Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kim Possible -- Forgotten Seeds, Chapter 6: Getting Packed

[Parts One, Two, Three Four, and Five]

When Horatio was the only one not to show up in the room they planned to meet, Surge decided to go looking for him.  True, he wasn't late --instead the others were early-- but he'd looked fairly bad the last time she saw him and she was worried.

She found him half collapsed, holding on to a doorway --with what looked like desperation-- to keep from collapsing the rest of the way.

"Hey," she said.  No response.

She walked closer.

"Horratio."  Nothing.

She tapped him on the shoulder.  He looked up, he seemed exhausted.  "Need help?" She asked.

He simply nodded.

Surge took his right arm, put it over her shoulders, held it in place by holding his right hand with hers, and put her left arm around his waist.  With her support he was able to walk, and together they made their way to the meeting room.

* * *

When Surge helped Horatio come in, he seemed barely able to walk, even with the help.  Kim was concerned.  She had no idea what was causing him to deteriorate faster than the others, but he obviously was and it wasn't good.

On the slightly positive side, it looked like all of the others --even Shego-- were likewise concerned.  Things would definitely go better if they all cared about each other's well-being.

"Still a bit early," Kim said, "but unless someone has something really interesting they want to finish," six of the others glared at Kim.  "Ok, let's get started.

"Jade isn't a viable option for moving all of us, and leaving anyone behind would be a very bad idea, so we needed to find another way."

"Why do I get the feeling there's something you're not telling us?" Hawk asked.

"Because there's something she's not telling you," Shego said.

"You're so helpful," Kim shot at Shego.

"I try to be, Cupcake," Shego said in voice that was so mock-innocent and and overly-sweet that Kim felt like she should be checking her insulin levels.

"The good news is that GJ brought an old shuttle up here as part of a transportation plan that never panned out, which means that it's still here."

"I didn't see a launch pad set up," Blok said.

"Are we really going to count on 500 year old rocket fuel?" Henry asked.

"There's no fuel," Kim said.

That caused an uproar.  Shego was the one to stop it.  It didn't take much from her.  She shouted, "Shut Up!" and then growled.  Things almost immediately became silent.

"It's an old shuttle.  The kind they invented the term 'Space Shuttle' to describe," Shego said.  "I don't know what they had when you people went under, but they were still in use when I was caught so I remember them pretty well and the only thing that matters to us right now is that the shuttles never flew.  They were gliders."

"Jade can get it to earth orbit and throw on the breaks to start the decent, then we glide it down like in the days of old," Kim said.

"And by 'we' she means me," Shego said.  "I'm piloting it down to earth."

"The important thing is that we don't need to fully fuel it, all we need is maneuvering," Kim said.

"This sounds like a horrible idea," Hawk said.  "I like it."

"How do you know it won't just blow up?" Surge asked.

Kim didn't say anything.  Nor did Shego.

Surge turned to Horatio, "Can you--"

He shook his head before she reached the question, but Kim knew what it was.  Their success was not preordained.  Whatever was wrong with Horatio, it was preventing him from 'looking ahead' to see what happened.  Or maybe he could never look that far 'ahead' anyway.

"I'm sure Kimberly wouldn't be going through with this plan if it weren't the safest option," Drakken said.

That didn't seem to reassure Surge.

"And, as much as it pains me to say it," Drakken added, "she is, in fact, all that."

Kim allowed herself a small smile.

"Where do we go from here?" Amy asked.

"The shuttle was intended to be a CRV, a kind of emergency lifeboat, but it was never actually retrofitted to carry additional people," Kim said. "In theory it can carry 11, but no shuttle has ever carried more than eight and I don't think we want to experiment.

"I'll be in Jade towing the shuttle, Shego will be piloting the shuttle, Jade will scan for the best area on the ice sheet to use a landing strip.  Once we're in the air," Kim realized it was a poor choice of words and hesitated a moment, "so to speak, there won't be a lot for the rest of you to do.  Until then, grab whatever you think is useful.

"The vacuum will have preserved the equipment here better than anything we can count on back home.  The shuttle will carry fourteen thousand four hundred kilograms--"

"Thirty two thousand pounds," Shego said.

"Thank you," Kim said with a total lack of gratitude.  Shego just smiled.  "And the bay is four point six meters by eighteen meters--"

"Fifteen by fifty-nine feet," Shego said.

