Eureka Kats 3:
Felines and Canines, Oh My
by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M and M/F sex
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file
Taggart looked up at the full moon from a clearing outside his bunker, watching the clouds drift across it.
"Tonight's the night," he said quietly to himself. "I can feel it...." He listened to the sounds of the night air, crickets... cicadas... the creatures of the night, calling out to those around them. It was a wholly natural sound. People like the Carters didn't know how to enjoy nature's serenade... just as well they lived in S.A.R.A.H., where they wouldn't be inconvenienced by the simple little things in life.
Taggart, on the other hand, enjoyed it. A half-grin spread across his face as he heard a distant howl. This was a sound he enjoyed even more than the normal ones.
The cry of the wolf meant that tonight, the hunt was on.
He grabbed his tranquilizer rifle from where he'd set it, and started tracking the sound.
"Tonight, we'll see which of us is the better hunter," he told himself with a grin.
The forest was dark, but his night vision goggles gave him sight at least as good as his quarry's. It likely had better hearing, but he had knowledge of the forest that came from much more experience than this wolf that only visited a couple nights every few months. It was smart though. It had eluded every trap he could come up with, even the poisoned bait left out to tranquilize it and the cameras designed to capture its image.
Tonight, he was at least going to see it. He'd found a deer earlier, fresh roadkill, and hauled it away from the road where it would be safe for his prey to eat. That was where he was going now; no tricks, no traps, just the food, and he'd be watching it from downwind.
A cool wind nipped at his nose, the first real hint of fall coming to the rich green woods of Eureka. He could smell many of the creatures around him. One in particular caught his attention. A light musk, canine, came on the breeze. There was a familiar edge on it too, one he couldn't identify.
Slowly, a shadow emerged from the darkness. Large, powerful ... the size of a large Grizzly but decidedly not ursine in build.
"What the devil?" He asked himself quietly, raising his tranquilizer rifle to his shoulder and settling in, hoping for a good shot. He could figure out what the Hell this thing was after it was down.
Its head shot up and looked directly at him, and it froze, its thickly furred body trembling.
Very slowly, he pulled the trigger on a perfect shot to the flank. It yelped and jumped, startled by the pain, but just as quickly twisted around to grab the barbed dart in its jaws and pulled it out without any regard for the damage.
Taggart watched, setting up for a second shot as it wavered on it's feet a bit before it turned on it's tail and ran, howling a half-panicked call for help.
The hunter followed, chambering the next dart, not sure if he'd get another shot but not willing to let his quarry go this time either, not now that he knew there was something strange going on. There was no way that animal was normal. No canine in the last twenty thousand years was that big.
The trail of blood soon disappeared, leaving him where he usually was, with few tracks and no other evidence.
"Blast," he muttered to himself, dropping to the ground and trying to see what he could pick up of the tracks he could see. Or if the wolf would try howling again ... either would give him an idea of where to go next.
It seemed to know that though; knew how close it had come to being captured. It had gone silent and into hiding. Even when dawn broke misty and cool Taggart hadn't given up, though he knew as well as his prey that it was over.
"One of these nights, my furry friend," he muttered to himself, shouldering his rifle and starting back towards his home, honestly glad to have the day to get some sleep. "One of these nights...."
Chance mumbled, his awareness foggy as always when he first started to wake up. Still the knowing touch that had roused him gave him little to complain about.
"Mmm ... not already at work today?" He asked Jake with a deep, throaty purr as he reached around to rub his mate's back.
"I wanted a little fun before burying my head in someone else's design nightmare," Jake nuzzled him and continued to fondle the tabby's filling sheath.
"I can live with that," Chance rumbled deeply, scritching his way down Jake's cinnamon-furred back to the hot spot just above his tail.
"Ohh, you're going to get me off before we start," Jake shivered in delight and shifted to leave his back and ass within Chance's reach while he put the tabby's groin in reach of his mouth.
"Turn around, and we can do each other the favor," Chance grinned down at him and eagerly nuzzled his mate's groin when it came into easy reach. He wrapped his arms around Jake's hips, stroking the spot above his tail and his tight, furless pucker. His rough tongue washed over the heavy, fragrant, furry pouch holding his mate's shaft.
The shiver of pleasure was exciting, but so was the hot wetness of Jake's mouth as one of his balls and the gentle tongue that worked it around that wet heat.
Chance groaned softly, his shaft sliding out as he shifted up, lavishing Jake's balls with attention, licking and suckling at them lightly, occasionally letting his teeth graze the downy-furred sacs.
"Ohhh, yeah," Jake shuddered, his hands tightening around Chance's hips before he shifted his attention to the full erection near his muzzle. He took his cock into his mouth and slowly licked the musky length, getting off on the scent and taste nearly as much as what Chance was doing to him.
The tabby moaned again, taking Jake's cock in his mouth as he started purring deeply, suckling the throbbing treat and teasing Jake's barbs with his tongue. He pressed a finger into Jake's ass, stretching him out a bit and teasing him all at once with what was coming next. He thrust up as he felt Jake's throat relax open to take him in and relished in the familiar feeling. As often as he still slept with females, every year he appreciated this, a long-term lover, all the more.
Jake took him into his throat, and Chance's purr quickened as he started bobbing his head up and down his mate's length, lavishing him with attention, trying to get him to come as quickly as he could. He slipped his finger in a bit deeper, finding Jake's prostate with practiced ease. It was a simple thing to get the lean tom off when he wasn't resisting.
With a shudder Jake tightened his body around the intrusion in his ass and thrust forward, his balls pulled close to his body as they readied to empty themselves.
Chance pulled back a bit, keeping his mate's shaft about half-way into his mouth, still teasing his barbs with his tongue as he groaned and pumped his own seed into Jake's throat. He knew his mate would hold back and drink his come down before letting himself go.
It was a quirk that always left Chance hungry for his mate's orgasm when they were together like this. He groaned, panting heavily through his nose as he finished, his warm breath puffing over Jake's balls while his tongue and mouth continued to work Jack's cock until it twitched and surrendered the first burst of gooey seed into Chance's mouth.
The tabby swallowed the thick, bittersweet juices easily, stopping purring only long enough to swallow. He let Jake's shaft drop from his mouth, reaching down and taking his arm, pulling him up carefully for a deep, hungry kiss that let each taste the mingling flavors of their seed.
"I'll never get tired of that," Jake melted against his mate's broad chest, purring deeply.
"Don't think I will either," Chance rumbled. "Mmm ... and you ever gonna get tired of this?" He asked with a grin, pulling the cinnamon-furred tom's arms up above his head and rolling on top of him, kissing him possessively.
"N-no," Jake gasped, arching against the powerful form on top of him in open desire, spreading his legs in invitation before he melted completely in trembling submission that brought his body to life in a way little else could.
"Mmm ... good," Chance purred deeply, spreading Jake's legs further and shifting to drive his cock up into the painfully willing tom beneath him with a groan of pure lust. He grinned and began to pound into his lover with the full knowledge that Jake relished this even more than he did.
Jo Lupo groaned and shuddered in aching, cramped pain as her alarm clock's incessant beeping dragged her to the waking world. Her entire body objected, and the foggy, violent nature of her dreams made her even less agreeable to getting up. Still she managed to get herself out of bed and forced her reluctant body to her bathroom.
She looked into the mirror with a groan, leaning against the back wall as she realized that her body was streaked with mud and leaves. She winced as her thigh pressed back against the wall and leaned forward quickly to look down where she spotted a streak of blood on her leg beneath a small cut that had already healed. Must have cut herself on something during the night.
She viciously slammed down on the part of her that instinctively began to question her current state when she had fallen asleep in her bed and woken up there. She was really not in the mood for this. Especially with a new sheriff who had no idea what was going on, even after months here. She was tired of being the one who had to clue him in.
Just damn tired of it.
"So call in sick, Lupo," she muttered to herself. "He's done it, and damnit girl, you are sick today."
She just wished it was that easy. But of course it wouldn't be. After all, she could still do her job. If something came up today that she needed to handle?
Like bodies in the woods, maybe....
She shook that line of thought out of her head. Third bigfoot was down, that problem was dealt with and there wasn't anything else in the woods that would kill somebody. Nothing known to have escaped, at least, and those two felines were hardly killers, for all they were definitely capable of killing. Much like her, really.
She turned on the water and washed her face off quickly. She'd feel better after a long shower to wash all this away. Not that anything could wash all the thoughts from her mind the way it could wash the evidence of whatever had happened from her body, but long enough and she'd settled her rebellious thoughts.
Still sore in body and mind, she took a painkiller that could only be had in Eureka, and only if you asked the right people the right way, and got dressed.
"Ah, crap," she snarled as she glanced at the clock and realized she was already late for work. Carter would already be there. He'd never let her hear the end of this and she was in no mood to deal with him or his mouth.
Okay. Breakfast after she got there. Coffee after she got there. She wouldn't be too late if she just hurried....
She pulled her jacket on, holstered her gun and headed out into the living room... and groaned again as she saw the broken picture window, glass littering the floor.
"Why doesn't somebody just shoot me already!" She muttered in exasperation. No time to deal with this now... but she couldn't just take the chance of leaving the house completely unprotected. Nothing seemed to be missing... she must have forgotten to set the alarm the night before, and some animal had tried to get into the room. The mud on the carpet supported it, along with a few tufts of dark fur she saw laying around.
Yeah. That must have been it. Perfectly logical explanation for everything.
She quickly moved a couple of the motion detectors for her alarm into place, so it would go off if anybody tried to come in through the window. She'd call in to get it fixed while she was on her way into town and everything would be perfectly normal by the time she got home.
She was still stewing, her ill mood only worse despite the pill and her own efforts. It was almost enough to make her miss that Carter opened his mouth to say something, then shut it was an almost audible snap. All she could manage was to be grateful for small miracles and pray that they held until her temper broke and she felt vaguely normal again.
"I'll get it," Carter said and snapped up the phone before she'd even fully realized it had rung. He made a few brief affirmative sounds, then looked up at her. "Fargo again. I'll go put out the fire."
