A campus security officer and policeman interrupted a class on evidence when they came through the door. Other students glanced at Kim as the redhead began to gather her books. It wasn't the first time she'd been called out of class for a mission. The pair seemed oddly quiet as she left the classroom with them.
“You know a Sharon O'Ceallaigh in the law school?”
On a better day Kim would have told him it was pronounced like O'Kelly. Instead her stomach knotted, what had Shego done? “Yes.”
“You're listed as emergency contact for her.”
The pain in Kim's stomach was suddenly worse. “Has something happened to her?”
The two officers exchanged a glance, not sure what to say or how to say it. “You'd better come with us,” the campus security guard said. “We need to show you a tape. The security office is in--”
“I know where the security office is,” Kim snapped. “I'm sorry. I just want to know what happened.”
“So do we,” the policeman said. Kim led the way across the green, walking so fast the two officers trotted to keep up.
“Where is everyone?” Kim asked as they entered the security office in the basement of the administration building.
“Probably over at the law school, trying to find a witness or any kind of evidence.”
“Please, tell me what this is about.”
“Sit down, Miss Possible,” the policeman said. “Sharon O'Ceallaigh vanished from a class this after--”
“How can you vanish from a class?”
“We don't know. Videotape of the entrance revealed… Hell, we're not sure what it shows. Can you start the tape Clif? Begin it about one-seventeen this afternoon.”
The somewhat grainy image of the law school entryway began to unroll on the screen, “The weird thing is that no one can remember seeing this guy in the building… Slow it down, now!”
Kim watched as a man who looked vaguely out of time and place crossed in front of the camera. She suddenly felt ill and fought the urge to throw up her lunch. She had seen a similar man, if it could be called a man, once in Tibet. Shego had warned her there was still at least one more in the world, and Kim was seeing evidence of the fact. “Forward the tape to two minutes after two,” the policeman instructed the campus security man. Kim knew what she was going to see even before the image came on the screen. “And that's the damndest thing,” the cop said, “he carried her out of a building where a hundred people should have seen something, and no one saw a blessed thing. Here the image-- See! Right there! Two other students are coming in just as he carries her out, we can identify them both. We interviewed them, and they both swear they didn't see a thing - even though he had to have walked right past them.”
“No, it can be very effective at screening itself from sight.”
“It? You recognize him?”
“It's not a him… That was Shego-- Sharon's opinion. Can I have the tape? I have a couple people I need to show it to.”
“Sorry, we can make a copy for you. You'll have it tomorrow.”
“BY TOMORROW SHE COULD BE DEAD!” Kim screamed. “Look, I'm sorry. I've got to see if I can do something.”
She bolted from the room, the campus security officer yelling at her as she left, “What can you tell us?” The two stared at each other as they heard her running down the hall for an exit. They weren't sure if the better course was to follow her and demand more information or let Kim tackle the problem herself.
Ron answered the phone on the second ring, “Hello?”
“Ron, Shego's been grabbed by a Jack. Can you--”
“Shego's gone, taken. She said Drakken knows something about them. Get a car, pick me up in front of the administration building as fast as you can.”
“The twins are--”
“Ask Bonnie, Monique, anyone. Just get here as fast as you can. I need to get out to Lipsky and Load. I'm going to call out while you're on your way and tell them we're coming.”
The eight minutes until the Volvo pulled up in front to the building seemed like hours to the pacing Kim. “Move over, let me drive,” she ordered Ron.
“No way, KP. You'll get stopped for speeding. You got shotgun.”
Cursing Ron under her breath, even though she knew he was right, Kim ran around and jumped in the passenger side. Only after the car was in motion did she acknowledge the presence of Joss in the back seat. “What are you doing… That sounds wrong. I'm apologizing a lot this afternoon. I'm upset.”
“I understan’. I stopped by your place before goin’ home and when the phone call came I jumped in the car with Ron.”
“Are the twins okay?”
“I think they're fine. Bonnie said she'd watch ‘em. She said to call her as soon as you know anything.”
Kim gritted her teeth as Ron refused to go more than seven miles above the speed limit on the drive out. Halfway to the lab Kim complained, “I don't know why Shego didn't tell us more about those things.”
