Power Games 9.99:
Turning a Trick

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

"Is there any backward corner of Aristal you don't have contacts in?" Chance groused good-naturedly as the horse-drawn coach made a light lurch forward to take them across the border into Veldt.

"Don't you dare complain about not standing in line at customs, dear," Midnight chuckled as she leaned over to kiss his cheek. "Jake's contacts saved us days."

"Veldt is so not backwards, buddy," Jake chuckled lightly. "They just don't have any need for mass production."

"Maybe they don't, but you'd think the rest of the world would get along with them a little better if they made a few concessions to the fact that they exist," Chance pointed out.

"They are the ones who aren't interested in the outside world," Jake pointed out. "They have beaten three attempted invasions in the last century. It's not a weak kingdom."

"I suppose there's that," Chance agreed, looking out the window of the carriage at the open plains and jungle outside. "Glad Tamera could take some time out of classes while we came out here."

"Even if she couldn't, we have plenty of volunteer kitten-sitters," Midnight nuzzled him affectionately. "I think there would be a scuffle over who got temporary custody."

"With three weeks, they'd have time to share," Rock chuckled. "Fortunately, it means Tamera has plenty of help when she needs to go back to her classes."

"Speaking of her, is she still going with Performing Arts and Wildlife Management?" Jake asked.

"Yep, complete with scholarships from the zoo to help out," Midnight smiled, snuggling up against Chance. "She's trying to get a local access show going next semester."

"Ambitious," Jake said with distinct approval. "Is she still keeping up on her flying?"

"Yeah, though we don't get a chance to go up as often as we used to," Chance said easily. "Still, she's good; I'd only be worried if I didn't know she was staying out of military flying."

"She's till good enough to be an asset to her career hopes," Jake nodded and relaxed in Rock's arms.

"Get her foot in the door at least," Chance agreed. "Not too many pilots who know animals and do well on camera too. Looks like the welcoming committee's not too far off," he observed, noticing the small crowd of onlookers at the village up ahead. "Remind me again why I agreed to this trip?" he grumbled at the utterly medieval appearance of it all to him, beyond the light, flowing garments both genders were wearing. He recognized the somewhat localized costumes of the High Priest of Bastet and Halikar, he was fairly sure who the three ranking locals were, and Will was just obvious, even dressed in the local toga-like outfit he didn't look right. His black-on-gray tabby fur and brown hair was at a distinct contrast to the nearly pure Balinese of the native population with their medium length cream fur and dark faces.

"Because you wanted at least one kitten in this litter, love," Midnight giggled. "The locals are lovely."

"They are," he agreed. "Different, but lovely."

"We did get the fuss cut down to a minimum," Rock offered. "You wouldn't believe what they would've set up if we hadn't asked."

"Queen, royal family and full Assembly greeting with all the fanfare you can imagine," Jake shuddered. "I have had more than enough of that for a couple lifetimes."

"I'll pass on it too, thanks," Chance said, joining him in the shudder. "So, what're the formalities for this gathering? Don't want to upset somebody."

"Smile, be polite, and let the Champions deal with what is for us," Rock said simply. "You're really along for the ride. The fuss is over us."

"Never thought in the Academy that Jake would be the one taking the fuss instead of me, and not hurting somebody for it," Chance grinned as the carriage slowed down.

"I would so prefer you in the spotlight," Jake grumped. "I still hate it."

"But you take it much better these days," Rock teased him with a light tickle until he chuckled and relaxed. "Now come on love, look happy for the delegates."

"I know," Jake lifted his head to nuzzle his mate as the coach pulled to a stop.

"Hi Jake," Will greeted them with a welcoming and understanding smile as he opened the door. "It'll be quick, they know you've had a long trip."

"Thanks," Jake nodded and stood with a small stoop to step out into the warm sun and fresh green smell of the land.

"Welcome to the Veldt, Champions," an older female of pale cream fur and dark chocolate points and face said in flawless Katian with a gracious bow. She all but beamed as brightly as the sun when Jake stepped up to hug her. "I am Telia, High Priestess of Bastet. You are welcome here, as your friend has been."

"Thank you, Priestess," Rock said, inclining his head politely, knowing that Jake vastly outranked him in the estimation of the others here. He'd been getting use to it, really; Bastet and Halikar might not have been stronger than Tamorl, Eshik, and Marka, but they were far, far more popular. It was a little stranger how much respect they gave Will, but Vuf was from Veldt originally.

He had to chuckle inwardly; who could blame them, especially in this land where his patrons were barely acknowledged? Pain wasn't prosecuted here, but it wasn't exactly embraced either.

"We understand you are here to make kittens of your own," Telia said gently. "Would you spare an hour or two one day to see the faithful here?"

"Yes," Jake smiled slightly. "I can find that much time. I will attend a service for Halikar as well," he looked at the regal warrior woman who represented his second patron. "All I ask is that you organize the event so that those who need to see me will, without disrupting the time with my family."

"We will do that," they both promised quickly.

"Please excuse the formalities, but our champion can only be so casual," Telia smiled at Jake. "May I introduce High Priestess Hykiea of Halikar's Guard," she indicated a relatively youthful firepoint Balinese.

"Greetings, Champions and god-blessed," Hykiea bowed politely to them. "You honor us with your visit and its reason."

"You honor us with such a small greeting," Jake reinforced his earlier request.

"I am Prefect Atelia," the finely dressed chocolate point Balinese shekat greeted them. "I would be honored if you would accept the hospitality of my home to rest and refresh yourselves before continuing your journey to the capitol."

"Thank you for your kind offer, Prefect," Jake inclined his head politely to her. "Our travel was not tiring, and we wish to reach the capitol as quickly as possible."

"Do you mind sharing your coach with us?" Telia asked politely. "The portal is only an hour's ride away."

"You would be welcome to join us," Jake told them.

"Clear skies and water to you," the Prefect said as everyone climbed into the coach and settled down. The four lovers on one side with Telia, Hykiea and Will on the other.

"So, how was your flight?" Will asked as they got under way. "And how are things back in the big cities?"

"The flight went well, and the cities are their usual," Jake chuckled. "How are you doing? I haven't heard much from you since you came to Veldt."

"I'm doing a lot better... things are quieter here than usual. Kind of ironic, when I think about it too much. It seems like Vuf doesn't call me except for big things anymore though."

"Given what the constant calls were doing to you, I can't say it's a bad thing," Jake pointed out. "I suspect it helps that the legal system actually works for justice here, instead of for the wealthy."

"And that not everybody with power has it because they abuse the poor," Will agreed. "So, you're Rock?" He said with a smile for the larger tabby. "I heard a lot about you in the stretch between Sayden Bay and here."

"And I've heard about you since then," Rock smiled, shaking Will's offered hand. "Glad you're doing better now."

"So am I," he admitted. "I've been able to spend a lot of time studying Vuf and Her history, before the outside world began to assume She was a He. It's kind of strange, really, that She never corrected them."

"Gods can be weird about that sort of thing, I'm learning," Rock chuckled. "Especially if it's not something that important to what they do or how they see themselves. Tamorl wouldn't care, Bastet would be furious."

Jake barely manage to contain hysterical laughter, while Telia's expression went somewhere between shock and outrage at the very concept, though she did eventually get the joke Jake was laughing at.

"While Halikar would likely make a point of correcting them," Hykiea added. "He still remembers His mortal life."

"Are you kidding?" Jake grinned widely at her. "He'd have a fit if someone called Him a girl."

"And if there's anybody who knows how to give Him fits, it's Jake," Rock chuckled. "I meant no offense, Priestess Telia, it was simply an example."

"An effective one," she nodded in acceptance.

"And it does make sense," Will offered. "Vuf is a protector, more interested in that than in how she's viewed, and she didn't have a mortal life to get used to a particular gender in."

"That does make sense then," Rock agreed. "So, what's going through this portal like?"

"It's fast," Will told him. "The light is bright, kinda shimmery. It can be disorienting when you're walking, but in a coach it's nearly a non-event."

"So it's not like the tech transporters I've heard about?" Chance asked. "That take you apart one place, and put you together in another?"

"No," Will couldn't help but laugh. "That's a techie way of doing it. Veldt uses magic. It's more of a wormhole."

"I don't exactly have much experience with teleportation," Chance chuckled. "Not that I did willingly, at any rate."

"When did you ever teleport willingly?" Jake raised a teasing eyebrow.

"My point exactly," Chance smirked over at him. "And when it happens unwillingly, I'm usually more worried about keeping alive than how it works."

"If you are going to do any kind of serious sight-seeing in Veldt, you'll get used to them fast," Will promised him. "It's the local version of an interstate."

"Only faster," Rock chuckled. "Are they always in effect, or only when people want to go through them?"

"They activate on approach, as I understand it," Will said. "Though I'm not completely sure."

"Preparing to enter the gate," their driver called down.

"We'll find out soon enough; anything we have to do before going in?" Chance asked, wrapping an arm around Midnight's waist.

"Just relax," Will suggested with a chuckle before the outside world disappeared into the shimmering lightshow for a few heartbeats. Then the light faded into normal sunlight with the noise and smells of a pre-industrial city.

"Well, that went well... how far did we end up going?" Chance asked, looking out the window at their new location. It reminded him more of the pictures of classic times than the medieval times he'd seen. There were animals being used everywhere as mounts, to pull carts and carry loads, and it smelled like it to him.

"About a thousand miles," William said easily. "Athisiat's near the coast."

"Nice place," Chance murmured, aware that he really ought to be on his best manners and not mention the smells. "Not my usual sort of place, but a lot different from the city."

"You likely have more people in one neighborhood than we do in the entire kingdom," Telia said. "Though we have more spellweavers just in Athisiat than the rest of Aristal."

"You don't export them, right?" Chance asked jokingly. "We've got enough trouble with the mages we do have."

"We do not export anything," Hykiea pointed out. "We do not exile anymore either. These days anything that would have resulted in exile now results in death."

"It's a very short list," Will added quickly.

"We figured it would be," Rock reassured him. "Where do you three want to be dropped off?" He asked them easily.

"At our temples," Telia said. "The coach will stop at Biama's first."

"She has horses for our use, and there is walking," Jake said. "Those are the main modes of transportation here."

"Assuming you ever get out of your room," Will grinned over at him.

"Well, hopefully at least a time or two," Telia chuckled. "The faithful are looking forward to meeting you."

"We'll let him go once in a while, particularly around Midnight's heat," Rock chuckled. "I assume you'd rather I not come with him?"

"You would be welcome, if you wish to come," Hykiea said. "Lord Halikar has made it quite clear that your alliance has been blessed by all sides and that we will honor it."

"Yes," Telia said. "Lady Bastet has said she is quite pleased with healing the rift with her father."

"Then I may come along," Rock smiled as the coach came to a stop in front of a three story stone building with fine carvings and bright frescos covering its exterior. "I'm just used to not being quite as welcome as Jake usually is at these sort of gatherings."

"This is where we are staying?" Midnight asked with a bit of awe.

"Yes," Jake smiled at her as a young teen came out to open the coach door.

"It's very impressive," Chance agreed with his mate, climbing out and helping her down. "Thanks for the company on the trip," he told their companions.

"You are welcome," Telia smiled at him before the door was closed and the coach driver assisted the teen in getting the visitor's bags down.

"It's the equivalent of a bed and breakfast," Jake said as he took his backpack from the youth. "It's as close to a hotel as Veldt gets."

"I'm fine with smaller," Rock smiled. "Thanks," he said, taking his bag and tipping the kit as they started up. "So, anything in particular to do before we settle in?"

"No, though I do want to see the market afterwards," Jake leaned up to kiss his cheek before following the teen inside. "I wouldn't mind fooling around a bit first though."

"Welcome, Champions, god-blessed," an older Balinese, her red mask going white with age, greeted them in flawless Katian with a warm smile and welcoming arms. "It is an honor to provide for such respected guests."

"It's a pleasure to be here," Rock smiled, inclining his head towards her. "You have a beautiful home here."

"Thank you," she beamed at him. "Come, I will show you to your room."

"Gladly," Rock purred, walking along behind her, taking Jake's hand in his and squeezing it lightly. Their first real vacation together since everything had gone so crazy five years ago ... it felt like things were finally becoming normal again.

She led them up a wide pink granite staircase with fine geometric and plant designs carved into the edges of steps and handrail. Every look spoke of wealth and exquisite craftsmanship, but lacked the ostentatious edge that they were used to have going with such wealth.

