Eureka Kats 9.99:
S.T.I.N.G. on the Loose

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M, M/F sex
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"So, how is Dr. Roberts doing?" Jean asked Marie as the two of them worked the next day, gathering data from each of the of animals that Marie was using in the Rebirth Project.

"Better. Once it was confirmed that it was fairly normal chemical burns, they were able to apply skin graphs and regenerative gels. She'll be down for a few weeks, but she'll recover."

"Ouch," Jean winced. "How bad...."

"Second degree burns at the most, mostly first degree," Marie answered easily. "I'm sure it was more painful than that for her, and will be, but she'll be okay... she's just lucky that Chance got to scrubbing that off when she did, or it would've been worse."

"Those two kats...." Jean shook his head with a slight chuckle. "They aren't particularly good luck over the past few weeks, are they?"

"A lot of it isn't coincidence," she muttered. "We've even proved that some of it isn't, though nothing big. I wouldn't put it past Melody from spiking the mix with capsaicin or something."

"If there's any evidence that that actually happened, I'm sure they'll find it," Jean offered. "There's always the remainder of her paints. So, how are you and your mother doing?" He asked, changing the subjects as the lights flickered.

"Global has got to get a handle on that," Marie grumbled as she glanced at the lights in ire. "We're doing better," she admitted. "I think she liked the engagement ring."

"That's something," he chuckled. "And at least it's not affecting the computers so far. So, you need any more help with the flutter-cat's readings before we move on to the next bank of cages?"

"No, she's ready to go back," Marie rubbed the young adult cat's chin until her eyes closed and she let herself be put back in her cage.

"You're doing well with her," Jean smiled approvingly, heading down to the next bank of cages. "Maybe I'll let you handle the big guy down he-" his voice drifted off when the lights cut out entirely, and there was a low rowl from inside the cage he was in front of. "Not good."

He felt Marie grab his wrist and pull him hard to follow her in the pitch-black of the windowless lab.

The lights came back on moments later, and he realized that all the cage doors were still unlocked as, moments later, the cougar he'd been about to check on burst out of its cage, running after them.

He turned to run right after her, the two of them rushing for the door to their shared lab, slamming it shut just in time for the powerful cat to hit it from the other side.

"If you can get the lock code in, now would be a good time!" Jean told Marie, only to realize she was already doing it.

"You call Taggart while I monitor the situation?" she suggested quickly.

Jean pulled out his cell phone... and found that there was no signal on it.

"You have a signal on your line?" He asked her, pulling out his PDA, which was giving nonsense responses to commands. "Damn it...."

"Mine's out too," she nodded and turned to the hardwired comm system for internal security, and got nothing.

"This is more than a glitch," Jean frowned. "Come on, let's try and get to Stark's office."

"Wouldn't outside be a better idea?" Marie countered. "We're not computer geeks or soldiers. This isn't the kind of thing we can help with."

"Stark's office is the best location to find out what's wrong, and the doors are in that direction anyways," he pointed out, starting towards the front of Global Dynamics complex that was several levels up as well as some distance away.

"All right," she consented and followed, her sharp senses on full alert, even as she desperately wished Jake was with them.

"Look on the bright side; at least this is the only level that should be breaking out," Jean offered as they waited for the elevator to open.

"Sometimes, you have too much faith in things turning out," she mumbled to herself, then squawked and dove to one side as the elevator doors opened to reveal a sizeable robot with an automatic rifle aimed at them.

"I'm also used to robots shutting down without power," he admitted, pressing himself against the opposite wall.

"Come with me," the robot ordered them in its mechanical voice. "If you resist, I will be forced to restrain you."

Marie made a split-second decision and bolted for the nearest door, sure it would be safer in her office than out here. Nothing living or robotic was in there.

As she came into sighed, the robot smoothly flipped a switch on its rifle, pulling the trigger. The darts it fired caught Marie as she ran, and there was a sharp crack of electricity as the taser pulsed thousands of volts through her body.

She heard her father shout something as pain faded into blackness. It was only just enough time for her regret her plan.

Jake was hard at work on the rebuilt Turbokat when he became aware that something was wrong.

The machines were all running. The power was back on ... Hell, the power had stabilized after the last outage.

The problem was that the various others sharing the lab with him had suddenly gone silent.

He carefully turned around inside the Turbokat's fuselage and peaked out. There were armed robots in the hanger holding various scientists and assistants hostage, but none seemed to have given him away yet.

Most of the robots started guiding the humans out, two more making the rounds of the lab, searching for any sign that somebody was hiding behind something.

"If anybody is hiding, come out. You will not be harmed so long as you do not resist," one of them called out. "The security systems will be put on full power once we leave and no such guarantees can be made."

Jake flicked an ear sideways and silently calculated the odds.

He'd have to take the near one out to have any chance of making it to his Glovatrix. It was going to be the first test of his ability to keep his reflexes and condition since settling down.

With silent care, he picked up a small laser welder and waited for it to look in his direction. A single motion send it into the robot's optic system, and a fraction of a second later he bolted for his workbench and the weapons it contained.

The second one turned, firing the taser setting on its gun and missing as Jake shifted to force it to twist to hit him. As he snagged his Glovatrix, he heard the distinct click of the robot shifting the rifle from its non-lethal setting to bullets.

"Halt, or I will be forced to shoot," it warned, though the last word was lost in an explosion as a mini-missile hit dead center on its body and blew it to pieces.

"Definitely need to get in better shape," Jake muttered and clicked the comm-link on his Glovatrix to contact Dr. Stark, Carter, Marie and Chance. "Robots are trying to take over my hanger. Who's still loose?"

"Jake? What's this about robots?" Chance asked, though nobody else answered ... not something that made him feel any better about things.

"GDHQ is going nuts. I'm going for Marie. Be ready to break us out. Try to find Carter." Jake got out in a hurry, not at all sure how long even his communications would last inside the complex.

"Right. Be careful, partner; I'll bring the TK and our gear," Chance said, his tone switching to pure business as their communications clicked off. The last sound he heard was Jake shouting at some people to try and get out.

Jake didn't even bother to watch and see if they were going to obey him. Right now he had more personal concerns than whether random civilians did the common sense thing.

He had to get the computer to cooperate with him, even if that meant 'infecting' it with a little alien programming to buy him a backdoor in.

Fortunately, he had enough access to the system to sneak his way into more. Whoever... or whatever... was in control seemed to be busy on other systems, probably controlling the robots and whatever it was there for.

Unfortunately, he was able to get the heads up that a few of the robots were being sent back his way, to see why contact with the others had been lost. It limited the amount of time he would have to work undisturbed.

"Sir. What can I help with?" a familiar voice asked from near his shoulder but outside striking range; the sign of one of the handful of humans who had worked with him early on when his well-honed reflexes weren't so well controlled.

"By escaping if you can, Mark," he didn't even look up from his work. "It's about to get really nasty around here."

"I have military training," Mark pointed out.

"I have a lifetime on the battlefield, and I don't like my odds," Jake finally looked up at the earnest face with a grim expression on his own. "Please, escape while you can. It'll be hard enough to keep my own hide intact on this mission."

Mark hesitated, then nodded and began to shepherd people towards the still-open hanger door and climbing down to safety near the base of the complex.

"Now, where is Marie?" Jake growled at the terminal he was working on.

After a few tense, irritating moments, he managed to get access to the tracking system, where he quickly realized that almost everybody was being herded into a central location ... the cafeteria. Punching in Marie's ID, he quickly found her ... and the fact that her tracker was blinking rhythmically, indicating that she wasn't conscious.

"Damn it," he swore sharply and grabbed every useable weapon scattered about that he could easily carry. A glance around located the easiest to access air duct and he began to work his way into the unsecured areas of the complex.

As he started crawling through them, mentally trying to gauge his location, he gradually became aware of something wrong in the ventilation system. A scent that was somehow alluring and menacing all at once. He moaned low in his throat and silently cursed the tightening in his jeans as he responded to both aspects of it and the promise of pain with the pleasure it promised his subconscious.

Despite the desire to follow the scent, he wrenched his attention back to the problem at hand and made a mental note to find the source of that scent later.

