Middleton – The Future
Now, this was the scene out of a hellish nightmare.
Actually, it was a scene straight out of the apocalypse.
In the major cities, buildings were no longer proud and stable structures – they had long since been reduced to piles of rubble and ashes – cement blocks broken and shattered, twisted and sharp metal support beams poking out of the rocks, and scattered pieces of glass littering the ground around the desolate ghost buildings.
The buildings that were still standing, through some kind of divine miracle, were boarded up with makeshift wooden reinforcements, their windows having been broken long ago. Whether people still inhabited those buildings, no one knew. And no on really wanted to know. Perhaps there were still people living there – huddled away and shielded and cowering from the real world. Perhaps the buildings were as empty and desolate as their skeleton neighbors. Or, perhaps people had died there, and their remains had long since rotted away. Perhaps those still-standing structures were grave markers.
But no one knew for sure.
Random fires of varying sizes and intensities continued to burn throughout the night and day, occasionally letting loose a bright flare that lit up the sky with…hope, perhaps. But hope was a forsaken word and idea these days. In these troubled times, Pandora’s box had been opened, and all the evils inside it unleashed to plague mankind.
And even hope had abandoned humankind.
Neighborhood parks were empty and abandoned, the metal swings and slides of the playgrounds cannibalized for spare parts to make last minute improvised weapons. The only thing left of trees were the unevenly carved stumps with crude graffiti designs and letters cut into the rough bark left. The actual tree had been cut down for any purpose between providing firewood or to construct a quick makeshift weapon.
The streets were also deserted and eerily empty – the pavement and concrete cracked and beyond repair. Litter in the form of torn pieces of paper and smashed bits of plastic and glass bottles polluted the environment, and the rats had emerged from the sewers to bravely navigate the streets during broad daylight. The decaying carcasses of animals were scattered throughout the lands, the meat having been food for scavengers – both animal and human.
In some of the safer parts of the world (though not by much), the citizens huddled together in groups, knowing there was safety in numbers. But they also knew that if they were attacked, and the intent was decided, there would be no escape. But it was a…living?
Safety became a moot point – there was nowhere that was completely safe anymore. The word had long since lost its meaning. Safety became dream material, or for those lucky enough to still be alive, an idea that used to hold meaning long ago, before…
Before… they came into existence!
Publicly recognizing their name gave them power, so no one spoke about them anymore unless they were hiding deep underground, almost completely sure that no one would hear the words they were about to mutter to the darkness.
The darkness heard everything these days, and knew all. All the secrets were confided to the darkness. All the confessions were whispered to the darkness. Declarations of hate, of love, of despair, of hope – they were all tossed to the darkness, the words lost to the abyss. And the people knew there would be no chance of regaining them.
The Global Justice agents had almost completely been exterminated. A few lucky ones had either escaped or were not important enough to have been hunted in the first place. And the ones who had escaped – they were missing various body parts: eyes, ears, fingers, toes, tongues…the depths of their captors’ cruelty knew no bounds. And why should it? The resistance was broken. It had been broken and shattered years ago when Dr. Director had been captured by enemy forces, her lifeless and bloodied body strung up publicly as a warning to those who would dare to form an opposition.
When Global Justice had fallen, the world looked towards the two public leaders of Team GP – the premier crime-fighting force that had proved itself to be an almost indomitable force when led by Kim Possible and Shego.
But “almost” was the key word.
Kim and Shego had fought bravely and boldly – demonstrating their martial arts prowess and years upon years of trained and finely honed reflexes. With Wade, they had access to the best technology in the world while Ron, Monique and Yori focused on covert information-gathering through sly social interactions and outright searching. Most of the low-level thugs were easily taken care of by the team, and the more professionally trained men were taken out by either Kim or Shego.
And for a while, it appeared that the tide would finally turn in their direction.
But the appearance of a new breed of troops halted what might have happened: a pair of very highly trained…somebodies. They dressed in tight black fabric that clung to their bodies like water. They were silent and extremely deadly. Every punch that Kim threw, they blocked. Every kick that Shego tried to land, they dodged. They seemed to move with the shadows, appearing out of thin air and disappearing just as quickly. Fired bursts of plasma energy were of no use, as the ninjas just seemed to merely melt away as soon as Shego attempted to hit them. It was like trying to hit smoke. Or a shadow.