"I reserved the top floor for you," Biama said as they passed the second floor landing and continued to the top floor of the building. "It was designed for slightly larger parties, but with the purpose of your visit the amenities and space should suit your needs well. There is a small kitchen with a few items from your world and a private bath. Do you have a preference for gender or race for those who will deliver your orders?"

"I'd prefer a female, Kantin if possible," Midnight said. "My scent ... like you said, the purpose of our visit can make things a little awkward," she admitted with a smile.

"Easily arranged," Biama promised. "Do you know how to ride a horse?"

"Midnight and I do," Jake said with a much less certain look at the Furlongs.

"I learned," Rock said with a nod.

"I know how not to get kicked in tender places by one, and that's about it," Chance admitted sheepishly.

"My stable are all well-trained. It would not take long to teach you how to ride well enough to take one around the city if you desire," Biama told him as they reached the landing to the third floor that opened into a small entry room that contained a double dark wooden door decorated in a deep relief of exotic dragons, phoenix and other mythical beasts.

"I might just take you up on that later," Chance smiled gratefully. "Worst that happens is I end up walking though."

"A common method," she agreed and opened the wide doors to reveal a grand room taking up most of the floor that was done in a combination of granite, marble and a variety of quartz that captured the light and refracted it to make the room soothingly bright without a single other source. "I will leave you to explore your room and settle in."

"Wow," Chance murmured. "Do I want to hear what this set you two back?" He asked Jake and Rock.

"Believe it or not, this place is typical fare for visitors," Jake chuckled and put down his pack as Rock closed the door. "I'm sure it's a nice one, but not uncommon."

"Wow," Chance repeated, putting his own bag down. "So, unpack and look around?"

"Or make sure the bed's up to all four of us?" Rock suggested with a grin.

"You two go ahead and start," Midnight giggled and winked at them. "I want to see the place before I get undressed."

"Oh all right," Rock teased, turning to kiss Jake deeply only to moan as his mate's hands worked their way under his shirt.

"They're like a pair of minks some days," Chance chuckled.

"As if you're any better," Midnight laughed and kissed him playfully. "Do you want to watch them get all hot, or check out the place with me?"

"Let's check the place out," Chance purred into the kiss. "Maybe by the time we get back they'll be at your favorite part of the show," he teased, licking her nose before they slipped out of the room.

"Subtle, aren't they?" Rock chuckled, kissing Jake tenderly as they worked towards the bed flooded in warm sunlight.

Jake grinned and unbuckled Rock's pants, pushing them down before he pushed back a bit so he sat on the edge of the bed. "About as subtle as we are," he purred and knelt between Rock's legs to nuzzle his groin.

"Ooo ... you're not complaining though," Rock grinned. "Want to top me after this?"

"Not at all," he took Rock's sheath and balls into his mouth, swirling his tongue around the inside to tease his thick cock out.

"Mmm... then get yourself up here," Rock grinned, reaching down to grab Jake's tail and playfully tug him around so he had access to his mate's crotch. He grabbed Jake's hips, nuzzling his crotch as his own shaft came out to meet Jake's hungry teeth and tongue. He felt Jake moan at the attention and grinned as he worked his tongue around the full orbs of his mate's balls, knowing it was one of the faster ways to arouse him.

"Ohh, yeah, I think you're ready," Jake purred as he let his lover slide from his mouth.

"Let's start this out right," Rock rumbled, dropping Jake's balls from his mouth. "Ride my cock; after you've given me an appetizer I'll make it worth your while," he grinned.

"As if you have to bribe me for that," Jake grinned as they shifted; Rock on his back, looking up as Jake sank down, spearing himself on Rock's cock.

"Nnngh ... maybe not, but it's fun," Rock grinned before bending up to lick at Jake's cock. "Just imagine Chance's face if he walked in on us now," he winked, bending further forward and taking his mate's shaft entirely in his hot, hungry mouth.

"I'd rather imagine his face if he saw Midnight's reaction to this," Jake moaned softly. "She'd want me to take her while you did me like this," he panted as he arched back and squeezed his ass, making a shameless display of his hard body.

"Mmmm... he could join in, but I'd have to be more careful about where my mouth went," Rock grinned up at him, starting to bob his head shallowly, rocking Jake's body between his mouth and the throbbing, barbed shaft buried deep in his ass.

"You are putting such dirty thoughts in my head," Jake moaned with a hitch in his breath as he was sucked and fucked right to the edge of his endurance.

"Tell me about them," Rock groaned around his cock, his tongue washing over Jake's barbs as he worked his cock against the tom's prostate, fighting to hold back until he'd come.

"You right where you are, her riding my cock as he forces his way into my ass with you," Jake managed breathlessly, his body trembling as his pleasure began to spiral out of control. "How hot it would be."

"Nnngh ... you're right," Rock groaned as his thrusting became faster and harder. "It would be hot... don't know if you'd talk him into it though."

"Maybe around her heat," he panted and sank forward, his balls tightening and his body beginning to milk Rock's cock.

Rock groaned, pumping his seed into Jake's body as the lean tom roared and pumped his own into the tabby's hungry mouth, every drop swallowed greedily until Jake slid back a bit too far and claimed his mouth in a long, hot kiss.

"Against my back?" Jake rumbled throatily.

"Don't have to twist my arm," Rock grinned as he rolled on top of him, kissing him hungrily. "Mmm... keep fantasizing though," he winked. "I like the way you think."

"Ohh, yeah," Jake moaned and pressed up against Rock's chest as they rocked against each other. "How about Midnight under me like this, with somebody working your ass with their tongue," he suggested with a squeeze to the cock deep inside him. "Tingling from both ends as her heat-scent wraps around us."

"Oh... maybe the Kantin bitch our hostess will be looking for?" Rock suggested with a grin, starting to thrust into his tight ass. "With Chance beneath all of us, working with you to fill her belly with kits?"

"Oh, yeah that sounds hot," Jake moaned. His ear flicked when Midnight's soft moan reached him, but he was too focused on his mate to do much else.

"We're still short a Kantin bitch," Rock grunted, grinning as he slammed into Jake's ass, "but want to see about getting most of it?" He asked, speaking quietly enough that only Jake could hear him for now. "Or the first one," he rumbled, licking an ear playfully.

"Can't hurt to ask," Jake shuddered and moaned. "M? Wanna play," he looked over at her and reached down to stroke himself invitingly. "Had this foursome idea. You on me, the boys in me."

"As long as that's not how the rest of the trip goes," Midnight purred, undressing with Chance's help.

"With any luck, it won't be how the next round goes," Chance rumbled. "Want me to keep you occupied before he gets filled?" He purred into her hot kiss, loving how her lean body had filled out and rounded from their kittens.

"Always," she purred in reply and helped him undress. "I love how you fill me up."

"Let's show 'em how it's done then," he purred, pushing her back against the wall, reaching down to squeeze her rump as he kissed her possessively and she rubbed her body against his hotly.

"I'm already wet," she breathed against his fur and rubbed her hips against his groin. "So wet and empty, just waiting for you," she said as she wrapped one leg around his, stretching up, trying to bring her hips above his so she could slide onto his full cock.

He lifted her up, sliding his swollen cock into her slick body with a low moan of pleasure. He started to thrust, sliding her back up and down the wall with each push of his hips. Her legs wrapped around his hips and her arms around his neck.

"Love you baby," he murmured into her mouth as their passion rose to a hot, fevered pitch. He bit down on her shoulder lightly, unconsciously mimicking his cousin's possessive jaws around Jake's scruff as they both fucked their mates hard and deep. The smell of sex in the room was getting unbearably heavy when the two tabbies roared, pumping their mates full as they came hard.

"So, buddy, you game to fuck me too?" Jake asked with open hunger in his sultry voice.

"Mmm... just don't get used to it," Chance murmured, kissing Midnight before pulling out of her with a groan. "You up for it, baby?" He asked her seriously.

"Oh yes," she grinned at him, running her fingers through his thick fur and claiming a kiss before they walked to the bed where Rock had rolled over with Jake so they were facing each other and the buff tabby was on his back. "You have no idea how hot it is for me to see and feel him get off that hard."

"I'm rather partial to it too," Rock grinned up at her. "You up for a little experimenting of your own?" He asked her as she slipped up onto the bed and straddled his chest, Chance climbing up behind Jake.

"Y-yes," she moaned deeply when Jake slipped his fingers between her legs and felt her up, teasing the folds of her sex as he kissed and sucked on her teats.

"Put in anytime you're ready, buddy," Jake flashed a hungry look at Chance before turning his attention to Midnight again.

Rock brushed Midnight's tail out of the way, reaching up to squeeze her ass and spread her cheeks. He leaned up, giving her tight pucker a tentative lick as Chance pressed against Jake's back, leaning over his partner to kiss Midnight tenderly even as she tensed, then tried to relax as she focused on her mate and the way Jake worked her sex with his fingers and the feel of his hard body under her hands.

"Relax," Chance murmured. "He knows what he's doing, from what I've heard," he reassured her, pressing his cock up into Jake's ass, struggling for a moment to get it in with Rock's, squeezing his eyes tightly shut at the intensity of it. "Fuck...."

"Tight, isn't he?" Rock moaned, the two cousins starting to thrust as he focused on the rimjob he was giving Midnight, knowing that he'd have to be careful not to turn her off completely.

"Gods yes," Chance gasped at the sensation of another cock sliding along his inside such a tight space. He focused on Midnight's expression as Jake struggled to focus on her enough to guide her onto his cock, holding her tightly as he struggled to pleasure her with his ass so full of two cocks.

Chance and Rock found a rhythm quickly, pushing into Jake at the same time and helping him to fuck Midnight's hungry sex. Chance reached between his partner and mate, fondling Midnight's breasts with one hand as he tried to decide just how much she was enjoying the new arrangement and attention.

He wasn't entirely sure that he loved the blissful look on her face, but it did make this just a bit hotter. Her moans and low cries of pleasure added an element he grooved on, and though he'd never admit it to her, he did miss giving anal.

He kissed her, leaning down to kiss Jake's head as he came up and kissed Midnight as well, moaning as the two cocks in his ass pressed hard against his prostate and his cock rubbed against her g-spot.

"Nnngh... glad you can do this," Chance rumbled lowly, nipping Jake's scruff lightly.

"Me too," he panted, his body tightening reflexively as he neared a third orgasm despite his best efforts to make the incredible pleasure last. "Damn it's hot."

"Let it go," Chance groaned, throwing his head back with a roar as he came, Rock groaning against Midnight's ass as his cousin's seed poured into his mate's ass, pushing him over the edge just as Jake's body contracted around them hard.

Jake growled against Midnight's mouth, his thick seed shooting into her body to mix with her mate's as she whimpered in pleasure.

Rock shifted his head down, licking up the mixture of her juices and Jake's as they oozed out around his cock, purring happily as her trembling became more pronounced.

"Almost there," Jake encouraged him as she clung to him, her body beginning to flutter around his cock.

The tabby kept it up, his tongue washing along Jake's cock as the cinnamon tom started thrusting on his own, and up over the parted folds of Midnight's sex. He turned his head, giving her labia a very light nip, enough to be felt but not hurt her.

"Ohh," she moaned, her back arching as Chance claimed her mouth and worked her breasts. It was heady, having all three toms focused on her pleasure, and she gave in quickly with a gasping cry as her claws unsheathed into Jake's back.

Rock and Chance both moaned lowly, Rock lapping up her juices and licking her labia until she'd finished her orgasm. When they were all finished, he laid back, pulling Midnight and Jake down on top of him with a happy purr, nuzzling her neck as Chance rolled to the side a bit and moved close to caress his mate.

"That was pretty incredible," Chance murmured with a kiss for her. "I'm glad you're going to enjoy this."

"It'll be even better when I'm in heat," she purred, kissing him back and squeezing down around Jake's cock. "I'm glad you don't mind."

"Never did, baby," Chance purred, nuzzling her neck even as Jake reached over to stroke his shoulder and back.

"Only for you will I go shopping," Chance grumbled to Midnight good-naturedly as they dismounted outside a bustling open-air market of three-sided tents and open-air stalls in neat rows. He was sure the place took up acres.

"It's better than going with Jake to the great library," Rock pointed out with a smirk for his cousin's scrunched-up expression at the idea. "Besides, we have plenty of kittens to shop for."