"So," Kim continued, "with that in mind--"

"Loot everything," Shego said.

"Whatever will fit and you think is useful," Kim said, "we can transport to the shuttle site more or less the same way we got you all here.  Shego and I will be rigging up a trailer--

"Sled," Shego said.

"Sled that we trail, thus trailer," Kim said before finishing with, "better suited to transporting cargo.

"Once we're loaded up, we head home."

"Where is the shuttle site?" Amy asked.

"It's a little bit farther than the prison, in almost--"

"But not quite," Shego said.

Kim had had enough of the interruptions.

"Would you STOP that!?"

"No," was Shego's calm reply.

"Almost the opposite direction," Kim said.  "Anyway, the important thing is look around, check the computers, venture out into the places that are still without air --make sure to keep track of your O2 when you do-- and collect whatever might be of use."

"And on the topic of the thing she isn't telling you," Shego said, "It would be in our best interest to be ready to go in six hours or less, so don't think you have to fill up the entire thirty two thousand pounds."

"But don't skimp or hurry either," Kim said, "This is our best chance to get decent supplies and we may never have another opportunity like this.

"I know we all want to get home; I know that I would really like to go right now instead of spending more time up here, but you've all seen what the earth looks like and heard what everyone's said; if we want to survive we need to give ourselves every advantage.  Right now that means gathering supplies."

* * *

Most of the others had gone to computer terminals.  With Dr. Director's account info they'd been able to give every terminal complete access to all records, including inventory.

Horatio was still in the chair Surge had helped him collapse into.  Shego approached him.

"What is the most callous way I can put this?" Shego asked herself aloud.  "Oh, I've got it."  She paused for effect.  "If you let yourself die you'll be responsible for the death of 11% of the human race --assuming what you've said so far isn't bullshit."

For a few moments Horatio said nothing, he just looked at Shego in a way she found unnerving.

"I'll live long enough," he said, "assuming you don't get us blown up on the trip home."

* * *

"A genomic sequencer!" Amy said at the same time Drakken said, "A pan dimensional vortex inducer!"  The two were having great fun in a tech storage vault.

* * *

"So what are we looking for?" Henry asked.

"Food, weapons, space heaters," Hawk said.

"Building supplies too," Blok added.

"Just imagine trying to survive in the frigid wilderness and think of what you'd need to stay alive."

Henry thought for a moment.  "Water purification."

The other two looked at him.  He wasn't really sure how to interpret the looks.

"If you're comfortable drinking glacial ice that could, for all we know, have remnants of fallout from a war that was both nuclear and biological when all you've done to make that water safe is to merely boil it, that's fine," Henry said. "I'd prefer something more."

Hawk nodded.

Blok said, "Water purification: check."

* * *

"Now that we have transportation, I think we should head back to the prison," Surge said.

The fact that she hadn't even realized Surge was near her wasn't even what caught Kim off guard.  It was the entire concept of what she was saying.

"What?" Kim asked.

"The way I see it we should have at least three transport trailers, maybe four.  Two or three we use for transporting things from here to the shuttle.  We load one up, drop it off at the shuttle along with people, leave them there to load the shuttle, while that's going on a second team is back here loading up the next trailer.  If we have three instead of two we can make it so that there's never a time when there isn't a trailer to be loaded here and a trailer to be unloaded there, not even while transporting trailers between the two locations.

"The third or fourth trailer, we take back to the prison, along with a generous helping of air, and we load everything from the personal effects vault onto it.  We don't know what might be useful, we never really did a proper search, and there's no point in leaving that stuff up here."

"It's an interesting idea," Kim said.

"Just don't put me on the team that goes back to the prison," Surge said.  "I'm not good around dead people."

"I'll think about it," Kim said.

* * *

"Ok, Kimmie, here's your sitch," Shego said, placing as much disapproval on the word as she could muster.  "Drakken and Amy are doing their mad scientist thing and collecting everything we could ask for in that arena.  Blok, Hawk and Henry are looking into stuff we'll actually need for survival, food, water purification, things to use to build shelters and defend ourselves from any unhappy animals, heating elements, and the like.  Surge I haven't touched base with.  Horatio is out of play but assures me he'll live.

"Which presumably means it's time for us to start doing our part."

"Surge actually had an interesting idea about that," Kim said.

