Somerset Farm 

                                                                                        by Jamie Haze

 

 
Chapter 67




Bill Penn, Justin's father who was about to become Hayden Roebling's
guardian, and Ethan, his very best friend, marveled at the golden
sculptures displayed in the Trenton ballroom. Bill Penn doubted that
Freckles' representation of his sire Fang; was solid as advertised, so he
attempted to move it and nearly wrenched his shoulder.

"Damn Dad," Justin scolded, "these guys may own more gold than there is in
Ft. Knox, and you think it's hollow? Check out the eyes and that pendant; I
don't know much about gems, but they sure looked as real as the big box
full they were taken from." He added, "And you've never seen one of their
boxes," he added.

Since Ethan was reminded, he felt himself up and frowned; he'd forgotten
his jeweler's loupe although he didn't expect to need it at a dinner
party. Spencer came to his rescue and mentioned in passing that he
estimated that there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 carats in
the three flawless emeralds that included Fang's eyes and the
pendent. Ethan looked at one `eye' and instantly had a feeling that he was
being stared back at just as rudely. He explained the strange feeling and
shivered.

"Look into both eyes at the same time," Bani suggested when he noted
Ethan's reaction, "perhaps Great Cat Freckles created a link to Great Cat
Fang, his sire."

Ethan shrugged and moved so he was looking directly into the statues' eyes
and its pendant flashed to life as Great Cat Fang greeted white warrior
Ethan audibly much to everyone's surprise including Freckles and the eyes
suddenly became less hard and much friendlier.

Doug reacted with a laugh and called out; "Greetings Great Cat Fang! It
appears your progeny, Freckles, created the first Ancient telephone! Um,
sort of a long distance communicator," he elaborated so Fang wouldn't have
to ask what a telephone was.

Fang actually became chatty with that revelation while Freckles became
quiet and looked concerned. "What's wrong Freckles?" Buck asked. He assumed
that Freckles might be quieter in his father's presence, but not totally
silent and look like a beaten kitty.

"In my effort to win my contest, I think I used too much energy. This
statue cannot be sold as we planned because it is a communicator; I, I
goofed," Freckles admitted reluctantly.

Peter came to his despondent employer's rescue by giving him an elbow to
his ribcage to get his attention. "Not so fast, Freckles, remember when you
created the first Cat crapper?"

Freckles frowned, "You dare compare my toilet with this effigy of my sire?"
he demanded, totally unbelieving.

Peter wasn't intimidated, he elaborated; "I was not!" he defended, "What I
started to say was that the first crapper took the longest time, but then
you made three more exactly alike without even looking. Why can't you do
the same thing, whatever it is you do, with this statue? Although they
probably would sell better and faster if they weren't quite as big," he
suggested, "Just use less energy to make the replications so they aren't
phones, just life-like."

Peter had barely finished when he found his body hoisted aloft, by a tail
wrapped around his waist not his neck for a change, to receive an intensive
facial from Freckles' tongue by way of thanks for the suggestion. While
Peter spit and sputtered, Freckles mind-spoke as he eyed the closest French
doors, "Will Big Foot fit in this large room?"

"He will not and don't even try. You'll wreck our truck and maybe collapse
this whole wing," Peter replied in kind since he had to keep his mouth
closed or risk getting a kiss with tongue from Freckles. He knew why
Freckles asked; he needed the gold in Big Foots' truck bed so he could get
an early start on replicating Fang. "We'll move Fang out to the garage so
we don't make a mess here in Victoria's ostentatious hut," he countered
with a joke.

It was just about then that everyone realized that Victoria had gone
`shopping' and found Bani's magnificent Ming tree that was out of sight in
an alcove. She let out a near glass breaking screech. Bucky closed his eyes
and sighed; he knew that the tree would never leave Trenton Hall, however
much it cost. He ended any argument before it got started by suggesting
that it should be placed on a black marble table in the exact center of the
rotunda. However he qualified its purchase by saying that it must first be
displayed with the other Atlantis `artifacts' and then actually be put up
for auction, a necessary risk because of the need to get a range of
prices. More of whatever sold for the highest prices could then be
`discovered' in long lost Atlantis and certainly smaller Ming trees would
be on the list.

Freckles dropped Peter like a hot potato when Victoria screamed so he was
able to escape the Cat tail by running from the room to find a towel while
Freckles ran with everyone else to see what the emergency was. When he saw
that Victoria screamed because she discovered Bani's blooming stonewood
tree, he turned back to his golden Fang.

Victoria only yelped when she noticed that Fang, the new direct line
telephone, was drifting toward a set of open French doors on his way out to
the garage while Freckles sat by the doors in a similar pose. Freckles even
remembered to close the doors himself since his Executive Assistant was
otherwise occupied.

He sent a mind-speak message to Peter and the warriors who were still at
the party. "Meet me in the garage after you change into the cloth coverings
that you wear under your cloth coverings," he sent.

Peter answered with a question; "Do you mean long underwear?"

"That is what I said," Freckles responded with a mental giggle.

That instruction sent the warriors running to Buck to ask if they could
borrow long cloth coverings. He agreed at once. Then Bani was inspired to
invite all the guys to the garage while similarly dressed or undressed. His
purpose was to provide everyone with a full set of the modern equivalent to
Ancient golden armor that they could wear under their clothes while
Freckles' creative juices were flowing. Will sent Bucky off to dress down
while he and Joe took Bill and Ethan upstairs to find sets of thermal long
underwear for them that would fit. The new couple went willingly although
they weren't sure what Ancient armor was or aware of the safety it would
afford the wearer. Bucky left Victoria in the ballroom preoccupied with a
pad and pen. She was making a list of custom sculptures for a new
collection she decided to start since the warriors told her that they could
reproduce anything providing they could see it first.

Upstairs, it was necessary to raid their assorted collections of ski
apparel that had been assembled to use during a planned skiing holiday over
the boys' spring break. Doug didn't even know that he had any ski apparel
until Buck advised him that his mother always planned ahead, and had
shopped for him. Everything was packed in a storeroom on the third floor so
all the guys involved actually regrouped up there and while a search was
being made; the warriors eyed the racks of skis and snowboards in a
kaleidoscope of beautiful colors and sought instructions on how those
winter sports were done by tapping minds. Of course they were the first to
shed all the cloth coverings they'd been wearing, glad for the excuse and
didn't plan to don their new underwear until the very last minute in the
garage.

Ethan and Bill gawked at their Cat warrior bodies. Ethan whispered to
Justin; "Those three guys aren't much older than you and look a lot
younger; how'd they develop the bodies of Olympic gymnasts already?"

Of course Ethan was unaware that a whisper, especially one so appreciative,
within 100 feet of a Cat warrior was much like a shout. The question set
Kad and Sidi off on a display of their physical abilities within the
storeroom confines without any damage to what was stored there and they
playfully used some of the guys as vaults. The pair decided to use Pettie's
bent over form to conclude their act with a joined double back flip that
would have been successful if Pettie hadn't stood up at exactly the wrong
time. The crash into Pettie took him down on top of Scott, Doug, Buck and
Bucky. They in turn pushed over a stack of packed luggage that they'd been
searching through, which caused the rack of skis and snowboards to fall
like dominos. The net result was a monumental impromptu rough and tumble
with Chief Bucky mostly on the bottom of the struggling, laughing mass of
bodies. Everyone's goal seemed to be tickling someone else. The warriors'
goal in indiscriminate tickling was continued research in human anatomy and
genetics while they had the rare opportunity. To wit, they had been
wondering if Buck inherited his excessively big coupler from his father
Bucky, or was it a lucky accident.

They discovered that it was no accident when Chief Bucky roared out,
"ENOUGH!" when he felt that he was responding to whosever little hands were
`accidently' tickling him there due in part to the residual effects of
using Stuff regularly and natural Trenton male horniness.

"You silly mother fuckers," Charlie accused Kad and Sidi once again after
the pile of bodies disintegrated and those involved regained their feet.

"Someone open up yonder window," Pettie ordered, "We'll just see how good
these little varmints are at skydivin'." The varmints took the fun out of
that threat by allowing Pettie to catch them. They had no idea what
skydiving was, but they were eager to try.

The warriors, including Bani and human Charlie, opted to carry their sets
of underwear out to the garage, since they alone took the time to apply a
light coating of Stuff. The other guys, including Justin and Hayden were
tempted, but if they did, there would have been a further delay for at
least a quick couple or three and Bill Penn, Justin's father, and Ethan
didn't know about Stuff and its many uses.

"Why are those four little guys naked and don't seem to feel the cold and,
unless my eyes are deceiving me, why are they glowing?" Bill asked Joe as
the group made its way at a trot through the garden to the warmth of the
garage daringly, just wearing long underwear.

"It's so late already, why don't you two guys plan on spending the night?"
Joe answered with an invitation before he answered Bill's question
obliquely, "There's a very special tropical herb that was recently
discovered that has many unusual uses; one of which is keeping out the
cold, eliminating the need to wear clothing. Another is glowing in the
dark. There are other uses that we'll show you if you have the time to stay
over." He grinned and added, "I assure you neither of you will be
disappointed. In fact, that's something else you guys might be interested
in marketing for the Cat People. We'll talk again after you use the stuff
at bedtime. Stuff is what Charlie named it. The Cat People call the stuff,
paste."

The three mechanics on duty were busy helping Peter carry gold bars from
Big Foot and stack them by twos up to, two, three and four foot heights in
the middle of the parking area while Freckles and Fang the Ancient
telephone, watched. The mechanics were wearing their new gold jumpsuits
proudly until they saw that Bucky was among the crowd. Then they simply
stopped until Bucky waved them on since it was obvious that they'd assisted
Freckles and Peter before and were in fact wearing Ancient armor jumpsuits
already and most likely were unaware of the extra benefit of being bullet
proof.

But the lead mechanic explained to Bucky that they did, accidentally. In
addition to absolutely repelling grease, dirt and/or the elements like cold
or any form of moisture. The garage staff found out when two of the guys
were joking with each other and one made a joke at the other's expense, as
guys will always do. That man threw a playful punch at the jokester's
shoulder and was unable to force his fist to connect unless his fist was in
the form of a gentle touch. They eventually experimented with lengths of
steel bar stock used as clubs but the harder the bar was swung at an
individual, the faster the suit repelled the blow to bounce it back at the
aggressor who fortunately so far, had also been wearing his own armor.

"Here, we'll show you," the man volunteered and before Bucky could stop
him, he tossed a lightened ingot at another man's back. The bar hovered an
inch from the target man before it returned to the man who threw it and
since it was far lighter than the weight of normal gold, he was able to
catch it easily.

Bucky's voice ground rocks when he whispered; "If there is any more
experimenting with those suits, there will be repercussions for everyone
involved that I guarantee they will not like," he warned and pointed to
several points high on the walls to remind the man about the security
cameras that were always being monitored.

Freckles told Peter; "Return the proper weight to the gold," and without
thinking about it, or saying he didn't know how; Peter did as he was told.

There was a scream from the mechanic foreman who had thrown the bar and was
still holding it as if it was a chunk of gold painted wood. He'd dropped
the bar on his steel toed work shoe up above the toe on his unprotected
arch. Bucky shook his head in disgust and sent someone to drive the injured
man to the hospital after he changed clothes, and felt free to call out to
the man, "I told you so!"

Peter was amazed and looked at Freckles with some surprise. "How the hell
did I do that anyway? Did you help, or was that supposed to be a joke?" he
sent to his boss, the Great Cat.

Freckles offered Peter a very pleased smile and answered cryptically; "You
have been paying attention to your lessons. You willed it to be so." Then
to the underwear clad guys and the three naked warriors he instructed;
"Gather around these piles and close your eyes." He frowned at his three
charges and mind-spoke them; "Put on your cloth coverings or risk having
your limp couplers encased in gold for the rest of your lives," he warned.
When he saw Kad and Sidi considering the possibilities, he elaborated,
"That would mean no more Cat warrior erections – ever, only the desire."
That was enough warning for the warriors to don their underwear in world
record time if there was a competition.

Peter was the last person to join the ring, but he failed to close his eyes
and after the gold smoke; he watched to see free gold atoms, mostly
recombine to become new Great Cat figures in assorted sizes and poses, and
the rest changed underwear made from modern fabrics to Ancient armor. He
suddenly knew that he could create his own sculptures out of raw gold, just
like Freckles, and like Freckles, he wouldn't require one of the Ancient
tools to do it.

