While his partner was training Callie and Feral, Jake was frantically finishing his plans. Because they might be gone months, years, or never return at all, he’d made sure he’d left certain documents for Feral that told what had gone on right beneath the big tom’s nose.
However, hoping they’d only be gone a few months, he’d made a large payment on their bill with the Enforcers with money he’d made selling some of his weapons and useful inventions under his call sign just a few weeks before.
As for the running of their garage, he had contacted a competitor they were friendly with a week earlier and asked them if they would handle their customers, telling them he and Chance would be taking a temporary job out of town for a few months.
“Hey, it would give us some extra profit, so hell yes, we’ll do it,” Sam said, grinning. He and his brother had run Affordable Auto Repair and Towing for some fifteen years.
“Thanks, guys, we really appreciate it, but don’t count on keeping our customers when we get back,” Jake said, giving a friendly warning.
“Oh, we’ll see about that. Depends on just how long you two are gone and whether they like us better than you,” Jason, Sam’s partner said, good-humoredly.
“That goes without saying,” Jake snorted. “Anyway, I have to get going, thanks again.”
The two mechanics waved goodbye as Jake climbed into his truck and drove off their property.
While driving home, Jake thought about the loss of income from their absence and hoped they could recoup with Chance’s relatives; after all, they were royalty. Then he grimaced. Wonder if they used money at all? He shook his head. No sense worrying about that right now, but I will keep my eye out for getting some cash if possible when there. Of course, there’s always me selling more of my designs when we get back too, he mused thoughtfully. Sighing, he shelved their money woes to the back of his mind; there were more important things to deal with.
Now the final countdown was here at last, and he was worried about forgetting something as he scurried around, trying to get everything he needed done before Chance’s return to the garage. He knew he was in for a heated argument when he told his friend he was going. There was a small possibility Chance might use magic to keep him from going along, so Jake knew he had to be his most persuasive. The fact he believed the Turbokat and he, as gunner, could be the tipping point to ending the war quickly might not be enough to win Chance over.
Sighing, he pushed that fear aside and continued his preparations. He had spent the first couple of hours packing up all their personal items from their apartment and storing them in the hangar, then set about preparing to seal their apartment by cleaning it, washing laundry and stripping beds, emptying the trash and the fridge of perishables, and cupboards of food that would spoil or attract mice if left. When he was done with that, he set up a sophisticated security system that he would engage once they left to keep Burke and Murray from entering their home.
He took a brief break to eat something, then started on hauling all their car tools, document files, and personal items from the garage, storing them in the hangar, including the tow truck. He had already scavenged the yard for parts he’d need for repairing the Turbokat, loading them in a storage unit he’d built in the cargo hold for them. He also finished loading all the weapons and equipment he could think of they might need on the other side of the portal.
The last thing he loaded aboard the jet and placed in a locker he’d installed were a personal kit for himself consisting of non-perishable food, clothing, some tech manuals, books, music, and personal care items. He did not want to be a burden to anyone, least of all his partner, for the things he needed since he could not conjure it up like Chance and everyone one else there could.
It was getting late, but he felt good as he was nearly through. Only two tasks remained. One was an order on Enforcer letterhead that he’d typed up with Feral’s forged signature on it, telling Burke and Murray that he had assigned Chance and Jake to a special job and the two junk yard toms were to handle the salvage yard until the two returned, which might be months. They weren’t to occupy the apartment nor step into it for any reason except for safety issues, like a fire. It was very unlikely they would question the order or even ask Feral if the letter was real, so Jake felt secure in the knowledge their place would be safe while they were gone.
The last task required a trip to the museum. Changing to his Razor persona, he raced away at top speed on his Cyclotron, arriving at his destination only ten minutes later. Luck was with him as he caught Dr. Sinian just leaving her office for the day.
Eyeing him in surprise, she asked, “Razor, is something wrong?”
He shook his head and handed her a thick, sealed package addressed to Commander Feral. She took it and gave him a questioning look.
“What’s this for?”
“As you’ve probably guessed, I intend to go with T-Bone through the portal. He needs me even if he thinks he doesn’t. That package is to go to Feral only if we don’t return after a year has passed,” he told her.
“Oh, I see; good precaution. I will lock it up in my personal files. Do you think T-Bone will say no to you going with him if you’re so adamant?” she asked, quietly.
“He’ll try, but I’m determined to make him see how important it is I go. With Feral and Ms. Briggs trained in magic, I feel confident enough in their abilities to leave the city’s protection in their paws. But, I’m not so sure T-Bone will return safely if I remain behind. I firmly believe my technology will play a big role in ending the war sooner. After all, his people aren’t that familiar with science, having no need or apparent desire for it.”
“Since they do cross over to our world from time to time, Razor, I’m sure they are familiar with science, ” Abi corrected him, gently.
“Oh, I’m sure they are, but only enough to know about it but not how it works or care.”
“Hmm, you could be right about that. But, you can’t know for certain what they know or don’t know, so please use all caution and don’t give away all your capabilities too soon. What they don’t know will give you the edge. I agree you shouldn’t be left behind. You two have functioned as a team for several years, and that is your greatest strength, so I hope you win the argument for going with him. Otherwise, I fear for his safety. I will miss you though.”
“Thank you for the advice, and you’re right about being a team. That’s one of the arguments I intend to use against him. Wish me luck. You’ll know I’ve gone because, if I’ve been left behind, I’ll come see you immediately.”
