At one point Shego hoped to fool Global Justice in regard to her health. She would try to keep them thinking she was too weak to be moved. She was almost strong enough to generate a little plasma heat -- the doctors would interpret that as fever and keep her in the hospital until she was really strong enough to escape. She'd take it easy for a couple months; rebuild her strength, free Drakken. Life would go on as before. She and Kim could have stolen moments and time in Mexico together.
Kim's news shattered Shego. Life could never go on as it had before. Emotionally drained she didn't attempt fight or flight when Global Justice came to remove her from the hospital.
Shego noticed, with little pleasure, that Global Justice did a wonderful job of gauging her strength -- earlier and it might have triggered a relapse, any later and she might have been strong enough to try and fight. Sometimes Global Justice could be terribly efficient. Of course, their first six efforts to keep her in custody had failed, but every cell had proven tougher than the last. It had taken her a week to break out last time, and they had spent almost a year preparing this one for her.
As cells went the Cage was almost lavish. It featured three rooms, a small area for sleeping, a smaller area for a bathroom with shower, and an anteroom about twelve feet square with a chair and bench molded into the murky green, plexiglass wall -- at least the material looked something like plexiglass. Shego could not imagine they used a material which could melt. And she realized the size did not represent a reward. It meant she could be denied exercise privileges on the grounds her cell provided more than average space.
Shego sometimes carried a few thin, flexible picks with her. They would be hidden under a plastic film that matched her skin well enough to elude casual search. The picks had helped her escape from Cages three and four. Any one of the combination of poor health after the Tibet adventure, the hurried nature of the Global Justice raid, and the long recovery in the hospital would have kept her from her picks. And the picks wouldn't have helped. The new Cage had two locks, neither mounted on the cell proper. They stood on posts some six feet from the cell door and ten feet apart. It required two keys, one in each lock, turned more of less simultaneously for the door to be unlocked.
Locating the video cameras set in the plexiglass walls was easy. Shego figured out two ways to disable them, but realized there was no point in making the effort until she had an escape plan. She then realized, with a start, that they weren't even turned on -- probably some rule about prisoner privacy and male guards watching female prisoners. If you could count on Betty Director for one thing it was the protection of individual rights.
The Cage had even come equipped with a built-in telephone, of sorts. The microphone and speaker were both imbedded in the green plexiglass -- to insure Shego had no access to wires or parts, which could be used as tools. Small holes drilled in the wall allowed her voice, or the voice of the caller, into her cell.
Shego had regained her normal weight, but months in the hospital had left her weak. She couldn't stop her mind from thinking about Kim. Why hadn't Kim tried to contact her? She couldn't believe Global Justice was this cruel. Was Kim sick? If it were bad enough wouldn't Jean or someone have told her?
Fortunately, she could exercise her body even if her mind was out of her control. With nothing else to do she spent hours a day on strength and flexibility exercises. Without a larger training area and real equipment she couldn't do all she wanted, but she felt physically better than she had in months.
She also spent time reading. Rabbi Kominski had loaned her a number of books by Mordecai Kaplan, which she found fascinating, even while she realized she didn't know enough about the arguments under discussion. It was a little hard to understand how Orthodox Rabbi's could have burned the “Sabbath Prayer Book,” in 1945. She wasn't sure which she found more troubling, the irony of Jews at a book burning a month after the defeat of Hitler, or the fact anyone would object to a writer who said religion needed to reflect the modern age and science.
Agent Shapiro had no idea why he received a summons to the director's office.
“We've got a complaint of denying a prisoner's right to religious freedom. Shego says she wants access to a rabbi. She says she won't talk with the Jewish chaplain we have. Something about Orthodox and Reconstructionist… What is this? Is this is frivolous or something real?”
Greatly relieved that he had been called only to serve as a Jewish to Christian translator he tried to explain, “If a Catholic asked to see a priest would you send in a Mormon elder?”
“You people have that much difference too?”