It was useless.
And even Kim and Shego were no match for them.
Apprehending the lesser of the villains, Shego attempted to gather information about their leader – but they adamantly refused to even mutter one syllable. And both Shego and Kim quickly learned that as soon as they turned their back, the enemy agents wasted no time in killing themselves with a concealed small vial of poison they kept hidden on their body. Whatever or whoever their leader was…they were more afraid of it than they were of their own death. And that age-old institution of death was absolute in its finality – once the enemies had died, the information had died with them.
And so it went… until the world was in shambles and only a few scattered rebel groups and bases remained active. But the question remained: For how long?
All the world’s brilliant minds had either been coerced to work for the enemy, or had been outright murdered for their refusal to swear loyalty and allegiance to this new world faction. Technology was limited to the grasps of the corrupted and the bought, as were basic rights such as food and water. The only way now to obtain these things was to hunt, drink from streams and rivers, or turn to the black market, which was another world of rules and regulations altogether. And no one really needed MORE rules.
Diseases that had been formally exterminated from the developed countries were now running rampant again, leaving waste and despair in their disastrous wake. Tuberculosis was chewing up the lungs of children and adults. Malaria, carried by mosquitoes, re-emerged as modern sewage treatment systems had been shut down and the water became polluted. A few brave individuals banded together in small groups to distribute contraband medicines illegally obtained, and there were underground rebel groups of former doctors and other public and private health professionals treating the injured and ill. Middleton Hospital, now headed by Mrs. Dr. Possible, was one of the few remaining “free” places in the States. But again, the question that plagued everyone’s mind was: How long would it remain free?
Yet, despite all the despair in the world, there were a few heroes who would not give up. They refused to accept the status quo, and continued to fight the good fight. They gave hope to the people, and prevented them from falling into a total state of hopelessness.
And they were the only ones who could even consider standing up to…them.
But some thought they had sided with them, the enemy, making occasional public shows of rebellion to provide the illusion that there was a resistance – that there might be some hope. It may be what would suppress an outright attempt at revolution, though the people who were willing to participate in a revolution were sadly few and far in between. The outspoken ones…well, if they weren’t fighters…their life expectancy was considerably decreased.
But that was just the way of the world now…
And people were just used to it.
Paris – The Future
Perched atop the Eiffel Tower (or what was left of it) in a skillful balancing act, a cloaked figure stood still and silent. No movement could be discerned other than the chest rising and falling rhythmically with smooth breathing, and the occasional flutter of the black velvet cloak, disturbed by the occasional spring breeze. Slowly and deliberately, there was a slight and subtle move as the figure turned its head, tilting it carefully, listening to the sounds of the environment. Someone was approaching.
“My master…” A frightened voice breaks through the silence, and a small figure approaches the taller shrouded figure – but slowly and carefully, with more than an air of hesitation and respect.
“I told you I don’t want to be disturbed.” The responding voice was low and threatening, and promised dire consequences if displeasure occurred.
“It’s important master.” The shorter person bowed quickly, as if to preempt any premature retaliation from his master.
“It better be. Continue.” There was a dismissive wave, signaling for continuation.
“Master, we’ve confirmed that Kim and her partner Shego are planning an attack on our troops in America.”
Slowly, the cloaked figure’s head turned to face the servant, causing the insubordinate to gulp back panic and terror.
Cold and calculating eyes glared at him, drilling twin holes into his soul. He felt bare and open and defenseless.
“Well, I, uh…I guess that I…you needed to know, right?” The shorter man backed off quickly, his head slightly jerking and twitching in fearful anticipation and his breath just beginning to catch as if he had asthma.
“Where in America? What day? What time?” The older and taller masked person advanced on the retreating servant, who had taken to a scuttling and scurrying motion to gain some distance.
“We…we don’t…we don’t know. We just…got, you know…vague details from our, um, sources.” The poor messenger was stuttering, voice cracking under stress.
“No details?” Disappointment laced the already disgusted and annoyed voice – an ominous foreshadowing of what might come.
“No, my master.” By now, the sweating courier was desperate, and quickly glanced down to gauge the drop to the ground below. Jumping from the tower and facing death by impact would be better than whatever his master would do.