"And we all know they're who you're going shopping for," Midnight teased, giving Chance a light kiss on the cheek. "Besides, the sooner we get the souvenir shopping done, the less reason we have to stop after my heat's over," she winked.

"Mmm, very true," Chance rumbled eagerly. "You have to admit the room service here is great."

"Mother takes great pride in having happy guests," their guide and translator piped up.

"She does a good job," Midnight reached out to ruffle the near-teen's steel-gray hair.

"Thank you, ma'am," Catra grinned. "What would you like to start with, or are you just exploring for now?"

"Well, we have kittens from twenty to a year old," Midnight smiled at her. "Gifts for them, and the newborns that will be here in seven months. If you have any ideas, I'm happy to look at them."

"I know a merchant who sells charms and small magical toys," she offered enthusiastically. "Would that work?"

"Like an excellent place to start," Midnight said and indicated for Catra to show them the way while the horses grazed in the paddock with many others.

Catra started off cheerfully, leading the way for Midnight and the two tabbies. Chance was thoroughly distracted by the sights and sounds of the area though; he hadn't seen anything like this in years. Even most of the primitive areas he went to with the Ghosts had a lot of imported goods in their bazaars. It made this one very, very different. There didn't seem to be anything from far away, and so far all of the merchants were of the local Balinese type.

Despite the well-spoken Katian of Biama and her family, he could already hear that it wasn't the norm here. Even when the merchants tried to get their attention, the obvious recognition of their status as foreigners, they still spoke in the harsh, yet lyrical local language.

Looking around, it also struck him that the three of them were quite possibly the only foreigners here.

He really, really hoped that Catra was on their side when it came to negotiating, if that was part of the local custom. He had too many memories of getting ripped off because he didn't speak the local language as it was. Even knowing that they had plenty of money, it was hard to get past the part in the back of his head that said he had to save every penny he could, just in case.

"Hold up," he called out, noticing a merchant with a selection of finely made blades and other weapons. "Midnight; didn't Kyale say Heather was far enough along to start practicing her weapons-katas without her supervision?"

"Yes, but not with anything sharp," she nodded, looking at the display. "She's not that stable."

"Varin makes a good weapon, but he's not the best swordsmith here," Catra said as the merchant in question noted their interest and did his best to encourage them to approach him without relying on words.

"I hadn't been thinking about swords," Chance said, shaking his head. "Do you know anybody better for batons, like the two on the end?" He asked, not indicating them in case they were about to move on.

"Yes," she nodded slightly. "They are for a girl to practice with, not display?" Catra asked to be sure.

"Yes, they are," he nodded. "A very strong girl, who's likely to keep using them as she grows," he added, considering an ornate dagger on display. He could see what she meant; he'd seen much better craftsmanship, and that wasn't even counting the knife that Taecin's priests had given Aleice.

"Varin's would do the job then, but I would look at three other merchants before choosing," she suggested politely.

"Why don't we do that then," Chance nodded, stepping back and shaking his head when the merchant tried to offer him another piece for consideration.

"This way," Catra said with a guiding flick of her tail along Midnight's. "I think that Darteramis is the best carver who frequents the market. "He does many other wooden objects. I believe you will find his wooden swords to be attractive and functional."

"She's certainly conscientious about her work," Rock observed as they turned to follow her.

"It's good too," Chance said quietly. "I really hate being ripped off, and this is the kind of situation where it happens."

"The thought's crossed my mind," Rock agreed. "Fortunately, if it does happen, we can afford it," he reassured his cousin.

"I'm trying not to think that way," he chuckled. "I do have several kits to put through school yet, after all, even with the in-laws helping more than is sane."

"Hay, Midnight's an only kit of two pretty successful Kats, and you wouldn't believe what Jake's actually worth," Rock chuckled as a beautifully carved piece of black marble caught his attention and managed to hold it well enough that he literally froze for a couple heartbeats. The lightly pregnant, naked shekat was posed in a seductive dance move with her arms over her head and her tail away from her body in a flowing arch around her legs.

"It is a fertility statue," Catra told him.

"It's magic," Rock murmured in real surprise.

"Oh yes," she nodded with a happy smile. "When tuned to prevent pregnancy she will slowly grow more pregnant. When tuned to enhance fertility, she will become less pregnant. They work best when she is of the same race as who she is tuned to."

"Not something you two need," Chance grinned, nudging Rock in the ribs lightly. "Even if one of you was a fem."

"No, but it's pretty, and one hell of a gag gift for the Champion of Bastet," Rock winked at him with a wide grin. "How much do those usually go for?"

"It depends on how pregnant she is," Catra said. "The more pregnant, the more potent the fertility effect is. The one you like is a new enchantment. It shouldn't go for more than two hundred and fifty gold."

"A little rich for a gag gift," Chance pointed out.

"Not for one like that; she'll be a great addition to the art collection on top of it," Rock chuckled. "Besides, it'll take some strain off him when he's got Fel or Kyale over. I'd like to buy it," he told Catra, looking over the other items on offer and spotting a simple stone pendant. "And what's that?" He asked curiously. It stood out like a sore thumb here; it was far too plain and simple.

"I'll find out, sir," she nodded and stepped up to speak to the merchant with all the confidence of an experienced buyer. After a few exchanges in the consonant-heavy yet lyrical local language she turned to Rock. "It is a defensive charm, which turns ill intentions away from the wearer."

"Might be good for Carmin," Chance mused. "He's having trouble with the usual bullies, even if Heather's leaving him alone. How much would that usually be?"

"Given its appearance, four to six gold," she said with a thoughtful look. "If you want one that looks good, it would be more based on how much artistic effort went into it. Every crafter also takes commissions. They will make exactly what you want, usually for about what it costs from their display."

"Knowing what I do about school bullies, looking cheap is a good thing," Chance pointed out. "Can you let him know we're interested?"

She nodded. "Do you want the statue as well, sir?" she asked Rock.

"Yes, thank you," Rock nodded. "Not as much for the enchantment as the workmanship," he added.

Catra nodded and turned back to the merchant. While none of them understood more than a handful of the words in the quick and spirited exchange, they could follow the tones, expressions and much of the body language involved.

Rock watched in fascination, Chance with an effort to read if they were going to give him a bad price, and Midnight wondered a bit to a cloth and clothing stand across the way.

Out of the corner of his eye Chance saw her manage a polite greeting when the merchant saw her, and her relieved body language when she apparently spoke enough Katian to communicate without a translator.

His attention was soon drawn back to Catra when she turned to talk to them again.

"Belist is willing to take 3 gold and 2 silver for the charm, and two hundred and thirty for the statue if you both agree to tell any who admire or ask about them where they are from and who crafted them," she said. "It is a very good price," she added with absolute confidence. "He likes to do special commissions for outlanders. He says they have the most interesting requests and ideas and he enjoys the challenge."

"Most reasonable," Rock agreed. "And we'll gladly do so," he added, reaching into his zippered pack and pulling out the money they'd brought along, giving four heavy gold bars, three heavy gold coins, and a handful of small, thin gold and silver coins to her.

Chance nodded and pulled out three thin gold and two thin silver coins from the inside of his belt and handed it over. "You will write down what we should tell others on how to contact him?"

"I will," she agreed and took the money, handing it over to Belist, who counted and gave it a cursory examination and nodding as they continued to talk in a more friendly banter. "He will have them delivered to Mother's for you. There is no need for you to carry them while we continue."

"Thanks much," Chance smiled. "Could you ask him if he does commissions of specific people?" He added curiously.

A quick exchange later and she turned with a nod. "Yes he does, but he prefers to have the person come to his workshop where he can record their features properly. He can make it realist or idealized as desired, and they do not have to be female or enchanted the same way," she said, indicating some of the figures in another section of his stand. "He has a wide variety of enchantments he can use."

"How long would it take?" He asked more quietly, glancing to make sure Midnight was still focused on the exchange with the textile merchant. "To get to the point where he wouldn't need the model there, at least?"

She turned back for a short exchange and nodded before turning to Chance again. "An hour, perhaps two in his workshop. It would depend partially on the size and detail needed in the final sculpture. A life sized, perfect copy would be much longer to prepare for than one this size."

"That's fine, she'd kill me if I arranged something like that," Chance chuckled. "About that size though, I think I can get away with. When would a good time be? I'd like to commission one with my wife as the model, with similar enchantment. We're not always going to want a new litter on the way."

Catra giggled with a grin and turned to talk to Belist.

"Are you sure about that buddy?" Rock snickered at his cousin.

"Rock, at this rate we'll run out of room in the house to put them in," Chance pointed out dryly. "Especially once the litters we've got now are old enough they can't all share a room."

"Okay, there will be a time when you need to stop for a while, but she won't want to," Rock chuckled deeply. "I do know her type. She's a perfect Bastet made flesh."

Catra turned back to them. "This evening or tomorrow if she is agreeable to it. He wishes to stay at his stand until dusk, when most of the market closes, then he goes to his workshop. He will be there tomorrow while his first mate tends to the stand. He asks two hundred and fifty gold for it and it will take him between one and two months to carve and enchant."

"Sounds reasonable to me; is it customary to pay all up front, or part now and part on completion?" Chance asked, glad they'd split the 'pocket money' up before they'd left.

"Half on agreement, half on delivery," she said. "Shipping would be extra if you don't want to come and pick it up yourself."

"The Temple of Bastet would be very willing to move it around," Rock suggested to his cousin. "Especially something like this."

"We'll have somebody come to pick it up in our name," Chance agreed. "We'll have her come by tomorrow then; do you know where his workshop is?"

"Yes, sir," Catra nodded easily. "Is there anything else you are interested in?"

"I don't think so," Rock shook his head with Chance before she turned to make the final arrangements. "Just have Midnight bring the commission payment with her."

"That's fine," Catra told them after a few moments more, looking back at Midnight and giggling. "Now let's go rescue her," she grinned, hurrying across to the black shekat as the negotiating started to devolve into hand gestures and confusion.

"I am so not going near that," Chance said warily as he watched Catra quickly get what Midnight wanted and arranged it with the merchant. A few thin silver coins were exchanged and Midnight followed Catra back to the guys.

"Something special for the night," Midnight purred as she wrapped her arms around one of Chances and leaned against him. "I think you'll enjoy it."

"Well, don't get yourself too tired out tonight, I've got plans for you in the morning," he chuckled, leaning back against her. "So, let's go look for the rest of those souvenirs and then go rescue the librarians from Jake."

"Sounds like a plan," she giggled and stretched up to kiss his cheek.

"I think your education has become my best investment ever," Callie chuckled softly as Mark worked, and reworked, her draft of a re-election speech for the mayor in the Canidor district.

"When it comes to the Kantin vote at least," the Fox chuckled. "Of course, if you ever decide to run, I'll have to be sure to come up with a few new tricks," he grinned over at her, considering the phrasing for a few minutes. "Is this going to be a broadcast speech, or just for the people in the audience?" He asked her.

"The audience and TV cameras," she said with a roll of her eyes. "He never misses the chance to get his name on TV."

"Right," he nodded. "That's what I figured, but thought I'd check," he said, leaving the speech as it was and moving on. "It's not a big thing, but you know better than I do how one phrase can end up being the one the reporters latch on to."

"Far too much," she groaned. "They love to torment him when they can, but at least this time he doesn't have any competition to speak of."

"Nope - only other candidate who might win is running on his ticket," he grinned over at her. "How's this?" He asked her, handing over his latest notes.

"Because I like getting work done," she grinned at him with a wink. "Manx may be worthless, but he knows a good thing when he has it. It looks good," she said with a nod. "You definitely have a good head for political speech-writing."

"Thanks," he grinned at the praise. "There is one thing I'm not entirely sure of," he admitted. "So I'll leave it up to you; the 'nine lives' reference on the last page isn't something that's going to offend anybody, by any means, but it's the sort of kat-centric thinking that a lot of people in the Canidor district are tired of. They're used to hearing it, so it's not going to be a problem; it's just likely to go in one ear and out the other. Changing it to a single-life reference might get a few folks' attention for the closer. That's why I asked about broadcast; I'm not sure if it'd play as well on the air as it would with the Kantin population."

"Mmm, I'll figure out a way to make it less feline," she leaned back in her chair to think. "Maybe not a single-life reference exactly, but there are ways to word a closer that don't involve nine lives."

"Which will help, at least," he nodded, ears perking up as he turned his head towards the door. "Think the shoot went well," he grinned as the deadbolt turned.

