Somerset Farm 

                                                                                        by Jamie Haze

 

 
Chapter 66




The warehouse-like garage at Trenton Hall was buzzing with activity; or, at
least one part of the shop area that had been draped with rolling sections
of temporary canvas wall was buzzing. The walls nearly blocked the view of
poor Austin Healey and Big Foot's truck bed loaded with gold bars and
constant bright arc welding flashes plus Freckles Katz, Great Cat and his
Executive Assistant and Admiral, Peter. Peter's view was further impeded by
the need to wear a welder's protective helmet or mask with a black glass
faceplate because he suffered from having human eyes while Freckles had
need of his eyes since they were in part the welder or caused the welding
to be done somehow. The mechanics on duty all wore their own helmets and
were intent on watching Freckles' activities from spaces between the
portable wall sections. Listening to the odd couple bicker and bitch was
also amusing.

"Damn Freckles," Peter protested, "I thought we were making you a cat
crapper and it's beginning to look like plain gold cylinders that are way
too small for your furry butt to sit on." The mechanics sort of agreed by
not being able to stifle their laughter completely. All that Peter was
doing to help was to levitate gold bars from Big Foot to the area where
Freckles was staring at the bars on the floor.

Freckles glared at Peter with his full arsenal of teeth showing that Peter
could see while looking through the small rectangle of black glass in his
welder's helmet, "That is a disgusting observation, any human should be
able to see that these are food or drink containers for my use when we
travel, exactly as you suggested!"

"WHAT?" Peter snapped as he took off his helmet, "You started to do this
in Big Foot's backseat the other night when we were sitting in the truck!"
he recalled, "Good thing I stopped you or we'd all be dead from the fumes
if not the flames!"

Freckles rolled his eyes and his head, "Peter, Peter, Peter, you are just
so human," the Great Cat chided, "For your information the fumes you
complain of are simply free gold atoms attempting to escape me and what you
thought were flames were not hot and were caused when I recaptured most of
them to make my food container. So there!" He concluded and before Peter
could say anything further, he laughed like Buck, "If you don't believe me,
just look at your cloth coverings and your silly hat."

Peter looked down at his clothes and then at his welder's helmet. His
flannel shirt and denim jeans had become cloth of gold, and his helmet
including what had been the blackened glass had acquired a mirror bright
gold finish and should have been too heavy to wear along with his altered
clothes. "How–how did you do that?" Peter stammered his question.

Freckles pulled Peter close with his tail and then laughed again. "I would
tell you, but then I would have to kill you," he joked; at least Peter
hoped he was joking.

"What is happening out here?" Dr. Meriwether asked as he parted the canvas
curtains dramatically and barged into the scene. "Ah, my favorite Great
Cat, what are you doing out here Freckles? Why are you so over-dressed
Peter? Although I think you look quite fetching. My word, is that all
gold?" He asked when he looked in the truck with its tailgate down.

Instead of answering all of Doc's questions, Freckles asked, "Does anyone
have currency?"

"Of course," Peter replied, "I carry some of yours, but why do you need
money here on the property?"

Freckles used his tail to part the canvass curtains where most of the
mechanics had been hiding to watch whatever Freckles was doing. The guilty
each had a stripe of gold down their jumpsuits that gave them away and one
side of the protective canvas walls looked like mirrors that had been
lifted from a side show fun house. "Does everyone enjoy Slurpee's? We must
test my new drink container and all here are invited for Slurpee's and Slim
Jims!" he announced and went to Big Foot's back door, boarded, and got
comfortable with his tail waving from the back window as the truck rumbled
to life.

Of course the mechanics were supposed to be working and couldn't go,
although they were tempted. Peter thought about changing clothes briefly,
but then thought he was just making a very quick trip to the nearest
convenience store so changing probably wouldn't be necessary. Doc climbed
in Big Foot to ride shotgun and Peter had yet to close the driver's side
door when it suddenly began accelerating, steering straight at the big
overhead door that was already halfway up and rising quickly.

"STOP GODDAMN IT!" Peter screamed.

Freckles applied the brakes with his head tipped to the side to glare at
Peter. "Humans are so excitable," he observed sarcastically. "What is
wrong?"

Peter glared back, "Great Cats are so forgetful; you forgot to bring your
drink container!"

"Oh."

"Gottcha!" Peter declared with a giggle. "But to show you how human I am,
I'll just get your new pot." He actually found three pots nearly the same
size that had been neatly nested together somehow.

Freckles was going to wait in the truck until Peter made the mistake of
asking what flavor Slurpee he wanted in his new travel bowl. Doc, Peter and
Freckles hadn't quite reached `Fred's Fast Serve' convenience store door
when the cashier began screaming. By the time they entered, the cashier was
standing on the counter and screaming in an unknown language, possibly
Chinese, to someone unseen in the backroom. That someone emerged and
revealed himself to be the proprietor, Fred, an apparently elderly Asian
gentleman.

"Out, out, you must get out, no animals in here, no, no, no!" The man,
Fred, screamed and boldly made shooing motions as if to scare or drive
Freckles from his store; until Freckles sat down and looked down and the
man suddenly had a view of what small prey saw just before it became Great
Cat food.

"He must accompany me wherever I go," Peter hastened to explain while
thinking on his feet, "He's a trained service cat. He helps me out." He
admitted with a straight face, "When I go out like now, sometimes I forget
where I am or what I'm doing. What are we doing in here anyway?" He asked
with a wink.

"What does service cat mean?" Freckles mind-spoke Peter. "You and your
thumbs are here to help ME out," he protested silently, accompanied by a
nasty look.

"I can certainly attest to that, I am this poor boy's personal physician,"
Doc tried to bolster Peter's claim of mental incompetence and eccentricity
(His cloth of gold wardrobe worth $1000's also helped.) Doc held up a new
near weightless golden bowl. "Today we came in for Slurpee's and snacks,"
he cajoled.

"Slim Jims," Freckles corrected using Peter's voice while attempting to
look disinterested, disdainful and bored, a look which any house cat could
do extremely well from birth. He was emulating Lucy, Doc's `rescue' cat
although the question remained; who adopted who.

"You have money to pay, you can shop very quick like bunny, then get out,"
the proprietor pronounced, "Health Department Inspector very bad man," he
added as his reason for encouraging speed while he kept a nervous eye on
the door.

Peter reached into first one pants pocket, then another before he offered
Freckles a sickly smile. "I must have left the money in my other pants when
I changed clothes to work in the garage." He looked at Doc hopefully.

"Sorry," Doc apologized, "I didn't bring any money or my billfold with me
either."

The store owner had gotten stuck on Peter's earlier comment and made a
counter offer; "You give me those clothes to pay; then we have deal," he
offered. He thought of white people as inscrutable, incomprehensible and of
course they all looked exactly alike, but who wears clothes like Peter's
just to work in a garage?

Peter was about to argue about stripping down to his thermal undies when
Freckles issued hurried instructions via mind-speak using Pettie's Texas
twang; "Y'all scurry on out to Big Foot and bring in one of them big bars
to pay this some bitch. The really big one's are on the bottom. I will
lighten their weight."

It looked like Peter was tossing aside short lengths of lumber that had
been painted gold from inside the store, while he worked his way down
through the neatly stacked gold ingots in the back of his truck. He even
had the nerve to wave one of the biggest; about 18 inches long by four
inches square over his head before he closed the tailgate and returned to
the store with the weighty bar tucked under one arm. He placed the massive
bar on the counter near the cash terminal and stepped back before Freckles
returned its normal weight with the blink of an eye and a toothy yawn.

The proprietor was unimpressed until his wife, the cashier, disdainfully
attempted to push the bar off the counter amid a babble of Chinese and
related hand motions that indicated that the raised middle finger and its
meaning was not unique to the USA. Meanwhile Freckles the service cat,
pushed Peter with his nose to the back of the store where customers poured
their own drinks, straight to the Slurpee machine. That was when Peter
started laughing and pointing at the hand written `out of order' sign that
was taped to the front of the machine.

Freckles pushed Peter and his laughing face out of the way to sit down in
front of the machine that was running but growling a mechanical protest of
some sort. Freckles listened to the complaints briefly before he stretched
his neck to stare at the checkout area generally. It seemed that while Fred
and his wife appeared aged, the reasons, all ten of them, their children,
in a complete range of sizes and ages in one year increments, had been
called from the back room with a hand truck to help move the bar from the
counter to somewhere less obvious/conspicuous. Freckles waited until as
many hands as possible were pushing the ingot before he decreased the
weight and then returned it just before the bar smacked the ceramic tile
floor with a weighty thunk.

"It is no wonder that Fred is concerned about the Health Department
Inspector," Freckles pronounced, "this unfortunate machine has not been
cleaned in a great length of time. The sweet stuff feeder lines and the
control valves are clogged." He turned his attention back to the machine
and suddenly the view ports that showed only white swirling slush turned
different colors and the machine stopped complaining.

Peter and Doc held the new pot under the spigots that Freckles designated
and when it was full with a combination of flavors, Freckles drank his fill
while Peter and Doc filled cups for themselves. Peter began laughing again
when he saw that the ten kids, Fred, the hand truck and the gold bar had
disappeared, he assumed into the backroom. He answered Doc and Freckles'
raised eyebrows; "I wonder what they're going to use to give us change for
our purchases?" he asked and offered Freckles an unwrapped Slim Jim while
Doc tore the wrap from a package of Twinkies. He ate one and Freckles
begged the other and begged more by nudging both Doc and Peter to keep on
unwrapping treats.

"There will be no change," Freckles decided, "but we will take all the
treats and Slurpee machine and his supplies with us in exchange. We will
put Slurpee in the garage for the mechanics to use and we will all eat the
treats."

What Freckles decided was far easier said than done. The mother of all
present and future Chinese cashiers looked blank after Peter explained the
very sensible and extremely lucrative proposal, "What gold bar?" she
asked. "You crazy boy must pay cash money!" she demanded.

Freckles' reaction to that demand was instantaneous; the building began to
shake, merchandise began to fall from shelves, the lights flickered on and
off and the electronic cash terminal suddenly developed a mind of its own
by flashing digital vulgarities in English, meaningless numbers and pleas
for help across its screen all while the cash drawer opened and closed on
its own terms with the lady incapable of stopping the phenomena by
attempting to hold it closed. The children screamed when the hand truck and
its precious load that had been hidden in the walk–in cooler, developed
a case of home sickness and emerged into the store balanced on its own two
wheels while the golden bar glittered like a beacon.

"That gold bar," Peter answered simply.

Fred and family agreed with the proposal without further ado. The children
were mustered to bag and carry everything as directed by Doc and Peter, the
very dangerous and crazy white boy and his doctor, while Freckles
disconnected the Slurpee machine's utilities and it made its own way out of
the store to the back of Big Foot where Peter miraculously loaded it on top
of the remaining gold bars single handedly.

######

Freckles was late for swim practice. After he, Doc and Peter returned to
the garage and the mechanics installed one very happy Slurpee machine in
their break room, they joined Peter in watching Freckles manipulate plain
old heavy raw gold atoms into lighter and useful items. What came to be
called a cat crapper looked very much like a very large training potty for
baby boys in that it was equipped with what could be described as a raised
hood in the front of the seat. Its purpose was to catch and divert
Freckles' urine into the toilet and not spray anything or anyone in front
of his squat. The rest of the seat was typical of human toilet seats except
it was far larger in scale, was supported on short legs and was designed to
fit over a shower drain so the results could be flushed with a hose.

After Freckles actually worked to create the first crapper it seemed to
duplicate itself three more times. The only help or supply required was
gold in close proximity to the constant flashing. The mechanics had pushed
the canvas screens aside so they could see more clearly so the garage
uniform of the future became genuine light weight cloth of gold jump suits,
and their individualized mirrored welding helmets that looked like they
came from a Star Wars movie, were carefully displayed on a shelf in their
work area.

Like many tardy teenagers, Freckles attempted to sneak into the pool after
racing full tilt from the garage, leaping the 12 foot gate, and by the time
he crossed the pool deck he looked much like a large lumpy jaguar skin rug
complete with a head, legs and extended claws, except the rug kept creeping
forward until it slithered into and under the water. He had to keep his
tail down to avoid being seen so he didn't see the swimmers attacking from
the rear until they were on and all around him. Brave John made the mistake
of grabbing his tail so he was thrown the farthest, almost out of the pool
entirely and with the element of surprise gone, the swimmers took the most
heat. While Coach Bill would never berate an assistant in front of the
boys, a look of disappointment and a shake of his head was a far worse
punishment for Freckles than being cuffed to the moon by his irascible
sire, Fang.

Peter and Doc arrived in Big Foot a few minutes later. Peter stripped
without hesitation but Doc wasn't aware of the rule. He stood rooted to one
spot while his eyes bulged and his head seemed to swivel like an owl's, a
full 270 degrees. The Trenton pool and its environs were the stuff a
frustrated gay man's dreams were made of; beautiful, muscular, athletic
boys and young men, swimmers and divers all, pursuing their sport while
stark naked.