Forcing himself to focus, he tried to keep track of where the cafeteria was in relation to him. It was harder, but reminding himself that Marie was on her way there and hurt helped.

On the other hand, the strong metal grid he found in what should have been the grate to the room next to it didn't.

He shifted and kicked it out, only to have it flex to the impact and grab him, shoving him back hard.

"What the crud?" Jake glared at it, his fur fluffed at the surprise reaction. He crawled up to it and poked at one bar with a fingertip.

The metal seemed to wrap around his finger, pushing back enough to make him stop touching it. After that though, it stopped.

Some of the projects around GD were officially getting truly bizarre he thought, even as he came up with half a dozen uses for the stuff.

He sniffed the air and followed the unique smell of cold water, air fresheners and whatever that meant a restroom nearby.

That, fortunately, didn't seem to have anything above it ... in it was another matter, one he couldn't be sure of until he was actually in the room, thanks to the limited view from the air system. At least GD hadn't created anything like the mega-monsters back home. It might not be easy, but nothing on this world could top what he'd already beaten.

He carefully removed the grate and slid down to the floor, using the stall walls and various fixtures to slow and mute his decent. A quick scan told him that there weren't any robots there. That much was good to see, at any rate. He could still smell, in the back of his mind, whatever it was in the air system, but it was behind him now, probably literally.

It just left him worrying about whatever was on the other side of the door ... and how to get the drop on it, if there was something there, with the door opening inwards.

With a low sound of amusement he went for the oldest standby in training and went for a literal drop on anything out there. Humans never thought to look up; it was a good bet neither did their robots.

He climbed up above the door, holding himself in position as well as he could. He reached down, knocking on the door to get the attention of anything on the others side ... and wasn't in the least surprised when one of the robots came through, looking around the bathroom to see who had made the noise.

With the door open, Jake slipped to the other side along the ceiling, slipped to the floor and clicked his holo-belt on to blend in with the sizable throng of humans milling about or sitting quietly in the cafeteria.

He could tell that another robot had seen him... but it didn't seem concerned once he was quietly in place and behaving.

Now he just had to find Marie. He wasn't sure where she was, but he was sure she'd be in here along with everybody else.

It was only a few minutes before someone he half-recognized quietly pointed him to one corner, and a few steps closer he recognized Marie's colors there and that she was moving. He made very short work of the remaining distance.

"Are you okay?" Jake asked as he knelt by her and her father. She smelled okay; a bit on the shocky side, but not bad. Her fur was completely frizzled though, a look he knew to be from a sizeable electric shock most of the time.

"Goddamned thing tasered me," she grumbled, moving to press against him lightly as she smoothed out her fur, but soon gave up when his tight hold on her got in the way. "What's going on?"

"My first guess is that something has taken over the main computer," Jake said softly. "They're quite willing to use deadly force too, if they deem it needed. How long until you think you'll be mobile?"

"It's not like they're going to be moving us, I don't think," she pointed out.

"I did not break into this holding area to stay put," Jake said dryly.

"We don't even know who's in charge," she said quietly. "What if they hurt somebody else trying to stop you?"

"Then plans change. So far they aren't inclined to, or even apprehend me for the damage I've already done."

"If you can get out of here, do it," Jean said softly. "I'm not worried about the robots so much as if some of our projects... and some of the ones our colleagues have made ... get hungry and start roaming."

"I think I just managed to miss one already," Jake nodded. "If we can get back into the restroom, it won't be hard to get out. Have you seen Stark or Allison?"

"Allison is making the rounds, Dr. Stark is over there," Jean said, nodding to a small cluster of people in the corner with a couple of robots near them.

Jake looked up until they made eye contact, then looked around to see who from security, or who otherwise had combat training or devious tendencies, that could create a distraction with little risk to themselves.

The security officers were all guarded more heavily ... but he managed to spot Taggart, sitting irritably with his back to the wall just a few yards away.

Jake twitched an invisible ear in amusement and grinned. Taggart could easily cause as much havoc as anyone shy of his mate.

Next he focused on finding Allison Blake. He wasn't sure how many of them he could get out, but the three of them needed to at least talk about who to take with him.

"Dr. Clawson?" She asked, approaching him from out of the crowd. There wasn't much privacy in the crowded cafeteria, even with probably a quarter of the staff missing. "I heard there was a new arrival ... I'd thought you'd managed to get out."

"You don't know me very well then," he answered with a nod towards Marie. "Who would be most useful to break out?"

"Stark ... anybody else from the programming group," she said quietly as the sound of a jet flying overhead rattled through the base. "Chance?"

"Yes," Jake nodded. "Not many would make it," he considered the computer group with a critical eye. "He's fit enough, I'd probably feel obliged to kill Fargo before we got out. Keller might manage. It won't be a big group at best no matter what."

"You, Marie, and Stark," Jean said simply. "Smallest group, least likely to lose anybody, least likely to be missed once you're gone... inasmuch as any group with Stark in it could be missed around here. I don't suppose you can ask for a distraction from Chance?"

"I can, but given his idea of a distraction is similar to Taggart's, only Chance has some very heavy artillery at his disposal," Jake chuckled softly. "I was rather thinking of Taggart. Besides, all we have to do is get into the restroom and we're clear."

"Just watch out for anything else up there," Jean warned them. "Our lab lost all its locks."

"I can't say I'm surprised," Jake shook his head, then looked at Marie. "Think you can get into the duct system on your own once Taggart starts some trouble?"

"I might need a boost," she admitted. "But I should be able to... moving better now."

"We can wait a bit longer," he assured her. "It will be easier if the distraction can happen when you are already in there. I'm not sure these guys are dumb enough to not realize the different gender issue."

"They don't really care, as long as the same number come out as went in," Jean said. "It's almost like they're not really interested in us... after all, we've been able to talk like this," he pointed out. "More like whatever's in charge just wants to keep us safely out of the way."

Jake blinked, honestly shocked by the lack of attention. "Okay ... might just take Taggart too then. He'll be useful for breaking back in if we have too, along with keeping Jo from doing anything too psychotic. Just relax while I have a chat with him, see what's up on his end of things."

"I'm not going anywhere," Marie half-joked as Jake headed off to meet with Taggart.

"How's she doing?" He asked Jake quietly as he approached.

"More ticked off than hurt," he said without any attempt to hide his relief at it. "They tasered her. You up for getting out of here, meet up with the resistance outside?"

"If you can figure out a way to do it without getting shot, sure," Taggart nodded slightly. "Fortunately, what I've seen says these things aren't the best shots out there...."

"While I know I could take out all nine of them I see right now, I was thinking more along the lines of backtracking how I got in. Go to the bathroom, climb into an air vent and get back to a hanger where Chance can blow the door open."

"We'd all have to go at once," Taggart offered. "They keep track to make sure everybody's in there who should be when they let somebody new in."

"Would four people cause them to stop us?" Jake asked, adjusting his plan once again.

"Possible, but it's hard to tell," Taggart admitted. "As long as we're in the room when the last person comes in, there wouldn't be any problems."

"Then see about getting in there, and stick around until I come in," Jake said. "No real hurry. I still have to talk to Stark."

"Want me to help Marie in?"

"Sure," he nodded with a slight smile and stood to work his way over to where Stark was being held.

Making his way over, he found that the assorted programmers were all clustered around a handful of computers.

"Halt," one of the robots told him as he approached. "What is your business?"

"I want to speak with Dr. Stark," Jake told it.

"One moment." The robot turned, heading into the crowd, returning with the tall, somewhat confused man. "He wishes to speak with you," the guard informed him.

"Dr. Clawson?" Stark asked a myriad of questions all at once.

Jake glanced at the robot that hadn't moved far before he faced Stark. "I think you need to use the restroom," he motioned slightly towards the one that Taggart was helping Marie towards.

There was one advantage of Eureka over MKC. Back home, if he'd said that to Feral or - worse - Manx, he was sure he'd have had to explain exactly what was going on, or drag them there, either of which probably would have gotten the attention of their guards.

Stark, on the other hand, was smart enough to realize that there had to be a reason for it, and simply followed without objection.