"Good," Callie pushed the speech away. "I think we could both stand a break."

"I'm not going to complain," he grinned, heading over to see if Vanessa needed any help, only to have her jump up and hug him around the neck when the door opened, kissing him heatedly.

"Hi!" She grinned once she pulled back.

"Well hello!" He grinned back, pulling her in and closing the door. "How'd it go?"

"Terrific," she grinned broadly and accepted a hug and kiss on the cheek from Callie.

"Were you asked back?" Callie asked with a warm smile.

"Yep," she nodded. "Asked back, and I had the feeling that Miss Gironde was really happy with my work."

"That's great to hear," Mark grinned. "You're getting a good start, for having been modeling for just a couple years."

"As long as modeling is all you are doing for the pay," Callie almost teased. "You're worth much more than that for more," she tipped her face up for a kiss. "I should know."

"Mmm... don't worry, Callie," Vanessa rumbled, kissing her on the lips. "You know what happened to the last guy who got 'model' and 'hooker' mixed up," she grinned.

"Did they ever find out if he'd be able to have kits ever again?" Mark snickered, wrapping his arms around both of them and giving them each a kiss.

"Oh, you," Vanessa giggled. "You know full well - there wouldn't be any doubt if I'd wanted to be that rough."

"It's not so obvious with a female," Callie chuckled. "So did you get a gift from this one?"

"I thought I'd leave it up to you two to find out," Vanessa winked playfully, slipping off her jacket and right into the hands of her brother's too-skilled efforts to remove the street clothes under it.

"You are far too good at that," Callie laughed, even as she appreciated the lacy lingerie, a rich rusty color that played up the red in her fur.

"You're not really complaining, I noticed," he grinned, leaning over Vanessa's shoulder to lick Callie's cheek. "Mmm... I like Miss Gironde's taste," he observed, reaching around to trace one of the silk flowers embroidered into the sheer fabric flowing from the lacy bra.

"She does know what will show you off very well," Callie agreed with a low rumble of arousal as she unzipped Vanessa's skirt and kissed along the line of the vixen's hip, working her way in as the flowing skirt slid down. "Do you know what would be incredibly hot?"

"I've got a few ideas," Vanessa rumbled, reaching down to scratch one of Callie's ears, cooing softly as her brother reached around to fondle her breasts.

"If you wore this all night while we have our way with you," she purred, fingering the heavier fabric over her crotch and the snaps that held it in place. "Except for this bit, of course."

"Ooh... sounds a thrill," Vanessa groaned. "Mistress? Or Mistress and Master?" She asked with a grin.

"Mistress and Master," Callie purred and nuzzled her crotch before standing. "Now come, the bed is waiting and we've both had a stressful evening writing the Mayor's speeches."

"Ugh, well that need very special treatment," Vanessa giggled, starting off for the bedroom.

"Anything in particular in mind?" Mark asked her with a low rumble as they followed.

"I was thinking to start with you taking me from behind as she eats me out," Callie purred. "Move on to her giving you a blow-job while as share a double-dildo, and maybe tying her up and seeing how many ways we can make a three way work afterwards."

"Sounds like fun," he grinned. "Mmm ... though I've got an idea to add to it. Think the ceiling hook is up to supporting her full weight?"

"It's up to supporting twice yours," she laughed playfully, her ears flicking half flat at an unhappy cry from the girl's room. "Go ahead and start without me. It sounds like I have a mediation job."

"I'll bet they're still easier to work with than the Mayor is," Mark snickered, following his sister into the bedroom.

"Only because I can discipline them," Callie said under her breath before she opened the door to the girl's room to assess the situation and was relieved to realize it was a minor thing. Sara had likely pounced on Terrie when the peach-furred girl wanted to read instead of play.

"Mommy! Sara jumped me," Terrie whined.

"She won't play or turn off the light," Sara countered with a huff.

"The light is small and we all know you can sleep with it on," Callie told her firstborn firmly, causing the kitten to move away to her own side of the kitten-bed. "That said," she turned her focus on Terrie, "your bedtime was two hours ago. You should not be awake."

"But Mommy, the book is good," Terrie objected with her ears sinking.

"It will be here in the in the morning," Callie reminded her and took the book away gently. "I love that you read so much, but you need to sleep."

"Yes, Mommy," she signed and snuggled down.

Both kittens purred softly as they were tucked in for the second time that night and stroked gently until they relaxed and their eyes slid shut.

"Those are my good babies," Callie crooned to them as they drifted off. "Sleep well, girls," she smiled back at them as she turned off the light and left to join her lovers in the master bedroom.

When she got there, she realized why Mark had asked about the hook; he'd spent the time she'd spent putting the kittens to sleep getting Vanessa more than a little tied up. She was naked now, giggling and groaning as her brother pulled the ropes back and tied them off; she was suspended by her wrists, ankles, and tail, with just a few loops beneath her belly to take the weight off her limbs.

"I thought I'd make sure she was openly available," he grinned at Callie as she came in. "The usual on the kitten front?"

"Exactly," she rolled her eyes with a chuckle. "Terrie wanted to read, Sara wanted to play."

"And they both should have been asleep," Vanessa giggled, only to have it dissolve into a moan as her brother rubbed his palm along her sex and squeezed her clit lightly between two fingers.

"Hopefully they will stay asleep for long enough," Callie purred and stepped up to kiss her and fondle her breasts. "Let's see how many times we can make her whimper."

"Have anybody in particular you want up front on her?" Mark asked Callie with a grin as he finished stripping, his cock hard between his legs. "Or would you like me to make her beg for us to include her?" He added with a lusty rumble.

"Mmm," Callie purred deeply and stepped up to kiss him, reaching down to cup and fondle his balls and the base of his full sheath. "I think I'd like to make her beg to join, and beg to come."

"Sounds like fun," he rumbled, returning the kiss heatedly, unbuttoning her suit and sliding it back off her shoulders. "Now, where should we get started?"

"On your back, stud," she grinned and climbed on top of him, wasting no time in lowering herself onto his cock with a low groan.

"Oh... what would everybody think if they knew why you always wear skirts," he grinned up at her, slipping her shirt loose and sliding his hands beneath it to fondle her breasts through her bra.

"A lot of folks would be terribly jealous of you," she moaned as her body's hunger was sated on its most primal level. "Oh yes," she hissed as her body arched in the pleasure of being full and hot. "A lot already are."

"And you love every minute of it," he moaned, squeezing her breasts as he started thrusting up into her. "Just like you love making my sister watch us back there," he added with a grin.

"And the feel of your knot inside me," she shuddered and leaned forward, working her hips shamelessly against his as her heat pushed them both to the edge far too quickly.

"That I've got to back off," he groaned apologetically, pushing her up so he didn't tie her, leaning up to kiss her hungrily. "So fucking close," he moaned as Vanessa whimpered softly behind them, straining in her bonds to try and reach Callie's tail, at least.

With a wicked look at the bound vixen Callie flicked her tail to caress her belly to her breasts while she ride Mark's cock, the knot rubbing her clit and the folds of her sex until she came with a cry moments later.

Mark yelped as his balls pulled up, pumping his seed into her sex, hungry for anything they could fill it with.

"You sure you want me up her ass tonight?" He asked her with a throaty rumble. "Or do you want to keep me to yourself?"

"No fair," Vanessa whined playfully.

"I think I do want to you to myself tonight," Callie kissed him hotly, her body squeezing down and milking his cock to encourage him to start thrusting again. "I'll wear her out when you're worn out. I do have that new double dildo to break in."

"All right then," he grinned, kissing her back and rolling on top of her, starting to thrust, bracing his feet on the footboard of the bed. "If she would just happen to get loose, of course, I can't be held responsible," he winked.

"You'll both just have to pay if you wear out before I do," Callie grinned up at him and claimed his mouth as she wrapped her legs around his hips and rocked with him.

"You'll just have to figure out the price," he grinned back, fucking her hard and deep as they heard Vanessa struggling behind them. If she wasn't in season, he knew it wouldn't have worked. As it stood, she was far more interested in what his cock was doing inside her than with anything else going on around her. He heard the 'thump' of Vanessa hitting the floor, and winced inwardly as he kissed Callie hotly, his knot popping in and out of her hungry sex.

"Not long," he moaned, shifting to hit her g-spot, trying to push her over along with him. With her so keyed up, he was sure it wouldn't be that difficult. Even normally she was usually happy to take the pleasure he offered.

"Tie with me," she demanded with wanton hunger. "Fill me and tie me," she tightened her arms and legs around him.

He pushed forward, his knot swelling beyond the point it would come back out of her as he moaned desperately, every pulsing beat of his heart making his cock twitch up against her g-spot as he came, his balls shooting another load of his fertile canine seed into her feline sex to be lapped up hungrily by her cervix.

"So lucky I'm not a kat," he panted as he rolled to his side, kissing her tenderly as Vanessa climbed onto the bed behind her.

"So am I," Callie moaned, her entire body twitching as she followed him, snuggling against him on their sides as she stroked his side and back. "It feels so good."

"How long before you're really into it?" Vanessa asked her with an affectionate nuzzle, rubbing the new double-dildo between her peach-furred cheeks.

"Two, maybe three days," she answered with a chuckle. "I see he didn't tie you too securely."

"You'd be amazed what I learned to get out of, when I put my mind to it." Vanessa giggled, reaching down between their legs to fondle her brother's balls and Callie's sex. "Mmm... besides, you look like you've got something else that needs filling," she teased, reaching back a bit to stroke her anus.

"Ooo," Callie moaned into her purr and flicked her tail up and out of the way. "That I do."

"Mmmm... you're so naughty, Miss Briggs," Vanessa teased, nipping her shoulder lightly and slipping down to press the other end of the dildo up and into Callie's ass. The vixen moaned softly along with Callie as the glossy black feeldo stretched both of them out, a thin layer of lube making the passage into Callie's ass easier.

"As if you aren't," Callie moaned at the rush of having Mark tied in her sex and the lovely thickness opening up her ass as Vanessa pressed against her back. "Once he's good to go again, let's tag team him."

"Collar and leash?" Vanessa asked with a giggle, wrapping her arms around them both, kissing her brother and starting to thrust into Callie's ass, loving the feel of her soft fur against her nipples through her sheer bra.

"Of course," Callie purred and claimed a lengthy kiss from Mark. "Assuming he likes the idea."

"He hasn't complained yet," she grinned, loving the shudders that the feeldo sliding along his knot through Callie's body caused in them both. There really was nothing quite like Callie in heat to make the bedroom something special.

Rapier considered his cards, then looked up at his opponent, considering the Tiger's face. The young tom was good; very good. A pro they'd brought in for the game tonight.

The Kat's Me-Ow was holding it's annual charity poker game, for the Interspecies Advancement Fund, and as usual Rapier was taking part. Doing well this year, though now that he was up against the club's pro he was having a much harder time of it.

Not that it really mattered; if the pro won, the prize money went to the IAF on top of the portion the club had already set aside. If he won, he'd planned to donate it anyways. Still, there was a certain amount of pride at stake, especially up against a pro.

"So, this just a tax deduction for you?" He asked casually, taking a sip of his drink and picking up about five hundred in chips, announcing the raise as he tossed them into the middle.

"Not really," the Tiger said briefly. He called the raise, waiting for the next cards. "You?"

"Nope," the Alsatian chuckled, looking over at Abi, talking with a Panther-Lab he'd seen around the museum a time or two. She certainly seemed more interested in the conversation than the game; he couldn't really blame her. She'd known what was up tonight, but he had a feeling that she was hoping he'd either be out early or the whole thing would be finished soon. He couldn't help but think that her experience with poker extended to the occasional game at camp, and probably just overhearing it at that. She was a lot more fun when she was interested in what was going on, he'd already decided.

"Calling the clock," the Tiger said, just a bit irritably. Rapier turned back to the table with a sheepish grin, looking at the new card. Good; he'd caught his flush, against two pair. It was a bit of a risk, but he had one each of the fours and sevens his opponent needed.

"Sorry," he said. "All in."

"Call," the pro said, without a moment's hesitation.

Damn. That couldn't be good.

He flipped up his hole card, revealing his flush. The Tiger flipped his own up; the last four. The people paying attention cheered and raised their drinks to the winner, and Rapier shook his head and stood up to shake the Tiger's hand.

"You got me," he admitted.