“S-s-sorry. But…b-b-blame th-th-the sources. I was just, um, uh, delivering the news.”
He gulped, his own saliva tasting metallic and strange in his mouth.
“I see. Is that all you have to report then, you weak and pitiable fool? No other important items to relay?”
“Y-y-y-yes. That was it. Am I ex-excused from your presence now?”
Please, please, please! Just tell me yes, just let me go! It wasn’t my fault!
“Indeed. Get up.”
Gasping, with his chest heaving, the subordinate messenger suddenly slumped down against one of the metal bars of the dilapidated tower remains before finally summoning up the strength to stand up on shaky legs, muscles still threatening to give out. But the blessed reprieve was short-lived as, in a flurry of motion; the cloaked figure whipped around and violently grabbed the servant by the neck, just beginning to pinch down on the blood vessels and arteries that fed life-sustaining oxygen to the brain.
“Don’t you even begin to think you’ve gotten off easy. I’m EXTREMELY disappointed. Not only in your pathetic attempts to gather information important to me, but by your demeanor. I expect more respect and courage from my agents, you pitiful piece of dung.”
The low menacing voice promised death, but only after a long and drawn out and painful…interrogation. The messenger felt his head begin to spin, and his surroundings became blurred. But he knew, deep down, that the changed perceptions weren’t due to oxygen deprivation. They were due to fear.
“P-p-p-please m-m-master!” The servant stuttered, barely able to choke out two simple words, his heart pounding in his chest and a dull pain beginning to throb in his head. “I-I-I didn’t d-d-do any-anything!”
“Because I’m angry. And my therapist says that when I’m angry, I should express my feelings.”
“I-I-I think h-he meant t-t-to have an out-outlet f-f-f-for that.”
“Actually, I do. And so conveniently, as it’s already in my hands.”
Feeling the blood drain from his extremities, and possibly additional crucial internal organs, the agent began whimpering and babbling uncontrollably, his words half-formed and half-forgotten. With a surge of energy built up from the primal desire to survive, the lesser agent attempted to break free of the icy grip and fling himself off the tower; however, his master was too strong and quickly overpowered his feeble attempts to escape by cracking his radius and ulna.
And for the next few hours, anguished screams echoed throughout the land.
And then, there was finally silence.
Undisclosed Location – The Future
“Okay, according to our sources, tomorrow there’s going to be a planned raid on the Middleton Hospital. It’s one of the few hospitals still left standing, so we have to do our best to protect it.”
Kim Possible pounded her fist on the table, enunciating her point. Her audience was a ragtag group of rebels who had remained banded together during the fall of most of the modern governments to resist the opposition – herself, Shego, Monique, Wade, Ron, Yori, Jim, Tim, and a few newcomers.
Dressed in her usual crime-fighting attire, Kim looked now not much different than her younger self. Her hair was only a few inches shorter, and was still a brilliant fiery red color. Her eyes were a sharp emerald green, and they held the wisdom of many years and had seen things that no human should ever see. Shego also maintained her signature look, with long flowing ebony black hair that fell to her waist and dark forest green eyes. Ron; however, had changed from an awkward scrawny boy into a fit man – amazingly talented with all manner of fighting blades, thanks to the training of Yori. Monique had cut her hair to her chin, and kept it out of her face with a black headband these days. She acted as the weapons technician, having discovered that she had quite the knack for fixing mechanical devices.
Together, they were a rather formidable group of young men and women.
And the current problem that the team was facing was that no one knew exactly WHO or WHAT this opposition was that they were about to go after.
Whoever or whatever it was, it was extremely good. It had been gathering and planning for years, it seemed, and had successfully kept everything secret from all the major governments and crime-fighting organizations – even Global Justice and Team GP. It had trained martial artists in its employ, as well as brilliant scientists – and all of them had operated under strict secrecy.
Until they initiated their strike, and had taken the world by storm and by force.
A-Day, it was informally and plainly called.
The exact origin of the term is unknown, but people speculated that the letter A stood for attack or adversity.
Or the ‘advancement of the arrogant assholes alliance,’ if one asked Shego’s heated opinion. Or, if she had been drinking, “Asshole-ageddon!”