"Right, Sheriff," she nodded, for once grateful he was leaving her out of it.
She spent the next hour or so working on reports rather pleasantly, actually. It was a touch of normalcy her day needed very badly. She looked up briefly when she heard the door open, just long enough to register that it was the Sheriff before getting back to work. She looked up again when she heard a quiet tap on her desk, looking up to spot a small bottle in a bag, and Carter quickly making his way across the room to his desk.
She looked at him, her brows quirked, and glanced in to identify the plastic bottle of Midol inside and tried to keep her jaw shut.
Damn man. Utterly clueless.
But he'd tried. Even if he didn't have a clue but he was trying to look out for her.
That had to be worth something.
Dr. Marie Moreau watched the new arrival working on the Harrier with distinct interest from a nearby doorway. The young woman brushed a lock of blonde hair back as Jake worked, his long, fluffy tail occasionally twitching irritably as he ran into one thing or another that was more troublesome than it should have been. She decided to head in and talk to him while she was still officially on her lunch break, rather than waiting for him to be finished.
"How's it going?" The slender young woman asked him, approaching the jet from the side, where she hoped he could see her without having to get up.
"It's going," he answered without moving to look at her, a mixture of irritation and satisfaction in his tone.
"Any interest in lunch?" She asked him, her tone friendly. "If you're like most of us here," she chuckled, "you probably haven't eaten since before you came in this morning."
He pulled his head out of the space he was working in and looked at her. "It's lunch time already?"
"Yep," she chuckled, holding her hand out to help him out if he wanted it and was both pleased and a touch surprised when he accepted it. "About one, actually. I got a little distracted too," she winked, something about her eyes just a little off compared to what Jake remembered seeing from most humans.
It was her scent, now that he got a full nose of it, that held his attention though. She smelled very good, like the best parts of home.
He shook it off and activated his holo-belt before smiling at her. "Cafeteria?"
"Sounds good to me," she smiled back. "Assuming nobody managed to burn it out yet," she winked as they started out. "Any idea how much longer the jet'll take you?" She asked curiously.
"Most of a week," he answered. "Chance has a flight scheduled for it then. From there, it depends on what he says about it."
"Who's Chance?" She asked him curiously. "I don't remember any test pilots by that name."
"He's my partner," Jake grinned, something decidedly affectionate in his human expression
"Oh, the other one who came with you," she smiled. "Well, I hope he does well with it. That thing's been a pain in the tail for decades, from what I've heard."
"VTOL always is," Jake chuckled and let himself relax, breathing in a scent from home and the best memories there. "What are you into?"
"Sorry," she blushed, extending her hand to him. "Dr. Marie Moreau, bioengineering. I've been here long enough, sometimes I forget that the new guys didn't have me growing up around 'em," she admitted sheepishly.
"Jake Clawson," he grinned and shook her hand. "Aeronautics, engineering, weapons, gunner, general Jack-of-all-trades."
"Well, nothing bio in there, so you won't put me out of work anyways," Marie grinned back. "So, you really come from a planet of cat-people?" She asked with an enthusiastic edge to the normal curiosity he was getting used to from people who saw him.
"Cat-people, Kats, dog-people, Kantin, and otter-people, Muslid, are the main native races," he nodded. "There's also a smattering of others from crashes, accidents and summoning."
"Wow," she murmured, thinking about it. "Must get pretty interesting, huh?"
"It is, though not so much because of the races," he kind of shrugged. "Aristal as a world has about the same level of chaos as Eureka does. This place is actually a vacation. First time in over a decade we haven't been on call twenty-four/eight."
"What did you do back home, that you were on call like that?" She asked, guessing it was an eight-day week.
"Emergency response team," he told her. "Anytime something came up that the Enforcers, the law-enforcement/military of MegaKat City, couldn't handle, we did."
"What a waste," she sighed, then caught herself and blushed. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean.... Just stuck my foot in it, didn't I?"
"Yeah," he looked at her oddly.
"I didn't mean to say that what you were doing wasn't important," Marie said sheepishly. "It's just a shame your world couldn't put you to use in R&D somewhere instead."
"I tried that, industry wouldn't have me," he shrugged despite the bitter tone in his voice.
"Idiots," she muttered as they reached the cafeteria. "So, going to be heading back once you can, or sticking around here for a while?"
"We haven't decided yet," he admitted as they got in the short line.
"Well, I hope you do decide to stick around for a while," she smiled warmly, starting to pull together a large lunch fairly heavy on fish, meat, and with a large glass of milk.
Jake just nodded, not at all sure what to make of her lunch, or how to respond to the statement. Of course, it might well have just meant that she liked fish and meat, but it seemed like a lot compared to what even the big males were eating.
"So, how's your day been so far?" Marie asked easily as he got his food together and they went to a nearby table.
"Short," he chuckled. "It seems like I just started working on that jet. I wouldn't have noticed the time for at least a few more hours."
"And then you'd have been tired, hungry, and probably a little cranky when you got home," she winked. "If you'd like, I could come by while you're here, make sure you remember lunch?" She suggested, just a little hopefully he thought.
"If you want to," he ducked his head a bit. "And yeah, I probably would be, but Chance is used to it. He usually has to drag my tail away from work anyway."
"What's Chance like, anyways?" She asked, eating her lunch a little slowly as they talked. "He seems pretty important to you," she smiled.
"He's my partner," Jake said simply, then realized he was talking to someone who didn't understand what that really meant. "We've counted on each other, and only each other, for our lives for our entire adult lives in thousands of battles over the years," he paused to take a bite of his burger and think. "In special ops, you either know your teammates well enough to finish their sentences most days or you're dead. We managed not to die."
"Well, that covers why you're so close," Marie murmured. "You like him, beyond just being partners?"
"Yeah," he smiled fondly. "We're mates too."
"Oh," she said, blinking for a moment. "Well, you must like him then," she smiled back. "So what is he like?"
"Pretty typical flyboy hotshot with a good heart," Jake smiled, his mind drifting off and his face showing it. "He likes to play down how smart he is, and I kinda make it easy for him to, but he's a bright kat. Very, very sexy too," he purred deep in his chest, only catching on after he caught a curious look from another table.
"Sounds like you're in love," Marie told him with an amused smile.
"From even before I knew he wasn't really into guys," he nodded slightly. "For all it's what eventually changed his mind, at least about me, I'm still not sure it was worth having him that broken," Jake sighed and stared at his meal for a lingering moment before going on. "We were quite a pair back then. I was just starting to work out how to live again and he'd just lost everything he cared about. Never thought I'd be thankful for having the city losing a war."
"What happened?" Marie asked softly, giving him a little prompting to continue.
"Gave us both something to focus on besides just how screwed up our lives were," he almost chuckled. "I had a jet to build out of a salvage yard and he had some promise of getting back in the air as a goodkat again. It wasn't the Enforcers, but it was enough," he twirled a claw threw his soda. Despite being invisible, it left a trail in the dark liquid just below his fingertip. Suddenly he looked up ducked his head a bit. "Sorry, I'm blabbering. It's not often I get to talk about SWAT."
"That top secret?" she asked, not quite able to put together the pieces yet.
"You could say that," he chuckled dryly. "We were vigilantes. Wanted criminals for protecting our city. We both would have preferred a badge to a mask, but we couldn't turn away when she needed us so badly."
"Did you at least get credit for what you did, behind the masks?" She asked him gently, sure that it was something important to him.
"As the SWAT Kats, yes. It's hard to refute what the big news reporters manage to air live on a regular basis," he nodded slightly. "No one knew the SWAT Kats are us, though."
"And that's what hurt about it?" she guessed. "The downside, at least?"
"Not sure whether it was that, or being a criminal for it that was worse," he half shrugged. "I've kinda gotten used to the idea. Chance never has, probably never will either. Thirteen years ..." he shook his head. "We've been SWAT for a long time now. Longer than we've been anything else, really."
"Maybe it's time for a change?" Marie suggested gently. "Things sound like they're a lot different here."
"Maybe," he nodded. "There's a hell of a price to pay for that too. We'll never be able to go out as ourselves, at least not outside Eureka. We're both young enough that kits are possible if we aren't killed first. We gave a lot to a world that might not survive much longer," he said softly. "A chance for us to have a better life might well cost more lives than I can count back home, including a few we really care about."
"Him or her?" she asked curiously.
"Hu?" Jake looked up, startled and a bit confused.
"Who you left behind."
"Her," he chuckled weakly. "Two hers, really, but one ... Felina ... we really did try to make a go at a triad. It worked too, until the secret we couldn't talk about just got to be too much. Dating the Enforcer second-in-command when you're a wanted vigilante isn't that easy on anyone. Still miss her though."
"And no way would anybody approve a plan to bring more of your people over here," Marie acknowledged. "Well... okay, might be a way, but it'd probably take more coincidental mental breakdowns than anybody'd buy," she chuckled a little weakly. "If they'd even want to change worlds. Sounds like she probably wouldn't, I'm guessing?"
"Not a chance," he shook his head. "She might be generally willing to look the other way for folks who break the letter of the law for the greater good, but there is no way she'd abandon Aristal, or her family."
"There's another question to ask, about going home then," she pointed out. "Would you want to bring kits into a world you're not sure will last much longer? There... may be some options around here, after all."
"Sometimes I think they're the best hope we have," he shrugged. "Then I remember how poorly I get along with kittens."
For a moment, Marie stumbled mentally, trying to find a direction to take the conversation in that wouldn't be so depressing to him. She knew full well that she'd started taking it that way, and it was at least partly her job to fix that.
Beverly would probably be working with him for months, if he stuck around that long.
"So... how do you like the food here?" Marie asked him, knowing it was a lame direction to take the conversation, and a painfully obvious change of topics, but having a devil of a time finding any other way to take it that was safe.
"Disturbingly like home," he quite willingly took the opening. "There was more difference going back in time than there is going to another world. It's kinda weird."