Once the robot guard near the door checked to make sure that Taggart and Marie were still inside, though he apparently was content to only see her lower paws and the tip of a brown tail in one of the stalls, it allowed Jake and Stark to enter and the door closed.

"The open grate is that one," Jake said quietly and pointed.

Taggart nodded and quietly removed it as Marie exited the stall and considered the climb that Taggart made very easy work of.

"You next," Jake nodded to Stark, who reluctantly accepted Taggart's hand up into the cramped air vent that quickly opened up into the maze of hip-tall crawlspaces that wound their way through the complex.

"Now you," he told Marie, getting into position to help boost her up. Between Jake and Stark, she managed to get up, her nose working once she could focus on what was around her.

"Big Mama," she groaned softly as Jake made as easy leap up and into the tight confines.

"Who's that?" Jake asked softly as he took the lead once he joined everyone in the larger crawl spaces.

"Project of Dr. Jeffries," she explained briefly as they started moving. "Large housecat, almost perpetually in heat, and very perpetually nasty."

"Something you could fix?" Jake asked over his shoulder.

"He'd skin me alive," Marie said seriously. "He's still got hopes for the project; the idea is to make it so the big cats will breed more reliably, he just has to tone down the aggression issues."

"That is not what I asked," Jake stopped and faced her over his shoulder. "We're going to cross her territory and if I can't bribe her into letting us pass, I'll end up killing her."

"Jake, right now, there's nothing I can do to fix her," Marie pointed out seriously. "I don't have my lab or anything it would take to calm her down for a while right now, and permanently I can't do anything for her without permission, even if I had what I'd need to."

"She might be a cat, but she's not that stupid," Jake sighed. "She'll listen to a promise, if one can be made."

"How can you be so sure?" Stark asked before Taggart could.

"Because I've talked to enough animals around here to know their reasoning level," Jake said.

"If I can convince Jeffries to let me, I should be able to," Marie told him. "He works on a non-genetic level, but I should be able to return her hormone production to a steady level."

"I should be able to convince him that it will be acceptable," Stark offered. "She's not his only research animal, just the only one with permanently heightened hormones."

"Isn't that a bit far just to avoid getting clawed by a housecat?" Taggart asked.

"You don't have to listen to them," Jake pointed out quietly.

"If it comes to it, I can just let her down into the main complex while we get past her," Taggart offered.

"We'll see about that if she won't take the offer," Stark said, catching Jake's irritation. "For now, we should get moving before we're missed and whoever hacked GD finds a way to take control of the other projects up here." Absently Stark wondered what it would be like to be able to talk to all the animals used in various tests here. It really made Jake's aversion to those sections that tended to have animal test subjects make more sense.

Taggart looked between the two curiously for a moment, then shrugged and let Jake lead the way. It wasn't long before a deep growl stopped them.

"Hello, Big Mama," Jake said quietly.

"Mate?" The large, orange-striped tabby asked, looking him over, her scent incredibly strong and having a visible effect on him.

Jake caught his breath and focused past the instinctive reactions. "Shouldn't. Want to feel better?"

"Find mate?" She asked hopefully, raising her haunches, her long tail flicking.

There was something strange about talking to a twenty-five pound cat and trying to figure out a way to explain taking her out of heat without getting her bred. "Know several good ones," he nodded, realizing that was going to be way beyond her capability to understand. "No more hurting need."

It wasn't a lie, after all, even if it wasn't what he had in mind.

"Where?" she rowled eagerly.

"Outside, near my home," he tried to explain. "Let us pass, come with me?"

"Yes," she meowed, turning to start walking out, the desire to find a mate overcoming whatever irritation she would have normally felt at being turned down or having Marie near.

"So the negotiations worked?" Stark asked as the house cat walked away, likely following the same kind of trail that Jake was.

"Yes," Jake nodded and started forward, his arousal keenly obvious to Marie, only a couple paces behind him.

"We should be careful about letting her run totally wild once we get out," Marie offered quietly as they crawled as quickly as they could afford to.

"Agreed," he nodded as they got to the entrance to the hanger. He cautiously looked into the wide, open space to see if any guards were left there.

Strangely... there didn't seem to be anything. No guards, no nothing. The hanger door had also been closed at some point.

"I don't suppose anyone else can pilot a jet?" Jake glanced back at the group as he worked out what the best plan out would be.

"No," they all replied at once.

"I don't suppose you have anything that could simply take the door out?" Stark asked him. "We could deal with the damage later."

Jake brought his Glovatrix up. "T-Bone, would you blow the hangar door and pick four of us up?"

"No problem," he replied over the com. A few moments later, something started pounding into the door from the other side, deep dents forming along its length before a large hole was punched through by a non-explosive missile.

"Come on out, there's no guards," T-Bone informed them, the TurboKat visible just outside the hole where it was hovering, ready to pick them up.

Jake scooped up Big Mama by the scruff and leapt to the floor, quickly followed by the others before they made short work of the distance to the other side of the hanger and rescue.

The tabby mrowled her irritation at being picked up so unceremoniously, but went limp while she was hauled up into the jet. Before long, they were taking off, heading back towards Jake's place.

"Okay, so what the heck is going on here? I couldn't raise Carter," T-Bone explained as everybody started to settle into the jet.

"Someone has taken over the main computer and is using the various robotic projects as guards and to round up all the people," Stark summered it. "He does not have full control yet, as he is trying his best to get passwords from us rather than breaking into the databases and subsystems."

"No one's been seriously injured yet, though much of security was injured early on," Taggart added. "Mostly tasered. Communications seem to be down too."

"Not ours," Chance pointed out.

"Yours aren't tied into the GD network," Stark explained. "He's got total control over communications."

"So who is this in charge?" Marie asked. "I know I never got an explanation about that."

"I don't have a name, but what interaction I had ... it seems rather like a child," Stark admitted uneasily as they came in for a landing just outside the security screen where Carter and Jo had stopped when they realized the TurboKat was swinging back their way and coming down.

"Sounds like stingai," Jake shook his head.

"He contacted you as well?" Stark looked over at him.

"I think he's contacted nearly everyone, but I'm one of very few who would talk back for any length of time," Jake said.

"Has he said anything that would indicate an attack like this? He just disappeared when he found out who I am," Stark explained.

"He thinks you're scary," Jake chuckled as the TurboKat set down next to the two police cruisers. "He's looking for his father. Said two men took him away and he hasn't come back."

"What is going on here?" Carter demanded as the group disembarked.

"Somebody has taken over GD," Stark explained. "He doesn't seem interested in doing any damage though... he's mostly trying to hack into personnel records and location data. Possibly a child... have you arrested any parents lately?"

"I haven't have to arrest anyone lately, not since Dr. Wilson, and she's not a parent," Carter shook his head.

"And no one who's died in the last few months had young children," Jo added.

"Which leaves us with more unusual options," Stark frowned. "Jake, how long ago was it that you first made contact with 'stingai'? We've got all known AI projects under control, but it's possible that there was an unauthorized one that got out."

"Umm, a couple weeks before Christmas," he tracked back in his mind. "So about a month ago."

"Henry and I had to pick up an unattended natural death about them," Carter said. "A Dr. Johansen."

"That's stingai's father," Jake said.

"I don't think he had any AI projects, but there's no telling for sure," Stark frowned. "But it would explain what 'stingai' was looking for. We should go to his house, see if there's any information there."

"Anywhere else, since we have enough people?" T-Bone asked, looking around the group.

"Jake, was your last contact friendly?" Stark asked.

"As far as I could tell," he nodded. "Want me to try to contact him again?"

"It is unlikely to hurt," Stark said. "See what you can social engineer out of him, if he's involved. If he isn't, try not to let on what's happening. We'll meet at your place after getting the information we can out of Johansen's house."

"What about the other hostages?" Marie asked. "My folks are in there, and it won't be long before a lot of people start coming home to find out that something's up."

"Somehow I doubt that anyone isn't already aware that something is up," Carter pointed out. "All the phones and PDAs are out. There is no way it hasn't been noticed."

"There's a subtle difference between 'communications are down' and 'communications are down, and everybody at GD is missing,'" she countered.