Pettie swam to near Doc and Peter then vaulted from the pool to grin at
Doc's facial expression. "Y'all need to get naked, Doc," Pettie informed,
"after practice we'll have us a free swim and y'all can join us if you want
to. Most of the younger guys come over from school and the rest of us live
here," he pointed at the residence windows, "up in the Residence. Those
windows are mine and those are where Buck an' Doug hang out sometimes,
although they have a big apartment in the big house and a room in Homo Hall
at school too. That window there is the control room if y'all want to try
burnin' a personal DVD of the guys; although there's some really good DVD's
circulatin' that you can see after lights out, but before y'all fall asleep
– if y'all can fall asleep after," he added.

It was clear that Doc's mind was elsewhere and somewhat behind his roving
eyes when he and Peter were joined by the three warriors. They proved
themselves as expert valets by divesting Doc of all his clothing nearly as
fast as they were able to get rid of their own because they were intent on
comparing Doc's body and his coupler with Pettie's while the two were
standing up, standing together and they finally had Doc completely naked
for the first time. No DNA testing was necessary to prove lineage in their
minds, no matter how distant. All that was required was matching overall
appearance, comparable height and the size of their couplers.

"What are you guys doin' out here in public? Get your little hands away
from me or suffer," Pettie demanded uselessly while he tried to defend his
privates, two big hands against six smaller, much faster and far more
experienced was not much of a contest until Sidi and Kad moved on to
Doc. Bani was about to join them when Pettie grabbed him and tossed him
overhand into what was a race; smack dab on top of Doug.

"SCORE!" Buck shouted without sympathy.

Doc got into the spirit of the game by shoving Kad backward to
Pettie. "Show me how you did that please," he asked Pettie.

"No problem Doc; first you grab one by the back of the neck, like
this. Hold on tight with that hand and with the other you just lift the
little varmint up by gettin' that hand almost between his legs with your
palm flat on his ass. Then y'all just lift, haul back and toss like this."
He demonstrated. Kad's scream was cut off when his body hit the water and
Harm, who was stopped in the lane beside Doug. "I use this toss to slow
down my competition," he admitted with a laughing shout at Doug and Harm
who were his competition and were then chasing Bani and Kad uselessly, but
for the exercise.

Sidi suddenly stopped trying to escape Doc's clutches. He backed up to Doc
instead, waiting for him to replicate the toss. Doc followed instructions,
but something went wrong when the middle finger of his tossing hand sort of
sank prematurely before it was in the perfect position. Sidi moaned his
pleasure at being fingered but was still able to announce his independent
research findings; "It is as we thought," he shouted, "Pettie and Doc are
related! Their fingers are the exact same length just like their couplers!"

Several things happened then:

Doc and Pettie both turned red from head to toe although Doc was the
brightest red because he was the whitest while Pettie still had a residual
tan. Pettie collared Doc who was still fingering Sidi and dropped them all
into the pool so only two heads were showing above water; fortunately for
Sidi, he didn't have to breathe because he was intent on giving Doc a
`light' couple in return for the many services Doc had provided all the
boys on the Cat Mobile during the return trip from Newark after the latest
riot there, which cleared that city of at least one more city block for
urban renewal.

Then the lobby doors crashed open, which effectively ended further swim
practice for the day. Bucky led a mixed entourage into the pool area. Will
and Joe each carried one of the principle runaways under their arms as if
Medi (Mohamed) and Sean, his partner in crime were sacks of grain. They
were immediately followed by Medi's very young Japanese Samurai bodyguards,
Sam and Jack along with Chad and Rick, who were or had been Homo Hall's
housekeepers until Medi and Sean kidnapped them as licensed drivers; they
had to drive a borrowed Rolls limo, act as additional guards as necessary
and continue to provide `other services' to Medi and Sean, Sam or Jack
whenever desired and convenient for any of the six involved in the
impromptu vacation.

Bucky had Medi and Sean stripped to the skin and then thrown into the pool
so they could rejoin the school swim team. Coach Bill argued that they had
missed too many practices and were no longer a part of the team all while
successfully hiding his grin from the boys treading water while their fate
was discussed. (It was apparent to Doug and Buck that their fathers had
planned everything that was about to happen to Medi and Sean.) Bucky
ordered Bill to reinstate the miscreants. He advised that a small apartment
in the Residence had been prepared where the two would live with Sam and
Jack henceforth. They would attend morning and afternoon practices and they
would be driven, not flown to and from school in one of the Trenton
Mercedes limos. Further they had been restricted to campus while they were
on campus and as a further inconvenience, their thumb prints had been
removed from Homo Hall security so neither could get into Medi's apartment
or even the building unless someone allowed them in.

"BUT NO ONE WILL LET THEM IN, WILL THEY?" Bucky's raspy voice boomed and
echoed in the silent room.

After a moment's hesitation there was a halting chorus of, "No Sir!" to
agree even though the straight boys couldn't get in the building anyway and
some didn't even go to school there.

Medi and Sean used mind-speak to agree that their punishment didn't seem to
be too harsh so far; they were prepared for sanctions, until Will and Joe
began expertly searching the clothing and ski parkas they'd been wearing
and everything found was placed in a small bag that Chad held open. There
were wads of currency, uncounted credit cards and jewelry that included
costly watches, rings and heavy neck chains with ostentatious
pendants. Charlie was impressed; the two little rich boys had learned well;
they remembered to stock up with getaway goods, they just forgot to hide it
all. They were allowed to keep their emerald communicators.

"I say there chaps," Medi sort of protested to Will and Joe, "Illegal
search and seizure and all that, what?"

"My, my," Joe returned, "just look at what one boy can store in all these
zippered pockets! The clothes you need for school will be returned with
your books and these coats after the pockets are sewn closed. Everything
else will be stored in your apartment until we leave for Christmas
holiday."

"But I have diplomatic immunity!" was Medi's last gasp.

"You still have it," Bucky shot back, "all this, your papers, ID and your
passport will be returned sometime in the future just before you need
them."

Freckles had surfaced his head so he could hear clearly without touching
anyone's mind so the closest swimmers felt free to use his back as a
floating rest station. That is until he spied Bucky's head helicopter pilot
accompanied by the ground crew chief and both seemed to be looking for
someone or something in and around the big pool. Freckles looked to see
what Peter was doing and found him with his arms stretched out along the
pool combing to hold his head above water while his eyes fluttered and his
head lolled from side to side. It appeared that he was about to have a
glorious orgasm in broad daylight with straight boys watching. Doc was
similarly stretched out beside Peter. A quick inventory of brave Cat
warriors indicated that Bani and Sidi were providing Peter and Doc with
quick underwater couples.

Freckles sank from view quickly but couldn't hide his darker bulk. "There
he is!" The pilot said and pointed.

Bucky asked Will or Joe to mind-speak Freckles to come ashore so he could
help solve a mystery that appeared on the helicopter pad. Peter heard
that. His head snapped around and he began shouting without the aid of
mind-speak. "You just couldn't resist could you, even though I told you
no!" He looked toward Bucky with a resigned expression to ask, "Is the
mystery six or eight passenger and is it painted gold?"

Bucky grinned down on Peter, "I'd say capacity would depend on passenger
size and weight, there could be six or there could be eight," he advised
and continued, "We don't mind if you keep it here in the hanger if you're
going to live here, but you really need to get your own ground crew and a
pilot would also be helpful, and yes, it's painted gold."

Freckles' tail sprouted from the water near Peter while he and Bucky
discussed the new helicopter. It began to massage Peter's shoulders
sensuously. Freckles didn't see Peter wink at Bucky before the tip began to
probe one of Peter's ears while the rest of the Great Cat bobbed up at his
side. "Can we keep it? Friend Billy helped me buy it and he also found us a
young pilot as a condition so you will not have to make believe you are
driving, ever!" Freckles assured hopefully.

"Is this guy a real pilot, not just a warm body to occupy the seat?" Peter
asked. It was obvious to Freckles that he was wavering. "And what about a
ground crew, I hope you weren't thinking that we could do all the
maintenance ourselves?"

"Yes, he is a pilot; Friend Billy met him at pilot school. Friend Billy
uses a service company at Newark; I thought we could engage them to service
Great Cat as well." Freckles replied eagerly with growing enthusiasm as
well as announce the new helicopter's name.

"Well, in that case I guess we can give Great Cat and the new pilot a
trial. Should we go see it and maybe push it into the hanger out of the
way?" When the water around them began to pulse, it meant that Freckles was
building a burst of energy to exit the pool, Peter switched to mid-speak,
"Don't you dare shake off near Chief Bucky or our clothes!" he warned in
such haste that he didn't restrict the communication so all the other
mind-speakers heard the warning and began laughing for no obvious apparent
reason if you weren't a mind-speaker.

"I won't," Freckles answered as he leapt and ran for the locker room, "Come
on brave warriors and friends, we must see Great Cat! He is very
beautiful!"

That last was said while Freckles raced from the locker room on his way to
the lobby while the boys were still leaving the pool, or had even toweled
off, much less gotten dressed. Peter sent him on ahead, since that was far
faster than having him `help' anyone get dressed. The last thing that Peter
had to say to the Great Cat's tail was that he should be very careful about
scaring the new pilot to death before they got there.

By the time the humans and warriors reached the helipad, they found the new
chopper, Great Cat, parked on the pad, the new pilot sitting in the cockpit
and the living Great Cat sitting outside with his nose mere inches from the
pilot's and they seemed to be having a stare down. The scene and the
choppers' interior were clearly illuminated by all the landing lights while
the interior hanger lights were off because that was where Bucky's ground
crew and all the mechanics from the garage side of the building were hiding
so they could watch the anticipated confrontation.

The new pilot guy just laughed when he was told about Freckles and his
special abilities. He thought that the guys were joking since he was
new. After he landed his beautiful new ride and talked with the guys that
he would be working with, he returned to his seat while he waited to meet
his new boss and was imagining flying, take offs, landings and how he would
compensate for sudden wind gusts coming from any direction. It was force of
habit to lock the doors. He had both hands on the control yoke when he
banked sharply to the left in an imaginary emergency maneuver and then
looked that way, straight into Freckles' eyes and hugely smiling
face. Smiling if one knew what a Great Cat smile looked like.

Peter ran up to the impasse. "I thought I told you not to scare him?" he
accused using mind-speak.

"I did nothing. He was make-believe flying when I approached and he flew
straight into me in his imagination. He is not afraid of me, but he is
waiting for a human to intervene on his behalf."

The pilot's side window slid open a crack. "Mr. Katz? Boy am I glad to see
you. I thought the guys in the hanger were joking about this beautiful cat
until he showed up. I know he's tame and all but I thought I'd just sit
here and wait to be sure. I'm Devin, Billy's friend and I'd like to be your
pilot. Is it safe to come out now? This bird is beautiful except for the
skanky paint job that makes it look like a flying pimpmobile."

It was obvious to all listening that Devin wasn't afraid to speak his
mind. Peter thought it wise to correct Devin's assumption that he was
Mr. Katz before he had more to say about Freckles' taste in paint jobs or
the color. He invited Devin to climb from his `bird' and shook his hand
while he kept one eye on Freckles' face. Strangely, he was still smiling
down on his new pilot who was grinning back. Peter didn't `hear' Freckles
ask his personal walking dictionary, Buck, to define `skanky', and when he
looked closer at Great Cat's paint job he had to agree that the definition
fit.

"Um," Peter began, "I'm not Mr. Katz, I'm Peter, and Mr. Katz's Executive
Assistant, because I have thumbs." He tossed one over his shoulder in
Freckles' direction generally, "This is Freckles Katz, our employer."

Devin assumed that Peter was continuing the prank, except there really was
a huge, obviously tame wild cat involved so he decided to play along. He
held up his hand palm out for a high five and then had to jump up to slap
Freckles' raised paw pads in response. His feet hadn't quite touched ground
when something soft and strong wrapped around his neck and he was lifted
for a brief formal Cat greeting.

"Welcome sky warrior Devin," Freckles said clearly through his
communicator, "I see that you already love Great Cat, our helicopter,
except for his skanky paint color which we will fix at once. They told me
gold and I expected gold." Freckles summoned Bani, Kad, Sidi, Charlie and
the rest of the Family that was present, forward for introductions to sky
warrior Devin, so that he was so busy being nice, he didn't have the
opportunity to question anyone about Freckles' ability to speak. He assumed
someone was somewhere close by to continue the elaborate prank. All the
shorter guys including Bucky were particularly pleased to meet one of their
`own'; Devin was no taller than any of them, give or take an inch or two
and after the three brave and inquisitive warriors touched Devin's mind
they discovered that he preferred guys just like them, which was the reason
Billy recommended him in the first place. Total compatibility was
important.