"Well, if everything's made roughly the same way," she mused. "You're adapting to the differences pretty well then? Or are you just used to getting shifted from one world to the next?"
"Not many differences to adapt to, and a bit of the second," Jake admitted with a rueful chuckle. "Between visiting the Dark Ages, the age of dinosaurs, a future gone decidedly wrong and an Aristal where we really were evil in one year, we kind of learned to roll with it pretty well."
"Whoa," she murmured, trying to think about all that happening so quickly to just two people. "That's pretty impressive. Intentional?"
"The future gone wrong was, kind of," he nodded. "The time mage who set it up to have the Metallikats take over in the first place came to us to take them out when they double-crossed him. The rest were accidents of one kind of another. Not always mine, either."
"And what about showing up here?" She asked, cocking her head slightly in a gesture so familiar to him it was almost funny to see it from a human.
"Probably not my fault," he grinned sheepishly. "That dragon that came in with us was one the PastMaster, that time mage I was talking about, summoned. I'm fairly sure we didn't go through one of his vortexes, but we didn't have any new gear on board either. I fixed the glitch in the dimensional radar that sent us to the alternate Aristal years ago."
"Dimensional radar? What would that be?" Marie asked, glad to find a topic that should have been fairly safe.
"You know what radar is, right?" he began and got a nod. "We'll it's an upgrade I designed," he paused when her beeper went off and cocked his head, waiting for her to answer it.
"Oh damn," she hurried to her feet. "I'm late for an appointment, and so are you."
"Hu?" he blinked and stood with her. "It's three already?"
"Yes, come on. At least you can't be too late, right?" She grinned sheepishly at him as they disposed of their trays and hurried down towards the bio-tech labs.
"You're the one doing the exam?" Jake asked as they moved through the halls.
"Part of it," she confirmed. "We don't have any baselines for your species, so I'll be handling what we need to at least have a good guess if what we're reading from the two of you is in normal ranges or not."
"I can give you a pretty good estimate too," Jake told her. "I'm not a doctor by an stretch, but we've had to take care of our own injuries long enough that we both have a good idea what we want to see."
"That'll help a lot," she smiled. "But let's see how close I can get with what I've already got," she winked as they reached a large closed door. "Oh, and don't worry, I won't be handling the actual physical exam or anything, just the information from it," she ran her ID card against the scanner panel and it slid open for them. "Sorry we're late, we got distracted over lunch."
"I expected as much, once we saw he wasn't with the Harrier," an older man smiled, looking at Marie and Jake as Jake turned his holo-belt off. "Dr. Jean Moreau, Marie's father. I've already met your partner, Chance," he said, nodding towards the tabby. "Marie, if you could go suit up?"
"Sure thing, Dad," she said cheerfully, heading off into the next room.
"Hello, Allison, Taggart," Jake nodded to the other two humans in the room and walked over to his partner to squeeze his hand and press close. It was more of a public display than usual, and one that Chance was really getting to like.
"By the way, we need to talk about something once we're home tonight," Chance murmured quietly to him.
"All right," Jake looked at him worriedly, but quickly put it in the back of his mind to focus on the exam he was decidedly not looking forward to.
"Could the two of you remove your shirts, please?" Dr. Moreau asked politely. "If you'd like Marie or Agent Blake to leave the room before you have to strip for anything, that can be arranged."
"I don't mind," Chance shrugged and stripped his shirt and undershirt with a bit of flair meant to show off his body to the two women in question. Jake wasn't nearly as comfortable, but his shirt came off quickly and without complaint.
Marie came back in a moment later, giving them both a brief, appreciative look before wheeling in the large cabinet she was going to have to use.
"Okay, I just have to get some baselines for the two of you before we can keep going with the exam," she explained. "Would you like me to go over how the machine works?" She asked as she pulled out the sensors, removing the adhesive pads and replacing them with small clips that could go onto their fur, familiar with the fact that some patients preferred to know just what she was up to, especially after the word 'bioengineering' came up in conversation.
"Yes," Jake said firmly, eyeing the device. Neither his partner nor Marie believed he didn't already understand at least half of it.
"We'll hook you up first then, hmm?" She smiled, waiting until she had a nod to get started. "It's similar to any other biological sensor; it picks up heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and a number of other readings. The computers in the cabinet collect the data and put it all together. Ideally I'd have more than just two of you to take readings from; then the statistical package could come up with a set of true baselines, or at least a reasonably safe range, for your species.
"As it is," she continued, "it's programmed to take your readings, the information I give it about the two of you, and extrapolate a set of reasonable assumptions, based on human readings with a bit of a feline influence." She fastened the second sensor into Jake's fur, near his chest, pressing the probes against his skin. "You two don't have any pre-existing conditions that you're aware of, do you?"
"No," Jake shook his head, answering for both of them.
"Smoking or drinking?" She asked, going over to the machine and taking a look at the readouts. "What's your usual heart rate, in beats per minute, Jake?"
"Don't smoke, drink occasionally," he told her, then did a bit of mental math. "About fifty-five, but it's there now."
"Wish I'd managed to talk Deputy Lupo into volunteering for my readings," Marie murmured as she fiddled with a few things. "Could you confirm that, Dad?"
"Where do you normally take a pulse?" The older Doctor asked Jake politely.
"Throat is the easiest," he pointed out the large blood vessel to the right side of his windpipe. "Base of the ear and wrist are secondary."
"Human norm," he murmured with an approving nod, pressing his fingers against Jake's throat and watching his watch. "Fifty five," he nodded, looking over at Marie.
"Got it then," she nodded. "Any clue what's normal for blood pressure and temperature?"
"50/96 and a 104 degrees," Jake told them. "At least I think that's the right translation. Again, what you're reading is going to be at least close."
"Fahrenheit, gotcha," she nodded, flipping a switch. "Glad I don't have to be worried about that; that's high fever and going into shock ranges for humans. Normal for you, or species norm?"
"Species norm," Jake told her. "Below 101 or above 107 are generally considered dangerous."
"110 is when we start looking at a hospital option," Chance added quietly, the memory of such an event still too fresh in his mind despite its age.
"We'll make the note," Dr. Moreau nodded as Marie took a few more readings.
"I'll have to see what I get from Chance, but I think I'm mostly done for now," she offered.
"Would you be more comfortable wearing sensor pads for a day than taking a full-on physical?" Allison asked Jake as Marie unhooked her sensors.
Both of them considered it. Jake nodded.
"That's an option?" Chance looked at her in surprise.
"Many relatively important people around here wouldn't be working if it wasn't," she said with a bit of a smirk. "A full physical is a preferable option though; it's more thorough, better chance of catching anything. And I'm not sure what the pads would do on your fur," she admitted.
"Can you walk on these pads?" Jake asked her.
"It would be much better if you didn't, but...." She glanced at Marie.
"Given you are a new species, we really should get as much information as possible," Taggart pointed out. "I wouldn't want to go into surgery with only what the sensor pad gives."
"No, but it would dramatically cut down on what we need to check in the full physical," Dr. Moreau said.
"Might throw off some of the readings, but the worst that happens is we have to wait a day or two before giving them a regular physical," Marie shrugged. "We could do the full physical in pieces too," she added after a thought. "If you'd rather just do a few tests a day."
"Sounds good to me," Chance nodded quickly.
"Shoes off then," Marie said easily, pulling out another set of pads as the guys sat down and pulled off their shoes and socks. "We'll get what we can, at any rate. Just going to want to be careful about baths for the next day or so."
"We will," Jake promised.
"Is there anything we shouldn't do while we're wearing these?" Chance asked, raising an eyebrow as Marie carefully fixed the pads to the bare skin on the pads of Jake's right foot.
"Dying is frowned on," Dr. Moreau chuckled. "Car crashes... plane crashes...."
"High-g-force test flights," Marie added more seriously. "At least at this point."
"I try to avoid those anyway," Jake murmured.
"I'll keep it to a dull roar," Chance promised with a quirky grin. "There isn't one scheduled for a few days anyway."
"I'd also lay off the alcohol, medications, or other sorts of chemical additions to your body that aren't normal food," Marie added, putting them onto Chance's right foot next. "Best to avoid anything that would influence the readings abnormally."
"Which means stay off the race track," Jake snickered. "We'll behave."
"You're just taking all the fun out of life," Chance pouted, though he wasn't seriously upset.
"Well, in that case, unless the two of you want to go through a few tests now you can be on your way?" Dr. Moreau offered as they got their socks and shoes back on.
"Just let me get the basics on Chance and we can let them go," Marie piped up.
"All right," the tabby nodded and held patiently still while she attached the sensors to him, ready to go through the same rigmarole Jake just had.
"Zoe!" Jack called out to his daughter as S.A.R.A.H. closed the sealed door to the bunker behind him. "We have company for dinner tonight."
"Really?" She called back excitedly. "So you asked them?" She asked him, coming out of her room with a hopeful grin.
"Yes, and they're coming over," he said, already questioning the wisdom of the choice once again. "So go put on something appropriate for guests."
"Okay," she said cheerfully, heading back into her room to change.
Carter shook his head, heading off to change on his own.
"Are we having guests tonight, Sheriff Carter?" S.A.R.A.H. asked politely as he changed his shirt.
"Yeah," he told the house, groaning a bit as he stretched out. "Our two new arrivals, Jake and Chance."
"What should I make?" She asked him, not having anything in her databases about them or what they'd like.
"Steak and potatoes," he decided after a thought.
"Ribeye, t-bone, porter -"
"Not that picky, S.A.R.A.H.," he laughed, shaking his head, then pausing for a minute. "Not the t-bone though. There's a pun there, not sure I want to risk encouraging Zoe in that direction. Just... whatever you've got that can grill up fairly soon, they'll be here in a half-hour or so, maybe."
"All right," she said agreeably, quieting down and starting to prepare dinner.
"And how are we doing on milk?" He asked her as he changed into a clean shirt and pair of pants, not entirely sure what they'd end up wanting to drink, but wanting to make sure it was available.
"We'll need more the day after tomorrow, Sheriff," S.A.R.A.H. informed him.