Freckles offered Peter a pleased smile and a hug of his tail while Peter
glanced at the concrete wall by the doors that led to the house just before
one opened and a stonewood box drifted in. "These new Great Cats still need
eyes and their pendants," he explained the arrival of the box as it opened
so pairs of pear shaped emeralds could sort themselves out and apparently
fix themselves into empty eye sockets. These were followed by larger,
individual stones that became pendants for the new Great Cat effigies.

A yawn from Freckles set off a chain reaction and everyone was suddenly
ready for bed, but not to sleep or even rest. There was no discussion about
who would sleep where; the boys disappeared into Buck and Doug's suite,
Bill and Ethan followed Joe and Will into theirs and Bucky eagerly went in
search of Victoria.

Ethan and Bill stripped off their elegant new sets of underwear with Will
and Joe and watched Joe open an ornate gold box on the bedside table, while
Will fiddled with some electronics near a big flat screen TV and then
tossed a remote wand to the middle of their bed. The primal odor of Stuff
soon filled the room. Bill attempted to hide his erection with his hands
until Ethan nodded toward Will, then Joe. Their cocks were not only hard
but they were glowing an intense blue.

"This is what happens the first time you use concentrated Stuff and once
you use it, it's like a blue tattoo but only when you get hard in the
dark," Joe explained and offered the contents to the new friends to apply
to themselves or each other while Will anointed Joe with the smallest
possible dab. Ethan got with the program by sinking to his knees in front
of his lover, Bill.

"I hope you aren't going to tell us this Stuff is poisonous," Bill moaned a
bit too late. He was about to reciprocate when voices from the TV
distracted him. "Is that a DVD that shows some of the kids in action?"

"Nope, that's the action that's going on down the hall in the guys' bedroom
right now." Will explained while already stretched out on the bed. He
patted the vacant half to invite Bill and Ethan to join him and Joe. He
pointed to the screen. "Justin and Hayden are there on the bed somewhere."
He zoomed in for a closer look using the remote. "There they are, see?
Justin is about to mount Hayden with Freckles' help to avoid the
surrounding bodies."

Blue Justin on the TV appeared to be swimming in midair while Hayden's blue
arms reached up to guide him down. Bill laughed in pleased surprise, "I
know I shouldn't be watching this, but I always wondered how well Justin
was hung, you know, when he was hard."

"He and Hayden are both going to be studs when they get through growing,"
Ethan agreed. He looked at Will to ask, "Don't you feel guilty spying on
the younger guys?"

"Nope, they know we can watch them if we want to and if you guys weren't
here, we'd probably be in there with them." He pointed, "There's David and
Noah, they're Buck and Doug's guards; they just look like they're part of
the group. Something strange happened out in the garage to everyone
tonight; everyone turned horny. There was wood showing everywhere. Everyone
was hot to trot; even Bucky beat feet to find Victoria. Now don't you think
we should stop talking and start doing what the boys are doing?" Will asked
as he shut off the few night lights so the foursome was only illuminated by
the television and flashes of iridescent blue.

#######

JC continued to use his influence with the government to build a secure
shipping facility that would eventually include a warehouse. There, ship
containers freshly arrived from the Cat lands would be stored out of sight
and the weather and guarded, before being loaded into one of Evan's giant
Boeing air freighters, but of course the Great Cats and the Cat People were
unwilling to wait.

JC sent the twins, Pablo and Paulo to assemble a team of highly paid
mercenary security guards who had to guard the first containers that had
been delivered by helicopter to the middle of a cleared field, near where
the building was under construction and close to a taxiway so they could be
loaded into a freighter as soon as it arrived.

Since it is generally recognized that shade trees and airplanes don't mix
well; there was not one bit of shade to cool the first four containers. The
contents of three out of the four first containers had no objections, but
the fourth, the one with living passengers, the stowaways, Spot and Squeak,
objected vehemently using mind-speak. Like `ET', they `called home' to
complain to Angus, the Great Cats and the few other local
mind-speakers. They didn't want to risk calling anyone in North America
because of possible `leakage'; it was possible that their conversation
could be overheard and the planned adventure could end before it literally
`got off the ground' and left Venezuela airspace. Angus immediately
contacted JC who found out that the freighter would not arrive until
evening, having been diverted to Newark, to pick up Dr. Meriwether and it
was only 11:00 A.M.

It was at that moment that JC realized that the twins, Pablo and Paulo had
never become mind-speakers because they had been aboard Doog, the submarine
during the earlier adventure. Had the twins visited Cat lands they would
have received pendant communicators at once because as twins they
communicated with each other constantly as some twins do; like finishing
each other's sentences and nodding or frowning at each other without any
outward conversation. JC finally contacted the twins by phone.

The twins were surprised to discover that there were two stowaways aboard
(hiding) in one of the four containers and more surprised when JC told them
that they might be able to contact them, mind to mind, if they were close
enough to the illegal `ride'. The twins already knew that if anyone were to
touch one of steel containers with evil intent they would regret their
impulse.

The guards had also been advised about this most unusual security
feature. Those worthies decided that there was really no need to guard four
containers that were in the open, with no one around and couldn't be
touched, so they sought the shade, coolness and liquid comforts offered by
the cantina closest to the airport. Spot and Squeak watched the guards
leave with relief.

Now it was possible for Squeak to move their personal Cat Mobile out of the
sun. The airport and a huge area around it suitable for future development
had been carved from a pristine jungle landscape that they could see in the
distance, so they would relocate. Squeak `drove' at breakneck speed with
the container turned Cat Mobile, a full 24 inches above the rough terrain,
high enough to avoid the ground but not so the new jungle growth attempting
to reforest the area. The burgeoning vegetation and sapling trees did not
take kindly to being run down by a steel shipping box that shouldn't be
able to move on its own. Once the container reached the trees, Squeak
slowed dramatically and maneuvered to avoid trees and mature growth and
when he stopped finally, the unusual pair set about creating an illusion on
the containers' sides just as had been done inside Cat City along all the
major hallways and inside the pyramid, the gathering place. Great Cat and
boy Cat Warrior were unaware of the word, `camouflage', even though they
were masters of the art.

The twins arrived at the airport to find that the guards had disappeared
and that one of four containers, which could not be touched by unauthorized
humans, was also missing, although the thieves left a very clear trail
straight into the jungle that they obviously weren't aware of. JC made sure
the twin boys were fully aware of the amazing powers the Great Cats and
Tara Bani the Cat Peoples' Chief's son and a reincarnated Ancient Tara, or
Lord, possessed, but even JC was not fully aware of what the newest Lord to
be discovered, Tara Squeak, could do if it pleased him to do so, and he
willed it to be so, and Great Cat Spot his mentor, agreed. Of course Spot
was interested in discovering Squeak's powers, so the sky was the limit.

Pablo and Paulo had no trouble following the runaway container until the
trail suddenly disappeared 100 feet into the triple canopy forest among
massive tree and palm trunks and a continuous thicket of shade loving
undergrowth. That is until Pablo walked straight into the container's steel
side where he thought he saw a barely visible game tail. He swore in five
languages before he got to English, "Fuck me, that hurt!"

Pablo rubbed his head while Paulo roughly traced the actual side of the
disguised container. He was less than sympathetic, "Dummy, you know that
hurt me as well, but you my brother will have a most beautiful bump on your
forehead." Both boys heard strange giggles after that, strange because they
heard the muted laughter normally through their ears and much louder,
directly in their minds.

Pablo thumped the steel wall and called out; "Our names are Pablo and
Paulo! We work for Juan Carlos Escobar, the guy you call Tara. We know you
are in there and we have been instructed to be of assistance if we can. How
did this container get here in the undergrowth?" Pablo and Paulo agreed
mentally what to say so they also used mind-speak unknowingly.

Squeak explained in mind-speak, "It grew very hot in this box. The guards
went for cool drinks so this brave Cat warrior moved the box into shade
until the airplane arrives and we can continue our journey to the land of
snow and ice where we will go to school."

Paulo sent; "If you can move the box using thought it is unfortunate that
you could not cool the interior in the same manner."

That observation started a squabble between boy Ancient Lord/Cat warrior
and Great Cat regarding which of them should have thought of that first,
before betraying their presence by relocating the container. The odd couple
ended the discussion by excusing themselves as first time travelers and
would control their environment better the next time.

"Would you white warriors care to enter our Cat Mobile for a cold drink?"
Squeak invited.

"We would, but we cannot break the seals or open the locks since they are
booby trapped," Pablo declined.

"We are not in that end of this box," Squeak informed, "If you walk by
feeling the side of the box, this brave warrior will try to create a
portal. Look for a waving hand," he instructed.

The twins followed directions with Pablo in the lead. Pablo stopped
suddenly and Paulo walked into his back. "What's wrong, why did you stop?"
Paulo asked.

"I found the opening, and I found the warrior's arm and his hand with his
fingers wrapped around my cock, right through my shorts!"

"I am most sorry," Squeak lied with a giggle, "I really did wave and you
walked into my hand but I must say that you possess a very nice
coupler. This brave warrior likes nice couplers." Squeak's other arm and
hand appeared to grab and hold Paulo's cock as well. He'd met and seen Toby
and Terry's matching bodies and cocks but all the white warriors at the
time considered him to be too young to participate in any of their
couplings.

"Let them go," Spot instructed, "and let them come in before you fall out
of this box and your portal closes with you half outside," he added.

Squeak tightened his grip and pulled. The twins followed eagerly with their
matching couplers growing rapidly. At first the twins were shocked to see
that the full-fledged Cat warrior was a four year old boy who already had
at least one confirmed kill as well as the fact that he was so very skilled
at handling older friends so boldly and competently. Once inside the comfy
hiding place, both were surprised to see the panoramic view that
encompassed the entire end and a portion of both sides of the
container. They ignored Squeak when he unbuttoned and unzipped their shorts
and they puddled around their ankles.

Spot frowned at Squeak's activity, "You are a very rude young Cat warrior,"
he scolded, "You must greet our guests before you become familiar with
their couplers."

"We will help with the greetings," Paulo volunteered and picked up Squeak
for their formal greeting while Squeak was mind-speaking methods of
coupling that a warrior his age could do to or with one or two older
warriors together. Spot helped by adding vivid, explicit images, all of
which included little Squeak among Angus' crew of young Cat warrior house
guests. Pablo and Paulo regretted that the Doog returned to Dagger Key
without stopping at JC's home first, since over time they'd received `blow
by blow' accounts of the guys' interactions with the Cat warriors from
every single guy who had been aboard Sea Song.

Spot touched their minds before he suggested, "This Brave warrior and this
Great Cat could assist you to catch up to the other white warriors," Spot
looked hopeful while little Squeak nodded his head to encourage the twins
to agree to the blatantly indecent proposal.

Cat and boy were surprised when both boys shook their heads, no. Pablo
explained, "We will, but first we have business to discuss with our
security force. They were warned not to leave these containers under any
circumstances and we must take some action at once."

"This brave warrior will assist you," Squeak eagerly volunteered at
once. He rooted in a duffel bag and pulled out his little semi-automatic
rifle, ammunition bandoleer, his equipment belt and his blowgun.

"We will both accompany you brave warriors," Spot joined the party, "but we
will not enter the village; we will wait outside in dense cover along the
trail. All together, we will have much amusement when they see this Great
Cat and mess their cloth coverings," the Great Cat assured the twins.

"What if other people see you Great Cat Spot? You would cause panic and the
military would hunt you."

Spot smiled broadly, "My sire Fang speaks of hunting these military humans
in the past. They do not run fast or any great distance and they almost
always discard their weapons so there is no fight and they taste very
bad. Do not be concerned, Snoopy will provide a path that gives the most
cover all along the trail." With that said, Spot ended the discussion by
bounding out the portal that the twins couldn't see from inside the
container either.

Squeak actually dove out head first, landed neatly on Spot's back and the
last the twins saw of the pair was Spot's tail that seemed to be waving
goodbye. "You should have told them that they couldn't go with us," Paulo
accused his brother; also called passing the buck.

Pablo immediately dropped into a fighting stance in response before he
stood up and clapped his brother on the back, "Hurry, we must dress before
that little warrior gets to those guards first. We will fight tonight just
before I have my way with you my little brother, as usual."

"Being born three minutes after you, does not make me your little brother,
just three minutes younger as I will show you tonight," Paulo counter
threatened. "Do you see any clothes for the little one? He can't go running
around naked and draw attention to our presence. Should we eliminate anyone
in addition to the supervisor?"

"I think we should visit the employment agent. He was told that Juan Carlos
Escobar wanted only the best and he sent us the city's dregs when we paid
for the most experienced and reliable people. It will be his last
commissioned mistake."