“Gee, I don't know KP. Maybe A, she didn't want to talk about them. Or B, we didn't want to know more about them. But I'm going to go with C, both of the above.”
At Lipsky and Load he pulled into an open spot between Kim's old Bug and Zita's heap. Kim jumped out of the car even before it finished moving. Wade, Jim, and Tim were standing behind the glass door of the entryway. Wade pushed the door open and Kim barked, “Where's Drakken?”
“Small lab two,” Wade said as Kim hurried past.
Ron apologized and they all followed her to find the blue man. The argument must have started as soon as Kim and Drakken saw each other. “What do you mean, she's missing?” the blue man was shouting.
“I mean she disappeared during class today. The video showed her being carried out of the law school and no one saw a thing,” Kim broke and had to sit down for a minute, crying in rage and frustration. “I saw the video. I think it was a Jack.” She had already warned Ron, but Drakken went pale and Wade felt uneasy without even knowing exactly what was going on. Joss and the tweebs simply looked puzzled. Kim took a deep breath and tried to regain some composure. “She told us the two of you have fought them before. There used to be four of them--”
“There are still two,” Drakken said, nodding.
“Just one now,” Ron interrupted. “We saw one die in Tibet.”
“You couldn't see it die,” Drakken sneered. “You have to be alive in order to die, and those things weren't. And they're terribly good at faking their own ‘demise’.”
“I'm pretty sure that one is gone,” Kim interrupted. “But if the last one has Shego you have to tell us whatever you can, and fast.”
The others sat on chairs or lab tables as the blue man paced nervously, trying to organize his thoughts into a coherent story. Finally he sighed and began a somewhat disjointed rambling. “We never learned exactly what they were or where or when they came from… It doesn't matter. They were vampires--” He saw Wade and the tweebs give him an incredulous look. “Oh, not the Béla Lugosi sort of vampires. I sometimes think these things started those stories just to throw people off. They don't sleep in coffins and they can be out during the day. They drink blood, but… Wade, I need unsolved murders where the victims’ throats were slashed, correlate it with lunar phases. Any missing person reports where the person disappeared during the same phase of the moon.”
“Why, do you--”
“Just do it, Wade! Please,” Kim interrupted. The young man went to a computer terminal to the side and began looking for the requested information.
“To remain at top strength each needed to dine on blood at least once during the lunar cycle, they each had a phase of the moon that was ideal. I suspect the Ripper murders in England were probably--”
“Do we need this history lesson?” Kim pleaded. “I want to know how we find and rescue Shego.”
“How can you rescue her if you don't know what you're up against?” Drakken sneered. “Your only chance is if you understand what has her.”
“And if you keep wandering around instead of focusing on how to destroy it she's going to be dead. How do we find her? Is there any way to trace that thing?”
“No, there's not,” he glared at her. “Wait… Kim, come with me.”
“Ron, come with us.”
“Just you,” Drakken hissed at Kim.
“No, I need Ron. He has to know what I know.”
Drakken hesitated only a second, he wanted Shego rescued, “Very well,” he growled. He led them out of small lab two to another room with a few computer terminals. The floor plan at the old Lair seemed to change every time Kim visited the place as work progressed at Lipsky and Load. “You will swear to never tell Wade what you are about to see.”
“What's the--” Ron started to ask, and Kim elbowed him.
“Just swear.” She turned to Drakken, “I promise never to say anything about this to Wade.”
Even as Ron swore his oath Drakken sat down at a terminal and called up a satellite image of the United States. He began adjusting settings and within seconds half a dozen points of light were on the screen. “Those are her brothers,” Drakken said, ignoring the points of light in Go City. He enlarged the other image; ‘accidentally’ placing his hand over the light in Middleton in the process. Kim's eyes narrowed. She guessed the Middleton light was Drakken himself.
“When was she taken?”
“About two. Where is she?”
“If you'll have some patience,” he grumbled. “I'm trying to get the coordinates. It's a little more than forty miles from here, a little valley…” He brought the satellite image into sharper focus. “Odd, it looks like houses, but there's no mention of a town and I'm not getting much of an infra-red signature.”