The meet and greet session was interrupted when Big Foot rumbled onto the
helipad, sans, driver. "Who's controlling that truck and how do you get
Freckles to appear to be talking?" Devin asked Peter just before he really
looked at the clothes that Peter was still wearing; his golden work
clothes. He had more questions that he asked too quickly for Peter to
answer. Peter moved to the side of the new chopper and held up his arm.

"Do you like this color gold better?" Peter asked. He was already
mind-speaking suggestions to Freckles. Devin was wearing a black flight
suit and had a matching helmet in the chopper. When piloting anything,
Devin thought he looked quite stylish.

"Yup, now that color looks real," Devin opined, "I think gold fleck paint
on cars went out 50 years ago and I don't think it ever got started on any
aircraft, except for this one."

Devin watched as the three exotic guys called Cat warriors and Charlie who
obviously was not, each guided a gold bar from Big Foot to near the chopper
called Great Cat. Peter handed Devin his helmet and instructed him to put
it on and then slide the dark sun shade down over his eyes. "How did you
make those gold bars float in the air if they're real gold?" He saw Bani
reaching into his belt pouch and heard Kad and Sidi protesting enviously
about something called Bani's unique tool; he had one and they
didn't. Devin wondered how Bani's cock differed very much from any other
guy's, no matter how exotic the guy. He hoped to find out if Bani was
willing.

"Everyone close their eyes!" Peter called to the surrounding mob.

Great Cat the helicopter and Devin, Great Cat's pilot to be, disappeared in
a tightly controlled cloud of smoke that was accompanied with a long flash
of very bright light.

Devin could see that the light was gone from his eyelids as Peter announced
that it was safe to look at what Bani had done. Devin raised his eye shield
and looked out at the guys grinning back at him before he looked down at
his flight suit and then back at the gleaming mirrored golden finish on the
entire helicopter including all the windows. He looked at his helmet before
he put it back on and lowered the sun shield once again to discover that he
could see just as well if not far better; much like wearing night vision
goggles, only better when looking through the gold coated plastic.

Freckles suddenly stretched his neck while looking through the garden to
the house. "It is time for evening food!" he announced and promptly took
off running with the Cat warriors just as quickly in hot pursuit. Peter and
Devin were left alone on the helipad with Big Foot and Great Cat.

Peter shrugged his indifference. He explained to Devin, "This happens
anytime someone mentions food. Freckles is always hungry because he's a
growing Cat and the warriors can eat anytime because they burn calories
like 100 a minute. That leaves me to straighten up after them; that's what
I do." He looked at Big Foot and pointed, "You can go back to the garage
and park yourself out of the way." Devin watched the big 4X4 turn and move
away slowly to disappear into the darkness and then watched Peter just
staring at Great Cat with his hands on his hips. "Do you have anything
inside the chopper before we put him in the hanger for the night?"

"I brought some clothes along. I didn't know where I was supposed to
sleep. I'll get them and put my helmet in there. Where do we eat, is there
a staff dining room? How do we put Great Cat away by ourselves? It isn't as
big as Trenton's but it is heavy. The tow bar is in the ground support
package but that won't be here until tomorrow."

Peter grinned. He waited until Devin put his helmet away and retrieved his
bag. "Watch and learn Grasshopper," he intoned. "The guys probably told
you that Freckles is kind of special, but I'm pretty sure that you didn't
believe them. I'm also fairly certain that while you and he were staring at
each other, Freckles was making friends with Great Cat and most likely also
making `improvements'" he used finger quotes, "to his systems."

"He couldn't have, the master power switch was off, so everything was shut
down," Devin argued. He'd been sitting in the cockpit, and was careful to
shut off every system and made sure that the power indicator was burning
red not green.

"Want to bet?" Peter asked, and then without waiting for an answer he
ordered; "Landing lights on." The paving under the chopper and 50 feet in
all directions was suddenly illuminated with harsh white light and the
remotely controlled spot light turned to bracket Peter and Devin which
highlighted their golden wardrobes. "Not us you silly machine, use that
light to see where you're going so you don't hit anything inside the
hanger. Hook up the charger line and then shut everything down for the
night." The spot light became a head light as Great Cat slowly rolled into
the hanger and then slowly backed into a vacant space alongside where
Bucky's larger chopper would be parked as soon as it returned from
returning the school swim team to the campus so both machines would be
parked facing the door ready for the next day's adventures.

Then Devin with his mouth hanging open, and Peter watched as the power
cable from the charger played anaconda as it snaked its way from the
charger to Great Cat's electrical port and plugged itself in before it
stopped wreathing and acted like any normal extension cord. "Good night
Great Cat," Peter called out.

"Good night Peter," the chopper's external loud hailer responded then
added, "Good night sky warrior Devin."

"Sky warrior, where did that title come from and who said it?"

"I told you Freckles messed with Great Cat, he may have fixed it so you can
give him voice commands too; we'll see tomorrow. Come on, it's dangerous to
leave Freckles alone at the dinner table too long. He tries but he can
really be messy. Oh, he loves titles, I'm also an Admiral," Peter laughed
at himself and then continued, "You know that the Cat People, that's the
tribe the warriors belong to, are buying two big old Chinook choppers to
fly freight into and out of their lands from the nearest city with an
airport, so I'll get Freckles to make you an Air Marshal, how's that for a
title?"

After Devin laughed, he asked, "Do we need to change? I don't want to look
like a fool or have this gold peeling off into the food."

The two walked directly into the dining room from the garden and
introductions continued so changing clothes was forgotten in the hubbub. It
was apparent that the warriors and Charlie had shuffled their places at the
table because Devin found himself sitting between Kad and Sidi with Kad
sitting next to Peter who of course sat in his usual place next to Freckles
on Bucky's left at the head of the table.

Kad and Sidi were intent on exploring the contents of Devin's flight suit
from the very start of dinner while the contents were distracted by seeing
Victoria's new gold dinner service for the first time. Kad was the first to
notice a subtle difference or distinct similarity in the cloth. He frowned
at Freckles who was watching Hamilton, the butler; fill his drink bowl with
a very fine Burgundy that Bucky had ordered to save some of his dwindling
stocks of Merlot.

"You made this sky warrior's cloth covering into Ancient armor," Kad stated
in surprise. "These warriors and Bani should wear the same, then we could
wear proper armor under our regular cloth coverings and no one would know."

Of course Sidi and Bani, who leaned across Sidi, needed to investigate for
themselves and used the tablecloth to screen their busy little hands
because they still needed to discover how fast and big Devin's coupler
would grow with some expert massage. All three warriors were more than
pleased with the result and confirmed Kad's earlier announcement; that the
flight suit had become modern Ancient armor as an afterthought. Devin's
face turned red and he was unaware of the stream of mind-speak that
traveled around the room but it got Freckles attention.

"Warriors," Freckles snapped in mind-speak without lifting his muzzle from
the depths of his bowl of wine, "how rude to take advantage of our new
pilot. If you wished to know his interest in coupling with you brave
warriors, just touch his mind without touching his person. Buck and Doug
have given us permission to use their room to rest tonight, so you can
touch his body tonight. He is very willing, but you must be
patient. Evening food is steak," he reminded as a non-sexual temptation.

"Are my jeans and shirt Ancient armor too?" Peter asked Freckles aloud.

Freckles raised his shoulders slightly, which served as a shrug, "It would
seem so," he said clearly while he chewed a chunk of steak, "I did not know
that would happen. I think I still have much to learn of Ancient ways."

"I ask a second time; how do you make Freckles appear to be talking so
much?"

Hamilton whispered in Freckles' ear just as Devin asked his question. The
Great Cat stopped eating, left the table and bounded from the room, all in
the blink of an eye.

All mind-speakers' eyes turned toward Doc who was intent on eating his
Wagyu steak and enjoying a 1989 Burgundy, unaware that he'd forgotten
anything that caused Freckles to leave dinner in the middle of HIS dinner
and rush from the room. The prevailing silence around the table got his
attention. "Is something wrong?"

"Where's Lucy House Cat?" Doug wondered. "Someone forgot to bring her and
her little family to dinner," he reminded with his mouth covered with his
hand to hide his grin.

Since a TV was needed in the dining room on occasion Victoria herself
selfishly saw to the installation of one sitting on a server table on the
side of the room. This saved wear and tear on her precious tea trolley that
was more frequently set up as a rolling bar. Bani began laughing before he
turned to activate the screen with a blink. Diners were suddenly watching
images that Freckles saw for the first time rather than Freckles relaying
what the boys saw and he edited.

Freckles' nose bumped open a partially closed paneled door on the TV screen
to reveal racks of hanging clothes, cubby holes filled with shoes and a
sizable bank of built-in drawers. Bucky had begun to frown when the door
was opened. A line of drawers had been left open that formed convenient
steps up from the floor to a top drawer on one end. Doc's open satchel,
used as a cat transporter, sat in lonely splendor on the carpeted
floor. Lucy House Cat made her presence known when she lifted her head from
the topmost drawer just high enough to peek at the intruder that had
entered her `den'.

"Dr. Meriwether," Bucky began formally, after clearing his throat, "I
believe Lucy has made her home in MY dressing room closet in an underwear
drawer. What I would like to know is how she managed to get that far in
this very large house, through several closed doors without your help?"

"Um, that is a very good question sir; I believe I was duped by that damned
cat." After the laughter died, he continued; "You see when that slut wants
something, she can be so sweet of nature and very persuasive. In this case,
she leapt from my valise and then rubbed her body around my ankles before
she ran to a door that she wanted opened. I very nearly lost her on the
stairs, but the rest is history as they say. She inspected several of those
drawers before choosing that one for her nest. I opened the other drawers
for her convenience. Her litter box is in the adjoining bathroom," he added
as an afterthought, "just so you know not to go in there with bare feet."

"Thank you very much for that advisory," Bucky grumped sarcastically and
decided to offer Buck and Doug a frown to end their continued laughter
since he knew relocating Lucy House Cat and her brood was a lost cause.

"Oh look," Victoria exclaimed, "Freckles is transferring the kittens into
the carryall while Lucy supervises. There Darling, do you recognize
Buttercup, and that one is Douggie," she pointed at the screen as Freckles
provided close-ups while he held each kitten up to his eyes to inspect
them, and perhaps begin their education while their minds were receptive to
some Great Cat knowledge and abilities.

Devin did a double take when Bucky asked the table generally; "Would one of
you mind-speakers tell Freckles to be sure to leave all the doors into our
suite and my bathroom open enough for Lucy to get in there?"

"Exactly what is a mind-speaker?" Devin thought he whispered to Kad only to
find that everyone except Bucky and Victoria answered his question and some
like Kad and Sidi pulled off their shirts so he could see their
communicators and incidentally view their upper bodies close up. He'd seen
the pendants but he thought them affectations; they were all too big to be
real. Then he revised his opinion and was suitably impressed but it was the
constant sparkling that held his attention because to keep them flashing
and sparkling, the warriors were sending gibberish to each other before
Freckles blasted their minds with a rebuke that included a lengthy stay on
a mountain called Mt. McKinley, a place they noted where there was
absolutely no tropical vegetation, only snow, ice and wind, and nary a
sniff of Stuff for warmth or recreation. Of course Devin didn't know why
the half-naked warriors suddenly took on pained expressions or looked very
contrite when Freckles entered the room carrying an open leather valise
with the black cat peering out looking like she deserved to be carried by
her over-grown friend.

"If you have any kind of telepathic ability, these emeralds allow you, I
mean us, to talk with each other mind to mind," Peter explained, "much more
easily, but it's still not as easy as talking, just faster and over long
distances if necessary."

Devin grinned, held Kad's emerald for a closer look and incidentally rubbed
the warrior's chest with the back of his hand, "Wow, if this was real it
would be worth a fortune," he surmised.

Kad took offense with that comment. He took Devin's hand down below the
tablecloth. "I am so real as you can feel and I am worth my weight in these
pretty stones," he assured Devin with pride in his voice.

"The emeralds are as real as Kad," Peter assured Devin with a giggle, "and
there are a whole bunch more of them, other gems, tons and tons of gold and
all kinds of artifacts. That's why the People and the Great Cats need the
really big choppers; to ferry the stuff out to the nearest airport that can
handle those really big jets that just carry freight." He sent a suggestion
to Freckles.

Freckles finished explaining, "And why you are now our Air Marshal, the
Supreme Commander of our aircraft fleet," he boomed as loudly as his
cellphone speaker allowed.

######

During the next week, the Trenton Hall household settled down into a
routine as the planned Christmas holiday departure date neared. Breakfast
and dinner became events that everyone wanted to attend. The five calico
kittens opened their eyes and it seemed that they saved all their waking
time for the few hours that the dining room was full of humans, three Cat
warriors and one Great Cat. The kittens went anywhere that they found
interesting. They learned to climb pants legs to a host lap and then used
the tablecloth to claw their way up to the table top. They were still
nursing so they weren't interested in human food but they seemed to be
fascinated with what the humans did, they seemed to listen to the
conversations by cocking their heads this way or that, and were
particularly interested in watching the unique morning and evening news
shown on the dining room TV.