The twins couldn't find any of Squeak's clothing because he didn't have
any; white warriors Doug and Buck were to provide suitable cloth coverings
for Squeak and Spot when they arrived at their destination. They did locate
the portal by feel and had to jog back to the airport to their truck and
then drive the short distance to the closest cantina that would eventually
be part of an airport hotel that was under construction.

The surrounding region was growing fast due to the development of oil, gas,
mineral discoveries and the large scale farming of `medicinal plants'
including hemp and poppies for clandestine export. The area was much like
the American `old west' frontier after gold was discovered. The local
government was as corrupt, law enforcement stayed out of sight as much as
possible except for accepting bribes and gangs ruled districts until
replaced by stronger and/or more intelligent, newer gangs. Traveling
anywhere unarmed was foolish in the extreme – like being armed with a
knife to participate in a gunfight.

Pablo nearly drove the twins' SUV up a tree when he recognized a small,
naked, Indian boy standing at the side of the road near a clump of palm
trees. Squeak waved and then pointed at the palms, an action that was
accompanied by a mental message; "We will be here when you return with the
guards." The twins thought that perhaps they were imagining things after
the length of time it took them to blink only to see that Squeak had
disappeared. Then they heard Squeak's boyish giggles and a protest; "Stop
Great Cat, you know I am ticklish! That is unfair, this brave warrior will
not rough and tumble with you again!" Squeak's laughter continued until
they got out of telepathic `range'.

The airport cantina was designed, built and furnished to be an elegant
cocktail lounge and the hottest night club in the area after the hotel was
finished and open for business. It was the first building built in the
future complex that even offered temporary rooms to rent by the hour in the
form of two dozen small travel trailers that were parked in the back. These
were offered complete with room service; girls and a few boys, a client's
choice, who would be `servers' for a fee, and who worked as servers in the
lounge the rest of the time. The room was crowded with rough looking
customers when the twins walked in and across the floor to a table in the
rear corner where five men were sitting so they could see the rest of the
room. There was a progressive hush as the boys moved forward caused by
their stony eyed glances.

The general whispered consensus was that the matching pretty boys were new
meat, versatile waiters, until it was noted that they possessed matching
gifts from Hans and Herman; a pair of Desert Eagle, 50 cal. semi-automatics
they wore low on their right hips with the holsters further attached to
their thighs by Velcro to prevent rising up in the event that a quick draw
was required. Of course the obvious hand cannons weren't the only firearms
the pair carried, nor were guns their only weapons.

Three of the five men at the table stood up to block the twins' approach
until a word from a seated man caused them to move a short distance away to
glower at the young newcomers. One man was the local current `big boss',
the twins dealt with to furnish contractors, skilled trades and laborers to
build the new warehouse and co-incidentally he referred the second man at
the table to the twins. This man had furnished the security guard
contingent who was then sitting across the room slowly getting drunk. The
deal with the second man was completed by phone and payment in full was
made by wire so the twins hadn't met him.

The man paled visibly when Pablo and Paulo were introduced as Don Juan
Carlos Escobar's personal business representatives in all of Central and
South America. The twins initially only said that they worked for a Senor
Escobar but didn't mention JC's full name; they thought that would be
understood in Venezuela, but apparently not by everyone.

"It is fortunate you are here Senor," Paulo began while Pablo began
meticulously cleaning his fingernails with a stiletto that suddenly
appeared from the sleeve of his jacket. "We have just come from the airport
where we expected to see 10 uniformed, armed guards you provided, who were
guarding four full size shipping containers recently delivered from a
project in the interior." The man began to squirm as Paulo continued his
narrative; "Each container was insured for 50 million US dollars," he lied,
"the maximum possible without troublesome inventories and inspections. We
were distressed to find that one of the containers has gone missing," he
raised his voice, "Along with the entire guard force that we hired from
you!" He concluded as Pablo slammed the knife point into the tabletop so
hard, it twanged like a tuning fork.

Pablo addressed the speechless local big man in charge. "Don Juan Carlos
hereby seeks full compensation for the loss of our shipment. If this man is
a key member of your organization, the Don looks to you for
compensation..."

"No, no, no," the boss man interrupted Pablo, "I barely know this man," he
lied valiantly. The cost of appearing to be successful was extremely high
in Venezuela. He doubted that he could raise 50 million centavos in cash if
the truth were known. It was far cheaper and certainly healthier to throw
his friend under the Don Juan Carlos bus.

"That is fortunate. I wonder if we could impose on you to see to it that
this man and his uniformed, so called security officers sitting over there
appear on the road to the airport just where the road bends around a group
of large palms. We will question them there..."

The boss man snapped his fingers which produced a number of men who had
been lounging at several tables. After a few whispered instructions the
guards were disarmed and led outside while the employment agent needed
assistance to walk. He knew he would be asked questions for which he had no
answers and the lack would prove painful if not fatal.

The boss man was interested in watching the brothers question the men so he
followed the motley crew parade along the road since his entourage was
engaged in guarding the guards and his former associate. The twins were
delighted to have such a large audience because if Great Cat Spot made his
presence known; word would spread that Don Juan Carlos was still a power in
the region and the Country. A man to be reckoned with in the underworld and
the number and size of the kickbacks and fabricated labor delays would drop
noticeably which would ultimately speed construction.

When the parade arrived at the appointed place, everyone was surprised to
see that the dangerous twins flanked a little native boy. The boy was naked
except for a belt, a traditional pouch, a small sheath knife, and a blowgun
in one hand while he held something even smaller in the other. He was armed
with what appeared to be an automatic rifle that was a scaled down version
of the real thing, but that remained slung on his back so it was discounted
as a toy. The boy pointed into the clump of palms, a place wholly out of
sight from the road traffic, a place where the former guards and their
employer definitely did not wish to go willingly until enough weapons were
drawn and pointed.

Surprisingly, the twins remained quiet while the boy spoke fluent
unaccented Spanish to question the unfortunate 11 men who were lined up
with their backs to a number of palms whose trunks were already scared by
far too many bullet holes. This was a very popular place for asking
questions and apparently imposing the ultimate sentence eventually. It was
the edge of the jungle where wild animals still roamed who could and did
remove any edible evidence during the course of one night.

Of course there were no answers to Squeak's questions because no one knew
the container was missing or were even sure it was missing. The claim could
easily be an excuse to eliminate the labor agent who had obviously offended
someone more powerful than the local boss man; the guards' negligence
aside, they would be collateral damage.

The very worried and frightened men gradually began hallucinating; they all
began to see a giant cat face that appeared and disappeared among the
branches of thickets too quickly to be identified except for a pair of eyes
and large sharp teeth. Squeak rolled his eyes; Spot was acting up and
distracting the men even though Squeak told him to stop, using
mind-speak. Spot countered that he was bored; there were 11 potential kills
that couldn't be counted as kills if no one ran.

Suddenly one desperate man bent to tie his shoe that wasn't
untied. "WEAPON!" Spot shouted in Squeak's and the twins' minds. Before
either of the twins could draw, the man disappeared in a puff of smoke as
Squeak lowered his tool almost too fast to be seen. All that remained was a
belt buckle, some pocket change and a snub nose .38 the man had Velcroed to
his ankle. When the shocked men looked from the spot where a man had been,
they were further shocked to see Squeak comfortably resting his little body
against the furred front legs of a huge sitting Jaguar. The boy's head was
bent up so he could look way up at Spot while Spot's head was bent down so
he could look way down on his protégé. Both boy and Great Cat were
smiling broadly.

"You get that kill Great Cat Spot," Squeak allowed in mind-speak, "without
your warning that evil fiend might have actually touched that gun." That
was the point where several men in the combined party messed their cloth
coverings, evidenced by the smell before the stains appeared, front and
back.

"While we were waiting," Spot informed the twins, "Cat warrior, Tara Squeak
returned our Cat Mobile to where it was resting and he also devised a
cooling system although now it will not be needed," he said in mind-speak
and looked up as a mammoth windowless 747 passed over them on its final
landing approach.

"He moved that container from here?" Pablo asked out loud.

"Tara?" Paulo was equally surprised.

"Yes Tara, the tool he used to erase that fiend will only obey Ancient
Tara's, no one else. Now we must be off or we will miss our ride." With
that being said, Spot used his tail to lift and seat Squeak on his
shoulders as he disappeared into the undergrowth.

The twins released everyone else in the party with a warning that if there
were any more problems guarding future shipments; then there would be
appropriate additional decreases in the local population. They were
dismissed to shower, change and report to the airport to await the next
shipment that would arrive that day.

With Spot and Squeak safely on their way to America, the twins decided to
take a short holiday to finally visit the home of the Great Cats and the
Cat People in the company of Dr. Meriwether. They would also meet Angus,
who they dealt with to buy and ship the sea food that the giant factory
ship kept delivering to JC's docks in Columbia. With the fish stealers no
longer plaguing the Sea People and by their use of more power fishing
boats; the factory ship was a huge financial success.

The air freighter crew was happy to have a passenger aboard but was less
than pleased with the quantity of his luggage. Smaller items were always
palletized and moved about by machines. All of Doc's was loose and even
included bundles of shovels, pickaxes and sledge hammers. All of which
required unloading by hand and there were no porters or red caps at any
freight depots. Fortunately there was Pablo and Paulo who were willing to
help while Doc was no help at all from the second he met the twins, the
shirtless, sweating twins, he'd only heard about but hadn't seen; there
hadn't been time, and they were most frequently away conducting JC's
businesses.

The problem was that Doc was still new to the use of Stuff and it showed,
right through the tight shorts of his classic safari suit. He didn't even
object when all his equipment was ejected piece by piece by the crew from a
side hatch 30 feet above the ground because the twins carried and stacked
it all a short distance away while a massive ship container handler machine
actually injected the four containers into the plane's largely empty hold
onto the plane's conveyor system.

"Excuse me for asking Doctor, but what did you plan to use picks, hammers
and shovels for? We were told that Cat City is still fully functional and
the stone doors weigh about 100 tons each. We doubt that the Great Cats
would appreciate you pounding on a door that they will open for you with a
thought." Pablo commented, "Open if they like you and do not show signs of
aggression or hostility such as holding a pickax," he added with a glance
at the tools that could be considered weapons by some cultures.

"I must apologize for bringing these tools. I have been preparing for this
dig of a lifetime for so long, I'm rather afraid that I keep forgetting
that this isn't a dig from an archeological point of view; it is a journey
back in time and perhaps to a place not of this planet. Shall I abandon my
field kitchen too?" He pointed at one particularly cumbersome box that was
surrounded by other smaller boxes marked `freeze dried dinners'.

"Field kitchen?" Paulo questioned.

Doc nodded, "Why yes; just a small generator and a microwave oven," he
admitted boldly.

It was clear to the twins that the stowaways thought the hand tools were
just as redundant and useless as whatever a generator and a microwave were
and made some suggestions. Cat and boy had a good chuckle that got the
twins laughing as well. Doc suspected that they were two more mind-speakers
although they're muscular chests were not marred by the precious
communicator gems suspended by chains around their necks.

Squeak was impressed with Doc from the first. He told the twins why,
"Warriors Kad and Sidi told us that Doc is related to warrior Pettie in
some way. He is very tall, has the same floppy hair and best of all, as you
can see, he possesses the same size coupler."

The employment agent in the company of a batch of hard eyed armed security
guards arrived in time to see the big freighter take to the skies. These
were mostly new men with a truck packed with camping equipment and
supplies. The twins noted that they spent as much time staring at the
distant tree line looking for a little boy with a monster cat, as they did
setting up their camp. These were the mercenaries that the twins expected
and JC paid for. They already knew signs of the cross, genuflecting, any
number of `Our Fathers' or `Hail Mary's' would not save them if one of them
fucked up this assignment.

Everyone heard the wop, wop of the Chinooks before they saw them approach
with a shipping container suspended under the belly of each machine. These
were deposited in the field before they landed and the twin rotors shut
down. The rear hatches opened and a band of very young Cat warriors gushed
out with Angus and Carb following the boys, but just as interested in their
surroundings. This was their first ever visit to civilization for the
warriors and for Angus in many years.

The warriors took up defensive positions around the silent choppers and
most importantly around the three guests (only one, the Doc expected), with
Angus and Carb they had come to welcome. The mercenaries were immediately
envious of the state of art weapons the little natives carried with ease
and disturbing familiarity that were mostly pointed at them. They were even
more impressed when the same warriors seemed to disappear into the limited
vegetation where they were standing; mostly foot high grasses and while
naked natives could no longer be seen, there was little doubt that the
superior weapons remained trained on them.