"Good," he nodded to himself and headed downstairs to decide if he needed to send Zoe to change again.
Fortunately, she'd changed into something appropriate; casual, but not so casual that it might be a problem. Not like they were going for a black tie affair, but sometimes her idea of 'ready for company' was a little loose and far too revealing.
"So it passes muster?" she half teased.
"Yes," he nodded.
"So when are they coming over?" she tried not to bounce too much.
"Any time now, assuming they didn't get sidetracked by something," he said.
"C'mon, Dad, what would they get sidetracked by around here?" Zoe laughed, shaking her head. "Sounds like they'd be more at home in L.A. than around here."
"Probably, except that they actually think this place is a vacation, trouble-wise," he shook his head and sat on the couch. "I really don't want to think about that too much."
"No kidding," she admitted. "So, how'd things go today?"
"The impossible happened, Jo got to the office after I did," he half chuckled. "Otherwise, fairly dull."
"Wow... she okay?" Zoe asked, honest concern in her voice. "Not sick or something?"
"Nothing serious, I don't think. Reminded me of your mother in a really bad month. I didn't really feel up to asking with that look on her face," he admitted.
"Scary day, huh?" Zoe said, trying not to think about it too much.
"Yeah," Carter admitted. "So, your day?"
"The usual," she shrugged, then looked up when the door bell rang. "S.A.R.A.H., door," she called and ran up to greet their guests.
"Hi!" She said enthusiastically as she met Chance and Jake just inside the door.
"Hi, Zoe," Chance said, looking around the place. "You guys live in a bunker?" He asked curiously.
"Self-Actuated Residential Automated Habitat actually. S.A.R.A.H. for short," her feminine voice corrected him politely.
"Don't even think about it," Chance glared at his wide-eyed partner.
"An AI house?" Jake nearly squeaked. "You have AI houses?"
"Yes, Jake," S.A.R.A.H. answered. "Though I am currently the only one."
"Jake," Chance said with a warning tone. "I don't think they'll appreciate you trying to turn our place into one if we stay here...."
"You're just still sore about when I put one in the TurboKat," Jake crossed his arms. "She was right and you know it."
"I will not have inanimate objects back talking me," the tabby snapped back, though their 'argument' didn't fool anyone. "Especially not the house."
"C'mon, think about how much easier things would be," Jake pointed out.
"Just be careful about programming over old AI's, if you do do it," Carter said, heading into the kitchen. "How do you guys like your steaks?"
"Medium rare," Chance answered.
"Medium for mine," Jake added. "Unless that's that special Japanese beef I read about."
"Are you kidding?" Carter chuckled, shaking his head. "Vincent might be able to get his hands on that, but this is good old fashioned black angus. Even the American version's not easy to find, surprised you'd know about it," he said conversationally. "What's everybody want to drink?" He asked, grabbing a beer for himself as S.A.R.A.H. started preparing their stakes.
"Look up 'domestic meat animals' and it's on the list of specialties," Jake grinned at him. "What fruit juices do you have?"
"Orange, apple, cranberry and apple cider," S.A.R.A.H. answered happily, delighted to have such interesting, and interested, guests.
"Orange juice for me then," Jake decided.
"Do I smell beer?" Chance looked at Carter's drink hopefully.
"No alcohol, remember?" Jake countered.
"Yeah ... umm, soda or milk?" He asked.
"Physicals, huh?" Carter guessed, bringing out two bottles of cola, one for Chance and the other for Zoe as S.A.R.A.H. brought out a glass of juice for Jake.
"Thanks," Jake took the glass.
"Yeah," Chance shrugged slightly, taking the bottle. "Thanks. It's a major pain."
"Makes the Enforcer version seem easy," Jake chuckled and leaned against the side of the couch. "But they knew what they were dealing with too."
"Yeah, I'll be that's weird," Zoe agreed. "By the way, I know about you not being from around here...."
"I think Zoe's hinting that I should let you know you can turn off the disguises," Carter chuckled, sitting down. "That's one secret that I don't think is going to last too long around here, really, assuming it still is one. Dinner should be ready pretty soon."
"Right," Chance chuckled and clicked the device off to reveal his rich striped fur, which Zoe proceeded to ogle, right along with Jake's when his illusion turned off. She wasn't alone in appreciating the tabby's natural appearance either.
"Surprised?" Chance asked with a bit of a chuckle.
"Only a little," she murmured and reached out to touch an exposed arm. "So soft."
"Only sometimes," Jake purred softly.
"Watch it, Jake," Chance chuckled, blushing a bit as Zoe petted his fur and he reminded himself that there were any of a dozen different good reasons not to flirt with her. Not the least of which was the older human nursing his beer across the table.
"Zoe, he's not a pet," Carter reminded her, keeping a sharp eye on how much tolerance his guests had left to being poked and prodded ... or petted.
"Don't worry, I think I'd better get used to it," Chance chuckled. "After all, any time I'm not wearing my gloves and shake somebody's hand they'll find out."
"I know, Dad," Zoe blushed a bit, pulling her hand back. "It is soft though," she smiled at Chance a bit shyly.
"So's he," Chance grinned at his partner.
"Dinner's ready," S.A.R.A.H. chimed in.
'Thank heavens,' Carter thought silently to himself, getting up to grab the plates. "Chance? Could you help me out with these?" He asked the tabby.
"Sure thing," Chance said easily, getting up and following him to the kitchen. "You have a very spunky kid," he added when they were in relative privacy.
"Yeah, sorry about that," Carter chuckled. "She's... quite a handful, a lot of the time," he admitted. "Means the world to me though," he added, glancing at Chance as he handed the tabby his plate and Jake's.
"I know the feeling," he smiled back at Carter. "Really. She's not a problem. I like spunk."
"Had a feeling you would," the Sheriff chuckled.
"Mind if I ask a personal question?" Chance asked.
"Shoot," Carter shrugged.
"Is her mother...."
"Living back in L.A.," Carter said easily. "The usual story when one person's in law enforcement and the other isn't. Especially when the one who is gets assignments that span the whole country sometimes."
"Ouch," Chance winced. "Sorry 'bout that," he said sincerely.
"We both knew what the deal was when we married," Carter half-shrugged.
"Yeah, same here. It doesn't make it any easier when it falls apart," Chance told him. "At least your daughter knows who you are."
"Yeah, and at least I know she's mine," Carter nodded, both of them knowing that neither of those was always a safe bet. "C'mon, let's get back in before Zoe tries to see if Jake likes being scratched between the ears," he chuckled.
"A lot," Chance chuckled. "Along the jaw too. He'll melt."
"Thanks for the tip!" Zoe called out to them with a grin, though she was visibly not testing it out.
"Zoe," Carter groaned with a warning tone, handing her plate over with a well-done steak, mashed potatoes, and some veggies on the side.
"Who'd actually object?" Jake piped up even as he sat at the glass and black wood dinning room table.
Chance laughed and reached over to scritch his jaw after sitting down. His eyes shone with amusement and a very real adoration of the lean tom that trembled slightly at the touch, then closed his eyes and relaxed into it.
"Her father, maybe," Chance chuckled with a wink. "Now, c'mon and eat, this looks too good to let it get cold."
"Mmm, true, and smells good, but you owe me the rest of that tonight," Jake grinned at him.
"Deal," Chance chuckled, giving Jake's shoulders one last scritch before starting to cut up his steak.
"So, you two are an item?" Zoe asked as she worked on the mashed potatoes.
"For almost thirteen years now," Chance nodded, then cut himself off from saying something more. "Later," he said softly to Jake's curious look.
"Okay," the smaller tom said with a bit of a shrug. "This is good," he said approvingly after taking a bite of the steak.
"Thank you, Jake. Are you all right, Chance?" S.A.R.A.H. broke in. "You're heart rate and respiration have increased noticeably."
"I'm fine," he insisted.
"You'd think he was going to propose," Zoe giggled between bites.
"I'm not that wound up," Chance objected. "Not nearly. If it was that, I'd probably be fainting," he chuckled.
"Gee, thanks," Jake muttered in mock-indignation, swatting Chance's shoulder lightly.
"You two are so married," Zoe rolled her eyes.
"You spend seventeen years with somebody, you will be too," Chance smirked at her. "Just you wait and see."
"As if," she scoffed. "So, how do you guys like it here?"
"It's not bad," Chance said. "Speed limit sucks, it's kinda cold, food's good, people are weird in a good way," he shrugged. "It's not home, but it's not a bad town."
"Sounds about right," the teen agreed. "Have to show you some of the less-weird places some time," she grinned.
"I don't suppose you know what channel runs cartoons?" Jake asked with a teasing grin.
"Eureka receives Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Nickelodeon, PBS Kids Sprout, Noggin, Nicktoons Network, all Disney channels, several international channels, as well as many networks that air them at particular times," S.A.R.A.H. offered.
"You're a cartoon junky?" Carter asked Jake a little incredulously.
"No, I am," Chance chuckled. "Just glad we don't have Litterbin around here," he smirked back at Jake.
"Litterbin?" Carter raised an eyebrow.
"A guy who thinks he's a comedian talking to people who really ought to have better things to do with their lives and cracking bad jokes about current events."
"Wanna bet he's close to Letterman?" Zoe giggled.
"I'll look it up," Jake winked at her.
"Well, that proves it, guy's a plague," Chance groaned, though there was the tone of an obvious old 'argument' between the two Kats about it. "He's even infected other worlds."
"S.A.R.A.H., is there a cartoon called Fraidy Cat?" Jake asked.
"Yes, Jake. If Chance likes it, he will also likely enjoy the various Scooby Doo series and movies, as well as Tom and Jerry and several related cartoon of the seventies and early eighties," S.A.R.A.H. suggested.
"Well... maybe it's not a total lost cause," Chance chuckled.
"Okay, I am officially afraid," Carter shook his head.
"Don't worry, he's not the one who invents stuff. He just drives it," Jake grinned.
"That's what scares me," Carter chuckled.