The original set that Victoria had placed on a side table had been replaced
with a 72 inch model surrounded by a gold leafed antiqued frame that was
mounted on the wall permanently and when not in use, it played endless
slide shows of museum art, a burning crackling fireplace or the countryside
around the world, including Mt. McKinley from afar on a rare clear day
before the pictures zoomed in to the very tip top for a close up of three
shivering Cat warriors or just one bedraggled Great Cat depending on who
controlled the screen during mental or physical squabbles also known as
rough and tumbles or merely as psychological warfare. There were also times
when Spot and company sent video news with commentary from home. The
`company' mentioned was the newly minted Cat warrior Squeak, who had become
Spot's constant companion; the truly odd couple had indeed become a
symbiotic team.

Cat warrior Squeak was the youngest Cat warrior ever. He gained the status
by holding the record for the most confirmed kills – ever, in the Cat
People's known history on Planet Earth all while he was still able to walk
under a mature Great Cat without bending down, amazing feats for a three,
nearly four year old boy.

One typical school day morning Spot and Squeak proudly showed the entire
Cat People's Navy arranged in a circle, with all bows pointing in, with
mature Great Cats aboard every boat somewhere and all were looking down at
what appeared to be a massive hole in the water right at the mouth of the
river. Spot, clutching Squeak in his tail was still light enough to take up
a most favored position; on the bow of one gun boat with his paws on the
rails while his sire Fang occupied most of deck space behind the young Cat
warrior pilots as a counterweight.

"What are you doing?" Freckles asked his twin brother, Spot after he
greeted their sire first and the other Great Cats present, with
mind-speakers last including Admiral Angus, all according to protocol.

Freckles had begun attending classes and was wearing his school
uniform. Victoria had her seamstress fashion a Great Cat size school neck
tie for Freckles with a permanent Windsor knot that was fastened with
Velcro at the back of his neck, while Freckles `fixed' Buck's cheap plastic
giant-size sunglasses so the frames were lightweight solid gold and the
lenses varied from clear when inside a building, to mirrored gold outside
in sunlight. He imagined that wearing the glasses regularly made him look
much more studious, and so far there had been no humans either brave, or
foolish enough to say otherwise.

"What in the world are you wearing?" Spot countered without answering
Freckles' original question. If the twin Cats had been within paw range of
each other, fur would have been flying.

"Stop this at once," Squeak ordered Spot, "you forget who IS in paw range
at this moment and if HE (HE was Fang, who was frowning at Spot
dangerously) sends you and your fur flying with a single cuff, I would also
fly and this brave Cat warrior has no fur, only delicate skin."

Angus intervened, "We're plannin' to raise up this sunken galleon to
recover its treasure, but first off we've a need to dig it out o' the water
an' mud. That's what the Great Cats are doing now, an' it's no wee job
since this hasn't been tried before," he added.

Angus directed a chastened Spot to hold Squeak out over the whole in the
water so the gang in the north could see what the wreck really looked like
through the boy's eyes. Of course Spot just had to give Squeak a wild ride
out over the abyss, limited only by the length of his tail and he just had
to toss his little friend up in the air so he could experience a split
second of freefall before a powerful mind called him to task with Squeak
begging for more.

First, Squeak looked at the water wall, which was much like looking at an
aquarium until one realized that the water was on the wrong side of the
glass enclosure – and there was no glass or apparently anything when
Spot surprised Squeak with a quick dunking. Squeak shook his head after he
was withdrawn and promptly gave his buddy Spot, a prolonged middle finger.

"Who taught that little boy that gesture?" Bucky growled. He wasn't
surprised to see all the boys pointing at each other while they attempted
to look innocent.

"Ye need to be lookin' down laddie, that's what we want to see," Angus
ordered Squeak.

Over time all the wooden parts of the ship had been attacked by worms so
all the superstructures were gone. Only the shape of the broad beamed part
of the galleon remained that comprised the ships' hold that was irregularly
decorated with four monster cannon that had fallen or sank from above as
the ship deteriorated to leave more resistant or impervious metals
behind. The cannon were resting on what at first glance appeared to be a
large block of solid gold interspersed in places with glittering gems that
were fixed on artifacts after woven bags and any containers of organic
origin had rotted as well.

Doc had forgotten about breakfast. His interest was the cannon not the
treasure; he had left his seat and had slowly gotten as close to the big
screen as possible without climbing on the serving table below it. "If I
could just see the markings on those cannon I could identify the ship. Once
that is known we can find out what port she departed, what she carried and
I assume where she was bound," he said with some pleading in his voice.

Freckles was preoccupied with the kittens. He was using his tail tip to
teach them the art of stalking prey around golden stemware, coffee mugs and
plates and over and through dishes of eggs over easy and jam covered toast,
from which Peter and Devin were attempting to consume their
breakfasts. Freckles paused the lesson long enough to glance and nod at the
TV. Squeak screamed and the picture became disjoined flashes as the little
boy fell on top of the treasure very close to a cannon that Spot aimed
for. Little Douggie House Cat pounced on the stationary tail tip with claws
at full extension. Freckles yelped and pulled his tail out of harm's way
with `harm' in the form of little Douggie House Cat still firmly attached
by grapples.

Freckles whipped his tail to shake the diminutive predator free and
succeeded in dropping the determined kitten into his bowl of orange juice
and of course ice cubes. In that exact instant it was difficult to tell
which was more furious with their Great Cat; Douggie House Cat, or boy Cat
warrior Squeak.

Squeak revealed that he had the advantage of an astounding vocabulary of
American English words gleaned from an assortment of teenage boys since he
was an adept mind-speaker; whatever the warriors learned, he learned almost
simultaneously, if he chose to listen, just like his friend and mentor
Great Cat Spot.

"Oh my," Victoria ventured with a knowing smile at her son Buck, "that
darling little boy must have learned all those words from the same boys who
taught him about his fingers."

Douggie House Cat discovered certain things that morning; orange stuff was
very cold, ice cubes were not nearly as buoyant as they first appeared and
lastly, that he could swim if he had no choice. Freckles fished him out of
the `drink' and promptly dunked him in his water bowl to rinse him off
before he was deposited on the floor near his mother Lucy, to be dried and
cuddled.

The treasure, the cannon and any metal on the ship had been miraculously
cleaned and restored to like new condition as if they were fresh from the
forge or foundry so Squeak had no trouble viewing the Spanish words, crests
and numbers that were flashed up to Trenton Hall almost instantly. Doc felt
himself up frantically. He was looking for a pen and note pad to make
notes.

Bucky looked at Buck and tipped his head toward the door while he asked
Will to see about getting a printer installed near the TV to save Buck from
running back and forth up to his study, a room he once thought of as a very
private, secure refuge until some unnamed exotic guests arrived. Doc
abandoned his breakfast as soon as Buck returned with a fist full of
papers. He was off to the library to research the markings. That is, he was
until he happened to see Squeak, on the television, roll one of the cannon
out of his way so he could see what sort of treasure was underneath.

Doubting Devin commented before Doc, "Wait up, none of that stuff is real,
that little boy just moved that cast iron barrel and it must weigh at least
a ton."

Doc sort of agreed, "I would say it is a 32 pounder so it weighs closer to
5000 pounds. I daresay that a galleon of that size once carried another 30
or 40 cannon the same size plus many, many smaller cannon on her upper
decks," he corrected and instructed Devin at the same time.

"Wow, I don't think I'd like to see even one cannon ball that size fired at
me."

Bucky displayed some knowledge of the subject by laughing at Devin's
concern. "If you were the size of an enemy ship and were really, really
close together, then you'd have to worry if 20 of the things were coming at
you all at once from a broadside, but remember you'd be shooting back too."
He looked more closely as little Squeak seemed to be intent on rolling one
of the antique guns off the massive block of yellow, before asking Freckles
and the warriors; "If you aren't planning to salvage those cannon, I wonder
if I might have them? I'd be happy to pay all the expenses to have Evan
transport them up here," he said eagerly.

Squeak suddenly stopped what he was doing and shook his fist up at Spot who
was acting as the `video camera' at the moment by watching Squeak. "You
Great Cats and Great Chiefs must make up your minds; first you say to
discard them and now they must be saved," he grumbled.

Bucky grinned at the rebuke, "Does that mean I can have them?"

"What are you planning to do with them Dad?"

"I was thinking of putting two at the office tower main entrance and two
outside our gates here. I think they would be impressive."

Buck and Doug began to laugh at seeing Bucky's expression. "Do you want
them to be functional?" Doug wondered.

Victoria was the first to answer, "Of course not, they would just be for
show." She didn't see her husband, the practical joker, nod his head
enthusiastically but it was obvious to the boys that guests might soon be
in for a rude surprise.

The dining room got quiet then as the Cat People's Navy began to shift
positions and the recovered treasure began to rise slowly from its watery
resting place until the entire dripping mass was barely inches above the
water. Then it began to move into the river mouth with the small modern
armada following after the hole in the water disappeared. Every Great Cat
stared forward intently, motionless except for twitching tails all while
Squeak ran around the top of the block while he looked everywhere to record
the unique event from above in the minds of the Cats, all mind-speakers and
anyone else who happened to be having breakfast at Trenton Hall that
morning.

Buck suddenly broke into laughter. He reminded the guys; "Remember when
Pavlov was trying to get around that old ship? Gregor left the Cat warriors
scuba gear so they could salvage that loot. Of course at the time we didn't
know that warriors have built-in scuba." Predictably, Kad and Sidi took
pains to puff up their chests proudly.

"What is scuba?" Kad whispered to Devin.

"I guess I'm convinced; the gold is real but how are two choppers even
Chinooks going to transport that weight? It probably would take us a
hundred roundtrips," Devin guessed. He stopped when he noticed that all of
the guys were smiling at him; he didn't know that by the use of a two
letter word, he announced that he was committed and had thereby joined the
greater extended Family.

To answer Devin's question about transporting heavy metal, Bani gave him
one of the coins that some of the Spanish coinage would be changed to. It
weighed about two ounces and had a Great Cat head on one side while the
obverse was a pyramid with waves crashing against its base. "This is a gold
coin that was officially minted in lost Atlantis. As you can feel, it is
quite heavy. Now for the purpose of transport..."

"This brave warrior will make it lighter," Sidi volunteered and began to
stare at the coin resting on Devin's palm. Devin's eyes widened when he
felt the subtle change in weight; it definitely was much lighter.

"We must give Charlie credit for this very good idea," Bani said and
thumped Charlie on the back while he was drinking milk and nearly started a
rough and tumble. He explained; "Charlie suggested that we import our gold
as souvenirs. These will be reproductions of official coins that were found
deep in the Pacific Ocean recovered from Atlantis, while real Spanish coins
will become reproductions of doubloons. Real gems set in gold jewelry and
gold artifacts will all be lightened accordingly until it all passes
through American Customs and is safe in the warehouse. Everything will
appear to be junk of very little value because it is all too light weight
to be real.

Devin began laughing. He added, "If anyone asks, we could say we plan to
market the gold bars as doorstops!"

The group discussed logistics while they finished breakfast. Bani asked
Carb to show the construction of the helicopter landing pad. Devin was
concerned that it be large enough so that both big choppers could land
safely together if necessary. It seemed that Carb and Chief Tonga had been
allowed to keep their Ancient tools after promising not to misuse them, or
else. Fang did not explain what `or else' entailed but neither warrior had
the slightest wish to find out. Carb narrated while he acted as the
`camera' while Tonga did what little work was involved.

The site was just south of Angus' home, situated right on the lake where a
fuel barge would be anchored and there was yet another hidden Cat City
entrance quite close, as well as the southern entrance into the tunnel that
ran under all three of JC's homes. The tunnel and its many storerooms
would be used to store incoming supplies since those areas would never be
needed to supply the Fourth Reich that the three Nazi builders envisioned.

Carb explained that the first thing that Tonga was doing was to warn all
the wild creatures in the immediate area that things were about to change
drastically. Birds flew, small animals ran, reptiles slithered or scooted
and even insects flew away or skittered from the area while some higher
forms on the food chain enjoyed unexpected `snacks'. "Chief Tonga used the
green button to insure that living things can continue to live if they wish
it," Carb elaborated.

Once again, like the hill when they were experimenting with their tools, an
area 50 yards wide by 100 long shimmered, but this time all plant life and
other organic matter disappeared instead of just sinking, leaving raw earth
behind. Tonga adjusted his tool once again and the raw earth `melted' in a
cloud of water vapor to leave a flat gray-brown surface that resembled
local rock in the human made tunnel. Tonga wasn't quite finished. He walked
out on the new landing pad and pointed his tool down in specific strategic
places. Nothing happened until he stood near Carb again. Carb made a motion
with his tool and 20 foot tall pylons sprouted from the new pavement.