“The hospital? Is there some big shot being treated there or who works there? Or are they just stooping to the lowliest of lowness? Don’t tell me they can only beat up disable people now.” Shego sneered, fury already building at this nameless and faceless enemy, desire to crush it and protect those she loved beginning to overwhelm her heart and soul.
“We don’t know. Currently, we just think they’re trying to take out every major medical organization not directly and officially allied with them. Basically, they’re trying to gain a monopoly on healthcare as a means to further control us.”
“Hey Kim. Seeing as your mom works there, what if they’re trying to lure you in to get at YOU? Use her as a hostage to get you to back off or something?” Monique questioned.
“Tell them to bend over and I’ll show them some control alright!” Shego snarled, baring her teeth. “I swear Kim, there will be bloody pain on anyone who hurts even a hair on your mother’s head.”
“Shego! Concentrate! We can’t screw this up.” Kim admonished her wife, gently placing her hand atop Shego’s, their matching rings catching the dim light and briefly sparkling.
Shego sighed, long and heavy. “I’m sorry Princess. I’m just…so frustrated with it all. We should have been able to prevent this all from happening in the first place!”
“Me too sweetheart, I know. But we have to keep fighting. We’re some of the only ones left. People are counting on us.”
With a dejected sigh, Shego stole a glance towards her left, where a poster of the world had been pinned up. Blue areas painted on the map indicated safe zones where Team GP agents were stationed, and they served as refugee havens for those who were able to make it there. Red areas; however, denoted places were this new force had solidified control and successfully hindered all opposition. And Shego couldn’t help but notice that the majority of the globe had been painted red. While the blue areas remained blue, they were stagnant. They never grew, and they never expanded. They merely…existed.
“Can we send word to our sister and brother groups across the seas? Perhaps Operation Liberty in England can help? Can they send over some troops?” Ron suggested, looking at a list of other teams.
“They wouldn’t get here until a few days from now – at best. And we can’t let the enemy know that we are aware of his plans…we don’t have a safe way to relay the message in time.”
“Fine then. Let’s get to work. Does anyone have a blueprint of the hospital’s floorplans?”
“Right here ladies!” Wade relayed, furiously typing away at his salvaged computer as usual. The boy they had all known was now a rather athletic young man, and since the fall of the developed nations, he had switched to coordinating and planning with Kim, Ron, and Shego directly – in person. It was quite the change, but a welcome one.
“It’s gonna be a long night…” Shego sighed, moving positions to get a better look at the computer screen, and rubbing her temples.
Middleton Hospital – The Future
The hospital certainly wasn’t what it used to be. With various walls crumbling due to past explosives and shattered windows from riots, it looked more to be a condemned building than a place of safety and healing. A few streets away, there was an underground fire burning as part of the road had collapsed. And the team had fun speculating what might happen if the fire ever spread.
“Where are they?” Shego murmured, her tone hinting at impatience and her eyes scanning the horizon.
“Shh! Keep watching!” Kim warned, gesturing towards the hospital, her green eyes alert and blazing. “Keep your eyes on target!”
“We’ve been waiting here for almost four hours, Kim! Maybe they aren’t showing? Maybe our source was wrong?”
Shego twisted slightly to alter her position and stretch her calf muscles. She shrugged her shoulders deliberately, rolling them as a means to flex them.
“It’s always a possibility. Let’s just give it a few more hours…”
“Don’t talk! Look! Over there!”
Following Kim’s intense gaze, Shego felt a familiar triumphant and predatory grin spread across her face. It was subtle, but for a trained eye, relatively easy to spot – small movements on the roof, next to the satellite dish. An urge was building within Shego – the urge to pounce.
“They’re on the roof!” Shego whispered to Ron, who relayed the message to the rest of the team via encrypted wireless transmission. Monique was in charge of the second team, Team Beta and Wade was head of Team Gamma. The fourth team, Team Delta, served mostly as a recon team, co-directed by Jim and Tim Possible, who had grown up to be only a tad awkward, but retained their mental prowess – which they put to good use in helping Wade develop new high tech gadgets from scraps. Already, the resistance forces were using seventh and eighth generations of the portable Kimmunicator.
“Look towards the roof! Do you copy Team Beta?”
“This is Team Beta, we copy Team Alpha. We’re looking at the sky.”