"You weren't paying attention," the Tiger chuckled, taking the offered hand. "Can't blame you; you've got a very pretty reason for being interested. So happens she's chatting with mine," he winked.

"Well, let's go rescue him from her," Rapier grinned, turning to walk over to Abi, and smiled warmly when she politely excused herself before he'd gotten two steps away from the table.

"You don't seem too upset with not winning," she flashed him a smile and wrapped her arms around his neck to claim a kiss.

"I'm not," he smiled back, returning the kiss. "Money's going to a good cause either way, and turns out that the winner's good friends with your new buddy," he chuckled. "Now, how about a few drinks and we hit the dance floor, make the long game up to you?"

"Now that sounds like a plan," she purred and snuggled against his side.

"Glad you approve," he smiled, rubbing her side. "How about a drink for the conquering hero and his boyfriend?" He grinned.

"No, but thanks," the Tiger chuckled, kissing his boyfriend on the cheek. "We've got other plans," he winked, the two of them turning to head out.

"Just as well," Rapier chuckled. "So, how about a Katinka?" He asked Abi as they walked to the bar and the tables were cleared up.

"I have no clue what it is, so it sounds good," she grinned up at him.

"Just the answer I was hoping for," he grinned, ordering one for her, and a Tequila Sunrise for himself. "Now, just when do I have to have you home tonight?" He asked her with a grin.

"Well now, you could always just get me drunk enough to not notice what home we're going to," she teased him as they were handed their drinks. "But I think we would both enjoy it if you got me hot enough on the dance floor that I can't wait to get to either of our places."

"Mmm... I think you're right," he grinned, leaning down towards her as she sipped her drink. "You know what those rooms in the back of the club are for?" He asked her with a playful whisper.

"Dressing rooms," she glanced up at him, stealing a playful kiss.

"These days," he agreed. "But they used to be for couples who didn't have another private place to go for some alone time... they still have the locks on them," he grinned. "Care to do a little historical re-enactment after a bit of dancing?"

"We'll see how turned on you manage to get me," she purred in open challenge as they finished their drinks and found their way to the dance floor.

"Any rules, beyond the club's?" He asked her with a grin as they started moving to the music that was starting to play.

"None," she grinned back and snuggled against his chest with a contented sound.

"Sounds good to me," he rumbled, rubbing her back as the slow song continued and let them snuggle while they danced. "Thanks for putting up with the rest of the night."

"It's for a good cause," she smiled and nuzzled the fine silk of his rich emerald green shirt. "I did some socializing for the museum, so it wasn't all dull."

"Well, I still want to make it up to you," he smiled. "So, have enough oomph for something a little less sedate than this?" He asked her with a grin.

"Oh, I think I can manage," she purred with a twinkle in her rich brown eyes.

"Good," he grinned. "In that case, I'll be right back," he winked, heading over to talk to the Kat handling the music. He came back before the song ended, undoing his shirt part way to expose his broad, muscular chest.

"Hope you learned how to do a lambada somewhere along the line," he grinned.

"I can fake it better than most," she promised as she dug up what she could remember of the fast, sensual dance. "Even without the proper dress for it. Classic or modern variant?" she asked with a low purring rumble.

"Classic, and I'm not going to complain," he grinned as the new song started, the beat throbbing as they started to move. "Let's see how many people we can make forget they're out here," he rumbled lowly.

"Mmm," Abi purred and pressed against his fur, quite happy to use the energetic, close-quarters moves to run her hands through his thick chest fur.

They were close enough that she could feel the bulge in his jeans, smell his growing arousal, and she was sure he could smell hers just as well.

A few other couples on the dance floor were following their example, but many of them were backing off to watch a half-dozen pairs simulating sex on the dance floor, their bodies so close it almost hurt not to close the distance. Rapier pulled his shirt the rest of the way off, tossing it to the side and making a shameless display of his exquisitely honed, masculine body.

With her breath quickening from the exertion, Abi soon found her body aching for more contact. "You are cruel," she managed not to moan, her voice trembling as they brushed against each other.

"You know how to get some relief," he rumbled, starting to move them towards the back of the club, drinking in the scent of her arousal through his powerful nose, enjoying the effect it had on his throbbing cock.

"Don't we need to get a key or something?" Abi asked, her mind still sharp despite the desire trying to overpower her.

"Got one when I requested the music," he grinned cheekily, only to have his eyes roll back slightly in pleasure as her tail pressed against his groin and swept up along his cock.

"Good," she purred, using the excuse of turning to walk at his side and cop a serious feel that sent a real thrill through her entire body.

"Want me to make sure you keep quiet in there?" He asked her with a low rumble, brushing his tail against her hip and relishing the spike of excitement the idea caused.

"Only if you don't want me to use my mouth for other things," she winked at him playfully.

"Such as?" He asked her with an equally playful grin. "I happen to have plans for the parts your mouth is usually busy with," he winked.

"Before or after I get a drink for the long dull night I suffered through while you enjoyed the game?" Abi winked at him as he locked the door behind them. She wasted no time in sliding her hands down the front of his slacks. "You know, you haven't let me tie you up yet."

"I didn't know you'd want to," he chuckled, groaning as she fondled his throbbing cock. "Mmm... if you can get me off more than three times here, I'm all yours after we get home," he promised her with a grin.

"Hardly a challenge with your endurance," she chuckled and unzipped his slacks, stroking him through his briefs without a hint of shame. "If you expose my breasts, I'll add them."

"Like this?" He grinned, pulling her blouse off and undoing her bra, hooking them over a dressing hook before he sat down and spread his legs for her. "What are you going to do with me once I'm all yours?" He asked her, moaning as she pressed her breasts around his shaft and began to work them up and down.

"I was thinking of a light dose of blue heat, tying you down and seeing how many times we come before you beg me to let you rest," she purred as she slid the soft side of her tongue around the head of his cock.

"Oooh... think you'll outlast me?" He asked her with a teasing grin, reaching down to rub her ears. "By that much, anyways?"

"Oh, I'm sure I can," she grinned up before taking him all the way down, into her throat where her palette and throat milked him.

He moaned deeply, trying to hold back for a few minutes, but it wasn't long before he gave in, howling as he came hard, pumping the day's seed down her hungry throat. It soon turned into a whimper as she continued to suck and milk his cock long after he came dry.

"Want your pussy," he growled lowly, picking her up to kiss her hungrily. "Get those panties off," he rumbled hotly, rubbing his member against her thinly clothed crotch only to realize that there was nothing between them. He pulled her forward and plunging his cock into her dripping sex as he claimed her mouth, his dull claws pressing into her fine wool skirt covered ass as he fucked her hard, using his greater strength and grip to move her hips just the way he wanted to.

"Gods this is good," Abi moaned as she pressed her body close to his.

"Nngh... what will everybody out there think when we leave?" He groaned, licking her lips. "Besides that I'm the luckiest guy in the place," he grinned, his knot swelling against the lips of her sex as they mated and she squeezed down around his cock.

"That inviting us back is good for the room use," she giggled through a long moan and squeezed her body tightly to relish the sensation of being so full. "Ohh, I love how you feel."

"Glad you accepted that dinner date?" He grinned, slipping his fingers down a bit to tease her anus as he slid her hips up and down his throbbing cock.

"Always," she moaned against his mouth and worked his cock with her sex. "I could still have done without the game in between."

"I meant our first one," he rumbled lowly, tipping her back and leaning down to lick at her breasts hungrily, bathing then with his tongue. "Don't want to tie you yet," he moaned as his seed started to leak into her sex.

"Yes," she whispered breathlessly before mewing hotly as she came.

He howled again, pumping a full load into her sex before he stood, pushing her back into the door with a heavy thud, kissing her hungrily.

"Want me to finish pumping you full?" He asked her with a hot rumble once their lips parted. "Maybe tie that hot little ass of yours?"

"Oh yes," Abi couldn't help whimper. "Sounds so good."

"Want me to be gentle, or make you scream?" He rumbled, pulling out of her and turning her around against the door, rubbing his cock against the base of her tail.

"Make me scream," she whimpered in excitement, spreading her legs and raising her tail against her back as he pushed her fine wool skirt all the way up and thrust into her ass with a single, smooth motion, his knot throbbing against her tight pucker as she cried out in ecstatic pain.

"How are you doing?" Catra asked politely after they had been riding for nearly half an hour. For her, it was a wonderful ride. The weather was cool and clear, the road was dry and Caliti was walking smoothly.

"I'm fine, thanks," Midnight smiled. "About how much farther is it?"

"Not far," she assured her. "We are over half way to his workshop."

"Good to know," she nodded. "What are you going to do while I'm there?" She asked curiously.

"I was going to go home," Catra said. "Diato knows how to bring you back."

"That's good," she smiled. "Mind if I ask a question, Catra?" She asked. "How did you learn Katian out here?"

"My mother taught me," she said with an easy smile. "I am also fluent in Karalanol's trade language and I know Xenquii, Kaleesin and Taverian well enough to get along. I can fake it well in perhaps half a dozen others. Mother is one of the few who hosts foreigners regularly. It is very important to know a guest's language to make them comfortable and assist them in enjoying their stay. We have several Glibness charms for when we have guests that speak a language we have not had time to learn. They are useful, but not perfect."

"That's more languages than I have kits," Midnight chuckled. "How's life out here? In terms of trouble, I mean. Crime, Omegas, that sort of thing?"

"We haven't had an Omega attack in generations. Not since The Twelve," she said with a definite sense of fear at their title. "Regular crime exists, of course, but it has been three months since the last death."

"Sounds very pleasant," Midnight smiled. "Is the Veldt open to foreigners who want to live here permanently? It might be a good place for Jake to retire one of these days."

"They would certainly be welcome," she nodded easily. "We are not that open for outsiders, but a few are allowed to settle."

"Champions in particular?" She guessed with a smile. "At least of certain deities?"

"It wouldn't hurt his application," Catra smiled back. "He and Rock are also very successful in business. They could likely support themselves and be a valuable asset to the community they settle in."

"You know what type of business they run, right?" Midnight asked with a giggle.

"Rock runs a brothel, I think," she glanced over for confirmation. "Jake is the Champion of Bastet. He would be welcome anywhere he cares to settle."

"And he helps Rock with the brothel," she nodded. "Of course, it's not the usual type either. He puts a lot of poor kits back on their feet."

"Nice of him," Catra said, not entirely sure why it mattered. "Do you and Chance help out as well?"

"A little, but we're too busy with the kittens to do much," she admitted. "And Chance's work with the Enforcers."

"Follow the right trail," Catra motioned to where a smaller path curved away from the one they were on. "How did you manage this arrangement with two Champions and your mate?"

"About the kits?" She checked. "Jake's practically kin, we've been close for so long," she smiled fondly. "Rock's his mate, my mate's cousin and good friend. They're interested in kits of their own after about ten years or so ... they thought I'd be a good dame, and I'm honored they do," she purred as they made the side-trail and continued into somewhat denser woods.

"How many kits do you already have?" Catra asked curiously.

"Thirteen that are mine, between nine and one," she said. "And an older daughter Chance had with an old girlfriend who passed away without any closer relatives shortly after we were married."

"I am sorry for her," Catra said softly. "How old was she?"

"Ten when it happened," Midnight said gently. "She'll be twenty soon and doing very well in her second year in college."

"Good," Catra smiled. "Losing your mother that young can be horrible. Does she call you mom?"

"It took a couple years, and she changed her name to Furlong, not Raven, but she did call me mom eventually," she smiled warmly at the memory of the first time that had happened. "She definitely has his blood in her."

Catra opened her mouth to say something, only to have it come out a squawk of a scream as Midnight's horse was hit by a bolt in the neck.

"Diato! Caliti! Home!" Catra screamed the order as her mount took two bolts to the shoulder, one of them right through her leg, pinning her on her back. "Run!"

"Go!" Midnight shouted at Catra, her instincts to get the kit out of harm's way. She looked around frantically for a heartbeat before the horse rose to its haunches in an effort to turn around in the confined space and onrushing attackers on foot. The maneuver meant to protect her ended up throwing her to the ground as both horses bolted.

Caliti's kept looking back, trying to catch a glimpse of Midnight as she was chased after by two of their attackers. A second bolt hit her shoulder, while Caliti took one in the haunch before they left their pursuers in the dust.

Not far behind, Midnight scrambled to her feet, diving into the thick brush on the other side of the road so she wouldn't be such an easy target for their attackers and kept moving low and erratically.

Damned if she was going to make this easy for them.