"These will prevent unwelcome helicopters from landing here," Carb
explained to conclude his video just as the pylons sank into the pavement
once again.

"Do you think your lands might be invaded by someone from the air?" Devin
wanted to know.

Bani shrugged his indifference, "It is possible; JC is not the most popular
citizen of Venezuela just now because he possesses more wealth than even
the county's current leader, but if we are invaded, we would prefer that
the fiends journey to us by land or the sea."

Kad and Sidi began to bounce around in their seats while they started a
`show and tell' using the TV. They began with images of the Cuban destroyer
and the beginning of the most recent one sided battle with foreign evil
doers commanded by a very fat man. Devin interrupted the show after looking
at his watch, "I want to see this, but right now it's time to get to
school. Great Cat is on the pad and ready to fly."

"Did you go out to the hanger earlier?" Peter asked Devin.

"Nope, it wasn't necessary. You told me Great Cat would accept voice
commands from me. Yesterday I thought about giving it a try by telling him
to move himself out onto the pad and when I got there he was already
outside." He pointed through the French doors. Everyone could see the
gleaming chopper engine housing and rotor blades above the bushes across
the garden near a less elegant, larger, higher housing and rotors; Bucky's
chopper.

Devin suddenly found himself flat on his back, being held there with a
giant furred paw on his chest. Sidi ran from the room and quickly returned
with an emerald communicator and chain. Freckles yanked Devin up to his
feet while Sidi joined the chain around his neck, then he was lifted off
his feet for a nose to nose communications check.

"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?" Battered Devin's mind as all the mind-speakers
wanted to be first to ask that question to a newbie. They all loved that
particular TV cellphone service provider advertisement.

Devin frowned at Peter. He thought and said, "There's no need to shout." To
Freckles he thought, "You need to stop with using my neck as if it was a
handle. Please put me down or the fur will fly," he warned without knowing
how to block his thoughts.

Devin's threat of dire repercussions got everyone laughing, including Bucky
and Victoria after Will explained what just happened and what was
said. "Oh, I am so afraid of you, you puny human. You are very fortunate
that I am dressed for school but tonight we will have a rough and tumble
and I will wear your laugh box out and these brave warriors and Charlie
will wear out the rest of you," Freckles promised. He was alluding to the
fact that Devin was extremely ticklish and could be made helpless with
laughter within seconds of starting a rough and tumble.

Devin looked confused and rubbed his ears as a part of straightening his
flight suit. "I told you Great Cat probably would accept voice commands
from you but you just thought about him moving from the hanger while you
were in here eating breakfast. You used mind-speak! And just now, I bet you
didn't realize that you challenged Freckles to a rough and tumble and he
told you that he was dressed for school didn't he? Try thinking of
something again without saying it out loud," Peter challenged.

Devin scrunched up his face, held his breath and thought, "We should invite
Edvard over for the rough and tumble; I think he's really cute, especially
when he's covered with Stuff." Peter forgot to tell Devin to direct his
thoughts to just one person, so Edvard's invitation was broad breamed and
Edvard answered instantly in the affirmative in the same manner. This meant
that everyone knew what Devin, Peter, Edvard, Charlie's and the warrior's
plans were for the evening.

So as not to be left out of the impending orgy, Evan promptly broad beamed
an invitation to dinner and etc. at Somerset Farm where there was far more
room to play and there were no parents. All the boys accepted except the
mind-speakers in South America and they sent their regrets.

#######

Cat warrior Squeak was particularly regretful. Late that same night, he and
Spot watched the well-publicized orgy through Freckles' eyes and ears. He
was particularly interested in the white warriors' light coupling
techniques, something that he could do at his tender age by practicing on
his older brother Cat warriors who were always eager to be test
subjects. Squeak and Spot were resting that night with Admiral Angus and
his 12 Cat warrior marine gunners and the six very young warrior/boat
pilots who shared just one kill together and then had the balls to
negotiate their elevation in status with Admiral Angus prior to displaying
the single deceased fiend and announcing the group kill.

"Great Cat Spot?" Squeak queried without missing a head bob while bestowing
yet another light couple to one of the tireless young Cat warrior war boat
gunners

"Yes?" Spot was stretched out with his head on his paws watching the end of
the orgy and listening to Freckles' idle conversation with Doug while
Freckles was monitoring Squeak through Spot's senses. It seemed that close
proximity to Freckles also opened a unique channel to South America for
Doug who always enjoyed more advanced mind-speaking skills than most of the
others.

"I think it would be a very good joke if we together visited your brother
Great Cat Freckles, Tara Bani, warriors Kad and Sidi and all the white
warriors up north in that very cold inhospitable place where they attend
school. Wouldn't it be a great joke for all concerned if one Great Cat
suddenly became two and Tara Bani was just as suddenly being guarded by
three brave warriors instead of two? You have fixed your communicator so
you can speak and this brave and fearless Cat warrior can now speak their
impossible languages called English, Spanish and Danish."

"This Great Cat could not conceal himself in an ice chest like you. Where
would we hide without being detected during such a lengthy journey?" Squeak
noted that Spot did not say, no.

Suddenly another mental voice entered the conversation, "That would be a
very good joke, perhaps Buck and I can be of assistance, um, kind of on the
QT," the mysterious, yet somehow familiar `voice' proposed.

Squeak pulled away from his older friend before he was finished; he was
nearly finished, which evoked moaning complaints regarding the lack of
service. He was quick to stifle the complaints, "If you were one of the
best mind-speakers of all Cat warriors in history and had nearly as many
confirmed kills such as this brave Cat warrior, then you could
complain. Until you can join this very important mind-speak conversation,
you should seek solace with another of our friends." There was no doubt in
anyone's mind that Squeak was certainly self-depreciating and modest enough
to be a Cat warrior.

"What is this `QT' thing, friend Doug?" Spot asked and also identified the
`voice' for Squeak.

"Greetings Great Cat Spot and Cat warrior Squeak; QT means quiet. There
would be no joke if everyone knew in advance that you were coming to visit
and you could be prevented by your elders," Doug advised. "We know the new
freight helicopters are almost ready to fly containers of goods to the
nearest airport. If you were to prepare a container, you could substitute
for some goods. The really big airplane that will fly the containers here
is pressurized so you would be comfortable. Then Buck and I could meet you
at the warehouse," he proposed.

It was clear that Squeak was decided when he asked, "Would you be able to
fashion school cloth coverings such as you students wear, by the time we
arrive? This brave warrior and Great Cat Spot would not wish to stand out."
After Doug choked back his laughter, he assured the soon to be stowaways
that all would be ready in time to meet the first plane load of `souvenirs'
from South America.

After the unusual contact was broken between two continents, Spot grabbed
Squeak and placed him on his back, a much more comfortable place for a
small boy to accompany a young Great Cat wherever they decided to go within
the vast Great Cat and Cat People's landholdings and Cat City halls. Squeak
sat high on Spot's withers and used his matchless sense of balance to keep
his comfortable seat while the fur saddle tickled his privates and
occasionally if Spot made an unexpected move, Squeak found a tail around
his waist to keep him in place.

"Where do we go at this early hour?" Squeak asked since he sensed some
degree of urgency when Spot picked up speed heading toward the lakeside
Great Cat entrance to Cat City, close to the new helicopter pad. The
lightning fast trip spiraling down into the City was fun and Squeak was
pleased to suggest that they do it several times more.

"You may be adept at using a tool such as Tara Bani possesses. The Great
Cat's now know it can also be used as a weapon so you brave Cat Warrior,
must experiment."

Spot descended to the lowest level in the city, straight to the Ancient
tool room that the few humans who knew about the room called the
armory. There they found a small rack that was most prominently displayed
in the center of the circular room; it had 12 depressions intended to store
the 12 Ancient fountain pen-size `tools'; one for each Ancient. One
depression was vacant when they entered, Bani possessed that one and when
Squeak and Spot left the room, only 10 tools remained. Squeak abandoned his
child size bow and a clutch of three arrows in favor of the eleventh
pen-size Ancient tool. By then Squeak was comfortable keeping his rifle
slung on his back where it was out of the way yet available instantly in
the event of need.

"Great Cat Spot," Squeak said almost at once, "this Ancient tool has become
pleasantly warm and it is also glowing slightly; I believe that it likes
me."

Spot smiled and instructed Squeak to continue to hold the tool tightly as
the Great Cat loped off along a tunnel that was only lit by the small round
discs like those that they had encountered previously in the Peoples'
treasure cave. The unfinished walls showed signs of crude scoring and gold
dust, along with occasional clusters of uncut gem stones still littered the
floor. When they were safely far away from Cat City, they entered a small
section where the walls were finished and brightly lit but still unadorned.

Spot stopped and lowered Squeak to the floor in that area. He rubbed the
back of the boy's head with his tail after he told the boy to study the
buttons on the tool. One button glowed briefly then darkened to be replaced
by another. Squeak looked up to smile broadly at his big Great Cat
friend. "Should I tell you what the buttons are for?"

"This Cat would prefer that you demonstrate what they are for by continuing
what Tara Bani started here on these walls," Spot countered while he opened
a video channel to the Council of 12 Great Cats.

"Perhaps it would be best if you hid behind this brave warrior in the event
that something goes wrong," Squeak suggested half seriously before he faced
the tunnel and pointed the Ancient tool, pressed two buttons and most
importantly, thought about what he wanted to happen to the unfinished stone
walls ahead.

There was a blinding flash of light if a human was present to watch, but
not so much for a Great Cat - or for Squeak, the second Ancient to be
reincarnated!

Early the next morning, Doug and Buck waited impatiently for Bucky to leave
the parental suite for breakfast so they could seek out an accomplice –
Buck's mother, Victoria. Buck rated the chances that she would help at
about 50:50. Buck knocked on the bedroom door and then barged in without
waiting to be admitted. Victoria had just gotten out of bed and was
belting a rather filmy dressing gown that failed to hide the fact that she
was a very beautiful woman and clearly revealed what she did or didn't wear
to bed. The boys also noted that the Ancient jewel encrusted golden casket
of Stuff on Bucky's night table was still open. Doug blushed and almost
looked away.

Victoria rolled her eyes and grinned at her son and at Doug's discomfort,
"I am very certain that there is a very good reason for you two to come
visiting at this ungodly hour and it better be good, young man. Hurry up,
out with it, or we'll be late for breakfast and the morning news," she
chided as she headed toward her bath and dressing room.

"We need your help to pull off a practical joke on everyone else in the
Family. Doug and I can't do it without you."

"Doesn't your father know what you're up to?"

"Nope, no way; if we got him involved, he'd bring in Will and Joe and
suddenly everyone would know that Freckles' brother, Spot and his little
buddy, Squeak were flying up to make a surprise visit. We need your
shopping expertise to buy Squeak a complete little kid wardrobe and maybe
your seamstress to make him a school uniform and Spot a Great Cat-size
school necktie." Buck couldn't resist laughing, "The two of them are
worried about standing out if they aren't dressed properly."

"Squeak..." Victoria wondered, "Is Squeak the darling little boy with such
clever fingers and impressive vocabulary of four letter words?"

"Yup, that would be Squeak."

The opportunity and reason to go shopping was the deciding factor as Buck
thought it would be. Laughter echoed hollowly through the closed dressing
room door. Victoria was convinced; she would be happy to help. She kicked
the boys out by reminding Buck, "You know that you are too old to be
walking into this bedroom anytime you please like you did when you were
little, so please don't do it again."

"He made me do it! But I didn't look, honest!" Doug called out before Buck
could slam the hall door. In the hall he said, "Wow, if I was straight, I
believe I'd go after your mother."

"Sure you would. You've obviously forgotten all about the meat grinder in
the basement," Buck reminded as a warning to Doug not to turn straight and
begin putting the `make' on his mother.

The two big freight Chinooks had delivered four standard-size shipping
containers to the landing pad and the Great Cats moved them into the tunnel
so they could be loaded with what was once Spanish treasure as soon as
everything but the pieces attributed to lost cultures of Central and South
America were refashioned as modern day souvenirs alleged to be from the
City of Atlantis, including light weight coins and fabulous novelty
glittering gold bar `doorstops'.

Unbeknown to any of the People involved in preparing the shipments and
actually loading the containers, the Council of 12 Great Cats approved of
the plan to send newly ordained but unannounced Tara Squeak and Great Cat
Spot his Cat friend, north to join Tara Bani, Kad, Sidi, and of course,
Great Cat Freckles at school. By then many of the Great Cats were equipped
with cellphone communicators so having the Cat warriors modify one of the
containers as a temporary living space was no problem at all. Fang decided
that the future students could hardly arrive without some form of currency,
so he ordered enough gem filled stonewood chests to line the hiding place
completely including the deck and ceiling. Apparently stonewood chests
could be building blocks if a Great Cat willed them to be. The next problem
to be solved was the creation of identification; passports, student visas
for both members of the extended Katz family and phytosanitary certificates
for Spot to satisfy the US Department of Agriculture, as well as full
tuition payments for two new students.