"Really?  She never struck me as an ideas person, do tell."

* * *

"Anything I can do to help?" Surge asked Horatio, who had moved to the computer terminal.

"Gopher mission," he said pointing at a list on the screen.

"I can do that," Surge said.  "There wouldn't happen to be a working printer around here somewhere, would there?"

* * *

Everyone was back in what was definitely now their official meeting room.

"We have some revisions to the plan that should make things easier," Kim said.  "Shego and I are going to construct four cargo sleds to haul behind Jade.  It's actually looking like it'll be a pretty simple and quick process.  Three will be used to ferry equipment between here and the shuttle site, meaning we can have equipment being loaded and unloaded continually.

"That should be a definite help because Jade can't go at full speed without threatening the cargo in the sled.

"Sled four is going back to the prison.  We're going to send a team there, fully stocked on air of course, and have them clean out the entire personal effects vault, load it onto the cargo sled, and then Jade will tow it to the shuttle.

"Horatio, you're staying in Jade," Kim said.

Horatio looked up.

"She has full medical scanners and can keep track of your condition."

Horatio looked like he was about to object, but then said nothing.

"Shego needs time to check out the shuttle, top to bottom, and then re-check it," Kim said, "That leaves seven of us to split between three jobs."

"I've still got things I need to salvage here," Surge said.

Kim nodded, "That's fine, but I image nobody's filled out their wishlist just yet.  So before anyone leaves I want them to make a list of things that they definitely want on that shuttle.

"Blok, if I remember correctly you're a lot stronger in your stone form."

"I am," Blok said.

"Then, if we can adapt a space suit to that size--" Kim looked at Drakken and Amy, "Can we?"

The two had a short whispered conversation.  "In thirty minutes or less," Drakken said.

"Ok," Kim said.  "Blok, once they've done that I want you loading the shuttle, and with you on it that can be the smallest team."

"I can do it alone," Blok said.

"Are you sure?" Kim asked.

"I've got this, Red," Blok said. "The hard part isn't going to be me getting everything into the shuttle.  It's going to be the rest of you scrounging up enough stuff to fill it.  Plus, it'll leave you with an even three and three."

"So who goes to the prison and who stays here?" Kim asked.

"You don't go," Shego said.  She said it sternly, she said it definitively.

While Kim had no particular desire to go back to the prison, she wanted to object to Shego giving her orders.  "Why shouldn't I--"

When Shego interrupted her tone was surprisingly kind, which threw Kim off considerably, "Princess, last time you were there you had a nervous breakdown."

Kim wanted to object, not to the factuality of what Shego said --it was definitely true-- but to the idea it meant she shouldn't go there this time.  Before she could, Hawk volunteered.

"I'll go," he said.  "I've spent a lot of time in unethical labs, I've seen a lot of pretty terrible things, I think I'll be fine with being in that place again."

"Ok, so we need two more for the prison, and one more to stay here," Shego said, "Henry, Dr. D, Amy, where do you want to go?"

"Honey Bunny and I can get supplies from the prison," Amy said, grabbing Drakken's arm.

Kim sighed.  She'd never gotten a chance to disagree with Shego ordering her around.

"Shego and I need to make the cargo sleds before we can bring anything to the shuttle," Kim said. "It looks like it should go pretty quickly, though" Kim said.

"The walls of some of the derelict buildings are perfect as bases," Shego said, "The only way it would go faster is if I could use my plasma outside."

"You know-" Drakken started to say.

"No," Kim said, "I need you and Amy working on a suit for Blok's stone form.  It needs to be able to fit him in that form, be strong enough to stand up to the stresses that will be put on it, it needs to provide adequate air--"

"Don't worry about the weight of the air tanks," Blok said, "I won't even notice them in my other form."

"It needs to be done as quickly as possible without compromising safety," Kim said.

"I'll head over to the prison and get started," Hawk said.  After a beat he added, "If your super car will let me."

"Good," Kim said, "Take Horatio to Jade with you.  Henry, Surge, Blok, keep working on scavenging here.  Drakken, Amy let us know the moment you're done with the suit so we can get you to the prison site and send Blok to the shuttle with the first load of supplies."

Kim started to walk out of the room with purpose.

"Oh, Kimmie," Shego said in an infuriating tone, "did Princess forget part of the briefing?"

