The air was cool and quiet in the late evening hour. The gatekeeper did one last sweep through the grounds before deciding all was well and locking up for the night. No sooner had his tail lights disappeared into the darkness, when a mysterious silhouette leapt gracefully onto the stone wall separating the living from the dead. A quick purview showed no other living soul to be around and the shadowy figure quietly traversed into the cemetery.
Purposeful steps stopped in front of a tasteful headstone with a sweet faced cherub perched atop. The twilight intruder slowly fell to their knees and laid a small bouquet of flowers at the foot of the memorial. Trembling fingers reached out and traced the name etched lovingly into the stone.
1985 - 2000
Beloved daughter, sister and friend
No words were spoken, no tears shed, there was only stillness and silence. The thrum of a vibrating cell phone shattered the quiet and the interloper grimaced. It was ignored and eventually stopped. All too soon though, the tremors began again and continued for several moments without pause.
Annoyed by the initial disturbance, the trespasser was now in a full-blown fury at the continued interruption.
“What?” The word was snarled at the offending caller.
“We have a code Alpha.” Dr. Director's curt voice filtered over the speaker.
Several moments passed in tense silence. “Unless you tell her the truth, you can find someone else. I'm not doing it anymore.”
The silence on the other end of the line was deafening. Eventually she spoke, her terse words again disrupting the tranquil night. “Fine. Get back to headquarters. Briefing will be in an hour. And Harper?”
“I hope you know what you're doing.”
The connection was broken and the figure glanced up at the marble angel sitting atop the headstone. It's cherubic face mocked the visitor silently. “So do I,” was muttered softly as the shadow rose and disappeared into the night.
beep beep da beep
“W…Wade?” Kim grabbed her Kimmunicator and groggily opened one eye to see a pajama-clad boy genius with a serious and contrite look on his face.
“Sorry to wake you Kim, but it's an emergency.”
“It's 3:30 in the morning,” she groaned, peeking at her alarm clock.
“I know. But like I said, emergency.”
Something in Wade's tone made Kim work a little harder to fully wake. “What's the sitch then?”
“Not sure. Global Justice contacted me with a code Alpha a few minutes ago. That's the highest security code they have, so something big and very bad is going down. They want you there ASAP.”
Wade shook his head. “Not this time. Alpha code protocol states only the highest trained agents be called in. Ron doesn't have the security clearance needed yet, sorry Kim.”
Kim grimaced, she hated leaving Ron behind but was actually grateful to be going solo. Things had been a little tense between them since their mostly amicable break up several weeks ago. “Ride?” She was fully awake now and sitting up in bed.
“Thanks, Wade.” She threw back the covers and started towards her closet.
“Be careful,” Wade said softly. “Whatever triggered an Alpha, it can't be good.”
Kim smiled a little and nodded.
“Miss Possible.” Agent Will Du was cordial as he met her in the foyer of the Global Justice building.
“Will.” Kim nodded, her tone equally cool.
“This way, Dr. Director is expecting you.” He led Kim to an elevator. As soon as the door closed, a keypad appeared from a hidden wall compartment and he typed in a seven digit code. The elevator began descending at a high speed and Kim felt her stomach clench a little at the sensation. A chime sounded and the doors opened to reveal a large room filled with agents hard at work. Computer screens dominated the space and it seemed everyone was on edge.
“Kimberly.” Dr. Betty Director strode up to the pair and offered her hand. She was genuinely glad to see the teenager as she recognized the great potential in Kim and saw herself as a kind of mentor to the younger girl.
Kim extended hers. “Dr. Director. What's the sitch?”
“I'm sure Mr. Load informed you of the code Alpha that's been called.” At Kim's nod, she continued, “We have a situation that's above and beyond the normal missions you handle. It appears Dr. Drakken's truly gone mad this time.” The senior agent turned and pointed a remote at a large computer screen.
Images of a large power plant flickered on the screen. “12 hours ago, a shipment of enriched plutonium along with 3 nuclear fuel rods were stolen from the nuclear power plant in Nevada. Tell me Kim, why does someone steal plutonium?”
Kim blanched. “To make a bomb?”
Dr. Director nodded grimly. “That's a possibility. Intel has tracked him to a lair situated in the Rocky Mountains. We need to retrieve the stolen nuclear material, find out how Drakken obtained it in the first place and what he was planning to use it for.”
“Well that's easy enough,” Kim snorted. “He has it because Shego stole it for him.”