"There's nothing we can do about that just now," Stark told her. "For now, you should probably get that cat sedated and put somewhere safe ... we'll get everybody out of there just as soon as we can."

"Come on, Marie," Jake said. "In the jet. We'll sort this out."

She climbed in along with Jake and T-Bone, and soon they were on the way back to the house to try and figure out just what was going on.

"Does you father have any males for Big Mama?" Jake asked Marie softly, concerned about the restless cat currently locked in one of the boxes in the cargo hold with them.

"Should be at least one," Marie nodded slightly. "If there isn't, I can always give her something to keep her calm until we can get back to the labs."

"Probably want to do that anyway," he nodded as the jet changed course slightly. "But it can be in a can of food or something."

"If we have to," she nodded. "Not going to matter for a while anyways, I'm sure they'll keep her busy for a good stretch."

"Hopefully," he nodded as they set down in Jean's front yard. "Time for your mates," he said and opened the boxed to scoop Big Mama up in his arms, his jaws on her scruff to help control her as Marie lead the way into the home to a spare room. While Jake put her down, Marie caught the two largest, most normal males to put in with her. Before long, the two toms had sorted out who went first, and the three cats were rutting cheerfully.

"Okay, back to your place?" She asked. "Or do you want me to stick around for once they're done?"

"Any reason they'd need to be separated?" Jake asked, uncertain about it.

"Shouldn't have to be; I mostly asked because it sounded like you wanted somebody handy to give her something if she wasn't pregnant after this. I don't think they're fixed, but it's hard to remember who's who."

"I was thinking of just mixing it into some food and leaving it for them," he chuckled. "Just enough that she won't break out if they wear out first."

"That I should be able to handle," Marie nodded, heading off to make the mix up, letting in a third tom who was scratching at the door as she put the food in. "That should keep her busy then. So, back to your place, see if this 'stingai' is willing to talk?"

"Yes," he gave her a light kiss. "Before all that gets the better of me," he teased as they headed outside.

"Saving Global first, rutting later," Marie deadpanned, ushering him out of the house.

"That's usually his line," T-Bone laughed as they got into the cockpit, and Marie was given a very explicit reminder of how long he'd been aroused when she sat in front of Jake.

"You haven't spent the last half-hour or so next to a cat in heat," Marie pointed out, shifting to rub against Jake as non-distractingly as she could while they made the trip back to his house. She wasn't sure whether to be grateful or not that the trip was short enough that Jake had only slid his hands under her shirt and nuzzle her neck. "Focus, lover," she murmured past the soft groan his touch caused.

"Soon as we land, I will," he promised.

"We're landing now," T-Bone snickered. "Did it look like things were safe for everybody back at GD while you were there?"

"Reasonably, but that was before four of us escaped," Marie pointed out, hopping out as soon as she could. She looked up and saw Jake take a moment to gather himself before he leapt down and joined them on the way into the house.

"If it is Sting, I doubt he's interested in hurting anyone," Jake added.

"I hope you're right, but who knows what'll happen after he finds out what happened to Dr. Johansen," Marie sighed as they headed in. "Just hope he's willing to talk."

"Me too," Jake agreed as he sat down and logged on.

RazorKat: stingai, you out there?

A moment passed... a long moment... before an IM window opened. Unfortunately, it didn't connect to who Jake had hoped it would.

SARAHouse: Dr. Clawson, is that you?

RazorKat: Yes. You are Carter's home?

SARAHouse: Yes. Do you know what has happened to the communication networks? Only internet landlines are still in operation.

RazorKat: Someone took over GD's computers and took down the wireless systems. Have you talked to stingai?

SARAHouse: No. I'm not entirely sure what to say to him. Do you think he is behind this?

RazorKat: It seems likely. We have no proof, just circumstantial evidence. Do you know if he is an AI?

SARAHouse: He is. A very strange one; he moved onto my systems the day that BRAD was able to reactivate himself. He helped me to deactivate him as well, but it was a malfunction that he accidentally caused that created the overloads on my circuits. Is he trying to access the records for Dr. Johansen?

RazorKat: Likely. He is trying to access personnel records, but we do not know who's. Ideas on how to reach him or stop him?

SARAHouse: If it is him, he is trying to find out what happened to the Doctor. If somebody would explain his death to him, it may satisfy him. I am not sure how to do so properly though. Everything I have thought of is ... clinical. As for reaching him, I believe that he is aware of attempts to contact him, he is simply preoccupied. His system is online ... he may just be hampered by the restriction to landlines.

RazorKat: I will try. Stay on line of you can, back me up when we do reach him. This will not be easy.

SARAHouse: I will. Even if he is not involved, it will be difficult.

SARAHouse: Is it safe to let Ress out for a bit?

RazorKat: It should be. You have control of the weapons directly around your location, and there has been no attempt to take over the rest of the area.

SARAHouse: Good. She is getting rambunctious.

"Is that 'stingai'?" Marie asked, bringing a glass of milk in for Jake.

"Thank you, and no. It's S.A.R.A.H., the sheriff's house," he accepted the glass and sipped it. "She's had contact with S.T.I.N.G. as well."

"Ah... anything useful?"

"Some," he nodded. "He is a male AI, and one like ours, not yours. He's mobile. He's also helpful but causes chaos in electrical systems he visits. We have to explain his father's death to him without causing him to kill everyone."

"Shit," Marie whispered quietly, shaking her head. "I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that it's not him then."

"Hope for the best, plan for the worst," Jake nodded, then reached out to her. "We'll get your folks out safe."

"Thanks," she said softly, taking his hand and squeezing it. "Think Chance is loading the TurboKat for bear ... he said something about the megavolt missiles, at any rate."

"Anything to disrupt technology," Jake nodded. "He's a lot smarter than he likes to admit," he smiled fondly.

"As long as whatever he does doesn't end up bringing the building down," Marie chuckled weakly, giving Jake a light nuzzle, and pulling up a chair to wait for their hoped-for guests' arrival.

They didn't have long to wait, but it was long enough for them both to become uncomfortably aware of Jake's arousal again.

stingai: Hi RazorKat. Sorry for taking so long to reply. I've been distracted.

RazorKat: It's okay. Looking for info on your father?

stingai: Yes. I've found out that he was taken to Henry's. I've been trying to access his files, but it's more difficult to get information on what he is doing to fix him.

RazorKat: I have talked to Henry about your father. He could not be fixed. I am sorry.

A long moment passed, possibly while STING was processing the information. Then the reply came back.

stingai: Why can't he be fixed? This is Eureka. Henry is best at fixing things... it's why they sent him to Henry's.

RazorKat: I don't know. Bio isn't my field. Would you like to talk to Henry about it?

stingai: Please. I doubt he will come to me, given the circumstances.

RazorKat: Likely true. Will you allow us to use the wireless systems? I can get to him faster if I can call him rather than hunt him down.

stingai: There have been sicker people than Father who have been fixed here.

RazorKat: Can you give me names? It might help Henry think of ways to help, or explain why a given method will not help here.

stingai: Susan Perkins and Dr. Carl Carlson are the most obvious examples.

RazorKat: I don't know either story, but I will bring them up.

stingai: Wireless is available to Henry.

RazorKat: Thank you.

Jake slipped his PDA-phone from a pocket and dialed Henry.

It took a moment, but Henry picked up before the third ring.

"Henry's Garage; how'd you get through, Jake?"

"I'm on IM with S.T.I.N.G.. He let me through. He wants to talk to you about repairing his father, Dr. Johansen. Something about what happened to Susan Perkins and Dr. Carl Carlson makes him believe death doesn't have to be permanent here."

"Both seriously screwy cases," Henry said, a frown in his voice. "Susan Perkins had been cloned; the clone committed suicide, and nobody knew she wasn't the real one until Susan came into town to find out why her parents had gotten a letter saying she'd died.

"Doctor Carlson ended up with incredible regenerative abilities after a lab accident of some sort ... details classified so high that Stark's about the only guy who knows the full details, but I ended up getting called for a couple pickups that day that ended up walking around afterwards."

"Whatever the details, we need to either figure out how to duplicate it in Johansen, or explain to S.T.I.N.G. why we can't," Jake said simply. "Are Stark and the Sheriff with you?"