Kim couldn't think of anything.  Shego just waited.  Kim wasn't going to give Shego the satisfaction of getting Kim to ask.  There were about fifteen tense seconds.

"How is everyone going to stay in contact?" Shego asked.

Kim's open palm met her face of its own volition.  If it had asked for her permission she would have told it not to because Shego's snickering after that had been completely predictable.

Kim sighed, walked over to a bag, and dumped the contents on a table.  Global Justice standard issue field radios.  About the size of the handset for a landline.  "These have all been tested and they work," Kim said.  "They're set to the same frequency as our space suit radios --which Jade is also on now-- so you should be able to stay in contact indoors and out.

"Hawk, in Jade's back seat you'll find a bunch of tall sort of cylindrical devices.  They're signal relays.  Jade will tell you where to put them and they'll make it so we have an open line from here to the prison and, eventually, the shuttle site.

"Now, we all have work to do," Kim said.

* * *

The only thing that kept Horatio from going insane was the fact that Kim's car had an impressive music library.  In fact, the car claimed that it had all the songs.  As in: ALL THE SONGS.  As in everything ever recorded.

Hawk worked at the prison, the others worked at the base.  Shego and Kim were the first to finish their work, but other than dropping Shego off to do her absurdly detailed inspection of the shuttle that didn't mean much.  It was when Amy and Drakken finished their work that things kicked into action.

The two joined Hawk at the prison, Blok was delivered to the shuttle along with the first sled of loot, and Jade became occupied in dragging loaded sleds to the shuttle and empty ones back to places where they'd be loaded.

Mostly it was back and forth between the base and the shuttle, the bulk of the work at the prison seemed to be consolidating the personal effects into boxes that were full instead of mostly empty, something Horatio only heard about over the radio.  Also, the sled for the prison was extra large as it wasn't intended to be part of Jade's endless transport circuit.

Other than a couple of air tank resupply runs, nothing happened but Jade going back and forth, back and forth.  With Horatio in her.

The car didn't seem to mind the monotony.  Horatio was a different story.  Thus the music was the only thing that allowed him to maintain a semblance of sanity.
Many is the time I've been mistaken
and many times confused.
Yes I've often felt forsaken
and certainly misused.
Oh, but I’m all right, I’m all right
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
*beep beep*
So far away from home, so far away from home
"Was that 'beep beep' good or bad?" Horatio asked Jade.
I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
"Well?" Horatio said, somewhat annoyed he had to talk over the music.

"Analyzing." Jade said.
We've lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
We’re traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong
"Something, I cannot yet determine what, has appeared on the horizon."  Jade said.

Horatio cut the music.  "What do you mean, 'appeared?'"

 "It was not there the last time we occupied this position, now it is there," Jade said.

"Passive scans only," Horatio said, "but find out what it is."

"You do not control me," Jade said, "however I agree with your suggested approach and am proceeding as you advised."

"Thank you," Horatio said.

* * *

"We have a problem," Jade's voice said over Kim's suit radio.

"Can you be more specific?" Kim asked.

"The Lowardians forgot to take one of their toys home with them and it's noticed us," Horatio said.

"Which of us did it notice?" Kim asked.

"It is headed directly toward the shuttle site," Jade said.

"Damn," Shego said.  "Anywhere else we could have evacuated, but we need this thing."

"Can you do anything?" Kim asked.

"Normally, sure.  They go down easy.  But right now if I light up I breach my suit."

"We've got weapons here," Henry said.

"Those laser pointers?" Shego said in full sarcasm mode.

"Given the cold dead fingers you had to pry them out of," Hawk said, "I'm guessing they're not effective against Lorwardian technology."

"I may be able to help with that--" Drakken started.

"Jade, go." Horatio said.

"Dr. Drakken," Jade said, "please meet us as the prison egress airlock."

"What is your idea?" Kim asked, while also making a note of Jade's independence.  Kim knew that Horatio couldn't command the car or its AI, thus it doing what he said meant the AI had chosen to do so, and made that choice without consulting Kim.

"Get me one of GJ's lasers with full charge, get me..."

* * *

Surge tuned out the technobable and was surprised when Drakken's "Get me," list ended with, "And get me Surge."

"What?" she said more as a reflex than a question.  When she'd had few more moments to process it she asked, "What can I do?"

