The food was good despite where it came from, but now they were through eating and were just chillin’. No excuse to delay now. He had to tell Chance what he intended to do and what he’d already got done before his partner discovered his bedroom had been stripped and the kitchen was empty of supplies (that’s if he even bothered looking there as he could zap up whatever he wanted).
Chance interrupted his thoughts a second later with, “I just realized I’m going to miss my favorite cartoon. My uncle said watching plays was one of the main reasons they liked to visit here. They never experienced TV or movie houses as they appeared around the time the Dark King began his war, so they aren’t familiar with those.”
Jake shook his head. “I have a hard time fathoming a war that’s been going on . . . centuries, isn’t it?”
His partner winced. “Yeah, about that . . . I have the same problem. How could anyone keep a war going that long in the first place is what I don’t understand. Imagine all the deaths and no new births . . . the population has to be quite small now, so how is he keeping the war going?”
“Well, we are talking about magic and immortal beings. We don’t know what it takes to kill some of the things on that world nor how much magic plays a part in keeping your species alive to keep fighting. The Fae might be few, but I’m not certain you can say the same for some of those other races,” Jake said thoughtfully.
Chance stared up at the ceiling and sighed. Reaching up to rub his face, he said distantly, “From what I remember my uncle telling me, your theory sounds about right. Conall said, at the time the amulet had been made, our numbers had begun to shrink alarmingly. Races on my mother’s side of the war were dwindling too while the Dark King’s allies have been increasing. I just don’t know enough to understand why.”
Jake had no response to that. They would just have to wait until they got there to find out the truth. And, that brought him to the part where he needed to state his case about going. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, he jumped in with both feet.
His partner was still slumping on the couch, eyes closed. “Hmm?”
“I’m going with you.”
There was no response for a long moment then a single word . . . “no.” The tabby never looked up nor moved when he said that. “Of course that’s not going to stop you from telling me why that’s not a good idea,” he went on to say, a note of resignation in his voice.
Jake couldn’t help but smile despite the grim subject. Perhaps it wouldn’t be that hard to convince his partner after all.
“Look, buddy . . . first of all, we’ve been a team for ten years now. We function as one, not as individuals when we fight the bad guys. This gives us the edge in all our battles. Though your Uncle Conall is a good fighter, he’s not fought by your side except these past few weeks, and that’s not even really him. Second of all, we have our tech. Though the Fae are aware of science and have seen it on their visits here that was long ago, and I doubt very much they know anything about our modern tech, and I don’t think they really care to know. Because of this, they won’t know what the jet is much less what it’s capable of nor how our weapons work . . . ”
“But, they can make the jet vanish instantly when we arrive. Then what will you do?” Chance interrupted, sitting up to stare at his partner, mildly amused.
Jake winced. “Yeah, there is that, but you’re going to be there to stop any magical bullet reaching us and, besides, as arrogant as your kind seems to be in general, I suspect they may have a low opinion of anyone without magic. We can use that against them as they won’t think to do anything to us at first. Or at least until they know exactly who you are, anyway,” he said, shrugging.
“Anyway, in those few precious seconds we have when we burst through the portal, we’ll have to do the most harm. Of course, once they learn what the jet and my weapons can do, we’ll be screwed as there’s nothing in the sky but birds. However, that pales in comparison to just how terrified and angry they’ll be when they learn the prophesied Prince has returned,” he said, giving his partner a smirk.
Chance rolled his eyes.
“However, I have done what I could to keep the jet from becoming a casualty in the first place. I permeated the outer skin with iron, making it harder to be affected by magic. Should surprise them a lot when they can’t get rid of the Turbokat.”
“Hmm, yeah, that would work, but it also prevents me from using my magic . . . thought of that, genius?”
His friend shook his head. “Of course I did. There’s a cocoon of a sorts around your cockpit area that’s iron free, so you won’t be hampered. I, however, will have a barrier of iron around me so take care not to get into my half of the jet.”
