Chapter Seven: Against the Odds

The seconds seemed like hours to the eight members of Team Stoppable as they waited for Wade to work his magic with the door decoder and breach the locked door. Idly scanning the premises, Doctor Drakken noticed the scars of a plasma blast where the button panel had been; the fried electrical circuit certainly wasn't helping Wade's case.

"Get ready to go in, door's opening in ten, nine, eight..." issued Wade Load's voice from the Kimmunicator mounted on Tim Possible's belt. The team snapped to attention as the young genius counted down the final seconds. As prescribed, the door slowly slid open and Drakken cautiously entered his (former) lair. Standing at Kimberly's side, Shego was the first to register the entrance.

"DRAAAAAAKKENNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!" shouted his former sidekick, the word echoing through the lair as he readied her plasma hands.

"Settle down, Shego," Drakken responded, but he could get no further before the green-hued villain shot a plasma blast in his direction, causing Drakken to take off running around the perimeter of the room; Shego quickly gave chase. Drakken hit the button to open the first room he came to, the science lab, but was forced to keep running; as he did, Ron Stoppable stepped into the lair and caught his first glimpse of the newly-evil love of his life. Locking eyes with Kimberly, Ron was repulsed by an icy-cold stare he had never seen before. After a few tense seconds, the teenage villain broke the silence.

"I've been expecting you, Ronald Dean Stoppable."

"First of all, what is that supposed to mean, and second, since when do you call me by my full name?" responded Ron.

"Since I realized my full evil potential!" responded Kimberly cheerfully, choosing the words to echo what Ron had told her after he was turned evil, although she didn't seem quite as megalomaniacal as Ron himself was as a villain. "As for why I've been expecting you? Well, duh. I'm a villain now, and fighting villains is what you do, Ronald. It was only a matter of time."

"I didn't come here to fight you," retorted Ron after a few seconds. "I came here to save you, KP!" Meanwhile, Drakken and Shego had completed a full lap around the grand hall; the former had also opened the living quarters as they passed by them. Drakken ducked into the science lab the second time around, with Shego and her plasma blasts still in hot pursuit, and closed the door behind the two of them. With the coast clear, Wade summoned the rest of Team Stoppable into action; Monique, Bob and Tony went for the living quarters and the Reverse Polarizer, while Jim and Tim grabbed the door decoder and headed for the science lab, both groups staying near the wall to avoid Kimberly's attention.

"The KP you knew is no more; I am Kimberly Ann Possible, and I need no one to save me. Soon, the whole world will bow before me!" The young villain giggled maniacally. "But you do have many talents, Ronald; perhaps you'd like to join us?" Ron recoiled at the offer. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jim hook the door decoder up to the science lab door as Tim guarded him; if they could lock Shego in, it would make the rest of the plan much easier.

Having run a lap and a half around the grand hall on pure adrenaline, Drakken collapsed to the floor of the soundproof science lab in exhaustion. Shego stopped right in front of him, ready to deal the finishing blow.

"Shego? Why are you doing this to me? After everything we've been through together?" Drakken stuttered, hoping to avert his impending doom. But knowing she might never have this opportunity again, his longtime sidekick wasn't about to let it pass.

"You have to admit, Princess makes a lot better villain than you could ever be," she taunted. With an unusual grin on her face, Shego raised her still-glowing hands over her head...and shut them off, letting her arms drop back to her sides as Drakken breathed a huge sigh of relief.

"Okay, serious time now, Doc. That out there – that was all just putting on a show for Kimmie. Face it, if I really wanted to hit you, you'd've gotten hit." Drakken grinned and nodded in agreement as he used the wall to pull himself up to a sitting position. "Glad you realize that."

"If taking over the world was all I cared about," she continued, "I'd've left you a looong time ago. And as a matter of fact, leaving you to work for Princess seemed like a real good idea at a time. But the more I thought about it...the more I realized how big of a mistake I made." Drakken was astounded; he could see the pained expression on Shego's face, a look he had never seen except when she was under the influence of the Moodulator.

"Sure, me, her and Stoppable, we'd take over the world, and everything would be fine...for them. Me? Princess doesn't really care about me! I'd be walking on eggshells, knowing full well that the first time I screwed up, the first time I said the wrong thing – and that would happen sooner or later – they'd drop me like a bad habit." Drakken thought about commenting, but knew better then to cut Shego off. "And to think, knowing exactly what you were up against, you came back here for just a chance to get me back."

"Doctor D," continued Shego, "I'm sorry for what I must have put you through tonight. Can you forgive me?" Digesting the monologue, Drakken was unable to respond right away. "Doctor D!"

"Of course," stuttered Drakken. "Whatever happens behind that door, there's only one way I want to face it: together with you." Perfectly content to let the ongoing sitch play itself out without interfering, Shego pulled Drakken to his feet, and the two long-time villains embraced; no matter what else happened, they both knew they would leave with an even deeper appreciation for each other.

Back in the living quarters, the sound of the opening door awakened Kimberly's henchmen, who quickly assumed defensive positions in front of the hatch containing the escape craft and the Reverse Polarizer. They were greeted a short time later by Monique, Bob and Tony entering the room.