"You can-- OW"

"It's the helmet," Horatio said in a way that made Surge worry he might be on the verge of losing consciousness.  "It means you've got to duck a bit when you get in."

"Whatever," Drakken said with clear annoyance.  "Surge, you can amplify the power of the laser and you can interface with the war machine as soon as we've punched a hole in its outer hull to expose its central computer to your power."

"Uh, this is me we're talking about," Surge said.

"Who cares if everything blows up?" Shego said.  "It's not like we're particularly attached to a random laser or an alien machine bent on destroying us."

"I might care if I get hit by the shrapnel," Surge said.

"Sur--," Kim said, then stopped.  "What's your real name?"


"Sarah, I know this is a lot to ask of you," she said gently, "but we don't have a lot of options and this happens to be our only plan.  Would you please try?  I wouldn't put this all on you, but none of us can do it."

Surge sighed.  "I"ll try, but I've never interfaced with alien technology.  If this fails and we all die no one is allowed to blame it on me, plus I get a massive I told you so in the afterlife."

"Deal," Kim said.

And that was about when the car arrived.

It took Kim a few more minutes to get Drakken's supplies.

Then they were off.

* * *

"Too much quiet," Horatio mumbled.
Oh, little sleepy boy, Do you know what time it is?
Well the hour of your bedtime's long been past
And though I know you're fighting it
I can tell when you rub your eyes
You're fading fast, oh fading fast
Horatio made a sound that he hoped was interpreted as approval and reclined his chair to as close to horizontal as he could.

"... topography from here onward is extremely flat.  I can't ..." "...any closer without being ..."
'Cause if I can't sing my boy to sleep
Well it makes your famous daddy look so dumb
look so dumb
Horatio noticed that the others weren't in the car anymore.
Won't you close your weary eyes
Ain't nothing flashing but the fireflies
He faded again.
When I was a little boy
And the Devil would call my name
I’d say, “Now who do . . .
Who do you think you’re fooling?”
Different song, maybe he should pay attention.
I'm a consecrate--
The music stopped; definitely time to pay attention.

Horatio tried to pull himself up with difficulty until Jade must have noticed what he was doing and the seat's back returned to upright on its own, taking him with it.

"Status?" he said groggily.

"We have set down behind a bolder so that the machine will not detect our presence.  Drakken and Surge have continued on foot to achieve optimal probability of success.  Thus far they have remained undetected, presumably because they are far less conspicuous than a flying car.

"I have turned off the music because, due to a glitch I have been unable to isolate, any music I send to you is broadcast on any channel I open.  I am preparing to open a channel to Drakken and Surge."

Horatio nodded.

Jade opened the channel.

* * *

Surge heard Jade over her suit's radio, "You should be nearing optimum distance to target."

"Also, not to rush you or anything, but I can totally see the damn thing from here so deal with it before it destroys our way home," Shego said.

"Yeah, no pressure at all," Surge said with what she hoped was appropriate sarcasm and disapproval.  With Shego it could be hard to find the right level.  Then she said what was actually on her mind, "Dr D, I feel like I'm still missing some elements of this plan.  For example, you seem to have left out the part that explains how this is supposed to work."

"Like that's a first," Shego said.

"Words hurt, Shego," Drakken said.

"I'm serious.  We blow a hole in the machine, several question marks, I interface with it, then we win," Surge said.  "Could you fill in the blanks before we die?"

"Couldn't you two have talked about this in the car, before we were dangerously close to out of time?" Kim said.

"Temper, Princess." Shego said in scolding tones.

"Bite me," Kim replied.

At another time Surge might have been thrown by Kim's uncharacteristic behavior, but they were all strained, there was a death machine of death filled doomy death nearby, and she really, truly, needed more detail on how this was supposed to work.

So she just shouted, "Could you two quit flirting!?"  Almost immediately both started to protest, but she cut that off before either got a full word in, "Some of us have actual work to do.  And we had to spend the time making sure I'd be able to interface properly with the laser."

"I don't see what the problem is," Drakken said.  "Once we've broken through the outer shielding can't you just ..." he made the gestural equivalent of, "do your thing, which I don't really understand in any kind of depth."

"I need to touch something to interface with it."

"But I've seen you--" Drakken started.

"When I was fully equipped," Surge said.  "Do I look like I have my accoutrema?"

"Accouterments," Shego corrected.