"Come out, little kitty," a rough female voice, one she doubted was accustomed to Katian, called out to her as the attackers spread out to find her. "We are not going to kill you."

'Like hell you aren't planning to' Midnight thought to herself as she kept moving, trying to keep ahead of them and looking for a place to hide until help came.

She heard them pushing through the brush, far too close to her tail as they didn't have to worry about hiding while they moved, only hunting.

"The longer it takes us to find you, the harder it'll be on you when we do!" The one who'd talked before pointed out. "We're supposed to bring you in alive - didn't say anything about not hurting you!"

She ignored her, beyond using her voice to note where not to go and that she was still well behind her. Midnight grinned when she spotted a large burrow. Despite the dancer of going face to face with its owner, mostly likely a badger, wolverine or coyote, she crawled in. Of the attackers she'd seen, they were all much too large to follow her. Digging her out would hopefully take longer than it would for help to arrive.

Between Jake, Rock and Chance, these guys would be in so much trouble.

One of them called out something in the local language, and she heard them heading her way. Despite that she felt reasonably calm as she was well under cover and quite willing to stay where she was. The odds that they could find her was very small as long as she stayed put and still. She was far enough in that she wouldn't look like anything other than the end of the tunnel from the entrance. It was cramped, dirty and dark, but safe.

She could hear them tramping around above and around her hiding hole, and move on. Or at least they'd stopped moving and talking that she could hear.

Even as she debated trying to back her way out against staying safe in the hidey-hole until help arrived in half an hour, something glinted ahead of her in the tunnel.

"Back," a low male voice hissed at her even as something sharp poked her shoulder.

She swallowed unhappily and began to wiggle back. "All right."

The lead female called down in the local language, and got a reply in the same language from the male in front of her. "Back," he warned with a menacing tone.

"I'm backing," Midnight hissed at him.

She felt strong hand grab her tail as soon as it was visible, and her shoulders a few movements later to pull her upright. Someone bound her hands behind her as the small male Red Fox crawled out of the tunnel after her.

"Stop fighting us, and we'll take you back now," the leader, a female fire-point Balinese, told her as she cinched the ropes around her hand. "Get moving, back towards the road."

Midnight nodded and avoided causing too much trouble more them. At the same time she let her long, thick black tail lash in open irritation and leaving bits of her fur in the bushes and low branches around her. They led her to and across the road, back into the brush on the other side where they had small, fast horses tied up and waiting.

"Get up," the leader told her gruffly as the others mounted their horses.

Near the edge of Athisiat, the two bleeding horses, one with a half-conscious kitten pinned to its back by a bolt, were making quite a stir as they pelted down the street to their home at a full run, whinnying and screaming to draw as much attention as they could to their plight.

By the time they reached Biama's and stopped, there was an organized chaos around the building that Jake and Chance recognized well; a hunt was forming.

"Poor ..." Chance's voice trailed off as everything clicked into place in his sleepy brain that woke him the rest of the way in a snap.

"Go get -" Chance broke off as Rock rushed by them. "Come on," he told Jake, breaking into a run towards the crowd.

"What's happened?" Rock was asking as he reached the group. He drew in a sharp hiss of breath as he saw the two injured horses and Catra, her leg pierced by a crossbow bolt. "Let me through, I'm a healer," he said, quietly hoping she wouldn't scream enough to betray just how he healed when he helped her.

"Rock," Jake caught his arm and shook his head. "So's she," he nodded towards a young, steep-point Balinese rushing towards the front door, where Catra was being taken.

"Good," Rock nodded with a slight sigh, moving to let the other healer through.

"Acha!" Jake called out to a chocolate-point Balinese shekat on horseback shouting directions at a variety of people, almost all female. She turned to him, and after a fraction of a second placing who he was, she bowed, still mounted, and had her mount step forward to meet him before dismounting.

They made a quick exchange in balian, and she nodded sharply, mounted and went back to organizing.

"We're in," Jake turned to the cousins. "We ..." he trailed off with a smile for the stable hand who was leading their three horses towards them.

"They have any idea where she is?" Chance asked as he took his and climbed on.

"If they don't, I'll be able to find where Catra was, at least," Rock promised him. "We'll find her, cous."

"They know the path they took," Jake said as they mounted up and joined the well-armed force of female Balinese and the very excited bloodhounds baying. "The hounds can track her from there."

"Then let's move," Chance growled lowly. "Before whoever did this has a chance to do anything to Midnight."

"Rushing into a trap is just as dangerous," Jake pointed out with a firm hand on his partner's shoulder. "She would not have been taken randomly. Bandit attacks are very rare this close to the city."

"Jake, anybody here who'd kidnap her to bait a trap is after you two," Chance said grimly. "They won't be expecting me. Besides... if they are bandits, you know as well as I do what they'll probably do to her. And she's got a bad habit of attracting regular katnappings, if you'll remember."

"I remember," Jake said with slightly flattened ears. "Either way, they won't know what hit them."

"Ari'ia!" the hunt leader, the one Jake had spoken to before, yelled out. Within a heartbeat, the entire group was off at a fast gallop, leaving the least experienced riders in the rear and the hounds scattered throughout the riders.

Rock held back a little further, staying near Chance as they rode, while Jake worked his way towards the front with the power of Halikar draping him in a golden cloak of wings.

"She's all right, Chance," he told her as the search party followed the blood trail. "I can't feel anything from her," he pointed out.

"Thanks," Chance said grimly. "Means they're probably still moving."

"Not once we get close enough for me to get to their mounts," Rock promised him.

"Just make sure you don't catch Midnight by mistake."

"I won't," Rock promised, speeding up again as the hounds took up the trail as it left the path, moving so that he'd be able to disable their mounts as quickly as possible once they were in range.

"Catra things there were at least five, maybe more," Jake said as his mate came close, almost having to shout over the excited baying of the bloodhounds. "And we're getting close. The dogs are on a hot trail."

"Do you think you could catch up faster on-wing?" Rock shouted back. "If they hear the hounds, they might do something to Midnight!"

Jake glanced ahead, at the thick forest they were working through and nodded. "I'll try," he said and swung up to crouch on the saddle before he launched skyward and spread Halikar's wings to take him above the canopy.

Rock kicked the sides of his horse, speeding him up to follow after Jake as fast as he safely could, tracking the glow he could see through the trees and the feel of the other Champion when he couldn't see him. He began to summon Tamorl's power, his stripes starting to smolder and shift. As the trees thickened, he could begin to sense the pursued horses and riders up ahead, picking up on the aches of the ride and the scrapes and bruises caused by stray branches and brambles.

He was sure the one who hurt the most was Midnight, though with only a sore butt and aching back, it wasn't much. Whatever had happened, she hadn't been badly injured and they were riding hard away from their pursuers.

A bolt of white-hot fire slammed down from above, cracking branches and frightening horses, but didn't actually injure anyone seriously.

Rock pushed into the new clearing, and he seemed to smoke as he focused on the horses. They all whinnied in pain, collapsing as Rock channeled Tamorl's fury through them, sending the riders pitching to the ground. He was quick to spot Midnight in the chaos of falling bodies. Her ink-black fur was an easy thing to make out among the cream of the others, and the lone Red Fox.

The baying of the hounds wasn't far behind him, and he could hear the riders and thundering of a dozen pairs of hooves. The locals would be here soon.

He kicked his mount forward and leaned down to grab Midnight. Her hands were bound in front of her but her feet free, and she did her best to help by going limp for him until she was settled in the saddle in front of him.

"Thank you," she sighed in relief and relaxed against his chest.

"Keep your head down and I'll get you back to Chance," he told her, letting go with one hand and lashing it out towards one of the females that was getting to her feet and grabbing a crossbow from the ground. She screamed shrilly as one of his stripes seemed to stretch out into a lash, wrapping around her arm and searing the fur and flesh beneath it. He turned around, lashing another of them to keep their heads down as he made his way around the approaching hunting party. He knew the pain, display of power and Jake's unquestionable willingness to dole out violence again them would keep the katnappers in check.

"I've got her!" He called out to them, and to Chance, riding behind the locals in a concession to his lower skills. Rock couldn't help but feel grateful that one of the locals, a girl he doubted was out of her teens yet but handled her mount with all the skill of a master, was riding very close to him, keeping an eye on him.

The news was more than enough to get the other tabby to kick his horse to run faster, but it quickly proved to be a mistake; his balance, already thoroughly taxed by the speed he was at, just wasn't up to going faster. When his horse shifted to the side to avoid a root, he fell off, hitting the ground with an audible thud and yelp of pained surprise. True to its training, his mount stopped and relaxed, looking over its shoulder at him and swishing its tail before lowering his head to munch on grass.

The girl watching out for him instantly turned her mount, circling around to him in less than five paces and dismounted gracefully to help him to his feet.

"Ouch," he muttered as he got to his feet, taking her hand to get up.

Rock slowed to a stop, cutting Midnight's wrists free and helping her down. "Sorry," he said.

"I'm not; you got her back, that's worth a fall," Chance murmured, taking Midnight in a tight embrace. He looked over her shoulder and saw the others restraining her captors as Jake landed and ran for them.

"If Catra or the horses hadn't gotten back, it would have been a very different situation," Rock said quietly as he reached out to hug them all as Jake reached them.

"That they weren't planning on," Midnight shuddered. "I don't know if they were planning to kill or capture, but the escape was a surprise. They work for Dark Kat. I recognized his name."

"Thank the gods she got loose," Chance murmured, squeezing her tightly again. "She'll be okay, by the way ... what about you? Did they hurt you?"

"Not more than being thrown from my horse," she said softly and kissed him before turning to hug Jake.

"He doesn't trust me about that sort of thing all the time, yet," Rock chuckled slightly, looking back at Dark Kat's agents. "I'll have to see what they know about Dark Kat's operations around here. Might be able to get something out of them they can't, normally."

"That's a given," Jake said dryly. "You have tools they don't have."

"Yes, but I don't know that they'll be willing to let me use them," Rock pointed out. "Tamorl's Truth isn't exactly popular in a lot of the world, you know."

"I think we can swing it," Jake grinned viciously. "This was an attack against the mother of our kits. I can just ask for some time with their leader."

"Just remember, I have to be there for it to really work," Rock chuckled darkly. "We'll start with the one whose arm I branded; she'll be easiest to work over."

"Ah, guys? Not where we can hear about it, please?" Chance asked. "I might do black ops, but I've always appreciated the 'need to know' clearance."

"All right," Jake chuckled and stepped in to hug and kiss Midnight soundly. "I'm very glad you're okay, sis," he said softly, touching their foreheads briefly before he caught his mate's arm to go arrange for their 'interview' time.

"Let's get you back," Chance murmured, kissing Midnight softly. "And a bath," he added, brushing some dirt from her fur.

"You need one too," she giggled, still a bit uneasy and pressed close to him. "I am never going to get used to that."

"I really hope you never do," Chance murmured, kissing her again as they walked to their mounts.

"They are so lucky they didn't hurt her," Jake growled softly as he walked next to Rock up the side stairs into the black basalt building that served as Athisiat's prison.

"Which means that Dark Kat wanted her in one piece," Rock pointed out. "Might have just been for bait, but you can't tell with him." They walked into the stone building, and he looked around. "Cooler than the Tower was," he observed.

"I doubt there are many places that aren't," Jake said with a low chuckle. "That qualified as Hell on Aristal from what you've said."

"Very intentionally," Rock chuckled lowly. "Though there are some people I wouldn't mind leaving out there," he observed.

"There are some people for who that is too kind a fate," Jake flattened his ears briefly before he caught himself and straitened up and greeted the fluffy-tailed chocolate-point Balinese tom at the front desk. They exchanged a few lines before the tom nodded and told Jake where to go.

"This way," Jake turned to Rock and guided him into the small complex to one of the interrogation rooms. "We will be observed by someone who understands Katian," he warned before opening the door to reveal the leader of the katnappers. The black-tip Balinese shekat was bound with her wrists behind the chair she was in and her legs bound apart, one to each leg of the chair.

A fierce-looking chocolate Balinese shekat stood guard and nodded politely to the Champions as they entered. She stepped up to Jake and offered him a ring with four keys, one for each binding of the prisoners and one for the large locker, and told him something.

He thanked her and waited until she had left and closed the door to speak again. "Every implement they could think of that you might want is in this locker," he nodded towards the back wall. "Anything else, just ask for it. She apologized that a blacksmith hearth was not close by."