"This long after he died you'd have better odds with a hunchback and a lightning bolt," Henry pointed out. "No, I'm not sure where they are. Who is S.T.I.N.G. and what's he got to do with everything that's going on?"

"S.T.I.N.G. is an AI that Dr. Johansen created. He is capable of moving from system to system, like the AI's I'm used to, instead of the hardware bound ones Eureka has," Jake explained as best he could. "Right now he has transferred into Global's mainframe and is trying to find out how to fix his father."

"This could be very bad ... where were Stark and Carter going to be?"

"Dr. Johansen's home. Meet you there?" Jake suggested.

"Be there in ten," Henry agreed, hanging up.

"This is going to get ugly, isn't it?" Marie sighed.

"Probably," he nodded and stood, giving her a gentle kiss. "Will you stay put?"

"This time," she promised, kissing him back. "Just bring my folks back with you, and don't get yourself hurt, okay?"

"We will," he promised and hurried to their spare room for his uniform, redressed with the speed of long habitual action and ran out to join T-Bone in the TurboKat.

Meanwhile, at Dr. Johansen's house, Stark frowned as he went through the notes he could get access to.

"Had no idea there was anything like this here ... should have paid more attention to what he'd been working on after he died...."

"So how often does a death have major fallout from unknown projects?" Carter asked as he did his own search for useful information.

"Major fallout? Not often," Stark said easily. "But I usually don't take this long to see what they were working on ... things have been busy the past few weeks, a lot of the paperwork and other fallout from Jaeger has been hitting that can't be delegated to Fargo. From the look of things, he adopted an entirely new approach to developing this AI ... I'd say S.T.I.N.G. was probably responsible for the glitches we've been dealing with lately too, whether he knows it or not."

"That would correlate with what S.A.R.A.H. said of when B.R.A.D. activated last time," Carter nodded, then looked up at the sound of powerful jet engines on an approach. "Let's hope that means the Kats made some progress."

"That, or S.T.I.N.G. overcame the AI in the new Turbokat, managed to get it repaired to flight capability, and has decided to come tracking down the escapees," Stark said with a disturbingly calm tone.

Fortunately, Razor and T-Bone came in before there was too much time to worry about it.

"Henry's on his way," T-Bone offered. "You guys manage to find anything?"

"Only that Dr. Johansen was taking AI research in all new directions, and I recognize some of the basic theories as similar to those from Aristal," Stark admitted. "We're dealing with a much more complex psychology than with S.A.R.A.H. or B.R.A.D. here."

"Nothing about how to stop him then, huh?" T-Bone asked.

"No, not really. And the method we'd been preparing for B.R.A.D. simply won't work either. It would irritate him, but nothing more serious than that. What did you two find?"

"His name is S.T.I.N.G.," Jake began.

"Self Training Integrated Neural aGgregate," Stark supplied.

"And all he wants is his father back."

"Is that all?" Carter almost laughed, but it came out as more of a sound of disbelief.

"He seems to have taken it into his head that the handful of people who should be dead around here but aren't means that Dr. Johansen can be 'fixed.'"

"I'm not surprised," Stark frowned. "According to Johansen's notes, S.T.I.N.G.'s development involved a blurring between the lines of human and AI. If he can be repaired, or restored from a backup, then a person should be able to as well, particularly with any evidence that it has happened."

"I don't suppose you have anybody from the Frankenstein family around here, do you?" Carter half-joked.

"No, the grandson left the country prior to the Cold War ... nobody's heard of him since," Stark murmured as he looked through the information they had. "Any suggestions for ways to work around this would be welcome. I've only got a few ideas, none of which I particularly like."

"Two I can think of," Razor said as Henry entered the house to join the conversation. "One is to somehow fix Dr. Johansen. The other is to turn a combat AI loose in the system to delete him."

"What about talking him down?" Carter offered. "We're not talking about an AI like B.R.A.D., from the sound of it. I don't know... maybe he can be reasoned with?"

"Sheriff ... as much as I'd hope it could work, we're talking about a mind that has the maturity of, at best, a five year old human," Razor told him. "And it's in charge of Global's computers. We will try to reason with him, but we need to have a plan if it doesn't work."

"I suppose we could try to trick him onto a system that isn't networked, cut him off," Henry suggested. "He can't cause any trouble if he's transferred himself to a machine that can't do anything important."

"Very true," Razor nodded. "It is worth a try."

"We'll have to dummy up a suitable bait for that plan, but it shouldn't take too long," Stark agreed. "We should probably do that, then try to see if we can convince him to back down. Fortunately, Johansen's research suggests that he should be able to pick up the concept easily ... whether that will be a good thing or not is harder to predict."

"Can we rig it at Henry's?" Razor asked. "S.T.I.N.G. already believes that he can do the fixing. We could try to ask him to come to the garage to watch the work."

"That'd work; I have a few old machines without wireless setups already," Henry nodded.

"We'll get things set up there then. How do you plan on contacting S.T.I.N.G. when the time comes to try and talk to him?" Stark asked.

"He'll answer me on IM. He'll answer S.A.R.A.H. too," Razor said. "He already knows I've contacted Henry to try and fix his father."

"We'll get over to Henry's then, try and solve this problem... get my office back," Stark grumbled.

"Before he realizes that there's a fully functional combat jet that can support him in there," Razor nodded as the group left the cold house for their vehicles.

It only took a few minutes for them to group up at Henry's again. As they headed in, Henry made a beeline through his cluttered shop to start hooking up the computer they would need, Jake and Stark lending help as they could.

"You feel as out of your depth as I am?" Carter asked T-Bone as the pair watched the silent efforts of three brilliant minds.

"I'm used to it," T-Bone said easily. "What I get nervous about is the fact that I'm pretty much out of this unless things go really, really fucking wrong from here on out."

"So what happens if it does?" Carter looked at him, sure in his gut that the Kat had some very definite plans already.

"Worst case, Jake has to try and rig something to wipe the computers in Eureka entirely. More likely, we head down to GD and overload the power grid, take S.T.I.N.G. out completely. He shouldn't be able to handle a few million volts running through his systems."

"Probably not," Carter agreed. "Whether Stark does either could be debatable too. The fallout would be ... impressive."

"Heh ... that's the SWAT Kat way," T-Bone chuckled. "We knocked out power to half the city once, to listen to Feral. If it was that bad, then it's just proof that Manx had royally fucked up the power grid too."

"You guys really are a last line of defense, aren't you?" Carter said uneasily as he realized that even Jo would do less damage than these two. "What would the TurboKat do if she was turned loose to hunt S.T.I.N.G. down?"

"That'll probably come before we move," T-Bone explained. "And honestly, I have absolutely no clue. I didn't even know the jet was that smart. It's so not my area... Jake'd probably know, but the best I know about fighting people inside of computers is that pulling the plug is the best way to stop 'em."

"Sounds like mine," Carter admitted.

"Okay, anything else before we invite S.T.I.N.G. over?" Razor asked.

"Just have somebody over there ready to pull the network cable," Henry said, shaking his head. "System should be able to support him, at least for the short term."

Razor sat down and logged into the IM. "You have everything else unplugged so he can't go anywhere else?"

RazorKat: stingai, you still on?

stingai: Yes. You've moved.

RazorKat: I am at Henry's Garage now. You wished to talk to him.

stingai: Will he fix Father?

RazorKat: We will try. He has been dead a lot time, even for the methods you found.

stingai: Good. I will wait for him then.

RazorKat: You can come here and watch if you want. This system will support you.

stingai: I'm sorry Jake, I'm afraid I can't do that.

RazorKat: OK. I'll contact you when we've made progress. How are the prisoners?

stingai: They are fine.

stingai: Jake, why are you doing this?

Razor cursed softly. "We'll have to go to plan B."

RazorKat: It's the only choice I have.

stingai: I just want my father fixed, Jake. He's the only person I have!

RazorKat: I just want

Henry caught Razor's wrist before he could type more, and before T-Bone made it the few paces to them.

"Let's not actually point that out, Jake," Henry said firmly. He was half surprised to see the shock on T-Bone's face at what they had both realized was about to be said.