Buck and Doug brought additional conspirators in to help with papers and to
forestall any shipping problems. Evan, JC and Master of Machines, John was
happy to help and said so each after five minute bouts of laughter. JC had
already donated his entire treasure horde to the People in part because he
felt he had enough, while in truth he didn't feel like messing with its
disposal and conversion into cash. Buck accessed the main Trenton company
computer for John. He was going to use Freckles' and the warrior's
information stored there as models for creating identical papers and
authentic passports for the stowaways. Evan promised to track the special
containers' progress every inch of the way while in transit but warned of
one danger on arrival that the stowaways might have to defeat.

US Customs had truck mounted x-ray machines they used to inspect shipping
containers randomly, particularly those arriving from Central and South
America for obvious reasons such as drugs and/or stowaways. Fortunately
they didn't have enough machines or time to x-ray every container that
arrived at every port of entry. After Doug advised them of the problem,
Spot looked at Squeak and both shrugged the problem away. The symbiotic
team would simply make `friends' with such an intrusive, yet intelligent
machine. They agreed that it could not be blamed for its human instilled
bad manners.

At first the boys planned to mess with the school by paying cash in advance
for tuition, all fees, room and board, but then Buck as Bucky Number Four
or the fourth generation Trenton prankster had a better idea; they would
pay in sparkling, bright gold, and to insure acceptance, they would pay for
12 semesters in advance. Headmaster Smithe could hardly reject those two
admission applications that were accompanied by such a hefty payment
especially when it was found to be blocking the main entrance doors into
Trenton Hall, AKA the administration building. Doug took charge of
completing the applications and locating the accompanying payment on the
appointed morning. In the blocks asking student's ages, he wrote `Yes'. He
planned to use only the biggest ingots available and move them into place
by levitation.

Doc was last to appear in the dining room for breakfast. He carried his
satchel turned cat transporter in one hand and a sheaf of papers in the
other. He placed the cat carrier close to Freckles' chair and then sat down
in his place. "I found out about the mysterious galleon," he announced,
"she was the Santa Anna, one of five ships that departed the Port of
Campeche which is located on the Yucatan Peninsula, the heart of a Mayan
treasure rich area. This little flotilla was bound for Havana where it
would become a part of a really large fleet bound for the port of Seville
in Spain." Strangely Doc paused his report to grin; "Now for the good part
that I found in the other four ships' logs. Just before the flotilla left
Campeche, the Anna experienced something of a personnel problem; some of
her crew very foolishly rebelled while they were still in port. You can
just imagine the brutal living conditions those crews faced as long as they
lived. Well, the disturbance was quelled with 15 crewmen killed before
another 13 lived long enough to be hanged and most likely drawn and
quartered, although that wasn't recorded, it is conjecture on my part. You
may recall the Inquisition. To be sure that the remaining crew understood
that mutiny is very much frowned upon; another 30 or 40 poor souls were
flogged within an inch of their lives. That occurred just before the small
armada set sail for Havana.

"The other ships' logs report that on the fourth night out of port, the
five were sailing quite close to each other so they could easily see each
other's lights. Then one by one each lookout reported that the Anna's
lights had disappeared, and of course at dawn they discovered that the Anna
was gone from the horizon."

"What happened Doc?" Doug wondered and suggested, "Maybe the crew learned
from their mistakes and mutinied again at sea, at night, so they could get
away in the dark."

"Yes Doug, I believe that is exactly what happened although no one will
ever know for sure. The Anna may have fled south if someone onboard knew
anything about directions and land masses. East would take them to Spanish
Cuba, north, into the Gulf of Mexico and possibly Mexico or Florida and
west would return them to Central America where they began their
journey. They had no other options."

Doc concluded relating the log entries he'd found; "The diminished fleet
just made the safety of Havana and avoided a horrendous hurricane. I
believe the Anna was not so fortunate, they would have been caught, not
sunk obviously, most likely disabled and were blown and/or drifted during
and after the storm, south, where she finally foundered at the mouth of the
Cat People's river. The People at the time may have noted the wreck but as
there were no survivors, there were no invaders, hence no enemy to
kill. The People certainly would have no interest in more gold and gems
that weren't trophies, so the wreck full of treasure disappeared in the
mud."

"Ouch!" Peter complained, jumped to his feet and shook his leg violently,
which dislodged little Douggie House Cat who had been climbing his sock in
preference to his pant leg. Peter felt the claws when Douggie reached the
skin on his calf. "Freckles you better teach this little guy to behave or
he'll end up as spoiled as you are," Peter warned half in jest.

Freckles scooped Douggie up and held him up to his eyes for a silent Cat to
cat lecture on table manners before he chose to misunderstand the word
`spoiled' by sniffing the air dramatically. He placed the kitten on the
table between them where Douggie sat down imitating Freckles' pose after a
look of irritation at Peter before he experimented with wrapping his tail
around his front paws for the first time. He looked down at his slightly
moving tail tip and pounced, but the tail remained just out of reach no
matter how fast he circled. Buttercup and her yet to be named sisters,
rushed across the table to aid their brother and a kitten rough and tumble
ensued, a four against one battle that Douggie lost by falling off the
table top onto Peter's lap, an ideal place to take a nap.

Peter nudged Freckles and pointed down. "This is what I mean by spoiled."

Freckles smiled right down to his gums, "Remind me tonight when we rest; I
will curl up on your lap too," he promised.

Doc changed the subject by announcing to those who didn't know; "Today I am
to receive a very handsome consulting fee for deciphering the answers to a
test that was written in what is believed to be Egyptian
hieroglyphs. Imagine that – the schools' headmaster was searching the
world for someone with my skills and I live just a few miles away."

"Guess what school and whose test Doc is planning to translate?" Peter
asked with a serious human frown at his employer.

"Well if you can't read my answers," Freckles responded to Doc, "you can
just read and answer the questions and Headmaster will never know."

"You, my big friend, do not know educators very well. I will only see your
answers; all the questions have been redacted."

Everyone watched Freckles' eyes swing over to Buck. It was clear that he
was asking Buck to define `redacted'. "It means blacked out," Peter
supplied helpfully. Then he added sourly, "Don't worry, Headmaster thought
of everything; I have to translate my answers to English just like Doc and
do it at the same time while Mr. Smyth watches us. With that being said,
let's fly so we can get this over with."

Freckles and company with Doc, met up with Evan before first bell. Evan
advised that he'd arranged for the big Boeing 747-8 freighter that was to
pick up the first load of souvenirs from Venezuela to be diverted to Newark
to take on Doc as a passenger. Then it was scheduled to depart Newark early
the next morning if Doc could be ready to go by then.

Of course Doc was so very ready to visit Cat City that in the future was to
be called Atlantis, he was willing to forego his consulting fee and depart
then and there, except he would need his luggage back at Trenton Hall,
which had never been completely unpacked. Then there was the problem of
transport to Newark. Freckles and Peter joined forces and refused to let
him go until the damn test translations had been completed.

Charlie lightened Doc's depression by explaining that he wouldn't need much
in the way of clothing, if he wanted to blend in with the Cat People, as if
he ever could, ­­all he really needed to wear was shoes. Charlie
became reassuring when he saw Doc frown at the thought of going about in
the nude; "Look Doc, you'll be staying with Angus, he's a Scotsman who is
also JC's comprador, he speaks the lingo, he's a member of the tribe and
he's been all over every inch of Cat City. He's also a mind-speaker and
he's friends with all the Great Cats. Now just imagine this Doc, Angus has
a band of 12 young Cat warriors who ain't even 15 years old yet who are
also gunners on the war boats, and six guys who are even younger full
warriors who are pilots in the People's Navy that live with him too."

Doc nodded with the hint of a smile and some unconscious adjustment of his
corduroy pants. Charlie continued, "Did you know that when we were there,
the most popular guy among all of us white warriors was Pettie? Pettie had
to fight off all the native guys from little kids, right up to Chief Tonga
because he's big meaning tall like you and also like you; his coupler is
Big with a capital `B'. When these horny guys get one look at you, I
guarantee you won't get much sleep either. Oh, did I mention that the paste
vine grows wild everywhere?"

Charlie stopped and waited for Doc to ask; "Paste vine, what's a paste
vine?"

"Stuff is made by squashing paste vine berries and leaves. I think the gang
that lives with Angus takes baths in Stuff, if you know what I mean."

#######

Hayden and Justin rushed up to Buck and Doug. They had news that the guys
already knew about; Hayden's parents and Justin's father, accompanied by
his `top' horse farm employee and very best friend, had accepted dinner
invitations from Victoria and Bucky Trenton for that evening. Both couples
were to fly by personal aircraft, separately into the small county airport
near Trenton Hall, while Hayden and Justin, who had become eager swim team
managers, would simply not fly back to school after practice.

Justin laughingly told the guys, "You should have heard the phone call I
got from Dad. He wanted to know how your parents knew Ethan's name and
wondered why they would include him in a dinner invitation or for that
matter, he wanted to know why he was invited, after all Dad just runs an
Internet mail order and auction business. He owns it outright but he's
worried about your dad even thinking about starting a competing website
after picking his brain.

Doug and Buck sort of froze in place and apparently had the same
thought. They asked together, "What website?"

"You guys probably haven't ever ordered anything or bid in an auction; our
company is called Penguin Buyer's Club."

"PENGUIN!" The boys exclaimed together. Penguin competed against Amazon
and EBay, sort of; they sold only very high end stuff, sales were called
`price lowering's', and privately thought of exclusive department stores
such as Bergdorf-Goodman as their retail competition since most of those
most exclusive stores had also ventured into Internet sales. Penguin also
competed with big international auction houses such as Christie's or
Sotheby's for the so called `carriage trade' auction business.

Justin was oblivious to Buck and Doug's excitement. He continued by
suggesting, "That's us, the name Penguin, is kind of a play on our last
name, Penn. Like if your mom ever wants to sell some of her very beautiful
and expensive bling, she should auction it off very confidentially with us
on Penguin," he offered brightly.

There was a sudden flurry of mind-speak to which Justin and Hayden were
privileged to hear since Justin was to be involved. Then during first
period, Freckles and Bani, in different classes, sneezed simultaneously and
asked to be excused because they had suddenly become afflicted with bad
colds, while Sidi and Kad began shivering uncontrollably. They claimed to
be too cold to continue with basic geometry. It was apparent that they
didn't read the memo from Peter concerning the difference in `cold' germs
versus low temperatures.

Meanwhile, Peter finished deciphering Freckles' test in record time only to
see that Doc had already finished, although they hurried for different
reasons. Doc wanted to leave for South America and needed to pack, while
Peter knew that Freckles and the warriors were waiting for them at the
school's helipad as soon as Devin returned after refueling Great Cat, so
all of them could visit the warehouse in Port Newark. They were going to
select sample pieces they hoped could be auctioned on Penguin and wanted
the samples to show Justin's father at dinner.

By the time Devin landed Great Cat, there were too many guys for Great
Cat. Evan, JC and John ran up to the pad and advised that Billy was on his
way with Black Widow so they all could visit the warehouse
together. Freckles chose to fly with Billy in Black Widow so he could
improve the chopper's systems as he did Great Cat's. He did not mention
that with the two choppers thus modified like Bucky's, the machines could
communicate with each other without human assistance and of course, take
advantage of Snoopy's enhanced powers and in an unforeseen emergency, any
of them could take off, fly and land without a pilot.

The choppers landed in the large empty parking lot adjacent to the
warehouse, unannounced, which scrambled the entire security force with guns
drawn and pointed until some of them saw that one of the passengers was
Freckles and the scary little native boy with the weapon that could make a
body disappear into thin air except for some greasy dust and any metal the
victim carried. The uniformed guards had just put their weapons away when a
third far larger helicopter touched down and Bucky Trenton, Will and Joe
stepped out as soon as the hatch was opened. The boys always seemed to
forget that Will and Joe were also very talented mind-speakers and they
`heard' anything that was broad beamed so Bucky knew that the boys had
found a means of disposing of the Atlantis treasure and maximizing profits
all accomplished confidentially; no one would know the seller's identity.

Doc listened to the boys discussing Dagger Cay, Doug's vacation home in the
Bahamas and actually became excited when Evan mentioned that his Boeing 747
would land there on a new, modern 12,000 foot runway at Christmas. "You
know Doc, it would be so much more believable, not to mention convenient if
Atlantis was closer to home," Evan proposed, "like somewhere under water
near Dagger Cay. There's a drop off just outside the reef that's like over
a 1000 feet deep. If we say Atlantis is somewhere in the South Pacific,
it's just too far away and I think we'll get busted sooner or later; sooner
most likely because the shipments originate in South America. We can't
really hide that fact," he added.

Doc agreed, "I didn't imagine that any private island would have such a
long runway but more importantly there is evidence of sunken cities and
pyramid-like structures in the Caribbean. Some are rather shallow and some
are so deep they can only be visited by remotes or deep water
submarine. The photos are astounding and all the sites are so impossibly
ancient they should not exist. It is believed that they were built by
someone other than man during a period when the ice caps were huge and all
the seas were much shallower and land masses were vast."