"I don't need one," Rock pointed out. "What are the limits I have, and do you know Balian well enough to translate?" He asked, looking over the katnapper.

"She speaks Katian, and I speak Balian well enough," Jake told him. "It will be recorded for anything I don't get. The limits are no maiming, mental or physical, and no killing her. Pretty much if it doesn't do lasting damage, it's acceptable for this. In all likelihood nothing we get will be admissible in court."

"Good," Rock nodded, walking over and inspecting the burned fur he'd marked earlier. "Remember me?"

"Yes," she growled at him, her ears flat in defiance and disgust at being interrogated by two toms.

"Then you know how much I can do without killing you," Rock pointed out. "Answer my questions truthfully, and I won't have to hurt you anymore. Lie to me, and the brand you wear will spread, not just burning you, but marking you as a liar, katnapper, criminal, and spell out everything else about you that others should know. Including that you eventually gave in to two toms. Now, who do you work for?"

"Branded is better than dead," she flattened her ears sideways.

"You're worried about your employer?" Rock chuckled deeply. "I suppose you don't realize who I am after all." He touched a pressure point on her neck, not hurting her, but throwing her nerves into overdrive. "I've got years of experience hurting people without breaking rules a lot stricter than the rules about what I can do to you. Just ask him," he said, nodding towards Jake. "Are you familiar with riding the circle?"

"No," she gasped, struggling to control her body.

"He'll take a pleasure so far it becomes pain like no other," Jake said with all too easy to read lustful tone. It was enough to get Rock to look at him with a bit of surprise, and a slow burn of desire with the first real indication of interest in pain since Max.

He'd have to think about introducing it into the bedroom, if Jake was really interested. For now, they had other things to focus on.

"You want to do the honors, or should I?" He asked Jake. "It was your sister she tried to katnap."

"I'll start," Jake grinned with a bit of a vicious look at her shock. "I serve Halikar as well, you know, and very few things are more vicious than a mother protecting her kits. Midnight is one of Her favored."

She trembled slightly, beginning to grasp just what she was facing, only to moan as Jake's skilled fingers slid along a pressure point behind her jaw.

"You like it now, but just give it a while," Rock told her. "And you won't shut off, the way you would for some pains. Now, do you want to talk while this still feels good, or are you going to let him keep going for a while?"

"I can't give you anything useful," she trembled, arousal already creeping into her scent. "Don't know her face or real name, or even if it's a she."

"This question is just a test," Rock told her. "I already know the answer. What do you know her as?"

She looked up at him, debating options as Jake made it increasingly difficult to think.

"Dark Kat," she said very quietly, clearly afraid of saying it.

"That's better; back off," he told Jake. "Now, is he in Veldt?"

"I don't know," she said with lowered ears. "We were to hand her off to some Tigers from Tusandrin."

"Where, and when?" He asked her, his interest peaked.

She shot a sideways glance between the two toms, and swallowed at the look in Jake's eyes. "Before dawn. A camp this side of Tide."

"Port Worldtide. A seaport a hard day's ride from here," Jake supplied quietly.

"Can you arrange for somebody to have word sent to pick them up?" He asked Jake. "It'd be good to snag the next link in the chain if we can."

Jake nodded and walked to the door to speak briefly with the officer standing outside, and returned before Rock continued.

"Now, why did he want Midnight?" Rock asked her, sitting down as they settled in for the harder part of the interrogation.

"I don't know," she insisted, the brand proving her true. "I get paid to do a job, not ask questions."

"Did your job include Catra?" Jake asked, a dark tone in his voice.

"No," she shook her head, but didn't go on.

"What was your plan for her once she was there?" he pressed.

"Nothing serious," she insisted, wincing when the brand objected just a little for the half-truth. "Capture and ransom her. Her mother is wealthy."

"And just how many jobs have you done?"

"Just a couple," she said, then gasped in shock, biting her lip to keep from screaming as the brand spread on her arm, spelling out 'Liar' in Balian as her fur and flesh smoldered. "Dozens!" She cried out, the pain fading as she admitted it. "More than I can keep track of," she added with a pained sob.

"I suggest you stick with honest answers," Rock said dispassionately. "Only katnappings and 'minor things?'"

Her breath quickened as she realized just how bad a position she was in. "N-no," she said in a small voice, looking nervously towards the hidden window where the locals were watching from.

"What have you done for him?" Rock asked her, sure that her answer could get her killed, but his pity for her at an all-time low when he thought about what he already knew she'd done. "How far have you gone?"

"I didn't stop a killing," she said simply. "Not an assassination," she added quickly. "It happened during other jobs."

"You have never killed yourself?" He probed. "Failing to stop a killing is the greatest crime you've committed, under Veldt law?"

"I've never killed myself," she confirmed with a nod. "I believe s-ahh!" She cried out again as the brand responded, searing the word 'traitor' into her forehead. "I told the truth!" she objected with a sob. "What did it write?"

"It recognizes omissions too," Rock told her. "Even if you don't. It recognized your working with Dark Kat as treason against the Veldt." He turned to his mate. "None of this is acceptable in the courts here?" He guessed.

"Not likely, but let me check before you do anything, okay?" he glanced at his mate. "They might have other use for her. Witness, mole, you know the game."

"I know," he nodded. "Though the Brand might make that difficult. Go ask them now; if they don't have another use for her, I plan to at least help them close out as many cases as possible."

Jake nodded and left the room, leaving the pair alone for several minutes before he returned.

"The prefect said to get anything you can out of her," Jake said as he claimed a chair and sat down to watch. "They have what they can get out of her legally. Closing the cases is welcome. What will be left when you're done?"

"She'll be entirely whole," Rock said. "At least by my plan. Are they willing to forego execution in exchange for Tamorl's justice?"

"Yes," Jake nodded. "They are willing to exchange all punishments for her crimes to date with one condition; she has to agree to it as well. She hasn't been convicted, no matter how certain it is to us, so her penalties have not been determined."

"Well?" Rock looked at her.

"Put it in writing with the prefect's signature and seal," she demanded. "Or I'll take my chances with trial."

"I'll go arrange it," Jake said and stood. "The prefect is here."

"You will still be punished," Rock told her as Jake went to get the signature. "Not by their law, and you'll be able to choose how severe the punishment, but it will come."

She nodded, her eyes on the door until Jake returned with the officially written agreement, signed and sealed.

"If you agree to this," Rock explained as Jake showed her the agreement, "I will question you for an account of all your crimes, for Dark Kat and otherwise. You will give me a full accounting; time, victim, and what you did. If you lie to me about your involvement in a crime, if you omit details, or if you omit a crime entirely before I am done with you, the details will be added to the brand. If you are wholly honest with us and have a good memory, you may escape this without further marking. When I am finished, you will be bound with a geas not to commit another crime; if you break it, you will be branded with that crime, and for the time that you would be punished by Veldt law for it all your pleasures will be intensified to the point of pain. If you wish the geas and removed, you will don nothing but a shirt of thorn-vines and pants of nettle leaves and walk, without using the portals, from where you kidnapped Midnight to the Veldt's High Temple of Tamorl. You will live off the land for this journey, and at the Temple, you will request that you be subjected to the Rite of Rebirth. I will leave word with the priests to accept you when they feel you have been suitably punished for the crimes left on your brand. If you wish the brand removed, you must make full restitution for your crimes; each crime that you redeem yourself for will fade from your coat. Do you understand your punishment if you make this agreement?"

"I understand," she said carefully. "How do I make restitution?"

"That will be up to the surviving victims of your crimes, their kin, or the Priest of Tamorl nearest where the crime was committed if there are no others left. The alternative would be to live a life of good deeds and helping others, and hope that Tamorl decides you've learned your lesson," he told her seriously.

"In case you're too dense to realize it, I do what I do because I don't have other skills," she managed not to growl. "Good deeds don't put food on the table."

"I'm not obligated to make this easy for you," he pointed out simply. "If you take this offer, you won't have the option of going back to your old habits anyways, not as long as the geas remains on you. If you go through the Rite of Rebirth, then the geas and brand will both be removed," he pointed out. "I'm not offering you something that's supposed to be easy. I'm telling you what you'll have to do to avoid trial and probable execution. Or lynching, if you escape the hangman," he added, looking pointedly at the brand on her forehead.

She flattened her ears again, running the odds of each outcome and its price through her head.

Despite not caring a wit about her fate, he had to recognize the sharp intellect she used to good effect.

"Why did you make this offer?" she finally asked.

"Because I think your victims deserve the chance to find out everything you've done," he said bluntly. "And getting that with my conscience clean means giving you the chance to come out of this alive. The last crook I put through the Rite of Rebirth," he pointed out, "has gone on to have a productive life. It would be a new start for you."

Before she could ask another question, there was a polite but firm knock on the door.

Rock got up and went to the door. "Is there something wrong?" He asked the officer on the other side.

"No, sir," she told him. "There is information the prefect thought she should have, given the questions she is asking."

"Of course," Rock nodded and stepped back so the officer could enter.

"Cayron, if you take his offer, the prefect has given her word that you will have the training and job opportunities to live will as a proper citizen," the officer told her. "We will also work with you to erase your brands."

"I'd say that's the best offer you're likely to get," Rock pointed out as he took his seat again.

She thought about it, turning over options and what this offer from the prefect meant about the information she had to offer.

"All right," Cayron said. "I will accept your geas."

"And if she chooses the Rite at some point, will the offer stand?" Rock asked the officer.

"Yes," she nodded firmly. "We assist all who undergo the Rite of Rebirth and its relatives. Vuf's temple is the primary overseer of such programs."

"Thank you," he nodded. "I wasn't sure about the local laws, and I know that MegaKat City doesn't have anything like that, at this point. All right then; let's get started." He turned back towards their prisoner. "Why don't we start with the beginning? Tell me about your first crime," he told her, settling in for a long night. She wasn't even as old as he was, but he had no doubt that her list of crimes was as extensive as any.

She thought back, almost starting several times before she remembered something earlier.

"I was three, at the most, and I stole my brother's food," she said evenly, her full attention on giving an accurate, and complete, chronological accounting of her crimes."

Tamera's white tail-tip twitched nervously as she sat at one of the tables set up around the strangely empty Warlords. Besides she and Lyth, there were maybe twenty other people in the club, all of them chatting and enjoying their drinks. The club had an atmosphere of excited anticipation.

"You sure you want to do this?" She asked Lyth, glancing over at him. "I mean ... we're fine without adding anything more to the mix."

"We are," he leaned over to kiss her gently. "Exploring possibilities is good for the soul. If we leave with something we enjoy, we have learned something. If we leave with nothing we enjoy, we have still learned something. It's good either way."

"You're right," she smiled, kissing him back. "Mmm... besides, this'll help me figure out if I ever want to drag you down here on a normal night, when the stuff we'll be seeing up there is where they get started," she purred.

"And there will be a lot more interest in a buff shekat," he winked playfully at her and slid a little closer.

"Who'll still be mostly interested in you," she purred, leaning against him lightly. "Mmm ... love you," she smiled.

"Thank you," he purred and kissed her. "I love you."

She returned the kiss with a happy smile, purring deeply as they snuggled against each other.

"You think about the future much?" She asked him as they watched the stage for the class being set up.

"In what context?" he asked with a low chuckle. "Yes, I do, though not that much."

"Mmm... well, together," she blushed a bit. "How serious we are... that sort of thing?"

Lyth thought about it and he nuzzled her, wanting to give her the most accurate answer he could.

"I'm very serious about staying with you," he said carefully. "I would gladly marry you if you like the idea. I'm also content with remaining as we are," he assured her with a kiss. "I know you don't fool around much anyway, and I hope you know I'd never ask you not to. Monogamy is not something I can offer you, after all. Not as long as I follow my calling."

"I know," she nodded. "And not something I'd ask from you either... you're way too much fun to watch," she teased playfully. "I think I would like to get married some day, but not real soon. What about kittens? And... well... staying in MKC or not?"

"I've been training for the last few years to be ready to travel, to be a wondering priest," he smiled and hugged her sideways. "For kittens, I am a priest of Bastet, love," he chuckled. "It's almost sacrilege not to raise a few."

"That's just the thing; are you supposed to have them early on or something?" She asked him. "You're supposed to have them, but... well, it's not going to be easy for me to raise them for a while."