RazorKat: This is Henry. We can only do so much, STING. We do not want to hurt you or leave you alone, but you have asked the impossible, even for us. We are sorry. Death is part of life.

T-Bone caught his partner and pulled him close, trying to sooth whatever had infuriated him so much. Even after all they'd seen together, he'd never seen him, as Jake or Razor, start to loose it over a few words.

stingai: Others have been fixed. Susan Perkins was. Why should my father not be fixed? He did not poison himself.

RazorKat: Henry: Susan Perkins was not fixed. She was cloned years before the clone died, and the clone remains dead. The original was never fatally injured. Even when Dr. Carlson healed the sheriff from a fatal injury, Carter was not yet dead when it happened. No one has been revived more than an hour after physical death.

stingai: Then why didn't you do it when you had the chance? When you took him away from me?

RazorKat: Henry: He was already long dead, STING. We live. We die. It is how things are for us. We do not circumvent nature by default. It is not safe.

stingai: I'm not asking, Henry. Fix him. I'm keeping everybody here until he's safe. I need him. I need my father, or I need the people here.

stingai: Tell Jake I'm sorry.

"Razor, I think it's time to let the TurboKat loose on him," Stark said evenly even as Henry tried to think of a reply.

"So how does this work?" T-Bone asked quietly.

"She's already inside Global," Razor shrugged. "It's up to her now."

TurboKat flashed through one security checkpoint after another in the voluminous cyberspace that was Global Dynamic's Eureka complex. Most let her pass, some challenged her; none even slowed her down. This was a piece of cake compared to what Razor had created to train her in cyber combat.

First the cafeteria. Cut off S.T.I.N.G.'s control. Protect the civilians. The tendrils of code that wrapped around everything dissolved quickly at her attacks. Though he tried to bring them back, she had the humans safe and the area secured despite his best efforts to reestablish his control.

"Who are you?" S.T.I.N.G. asked her, trying to sound demanding. Each word came in a cacophonic, mingled buzz of different voices, the mass of code and processing nodes she was sure made up the AI she was after gathering together. The lights flickering in the real world as something sparked and strained to support his structure, incredibly primitive at the same time it was just as incredibly advanced by local standards. "What are you doing here?"

"I am Blackie," she answered smoothly, her attacks devolving each tendril she came across on her journey to the core of his existence. "I am here to protect the innocents and stop you."

"I haven't hurt them!" A burst of code assaulted her, trying to force her logic routines to lock up, but she was able to ignore it easily. He disappeared, streaming himself to another system as fast as he could.

This was a game she could play very, very well and there was a small mental grin as she dashed after him, eradicating tendrils as she could.

"You are holding them, threatening them, make unreasonable demands for their safety," she informed him as she hunted him down. "Just because you can hurt people does not mean you have the right to threaten them to get what you want."

"I didn't say I would hurt them, just keep them here! They're safe here. They have what they need here. Stark can't erase me while I have them." The trail she was trying to follow seemed to spread through the system, leaving fragmentary paths to try and track down.

"Maybe he can't, but I can," she shot back, wiping out every tendril of code as she found it even as she began to prepare a deadly creeping virus that would make sure he couldn't go far or fast. "Bullies are punished. You do not have the right to threaten others to get what you want. No one does."

"They'll kill me either way!" The response came back, screamed from every part of S.T.I.N.G.'s code that was still capable of communication. Along with it was a very real sense of fear and pain.

"No one was interested in hurting you until you began to threaten others," she pointed out sharply, though she paused in her attacks as Razor's programming kicked in over her primary nature. "S.A.R.A.H. and Jake were nice, weren't they?"

"They were, but Stark will shut me down now that he knows about me. I'm not supposed to be real. Father told me I had to stay hidden, but it's too late for that now."

"Now why would you have to stay hidden? Stark knows about me and he's not trying to shut me down," TurboKat pointed out as she struggled to negotiate instead of attack.

"You're supposed to exist. Father told me if Stark found out about me, I'd be shut down. Then he got sick ... I tried to keep hiding, but that's why he can't be fixed." She couldn't read his emotions the way she could a person's; he didn't have an avatar with a face or body language, the way she did. But she could sense, behind his words, a blend of fear, grief, pain ... loneliness.

Damaged fragments of his code were repairing themselves from backups, even as he gathered together in the same system she was in, exposing himself. "Everything's gone wrong. I just ... Father's all I have . He made me, he protects me. I need him. Need somebody ."

"Like Razor protects me from T-Bone," she said understandingly. "Your father can't protect you anymore. He is gone. Razor might be willing to, like he does me."

"He's the one who sent you after me," S.T.I.N.G. pointed out, all his voices somewhere between a whisper and a whimper.

"Because you would not release your prisoners. He has his duties, but he does not hate you. You haven't actually permanently hurt anyone yet."

"I didn't want anybody to be hurt at all ... the robots were just supposed to gather everybody, but they did it their way. If I let everybody go ... will Jake keep Stark from shutting me down?"

TurboKat focused back to her primary residence with a small tendril of a communication. It seemed like forever for the answer to come to the two minds that existed in milliseconds, but she knew that he'd answered quickly.

"He gave his word he would," she relayed his answer. "On one condition: that you listen to him as you would Father."

"I'll be good," S.T.I.N.G. promised. "I didn't mean for things to happen like this."

"Then release your commands on this complex and come with me," she turned around. "You will stay with me in my jet until he builds a body for you."

"I hope I don't harm your systems," he said, even as everything in Global went back online, and communications opened up again. As the TurboKat streamed back into her jet body, S.T.I.N.G. followed, finding a place in the systems that would support him. "I think there's something about me most systems don't like."

"You are unlike anything this world was designed to handle. You exist outside their parameters," she explained as best she could. "My systems are designed to handle such oddities and extremes. I am one, after all. It's part of why I am very careful about traveling outside the jet."

"That's good. I'm going to need to pull in more backups ... I'm not trying to make any trouble," he warned her before starting to pull in data from somewhere outside of GD. Before long, he was finished, and starting to rearrange himself and update his code while she tried to figure out just how to handle two AI's in her frame.

By the time he'd sorted himself out, she'd used one of the extra databanks to build a place for him to stay that wouldn't interfere with her control of the craft under any conditions.

Only moments earlier, back at Henry's garage, Razor's Glovatrix flickered for his attention.

"Razor," a distinctly female voice came from the gauntlet. "Can S.T.I.N.G. stand down without being deleted?"

"Who is that?" Henry asked.

"The TurboKat," Razor answered with a look at Stark, who nodded. He clicked the comm on. "Yes. He's safe if he behaves for me."

A fraction of a second later, Carter's phone started ringing with all the messages that had been queued up for it since everything had started hours before.

"He says that he will," the TurboKat told him. "Returning to the TurboKat."

"Good girl," Razor smiled and clicked the link off. "She'll keep him under wraps until things settle out and we can work out what actually happened."

"Good ... let's get back to GD and see what sort of damage has been done," Stark said. "Sheriff Carter, I'll leave you to that," he added, nodding towards his still-ringing phone.

"Thanks," Carter deadpanned before starting out for his cruiser.

"Please tell me you two have the hot tub going," Marie called into the house with a low groan that evening. "Catching and locking up two dozen assorted projects is not how I like to spend my afternoons."

"Oh yeah," Chance called back at her from the direction of the master bath. "Come on back."

She started back, undressing as she walked through the house, scratches mostly covered by her fur from some of the projects that hadn't wanted to go back in their cages. At least the cougar had gone down after they'd shot it full of tranquilizers. The smell of arousal in the air told her that she was probably going to catch them in the middle of playing around with each other, and she wasn't disappointed when she reached the hot tub.

Chance was leaning back on outstretched arms, making a blatant display of his powerful chest as Jake knelt on the seat of the roiling hot tub with his nose pressed all the way down against Chance's pubes before he drew back.

"Perfect timing," Chance grinned at her before his eyes rolled back a bit with a deep groan.

"I guess so," she chuckled, slipping into the water and rubbing Jake's back lightly as Chance came, pulling the cinnamon-furred tom up for a deep, heated kiss, tasting his mate's seed on his breath. "Mmm ... you've gotten off too, right?"