"Hey, it could be worse, I could be looking to be your next deputy," Chance smirked.
"I give it a month, tops," Jake smirked. "You'll be bored out of your skull otherwise."
"Trust me, Eureka does not do boring," Carter chuckled. "But you're probably right about it being better for him in test piloting."
"Yeah, sounds like you guys don't need a pilot working around here too much," Chance agreed. "Though if you need somebody to run a chopper for you, just let me at the testing first and I'll get the license easy. If we stick around," he added.
"Just don't be surprised when you find the TurboKat responding to police calls," Jake chuckled. "It's seriously old habit."
"Please try to give us some warning first," Carter said seriously. "You don't want to know what Jo would do about that sort of thing without it."
"I think I already do," Chance pointed out. "We'll call in the response."
"Oh I don't mean trying to shoot you down," the Sheriff chuckled. "I mean when she reads you the riot act afterwards. Woman can be downright mean when she wants to be."
"Sounds like Felina," Jake snickered. "And I seriously doubt Jo can top Feral for screaming about us, or at us. He's had a decade and a half to perfect his outrage."
"Yeah ... she might have a few new takes on it though," Chance chuckled. "Don't worry though. I don't want to get her mad at me either, especially not after seeing her at the target range."
"Ditto," Jake nodded. "Though we'll probably manage anyway. It seems to be our luck, right along with making things work."
"Better with machines than authority figures, huh?" Zoe asked, at least somewhat sympathetically.
"More my problem than Jake's," Chance admitted.
"More about incompetent, self-righteous authority figure problems," Jake elaborated.
"Is there... sorry," Zoe said, blushing and glancing at her Dad, catching herself.
"I'll assume you were thinking of Stark's approach to law enforcement, and we'll call it even," Carter chuckled, the four of them settling into small talk about current events and the differences between their worlds for the rest of the meal.
"You don't plan on staying," Jo sized Jim Taggart up when she opened the door to her home shortly after dark.
"Well, I hadn't been," he admitted a little sheepishly. "There was something queer out last night, and it's usually only around here a few nights every few months," he explained, hoping she'd take it well. He knew from her expression that it wasn't going to be so simple, but she stepped back and motioned him in.
"I was hoping you'd stay tonight," she said a bit more softly than usual.
Now, there were some people in town, the Sheriff included, who tended to think that Taggart was more comfortable in the woods, hunting his impossible creatures, than he was with people. To a certain extent, it was even true.
However, not even he was dense enough to miss that she definitely wasn't happy with the idea of him leaving - or to think that he shouldn't find a way of changing that.
"Well, I suppose I could let the bugger take the night off," he said with a half-way grin, chuckling a little as he followed her in. "New window?" He asked, glancing at the large picture window as he recognized something a little different about the room.
"Something crashed through it last night," she shrugged even as he began to sniff at the scent of a hot meal. "Left the place a mess, but nothing else."
"Wolf?" He asked, looking over at her curiously.
"I wouldn't think so, but I didn't see it," she shook her head. "Somehow I managed to sleep through it."
"Ah," he nodded slightly. "Must've been quite a shock in the morning. Why didn't you say anything earlier?" He asked her.
"I called it in before work and a crew had cleaned everything up by the time I got home," she shrugged and went into the kitchen to bring out the main plate of spaghetti and meatballs. "It's not that big a deal, really."
"All right," he acknowledged, letting it rest and taking a seat as she did the same. "Dinner smells great," he offered, switching the subject.
"Thanks," she smiled and served them. "Why do you think it might have been a wolf? They don't live around here."
"Oh there's one that does," he said seriously. "That's who I was out hunting last night. Big one too... bigger than she ought to be, by quite a bit."
"Think it might be from Global?" Jo looked at him seriously. "And just how big?"
"Something like this, they'd have told me if it had gotten loose, and it's been coming around for years now," Taggart said seriously. "Besides, not that many folks who'd be creating something like that since ... well, for a while now. And you're going to think I'm crazy, but what I saw last night was the size of a grizzly, a large one, easily."
"Maybe somebody's pet that keeps getting out? The Moreaus are prone to creating animal oddities even more than you," she pointed out even as her stomach turned over. "Though you're right. Anything that big escaping would be brought to your attention, and mine."
"Could be... suppose I might ask Jean about it next time I'm up there," Taggart admitted, half-mangling the name despite his familiarity with it. "More his style than Marie's."
"She's more level headed that he is," she chuckled. "I doubt she'd have created a 'pet' like that, especially not years ago."
"Nah, she wouldn't have been up for it years ago," he chuckled. "Besides, think she's more a cougar type of girl than wolves. Whatever it is, the strangest part's the timing ... full moons, always, but only every few months. If I didn't know better," he chuckled, "I'd think it was a werewolf or somesuch."
He caught the look on her face, one she wiped away quickly enough he almost doubted he'd seen it.
"You know those never existed," she told him firmly.
"No more than vampires or kitsune," he agreed with a bit of a shrug, wondering about the look but leaving it alone. Probably just a trick of the lighting. "Stories had to come from somewhere though, and I know there's something out there."
"Something sure, but not a human that turns into a gigantic wolf," she scoffed at the idea. "It's much more likely to be one of Moreau's pets that escapes and come home every so often. It'd hardly be the first one. Remember that deer with wings he had us chasing around a few years back?"
"Cervidae Haliaeetus. Don't remind me," he shuddered. "Putting corn up on a pole in the dead of night and waiting with an industrial net .... And no, nothing that ridiculous. Just some species that's big enough folks started tellin' stories... like how folks used to talk about a critter that was part camel, part leopard, then we found out it was just the giraffe."
"True," she nodded between bites. "Must be fairly clever if it's eluded you for so long."
"That she is," he nodded, remembering to eat his own meal before it went cold. "Almost had her last night. Managed to hit her with a tranq, but she pulled out the dart and shrugged it off. Have to try something stronger, now that I know how big she is."
"This long and last night was the first time you saw it?" Jo looked at him in surprise. "It must be pretty smart. Were you able to tell anything else?"
"Dark, but nothing unusual," he admitted. "Doesn't seem to be too aggressive - she ran instead of attacking me. Tracks weren't quite right for a wolf's, even one that big, but that's the only other thing I could tell. And smart enough to avoid every trap but bait with me watching it downwind."
"That smart means it'll probably be a lot more wary next time," Jo put her mind to work on it. "Have you tried drugged bait?"
"Three different types, smelled it each time," he admitted. "Even one that Lojack fell for once, and that says something. Should have another try tomorrow night though."
"Maybe we'll go out together," she suggested. "I'm as good a hunter as anyone in town."
"You'd be welcome," he said seriously. "'Course," he chuckled, "if she was what broke your window last night, we might have another visit yet."
"You know where I keep my weapons," Jo reminded him. "Might want to bring your rifle in tonight, though."
"You know, I think you're the only person who'd make that offer and not be joking," he smiled.
"You mean someone else has said it?" she raised an eyebrow with amusement in her eyes. "When does it usually come out?"
"Not that I ever remember," he chuckled. "And usually not for a couple more hours."
"Mmm, that means we have some time to fool around before we need to worry about it," she grinned at him.
"Mmm... and still a night to go if we lose track of the time," he grinned back.
"Thanks for coming over," Zoe said as Jake and Chance climbed into the truck they'd driven over. "Maybe some time I can introduce you guys to the clubs around here," she grinned.
"Thanks for dinner, it was great," Chance smiled, starting the Thunder Truck. "And maybe you can; we'll have to see, I guess. Have a good night, both of you!" He said cheerfully before pulling out.
"So, what do you think of 'em?" He asked Jake after a minute or so.
"He's pretty cool for a cop," Jake chuckled. "Zoe's just a bundle of energy. Watch out for her in a few years."
"Tell me about it," Chance chuckled. "She does not act like somebody her age back home."
"No kidding," Jake shook his head. "Though can you imagine having to wait until you're eighteen to fool around?"
"Eh, I've got a hunch the rules are different with kids your own age, but I'd have to look it up and it's not like I count," Chance shrugged. "Can't see 'em putting two people in jail for doing something they both enjoyed with each other that didn't involve anybody else. Can you believe they stuck another three years on top of that before drinking?" He laughed.
"That's ... talk about over-controlling," Jake shook his head. "But they will put consenting adults in jail, or did until very recently. One of the biggest political battles right now is over banning same-sex marriage and other rights. They only took interest in the same gender off the psychological illness books a few years ago."
"Great," Chance muttered. "The nuts out in the boonies became the norm, I guess. At least it doesn't seem to be like that around here. Something for us to think about though."
"Yeah, it is. Other countries ... some are worse, a lot worse, some are better, but none of the governments are exactly friendly. Still, as far we we're concerned, not being human is going to be our biggest concern," Jake leaned back and watched the scenery. "The thing about staying ... once I figure out what got us here, we can leave whenever we want. Next week, or next decade. Can probably even come back."
"Unless it takes the Past Master to do it... in which case, it's probably a moot point," Chance admitted. "Different topic for a bit?"
"Sure," Jake nodded.
"Well... I was thinking," Chance said as they drove away. "No cracks," he added with a smirk for his mate. "But... if we do stay around here... we wouldn't have to hide some things as much anymore. Might even be able to exchange collars?" He suggested, hoping to get Jake's general feel for it.
Shock was the first thing that came across, loud and clear, as Jake stared at him with his mouth open a bit.
"You ... you're serious, aren't you?" Jake finally managed.
"Yeah," Chance said, knowing that now wasn't the time for a joke. "I mean... the only reason we didn't before was because we didn't want anybody to trace 'em if we were spotted with them on as SWAT... wasn't it?"
"I ... no," Jake murmured, still largely in shock even as his brain started to kick into gear. "We could have just taken them off with our civvies," he glanced over at the tabby, his gaze lingering as he assessed this new information that countered much of what he thought was going on between them. "I never thought you'd want to."