Doug grinned and joined the conversation, "We're in luck Doc, if you want
to place Atlantis close to home; the Dagger Cay archipelago, my property,
extends for a mile out from the drop off all along the main reef, so
there's plenty of hypothetical space that's 1000 to 1200 feet down; just
imagine a site wherever convenient and then ask Freckles and Bani to do
something under there so photos look like there are structures there." Doug
was on a roll; "Maybe they could even create some vague parts of buildings
inside the reef as long as they didn't mess up the marine
environment. That's where we could imply we find the Atlantis treasure."

Evan looked out as Black Widow touched down. "We're here guys, let's go
shopping." He had been sitting next to Freckles. He asked, "Would you have
time to sort of create a bigger selection of gold junk like the Ancient's
made. Those killer Great Cats that Bucky uses as book ends would sell like
wildfire and maybe make lots of other animals and birds like those macaws
that shit on Pettie. Can you do that?"

"I am a Great Cat, of course I will have time and I have Bani, Sidi and Kad
to help with their tools. Those brave warriors will enjoy creating
artifacts and we will have a contest to see who can make the most
beautiful."

The first contest for Kad and Sidi began just inside the warehouse
doors. There was a mad scramble to get to the stonewood chests that
contained two ancient tools. Their first challenge was to create Ancient
warriors wearing armor and actually holding tools. The boys already decided
to present all the new Ancient artifacts with an air of mystery and the
warriors holding tools would certainly raise the questions; what the
objects were, what were they used for, were they weapons or some sort of
mundane tool, etc., etc.

"So, do you think your dad would be interested to selling some of this
junk?" Buck asked Justin. Justin had been unable to close his mouth from
the moment he stepped into the cavernous warehouse space.

Justin hefted the statue of Bani that Freckles fashioned the first night
from a 24 inch tall Spanish alter cross. He had some difficulty at first
because of the surprising weight. "This is beautiful; it's so detailed and
life-like. The mystery with this is how did the ancient artisan achieve
such detail on such a small piece? It must be old because no modern artist
could afford to invest in this much gold and no forger would bother for the
same reason. I think this stuff would really sell, especially if there was
a large lot to display, so buyers could see the consistent high quality and
the volume of solid gold used."

"How do you display an item?" Bucky asked, "I know your competition shows
expensive items months ahead around the world, like Moscow, Berlin,
London. New York, L.A. and Hong Kong before it's actually auctioned."

"We have a showroom over in New York that any prequalified bidder can visit
to see anything coming up for like 30 days, but mostly we rely on
video. The higher the estimated selling price the more detailed the video
and of course a more detailed provenance. My dad can explain it in more
detail tonight. By the way Mr. Trenton, I'd like to thank you for inviting
dad and his friend. Won't he be surprised to find out that he's got a gay
son, who just happens to have a very best friend of his own so they don't
have to sneak around anymore when Justin and I are staying with them."

"Yeah Mr. Trenton, thanks for helping me out with my parents too,
unfortunately neither of them is gay. They're dedicated conservatives and
W.A.S.P.'s, preferably Episcopalian, so they won't be very accepting, but
at least I'll be out, finally."

Bucky put his arm over Hayden's shoulders. "Don't worry son, Doug's dad and
I will have an old fashion Dutch uncle talk with them. Bill Henderson will
do the most talking because he reacted very badly when Doug came out to
him." He hesitated and continued with his voice lowered; "You probably
noticed that Doug doesn't live at home with his parents, that's because
Bill rejected Doug at first and we all discovered that we can't go back and
start over no matter how much we'd like to, there was just too much said."

"What is wasp?" Freckles asked absently. He'd decided to enter the contest
and was sending flashes of light in all directions as he shaped what was to
become a sitting Great Cat that was wearing what could be described as an
inscrutable expression as it emerged from the gold smoke.

"White Anglo-Saxon Protestant," Peter explained, "a few of them think
they're better than anyone else who isn't. To be a WASP, you have to be
born into the club, and since the Katz clan is Jewish, switching won't
help; you guys are definitely out."

Bani glanced toward Freckles' creation and began to laugh, "It appears that
we have an ass kisser among us; Great Cat Freckles has fashioned his sire,
Great Cat Fang!" Bani stopped what he was doing and ran to the stack of
stonewood chests. He moved several before he found the one he wanted
without opening any. Apparently he could suddenly `read' the intricate
carvings when no one knew that they meant anything until then.

Bani sent the chest drifting toward where Freckles was working. "Great Cat
Fang must have perfect eyes and the largest pendent," he decreed as the
chest popped open when it reached Freckles. It displayed an incredible
cache of emeralds that were already shaped perfectly for eyes or
communicators dependent on size.

Peter joined in criticizing Freckles' creativity, "Your Dad's whiskers look
like they were snipped off from a spool of wire; make them pointy like
yours so they look like they would be annoying when they tickle my cheek,"
he instructed.

Peter didn't get the response he was expecting, "DAD?" Freckles questioned
with a roll of his eyes although Peter noticed that Fang's whiskers
disappeared in a flash and then reappeared just as suddenly. The second try
looked realistic; various lengths, mostly straight and tapering to a needle
point.

"You will become prey when you meet him at Christmas," Freckles promised
with an evil grin.

"Um," Peter hesitated, "why don't I meet you later, where exactly will you
be after New Year or maybe Easter? Seriously, I thought we were going to
Dagger Cay and then to Bachal, Medi's country?"

Freckles hugged Peter to his side to comfort and remind him of his status;
"You are Executive Assistant to Great Cats, all Great Cats, not just
Freckles Katz. My sire, you call Dad, and the rest of the Council of 12
wish to meet you." He laughed like Buck and added, "If my sire is dad to
you, then you have 11 uncles!"

Peter's nervous laughter was drowned by a deep purring rumble in all
mind-speaker's minds that Freckles assured him was what Great Cat laugher
sounded like when it wasn't adulterated by imitating humans. "Just how are
we going to get there?" he wondered.

"Chief Bucky will lend Kermit to fly us to the airport where our treasures
depart for here. We will fly from that airport to our home lands on one of
our new fat helicopters to greet the Council of 12 Great Cats and many of
our clan as well as all the Cat People. You will be very busy, you will see
and experience many new things," Freckles assured Peter just like a travel
agent who was selling a tour.

"There's a time I think you missed, I didn't hear you mention rest,
remember I'm just a lowly human and this body needs rest."

"Ah yes, rest," Freckles paused in his work to ask, "How much have you
rested since we arrived here?"

Peter began to blush as he considered his and everyone else's nocturnal
activities that seemed to substitute for sleep more and more each night. He
knew for certain that during Evan's night long orgy, no one slept at all
and everyone was alert, managed to shower, dress and get to school on time
just as if everyone got eight solid hours of sleep. "Okay, that argument
didn't work; maybe we should just get it over with and leave early, so we
don't have to rush?"

Freckles had just finished installing Fang's eyes using a pair of matching
tear drops after he modified them somehow so they seemed to be looking
directly at whoever looked at the sculpture and then following the person
as they moved. The finishing touch was an enormous emerald communicator
that was actually suspended from a chain that disappeared into the Great
Cat's solid golden neck ruff so it could never be removed.

It was apparent to the humans watching the contest, that Freckles was
making up the rules when he announced; "Time is up, I am the winner, Great
Cat Fang is the best Ancient statue!" The humans and Cat warriors noted
that one contestant was also the judge and he didn't so much as glance at
Kad, Sidi or Bani's creations.

"Not so fast there Great Cat," Bucky intervened quickly before Kad and Sidi
had time to protest, verbally at first, and although they knew that they
couldn't win a rough and tumble with Freckles, it was always worth a try if
negotiations failed.

Flashes continued from where Bani was working behind some stacked stonewood
boxes. He wasn't finished with his figure so he was ignoring Freckles and
his rigged contest. Naturally everyone moved around the boxes to see what
Bani was creating. One and all, including Freckles was in awe.

"You created a Ming Tree!" Doc exclaimed, "It is absolutely the most
beautiful that I've ever seen, and certainly the biggest and it will be the
most costly ever. Correct me if I'm wrong but your tree is firmly rooted
in a pile of large uncut diamonds. The roots, the trunk, the branches and
the flower bearing twigs are unquestionably gold while the leaves appear to
be fashioned from emeralds and you made the thousands of flower petals by
slicing and shaping larger rubies into oval chips. I own a small example
that was made in China, I believe sometime during the Ming Dynasty, it is
made of twisted gold wire, jade leaves, and rose quartz flowers that is
mounted on a block of onyx, but I've never seen anything like this. This is
extraordinary; this would be a treasure to any Chinese emperor. Bani; you
are to be congratulated." Bani's stonewood tree was about four feet tall by
five feet in diameter overall and the uncut diamonds that he used for the
base were held in place and together by an incredibly detailed golden root
system.

Bani looked perplexed. "I am sorry Doc, I do not know what a Ming Tree is;
this is the stonewood tree in bloom that guards the mouth of our river. It
is Great Cat Fang's favorite resting place and if you look closely on the
larger branches you will see that all 12 Council members are in my tree
guarding the Clan and the People against evil."

"Sorry Freckles," Doug said but wasn't sorry, "I think we should vote on
whose piece is best in show, and by we, I mean just us humans, not any of
the artists."

Freckles pushed aside the boys for a closer look before he inspected the
two nearly identical Ancient armor clad warriors, Kad and Sidi's
creations. He did a Great Cat version of a double take before he shook his
head and rolled his eyes. Doug looked closer to see what Freckles thought
was so amusing and immediately began to laugh and point at the statues'
pleated Ancient swallow tail kilts that closed in front. Apparently Kad and
Sidi were having a private contest to see which of them could create the
longest coupler before time was called. Both flaccid couplers had reached
their statue's knees, however Kad's effort was twice the diameter of
Sidi's, so Doug declared him the winner by raising his arm over his head.

"Should these warriors change them back to more normal?" Kad asked Doug
sadly.

"Hell no, these are two warriors from Atlantis; they never really existed
so you can leave the big dicks and even give future statues more muscles
and give them hardons standing out from the kilts or show them naked and
hard if you want to. Knock your selves out," Doug declared.

"Do not tell them that!" Bani protested with a giggle to keep his
bodyguards from knocking their heads together.

Bucky took over, "Let's let our guests for dinner this evening be the final
judges." He sent David and Noah to find a box truck or step van then
foolishly wondered how the solid gold sculptures could even be loaded into
the truck and kept from being damaged while being transported. Then he
began to worry about security.

While Bucky was on his phone organizing two cars and eight armed men, he
saw Bani's magnificent Ming Tree drift by on its way out of the warehouse
from the corner of his eye. The tree was promptly followed by the 1500
pound Great Cat who was flanked by two Ancient armor clad golden warriors
that had been blessed or cursed with stupendous couplers. It was Bucky's
turn to roll his eyes while he replaced his phone in his coat pocket. "God
I'm good," he mumbled to himself since he was alone in the warehouse. Each
of the boys carried smaller works that Freckles created days earlier from
assorted Spanish relics more commonly referred to as `junk', and they'd
left him behind.

He stepped outside to see Bani's tree fold its branches just enough so it
could drift into his helicopter. Freckles' representation of his sire Fang,
found its way onto the deck in front of the third row of seats inside Great
Cat. Freckles took his usual seat in the second row and Air Marshall Devin
slammed the door on additional passengers because of space, not weight
limitations with Peter riding in the copilot's seat.

"Damn good," Bucky said again as he joined the boys who were riding with
him.

Bucky's phone chimed when they were just touching down at Trenton
Hall. That was when he realized that David and Noah were missing, however
they were successful in renting an unnecessary truck.

Bucky was successful in diverting the boys and Great Cat from entering the
house via the shortest route; through the dining room. He directed them to
the more distant French doors that opened into the garden from the ballroom
wing. He did not want Victoria to see any of the warrior's latest
creations, particularly Bani's magnificent stonewood tree, although he
pictured the tree placed in the center of the rotunda. He knew he would be
required to buy something just not everything, but he was planning to delay
as long as possible, preferably straight into the auction process where
there was always the chance that he would be out-bid.

By the time Bucky got into the ballroom the boys, with Buck leading, had
gotten into the storage closets and were setting up widely spaced tables
around the room to create a mini-museum. Buck insisted that Bani place his
tree in an alcove so it couldn't be seen among the other works, thereby
increasing its impact. Kad and Sidi decided to place their golden warriors
next to each other but on separate tables for comparative
purposes. Freckles didn't even glance at any tables; he guided sparkling
Fang directly across the room to the low stage where a band or orchestra
might entertain. At first he opened the heavy navy blue curtain and Fang
almost disappeared in the enlarged area. After he closed the curtain, Fang
seemed almost ready to pounce on each viewer from the blue background. The
other smaller brand new `Atlantian relics' including assorted Great Cats
done in several poses in various sizes occupied other tables and closely
resembled several center rings at a circus.