There was a slight momentary pause. “Got ‘em KP. They’re on our sensors now.”
“Team Gamma, Team Delta – hold your positions where you are. Make sure those sons of bitches don’t escape on the ground. Do you copy?”
“This is Team Gamma, we copy.”
“Team Delta, acknowledged. Go kick some ass, sis!”
Kim smiled. Despite the chaos around her, some things were always going to be stable – and her family was one of them. Her two younger brothers, now all grown up. Her wife. Her good friends Ron and Monique and Yori – they were a family. And love was stronger than anything. She felt filled with spiritual power, and a feeling that no matter what happened, the most important things in her life were all set.
“Good. Let’s go!”
With a burst of speed, Kim broke her cover and began running towards the building. Aiming her grappling gun, she pulled the trigger and immediately began climbing to the top. Shego and Ron were right behind her, and thanks to continued physical fitness training, the three of them reached the roof within a matter of mere minutes. Upon reaching the top, they flipped over and softly landed on the concrete, carefully scanning the rooftop for the enemy fighters.
“Where are – “ Shego got out, before being interrupted by a war cry from behind her.
Igniting her plasma with a loud whoosh, Shego took a swing towards her left, smiling as she heard a muffled grunt behind her confirming she had successfully hit her intended target.
A quick glance to her right told her that Kim was engaged with three soldiers dressed all in black. With a spinning flip and three well-placed roundhouse kicks, the three enemy agents collapsed on the floor with soft moans of pain, grabbing their injured limbs and slowly crawling away. Ron was up against two ninjas, and from the two matching yelps of pain, had successfully sliced at them with his katanna. As the two injured ruffians limped and ran away, Ron took a deep breath and held up his head, exhaling to the sky. He stretched his arm, and then rubbed his neck.
“Easy.” Shego finished for him, scouting the area for more troops. “Too easy, if you ask me. Something’s up.”
“Team Delta, Team Delta!” Kim hastily talked into her Kimmunicator.
“This is Team Delta, we hear you loud and clear Team Alpha. What’s up?”
“That was too easy. Can you scan for a second unit?”
“Sure thing Kim! Just a second…”
“We might not have a second!” Shego muttered, pacing on the roof like a caged animal, scanning the ground for enemy reinforcements.
“Hey, Shego. Remember that patience is a –“ Ron began.
“Bitch?” Shego finished for him, arching an eyebrow.
“I was going to say virtue, but I guess bitch works fine too.” Ron nodded, shrugging his shoulders and flashing a grin at the green woman.
“Shego! Kim! Ron!” The twins were shouting over the Kimmunicator.
“Talk to me!” Kim commanded, turning up the volume to the rest of her party could hear the conversation.
“Heat scan is showing two figures…on your left!”
The three team members spun around.
“Huh? There’s nothing.”
“Yeah there is!”
“I don’t see anything! Are you sure they’re not birds or something?”
“We’re positive! They’re advancing! LEFT!”
“I don’t see anything!”
“LEFT! LEFT!!” The twins were screaming, urgency lacing their voices.
Shego strained to hear anything, but the dead silence was deafening. The wind began to whine for a second as it rustled the tree leaves around them, and Ron thought he heard what sounded like a breath, but when he looked, it was gone - whatever it was.
With a clatter, the Kimmunicator was knocked from Kim’s grasp, and went skidding across the rooftop. It slammed into a metal pipe and shattered into three neat pieces with a final burst of static. A completely reflexively action, Kim launched a mean right hook in the direction of her attacker, but only hit empty air.
“What the?” She blurted, glancing around.
“Alright, what the fuck was THAT?” Shego roared, her plasma flaring up in annoyance and frustration. “Show yourselves! Or are you afraid? You should be!”
But the only sound was that of Kim, Shego, and Ron’s heavy breathing.
“Stay alert everyone.” Ron warned, holding his katanna in a defensive parry.
“This is bullshit.” Shego muttered, narrowing her eyes.
“Are they afraid?” Ron whispered, leaning close to Kim.
“No…” Kim started. “They’re smart.”
“Smart my ass.” Shego growled. “They’re losers and cowards – that’s what they are.”
“Ron, do you have the extra Kimmunicator?”