Chance just stared at him. “You are something else, you know that? So, you think if I can keep the enemy from vanishing the jet and off you, your missiles can devastate the enemy . . . is that your plan?”
“Yes! All my armaments have iron in them. The missiles I chose are filled with iron dust and fillings that will take out large concentrations of the enemy. The down side, of course, is your side has to vamoose the moment we attack to prevent them from coming to harm. This will have to be planned carefully for the maximum amount of damage to be done to the enemy but not the innocent. Should also end the war rather quickly, don’t you think?”
“I’ll say. However, what will you use when we arrive since we have only seconds as you said from entry through the portal to seeing what’s on the other side?”
“A special headlamp on the nosecone of the Turbokat. It will have a wide radius and super brightness factor so that it strikes whoever is guarding the gate the instant we pass through then my flashbulb missiles can follow up to keep them running. However, if it’s daylight when we arrive, then we need to be traveling at the speed of light when we go through the portal. I’ll fire a concussion missile just as we pass into your world to confuse and stun anyone waiting. As we cross the countryside, if we run into the King’s army, then I’m hoping my iron-laced netting and sleep gas will hold them back enough to allow us to meet up with your mother’s forces,” his partner said promptly.
Chance blinked in surprise then smiled broadly. “Wow, that’s a great idea! With that headlamp on, I doubt we’ll need to fire a shot before we’re out of there and traveling at that speed and, entering so quickly, the forces waiting will be too surprised and unprepared for something they aren’t familiar with. It should work. I can’t think of anything else we could do at this point.”
“If it works like we hope, buddy, we’ll manage to slip through and past whoever is waiting and be halfway gone before they can react. It has the added bonus of keeping your presence hidden from the Dark King as long as possible,” Jake added, grinning too.
“There’s that… I am so glad you’re such a genius, Jake. My biggest worry had been getting through the portal without giving myself away, and you’ve come up with the perfect way to do it. I feel much better about our chances of ending this thing quickly now,” Chance had to admit.
“By the way, do you know where to go when we get there? Since this is only your uncle’s simulacrum, he wouldn’t know where the Queen might be holed up at.” This was something Jake was most worried about.
“Fortunately, that’s not an issue. My mother has many places to hide but only one that can hold all our people safely and easy to defend; that’s the one my uncle imprinted on my mind. So, in answer to your question, I could fly us there blind,” his partner assured him.
Jake sighed out a breath of relief. “That’s good news. Then all we have to do is blind the gate guards, race across the world and join your mother . . . piece of cake.”
Chance snorted. “When has anything been a piece of cake for us? But, you’re right, it’s the best plan we’ve got and I won’t jinx it now.”
His friend gave him an understanding look. “Getting in isn’t going to be as hard as ending this war. I understand that, buddy. But, I’ve done all I can to insure we survive it and return home. Besides the nets, sleep gas, and flashbulb missiles, I’ve designed missiles filled with iron fillings. Also, since I don’t want the iron we brought to leave the land permanently unusable by your people, after the war is over, we’ll use our huge electromagnet to remove the fillings and store them in canisters I have aboard the Turbokat for transport back to our world.”
Chance stared at his brilliant friend in admiration and amazement. He often wondered why such a genius wanted to hang around someone like him, but the slim tom had liked something about him and thus a bond of true friendship had grown. None of his current life would have been possible without Jake by his side.
He also realized Jake had won his case about going along. The tabby shook his head, actually pleased to be wrong in his decision. “Okay, you’ve proved your point. I’m forced to admit that I can’t possibly leave you behind. So, that only leaves a few important questions still to be answered. One, what about management of our garage and salvage yard; two, what about our bill with the enforcers and bills here; three, where will our customers go; and fourth, have you notified Feral you’re going with me?” he asked, eyeing his partner seriously.
But, Jake merely smiled at him then ran down his list of completed chores.
Chance whistled. “Why the heck didn’t you think of selling your designs before now? We could have worried less about our debt.”
