the shrieker race?
Larry: Got it at the '99 Tulsa Convention.
Ron: Score!
Kim: You guys are the greatest.  When the chips were down, you both came through.  I'm really proud.
Ron: So you gonna watch with us?
Kim: Not even a chance!  *dismissive*  Later, guys.
*Kim leaves and closes door behind her*
Ron: What?  This is cool stuff, Kim.
Ron: Kim?

The way that she says, "Later guys," is an intonation I associate with, "Later losers," but there is good stuff to pull from this too.

When Kim sees Ron and Larry connecting she smiles at it and seems genuinely happy for both of them.  When she says that there's not even a chance of watching that's as close as we've seen her come to stating her true feelings about Larry's interests she doesn't share outside of the "This isn't one of your stupid science fiction games, Larry!" outburst.

We don't know if she's going to be honest with her dad, we don't know if she'll be honest with Larry in isolation, but we do at least know that when she has Ron there to pass Larry off to she's not going to be putting herself through Hell due to a refusal to be honest.

It's not a lot, but it's an improvement.


And, for the record, this took forever to write and I think I'm getting slower.

* * *

Episode Summation:

Day saved by:
Kim - 0
Ron - 1
Rufus - 1
male not-on-the-team - 1 (Larry)

Kim's Ride Reason:
Tipped them off to an assault

Possible Talk:
Bad Road
(e.g. His Lordship is 500 miles of bad road.)

Camp Wannaweep Phobia:

Don't let you speak your mind about family members

Silently cook breakfast while everyone else is allowed to speak.

Real Friends:
Don't notice when you are mistreated
Insult your preferred pastimes
Are annoyed by your debilitating trauma-induced psychological responses
Lie to You
Trick you into going into dangerous situations alone
Don't give your interests a chance

Climbing Gear
Hair Tie
Jade Monkey Idols


[Previous][Kim Possible: Episode by Episode - Index][Next]
[Kim Possible Index]

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- - - -
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Cumulative Summation:

Day saved by:
Kim - 0
Ron - 3
Rufus - 2
male not-on-the-team - 2

Ron doesn't fit in society's boxes:
He's into fruit flavored lipstick

Camp Wannaweep Phobia:

Number of times Ron has actually lost his pants:

Number of times audience has seen Ron lose his pants:

Are concerned with family image (No Possible has ever gotten detention!)
Don't understand fashion in the least
Go on useless tangential rambling stories only vaguely related to the topic at hand
Don't let you speak your mind about family members

Are generally reasonable.
Get fashion at a glance.
Offer helpful advice.
Silently cook breakfast while everyone else is allowed to speak.

Real Friends:
Hack your bank account -~- Read your diary
Sign you up for jobs you don't want -~- Envy your success
Rescue you from evil schemes -~- Buy you a Jacket
Don't notice when you are mistreated -~- Insult your preferred pastimes
Are annoyed by your debilitating trauma-induced psychological responses
Lie to You -~- Trick you into going into dangerous situations alone
Don't give your interests a chance

Elastic-Constricting Agent lipstick ~-~ Compact
Hair Dryer Grappling Hook Launcher ~-~ Clip On Tie
Climbing Gear ~-~ Parachute ~-~ Hair Tie ~-~ Holo-[Person]
Jade Monkey Idols


* And oh my God, how is it possible that all of my memories of Donald Duck's Playground have been dormant for all these years?

At some point I'm going to have to look through a list of all of the Commodore 64 and TI games and see what else I might have completely forgotten about.  It doesn't take much to jumpstart a memory so who knows what I might end up remembering if I do that.