“Good idea and good luck. Come back to us safely, Razor. Even without the omegas, there’s still a need for you both here,” she said warmly. “Oh, by the way, have you told the Commander about your plans to be gone too?”
Razor frowned. “Crud! I forgot he would need to know as he is planning to use me in his defense plans. Yeah, better notify him and thanks for remembering that for me. Thought I’d covered all the bases,” he sighed, annoyed at himself.
“I’m certain you’ve been juggling a great deal while T-Bone was occupied, not surprising you might forget something. Glad I could help. Don’t worry about contacting the Commander. I’ll do that for you as soon as I know you’re gone,” she told him.
“Oh, thank you, that’s a big help. Okay, I better get going before T-Bone returns from Enforcer Headquarters. Thanks for everything and stay safe yourself, Dr. Sinian,” he said, flashing her a brief smile before hurrying away.
He returned to the hangar, loaded his Cyclotron aboard the jet, changed clothes, then went up to their apartment just minutes before his partner magically appeared in their living room.
While his partner was doing things without his knowledge, T-Bone was finishing up the grueling training session.
“You are as trained as we can make you both in so short a time. The rest is up to you,” Conall said. “It has been a pleasure working with you, and I wish you good fortune in keeping your world safe.”
“Thank you for all you’ve done for us,” Callie said, exhaustion dragging at her voice.
“Yes, thank you and, not to be rude, I hope we succeed in keeping your world out of ours,” Feral said, barely able to stand.
“No offense taken. I certainly hope you do too,” Conall said with a genial smile then turned to his nephew. “My Prince. I await seeing you in person very soon. Stay alive and safe coming through the portal.”
“I will Uncle. See you soon,” T-Bone said, bowing his head then shutting down the magic that held his uncle’s image, then cloaking his own away. Turning toward his students, he stared at them critically. No way was he leaving by tomorrow as planned. The two before him would not be awake and ready to defend the city when he opened the portal, so he would have to wait, much to his disgust and annoyance. Sighing, he addressed the tired pair.
“Well, it’s obvious I will have to wait until the day after tomorrow, which is Saturday, to leave through the portal. You have to be alert to guard it when it’s opened by me, so I’m delayed a bit longer.” He frowned a moment then asked, “Are you two hearing me?” he asked, his expression doubtful.
Feral blinked a moment as his tired mind processed what the SWAT Kat had said. He couldn’t believe how sluggish his thought processes were. He’d just never been this tired before. He finally got the gist of what T-Bone was saying to respond.
“Sorry to delay you. I know how badly you want to leave. We’ll be alright by Saturday morning early, promise. I could have wished for some actual practice time but understand this is not an option. It’s going to be hell figuring out these new skills on the fly, but I know I’ll manage somehow.”
“If it makes you feel any better, I wish I could give you more practice time too, but, with the time difference between here and there…”
“I know. Your mother has been fighting a long time, I understand, and none of us wants your war to drag on either, so we’ll manage without you,” Feral grumbled, irritably.
T-Bone blinked in surprise, never expecting the big tom to be this understanding and willing to do what was necessary to end the war, though he knew Feral was more interested in saving Megakat City than Alaria, but that was okay and right anyway.
“We do understand the urgency, T-Bone, despite how tired we are, don’t worry,” Callie added, nearly slurring her words then sighed and asked, “Could you send me home? I don’t really think I can drive this time without crashing.”
The tabby smirked. “Oh, we wouldn’t want that to happen. Of course I can and send your vehicle to your garage as well. Want to go now?”
“Yes, please,” she sighed, relieved.
With a simple gesture T-Bone sent her home.
“What about you?” the tabby asked Feral.
Thinking a moment and testing his strength, Feral was forced to admit he too wouldn’t be able to get himself home either and didn’t want to ask for a ride when he could be home in seconds.
“Yea sure, good idea,” he reluctantly agreed.
T-Bone nodded and made the same gesture again. Feral was gone in the blink of an eye.
Sighing and stretching, T-Bone magically left the room for home. The Enforcers, he knew, were going to freak out a bit by the three’s sudden disappearance from a locked room (he had unlocked it out of courtesy to them), but they would have to get used to the weirdness when their own leader began doing magic around them.
“So, how did it go?” Jake asked from his seated position on the couch. He had just turned the TV on when his partner appeared.
Magically changing his clothes, Chance gave his friend a tired smile. “They surpassed all my expectations. The training was grueling, but they held up and finished. Wish I could take time to test their skills. My uncle, however, feels confident they are ready, so that’s good enough for me. The bad news is I need to wait two days before leaving.”
Jake’s heart jumped at that news. “Why wait?”
Chance grunted and sighed. “Because the two of them are now flat on their backs asleep, and, if I left now, there would be no leader to guard the portal once I opened it.”
Feeling a bit stupid not to remember that, Jake relaxed. “Oh yeah, that’s right. Sorry about that, buddy, I know how badly you want to get going,” he said. So, they had a little more time, but now came the hard part: convincing his partner to take him along. But, first…
“So, on the mundane side of things, what would you like to eat for dinner, buddy?” he asked.
“Hmm… oh… conjured food?” Chance asked innocently.
Jake rolled his eyes but laughed and said, “Yea, sure, why not? Make mine a tuna and anchovy topped pizza with a double size of milk.”
Chance chuckled but conjured the meal on the coffee table along with his own choice, a totally maxed out sandwich filled with all his favorite fixin’s and milk. They sat down and watched some TV, unwinding from the busy, stressful day. Jake would wait until they’d finished their meal before hitting Chance with his ultimatum.
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