Of course Spot and Squeak had told Angus and Carb about the twins; they
represented Tara and best of all they were mind-speakers with a limited
range without having communicators. That was the first bit of business to
get out of the way after formal greetings. "CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?" the local
mind-speakers including Squeak and Spot, screamed in unison even though
none of them had ever seen the TV ad or any advertisements on the
television in the community center. They heard the white warriors in the
north broad beam that question and it always seemed to be funny to them.

The newly equipped twins responded in kind, twice as loud, which took the
humor out of that joke, if it was a joke. JC and all the mind-speakers in
America took turns welcoming the twins to the exclusive mind-speaking
fraternity. With the formalities out of the way, and brief hand signals
from Angus, the warriors reappeared to load all of Doc's luggage, equipment
and supplies in literally a flash of beautiful naked boy bodies no matter
how heavy or bulky the box or bundle.

Doc was last to be loaded by the warriors. He was whisked off his feet and
carried by as many hands as could get close enough, and by the time he
reached the helicopter hatch he'd been divested of his safari suit and
undergarments and was laughing too hard from being tickled to care. When
the twins saw the warriors return, looking at them and grinning; they
stripped off their own shorts and rather enjoyed being carried by so many
busy, inquisitive little hands, so much so, they joined Doc in the chopper
with fully erect couplers, much to his very pleased surprise. With the
addition of the emeralds suspended between their prominent youthful
pectorals and the absence of shorts, the twins physically resembled Cat
warriors, although giant in size. It was also easy to see that the twins
would `fit' right in with the young Cat warriors although none could speak
the other's spoken language.

While the warriors all scented paste on their white warrior guests, three
close friends agreed on a course of action while 1200 feet in the air; they
wanted the honor of being first to couple with the new Cat People friends
even though Angus had cautioned all his boys to wait until the rest
period. The threesome quickly and quietly coated their hands, lips,
couplers and butts with paste and pounced on their chosen target before the
other warriors caught the fresh scent of paste in the air and hurried to
coat their own bodies.

Doc, Pablo and Paulo were powerless to refuse a quick couple and each was
panting to return the favor in front of Angus, Carb and all the other less
fortunate or less inventive warriors in Angus' exclusive group. By the time
the chopper reached the landing pad, everyone was liberally coated
blue. "Ye damn hooligans," Angus scolded his boys in English for their
guest's benefit. "I planned a quick tour before evenin' food, but now I
fear even the food will have to be waitin', until after we an' these wee
ones get the paste out o' our systems."

As soon as the hatch opened, the little Cat warriors happily carried their
guests from the chopper directly to Angus' home. Neither Angus nor Carb
even bothered to close the doors in their haste to join the impromptu party
in progress amid much giggling and frequent moans of pleasure. Doc was the
loudest most distinctive moaner as his fantasies of a lifetime came true –
over and over again.

Angus contacted Great Cat Fang to advise him that there would be a delay in
the tour and sent video of the orgy in progress as justification before he
became too involved and Fang responded that he would see the `Friend of All
Great Cats' soon, but didn't mention where. Angus had planned to have Doc
meet and greet the Great Cats in Cat City's gathering place and from there
proceed to Fang's and his twin son's resting place where Angus and his boys
had been spending a great deal of time in Spot's, and excitingly for the
young warriors, Great Cat Fang's presence.

Fang was not just Angus' Cat Friend and teacher, he also enjoyed bestowing
pleasures to Angus and his bunch of young Cat warriors after the Cats made
their presence known to all the Cat People and the visiting white warriors
like Doug who could mind-speak to a limited extent without
communicators. Angus had made his home's main lounge into the group's
resting place because of limited space in any of the bedrooms and Fang
could easily fit his 1000 pound bulk through open French doors, so he
joined the orgy in progress.

One moment he wasn't there and the next moment he was stretched out on his
belly in the thick of things. The young Cat warriors who were entertaining
the three guests at the moment felt free to greet their familiar friend
just like they did with Spot. They climbed on and over Fang inviting him to
rough and tumble with them. Some attempted to immobilize his tail by sheer
weight of their bodies. This tactic was a way of getting the Great Cat to
begin sorting them out and picking partners by moving them into or out of
couplings in assorted positions by using his incredibly strong and long
adult Great Cat tail. He was also fond of placing a coupled pair between
his front paws to administer the most sensuous grooming before he switched
their places and resumed his grooming. The odor of paste was almost
overpowering to the newcomers already, and it increased markedly after Fang
arrived and began using his tail tip and his raspy tongue both of which
exuded quantities of paste if he wished, and that day he wished.

Doc was delightfully and incredibly to him in great demand and was busy
coupling with yet another of the older warriors. He wasn't aware of Fang's
presence until he felt a soft tail wrap around his waist and he was
suddenly lifted away from his current partner and turned to face Fang, eyes
to eyes and nose to nose for a brief formal greeting. Then Fang lifted him
still higher and groomed his pulsing coupler with still more paste before
returning him to remount one temporarily, very disappointed boy who Angus
had signed not to move a muscle.

All of the Cat warriors and the Great Cats became fascinated with Toby and
Terry as soon as they were seen among the original visiting white
warriors. Multiple births among the Cat People hadn't occurred. Yet, Marta,
Tonga's mate was growing triplets in her womb, and several women were
pregnant with twin girls to begin balancing the ratio of girls to future
warriors such as Squeak, unbeknown to the rest of the population; while
twins were more common, although rare, among Great Cats. Toby and Terry
were happily in such great demand among Cat warriors they were difficult to
see anywhere when they weren't engaged in coupling with warriors, or each
other while a group of Cat People watched. When the Great Cats and the Cat
People, particularly the younger boys and warriors discovered how the twins
slept, slept while nursing the other's cock in their mouths. A new trend
was born in that instant and the twins' audience grew proportionately.

That first day it was Pablo and Paulo's turn to be watched while they
coupled with each other, in the most coveted place; between Great Cat
Fang's out stretched front legs while he groomed their bodies for the
first, but not the last time during the visit.

######

"Hurry Peter," Freckles encouraged, "humans are so slow," he scolded, "I am
amazed that your species survived the carnivorous dinosaurs." Freckles
enjoyed relating his newly gained classroom knowledge that friends noticed
was tailored to favor any animal other than humans.

The pair had driven Big Foot to what once was the county airport although
it had not yet been improved as Kermit's new home base, where Kermit the
jet landed to pick them up for the direct, non-stop flight, south, to
Venezuela. While Freckles wore his eyeglasses, his only luggage, poor
frail, slow human Peter took the time to retrieve his packed overnight bag,
and close Big Foot's doors. He did not bother to lock the doors because he
knew that his truck could and would defend itself against theft or
unauthorized intrusion, compliments of a certain Great Cat. Of course the
very same Cat did his complaining from somewhere inside Kermit. Peter only
wore shorts and a pullover shirt because Freckles thought Peter would be
more comfortable during the flight and after they arrived, there was no
need to wear cloth coverings at all, as in his august position of Executive
Assistant to Great Cats, he was appointed part of the Great Cat Clan. He
would only be chilled for the short length of time it took him to run from
Big Foot to Kermit.

"There's no hurry," Peter answered with a grin, "Kermit came here to pick
us up. We're his only passengers, so I doubt he will leave us behind. It's
one of the perks of flying in a private aircraft," he advised as he climbed
the steps that folded to become the hatch.

Freckles had the new steward, Tracy, the former Princeton Inn server before
the snow emergency, on his back in the passenger cabin, both grooming and
tickling him at the same time, "Hurry the effing up Pete," Kermit's
Captain, Sky Warrior Oscar complained. "I still don't know how he does it,
but you know who, has control and Kermit is trying to start its engines."

"Please let me go," Tracy pled his case for freedom between giggles, "I
have to secure the hatch, then I have a mountain of snacks to prepare and
gallons of drinks to mix up, all for your inflight comfort."

Snacks and drinks were two of the Great Cat's favorite words. Freckles not
only allowed Tracy his freedom, he set him on his feet and `dusted' him off
with his tail. It certainly wasn't the Great Cat's fault that Tracy's
shorts he was wearing for this very informal flight (Bucky was not aboard),
puddled around his feet. When Tracy pulled them back up and tried to
fasten the waist snap, he found that the snap wouldn't fasten because it
somehow became miss-shaped; it was no longer round. This mini-incident
occurred while Freckles meticulously and innocently inspected the cabin
ceiling.

Peter closed the hatch himself and turned into the cabin just in time to
see that somehow the zipper on Tracy's shorts also failed and he was trying
to hold his shorts up as he made his way to the galley. Peter just glanced
at the problem before he frowned at the cause.

Freckles defended his reason using mind-speak before he was accused; "This
will be a very long flight and I didn't want you to be bored," he rushed to
explain, "and poor Tracy just separated from his boyfriend because he will
be away for long periods of time flying Kermit." It was obvious to Peter
that Freckles had `touched' Tracy's mind.

Peter stated his own conclusions out loud, "So you thought Tracy and I
should entertain each other while you helped us out."

"Entertained each other how?" Tracy asked in his personal flight to the
galley while clutching his malfunctioning shorts.

Peter answered by pulling off his shirt and dropping his shorts. "Great Cat
Freckles thinks we'll both be more comfortable if we aren't wearing any
clothes at all," he elaborated on his earlier conclusion.

"Bring your travel bag and get out your container of Stuff," Freckles
instructed.

Freckles had seen to it that Peter had his own personal golden casket that
was filled with concentrated Stuff. "No can do," Peter countered, "we're
going to where Stuff is made, so I didn't pack it."

"Yes can do," Freckles argued, "I helped you pack. Humans are so forgetful
and you are mostly human. Humans don't even remember their own history
beyond a few thousand years." The resulting squabble transcended the
engines starting, taxiing, the scream of acceleration, take off and the
rapid climb to 32,000 feet except for a brief pause when Freckles took
Peter down to deck on his back to be groomed with a generous dollop of
Stuff taken from Peter's supply that had indeed been packed.

"You are a very devious Cat," Peter moaned, "You planned all this, `Just
wear shorts and a shirt.' He mimicked Freckles' instruction with growing
difficulty.

"Mr. Trenton called me personally and told me the same thing," Tracy
mumbled. He was suddenly standing alongside and looking down on Freckles
and Peter who were still on the deck. They looked to the side to see bare
feet then further up, a very nice and very naked body. "Wow, how come
you're all blue Peter?" he asked just before the Cat tail took him down to
join Peter and be even more generously anointed with Stuff for the first
time.

Peter helped Tracy serve two hours later and Peter got around to explaining
what he knew about Stuff and that Freckles was a very sneaky Cat who could
accurately imitate any voice. It was he who called Tracy and told him what
to wear or not wear on the flight.

"I heard that," Freckles announced with his muzzle in the depths of one of
his golden travel drink containers while he fished for the many ever
elusive maraschino cherries that seemed to hide behind or under the
pineapple wedges to avoid being eaten. "You two should be very pleased that
you progressed from being acquaintances to being very good friends in a
very short length of time." He lifted his head suddenly so Peter had to
rush the toweling before he dripped sticky cocktail all over the leather
furnishings. He was inspired, "In fact it would be a very good thing if
Tracy accompanied us to the Cat lands. Kermit will fly to Caracas to refuel
and wait there before returning to pick us up for the flight to Dagger Key
so Tracy would have nothing to do..." he left the proposal hanging for
Peter and Tracy to decide.

The two boys looked at each other, grinned and nodded. Tracy was excited;
he took the job because he wanted to travel and see the world before he
realized that he was most likely to see many of the world's airports and
very little else. Peter was pleased to have another American to talk to and
share the adventure with since Edvard worked for Evan and couldn't
accompany him. He knew from Freckles' barrage of historical images, better
than anyone, that to intrude into Cat lands uninvited was to invite death.

Tracy did have one concern, "What do we do about clothes?" He frowned at
Freckles, "Someone sabotaged the pair I was wearing and I only brought one
other pair along."

Freckles giggled, "I think you will find that those cloth coverings are
defective too."

Peter sighed; Freckles was a manipulator, particularly humans, and
specifically himself, his Executive Assistant. "The Cat People have no use
for clothing; they call cloth coverings. You met the little warriors, those
three guys can lose their clothes with the slightest excuse, faster than
you can blink and hit you in an eye with a dart using their blowguns from
50 feet while they're stripping," he assured Tracy.

While the guys, who had become intimate friends, chatted, Freckles finished
his drink and the fruit in his drink had lost the contest with his
versatile tongue. The first serving of finger foods for humans and tail
foods; something a Great Cat could eat using his tail to eat himself had
been consumed. That trip, Tracy planned ahead accurately; he served
Freckles an assortment of small sausages and plain everyday hotdogs all
served on hotdog buns. Everything was easy to prepare and serve, with a
minimum of mess.