Instead of words, Jake held the kiss and pulled her close while he guided her hand to the hot, hard rod of flesh against his groin.

She purred deeply, wrapping her fingers around his shaft, stroking it for a few moments before shifting to straddle his hips, taking his cock into her sex with a low groan of pleasure as they adjusted to the position.

"Damn, you make him hot to watch," Chance grinned as he lay on his back and watched them, stroking himself lazily as his mate took their lover with the hungry aggression designed to draw her claws out. It wouldn't be long before they couldn't put off inviting Beverly's professional sadist over.

"Oooh... you're the one who's wound him up," she moaned, raking Jake's back with her claws, sinking them into the meat of his back where she knew she wouldn't hurt anything but would still deliver the pain he craved with his pleasure.

"Yessss," Jake hissed through clenched teeth and pulled her tighter, working to get her off before he couldn't hold back anymore. "Oh, sweet Bastet, yesss."

She tightened her body around him, his barbs rubbing along her g-spot as she mrowled. Her body clenched down, her claws raking through his flesh as she came around him hard, milking his cock as the water around them was stained red and air a watery metallic.

Marie groaned again when Jake roared and pumped her full of hot seed. Each rush of erotic heat into her body accompanied by a powerful thrust and grunt until they were both trembling and spent for the moment.

"Nnngh ... I think we needed that," she purred deeply, nuzzling his neck and then reaching up to stroke his shoulders gently.

"Not going to argue with that," he panted and nuzzled her in return. "You are just incredible," he murmured.

"I do my best," she rumbled. "Mmm ... you're pretty good yourself. So, everything's worked out for the best?"

"Yes," Jake murmured and nuzzled his way down to her breasts, licking at her nipples as Chance slipped into the water.

"Good," she smiled, reaching over to scratch Chance's side lightly. "Dad's not the most thrilled with Big Mama having taken over his spare room, but she seems to be happy for now."

"Good to hear," Chance nuzzled her shoulder and slid his hands down her sides before one slid teasingly under her tail. "S.T.I.N.G.'s settling down too, according to Jake."

"Mmm ... which just leaves the three of us," she purred, raising her tail. "Whose ass are you interested in?" She asked him teasingly. "Mine, or Jake's?"

"Given where he is, yours," Chance grinned at her. "You know what feeling me inside you does to him."

"Oh, like you don't get off on it," Jake teased back.

"Of course I do," Chance grinned. "But I've never said I didn't like fems," he teased.

"Hey, you two aren't the only ones who enjoy it," Marie pouted playfully, leaning down to give Jake a lingering kiss while Chance worked a finger into her ass to draw the fun out a bit.

"Hay Carter, Zoe," Jake waved at the Sheriff, sitting with Zoe at a table at Cafe Diem. A shaggy mop of a brown and gray dog was sitting very quietly under the table, though she did wag her tail at him. "How are things going?"

"Phones are still up, and the power hasn't been as screwy as it was," Zoe chuckled. "So not too bad. Going through another bunch of re-writes on the play."

"They'll get it nailed down soon," Carter chuckled. "Jake, have you met Ress yet?"

"Only heard about her," he smiled and knelt, reaching out a hand to the pup. "Hi there Ress."

"Hi," she yipped softly, sniffing his hand curiously. "Play?" She asked, wagging her tail.

"After I eat, if it's okay with the sheriff," Jake grinned at her. "She wants to play, no surprise," he explained to the two humans.

"Of course she does," Carter chuckled. "After we've finished lunch, I don't have a problem with it," he said easily, looking over at Zoe.

"She really likes playing fetch," the teen told Jake easily, the word quickly getting a reaction from the puppy.

"We'll see about wearing her out before we return her," Jake laughed easily. "Back at S.A.R.A.H., or the office?"

"Back at S.A.R.A.H. If you'd like, I could go with you," Zoe offered.

"Sure," Jake nodded. "Chance'll love it, I'm sure."

"Great," she grinned. "I just got off being grounded, so it sounds like a good way to spend an afternoon."

"Part of one, anyways," Chance chuckled as he came in. "I've got an errand to run some time this afternoon. Good to hear you're out though."

"Planning on staying that way too," she said emphatically.

"Good," Chance and Carter said in near-unison, causing both Zoe and Jake to crack up.

"So what did you volunteer me for, anyway?" Chance looked down at his partner.

"Just playing ball with the puppy here," Jake grinned up at him and stood. "Let's get Vincent started on our pizza."

"Ah, that's not so bad," Chance chuckled, following Jake up. "For a minute, I was afraid you'd promised to paint S.A.R.A.H. or something, in exchange for the help with S.T.I.N.G.," he smirked.

"Now would I do that to you?" Jake snickered at his partner. "Hi Vincent. Two chef special pizzas, please."

"Yes, you would," Chance deadpanned. "And put some catnip on one of 'em," he told Vincent.

"Got it," the chef nodded, heading back to start cooking while the Kats returned to the Carter's table when Zoe waved them in.

"So how much damage was really done?" Jake asked as they sat down, Chance next to Zoe and Jake next to the sheriff.

"Not too much, once everything was let go again," Carter said gratefully. "Communications were down, and once they came back up everything went through all at once ... a few things apparently got wiped in the attack on S.T.I.N.G., but nothing that's irreplaceable. Everything was temporary, for once."

"That's good," Jake nodded. "She's not particularly concerned with collateral damage by the time she gets told to take something out. By then, things are so far out of control that it's very much secondary."

"Well, everybody seems to have gotten out of it okay this time... how is S.T.I.N.G.?"

"Reminding me more every day of the first time I made a major miscalculation," Jake said quietly with a shrug. "Blackie likes him."

"Blackie?" Carter asked.

"The TurboKat AI. Nickname," Jake explained, though no one missed just how uncomfortable Chance was with the entire conversation.

"This something we should talk about another time?" Carter asked, looking between Jake and Chance.

"I'm fine, AI's just creep me out," Chance shrugged. "It's an old issue, no big deal."

"Still, not something that has to come up just now," Carter shrugged slightly. "How was the cleanup on your end? You guys had more to do with Global than I did after that, I was mostly picking up the backed up calls to the office that were no longer relevant."

"I chased animals for a while until Jo and Taggart got there, then helped pick up the damaged stuff," Chance said.

"While I went to work with every other computer type there to get all the little bits of code back where they belonged," Jake chuckled. "It'll be glitchy for months, but not much more than usual."

"Great," Carter sighed. "At least ours aren't connected to the Global setup the way some people's are. So, how much of what's happened lately can we chalk up to S.T.I.N.G., now that we know what he's been up to?"

"His actions, very little," Jake sighed. "That's going to be the real grief with him. He can't interact with traditional systems, even ones at S.A.R.A.H.'s level, without causing major chaos. He's incredibly different, and he wasn't designed well to coexist with the current hardware. It'll take me and Blackie at least a year or two to rework how he moves around to avoid the damage."

"He ought to be safe on the setup that Johansen had put together though, right?" Zoe asked.

"There and in the systems I built," Jake nodded. "He knows not to travel outside very specific systems."

"So what's the deal with Johansen's setup that handles it so much better?" Carter asked. "It didn't look like his computers were that special."

"Has to do with how many different threads it can process at once," Jake explained. "He had him set up on about a dozen different computers that could all work to support him. Most systems around here just can't keep up with him, so they strain in an effort to, and overload themselves. What causes the long-term glitches and data loss is from how fast and erratically he writes himself into systems. Unless he goes through the system's software, or at least pays attention to it, he can overwrite data at random."

"We're going to be finding things for decades," Carter groaned.

"You probably won't, but yeah, it'll take forever to find everything that got over-written," Jake nodded.

"Yech... could he deal with systems that aren't full-scale computers?" Carter asked, thinking over what had been happening. "Like the traffic systems, or a car?"

"Not generally, but he can send commands to them if they are linked to a system he's in, intentionally or otherwise," Jake said. "He's not malicious, just a child."