"Shego," Kim said in annoyed/disappointed tone.

"What?  I'm a school teacher," Shego said.

"Jade, can you cut them out of the communications link until we're done here?" Surge asked.

Both started to protest, then the line went silent.

"Thanks Jade," she said.  "Now, we seem to have a serious hole in this plan," she said to Drakken.  "And we've got how long to fix it?"

"For optimal probability of success, a minute and thirty two seconds.

"Am I still connected?" Hawk asked.

"Yes," Jade, Surge, and Drakken said at once.

"If you can pierce the armor with one shot, why not just shoot it repeatedly?"

"It wouldn't work because--"

Surge was familiar with Drakken's long winded explanations, they didn't have time, especially since there was an easy to explain practical reason.

"Even if that were likely to succeed in theory," Surge said, "overpowering the rifle for that many shots would almost certainly make it overload before it worked in practice.

"We don't have to change the plan," Drakken said.

"The plan that won't work?" Surge asked. "That plan we don't have to change?"

"You amp up the rifle for one shot which exposes the electronics, I'll distract it with the rifle, which doesn't need to be overpowered to be distracting, you go in and disable it," Drakken said.  "Basically the same plan as before."

"I suggest you do it in the next forty five seconds," Jade said. "And the odds of success will decrease even more dramatically in ninety."

"Fine," Surge said. "Let's do--"

"--body cuts me out of the conversation," Shego said.

"Sorry," Jade said, "she's bypassed--"

"Apology accepted," Surge said quickly, "we don't have time for explanations."

"Remember, only the first shot matters," Drakken said, "after I break through the armor around the processor I don't need you amping the rifle, I'll distract and you go in and finish the job."

"Doc, I've seen you shoot," Shego said. "If the first shot matters so much, let Surge take it."

* * *

"Jade don't--" Kim started.  "She cut me out, didn't she?"

"Well, I can still hear you, Princess," Shego said.

"Ugh," was Kim's only response.

"Extremely eloquent."

"If Surge thinks that that's what flirting sounds like she's got a lot to learn about relationships," Kim said.

"She was just trying to make you shut up." Shego said. "I know for a fact that she's better in relationships than you are."

"How would you know that!?" Kim asked.

"She talked about her personal life at work," Shego said.  "When you put me on ice she'd been with her girlfriend for longer than you've been with any of your boyfriends."

It took a moment for that to sink in.  Before Kim could think of a retort though, Shego added, "Also I am a magnificent flirt."

"Really, Miss, 'I need to ask my arch foe, who is also my student, for dating advice because being an evil sidekick doesn't leave time for relationships.'"

"MIND CONTROL," Shego said.  Kim was going to point out that being reverse polarized didn't change your knowledge when Shego added, "Also, I said that I'm a magnificent flirt, which is completely true.  Dating is something else entirely.  If you're going to -- Yes!"

"What?" Kim asked.

"Nobody cuts me out of the conversation," Shego said.

"You got through to them?" Kim asked.

Shego apparently ignored her.

"Doc, I've seen you shoot," Shego said. "If the first shot matters so much, let Surge take it."

* * *

We're in space.  We're on the moon.  There is no air here.  Outside of this suit is nothing.  Nothing: what will us if something goes wrong.

Everything screamed that.  At ordinary levels her power was usually invisible, but given how much she was amplifying the rife there should have been plasma arcs visible all around.  Even Drakken had never figured out what caused them, or why they tended to be in the pink to purple range of colors, but they definitely should have been there.

Or, rather, they should have been there if there were air.

Since there was none... everything screamed that they were in a vacuum.

"Aim at the red dome on the underside," Drakken said.

Surge saw at least a million ways this plan would go wrong.  Not could, would.  At this moment she was convinced she was going to die.  But she pushed that from her mind.  She had to aim while enhancing the rifle; that took concentration.

Distractions fell away and time lost meaning.  The only three things left in the universe were herself, the rife, and her target.   She focused on the bull's eye.  The red dome on the underside of main machine.

The rifle had iron sights, seemingly of its own volition it came into her field of view and the front and rear sights aligned as she focused on the red dome.  She stopped breathing to steady her shot and used the lightest possible force to pull the trigger.

A section of the dome, near the center, seemed to simply disappear.  Surge smiled.  Who needed combat training?  She'd gone to summer camp.  Summer camp where she earned the rank of "Flying Squirrel" in riflery.