“Yeah, I carry it for emergencies, but it’s like three generations old. We can’t do intron DNA sequencing with it, we can’t short out bio-embedded nanotechnology with it, and we can’t do a worldwide broadcast to the other teams with it.”
“That’s fine, we just need to get in touch with the other teams in this area.” Kim assured him.
“Okay KP, catch!” Ron tossed the older Kimmunicator towards Kim, who caught it midair. Flipping on the switch, she navigated channels until she found the one she wanted.
“Team Beta, this is Team Alpha, do you read?”
“This is Team Beta, we read you loud and clear.”
“Have you seen any suspicious activity?”
“Nope. It’s been all quiet here, other than seeing you guys up on the roof. What’s going on?”
“We’re trying to figure that out. Stand by.”
Changing the channel again, Kim found the one she was searching for.
“Team Gamma, this is Alpha, do you read?”
“Loud and clear, this is Team Gamma. What’s up Alpha?”
“Any report on weird activity on your ends?”
“Nope Alpha. We’re all clear here. What’s going on?”
“Last one…” Kim murmured as she switched channels once again.
“Team Delta, do you read?”
Kim, Shego, and Ron listened, but all they could hear was loud and crackling static.
“Team Delta, this is Team Alpha, do you read?”
The Kimmunicator responded by giving nothing but static. Not even a wait request… just an open and dead line. Kim stared at it, pressing the controls, while inside a ball of ice slowly began to form in her belly.
“Where are they? Why aren’t they responding?” Ron asked, voicing the question on everyone’s mind and suspicion showing in his eyes.
“I don’t suppose they went on a coffee break then, huh?” Shego dryly posed, a frown beginning to form on her dark lips. But underneath the sarcasm, Kim could detect it – worry and fear. The sarcasm and the jokes – it was a way for Shego to hide that fear from others. But Kim…Kim always knew. She always had.
“Jim! Tim! Answer me!” Kim screamed into the device, gripping it so tightly that her knuckles turned white, her voice bordering on being shrill.
But, like the time before, there was dead silence.
“We need to get down there!” Kim snapped, shoving the Kimmunicator into her hip pouch, all attempts of communication instantly forgotten. “I don’t like this.”
“I’m on it!” Shego nodded before running to the edge of the roof and flipping off, catching the grappling rope midway down and repelling the rest of the distance.
“Jim? Tim?” Kim whispered, desperation creeping into her voice as she scurried over to the cover the tweebs had been hiding out in.
“They’re not here KP.” Shego announced, perched above them in an oak tree. Her voice was grave.
“Where are they? Can you see them? Can someone do a heat scan?”
“Um, Kim…” Ron trailed off, gently tugging at Kim’s sleeve and gesturing behind her, his eyes wide. “Look…”
Slowly, Kim turned around to face whatever had frightened her teammate. The feeling of dread that had been slowly building ever since they had encountered the mysterious stranger on the roof was beginning to blossom into something more substantial. Her heart was beating in her chest and her fingers felt cold and numb and tingly, despite the warm atmosphere around her.
There, standing half in the shadows, were two cloaked figures. Their cowls were drawn up over their heads, obscuring their faces. Their black cloaks seemed so soft - made from velvet perhaps. Quick flashes of their bodies revealed that they were rather slim and ripples of muscles in their legs demonstrated their athletic-ness. Stray wisps of hair were tossed about by the wind, and their hair seemed almost as soft and silky as their cloaks.
“Looking for the twins?” A cool cold voice seemed to wrap around Kim, pulling her down into a dark abyss.
“Where are they?” Shego growled, crouching down in a cat stance, ready for instant lateral motion in any direction.
“Don’t worry about them. They’re fine.”
“I’ll ask you again. And I am warning you – this is the last time I will ask you calmly. And yes, I’m being quite calm. Where. Are. They?”
“Trust me Shego, they’re fine.”
“I didn’t ask HOW they are, I asked WHERE they are.” Shego enunciated through gritted teeth.
“Oh, where. I understand now. You needn’t worry. They’re in a better place now.”
The single question, spoken quietly and almost with an air of disbelief, came from the redhead, who felt like she was caught in a riptide. She needed oxygen – badly – but just couldn’t seem to suck any in her starved lungs.