Jake blushed and shrugged his shoulders. “Guess I just never gave it a thought until I had to. Unless we manage to get paid somehow on this trip, I’ll have to do more of it when we get back.”
The tabby laughed. “From what I was told, money isn’t necessary there, but gold and silver are used to make jewelry and various other sundry items. I’m sure we could have some if we wanted. I suspect I have a ready supply as Prince already.”
“That’s what I hoped, but I thought it would be crass to ask.” Jake was glad one problem was solved. Home life should be better when they returned.
“I can’t believe you took care of all those details, even ones I hadn’t even thought about. So, I guess we’re ready to leave at a moment’s notice then, eh?”
Chance shook his head. “I say again . . . you are amazing.” Jake blushed and smiled, pleased he’d made his friend less worried about their lives they were leaving behind. “Since we aren’t going to leave until Saturday, I take it I have to conjure bedding, personal items, and food for the next thirty or so hours, hmm?” the tabby asked, smirking a little.
Jake just shrugged and nodded.
Chanced laughed. “No problem and it has the bonus of allowing me to rest thoroughly before we leave and you too,” he added. “I don’t want you rushing about with last minute things and tire yourself out.”
“I won’t. Really, everything is done so I have nothing but resting to do and, believe me, I’m pooped from all I got done today,” Jake promised.
When Jake mentioned the work he’d gotten done in such a short time made Chance realize he’d forgotten one very important thing himself.
“Crud! I forgot to get my sword. I can’t magic it to me because the blade is iron and I’m too tired to magic myself there. Guess I need to run over to the museum to get it tomorrow,” he grumbled, annoyed at himself.
“Well, it’s not like you can’t sleep in and then go later. How about we go do that then eat out at our favorite place for dinner then take in a movie? That will relax us and help us sleep before leaving the next day,” Jake suggested.
“Cool. I like that plan. So, now that tomorrow’s schedule is settled, how about bed?” Chance asked, rising from the couch and heading toward their bedrooms.
“Good idea.” Jake yawned and followed his partner, pleased he had won his case and was going. Now he could rest more easily.
Chance enjoyed being able to sleep without waking to an alarm or duty. It felt rather decadent, and he would love it more if the urgency of leaving weren’t pressing on him.
It was well past one in the afternoon when he finally got up. He took a long hot shower then went in search of his partner and lunch. He found Jake watching TV and eating a sandwich that he must have gone out and bought.
“How long have you been up?” Chance asked, sitting down beside his friend then conjuring a sub sandwich for himself with a large glass of water.
“Hmm . . . oh around eight or so, puttered around a bit, did some work on a few inventions I have cooking then went for a walk to the deli for lunch. You sleep well?”
“Yeah, felt really great sleeping as long as I wanted to. We don’t get many lazy days like this, and it kind of feels like a vacation.”
“Too bad it’s only one day. Maybe, when we return home and before we get back in the saddle of work and being heroes, we should take a real vacation. Maybe a week or more. We’ll need it after fighting in a war,” Jake suggested, finishing his last bit of sandwich then grabbing his milk.
“What a great idea. No one will know we’ve returned until we tell them, so why not take some time for ourselves. I like how you think, buddy,” Chance grinned.
“You’re welcome.” Jake surfed the channels and found his friend’s favorite show, Scaredy-Kat.
“Alright! Thanks buddy,” Chance said, settling down to laughing at the outrageous cartoon and finishing his lunch.
Jake just smiled.
A couple hours later, the two toms changed to their SWAT Kat suits and rode their Cyclotrons to the Megakat Natural History Museum. They found Dr. Sinian on the main floor in a huge room where there was a hive of activity going on. She was directing the work on a new exhibit that would open in about a week.
“Oh, I thought you were gone already, T-Bone,” she said, surprised. She led them to a quiet corner where they could talk privately.
“Can’t. Have to wait until Ms. Briggs and Commander Feral are rested from their last training session. After all, they have to guard the portal once Razor and I go through,” T-Bone explained.