Her shooting concentration evaporated quickly and she shoved the rifle into Drakken's hands then moved as fast as she could away.

There had been no visible beam.  No visible beam because there was no atmosphere to resist the weapon and thus nothing to light up the beam.  We're in space.  We're on the moon.  There is no air here.  Outside of this suit is nothing.  Deadly, deadly nothing.

And now there was a new problem.  If the hole had punctured the machine's defense against electronic attacks, and beyond the hole the machine was safe, that meant Surge had to get to the hole.  A hole that was on the underside of the main body of the robot, which she estimated was three to five stories above ground level.  With nothing under it.

The only way up was to climb one of the four very unpleasant looking legs.

* * *

At first Drakken worried that Surge had lost her nerve, but then he saw the hole in the red dome he'd told her to aim for.  He fired the rifle at the machine several times to make sure he had its attention, then looked to where Surge was hiding.

He had to bait the war machine in such a way that it didn't notice her, but still passed close enough for her to climb on board.  Clearly this would require careful--

He felt the first of the tremors caused by the machine's forceful footsteps.  That's when he let out a yelp and simply ran, hopped, stumbled, rolled, and generally moved however he could as fast as he could directly away from the machine.

* * *

"At this rate Doctor Drakken will be captured or killed well before Surge is able to complete her mission," Jade said as she turned on full power, rose from the lunar surface, and turned on her sound system.  "Moving to intercept."
This here's a story about Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue
Two young lovers with nothing better to do
Than sit around the house, get high, and watch the tube
And here is what happened when they decided to cut loose
* * *

There was no way Drakken could outrun the thing, it had almost caught up to him in fact, and now infernal music was playing over his radio.  He was quite sure he was going to die.

Then the flying car was beside him, and the rear door opened.  He jumped in.
Bobbie Sue took the money and run
"It should be ran," Drakken muttered.
Go on take the money and run
Go on take the money and run
* * *

Surge reached the second segment of the leg, which was mercifully horizontal at the moment, and did her best to sprint across it.  Difficult in the space suit, but much easier than traversing the loose regolith.
You know he knows just exactly what the facts is
He ain't gonna let those two escape justice
He makes his living off of the people's taxes
* * *

"What's going on?" Hawk asked while moving a box full of personal effects to the airlock.

Jade had delivered enough air reserve tanks from the base to make sections of the prison safely habitable again, for the moment, and as such he could move through it without a suit.  As such, this part of the process went quite quickly.  In fact, there were almost enough boxes at the airlock to justify putting on his suit and taking them out to the sled.  Not quite though, because of the time involved in putting on or taking off the suit, he and Amy were trying to keep changes to a minimum.

"I have retrieved Doctor Drakken and am currently distracting the machine while dodging energy weapons," Jade said.  "Surge has almost reached her target."

"Is my Honey Bunny safe?" Amy asked.

"This thing's terrible driving is--" Drakken said in a voice that sounded somewhat sick.

"Dr Drakken is well," Jade reported.

"I thought that you liked Monty, Amy," Shego said.

"I've come to realize-"

"Guys!" Surge shouted.  "Not.  The. Time."

* * *

The music was helping calm Surge's nerves somewhat, and she was grateful that Jade had chosen an instrumental this time because she didn't need the distraction of words.  Mind you, this song had been unnerving at first, but by the time it was two minutes in that had changed.

She was at the top of the leg, and she could see her target clearly, but there was nothing she could do to get there other than jump and hope for the best.

* * *

Drakken senselessly interrupted ELO's masterpiece, "Fire on High", to announce, "She's jumped for it."

Horatio tried to ignore him and lose himself in the music.

* * *

Surge was able to catch the hole the laser had punched, and her weight was little problem in the lunar gravity, but her momentum tried to pull her further and she jarred her left shoulder staying at the hole.

She ended up holding herself up using her right arm, and lifted her left hand to touch the exposed electronics.

She wasn't sure if it was because it was alien, because it was huge, or because interfacing through the space suit glove was more difficult and, unlike with the laser rifle, she hadn't had any practice on connecting with the alien machine through the glove.  Whatever it was, this was hard.  Especially hard since she was, basically, trying to create the kind of system crashing accident that she usually had to put all of her efforts into avoiding.