Freckles looked at the boys hopefully, "There is time to finish our snacks
and enjoy another drink before we arrive in one hour."

Tracy looked at his watch, "We should be landing in two hours, not one," he
corrected.

Once again the guilty inspected the ceiling innocently. Peter grinned,
"I'll bet you fixed Kermit so he's going faster, isn't he?" he accused.

"Kermit and I discussed the possibility; it was his choice," Freckles
hedged, "but I told him about breaking the sound barrier if we were near
land. The military does it all the time out over open water, so why
shouldn't Kermit?"

"How fast are we going?"

"Not so fast now, Kermit is slowing so he will be moving at Mach .95 by the
time we reach land."

"How fast did we get to?" Peter altered the question.

"Oh, around Mach 2.0, but only for a short length of time, faster would not
be safe until Kermit's airframe is reinforced and the engines are
improved." The last comment led Peter to believe that those `fixes' were in
the works.

"Twice the speed of sound?" Tracy was amazed; it was a speed that very few
civilians ever traveled. He laughed at a thought and told Peter; "You know
you and I are charter members of the Mach 2 club? The mile high club will
never be the same again!"

"I'm dying of thirst and starvation here," Freckles hinted again, he added,
"Then if you are fast you will have time to also start a Mach 1 club."

######

The 10 man security force admired the beautiful sleek executive jet that
had taxied to stop near the single Chinook helicopter that was waiting to
pick up the jet's passengers. Some also enjoyed watching the jet's only two
passengers, both of them naked and strangely tinted blue, run from the jet
to the chopper. Just as they were about to resume their duties, they spied
that damned giant jaguar, believe it or not, wearing sunglasses this time,
leap from the jet, eye them briefly, while showing way too many teeth once
again, before it chased the naked gringos into the chopper.

There was no doubt in anyone's mind that the gringos were about to become
the cat's lunch, and/or supper since they were trapped inside the big
chopper's belly and hadn't really escaped the cat. After the chopper
departed with a far reaching downdraft, the guards relaxed their vigilance
until one of them suggested that there could be two giant cats not just the
one they knew about that was still really lurking just beyond the tree
line, and it was still there watching them, not flying to wherever, into
the interior where the shipping containers continued to come from. That had
to be the answer; after all, it takes two animals, even humans, to make
babies, so a pair was likely. With that, they refocused their attention on
the tree line looking for the original cat and the fucking little kid who
killed Roberto using something that somehow, made their former boss, poor
Roberto disappear, for no better reason that he was still armed because he
wasn't searched properly and thought he could shoot his way out of a nasty
situation.

The big helicopter had no sooner landed and shut off its engines, than it
was inundated by what appeared to be all the warriors in the tribe plus
four white guys. Doc was there among the boys. Peter had met Paulo and
Pablo at Evan's and he knew them to be very good rough and tumblers who
were happy to be on top (win) as they were on the bottom (lose). He thought
the third older guy was Angus, with whom Peter had `talked' with via
mind-speak occasionally. The whole tribe of warriors turned out to be
Angus' 18 permanent houseguests at the moment, who also happened to be the
youngest Cat warriors with one exception; Squeak was missing and so was
Spot.

After a few eye blinks and clarifying hand signals, the warriors, Doc and
the twins led Tracy the short distance to Angus' house. Tracy went
willingly because he was being towed and fondled by however many little
hands could get close enough and he wanted to see inside a mansion, a
Spanish hacienda that had been built in the middle of the jungle.

Of course Peter went where Freckles went and Angus followed them both,
straight to a low rock escarpment that was so smooth it would be difficult
to scale by non-rock climbers like Peter.

"Well?" Freckles asked Peter abruptly.

"Well what?"

"Well we are standing in front of an entrance to Cat City. You know how to
will things to happen to make them so, so open the barrier for us by the
force of your will," Freckles ordered.

Peter thought Freckles was joking around but he closed his eyes and pointed
at the blank stone. He was about to say, `abracadabra' as dramatically as
possible when he heard a sound much like a small stone hitting another, a
clicking sound. He opened his eyes in time to see a large part of the cliff
face sink back before a crack appeared straight down the middle and the two
massive rock door halves swung in silently to reveal a brightly lit hallway
that sloped down sharply into the ground.

"Damn I'm good, Great Cat," Peter congratulated himself although he was
sure that he had help from Freckles.

"It appears, better than ye know," Angus agreed.

"This is a Cat way," Freckles explained when they began to spiral down into
the City, rather, to a long, wide beautifully decorated hallway first, that
led to the City after a long, hard hike when Freckles set a very fast pace.

When they finally reached the gathering place, Angus was shocked to see
that Peter wasn't as impressed as every other first time white visitor. He
explained, "I have been here before in my waking dreams since I began
`resting'," he used finger quotes, "not sleeping and believe it or not, not
always having sex. Freckles here, sends me images all the time." He
explained to Angus, who was puffing harder than Peter.

"I do not," Freckles sent to Angus confidentially.

Freckles was shocked to hear Peter giggle and say, "Maybe not exactly send,
that's the wrong word, what I do is visit your mind sometimes, so you sort
of send without knowing it." Peter ran a short way down a specific aisle
among the Ancient's collection of trees, shrubs and tightly controlled
vines to a specific group of fruit bearing shrubs; bushes that were loaded
with small golden fruit. "I was looking for these. If you're going to run
my ass off down here, I need some extra energy. Have you ever eaten these
Freckles?"

"I have not; extra energy has never been a Great Cat problem." Freckles
real problem is that he didn't know what the little fruits were used for,
nor did the other Great Cats.

Peter offered Angus some of the fruit while he chewed and swallowed a
second helping. "Great Cats don't need extra energy and neither do the Cat
People. Did you know the Ancients designed or created the Cat People to be
so efficient and tireless that they had to develop these fruits for the
poor Ancients themselves to eat just to keep up with the Cat People
physically?"

"Damn, I'm wishin' I knew about these earlier," Angus said as he swallowed
another of the fruits that didn't seem to have any pits or seeds, "These
young Cat warriors keep tryin' to run my old sorry ass into the ground."

"Peter could not get that information from my mind because I didn't know
any of that," Freckles protested to Angus silently.

"Angus and I feel better Great Cat Freckles, where to now?" Peter
interrupted.

"Perhaps the lowest level," Freckles suggested as Angus and Peter began a
foot race that caught Freckles flat footed (or pawed) and passed him.

They ran to the nearest spiral that would take them to the lower City
levels. Freckles was just catching up to the humans when Peter slowed and
turned into the tool room or armory as Angus and the white warriors who'd
visited there called the circular room.

"Hey Freckles, will you let me try out one of these tools some day?" Peter
asked with his hands clasped behind his back. It was clear that he longed
to touch one of the Ancient tools. Freckles was panting from just having
run a race with humans and lost. However he justified the loss by not
having eaten the fruit that he knew nothing about even though Peter thought
he did.

"Now we will see the truth," Freckles sent to Angus.

"You may touch any one you choose, just keep those sticky human fingers off
the buttons and do not will it to do anything in this room," Freckles
allowed and warned.

Peter made a complete circuit of the room before he was drawn to the stone
block in the center where there were 12 depressions to hold the 12
Ancient's personal tools that had two vacant spaces. Peter looked a
question at Freckles as if to say, `Do you dare me?' Freckles agreed with a
nod. Peter displayed a beautiful smile while he inspected the selected tool
in detail. "It's getting warmer in my hand," he admitted happily. "Since
you already told me what the buttons are for, is there somewhere to try it
out where it won't destroy the City from the basement up, since we're
standing in the basement?" he asked with a joke, that wasn't really a joke.

"Great Cats do not possess the knowledge to operate the Ancient's tools,
only the big tools," Freckles told Angus silently.

As a Great Cat, Freckles had been privy to Squeak's first efforts at
controlling his Ancient tool. "Yes, there is an unfinished hall, but it is
somewhat distant from here..."

"Yeah, I know that tunnel, come on Angus my fellow Admiral, let's race
Freckles again. Ready, set, GO!" he shouted and promptly disappeared by
using some means of travel other than running. He left both Freckles and
Angus, his running mate behind. They used feet and paws to give chase but
didn't have to go as far as they expected; way out to the place where Bani
and then Squeak had experimented with their Ancient tools.

Both Freckles and Angus had been documenting and sending everything Peter
did since they'd entered the City. Those images caused Great Cats in the
area to begin assembling in the gathering place, while those more distant
used overland routes until they could get to the closest Great Cat tunnel
entrance.

They caught up to Peter a mere mile away in the correct tunnel, but still
within the part that had been `interior decorated' in the Ancient way, with
finished wall displays of jungle-scape, ceilings and smooth golden floor
all mysteriously indirectly lighted. "I'm sorry I winked out Freckles,
don't be mad, but I accidently pushed the button on the end of the tool,
kind of like the clicker on the end of a ballpoint pen; it takes the
operator where he wants to go, and here I am. The reason I stopped here is
that there's a really big gold deposit about 50 feet away, right through
there. It's a bunch of rotten quartz with big seams of gold running all
through it, every which way. Would it be alright if I tried to build a big
chamber in there to collect the gold and get rid of all the shit? It would
be neat to have a secret chamber down here, kind of a quiet place to rest
and think without rough and tumbling first." Freckles was so impressed with
his protégé he was rendered speechless for the first time since he
built his communicator, although he did manage to nod his approval.

Force of habit caused Peter to attempt to pull down his welder's helmet
that he wasn't wearing and no longer needed, before a constant flash began
to create a new hallway into the living rock. There seemed to be an
invisible curtain that contained the resulting smoke or vapor and as Peter
moved into the new excavation, the curtain maintained the same distance
ahead. Freckles and Angus followed cautiously as Peter advanced
steadily. He wasn't creating a full size Ancient tunnel, it was a
pedestrian hallway.

As they advanced, the amount of gold dust on the floor increased in
depth. It was just as Peter foretold; there was a huge deposit of gold
right alongside a long ago constructed tunnel and the original Ancients
missed it, or didn't `see' it. Peter explained when questioned while he
continued his work. "The Cat People did all the rough work with their
larger tools and then an Ancient or two followed to do the decorating and
finishing. I think this tunnel was being dug as a means of getting at a big
deposit of rubies that are still out there waiting for us. Tunneling
stopped when the Ancients left for somewhere else."

When Peter, the newest Tara, got to the approximate middle of the future
room he stood still and turned slowly, 360 degrees full circle back to his
starting point. The result was a perfectly round, high domed room, 50 feet
in diameter. He paused to adjust his tool and spun around again over
Freckles' and Angus' heads to provide the muted lighting found in all the
rooms in Cat City.

Freckles pawed three inches into the accumulated gold dust to find the
polished marble-smooth floor while Angus marveled at the beautiful walls
and ceiling. Peter had left wide swathes of quartz that still had irregular
drifts of gold that together resembled the glittering Milky Way on a dark
night. Peter then suggested, "You know any of the gold dust we don't use to
make into artifacts, we should just bag up in 500 or 1000 pound bags and
any Spanish junk we don't wish to be seen or recognized, should be reduced
to dust and shipped the same way. We certainly don't want to flood the
market with too many artifacts from good old Atlantis." Peter looked down
sorrowfully at the Ancient tool he used to create his room and incidentally
increase the Cat People's wealth more than somewhat. He actually asked
Freckles; "Say Freckles, do you think I can keep this tool a little while
longer?" He added a very good reason before the Great Cat could decline,
"If I can, I'll extend this unfinished tunnel straight into the biggest
cache of rubies ever discovered after Angus and I go back to the gathering
place to eat more golden energy fruit. Then we need to catch up to Tracy
and the twins with all those young warriors!" He concluded wearing a very
lecherous expression and a diamond cutter erection.

#######

Doug, Buck, the three Cat warriors, Charlie and Devin, Great Cat's pilot,
left the Hall before dawn on the morning that the first four containers
were scheduled to be delivered to the Port Newark warehouse. Doug carried a
small suitcase that contained a complete school uniform in miniature for
Squeak, and a new Great Cat-size school necktie for Spot. Spot could
duplicate a pair of Freckles' eyewear if he wished since Freckles only made
one pair for his use, no spares, and they could hardly be snitched off his
face. Buck had invested in a new $3.99 plastic pair for Spot to reproduce
if he wished. The boys were reasonably certain that he wished so he could
completely `blend' in with the rest of the student body just like his twin
brother Freckles, just as Squeak planned.