Satisfied that everything was ready, Bucky had to pass through the foyer to
reach the library. He noted some nice new leather bound luggage, far less
than Doc arrived with but far more than a normal weekend guest would bring
on a visit. He asked Victoria if their guests had already arrived and were
staying over and did the luggage need to be moved to a suite.

It took a few moments for Victoria to realize what luggage Bucky was
referring to before she answered; "Perhaps you haven't noticed darling,"
she reminded, "but our son and his partner sometimes dress like rag pickers
and their luggage consists of two nylon gym bags. That simply will not
do. Today I bought them new wardrobes and some proper luggage." Bucky
grinned; Victoria was renewing an ongoing war with Buck about what a
well-dressed teenager wore and apparently had included Doug in the next
battle. When Doug and Buck appeared, Victoria promptly sent them back to
the foyer to put their new clothes away before the dinner guests
arrived. Bucky didn't see Victoria wink at Buck or think it strange that
Buck didn't argue.

######

Walter and Cynthia Roebling, Hayden's parents, and William Penn with his
partner Ethan, Justin's father and friend could have seen Justin and Hayden
holding hands when they entered the library if they hadn't seen Freckles
sitting on `his' sofa first. Bucky and Victoria prevented any hasty exits
by pushing the two couples further into the room and some of the boys with
Will and Joe quickly migrated to casually block the doorway with their
bodies to prevent escape before explanations and introductions.

Freckles took an instant dislike to Walter and Cynthia even before he
touched their minds, while William and Ethan appeared to be fascinated and
not at all intimidated at the sight of a domesticated jaguar, if somewhat
over-sized, sitting placidly in the middle of Bucky Trenton's library
drinking a giant fruit laden cocktail from a large, priceless, golden, gem
encrusted bowl. Who but the famous or infamous Bucky Trenton would
consider owning such an unusual pet? Both men were smiling while Walter
wore a frown and Cynthia's eyebrows appeared to be raised to perpetual full
arch perhaps as a result of cosmetic surgery gone wrong that expensive
makeup could not hide.

Freckles remained silent and more importantly, expressionless for the
present although he silently broadcast his opinion of poor Hayden's parents
far and wide to every mind speaker, including Hayden. "I believe that
Hayden was switched at birth or perhaps he was adopted," he opined.

"Sometimes, like now, I think so too," Hayden agreed as he shook hands with
his father AND his mother. "My family is not very demonstrative," he
pointed out needlessly. "In about a minute I might need to be re-adopted or
shop for a guardian until I'm 18. Here goes nothing," he added before he
switched to verbal. He didn't notice that Will began whispering in Bucky's
ear. "Mother, Father, I'd like you to meet Justin Penn, my roommate," he
pulled Justin forward and held him in place with a white knuckle hold on
his arm. "And I guess you could call us partners. We're gay," he concluded
in the silent room as everyone held their breath.

The wrinkles in Cynthia's forehead rose up far into her hairline with her
eyebrows a close second while Walter's frown evolved into a glare at his
son Hayden, and Freckles was forgotten. "We will not have a queer in our
family," Walter hissed with a touch of spittle. "If this ever got out, we'd
be ruined socially. We will withdraw you from that school and you will be
privately tutored until you change your ways, Young Man!" he snapped. "Get
your coat Young Man; we will not be staying for dinner."

The mob blocking the doorway parted to allow the Roebling's to leave the
room, and then closed again on their backs with Hayden briefly on the wrong
side of the mob, until Freckles joined the blockade while holding Hayden
safely in his tail. When Walter looked back to see if Hayden was obeying
his commands, he was shocked to see Freckles seated in the middle of the
doorway while holding Hayden firmly against his front legs. Hayden was
grinning, and Freckles decided that a killing frown was in order to end
further confrontation; after all it was time for evening food and Walter
didn't know that Great Cats didn't like the taste of human.

Freckles used Hayden's changing voice to imply that bad things could
happen; "At least you agree that I am a young man, so I'll decide my future
from now on. Oh, wait up Daddy," he called sarcastically, "did you know
that my friend Freckles is attack trained and he can sense when a human
doesn't like him? Plus it's time for evening food!" Freckles had to max the
cellphone volume at the end as Walter and Cynthia increased their pace,
limited by Cynthia's clunky six inch platform heels that were totally
unsuitable for running.

Hayden shouted, "Have your attorneys call mine in the morning!"

"Huh," Doug asked, "what was that all about?"

Hayden giggled in relief, "I'm not sure that granddad liked his son very
much and he certainly didn't trust him. When he set up our trust funds he
kept them separate by naming two law firms as perpetual trustees, one for
dad and one to protect mine from dad, simple," he concluded.

"Hey Hayden!" Justin called out between fits of laughter from inside the
library. "Get in here; I think I found you a guardian!"

The mob reversed course to see William and Ethan playfully manhandling
Justin by tossing him back and forth between them. All three of them were
laughing as if it was Christmas morning and Santa had brought them perfect
gifts. "That will teach you to keep a secret like that from us! Being gay
is not easy if you aren't accepted and now we find you even have a
boyfriend and you're both accepted in this family," William laughed while
he hugged his son off the floor in a bear hug so his feet were
dangling. Justin was helpless to Ethan's tickling from behind.

Hayden promptly retorted when he was able; "What are you guys talking
about? You've been trying to keep me in the dark about your relationship
ever since the divorce! Now that was one dumb secret. Now let's get down
to business. My boyfriend needs a guardian and I need my roommate in my,
um, room when I'm staying with you guys on weekends, holidays and
vacations."

"You almost said bed," Buck shot into Justin's mind with a laugh.

Justin answered out loud, he was still too new to mind-speak "Well I didn't
say bed, did I, wise ass?"

The evening resumed after everyone laughed at Justin's red face and he
dragged his father and Ethan around the room to reintroduce all the guys as
the couples they really were with the need for pretense gone. William and
Ethan were shocked to discover that all the guys were partnered and Peter,
Edvard and Devin appeared to be a happy trio. Those last introductions
brought them to Freckles and the Cat warriors.

All the guys including Bucky and Victoria contributed to the lengthy
explanation of their presence that was made believable when the guys,
including Justin and Hayden displayed their emerald pendants and Victoria
pulled Ethan's head down into her bosom for a closer look of her elaborate
and weighty Ancient ruby necklace after William revealed that the young man
was actually Penguin's Executive Vice-President who had full charge of the
hugely successful and profitable auction division, and was not just a
pretty faced worker on the Penn horse farm.

Ethan's blush was just receding when something like a velvet rope
surrounded his neck and pulled him toward Freckles. Until then Freckles had
remained silent and carefully expressionless. "My emerald is bigger than
theirs," he stated clearly, while wearing a huge grin for the first time,
almost in Ethan's ears since his eyes and nose were suddenly two inches
from the Great Cat's pendant, held in place by Freckles' tail.

Peter protested, "Damn Freckles you are so impatient. I was just about to
explain that Great Cats can speak, AFTER I explained the difference between
one of your smiles and frowns." He turned to William, who appeared to be
going into shock at the sight of his lover who was about to be
devoured. "Let him go, Freckles!" Peter demanded before continuing to
explain to William the tilt of Freckles ears and the fact that smiles or
frowns always involved a great many exposed teeth. He concluded while Ethan
rubbed his neck and sighed in relief after he was hoisted aloft for a
formal greeting; touching noses and close direct eye contact and then
released, "As you probably just noticed, Great Cats also have prehensile
tails."

William discovered that he was too close to the just mentioned tail when he
was pulled in for a similar Great Cat greeting before Freckles pronounced
the couple as Great Cat and Cat People friends. "Now will you help us sell
our treasures such as Victoria's necklace?" He asked without preamble.

"Well sure," Ethan agreed at once, "if you have more that's all the same
quality."

Kad and Sidi took that agreement as a cue to take the two men's hands and
tug them out the door. Hamilton announced that dinner was served just then,
which caused the warriors to change directions in the hall, from the ball
room, straight into the dining room. Peter explained after the men were
seated between the two little inquisitive warriors. "Trust Cat warriors and
Great Cats to put billions of dollars in treasure aside in favor of food,"
he assured the couple, "and you two better keep your hands to yourselves,"
he warned the warriors but too late he noticed as both William and Ethan's
face turned red and Kad and Sidi nodded together in full approval of their
explorations.

######

Very early the next morning Spot and Squeak boarded a shipping container
aided by Angus and his thumbs, Fang and several Great Cats. Boy Cat warrior
and teenage Great Cat had to scramble over the top layer of pallets that
held nothing more important than four blue plastic barrels each, which had
been banded together and stacked. The stowaway's traveling compartment was
located in the front end of the container over the barrels and a quantity
of real treasure that had been disguised as near weightless junky souvenirs
before they reached their cozy nest.

A problem for the travelers arose at once. Both were creatures of nature
and the compartment was claustrophobic; there could be no window openings
or ready exits. No one was bothered by the lack of windows in Cat City
because the rooms were huge; the tunnels were large, well-lighted,
decorated, and almost endless. There were also regular easy exits from
inside and the same used as entrances everywhere if one knew where to look
and how to gain entry. But the interior of their compartment was decorated
with stonewood chests full of gems that were to be used to pay their
expenses for the next several millennia as decreed by Great Cat Fang.

Spot's tail sought out Squeak's neck and head with instructions to make the
stonewood chests and the container's inferior metal sides seem to disappear
from inside while they would appear to remain intact from the outside. Both
Cat and boy experimented while concentrating on where they thought they
were moving; toward the helicopter pad.

First, the stonewood chest wall fuzzed out until they stared at a painted
reinforced steel wall, which turned out to be no challenge at all. Suddenly
they were looking at a panoramic view; front and both sides of their
compartment, out at Great Cats and warriors who were accompanying the four
containers, including theirs that were to be slung under the fat
helicopters for transport to the closest city with a commercial airport
with a 12,000 foot runway. Spot smiled hugely at Squeak's reaction to
having such an unobstructed view.

"Thank you Great Cat Spot for helping me erase the obstructions," Squeak
sang.

"This Cat did nothing but offer encouragement," Spot replied, "you brave
warrior, erased the barriers to our clear sight by willing it to be
so. This Cat does have one question; can the stonewood chests be recovered
after we arrive? They were packed with much of our pin currency and walking
around change. Great Cat Fang does not want us to be without resources," he
reminded.

"This brave warrior just made them invisible for now. We must hope that
they are still there are we arrive at our destination." Squeak dismissed
the problem with another thought and questions. "Do you know that our view
is much like the view that Great Cat Freckles enjoys when riding in his Cat
mobile. It would be a very good joke on the Great Cats and Cat warriors
outside if we were to control this container just like Great Cat Freckles
steers his Cat mobile. Should this brave warrior try to take control for a
short length of time?"

Spot couldn't resist a snicker with his approving nod. Squeak experimented
by leaning to the side and the container responded by tipping that
way. This sudden motion evoked mind-speak and verbal accusations between
the Great Cats, Angus and of course Chief Tonga and Carb who had a
reputation for joke playing. These in turn evoked giggles from inside the
container just before Squeak willed the long steel box forward for a brief
tour of the helipad just fast enough to insure that the great Cats had to
lope along in useless pursuit while Tonga and Carb were laughing too hard,
having accurately identified one or two suspects who were hiding inside the
erratically moving container.

Tonga ended Squeak's fun with an intense mind-speak warning using his
repaired amulet, that the trip would be canceled unless the container found
its pickup space under the hovering chopper, within a very short length of
time that was no longer than 10 heartbeats. The container reacted by
turning into a `racing' Cat mobile, that skidded around as it changed
directions and left scratches on the paving as it stopped where it should
have been parked all along after having scattering 12 pursuing Great Cats
and attending Cat warriors in all directions.

It was apparent to Spot and Squeak that the irate Great Cats sensed that
invisible `windows' or view ports had been established in the front end of
the container because they suddenly found their views blocked by Cat bodies
and frowning faces on all three sides of their compartment, with the sound
of scratching claws on steel very disconcerting to the perpetrators.

Fortunately guilty Great Cat and boy Cat warrior were saved or rescued
after several thumps on the top of the container as a result of warriors
hooking up the cables that would allow the duo to escape into the sky while
suspended below one of the `fat' helicopters more commonly known as Boeing
CH 47 Chinooks.

"It would appear that Great Cat Fang, your sire and the Council was not as
amused by our prank as we were," Squeak observed dryly with a straight face
before he burst into laughter. "Do Great Cats hold grudges for any length
of time?" he asked Spot when he could.

#######

Once again I'd like to thank Emoe for editing my stuff. His observations
and suggestions, in addition to his grammatical skills, especially commas
are invaluable and make for a superior read.

HAPPY READING!

Jamie Haze


 

 

 

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