Finally, though, she did get clear access.

Drakken was right, repeated shots wouldn't have worked, given how few the rifle could have managed at that level.  The machine was simple, but it was also robust.  She was sensing redundancies on its redundancies.  No wonder they'd been so hard to hurt in the invasion, other than the legs where Surge imagined the armor was thickest, this thing had no critical point to attack.

Shooting it where she did had given her access to its control systems, but if all she did was create a local failure it wouldn't even slow it down.  There were just too many back ups.  It felt like it could operate fine with 90% of its electronics fried, or more.

She had to make the whole system fail at once, or it would just keep coming.  Worse still was that the components of they system were themselves quite strong.  Ordinary human technology would have fried itself by now given the amount of effort she was putting in and the volatility of her power.

Then it hit her, she didn't need to destroy it, she needed to make it self destructive.  No, not even self destructive, just non-productive.  She channeled her inner Marvin the Paranoid Android and had a detailed chat with every line of code.

* * *

"Well that was anticlimactic," Shego said.

At least she wasn't interrupting the music.  The last minute had played out without annoying interruptions.

"What happened?" Kim asked.

"It just ... fell over," Shego said.

"I thought Possible wasn't on this channel," Hawk said.

"Now that the operation is concluded, I have restored communications to the base," Jade said.

"I'm still mad at you about cutting me off," Kim said.

"You were distracting Surge," Jade said.  "Moving to retrieve Surge."

"Thanks, Jade," Surge said.  "Can you drop me back at the base?  I've still got some packing to do."

"I'm out of stuff to load," Blok said.  "So if you can pick up whatever's there and bring it here..."

"We've got a full load ready," Henry said.

"I will return to the base, deliver the cargo there to the shuttle, and then return Drakken to the prison," Jade said.  "Please plan your actions accordingly."

"Amy and I will make sure to get everything we've boxed up onto the sled in time for your arrival, Jade," Hawk said.

"So, everything's back on track," Kim said.

"And you didn't have to boss anyone around," Shego said.  "Must be hard for you."

* * *

Things returned to the monotony of before Jade had spotted the Lorwardian device.  Horatio was coming to love Jade's sound system though. Now that no one needed to get in or out of the car they'd been able to fill the cabin with air allowing him to take off his helmet and just relax.
To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
The music stopped at an incoming transmission.

"What's a trans quantum sonic tachyon transducer?" Surge asked over the radio.

Badly named, Horatio thought.  It was also something on the list of stuff he'd asked Surge to get.  He was about to explain, when other people started talking.

"Why?" Kim asked.

"Because I need to get one," Surge said.  "Now what is it?"

"It's a device that uses sound waves to create a--" Drakken said.

"It looks like a metal doughnut with four antennas, equally spaced, around the major circumference, several dials marked with sort of elvish looking symbols--"

"They're scientific--" Drakken protested.

"Not now, Doc," Shego said.  "And it's got a USB cable coming out of it."

Horatio was a bit impressed.  Shego knew what a trans quantum sonic tachyon transducer was.

"Thanks, Shego," Surge said.

And the packing continued.
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Though my life was in a rut
'Till I thought of what I'd say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey" he said "Grab your things
I've come to take you home."

[Previous][Kim Possible Index][Next]


Random notes:

"Gopher mission" is an example of sideways influence in etymology.  "Gofer" comes from "go for."  A "gofer mission" is picking up something for someone (for example going for coffee) a "gofer" is someone whose job consists primary of such tasks.

All of this is entirely unrelated to the word "gopher", but "gofer" sounds like "gopher" and so,  in spite of the two words being totally unrelated, the much more common "gopher" is pulling the spelling of the less common (and usually spoken instead of written) "gofer" in its direction.  "Gopher" is already an acceptable alternate spelling, and may come to replace "gofer" entirely.

Also, it was somewhat interesting trying to figure out what music would be playing given that you know Kim Possible's flying car is going to have access to everything in the history of ever.

[Added] This originally posted with the wrong title (a remnant from when I was going to have the action covered be only half of the chapter) sorry about that.

1 comment:

  1. Took me a while to read, because I had to look up all the music. Thank you for including the title of the instrumental piece, by the way. :)


    "And, as much as it pains me to said it," Drakken added, "she is, in fact, all that." a smile from me, too. :)