The loading dock was ablaze with lights around the four shipping containers
that had been mounted on semitrailers, delivered and backed into four
adjoining loading dock bays. The all-weather accordion `hallways' that
connected the trailer doors to the warehouse overhead doors had been
extended into place and sealed so the security force could begin unloading
as soon as someone appeared to break the seals and render the booby-traps
on the doors harmless. The security force waiting inside the warm warehouse
were more than a little surprised when the nearby pedestrian door opened
and the Jaguar, more commonly called a Great Cat, they thought was
Freckles, slinked in with a little naked native boy riding on his back.

"Greetings white warriors, I am Cat warrior Squeak and this is my friend
Great Cat Spot. We have come from our home lands to this land of snow and
ice to attend school here," Squeak introduced. He cocked his head at the
same time as Spot and announced, "The golden whirlybird called Great Cat is
bringing our friends and cloth coverings as we speak." A distant wop, wop
grew louder as Devin landed Great Cat the helicopter near the loading
dock. A very short while later, the pedestrian door crashed open and the
warriors of course engaged Spot and Squeak in a monumental reunion rough
and tumble that included a few of the guards who happened to be way too
close to Spot's tail.

Charlie called a halt to the welcoming proceedings from a very safe
distance by reminding the jungle types that they were wearing their good
school clothes and if they didn't stop at once he was going to report them
all to their surrogate mother, Victoria. Squeak and Spot ended the brawl
when they were reminded about their new school cloth coverings; they wanted
to be dressed just like their brother warriors and friends.

After the warriors and Great Cat calmed down, Buck asked how the stowaways
managed to get out of the shipping container while it was still locked and
sealed. Squeak eagerly related all their adventures so far on the trip and
explained that a portal was necessary for ingress and egress, so he willed
the portal for their convenience and still hadn't figured out how to close
it when not in use. The constantly opened `doorway' wasn't a problem since
it couldn't be seen but it was possible for some workman to accidentally
fall into their traveling compartment if he rested his person against that
portion of the steel wall that really wasn't there.

Bani broke the seals on the container doors with a thought and the guards
approached the doors after they heard four audible `snaps'. The bravest of
them risked life and limb by actually touching the steel using a fingertip,
without any affect. All of them had been present when Bani made one of
their number disappear by merely pointing in his direction. None of them
saw that he was holding an Ancient tool at the time.

Doug went off to the stacks of gold bars, quickly welded four of the
largest together with a glance and had the massive weight trail him out the
door just like an obedient pet, while Buck opened the suitcase that
contained the odd couple's school clothes.

Kad and Sidi had a bit of fun helping Squeak dress. Specifically put on his
pants and closing his zipper without pinching his little coupler, but only
after the second attempt. The first resulted in Squeak actually attempting
to throttle Kad while Sidi laughed at his partner's rapidly reddening face
until Spot intervened on his way to the gold to fashion more spectacular
eyewear from Buck's $3.99 investment in plastic.

When the Cat and warrior were dressed for school, Spot looked exactly like
his twin brother Freckles, except for the namesake spot on his
nose. However, while Squeak was dressed exactly like every other student in
the exclusive school, it was felt that his diminutive height just might
give him away as perhaps being too young, since the school did not include
a preschool class but that was what the advance tuition payment in gold was
for. The payment would be just too tempting even though most of it would
have to be refunded when everyone switched schools the next winter term
when the new University Preparatory school was officially open for
business.

Charlie was particularly delighted to see the large blue plastic drums that
comprised the first shipment of Stuff. Bill Penn and his partner Ethan
already agreed to market the amazing product and one of the adjacent vacant
warehouses would be equipped as a production facility that was only
awaiting a broad assortment of cosmetic jars and bottles before Stuff could
begin being sold through their Penguin Buyer's Club via incessant
infomercials initially and then by word of mouth after Stuff began being
used by satisfied customers.

The boys were to walk bunched together across the campus to Trenton Hall,
the Administration building in an effort to conceal the floating monster
block of gold, and they did. The problem was that Squeak hadn't been
dressed for 10 minutes before he began complaining about his shoes; they
were too confining and they pinched his toes, so he rode along on Spot's
back. The gold was successfully deposited against the front doors along
with every required form and document necessary to register two new
students who incidentally just happened to be related to the other members
of the South American `Katz' family.

However a few of the students who boarded were also early risers so the
party was observed and someone small and wearing a school uniform was seen
riding on the Great Cat's back. That was very unusual and was cause to
alert the rest of the student body who lived on campus. The word was that
the residents of Homo Hall were up to something and it was the perfect
morning to go to the dining room for breakfast early and discover who was
about to be pranked, and how it was going to happen since Freckles and the
Cat warriors were unknown to skip a meal when on campus and Freckles had
his own chair and always sat at the same table so the heavy chair borrowed
from the chapel didn't have to be moved.

Even more unusual, Freckles, the foreign students who preferred to be
referred to as Cat warriors, Buck and Doug most frequently breakfasted at
home. Flew in at the last possible minute and rushed to classes from their
chopper(s) most mornings. Sam who had the title of line cook for 30 years,
had been promoted to head chef soon after Freckles arrived, soon after
Freckles decided to visit the previous executive chef in the man's
office. When the Great Cat filled the man's office doorway and began to
introduce himself, the man had no choice but to exit through his window,
and hadn't been seen on campus since. Freckles still thought the man was
very rude to disturb nearby classes in progress with his incoherent
screaming.

Chef Sam knew that something was amiss straightaway. The Great Cat was
dressed the same, but another formal Cat greeting was unnecessary and just
as unnerving as the first, plus Peter had been replaced by a school
uniformed boy to tend to the Great Cat's face with a towel and the boy had
to stand on Peter's chair seat to do so. And most telling, the little boy
appeared to be a miniature copy of the three Cat warriors plus Sam knew
that Freckles and Peter had gone on Christmas holiday early.

"So, are you newly arrived?" Sam asked the new pair bluntly.

Spot nodded while Squeak answered truthfully, perhaps too truthfully. He
caused Buck and Doug to wince and remind the pair that the words `stowaway'
and `ship containers' are not generally used to describe a method or means
of travel from anywhere, or to any destination.

Sam ignored the travel means to ask what everyone wanted to have for
breakfast. When he saw Spot and Squeak looking at each other in confusion
he substituted `breakfast' with `morning food' and suggested, toasted
English muffin sandwiches stacked with egg, Canadian bacon and cheese.

It was Buck's turn to look confused, "You mean `Egg McMuffins'?"

Sam laughed and nodded, "Well of course, but if we use that name, Mickey
`D' has threatened to sue us, so we use the longer name. We make our
English muffins twice as large, use two eggs, thick slices of Canadian
Bacon and three kinds of melted cheese, so there is no real comparison."

"We will have that as morning food please," Squeak responded when Spot
began to drool in eager anticipation. Then he asked, "We must find this
evil fiend Mickey D, do you know where he can be found? Great Cat Spot was
credited with the last kill so Mickey D will be this brave warrior's kill,"
he promised Sam to be rid of the food naming problem.

The white warriors spent the rest of breakfast attempting to explain
McDonald's restaurants, the corporation and corporations generally as being
legal entities not just one evil fiend, but 1000's of minions who worked
for the corporation. The boys ate their breakfasts slowly while they took
turns explaining so Squeak understood. He kept nodding and eating three of
the mega breakfast sandwiches while Spot demolished two dozen, washed down
with a bowl of Coke and one of orange juice that also contained pineapple
wedges and maraschino cherries, with both drinks swimming with ice cubes.

While the boys talked out loud and used mind-speak the Cat warriors and
Charlie continued to laugh while they ate and sent messages referring to
the newcomers as `jungle types', which Spot and Squeak ignored for the
present as if they hadn't heard or didn't understand.

When Sam saw the dining room begin to fill up exceedingly fast and earlier
than normal, he ordered the kitchen into full production. Hayden and Justin
were the first to arrive so they could occupy their usual seats at
Freckles' table. They had appointed themselves as the Great Cat's drink
servers and immediately knew that the Great Cat wasn't Freckles so he had
to be Freckles' twin, Great Cat Spot accompanied by none other than the
famous Cat warrior Squeak. Justin and Hayden initiated the formal Cat
greetings and after they were completed Squeak decided that he would attend
all the classes the two smallest white warriors attended, while Spot would
resume all of Freckles' classes.

The last stragglers into the dining room reported that there seemed to be a
problem at the administration buildings' front doors where many of the
office workers could not enter because something was blocking the doors and
after attempting to remove the problem most walked around the building to
use the side and rear doors.

As soon as Sam heard of the door problem he rushed to the main dining room
doors and blocked those students who hadn't finished their
breakfasts. Everyone would eat what they took or miss classes until they
were done he warned. There was no need to hurry; the four conjoined gold
bars were still there long after everyone finished breakfast and went to
have a closer look themselves, although not close enough to be questioned
about the prankster's identity. All of the office workers had found an
alternate means of entering the building and only Headmaster Smyth remained
in the company of the chief of buildings maintenance. The maintenance
chief was having no better luck in pushing the 1000 pound block of gold
than anyone else while Headmaster Smyth was busy reading and rereading the
attached paperwork for the fourth time.

"Who in hell's bells are Squeak and Spot Katz?" he bellowed at the sky in
frustration after he was assured that what everyone thought was gold; was
in fact a block of gold, payment in full for Squeak and Spot Katz's room,
board and tuition in advance for the next 15 to 20 years!

"We are summoned!" Squeak announced just before classes from JC's apartment
within the relative safety of Homo Hall. Squeak mounted his `ride', Spot,
and they were off to the Administration Building, Trenton Hall. Homo Hall's
door opened as the pair approached; that hadn't happened before the rest of
the gang noted as they ran to watch the meeting, or, more likely, a
confrontation.

"Remember to touch his mind," Doug suggested from afar. He and Buck would
be blamed as the instigators so they hoped the old adage, `Out of sight,
out of mind.' would apply in the case, since the Cat warriors owned their
own helicopter.

Spot put on an amazing burst of speed as soon as he was outside on the
campus quad. It was the first time ever that he could run full tilt out in
the open on flat ground, unlike the Cat City tunnels or the dense jungle
growth above ground at home. Spot took pride in arriving at their
destination; sitting just behind Headmaster Smyth with Squeak standing by
leaning against his front legs, their usual pose when together, as if he
and Squeak had been there all along and were just waiting to be noticed by
the school chief.

"Did you wish to see us Headmaster?" Squeak asked politely. "I am Squeak
and this is Spot Katz. We are newly arrived from South America to attend
your most wonderful school of learning, and that gold is the payment for
our attendance. You may keep the change. It was unfortunate that this
building was not open for business when the payment was delivered. I think
you will agree that workmen are very careless these days. It was very dumb
to anger you by blocking the door with the payment."

"Um yes," Dr. Smyth hesitated, "I believe you said your Great Cat's name is
Spot, um, if I may be so bold to ask; where is Freckles Katz?"

With that question, Headmaster Smyth calmed down and a dialog began. The
boy and Great Cat would take the required entrance and placement
examinations that same morning. Although Squeak was almost certain that he
would be placed in the same grade and classes as friends Hayden Roebling
and Justin Penn while Spot would substitute for his twin brother Freckles
in all of his classes until he returned after Christmas holiday. Then Spot
would attend entirely different classes due to typical sibling rivalries
that would be anything but typical on a human scale if the twin Great Cat
brothers had a classroom dispute.

They hadn't planned to reveal Squeak's most favored mode of land travel,
but Squeak forgot and was already sitting on Spot when he asked; "What
language?"

"Language?" Dr. Smyth wondered what Squeak was asking.

"Yes Sir, we were wondering what language we should use to write our test
answers in?" He proceeded to list the languages he knew that ended with;
Ancient or Egyptian hieroglyphs, Latin, Yiddish or Hebrew.

The meeting of Headmaster and boy Cat warrior turned out anti-climactic
with Dr. Smyth patting Squeak on the back and sending he and Spot on their
way. Squeak reported that Headmaster Smyth had grown tired of fighting a
select group of students who were capable of using 25 million dollars in
gold as part of what generally were harmless pranks and he would face those
same students when the new University school opened in the fall. Without
thinking, he turned to enter his office building and discovered that the
mass of yellow metal had moved suddenly, somehow while his back was turned,
and while it still graced the building's main entrance, it no longer
blocked the doors.

Dr. Smyth turned back to watch the powerful Great Cat streak away, running
full tilt across the quad with a small boy, screaming his delight as his
jockey, when he was inspired. He would phone Bucky Trenton straight away to
suggest that the Great Cat would be a splendid mascot for the new
preparatory school and possibly the University.