"Only reason I never brought it up was because of SWAT and 'cause I figured you would if you'd wanted to," Chance admitted, keeping his eyes on the unfamiliar roads as much as he wanted to look over at Jake. "Jake... you do know that I love you, right?" He asked. He didn't say it as often as he should have, he knew ... he'd just always figured that it didn't really need saying.
This reminded him of just how dense Jake could be about that sort of thing, for being a smart kat otherwise.
The silence that lasted just a little too long was an even stronger reminder. The devotion that asked for nothing in return was a blessing, but it could drive him crazy at times too.
"Honestly ... I try not to think about it much," Jake admitted, his gaze out the truck's window now. "Brings up too many questions I don't know if I want to know the answers to."
"Try me some time," Chance said softly, gently. "I do love you, Jake. Wouldn't have been with you this long if I didn't," he pointed out. "Not the way we are, anyways."
Jake kept his eyes on the dark trees, or rather, kept them on something other than who he was talking to.
Chance could see out of the corner of his eye what was going on. He'd watched it before, just never directed his way as far as he knew. His partner was chasing something in his mind, weighing risks and rewards; the possible outcomes and what they meant.
He hated this part of dealing with Jake. That analytical mind turned to analyzing emotions and personal repercussions. There wasn't a damn thing he could do about it either. Not anymore. Once that process started it couldn't be stopped.
How the hell could he have known that suggesting collars would bring up this?
Even worse, how could Jake possibly believe they were mates for any reason other than love?
It was enough to drive Chance crazy sometimes.
"How could you change what you are?" Jake finally asked, still not looking at him, his voice low and honestly at a loss. "You've never been into toms, you still aren't."
"Jake... maybe I wasn't that into toms, but it doesn't mean I'd never looked at 'em before," Chance pointed out. "I just like fems better, usually. Besides... you're not just another tom," he said seriously, deciding to pull off at a wide spot along the shoulder, turning to put his hand on the other tom's shoulder. He felt the trembling that the darkness concealed.
"You're my partner, my lover, my best friend, brilliant, and damned cute," he said with a slightly awkward smile. "What's not to love? What I can't get is how you ever thought I'd call you my mate if I didn't feel like that for you."
"The other half of what I don't like to think about too much," Jake shrugged and looked away, but this time he was looking away from himself. "I still can't understand why you do. I just know I never want it to stop."
"Ah, Jake," Chance sighed, leaning over and wrapping his arms around the lean tom. "C'mere. You're thinking too much."
There was no resistance to the idea, in fact, Jake all but melted into the contact, more than willing to comply.
Taggart snapped awake to a scream of pain and the crashing of plate glass. He was on his feet with his rifle in hand before the howl split the darkness only yards outside the house.
The alarm came next, screaming through the night as the delay time to turn it off expired.
"Damn it," he swore, grabbing his boxers and looking around for Jo. She wasn't there ... she might have gone after it already.
Or it might have grabbed her, for some reason.
He hurried out into the front room, grabbing Jo's radio from the table as he got out as carefully as he could. The wolf was already gone... he started out, turning on the radio as he hurried to track it as fast as he could, keying it up and trying to reach Sheriff Carter.
"Carter," his sleepy voice answered reluctantly.
"Carter, this is Taggart," the tall, thin man explained quickly and quietly. "We've got a giant wolf of some sort, just broke into Jo's place. Either she's following it, or it's got her, either way we're going to need some help."
"Right, on my way," Carter sounded fully awake now. "Alert anyone else who can help."
"With this thing? She's already out there," Taggart said seriously, sincerely hoping he'd catch Jo not too far ahead, on the bitch's trail. "I'll leave the radio on, track me down with that." He hooked it onto the waistband of his boxers, entirely unconcerned with the fact that he was mostly naked. He stopped by his truck to grab night vision goggles and two straps of extra ammo and a couple combat knives.
Then he headed for the side of the house where the glass was broken out, absently noting that most of the fragments were on the outside and moved on, following the trail of blood.
He wasn't too surprised when the trail stopped, not this time. He was able to follow the tracks more easily though, familiar with the subtle difference between his quarry's and a real wolf's.
Unfortunately, it meant he had to slow down to find them... meaning that he was probably falling behind the wolf, and the woman he was sure was following it.
"Josephina, one of these days you'll bite off more than you can chew," he muttered to himself.
He heard the sheriff approaching long before the other man's light was visible in the darkness. Carter was a lousy hunter, even if he was a good shot.
He just hoped the Sheriff wouldn't tip off the wolf they were coming.
"Okay, that was not something I needed to see," Carter groaned to himself as he saw Taggart and fell in behind him, not bothering to ask any more questions as they moved through the forest.
Chance shivered in his own excitement as Jake's cock throbbed hot and hard beneath his fingers and he moaned his pleasure and surrender without reservation. No matter how screwed up Jake could get when he tried to understand people, no matter how many doubts he might have about his mate's reasons, there was no doubting how willing he was. It was the one thing Chance never had to worry about. He'd seen Jake when the attention was unwelcome. He knew where he stood.
He kissed him, deeply, moaning into his mouth as his own shaft strained against his pants, stroking Jake's lightly.
"Mmm ... think the bed of the truck's clear enough?" He asked with a deep purr.
"Y-yes," Jake moaned as he pressed up into Chance's hand shamelessly. "Don't really want to move," he added breathlessly.
"Don't have to, yet," Chance grinned, stroking a bit faster, tightening his grip. "Mmm ... but you won't fit in my lap over here," he winked, wrapping his other arm around Jake's back, trying to make him come as quickly as he could.
"Ohhh," Jake's body trembled, then stiffened as he thrust into Chance's hand, his breath hot and fast as he let his head roll back and came with a deep, throaty moan.
"Mmm ... that's a good kitty," Chance purred, kissing Jake tenderly. "C'mon now," he grinned. "In the back, and we'll see if you drown out the dogs out there," he winked as they heard a howl, off deep in the woods.
"You know you can make me," he grinned lazily as they separated enough to get out of the truck, only to have Jake swept up in Chance's arms for the short walk to the back of the tow truck.
"And is that an excuse not to try?" Chance winked, lifting his mate up into the cold, hard bed of the truck, climbing up himself, undoing his pants and straddling Jake's hips, kissing him hungrily. "Mmm ... remember, if anybody asks, no rules against extreme PDA back home," he grinned.
"This far outside town, it's true," Jake shuddered in anticipation and spread his legs even as part of him was tracking the rapid approach of the howls.
Chance was about ready to press into him when the two of them were interrupted by a howl that was practically on top of them. They looked in its direction just before a massive wolf looked up above the edge of the truck, down at them, holding onto the edge and actually physically shifting the tow truck as it snarled at them.
Chance's claws were out in a flash, and he swiped at the huge beast, leaving four long, ragged scratches down the side of its muzzle and across its nose, blood spattering his fur and the side of the truck even as Jake scrambled backwards to grab a blaster rifle in a hidden compartment of the tool box.
Jake got off two shots, aimed squarely at the monster's chest as Chance dodged a swipe aimed at decapitating him that ripped the tow truck's hoist off instead.
"Holy shit what is this thing?" Chance swore, moving around to grab a second blaster as the wolf dropped down, deciding to flee rather than deal with the advanced weapons that actually hurt it.
"One big fucking wolf-monster," Jake answered as Chance pulled up his pants and Jake scrambled towards the cab to get his own.
"Who's there?" Sheriff Carter's voice yelled out at them from the forest in the direction the beast had come from.
"SWAT Kats!" Chance yelled back even as both he jumped down from the truck bed to join the hunt. "It's hit and hurt," he added as Jake was pulling his pants up.
"What is?" Carter asked as he and Taggart came out of the trees.
"One big fucking wolf-monster," Jake repeated and tossed Chance his Glovatrix.
"Okay, what is it about half-naked men tonight?" Carter sighed, shaking his head.
"Was Jo behind it?" Taggart asked, ignoring the two tom's state of undress.
"No," Chance asked, he and Jake quickly getting their clothes back on. "Wasn't anywhere near it."
"Must've gotten lost in the woods then," Taggart murmured, deeply disturbed by the idea of Jo losing such a loud target. He just hoped she'd lost it, rather than having been hurt no signs of a fight, or of her being injured. He just kept reminding himself of that.
"Then let's follow the blood while we have it," Carter got them all moving again.
"Where'd you hurt it?" Taggart asked on the run.
"Claws across the face, two blaster shots to the chest," Chance told him with a motion towards the weapon Jake was holding. "Didn't slow it down."
"You're lucky Jo wasn't here," Carter half-chuckled as they started following Taggart. "She'd have skinned you for it, once the thing was down."
"Shh!" Taggart scolded. "Got to focus." Before long, the four had disappeared into the dark forest, leaving the damaged truck alone by the side of the road.
The blood trail didn't last long, the smell of burnt fur not much long even for the two kats, and then they were back to tracking by footprints.
"Do we know what this thing is?" Chance asked Carter as Taggart and Jake worked the trail.
"Besides big and mean? No," he shook his head and they fell silent again, both made uneasy by the lack of howls. It meant that their quarry was either going to ground to try to avoid detection, or had decided to hunt them.
"We're about to lose it," Chance warned Carter some time later. "River's up ahead."
"If it crosses ahead of us, we might as well just turn back, start looking for Jo," Carter told Taggart. "Not like it'll be able to tell us where she is if we do catch it."
"It's never attacked people before," Taggart said worriedly. "We have to capture it soon, before it decides town might be a nice to place to go."
The sound of something moving through the water up ahead greeted them, saying clearly that the tracking was about to get much, much harder.
"Damn it," Carter muttered. "Taggart... look, I understand you want to get it, but tonight I don't think we're going to be able to. Somebody has to try and find Jo; if she's hurt, we need to find her ASAP. We'll put the word out in the morning, let people know that there's something in the woods they have to watch out for."
"We have blood, let's at least go collect that," Carter broke into the growling and cursing of the two hunters. "Taggart, you and Henry can analyze it, see if we can come up with anything useful on this creature. Maybe we can at least come out next time with something that can take it down in one shot."