“Ahh, the famous Kimberly Ann Possible.” The taller figure whispered. “An honor to finally meet the former teen hero. And if that’s not her trusty sidekick I see behind her. Ron Stoppable, if I’m not mistaken.”
Almost imperceptively, Ron nodded firmly, getting a better grip on his blade.
“Very well. You wish to see your precious brothers? I shall oblige you.”
Slightly turning to the shorter figure, the leader gave a nod of approval – more of a silent and unspoken command.
Immediately, the second person quickly shuffled out of sight. Within minutes, she returned dragging an oversized large brown burlap sack behind her. There were two large things in the sack, adding weight, dragging it down, and Kim shuddered – already knowing what was inside. Stealing a quick glance at her trembling and bristling wife, Shego felt a flurry of emotions flood her heart. Fear for the twins, anger at these people, sympathy for Kim – the list was endless. And overwhelming.
She was snapped out of her reverie by the dull thud of the sack hitting the ground. When it did, a dark liquid trickled out from a tiny hole in its side. Stifling a scream, Kim squeaked and turned her head away, unable to being herself to look. The raw and anguished pain so apparent in Kim’s body language caused something to snap in the green thief, and her head snapped up in utter rage.
“You…BITCH!” Shego hissed, her plasma flaring up a bright green, almost instinctually.
“Oh, it is a great honor to finally meet you, Shego.” The voice was cool and collected. She obviously wasn’t concerned. “I used to have so much respect and admiration for you, but, alas, that has diminished since you…changed.”
“I changed for the better.” Shego protested, staring daggers. She wanted nothing more at that moment to launch towards the two women, swinging and punching and kicking, but she also needed information.
“The better? Hah!” The figure scoffed. “As a villain, you were awesome. But as a hero…you’re pathetic.”
Too incensed to properly form coherent words, Shego further powered her plasma by directing all her energy to its generation and continued burning. It was now a very pale green color that bordered on white. And still standing beside her, completely unaware, Kim stood shell-shocked, her mouth moving silently as she finally gathered the courage to look at the burlap sack.
“And who are you, to make these judgments?! Why do you think you are at all qualified to judge us?!” Ron yelled, unsheathing his blade and advancing a few steps forward to stand with Kim and Shego.
“I’m more qualified than you think…which is actually…rather unfortunate.” The lead unnamed figure replied enigmatically, with a hint of what might be disappointment lacing the otherwise emotionless voice.
“Tell us!” Shego demanded, her rage threatening to break free of its prison.
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll figure it out in good time.”
“Yeah. With dental records!” Shego spat, suddenly jumping forwards and launching a massive ball of flowing and pulsating plasma fire towards the two shadowy persons.
But instead of dodging the energy hurled at them with such a display of impressive force, the leader of the duo calmly held up both black leather gloved hands, and when the plasma ball made contact, it immediately disintegrated back into thin air with muffled popping sound.
Her mouth hanging open, Shego gaped, her mind reeling from what she just saw. Sure, it was silly and ignorant to assume the technology would never eventually be developed to successfully combat and control and neutralize her plasma energy, but this was…this was something else entirely.
“How did you?!” Kim blurted out in surprise, the same thoughts and concerns and questions obviously running through her mind as well.
“You can do so many things with technology these days. My scientists really are brilliant at what they do.” The woman stated bluntly, but with a hint of…something in her voice. She seemed…almost proud.
“SHOW YOURSELF!” Shego interrupted, roaring out the command and interrupting the monologue.
Kim and Ron waited, holding their breath in anticipation, but the mysterious figure didn’t move, or even make an acknowledgement that she or he had even heard the order.
What seemed like hours passed before someone from either side finally broke the tense silence, the low and silky voice cutting through the air like a hot knife with unmentioned threats of cruelty. As Shego strained to listen, she determined that while it was low and husky, it was definitely feminine.
“Very well. I suppose more…formal introductions are in order then. Eliana. Why don’t you begin?”
The figure gestured towards the smaller built woman standing behind her. Immediately, as if flipping on a switch, this younger girl stepped forward, throwing off her black velvet cloak and showing herself to the crime-fighting trio. Her shoulder length strawberry-blonde hair was unrestrained, flowing loosely around her neck and her hazel eyes were cold and uncaring. She was not smiling or frowning – rather, she had a carefully controlled neutral expression on her face, her lips tightly sealed in a straight line. Kim began to stare into the depths of ever-changing colors of her eyes, searching for a spark of…anything.