Abi looked over at Razor and smiled. “I see you managed to convince him of your importance to this mission, hmm?”
“Yeah, I overwhelmed him with facts,” Razor grinned back.
T-Bone merely rolled his eyes at the two of them. “I’m here for the sword of my family, doc.”
“Oh, yes, of course. Follow me,” she said, leading the way back to her office. “I thought you might need it so left it locked in my office after I had it cleaned.” She opened the door and walked past her desk to a locked cabinet. Unlocking it, she opened it to reveal shelves with many objects stored on them. She reached in and reverently removed the sheathed sword. Turning, she ceremoniously handed it to T-Bone. “Your sword, Prince Lorcan,” she said, bowing her head.
With equal formality, T-Bone bowed his head and took it from her paws, raising it briefly to salute her. “My thanks and appreciation for your care of my family’s heirloom, Doctor Sinian.”
“You’re welcome, your highness. Please use it wisely and return to us alive and well.”
T-Bone’s normal cheeky smile returned, dropping the formality to say, “Whatever it takes, doc, we will return. I promise. We can’t fail! What with all the cool weapons Razor has invented for us, it’s the Dark King who needs to beware.”
Abi couldn’t help but smile at the cocky attitude of the big tom. It was that mindset that would see him through this war alive. “I’m sure you will. Safe trip to you both. We’ll miss you.”
“Thanks. Keep the city safe, doc! Don’t forget you’re every bit as important as we are,” T-Bone said gallantly before he and his partner left her office to return home.
Only ten minutes later, they roared down the secret ramp to the hangar. They parked the Cyclotrons inside the jet then changed clothes. Going back upstairs, they left through the garage and out the gate, locking it up behind them, then headed for the bus stop down the street. They took it downtown to the city center where they had a great meal then walked to the nearby cinema, enjoying not one but two movies before getting home late. Watching David Litterbin finished their evening before going off to bed.
The next morning shone bright and sunny as the two warriors rose to greet the day around eight a.m. Jake was up first, as usual, so when Chance went to the bathroom he was greeted by his friend just leaving it, a billow of steam following him out the door.
“Good morning, buddy. All yours,” Jake said cheerily.
Chance just rolled his eyes and went into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.
Less than twenty minutes later, the two had eaten, the apartment was cleaned (courtesy of Chance’s magic) then the tabby went down to the hangar while Jake paused to secure their apartment. Finished moments later, he went down to the hangar, pausing again to seal the secret hatch before going to change his clothing to his g-suit.
While he waited for his partner, T-Bone gave the hangar a last look around. He prayed all went well on this trip and they returned safely. The hangar looked rather strange with all their belongings from their apartment and garage stuffed in here, but at least it all would be safe and unharmed when they returned.
Though he hadn’t talked about this with his partner, he hadn’t any plans for staying in his mother’s kingdom. He still had a mission here to fulfill, and he hoped she would understand . . . provided she was still alive. He shook his head. No negative thoughts only positive ones, he told himself firmly. His thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Razor, who smiled at him then leaped into the cockpit. Focusing his mind back on the mission, T-Bone leaped aboard as well then started the engines.
Razor signaled the turntable to lower them to the runway then ran through his preflight checklist and weapons array. He too spared a quick, last glance at their hangar before it vanished from view by the lowering platform. Sighing, he knew he’d done all he could to ensure their lives here would remain unchanged so they could slip back in like they’d never been gone. His only worry was would he be returning alone? He would have to wait and see.
As the turntable halted at the opening to the runway and T-Bone prepared to launch them, Razor turned on their new headlamp and was pleased by its quick response and brightness factor. His partner made an unintelligible sound of pleasure at the weapon’s effectiveness before ordering it off so he wouldn’t be blinded going up the ramp. Razor flipped it off and felt the familiar sensation of being pressed in his seat as the jet tore up the runway and into the sky. His stomach swarmed with butterflies in fear and excitement as they headed toward Megakat Park and their destiny.
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