"He's got a point," Jake sighed. "If a heavy blaster rifle didn't even phase it, we have got one hell of a problem."
"All right," Taggart acquiesced, honestly more worried about Jo than the Sheriff was. "We'll go back, get the blood, and look for Jo... once we find her, we can start looking again."
"Right," Carter nodded as the group turned around and began to backtrack through the woods.
"Just how much large animal life is around here?" Jake asked Taggart.
"How large?" he asked.
"Jo's size or larger. The TurboKat has infrared scanners and a fairly good ID program. With an idea of what to look for, I can probably find her from the air. Might be able to find that critter too."
"A lot. Deer, elk, bear and cougar are the main ones at this elevation. The farms have cattle, horses, llama, ostrich, and a smattering of others," Taggart explained. "Deer would be 95 percent of when you run across near her size off the farms."
"Might take a bit, but I can teach the scanner to differentiate her from that. Is there a temperature difference between a human and deer?"
"Yes, most animals have a higher body temperature," Taggart nodded. "You are also looking for a fairly small large mammal and the only biped that size. What we're hunting, almost nothing is that big around here. A large elk, but nothing built like she is."
"Nothing natural at least," Carter added.
"That wolf isn't either," Taggart pointed out.
"If you want the two of us to head back then, we can take the Turbokat out and try to find 'em both," Chance nodded slightly.
"That would be welcome," Taggart accepted quickly.
"We'll try and keep her as quiet as we can," Chance promised as they got back to the truck, and Carter collected a couple blood samples from the side of the truck.
"Thanks," the Sheriff said gratefully. "You've got it tuned to our frequency, so we can hear when you've found something?"
"Yeah," Jake nodded. "If we spot the big one, we should be able to put it down with a few cement slugs. It's not going to shrug that off."
"No kidding," Chance nodded seriously and looked up as the TurboKat came in and landed in the road.
The two kats climbed in, making sure they had the radio set up right.
"We'll be in contact soon," Chance promised as the cockpit closed and they took off.
"And I'll get one of these samples to Henry and meet you back by Jo's place," Carter told Taggart. "Ah... want me to bring you a coat or something?"
"I've got clothes there," he shook his head as the pair split up.
Jake groaned and stretched upwards as Chance closed the door to their house after a long and utterly fruitless hunt by air. "I need a bath, badly, and we still have something to go over."
"You don't need to make up your mind about collars right away, Jake," Chance reassured him with a light kiss. "But yeah, we both need a bath. How that thing managed to get away from our scanners, I have no idea."
"You don't want me to answer that," Jake smirked at his partner as they headed for the bathroom. "But what I wanted to talk about is Marie."
"What about her?" Chance asked curiously, pulling his shirt off while Jake turned the water on.
"Something in her scent is messing with me," he said simply and shrugged his clothing off while the large tub filled. "I've encountered it a couple times before, but the upshot is that I don't really shut up, even when I should."
"Well... it's not like we've got anything to hide from her, is it?" Chance asked curiously, moving up to give Jake a hug. "She already knows what we are, they know about SWAT...."
"Just warning you," Jake tilted his head to nuzzle him. "She'll probably learn a few odd things you wouldn't expect her to."
"Mmm ... I'll keep it in mind," Chance smiled. "Any idea what it is about her?"
"It's scent-based and very rare, but beyond that I really don't know," Jake admitted and tested the water with his toe.
"Hmm. Well, I wouldn't worry too much," Chance said easily, following Jake into the tub. "She did smell a little odd, for a human. That it, maybe?"
"Probably," he groaned as the hot water began to sink into his muscles. "I was something I paid more attention to back in MegaKat City, but even there it's been years and I recognized it before we started talking and got out of there. It's just something about a few people that makes keeping my mouth shut hard."
"Mmm ... well, I think it'll be fine," Chance smiled. "Think she likes you though," he chuckled. "She was definitely looking."
That raised an eyebrow as Jake leaned over to kiss him soundly. "I'll keep that in mind," he purred softly and ran his hands down Chance's broad chest. "But I think we were interrupted by the wolf in the middle of something much more interesting than talking about some female."
"Mmm... I do seem to remember something about a certain tom about ready to beg for me inside him, yeah," Chance purred, kissing Jake back and pulled Jake into his lap, the two of them quickly finding their minds on other things as the sun rose outside.
Taggart was exhausted, physically and emotionally, when he finally came back to Jo's house. Not a sign of her anywhere, or of the wolf. The two kats had given up, Carter was going to tell everybody to watch out... and he was coming back, to change and get his truck before going to look for her again.
A low sound from inside the house drew his attention there and instantly shoved his exhaustion to the back of his mind as he moved inside as stealthily as he could.
"Jo!" he gasped out in relief, shock and bewilderment as he saw her in her bed, struggling to drag herself awake. She had mud, leaves and blood all over her, but must noticeably in three long lines of red across her nose and cheek.
He hurried into her room, getting a cloth for her to clean up with once she was a bit more awake, hurrying back as she was just starting to recognize conscious thought. The cuts and marks worried him, but he could worry about those once she was aware of what was going on and not as likely to shoot him on reflex.
"Jim?" she mumbled as she looked up, confusion the ruling expression on her face. "What happened?"
"I was hoping you could tell me," he admitted. "Hold still, looks like you might be hurt. Need to make sure this blood isn't yours...."
She nodded and sat up, her entire body aching and let him tend to her.
He wasn't surprised that she was naked, really. She had been when they'd fallen asleep ... it was logical enough that she might have just pulled off the rest of her clothes before getting back into bed. But it didn't take long before that changed.
His breath caught as he cleaned the dirt and blood from her chest, spotting dead, singed flesh beneath it.
"Jo... what's going on?" He asked her softly, looking up into her eyes, concern for her in his eyes.
She looked at him, a bit of fear dancing in the back of her eyes before she controlled it. "I don't know," she admitted quietly. "I don't remember anything after we fell asleep."
"Somebody screamed and the window was broken again when I woke up," he explained. "Broken outwards. The wolf was out again, and you were nowhere to be seen. She came across Chance and Jake in their truck while I was tracking her; Chance got 'er with his claws, and Jake hit her with a blaster rifle... I think that's where these came from," he said, indicating the long streaks of blood on her face, and the dead flesh on her chest that sloughed off with a light cleaning. "Are you sure you don't know anything about what's happening?" He asked her softly.
She looked down, then towards the shattered window. "I don't remember anything," she repeated softly.
"But you know what's going on," he pressed.
She glanced up at him, her expression openly regretful. "I think so," she nodded. "And that's more than I should say."
"If you can tell me who to ask who can talk about it, that's all the more I'll ask for," he said seriously. He understood classified issues around here - you couldn't throw a rock in Eureka without hitting one.
Though something like this that would be classified beyond his clearance would have been pretty big.
"Stark is it, as far as I know," she told him seriously. "Others know, but he's the only one that can authorize you to be told."
"I'll talk to him then," Taggart said simply. "You should stay home today," he added, giving her a light kiss on the forehead. "If you feel half as bad as you look like you do. Carter was helping me look for you, he'd believe it if one of us said you'd gotten hurt going after the wolf and couldn't come in."
"A hot shower will fix most of what's wrong," she reached up and pulled his shoulders down to where she could kiss him. "So will something else."
"Mmm ... you should still call in, so he doesn't worry about you too much," Taggart chuckled, kissing her gently.
She hesitated, then looked at him and surrendered, just for now, to the hormonal insanity still surging through her body. "I will if you will."
"Promise," he nodded easily. He'd been planning on spending the day in anyways, to be honest. It wasn't as if anyone actualy checked on his hours as long as he got his projects done.
Jo nodded and lay back across her bed, her naked body an openly wanton, if messy, display for her as she reached for her phone and dialed.
"Sheriff ... yes, I'm going to be okay. I just got seriously banged up." She paused as he said something. "All right. I ..." she paused again. "I'll be fine, Sheriff. Really. I'm just going to rest for a while. I'll come in when the painkillers kick in well enough." She paused again as he talked. "I will, Sheriff, bye."
She put her phone back on the nightstand and looked down her body at the man standing just beyond it. "You have far too many clothes on."
"You and Carter have wildly different opinions about that," Taggart chuckled as he stripped down, climbing into bed with her and drawing her close to him, finally relaxing after the night's constant state of alert. He finally had some answers to a puzzle that had plagued him for years as well. Even with nothing really said, he knew how she had eluded him, and a good guess on why the visits were so sporadic.
"He's not your lover," she pointed out and kissed him hard, giving in to the drives she usually kept such tight control over.
'Thank the heavens above for that,' Taggart thought silently, kissing her back, not at all surprised as she rolled on top of him, taking control of the situation. It was something he got a thrill out of, privately, but right now he couldn't completely relax into his arousal. He could see, even smell, how close the wolf was to the surface. Still, as long as she was hungry for sex and not flesh, he'd indulge her. It wasn't as if his body was objecting to her touch.
He groaned as she sank down, taking his cock deep into her body before she leaned forward and caught his hands, entwining their fingers as she began to undulate, her surrender to her base drives all but complete.
He started thrusting up into her, enjoying the display of her gorgeous body, still streaked with reminders of her adventures of the night before. Even more than the physical pleasure, he moaned softly when it sank in how much she must trust him to let go like this with him. It brought an erotic edge to things he'd never expected.
"In so early after last night?" Marie asked Jake when she came up to him with his head buried in the Harrier jet's fuselage.
"I got enough sleep," he chuckled and slid out. "Lunch time already?"
"Yes," she grinned at him, her eyes roaming his body rather openly. "I thought we could eat in my office, talk, maybe get some of the exam out of the way afterwards."
"Sounds good to me," he nearly purred as her scent hit his brain. Like the previous day, he didn't back away; this time he could indulge himself the way he had always wanted to. "You smell very good."
"Thank you," she chuckled. "I think, at least. Is that a usual thing for kats to notice?" She asked curiously.