Ron stared at the map, “I think I remember that place from state history in grade school. Do you remember it KP? A mining town with a big smelting plant: lead, silver, and copper. So much lead from the tailings leached into the ground water that the people all left like ten years before Love Canal. I always wanted to see what was there, but the state closed the road up into the place.”
“Lead is neurotoxin, why did you want to go there?”
“I wasn't planning on drinking the water there. I just wanted to see a ghost town.”
Drakken had focused the satellite image even tighter while Kim and Ron talked. “It appears that Shego is inside a church building. East side of the building, probably the sanctuary.” He tapped on the screen, “Damn image seems awfully fuzzy.”
“Looks like you're going to get your wish,” Kim told Ron. “Do I need to ask if you're coming with me?”
“I got your back, KP.”
“Don't be fools,” Drakken snapped. “You need a plan.”
“My plan is to save Shego!” Kim pointed to the screen. “Can I assume this light means that she's still alive?”
“Well, I'm going to get there before the light goes out.”
“You can't fight that thing, it isn't human.”
Ron answered, “I'm guessing it's never faced any Mystical Monkey Power.”
Drakken paused, “Look, I'm sorry. I just want Shego to be safe. I don't want more victims.”
Kim hesitated, then placed a hand on his shoulder. “That's all any of us want. But you said he's going to kill her.”
“He hasn't killed her yet. That means he's waiting for the proper phase of the moon. Shego's power drew them like a moth to a flame. They wanted her blood… Let's see what Wade has.”
They returned to Lab Two and found that Wade had two unsolved murders where the victims had their throats slashed, both when the moon was between new moon and first quarter. He had three missing persons who had all disappeared during similar time periods. When the locations were plotted on a map they made a line heading towards Middleton.
“When is the new moon?”
“Tomorrow night,” Wade answered.
“Take a little more time to prepare,” Drakken pleaded. “Attack it tomorrow morning.”
“I'm not leaving her overnight with that thing. Wait, a question. No one could see it going in and out of the law school, but it was on the camera.”
“They can effect human perception,” Drakken explained to everyone. “They can't really change into bats or wolves like the stories say, but they can make you think they've changed into a bat or wolf and that will convince the average person. But they weren't much good with technology. I think they all learned how to drive, but things like digital cameras or computers would probably be a mystery to them.”
“So it would probably not understand that you had a tracking chip on Shego,” Kim asked the question in a way to mislead Wade on the source of the knowledge of Shego's location. She hated lying, but she had given her word.
Drakken looked relieved. Ron spoke, “So, he assumes that nobody knows where he is?”
“That seems likely,” the blue man replied.
As they left the room Drakken snapped his fingers, “Let me see if I can find something.” The two waited, not knowing what to expect. He returned a few minutes later with a pair of what looked like glasses. “Special polarization,” he explained. “If I understand his power you should be able to see him no matter what he tries to do.”
Kim hesitated for a minute, not wanting to put Ron in danger, “What do you think, Ron? Should we wait until morning - try and come up with a better plan?”
He looked at her, “I say we go for it. There's probably an hour of daylight. We can be there in the hovercraft in under half an hour. I'm getting pretty good control of the ol’ MMP.”
Kim gave him a hug and kiss, “Thanks, Ron. We're leaving now,” she told the others.
“Take these mikes,” Wade requested. He was finding the same poor images that had plagued Drakken when he went to the coordinates they gave him. “Something seems to be interfering with visual transmissions. I'm hoping it won't effect audio as much.”
“Probably all the lead and stuff around there,” Ron suggested.
Wade rolled his eyes. “Satellite cameras aren't like x-ray vision in comic books.”
“Yeah, but that was an old mining town. Couldn't enough different kinds of metal maybe--”
“Come on, Ron,” Kim said taking him by the arm. “We're going now.”
“We'll listen to you right here,” Jim called.
Drakken watched sadly as they left. “I'll be doing work in cybernetics if you need me,” he told Wade. “I need to prepare for Shego's rescue.”
“What about Kim and Ron?”
“Oh, they can be rescued too, if they're still alive.”