“Okay, maybe not that much difference -- but it's not that they just aren't on the same page. They're in two different books.”
“So, can we find a Reconstructionist rabbi?”
“It's easier to find a Reform rabbi, make the offer -- she might take it.”
“That would be close enough?”
“It might be. They're in the same book at least -- and the pages are close.”
Betty Director paid a visit to Shego's cell with a question, “What in the hell do you have on the Agency?”
“What do you mean?”
“First they hired Bert to try and kill you. They failed -- and they can't touch you here -- so now Federal charges against you are disappearing.”
“As in the DOJ chooses not to pursue prosecution. Maybe it has something to do with happened to Drakken. In any case, they're saying there is not sufficient evidence to justify a trial for your crimes.”
“Can they do that?”
“It happens all the time -- especially if you have friends in high places. A few years ago an officer in Texas uncovered evidence the head of the Texas funeral directors had channeled illegal campaign funds to his friend, the governor. The officer was fired, no charges ever filed against the head of the funeral directors.”
“And the governor?”
“Went on to become President of the United States.”
Shego laughed, “Does it ever seem ironic to you, being head of an organization called Global Justice, when there isn't any?”
“No, but its frustrating. Sons of bitches who steal billions -- more than you could in three lifetimes -- will only get prosecuted if there is such a huge public stink that the government can't ignore it. The big crook may ruin millions of people with his thefts and be regarded as a pillar of the community. But three strike laws put one dumb offender in jail for life without a chance of parole for writing three bad checks.
“But my question to you remains, what do you have on the Agency? Do you know something about their extraordinary renditions?”
“Their use of kidnapping and torture? I told you I don't know why they're doing this.”
“Is this more of your loyalty to whoever hires you? They tried to kill you. You don't owe them any loyalty after that.”
“I really don't know.”
“Would you lie about that?”
“Of course I would.”
“Well, I'm not sure if those are friends trying to buy you off, or if they just want to keep you off a witness stand so you can't say anything embarrassing to the government.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the DOJ will not be pursuing Federal charges against you. There are still state charges, although none of those carry the same penalties. But with the US Federal charges gone you are being extradited to Canada.”
“Some scheme by Drakken a few years ago, to take over the world with a weather machine; starting with Canada.”
“Doesn't matter if I'm serious about it or not, the Canadians are. In a month we'll be shipping you north.”
Almost four months had passed since Shego had last used her plasma powers. The news of her extradition seemed a reasonable incentive to try again. First, she'd try a basic blast of heat -- throw a big ball of fire at a plexiglass wall and see what happens. What happened was impressive; the wall appeared to swallow the fireball. Shego was not certain what happened next, the plasma blast had either triggered a switch or her own power had been channeled into two devices. First Shego heard an alarm sound, then she noticed the red monitor lights which indicated the video cameras had turned themselves on.
Two Global Justice agents strolled over to the 'window' of the anteroom and peered inside. One of them smiled and gave her the finger, Agent Haskell if she remembered correctly.
About an hour after her first experiment the video cameras shut themselves off -- or the power she had supplied to them was gone. Breaking out of Cage VII was going to be much more difficult than Cage VI. She felt like there were other things she could try, she doubted if Global Justice realized she could tightly focus her plasma blasts until they were hotter than a welding arc, but she would try that another day. She also started to look for seams, the three rooms could not have been molded as one large piece and where the pieces had been joined would be weaker. The floor might also prove weaker than the walls when she attempted her breakout. The challenge of the Cage helped revive her spirits slightly -- at least it gave her something to think about other than Kim's silence.
The news that Kim was carrying her baby filled Shego with mixed emotions. There was an element of relief, that Kim had not been violated in the ways she had imagined. There were elements of fear for Kim as well, what did this mean for her life? What did this mean for their relationship? Jean was right about one thing; Shego had screwed up completely with Kim. She hoped there would be a chance to ask forgiveness before she was shipped off to Canada. Shego also startled herself when she caught herself wondering what the baby would look like and what she would be named.