But at the moment, Shego seemed more interested in inspecting Eliana’s attire. While her light hair flowed freely and loosely around her shoulders, the rest of her body was encased in a skintight jet black jumpsuit which highlighted and accentuated her body. The young woman was finely toned, with a nicely developed muscle structure. Shego had no doubt that even though the girl appeared meek and petite, she could seriously cause damage if she wanted to. But the most unsettling was a very prominent black leather collar with a large silver ring that adorned Eliana’s thin and elegant neck.
Shego rolled her eyes. “What the hell are you supposed to be? Her pet? Well, try this: Play dead!”
A warm and amused chuckle crept through Shego’s senses, and for some reason, it began to weave its way through her gut and spine, giving her a creepy and unnerving feeling that something was seriously and irreversibly wrong with the younger woman.
The mysterious woman sighed with restrained amusement. “This is my slave, Eliana.”
“Slave?” Ron questioned, anger beginning to lace his voice. “You own slaves?”
“Indeed. She is conditioned to be completely obedient to my every whim, and unyieldingly loyal to my cause. She just needed the right…training of course.”
“I serve my Mistress. I do not question her.” Eliana gave a quick bow in the general direction of her owner. When she lifted her head, she looked back towards the older and dominant woman. Breathing heavily, she managed a sick smile of twisted devotion that only made her look pitifully in love with her owner. As Kim strained to get a better look at the girl, she noticed with a cold feeling in her stomach that the woman had a circular bruise just below her chin that extended around her entire neck – or was it a rope burn? Kim felt herself give a mental shudder – obviously, this girl has been repeatedly subjected to…
The possibilities seemed too horrible to be real.
“That’s disgusting.” Shego spat, a part of her beginning to feel sorry for the younger woman and wanting to steal her away and place her in a loving environment so she could heal from whatever brainwashing she had been subjected to, and another part of her wanting to rip the woman’s arms from her body for what she had participated in. And even another part that ignored the younger woman completed and focused on all sorts of bloody fantasies involving the still-cloaked older woman. “You’re deranged!”
But the “Mistress” simply ignored the comment.
“As for myself…” Pausing, she let herself trail off. There was a slight hint of amusement in her voice, and it only served to unnerve and unsettle the group even more.
The young blonde next to her jumped slightly, and both Kim and Shego watched in amazed horror as she bowed to the cloaked woman and then scurried around behind her. Pale hands reached up and slid the cloak’s dark hood slowly from the mistress’s obscured face.
Long dark hair spilled down as the hood was pulled free from the woman’s head, and she tilted it slightly with perverse amusement at the horrified and strangled gasps from the two women in front of her.
Kim and Shego stared, their eyes wide, and their mouths working soundlessly. Ron simply gaped, disbelief making him slowly shake his head back and forth – a silent no.
“I… It… I mean…”
“Shego…” Kim managed, her voice beginning to rise with fear, and her hand clawing in midair, trying to grab hold of her lover’s arm. “Shego…”
But the former thief barely even heard her lover as her own brain was preoccupied with screaming at itself in shock and horror. “It…” She choked out. “It…it CAN’T be! No! NO! This is NOT happening!”
The woman in front of them grinned and took a step forwards. The quiet crunch of rocks and twigs beneath her boot sounded like the sound of god to the three heroes in front of her. Behind her, Eliana was standing demurely, and still eerily emotionless.
“Oh, but I AM. And it IS.” A burst of cold and amused laughter spilled from her mouth. “You two have no idea. I have been waiting so long for this moment. All the planning…all the effort…and the promises to myself.”
She grinned, and Kim and Shego paled further.
“Poor Eliana has endured so much repressed…energy on my part.”
Behind her, the quiet blonde girl nodded quickly. “I endure for my Mistress.” She murmured, a sick smile of perverted and twisted adoration beginning to form on her pale face. Kim let out an awkward gasp, and Shego only felt herself become more incensed with anger.
“And, finally, here we are at last.”
This Mistress woman glanced at the two women and young man, who were still paralyzed with shock. She smiled.
“Yes… Here we are indeed. At the end of the world.”
To be continued…