"More often than humans seem to," he nodded and fell in next to her as they headed out of the hanger-workshop. "I know I have a sharper sense of smell than anyone else here."
"Not surprised," she nodded. "Probably much better hearing too?" She guessed. "I don't suppose you could tell me what it is about my scent that stands out the most?"
"From what Allison said, significantly better," he nodded. "You smell like home. A little feline, but most just something that reminds me of home and good times."
"Well, that's unexpected, but not bad," she mused. "How are the scanners holding up for you and Chance?" She asked, switching topics somewhat abruptly.
"Pretty well, as far as I can tell. They haven't come off or anything, and they survived last night," he chuckled.
"M'kay," she smiled. "The data looked pretty good this morning, though there were a few unexpected spikes last night. The excitement that brought the TurboKat out?" She guessed.
"Likely," he nodded. "Having a giant wolf look over the side of the truck at you tends to cause a bit of excitement," he chuckled.
"Whoa... yeah, that'd do it," she nodded, not mentioning the guesses she had about what they'd been up to before and after the 'excitement' he'd mentioned. After all, some things just weren't meant for that sort of conversation. "At any rate, no surprise I'm sure but you seem to be in good health so far. So that's out of the way, at least ... what's the lifespan for kats?" She asked him curiously.
"Assuming I've done the conversion math correctly, about two hundred and five Earth years, for an average. It's a hundred and twenty on Aristal. At least for those who die of old age."
"Wow," she blinked. "So that makes you about... fifty or sixty, locally?"
"A few days shy of sixty five," he nodded, still a little shocked by the idea.
"Birthday coming up, or you're just that precise with your math?" She asked him, glancing over curiously as they reached the door to her office.
"Between the chronometers on the TurboKat and other gear, and the atomic clocks and computers here, I got it down to the second," he grinned at her.
"Aww, and here I was hoping we'd have an excuse for a birthday party," she winked. "Or is that not something you do back on Aristal?"
"It is, though Chance and I rarely did," he said as they walked into her private office. "It's not something Enforcers liked to think about. Each one meant our chance of dieing on duty had just jumped up a lot."
"Ouch," she winced. "Want that sort of thing to keep quiet around here then? Or don't mind so much, since it's safer around here?"
"After outliving the line by more than ten years now, it's kind of a moot point," Jake shrugged and sat down at her desk where two take out trays were. "We've been on borrowed time so long it hardly matters."
"It doesn't have to be like that anymore," she pointed out gently as they both opened up their lunches. "So, what sort of things did you two do when you weren't risking your necks for the city?"
"We try to make a living fixing cars," he shrugged. "And spend what we have to on keeping the gear and us in good enough shape that we see tomorrow. Chance finds the time to play video games and date, sometimes we watch TV. There really isn't much free time to speak of."
"Mmm ... so, what did you do before life got turned upside down?" Marie asked. "I'm sure you had some hobbies," she smiled.
"Mine was always designing things, especially jets. School took up a lot of my time, then feeling sorry for myself. Once I got into the Enforcers it was pretty much no free time. It just got worse when we were kicked out." Jake explained as he dug into the spicy noodle and meat creation on offer. "Though Chance keeps telling me it's because I don't want any free time, cause he manages just fine," he chuckled.
"Well, your idea of down time's a bit different from his too, from the sound of it," she chuckled. "Not that weird. Is there anything you've wanted to do, but haven't had the time to try?"
"Sometimes," he admitted between bites. "It's not the kind of wish list that really happens, though. Mostly unfinished business and old dreams, not things that really matter anymore. It's been a long time since I gave anything but getting to tomorrow much thought."
"Well, if you do decide to stick around, you might want to give it a little thought," she smiled. "Plenty of things to do around here, and time to do it in when you're between projects."
"I'm sure Chance will figure them out and drag me along for my own good," he chuckled softly. "He always does."
"Good for him," Marie grinned. "Maybe I'll take a page from his book some time," she winked. "Might be a few things I know of that are more your speed than what he'll find around Eureka."
"Probably," he chuckled. "Though he does a pretty good job, it's nice to have folks around that don't glaze over when I start to talk about my day."
"I think that's pretty much a universal truth around here," she smiled. "Heck, you even get it around the high school here sometimes," she chuckled, working on her own lunch, a light soup and sandwich. "You like the theater at all?"
"Movie or live?" he asked on reflex.
"Either," she chuckled. "Though they're both pretty different from what most people think of, around here."
"Given what I've seen so far, I believe it," Jake chuckled. "Is there usually much of a selection, or just the top sellers?"
"Pretty good, though the top sellers are always around here," she said easily. "We get a slightly better selection of sci-fi and monster flicks than most places. For some strange reason, they usually do pretty well here," she winked.
"That'll make Chance happy," he grinned at her. "The monster flicks at least. I like most everything."
"As long as he's along," Marie giggled. "For an old married couple, you are so smitten."
"Well, yeah," he ducked his head and blushed a bit. Marie giggled again; it was a cute look for him.
"So, think maybe some time I could drag you out, see what you think of some of the local flicks?" She asked him. "Just friends," she offered, not wanting to seem too forward.
"Sure," he smiled, honestly more than willing for any excuse to spend time with her and the scent that made him feel so good. "What kind of movies do you like?"
"I'm pretty much all over the board," she chuckled. "As long as it's got a plot that isn't totally ridiculous or just an excuse for special effects or people to spend the movie mooning after somebody. They're running the Star Wars series down at the theater lately; I was thinking you might like to start there. Generally considered the best science-fantasy movies ever," she explained.
"Certainly sounds like something I should see," Jake grinned at her. "Though after my life, the definition of ridiculous is radically different from most."
"Trust me, they've managed it sometimes," she said, rolling her eyes a bit. "I think my personal favorite for the 'what were they thinking' file is a movie that's just eight hours of a building in New York."
"Okay ... and what happened?" Jake asked, his mind going back to a couple different times when that could have made a hell of a show.
"Nothing," she said, realizing in a moment that he couldn't believe she was serious. "Well, okay, a light blinked every twenty minutes or so and about five times the director walked in front of the camera. Look up Empire, by Andy Warhol, 1964, some time. The guy was a pioneer of the mentality that an artistic movie had to be something that couldn't be stomached by mortal men and women," she shuddered. "The scariest thing is that places still screen it sometimes, for some insane reason."
"Okay ... that qualifies as weird," he shook his head. "Definitely not my cup of tea."
"Agreed, and I'd never subject you to that," she chuckled, finishing her lunch. "So, want to go through a few of the tests before you get back to work?"
"Sure, why not," he nodded and stood. "What first?"
"Something nice and simple," she chuckled. "We'll start with reflex time, eyesight, move on from there."
"So, Taggart, what brings you here?" Stark asked as the door shut behind the tall man and he turned his chair around to face him.
"Jo, and a project she can't talk to me about," Taggart said, cutting straight to the point. "Something involving wolves, and I suspect people turning into them."
"And this concerns me, why?" Stark leveled his gaze at him.
"Because whatever it is, it's not confined to the lab anymore... and I'd bet my job it was meant to stay there, at least on paper," Taggart said seriously. "You want me to start with what I know, or with what I'm damned sure I've got right, for reasons I should know about this?"
"You had better, given the clearance levels above yours where animals are concerned is next to nil," Stark pointed out even as he picked up a tablet and began the search for projects involving wolves that Taggart wasn't involved in.
There weren't very many of them.
"For starters, whatever it is, the creature's obviously not a normal wolf, it's a predator, and while it hasn't gone after people yet, it might. I suspect that, somehow, somebody here created a shapeshifter... werewolf, for lack of a better word. And unless Jo's faking amnesia very well, she doesn't know what happens when she's in another form."
And that narrowed it down to one. Josephina Lupo had only been the subject of one experiment, and it was a doozy, even by Eureka standards.
"Has she killed anyone yet?" Stark looked up, his expression neutral.
"No, thank God," Taggart said, rolling his eyes a bit. "I thought I should find out what's going on before that happened. She could have gotten herself killed last night."
"You have the security clearance to hear about the project," Stark told him. "What we do not have is the conditions under which either of us has a need to know about it."
"Hold on," Taggart said, somewhat incredulously. "You're telling me that you don't know about this project, or what's going on with it, either?"
"No," he put the tablet down on his desk. "It happened before my first tenure here. Right now, you know as much as I do, possibly more."
"And you can't tell me anything about it?" Taggart asked. It was believable enough... if it had happened right after Jo had arrived in Eureka.
Or right before she had.
"Can you at least find, or tell me, anything about how to keep her from shifting without controlling it?" He asked again. "If it'll take somebody dying before I 'need to know' what happened... I don't want to need to know."
"That makes two of us, and if she can't now, then there is no way," Stark told him. "Projects like this don't leave things running around loose in anything less than the best control possible. If she has not killed yet, she is unlikely to. She would have been running loose for, what, nearly a decade now, with no kills?"
"For three nights in a row, every four months or so," Taggart acknowledged, sounding distinctly less than happy with the situation. "Cross your fingers, Stark. Last night was the first time I know of that she's run into other people, and it nearly ended up going very badly."
"You might want to consider locking her away for her own safety on those nights then," Stark advised him. "Because if previous projects are any indication, all we are going to get out of the file will be how to kill her and keep her dead."
"I'll look into it," Taggart muttered. "I'll see you around, Stark. Hopefully not about this again."
"Agreed," Stark nodded and turned his attention back to critical business he could do something about as Taggart left to try and figure out just how he'd keep Jo from going out again in the night.
Eureka Kats 3: Felines and Canines, Oh My
NC-17 for M/M and M/F sex
Het Level is Medium Het Smut Level is Medium Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Medium Femslash Level is None Herm Level is None
99 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written October 8, 2006 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann
Setting: Eureka, SWAT Kats
Primary Races: Human, Kat, Were
Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M).
Pairings: Jake Clawson/Chance Furlong, Jim Taggart/Jo Lupo
Blurb: The hunt for a strange wolf that visits every few months heats up again, and so does a few other things.
Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.
Page Hit Count from October 8, 2006