“Not this time,” Dr. Director shook her head, “we'll fill you in on the logistics on the way. You'll be partnering up with a GJ agent for this one, Kim. We can't afford any mistakes; there are too many things at stake. That's why your friend Ron isn't coming with you.”
Kim stiffened at the implied insult. “Ron is my partner. We're a team. I don't know who you have me paired up with, but I guarantee we won't work nearly as well together as he and I do.” Kim surreptitiously shot a glance at Will Du.
Dr. Director smiled thinly. “I can appreciate your loyalty but this isn't the time. Besides, I have it on good authority that you and this agent work remarkably well together.”
“Who is it?” Kim asked, suspiciously.
“Special Agent Harper Galloway,” A hidden door shrouded in dim light opened to the left of her and Kim turned to see the occupant saunter into the room, “of course, you know her better by her code name.”
“Shego?” Kim breathed, disbelieving as a familiar green and black clad figure stepped into the light.
“Aw, the gang's all here,” Shego grinned and walked toward the little group. There were few moments she cared for enough to call memories, but she knew she'd never forget the utterly speechless expression on Kim's face when she walked into the room. It was moments like those that made her job worth it.
“Special Agent Galloway,” Will greeted her stiffly. His dislike for Shego was well known. Her disregard for the rules and regulations infuriated him to no end. Couple that with her phenomenal success rate on missions and her penchant for arrogance and sarcasm, and a rivalry that bordered on true hatred seethed between them.
“Willy! Long time no see. You beat my record yet or are you still falling short as usual?” Shego reciprocated the young man's dislike wholeheartedly. She had no tolerance for the priggish agent and found his obsession with protocol stupid and boring. In her mind, Will and her older brother Hego were cut from the same cloth. If only they swung that way,she thought nastily, they'd be a match made in stuffed shirt heaven.
The junior agent sputtered in outrage at her taunt. Dr. Director held up a hand to silence his retaliatory response. “Harper, now is not the time. We have a job to do,” she chided.
Shego crossed her arms and smirked, “Whatever you say, Bets. I was just letting Will know how much I missed him.”
“I'm sure,” Betty replied dryly. “Please don't call me Bets. I've asked you repeatedly not to. Considering I put in the time to earn the doctorate, the least you can do is acknowledge my title.”
The raven-haired woman shrugged. “Then don't call me Harper, Bets. I've told you repeatedly too.”
Betty sighed. Harper Galloway was the best agent in active service at Global Justice. Top marks in all areas of combat, marksmanship, and espionage. She was considered the elite in the spy community, both legal and illegal. Her rebellious streak against any and all authority figures combined with her acerbic temperament made her a hard person to work with. Save me from juvenile posturing, she thought. “Start making your routine check-ins and I'll consider it.”
Shego rolled her eyes and turned her attention to the last occupant of the group. In truth, it was the person she wanted to speak to most but had intentionally held off to see how Kim would react to learning the truth about who and what she really was. “So, Kimmie - “
Her sentence was cut short by a vicious right hook that left her involuntarily stepping back and seeing stars. She rubbed her jaw and grinned. “Didn't know you wanted to play rough, Princess. All you had to do was ask.” Lightning fast reflexes caught the next punch before it was even halfway through the air. “Uh uh, only the first one's free. Next one's gonna cost you.” Shego twisted the fist in her grip and tugged forward, bringing Kim flush up against her. “C'mon, you're not even a little happy to see me?” she murmured, enjoying the feel of them pressed together.
Kim Possible was beyond furious. She'd been thrown for a loop when Shego had entered the room. There had always been a rivalry between them, but to hear that Shego was a Global Justice agent caused her brain to momentarily short circuit. The enormity of discovering they were actually on the same side was overshadowed by the sting of betrayal she felt at the fact it seemed everyone knew except her. Not to mention the confusion she was feeling over Shego herself. There had been a grudging respect and maybe even a little admiration for the thief, if she was being completely honest. But she had always known where the line between them was - why she was the good guy and Shego was the villain. Now it seemed that line wasn't so defined.
“You've got to be joking. Happy?” She struggled briefly against her captor. “You're a liar,” she hissed angrily, still trying to wrench her arm free from Shego's grasp.
A brief flash of regret crossed Shego's face at Kim's words. Then it was gone, replaced by her usual arrogant smirk. “Only when I have to be.” She released Kim suddenly and put a few feet of space between them. “Are we gonna get moving anytime soon? Or did you just wanna hope Drakken grows a conscience and decides to return the stuff on his own?”