#######

Dinner at Trenton Hall that evening was different and exciting. Spot
naturally took Freckles' chair and at first Squeak sat in Peter's. When
only the top of his head could be seen above the table top, he moved to
straddle the chair arm closest to Spot. Hamilton the ever resourceful
family butler paused the lengthy wine uncorking ritual and excused
himself. He returned shortly with a wide board that was just long enough to
span Squeak's chair arms, which he disguised with a pillow so Squeak could
sit comfortably at the proper height.

It was clear that Victoria approved the seat when she asked Hamilton;
"Would you have the carpenter shop fashion something more permanent just
like that?"

Buck looked so very innocent when he promptly asked his father, "When did
we get a carpenter shop?" He followed that with, "And where is it?"

Doug made so bold to answer Buck before Bucky, "You dummy, don't you
remember, its right next to the electrical and plumbing shops in the
sub-basement?"

Bucky's frown at the two hecklers caused Doug to resume eating
quietly. Bucky had questioned Victoria's need to have skilled trades on the
payroll, full-time in their presence. Victoria came to Doug's aid with what
was to her a rational explanation. "See," she told Bucky, "if our carpenter
had been on duty this late he could have fashioned a much nicer seat for
our new guest instead of that nasty unpainted board." She winked at Doug,
"Perhaps we should consider having those staff positions available around
the clock?" That suggestion was more than enough to quiet Bucky and empty
his wine glass.

#######

Bucky was delighted with Dr. Smyth's suggestion. Bucky had found the ideal
`home' for Freckles' representation of his sire Fang that was currently
sitting in his dining room watching everyone eat. The golden Great Cat Fang
would reside in the new Trenton Halls' lobby guarding the University
administration buildings' main entrance and with the assistance of other
life-like effigies strategically placed around the campus; the whole school
would enjoy previously unimagined security. That is, IF the real Great Cat
Fang agreed.

Bucky was first shocked and then delightfully overwhelmed when Fang entered
his mind almost as soon as he formed his security plan. Later he wondered
if it was in fact Fang's suggestion. No matter; Fang `talked' directly to
Bucky for the first time. Fang would be pleased to be a clandestine part of
the new University's security force and even showed Bucky images of other
young Great Cats in ages from the recently weaned, so they could leave
their mothers, to others, up to Freckles and Spot's size and probable age.

The Great Cats including over100 adults were shown massed in the gathering
place, in the great pyramid in Cat City along with Angus, Tonga, Carb and
other Cat People notables that Bucky had seen on video `news' feeds from
the Cat territories over time. The adults of both species and more mature
but younger Great Cats had formed a ring on the plaza, were seated and
watching a group of adolescent progeny including no less than five 50 pound
kittens having a rough and tumble with a solitary Cat warrior who strangely
seemed to be much taller than any adult Cat warrior that Bucky had ever
seen. It was difficult to be sure because the Great Cat `kids' had the
struggling warrior on his back and while some were busy grooming him with
their tongues, others were exploring his body and tickling him with their
tails. A single half grown Cat sat close by stoically while the warrior was
molested.

"Freckles, please, tell them all that I am NOT another Tara," none other
than Peter carefully begged to avoid being kissed by an ambitious kitten
without much success.

"Oh yes you are," the seated Great Cat replied, "you are the Ancient
Finder; you can see metals and minerals of great value that no one else can
find," Freckles added.

"But I'm just a white boy, a 22 year old college dropout AND a human, I was
born and raised in the good old USA, nowhere near South America. Would you
kids layoff licking me there? That's my cock, I mean my coupler and it
really tickles, um and something else," he argued and laughed at the same
time and succeeded in receiving a richly paste flavored kitten tongue
thrust halfway down his throat.

Bucky laughed before he asked, "Peter, what in the world are you doing to
those kittens, and doing it while I imagine their parents are watching?"

All the Cats, including kittens, the few Cat warriors and Angus, the only
other human present, looked up in the same direction on hearing Bucky's
question to Peter.

"Bucky, is that you? Can you mind-speak now?" Peter asked via mind-speak
since the ambitious kitten maintained a lip lock on his mouth that the
rapidly emerging Ancient hedonist in Peter found to be not totally
unenjoyable.

"I think Great Cat Fang is relaying my thoughts for me. Did you know that
Great Cat Spot and that little kid Squeak came up here unannounced to go to
school? They registered and started classes this morning. Someone, three
guesses who paid the school with one single block of gold worth about $25
million on today's gold market."

"Little Squeak and Spot wanted to surprise everyone," Angus interjected. He
hedged, "they may have had a bit o' help wi' travel arrangements, proper
cloth coverin's an' all the damn paperwork, but otherwise it was wee
Squeak's idea. The laddie wanted to fit in wi' out bein' noticed," he
concluded with a laugh.

Bucky joined in the laughter. "Well he fit in alright," he said, "no one
noticed a new pint-size foreign student using a Great Cat that everyone
thinks is Freckles, as if Freckles was a horse, riding around the campus at
breakneck speed on the Great Cat's back."

Freckles and several other young Great Cats in the unusual gathering perked
up at that disclosure and as one body they raced each other from the
Gathering Place. "Oh my," Angus reported, "I fear that wee boy an' Spot may
have started somethin' down here. Freckles must have seen or knows about
horse racin'; he just shot images o' jockeys settin' on runnin' horses to
the other Cats. All the teenage Cats are racin' up topside to the village
to get their own jockeys after Freckles instructed the kittens to take care
of Tara Peter in his Ancient restin' place until he gets back."

By the time the squad of over-eager kittens allowed Tara Peter to stand,
he'd been completely covered with several coats of blue paste. Bucky
noticed that he was no longer protesting about his elevation to
reincarnated Ancient status and that he'd been wearing a flat golden chain
around his waist from which a small matching sheath depended that held one
of the fountain pen-size Ancient tools that was just like Bani's.

Peter disappeared from Bucky's view when Fang didn't follow so he didn't
see Peter strolling toward the energy fruit bushes or see a kitten deliver
a basket that would hold a generous supply of fruit. He waited there until
Angus' band of 12 young warrior marine gunners and a somewhat, dazed, paste
painted Tracy, Doc, and the twins all with rampant erections, appeared
before the kittens, the warriors and the humans ran off to Freckles and
Spot's sumptuous family resting place with Fang, the family patriarch,
bringing up the rear. It became clear to Angus that Freckles had seen some
horse racing somewhere when Freckles declared that he was the official
Track Steward for the new Great Cat Racing Association. Freckles would have
appointed Tracy to the singular position since he was already Kermit's
steward, but at present, Tracy was besotted by too much paste and so many
willing young Cat warriors.

The six war boat pilots (all the youngest and lightest warriors) had been
drafted to be jockeys when Freckles sent the others into Cat City and would
join up again after the race card was concluded with the start/finish line
in the Gathering Place.

#######

At 7:20 the next morning, Bucky got a disturbing phone call from William
Penn, the owner of Penguin Buyer's Club. The Club's New York City display
gallery had been robbed; totally emptied. Everything valuable enough to be
displayed prior to being auctioned was gone including all the Cat People's
artifacts that had been delivered thus far, including Bani's fabulous Ming
tree.

Bill Penn was calling Bucky before he called the police because he knew of
Bucky's rumored reputation as being the American chief of a worldwide
collection of renowned `business' associates, all so far untouchable within
their spheres of influence. He very tactfully suggested that Bucky might
have the ways and means of solving the problem without one iota of adverse
publicity which would hurt his reputation or speculation regarding the
sources of the missing artifacts that definitely affect Bucky, his family
and the Family with a capital `F'.

Bucky delayed Bill's explanation until Will, Joe, Bani and surprisingly,
the golden Great Cat Fang, representing the Cat People were present in his
study so they could all hear what was said and recorded for voice stress
analysis. Bucky trusted Bill and Ethan, but no one would be immune from
intensive scrutiny before they were eliminated as suspects without the need
of delaying subpoenas, search warrants or offering to read anyone his or
her `rights' before questioning according to the law or any other legal
niceties. He would also have Bani and Squeak visit the gallery and `touch'
everyone's minds to be doubly sure. Because in the end, the actual evil
perpetrators and their minions as the Cat warriors were fond of calling
their enemies would pay the ultimate price for their foolishness and greed.

The time Bill was on `hold', allowed him to order his thoughts:

He owned what was once a five story, brick; loft style factory building
that originally was so dilapidated, homeless people avoided it. He rebuilt
it into a secure windowless fortress gallery with constantly monitored
video, limited access and intensive around the clock human security.

There were a total of 25 armed security officers to cover three shifts,
seven days a week, demanded by Bill's insurance underwriters because the
value of the temporary contents, the auction items, varied from mere
millions to $100s of millions in inventory from month to
month. Unfortunately, with the Cat Peoples' missing artifacts still
arriving daily, the estimated loss was close to one billion dollars and
counting.

Security was breached at the 11:00 P.M. shift change when five guards would
begin their 11 to 7 shift, and five would go home. Five men arrived in the
Penguin uniform with the usual side arms but with the difference that they
kept their caps pulled down low over their faces and they all arrived at
the same time; there was no usual straggling. They swiped their ID cards as
usual to gain admittance into the building and two of the five were
admitted to the control room to work there in the same manner.

That was when the video recordings ended in blurring before blackness. The
early evening shift was completely surprised, overpowered, trussed up like
swine ready for the spit and stuffed in a basement storage closet. The
morning shift didn't need to swipe their cards because the loading dock
overhead door was wide open and all the gallery display cases and pedestals
were void of upcoming sale items. Fortunately the new Atlantis artifact
display was still being assembled in closed rooms and hadn't been
publicized yet but the gallery would need an excuse to close until further
notice.

"Just put out a press release that the fire suppression system failed and
set off the building sprinklers," Bucky suggested, solving that problem.

Bani and Fang's amulets flashed together, Bani blinked and Bill Penn began
to scream over the speakerphone that his office was suddenly being
flooded. Fortunately the alarm system remained silent, so NYC Fire-Rescue
had not been called automatically. Bucky, Will and Joe looked at Bani and
began to laugh and shake their heads. Bani frowned at Fang before he
shrugged. "Am I to assume that you didn't really want the sprinklers to
flood the building?" he asked innocently. "Great Cat Fang was just trying
to help," he defended while more accurately placing blame for the timely
error.

"This Great Cat will send Tara Peter, The Finder, to help." Fang decided
audibly via his amulet.

"Peter is a Finder? What's a finder Great Cat Fang?"

"He is THE Finder," Fang corrected, "There is only one Ancient Finder who
can easily locate things of great value that the Ancients sought and found
before they departed. There is also one Ancient Leader and one Ancient
Guardian that have been revealed. They are The Tara's, the Ancient Lords in
your language," he declared.

Bucky noticed that Bani's face flushed, "If Peter is The Finder, Bani,
which one are you?"

"Tara Bani is The Leader," Fang announced, "while Tara Squeak is The
Guardian.

"Um, what exactly is it that a Guardian does?" Will asked cautiously since
they were discussing a four year old boy's roll in the scheme of things
when it came to tracking down the thieves and recovering the treasure,
which could be dangerous.

"Tara Squeak will always protect friends and vanquish all enemies of
friends. He may use his Ancient tool or he may will any enemy to be gone,
to make it so," Fang pronounced with finality.

Bani made an effort to lighten the mood by adding; "What Great Cat Fang
means is no evil fiend should ever piss Squeak off. Although I do not think
he knows what he can do yet, without his tool."

"Okay," Bucky looked at Will and Joe, "turn over every rock and open every
cesspool in every organization we know about. Follow up every scrap of
information," he ordered. "It's too bad Peter isn't here right now. If he
is whatever he is, the treasure could be on its way to anywhere in the
world as we speak. I'll alert Evan and our other friends around the world
to see if they know anything."

"If you involve Evan," Will advised, "you may as well tell all the guys
right away because they'll find out what's going on anyway as soon as they
see Evan."

Bucky nodded, "We were supposed to leave for Dagger Key in four days. Maybe
everyone should just call in sick. If you don't allow it, they'll do it
anyway," Joe reminded Bucky, "and start their own investigation," he added.

On the way down stairs to the dining room and breakfast, Bucky whispered to
Bani, "You know that statue of Fang following you is very disconcerting."

Bani grinned, "Not as upsetting as the living Great Cat would be if he was
here looking over our shoulders," he reminded Bucky.