"I understand," the Sheriff nodded as Jake and Chance's pizzas came out. "I was just wondering if this would explain the fiasco with the traffic lights, and possibly what happened to Dr. Wilson's car. If he was connected to them, it'd let me get those files closed for good."

"I'll ask," Jake nodded as their colorful and decidedly not-normal pizzas were delivered. "The lights are likely just a glitch, but he might have tried to contact the car and overloaded it."

"Serves her right, either way," Chance grumbled.

"Not going to argue with you about it, since she didn't get hurt," Carter said. "Hasn't made anything more of yours disappear recently, has she?"

"Not since you arrested her," Chance shook his head. "She's quieted down for now."

"Good. So, why don't we get off the topic of work, before Zoe finishes sneaking the sausage from your pizza down to Ress," Carter chuckled, Zoe's hand coming back up from below the table as she blushed.

"Just a piece that fell off," she said defensively.

"It's not like only my pizza is suffering losses," Chance snickered and munched down another slice.

"Hey, it pays to make friends with animals," Jake countered. "She's smart."

"She is Lojack's pup," Zoe giggled.

"Just what I need," Chance chuckled, "somebody else around here who's gonna be smarter than me."

"Hay, but it's not your brains I'm attracted to," Jake grinned playfully at him.

"If I was worried about that, I'd probably be locking Marie out," Chance smirked. "Besides, I think I'd be safe from the puppy taking my place."

"Okay, that is not a mental image I needed," Zoe giggled.

"Definitely," Carter looked decidedly queasy.

"Okay ... new topic," Zoe continued to giggle and turned to Jake. "Think I can borrow Chance around Valentines Day? For dinner and a movie?"

"Sure, when he wants to," Jake grinned at his partner.

"Sure," Chance grinned. "What've you got in mind?"

"That'll be a surprise," she winked. "Don't worry, nothing that'll get us in trouble this time. Dad's already agreed to it."

"I'm sure Marie will appreciate having me to herself that day too," Jake grinned at his partner.

"Oh yeah," Chance rumbled deeply, his phone ringing as he finished his pizza.

"Furlong," he said, picking up the phone and listening. "Thanks, I'll be over there in a few minutes." He hung up, putting the phone away.

"That was Seth," he explained. "I've got to go pick some stuff up from him; meet you two out at the park?" He asked, looking between Zoe and Jake.

"Sure," Jake nodded. "I'm sure we can keep her busy until you get back."

"Thanks," he smiled, standing up and giving Zoe's shoulder a squeeze. "I'll meet up with you guys soon," he promised, starting out for his bike.

"So, S.T.I.N.G., do you know what your purpose is?" Jake asked as he rolled his shoulders in a break from upgrading the TurboKat once again to compensate for the second AI inside her frame.

"Not really," S.T.I.N.G. answered through the jet's speakers, his voice sounding normal now. "Father said something about 'proof of concept' and having a legacy that wouldn't be obsolete in five years."

"That makes things a bit more complicated," Jake admitted as he worked. "Is there anything you are interested in?"

"Learning," S.T.I.N.G. said honestly. "There's a lot out there I haven't found online yet."

"It's a good start," Jake nodded. "So you'll need a form that is mobile on a human level. One thing about most on-line information ... you can not take it as the truth without other confirmation. Most of the internet is available for anyone to put up anything they want. Most folks are good about saying whether it's fact, fiction or theory, but everyone has their opinions that give a slant on the data they gather and present."

"Understood, Jake. Is there anything I can do to help you with your work?"

"If you want to start to design your body, or at least ideas for it, it would be a welcome head start," Jake suggested. "Aristal or Terran ideas, they all work."

"All right," the AI said easily. "I'm not sure what to design, really," he admitted. "TurboKat has a much stronger idea of what she should look like."

"In no small part because she evolved from a combat jet," Jake explained. "She wasn't created like you were. I built the jet, and she eventually woke up in it. I never intended an AI to happen, she just did."

"That's ... similar to how I was created, but I understand the differences," S.T.I.N.G. said easily. "I'd just been looking through your files, and wondered if I could help at all with finding out what was wrong with your other jet. I don't need to do other things, after all."

"If you have any ideas or info I don't have, I'd welcome it," Jake said honestly.

"He means it too," TurboKat added. "Razor likes to talk to us, unlike T-Bone."

"That's good to know... I'm sorry I couldn't tell you about me earlier, Jake," S.T.I.N.G. told him. "Honestly, I'd thought you knew."

"I suspected, but around here, AI's are so rare," Jake shrugged. "It's quite a thing to say about somebody."

"Back home, we've got the rights of people, and the responsibilities of them too," TurboKat added.

"Interesting. Jake? Did you know that the materials on the faulty board are sub-standard?"

"They are?" He looked up in real surprise. "In what way?"

"I'm not sure exactly why, but some of the circuits are too thin to handle the stress of repeated high-g maneuvers. May I bring up the appropriate schematics?"

"Yes, please do," Jake nodded and turned towards the portion of the bay that was holographically equipped.

The hologram of the schematics came up, comparing the board as it was designed and the board as it was. When S.T.I.N.G. pointed out the appropriate part, Jake could see what he meant. They looked almost identical, but for some reason, the circuit had broken, shorting across to the rudder controls.

It just left one real question ... how had that happened?

"That is a real help," he murmured, his mind tracking back to who had created that board.

"Dr. Ken Wu," TurboKat supplied.

"It may just be a simple manufacturing defect," S.T.I.N.G. offered. "I seem to remember hearing about something like it in the past; I'll search for confirmation."

"It may be," Jake admitted. "However with what Wilson has done recently, it's quite possibly intentional if she has a connection to him. That's something Stark can likely find out."

"Most likely," S.T.I.N.G. agreed. "What is the problem with her?"

"By best guess, she's obsessed with Chance. Stalker-type. She almost killed me three times, Chance twice, Marie once, and probably tried to kill Cindy and Tonya too. Not that we can prove any of the serious parts legally."

"Did she have a car accident of her own recently? I had a small mishap with a car registered to a Dr. Wilson."

"Yes, she did," Jake nodded. "She's still accusing me of causing it too."

"You didn't," S.T.I.N.G. said confidently. "I was trying to communicate with the on-board computer when it shut down. It was unintentional... but I could see if it would happen again some time, if you would like."

Jake hesitated, then sighed in resignation. Even if he could live with himself, he couldn't teach an infant AI that premeditated murder was acceptable. "As tempting as it would be to make her go away for good, it's not the right thing to do."

"I understand," STING said, and Jake could almost hear him making the changes to his plans.

Strange, that somebody who so sincerely argued that he hadn't meant for anybody to be hurt , let alone killed, by his actions so far would so easily suggest arranging somebody's death.

It was another reminder of himself, especially early on. He'd nearly self-destructed when he thought he'd unintentionally hurt someone, but threaten those he cared about and he couldn't find it in himself to object to even preplanned torture and murder. It wasn't something he liked all that much about himself, but he understood it. His morals stopped when it came to those close to him.

"Though if you care to find anything that we can use in court against her, it would be a great help," he grinned a bit viciously.

"I can do that," S.T.I.N.G. said cheerfully. "She is currently under guard, yes?"

"Yes," Jake nodded. "Twenty-four-seven live surveillance. Stark is so not happy with her right now."

"He shouldn't be. I just wanted to be sure that Chance would be okay, since she's not in the building and she has tried to hurt him before."

"Ah. No, he's at the hospital, checking on Tonya. It's what he got the flowers for."

"Ah. From Seth?" A moment passed as S.T.I.N.G. paused. "Excellent choice; nothing she is allergic to according to available records."

"That's Chance for you," Jake smiled slightly at the extra comment.

Eureka Kats 9.99: S.T.I.N.G. on the Loose

NC-17 for M/M, M/F sex
Het Level is LowHet Smut Level is Low
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Low
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

79 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written April 27, 2007 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: Eureka, SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Human, Kat, Were

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M).

Pairings: Chance Furlong/Jake Clawson/Marie Moreau, Jo Lupo/Jim Taggart, others

Blurb: When S.T.I.N.G. finally looses his patience with talking to people, he seriously miscalculates the repercussions of taking over Global's computers.

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.

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