Dr. Director nodded and gestured toward the elevator. “Time is of the essence. Agent Frost has arranged for transportation. Shego will infiltrate and locate the materials. Kim, you'll engage Drakken as normal. Rendezvous back within an hour of deployment. We'll have transport waiting to get you both out of there. More instructions will come when you're closer to the drop point.”
“I am NOT working with her,” Kim growled. “You can't expect me to just be okay with this. Shego and I have been enemies for years. Only apparently we're not really enemies after all.” She threw her hands into the air and let the anger roiling inside her bubble to the surface. “All because you felt the need to keep secrets. Poor Kim, she can't be trusted with something important, let's keep her in the dark.” She imitated Dr. Director's voice perfectly, not bothering to hide her scorn. “Oh but we'll still let her go on missions, keeping the truth from her.” The fury was in control now, she couldn't stop if she wanted to. “And one day you decide to let me in on it and expect me to just fall in line like it's no big? I don't think so.”
Betty sighed again. “Kimberly, I understand your feelings and while I sympathize, there are lives at stake here. Now is not the time to let personal feelings get in the way of what needs to be done. Serving the greater good leaves no room for outbursts like this.”
Kim curled her hands into fists and struggled to bring her emotions under control. Dr. Director was right, she had been caught off guard but innocent lives were in danger and it was her job to stop Drakken regardless of how she might be feeling about the current situation. The multitude of questions she had would just have to wait. She nodded her acquiescence. She would do what needed to be done.
“Do I have to be here for this Hallmark moment?” Shego interrupted, in a bored tone. “Cause it's making me slightly nauseous.” Both Dr. Director and Kim turned to see Shego leaning against the wall, her posture one of absolute indifference.
“Go ahead Shego, Kimberly will join you shortly.” Betty nodded toward the elevator. “I'm sure Agent Frost is eager to check in with you.”
Shego rolled her eyes and gave a mock salute before disappearing into the elevator. Went better than I thought, she mused, punching the up button and idly rubbing her jaw. She'd fully expected Kim to be angry upon learning the truth but experiencing it had pained her more than she wanted to admit. The physical blow was nothing, she'd suffered worse at the hands of the redhead before. It was the look of betrayal and hurt that had pierced her to the core. At least you know the truth now Kimmie, for all the good it does me.
“Before you leave Kim, I need you to be absolutely clear on a few things.” Dr. Director turned to keep the heroine from following directly after Shego. There were some points she needed to address before the mission went a step further.
“Do you really think you're in any kind of position to tell me what to do right now?” It was clear Kim was still angry and barely keeping her temper in check.
Betty stiffened and set her mouth in a hard line. “Don't misunderstand Kimberly, this isn't up for negotiation. As you are now in full knowledge of the identity of a undercover agent working for Global Justice, you will do things our way or not at all.” Her chin raised and her tone dropped several degrees in warmth. It was the head of an international espionage and peace-keeping organization who was speaking now, not the woman who was a sometime mentor and friend to Kim. “Up until now, we've given you pretty much free reign in regards to handling the super villains of the world. Shego's been adhering to her mission directive and giving you a helping hand when able. But if you fail to comply with certain stipulations, you will find that freedom severely restricted. Are we clear?” Her demeanor left no room for confusion; she meant what she said and would back it up in a heartbeat.
Kim just crossed her arms and glared. The two stood locked in a battle of wills, Kim determined not to let Global Justice manipulate her any longer and Betty just as determined to ensure the safety of her agent and the success of the mission at hand. Moments crawled by as a resolute brown eye met angry, unwavering green ones. Eventually, Betty sighed and tried another tack. “Kim, I'm not trying to handle you. I need to make sure you understand that what I'm going to ask isn't anything you wouldn't do on your own. But I need assurances nonetheless. Shego's safety is at stake, let alone the operational security of the mission at large. Do you understand?”
Hearing that Dr. Director's concerns were primarily for Shego took much of the wind out of Kim's sails. It hadn't occurred to her that just by knowing who Shego really was, she might be putting her in danger. Her arms dropped and she slouched as the anger drained from her. She nodded slowly, “I get it and I won't do anything to mess this up, I promise.” She sighed tiredly, “But Dr. Director, you have to realize, I don't like being lied to. Especially since it looks like this has been going on for awhile. Do you understand?” She looked over at the older woman who was giving her a sincere look of regret.
Betty smiled wanly, “I do. For what it's worth, she wanted to tell you almost as soon as this operation started.”
“Who?” Kim was puzzled.
“Shego, of course.”