There was no need for Bucky to explain the robbery to the boys; the dining
room was packed with every mind-speaker who lived on the place. No one was
dressed for school and while everyone was eating breakfast, they all looked
at Bucky expectantly when he walked in, waiting for his orders. He'd
forgotten about the Great Cat's and most likely Squeak's ability to `touch'
minds; polite for eavesdropping or plain old fashion snooping. Spot tried
to look famished and kept his eyes on his food and drink, while Squeak, the
other snoop, studied and attempted to look like the winged cherubs on the
frescoed ceiling while sitting on his board covered with a pillow.

When Victoria walked in the room two minutes after Bucky, he was surprised
to see that she was dressed to go out and even plunked an overnight bag
down by the door. She kissed her husband good morning before she announced
everyone's plan, "This household will relocate to our townhouse until this
emergency is ended. Your offices darling will be our headquarters. Living
in New York will be so much more convenient," she added. She looked down
the length of the table, wearing a frown. `We must recover every single
artifact within four days, particularly, my Ming tree, or there will be no
Christmas holiday at Dagger Key, or anywhere else I'm sorry to say dear
Medi, until everything is found."

Medi and Sean, with Sam and Jack, their guards, had been attempting to hide
their presence from Bucky by sitting beside Pettie and maintaining a very
low profile, but Victoria took care of that with a glance to inventory new
faces. Bucky shrugged and asked Medi to call his father to ask him if he
knew of anyone in the Middle Eastern region who might be collectors and had
the nerve to pull off a robbery of this size. Fabulous art works were
stolen with unfortunate regularity and disappeared into very private
collections and might not be recovered until the collector died years
later.

Everyone in the dining room first heard, then saw Black Widow land near the
other two helicopters, Bucky's and Great Cat, already on the pad and being
readied to fly. "How the hell did Evan know about this already? I haven't
called him yet." Bucky sort of complained. Everyone except Victoria
touched their heads and grinned. There were few long-term secrets among
mind-speakers.

Evan, Billy and Edvard, Hans and Herman, ran in from the garden with JC and
John right behind them, "I think I may have found the leak Bucky," Evan
said without preamble or a `good morning'. "Were you on that fence guy's
email list? The guy I mean is the one, SOMEONE, not mentioning names, put
out of business without inviting me to the party," he scolded the extended
Trenton household generally.

"I seem to recall that guy, there was something in the papers about a riot
and a fire, in Newark," Bucky answered evasively and was hard pressed to
hide his smile while Kad and Sidi waved their hands in the air while
pointing at each other and Bani to be sure Evan knew who the real culprits
were. "I mostly ignore and delete those kinds of emails unless I'm looking
for something special, why do you ask?"

"Well, I wasn't on his mailing list but Grandfather was and since his email
account is still up and running, I checked and here's a copy of an email he
received just before the dude was burned out of business. He sent out a few
pictures of Ancient stuff and asked if Grandfather was interested since he
was one of the dude's best customers." Evan added, "I snooped to find
Grandfather's sources, so we wouldn't be embarrassed if someone saw
something that once belonged to them in one of the castles," he admitted
with a proud grin while the boys laughed and cheered his cleverness, with
their mouths full.

Bucky whispered to Victoria; "How did you know about this in advance?"

Victoria grinned and hoisted an eyebrow. "Very simple, really darling, you
know I like to know what's going on, so I bugged the speakerphone in your
study. My speaker turns on in my dressing room, when you use yours in your
study," she admitted.

"I may as well move my desk into the rotunda," Bucky grumped. He glanced at
the proffered photos. The first one was of a leaping golden Great Cat that
was currently holding some books together on his desk with its mate. The
email offered these and many other similar rare and totally unique items
made by a lost tribe who once lived in a previously undiscovered place,
country and continent to be revealed in the future. "Damn, if Anton was
still with us and saw these photos, I'd have to sell our kid just to buy
you something my dear," he joked with Victoria.

Victoria giggled, "Don't be silly darling; $1.95 wouldn't buy us the
tiniest claw."

"Now wait just a minute," Doug called out with a laugh before Buck could
protest his worth, "you should put him up for auction! I bid $2.00 to get
things going." By the time the group split up after breakfast, to fly or
drive into the City, the bidding for Buck had reached all of $11.63 and was
rising steadily in one cent increments since the joke was, he was well used
merchandise and wasn't worth much more unless Trenton Hall and the boat bed
were included in the sale. Buck proved that he could frown just as
horrifically as his father as he climbed into the Cat Mobile for the ride
into the City.

The bus was crowded because Evan, with Hans, Herman and Edvard invited
themselves to ride along, and he invited JC and John while he sent Billy to
fly a load of guys on Black Widow so it would also be in the City if
needed. There was a brief delay when Fang the statue decided to accompany
the warriors and his son Spot. There was no shortage of licensed drivers
this trip, but it was disconcerting to be forbidden to touch the steering
wheel since Squeak with Spot's assistance thought that he was the most
expert in driving Cat Mobiles even though his first attempt was `homemade'
out of a ship container and it didn't possess an engine or steering wheel
or even have wheels. Spot stretched his bulk on Freckles' sofa facing
forward, and Squeak stretched out on Spot's back and neck with his chin
resting comfortably on Spot's head, so he could see the road ahead while
looking over David's shoulder, the man in the driver's seat.

"Okay Evan, the old gang's all here with laptops in case they're needed, as
instructed, what didn't you tell Bucky about the email?" Doug began.

Evan sighed, "I said there was a leak and there was; my antiquities and
furnishings buyer sort of disappeared and he took the advice that Charlie
and I always give you guys; he took all kinds of valuable, sort of portable
stuff with him. We think he used it to finance this heist," he
concluded. "He was the one who monitored Grandfather's junk emails. Bucky
gets a lot of those emails too. My guy is a geek who loves antiques, which
is why Grandfather hired him. He's in the unique position of being able to
spend my money to buy what he wants. Recently, he's been furnishing the new
Castle Falconburg in South America. I emailed him to watch for some really
beautiful, very rare items that may have been found originally in `Lost
Atlantis'. I think he found out about Sea Song's load of artifacts because
I was hinting that I wanted to be in on the bidding. Lots of people in my
organization know about the theft of some from the warehouse and the pawn
shop fence."

"Or put another way, you were the leak, big mouth, thanks a lot," Buck
concluded what Evan was trying to say.

Evan shrugged noncommittally, which for him would be like pleading `no
contest' in court, before continuing; "Well, the asshole was last seen here
in the U.S. assembling a load of stuff to ship to the castle in
Columbia. What he was doing was buying the stuff and then reselling it
right away, spread out on EBay, Craig's List and Penguin." He gave a few
examples, "Like he bought all the appliances for the kitchen and sold it
all piece by piece. He advertised, `still in the box', and the furniture
went the same way."

"I'm confused," Doug admitted, "How could this guy finance this heist by
selling a refrigerator, a stove and a bunch of old junk furniture?"

Evan rolled his eyes while Buck giggled and shook his head in wonder. The
two little billionaires explained that a high end, completely equipped
restaurant kitchen was far more extensive than his mother's kitchen at
home. Buck pointed out that he and Doug had been cautioned a number of
times about referring to Victoria's or his mother's furniture as junk, at
least within their hearing.

"Oh yeah," Doug remembered what he'd forgotten when a car horn blared from
the Cat Mobile's right rear and continued from directly behind the bus when
it changed lanes suddenly.

David turned on the backup camera in time to see a driver raise his hand
and direct his middle finger at the back of the bus uselessly. Squeak and
Spot saw the motion too. "How rude," Squeak commented, "can this brave
warrior return that signal to that rude driver? He has been changing lanes,
attempting to gain a better position in what is called bumper to bumper
traffic and now he seems to be trapped by this Cat Mobile and a semi-truck
on each side."

"How would you return the rude gesture?" Bani asked.

Spot grinned to show his approval of whatever Squeak proposed as the Cat
Mobile's engine coughed mightily and the backup TV screen turned black
briefly until the bus inched forward 20 feet while the tailgating car
stopped and no longer looked like a car. It looked like a mass of black
running tar. "That was well done," Bani congratulated Squeak, "but what did
you do?"

"As everyone knows the fuel for all these machines is made from oil. I took
the liberty of changing a small quantity of this fuel back into the
original substance by rearranging the molecules and carefully shooting it
from Cat Mobile's asshole," Squeak explained with a cherubic smile.

"Asshole, didn't you mean exhaust?" Buck wondered.

"That is what Tara Squeak said," Spot defended Squeak's semantics.

The laughter from the Cat Mobile was interrupted by Medi mind-speaking Buck
about the size of the Trenton townhouse that had not been otherwise
described. That question got Buck giggling about the question. He couldn't
help laughing in mind-speak during his answer; "I heard Dad mention that he
was very pleased that you failed to check out of your suite at The
Plaza. Your generosity in spending $10,000 dollars per day to keep the
Royal Plaza Suite is greatly appreciated according to Dad, especially now
during the holiday season. Some of us can move in there, even you, since
all of your and Sean's stuff is still there," Buck concluded.

"But, but, I say, no, I am quite sure I checked out," Medi protested, "or
perhaps Sean did." (He prayed someone did.) "There is no way my father can
find out about this expenditure. Every time I anger him, he mentions one of
my younger brothers as his possible successor."

The Family's first stop was the gallery to meet Bill and Ethan as well as
touch everyone's mind and look at where the treasures once were
displayed. All the gallery personnel had been assembled for the informal
meet and greet and all were quickly eliminated as suspects. Predictably,
none of the Penguin people had the slightest interest in meeting Spot, so
they ignored the humans, including the Cat warriors, including one
well-dressed little boy who turned out to be delighted to wear modern cloth
coverings and had become the ultimate `clothes horse' in a very short
period of time. This adventure was Squeak's first opportunity to wear
clothing, other than his school uniform, in public.

"Perhaps we should follow the truck that contains our treasures?" Squeak
suggested using mind-speak.

"Can you do that?" Several boys asked at once.

Squeak shrugged, "We were forced to travel in a truck box for a great
length of time, so we should be able to follow this box's signature."
Squeak said as he mounted Spot. Cat and boy headed for the gallery's main
entrance where the Cat Mobile was parked.

"OH NO YOU DON'T," Will shouted at the odd couple, "David will move the bus
to the back of the building where you should have entered
originally. There's a huge crowd outside who want to see the giant spotted
cat exit the building," he warned. Squeak had been proud to lead the
convoy directly to the Penguin gallery without error after the boys
hurriedly explained the novel concepts of one-way streets and stop
lights. And of course he and Spot were the first off the bus before anyone
could stop them.

The buildings' imposing main entrance, two sets of locked doors, unlocked
and opened in time to allow the visitors to enter the lobby where the last
puddles of water were being vacuumed thanks to over-helpful, Great Cat
Fang. While there wasn't much that would cause New Yorkers to pause in
their haste to get where they were going as fast as possible; Great Cat
Spot wearing his school tie and eyeglasses was one of those rare incidents.

"Do you mean I was recognized?" Spot asked. He had been forced to wear his
school uniform, his tie and glasses since he had no other clothing unlike
humans, although he did ask Chief Bucky's mate, Victoria, at morning food,
if she would fashion some other neckwear that would be suitable for after
school hours so he would blend in with the other boys of relevant
age. Everyone seemed to forget that he was a teenager too, ignoring the
slight differences between species.

Between Squeak and Spot's tracking ability, the semi-truck's trail ended
abruptly in the Port of New York's piers where thousands upon thousands of
semi-trucks arrived and departed constantly. Everyone could see rows of
massed stacked shipping containers and in the distance the actual container
ships that were being unloaded or worse, loaded, with one among thousands
that contained the treasure. Try as the odd couple might, they could not
sense the location of the missing container.

Spot and Squeak sent urgent pleas for Peter and Freckles to return home
post-haste. Time was of the essence; the stolen treasure could be shipped
to any country in the world to any port city and from there into a very
private collection, never to be seen again.

"We're on our way," Peter himself responded, "and believe it or not,
Freckles fixed up Kermit so we're traveling at Mach 2. You guys will have
to meet us at Newark with the Cat Mobile. I have no idea if I can help," he
qualified, "but Fang insists I can because I seem to be what he calls the
Finder. I don't know how or why this happened but it sure is fun. See you
real soon," he concluded, and then with a giggle, he added, "Spock out..."

Buck and Doug looked at each other and grinned, "He must be the
reincarnated Ancient Finder," Doug said, "He's getting more like Freckles
every day."

"I heard that," Freckles himself interrupted from 35,000 feet, somewhere
out over the Atlantic Ocean so Kermit could continue to break the sound
barrier.

"How rude, you eavesdropper!" Doug accused with a laugh.

######

Once again my thanks to Emoe for his very fine editing!


HAPPY READING!

Jamie


 

 

 

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