"Welcome back, traitors," accused one of the green-suited henchmen.

"Since Dr. Drakken hired us, I reckon that makes y'all the traitors," Tony retorted.

"You talk real tough for someone who's outnumbered," countered another evil henchman. While the two sets of henchmen argued, Monique attempted to sneak past Kimberly's henchmen, but she was thwarted by the largest one.

"Where you do think you're goin', missy?" jabbed the interfering henchmen.

"I didn't come here to listen to you guys argue," the teenager fired back as she backed away. With the big guy distracted, Bob and Tony made their move and jumped two of Kimberly's other henchmen. Monique charged and dove at the biggest one, who caught her, but she managed to free herself with a couple hard elbows to the face. The fourth henchman joined the fight against Bob, the largest of the Team Stoppable trio, and his two opponents quickly overwhelmed him and slammed him into a wall as Monique and Tony both winced in agony.

Stopping to glance at the commotion, Tony's adversary left himself open, allowing the Drakken henchman to drill him with a kick to the face, knocking him out! "Ya shoulda stayed home, son," Tony taunted his fallen foe, causing the henchmen who had been fighting Bob to turn their attention towards him. Monique got herself an opening and tried to peel off one of the double-teaming henchmen, but to no avail as Kimberly's biggest henchman gave her a hard shot from behind. With the numbers on their side, the two other henchmen overpowered Tony, slamming him to the floor and leaving Monique as one against three.

Registering the odds against her, Monique nearly fainted; she fell to a seat as her opponents regrouped and glared menacingly at her. "Well, looks like it's all up to me," she quipped.

As the seconds ticked by, Ron's brown eyes and Kimberly's icy-cold green ones remained locked on each other. She was the first to speak up again.

"Alright, don't answer me then. But you will still join us," stated Kimberly. Her words merely served to snap Ron out of the trance he had worked himself into.

"You really think I'm going to help take over the world? I don't care who you are, that's SO not gonna happen," retorted a defiant Ron. Realizing that words weren't going to convince him to join her side, Kimberly proceeded to unleash the most devastating weapon in her arsenal: her shoulders slumped down in a familiar pose, her lip started quivering...

"Oh no…not the Puppy Dog Pout!"

Not wanting to give in, Ron quickly covered his eyes and turned away. Kimberly wasn't having any of that, and quickly tapped her fellow teenager on the shoulder. Ron flinched, shuddered, and stepped away from Kimberly a little bit, but did in fact turn around.

"You know, 'Kimberly,'" said Ron, accentuating her chosen name with air quotes, "the Puppy Dog Pout doesn't have quite the same effect when you're giving me a death glare at the same time," Kimberly, noticing this, dropped the Pout and returned to a full-on intimidating stare.

"You never did know when to back down, Ronald," Kimberly retorted. "No matter; we'll just have to do this...the hard way."

For the first time since entering the lair, Ron became nervous. "Which is?" With Ron off his guard, Kimberly answered with a straight right on the button, knocking Stoppable down hard. She moved in to pounce, but Ron quickly flipped her over and stood up as he could feel the Mystical Monkey Power coursing through his veins.

"Oh, it's ON now!" shouted Ron, who hit the crane pose to show that he was serious.

Monique scooted back towards the door, trying to open some distance between her and her opponents, when the door slid open, revealing the matching figures of Jim and Tim Possible.

"Or not," quipped a relieved Monique. The twins quickly helped their sister's friend back to her feet.

"It's real easy to look tough three on one..." taunted Tim.

" let's see how tough you are three on THREE!" finished Jim.

"Like you twerps are gonna stop us," countered one of Kimberly's henchmen. The twins turned and nodded towards each other. Whispering "now" into Monique's ears simultaneously, the three charged the remaining henchmen, quickly pairing off. Seeing that Jim was facing the big guy, Tim went over to help, drawing his opponent in. The Possibles knew that working together would be to their advantage, and their instincts were proved right as the smaller opponent drilled his ally with a hard shot! Jim and Tim seized the opening and were able to finish him off with a flurry of shots.

"Hoo-sha!" yelled Tim. In the chaos, their other henchman drilled Jim with a shot to the back of the head, putting him out of commission as well. He took a swing at Tim, who rolled out of the way and raced towards the hatch, but got cut off by their other opponent slamming him into the nearby wall.

"And it's up to me after all," commented Monique as she turned away from the impact. Both henchmen grinned as they closed in on Monique, who quickly attacked the unoccupied opponent. The teen fought valiantly, but was eventually caught by her stronger foes. In desperation, Monique grabbed the henchmen's heads and slammed them into each other, stunning both henchmen into dropping her. She quickly dropped one with a leaping kick.

"Nice!" commented Jim.

"I learned from the best," responded Monique.

She tried the same move on the other henchman, who caught the kick, but Monique kicked him with her other foot to free herself. The henchman tried to capitalize, but she dodged his shots and made a move for the hatch, with the henchman in hot pursuit. Hiding behind the corner, Monique stuck her foot out into the doorway, tripping the henchman face-first to the ground!

Noticing the Reverse Polarizer sitting on a nearby shelf, Monique grabbed it; while she had completed an important piece of the plan, the real battle was just beginning.

End of Chapter