"I've sired my fair share of kittens already," he kissed her. "Just not ones I'm raising. I'm only twenty-four, Tamera. I have a solid century to have a family and see them grown."

"Good," she smiled. "I'd like to have your kittens one of these days... but the next decade or two are not going to be the time for it."

"Just because both of your mothers had kittens young does not been you should," he lifted her chin to kiss her. "Give yourself three or four decades before you start to worry about kittens."

"Sounds good," she purred, kissing him lightly. "Just don't you dare expect me to have a family like Midnight's!" She grinned.

"I never world," he chuckled lightly. "That's a lot of kittens, and she's not even close to done."

"And she's off trying to get another batch going," she chuckled, shaking her head and finishing her drink. "You want another before the class starts?" She asked him easily.

"Given Jake's invited, it'll happen," he nuzzled her neck affectionately. "I'm good with this, and mostly skipping the spirits. It's best not to be too drunk."

"I know; the next one's a rum and coke," she reassured him, getting up to go get another drink for herself as a regal-looking shewolf, clearly a long-time and secure Alpha, walked out onto the stage along with a well-built shekat with the classic Feral looks.

"Mmm, I wonder if the Furlongs and Ferals share some blood," he murmured to himself as he watched the pair set up for class and called attention from those who were there to watch.

"Good evening everybody; I hope everyone is doing fine this evening," the shewolf said, setting up the mike. "I'll warn you in advance that we are taping this; if you don't want to take the chance of being caught on film, then steer clear of the stage during the class," she told them. "I'm Martina Queensblood, but you can all call me the Queen if you'd like. Call me Queenie, and you'll be the next demonstration," she said dryly. "This is one of my favorite pets, Judie Feral. I assume that everybody's here because they want to learn how to introduce a little kink into an otherwise vanilla relationship, or because you'd like to explore your options before signing up for one of our more advanced courses. So, how many of you have already started exploring your kinks?" She asked the class as Tamera took her seat again.

Practically everybody's hand went up, some more reluctantly than others, though Tamera was relatively relaxed about it and Lyth nodded as he lifted his hand. He suspected he had the most experience in the audience simply from his training.

"Well, you've all started a little exploring. This is a good thing, and something to keep in mind - everybody does a little exploring, at one point or another. Some people find one thing that turns them on and they stick with it. Other people have a partner who's into something new. And some people find out that they like it enough that they're willing to make it their full life," she said with a fond smile for Judie. "Now, how about some of the things you've experimented with; there in the back, what's the kinkiest thing the two of you've done?" She asked, looking back at Tamera and Lyth.

"Light bondage, feathers, a little denial play," Tamera said with a blush despite a relatively strong voice.

"I've been trained in a great deal more, though all at fairly mild levels," Lyth added, sure she knew what he was from the relatively subtle marks he wore out when he was being casual.

"Good; a little variety never hurts, and neither does experience, even if it's not something you'll use again," she nodded, moving on to the next few tables; by the time she was satisfied, they'd had several votes for bondage, spankings, foot fetishes, and one couple who'd admitted to ice play.

"As you can see, there are some common places to start," the Queen continued. "Some kinks are more common than others. But no kink is a bad thing, as long as you keep two rules in mind. The first, that you keep it consensual. I wish it didn't have to be said, but unfortunately it does - especially if you start hanging out at kink-friendly clubs like the Warlords. Just because you see somebody here, it doesn't mean that they're into being tied up and whipped until they're bleeding, even if they might let you do it because they're totally hammered. The second rule ties into the first one; keep it safe and sane. Has anybody here tried breath play?"

One tom raised his hand sheepishly, and Lyth did as well.

"That's a good example of a kink that can be extremely dangerous to play with, but if you're extremely careful, it can be pleasant," the Wolf said. "The biggest problems are that you don't have any way to give a normal safeword, and that asphyxiation can have some nasty effects with just a few seconds. Most people practice it in unsafe ways; they tie things around their partners necks, or worse, their own. Practicing it alone is a good way of guaranteeing that you're going to end up in the morgue with an embarrassing story some day. However, if your partner is well-trained in first aid, observant, and you have a healer nearby in case something goes wrong, it can be practiced safely."

"We still don't recommend it," Judie pointed out. "Largely because the stakes are so high. If you're tying somebody up and you do something wrong, they usually have bruises or rope burns, maybe a broken bone. If you're strangling them, they're dead."

"Which is why none of you noticed a breath play class scheduled," the Queen agreed. "The club's insurance, and my personal confidence, aren't up to it."

"You've done that?" Tamera glanced at him with real surprise.

"Only as part of my training," he shook his head. "I don't even begin to get it, but since Jake became Her Champion, and even more since his wedding, it's become increasingly important to know the fundamentals of most kinks we're likely to be asked about and we are big on understanding by experience whenever practical. Most of the teachers have been from Eshik and Marka's temple."

"That makes sense," she nodded, turning her attention back up to the front.

"Now, 'safe and sane' varies depending on who you're talking to," Judie took over. "Particularly based on experience. For some people, blood play just isn't safe; they're not good enough to cut without causing a serious injury. One of my neighbors is extremely skilled at it, and I'd be willing to let him damn-near skin me if we were both in the mood. The big question is if you're good enough to do it without a serious threat of causing permanent injury or death. The 'sane' part of things is a little harder to define. Some people would call my life insane, particularly considering that I gave up a fast-rising career with the Enforcers in exchange for 32/8 servitude and submission. The deciding factor, again, is if you're causing any permanent harm with your decisions - are you doing something that a reasonable person would expect to be unsafe. There's clearly more wiggle room there.

"One way you can take a lot of kinks back to being 'sane' is with a safe word; a word that, if you say it, your partner will stop the scene immediately, no questions asked. 'No' or 'stop' doesn't do the job; often as not, half the fun is that you want to be able to beg your partner to stop, but they'll keep going. Even when it isn't, those words come out instinctively enough that you might say them when you don't really mean them. The usual suggestion is to pick a word that you can remember easily, but that you won't say by mistake. When you're starting out, traffic lights are a good spot. Red means that you need to stop, immediately. Yellow means that you need to slow down; it's getting to be a bit much, but you still want to keep going. Green, of course, means that everything's okay again. Personally, Mistress and I use a combination of traffic lights and another safeword. If I use red, yellow, or green, it means that I need to slow down or stop, but we don't have to stop completely; I can stay tied up or 'in character,' but it's getting to be a little much."

"But, when she says 'strawberry,' I start taking the ropes off with my teeth if I have to," the Queen finished. "That's when she needs to stop entirely; something's gone too far, and the scene's over. There's nothing wrong with needing to use your safe word, and also nothing wrong with your partner having to use it," she said firmly. "Ideally, you'll never need to, but the reality is that you probably will if you decide to really explore your kinks and limitations. It still happens with Judie and I, and we've been Mistress and pet for over three decades. So, if you don't already have a safe word with your partner, why don't you go ahead and choose one now?" She suggested, taking a drink of water and starting to slip off her suit to reveal thigh-high boots, panties, and bustier in matching leather, opening up a briefcase and undressing Judie while the tables talked.

"I use Wimix for 'it's gone too far'," he told her. "What do you want to use?"

"Shark," Tamera decided after a moment.

"Queen," am Arctic vixen up front, her summer coat more black than white, got the shewolf's attention. "What is the difference between a scene and sex?"

"Neither one necessarily involves the other," she explained easily. "A scene could just be tying your partner up and leaving them that way for a while, or playing out a scenario one or the other of you likes without sex. For example, Judie might spend the day posing as a hired servant or maid, without sex coming up at all. Similarly, sex doesn't have to involve anything complicated enough to really qualify as a scene, and once in a while we just want to get off without worrying about working kink in at all."

That set off another round of buzzing conversation that Queen and Julie allowed to die down before they continued.

"Are there any other questions before we continue into particular kinks?" The Queen asked as she pulled out a variety of toys. "If not, we'll get started with some of the gear."

They looked around, and nodded when no one spoke up.

"We'll assume you're all familiar with dildos and the like, but how many of you can tell me the difference between a dildo and a butt plug?"

Several people nodded, and she pointed to a brown tabby tom sitting his to his boyfriend. "A butt plug tends to be shorter and has a wider flare at the base."

"Good. Now, to most people, dildos and plugs aren't very kinky. However, they're still something you might want to work in with other kinks, particularly bondage. They're also particularly fun if you put one in your partner all day ... particularly one with a vibrator that's either on a timer, or has a remote that you've got control over," the she-wolf grinned.

"They're also a fun way of having much of the sensation of being in the middle of a sandwich without the third person," Judie added with a grin of her own.

"Moving on from the toys to replace a hard cock to the toys that help make one, we've got cock rings," the Queen said as Judie picked up a tray of them and carried it down, letting them look at the variety. "They're good for a thicker, harder erection, keeping a cock hard longer, and my personal favorite, for keeping a male from coming as easily. The ones you see with the pouch that pulls the balls down from the body is particularly good for the last one; you can orgasm with it on, but it's much harder to ejaculate, which means that kantin males can try to keep up with their feline counterparts.

"As for the rest, they work by constricting the veins that let blood out of the shaft; the arteries that let it in are much deeper, so blood can get in without restraint, but can't get out easily, restricting the circulation and keeping an erection from going down. They also tend to restrict the urethra, keeping anything from getting out. However, you have to be careful with them - you should never use a cock ring for more than half an hour or so, or the restricted blood flow can cause damage."

That was enough to get the attention of most of the males, and a series of nods followed her look around the room to confirm that the warning had been taken.

"Thought that would get your attention. Now, let's get into the most common kinks. BDSM - starting with bondage, let's do a little demonstration," she said as Judie returned to the stage. The part-Xanith turned around, facing the stage and kneeling with her hands behind her back. "Tell me when this has gone to the point where it's not safe kink play anymore, based on what we've said so far." The she-wolf blindfolded her lover, tied her legs, and then put a ball-gag in her mouth.

"She can't use her safeword like that," a young Tigress pointed out.

"Exactly," Queen nodded approvingly. "Which is why, when you're going to use a gag, you need to determine a non-verbal safeword. For Judie and I, she kicks the floor three times and I take the gag off. This means that I can't gag her and suspend her so that she can't kick the floor, a frame, or something like that at the same time; it's a restriction I've accepted to help keep us safe and comfortable while we're playing, but we could just as easily have chosen another 'safe word' for those situations. There is a point, of course, where you get to be ridiculous; you don't want so many safewords that you can't remember them all. But if you figure out that many ways to restrain your partner, let me know, you'll be running my advanced bondage class," she chuckled, finishing binding Judie. "Now, who has an idea of something else we could do to her, while she's bound like that?"

"Body paint and tease her until she's dripping?" the Tigress suggested with a low rumble.

"If you're looking for an invitation to our next costume party, you've got it," the bartender grinned over at them.

"That is one option," Queen chuckled. "A nice one, though I don't have the things here."

"You could pop in some of those plugs," Tamera offered with a grin.

"Always fun," the she-wolf smiled. "You have any particular favorites?"

"Maybe the one you mentioned on a timer?" Tamera grinned.

"Sounds good to me," she rumbled, pulling Judie's panties to the side and slipping the long, slender dildo up into her sex. "Of course, like this, she can't see anything, or say anything. Why don't we try taking her nose and ears out of it?" She suggested, pulling a small bottle out of her kit, shaking it, and opening it up. "This is something you've got to be careful about, especially if you've got a kantin lover you're playing with for the first time. Sensory-deprivation, or sen-dep, isn't dangerous, but a little vanilla extract on the nose completely overwhelms the sense of smell. For you kantins out there, think about how blinding it would be." She put some on her fingers, and then spread it on Judie's nose before passing the bottle. "Go ahead and experiment with it a bit. Close your eyes, put a bit on your nose, and restrict your senses to your ears, for now."

She watched, noting carefully who seemed to enjoy it, who it didn't really affect much and who clearly didn't like it. It was Lyth who was the first to reach a tri-colored male Wolf who panicked after only a couple breaths.

"Keep your eyes open," he put himself in the way of the kantin many times his mass before he could bolt. "Wash it off," he put as much authority as he could behind it before Queen jumped from the stage and got the freaked out Wolf under control as only another Alpha could.

A little water and a stiff drink later, and he had settled down enough to stop shaking and be left alone again.

"Thank you," Queen said, inclining her head towards Lyth as she rubbed the Wolf's back.

"You are both welcome," he nodded back to her and returned to his table and Tamera's hug and kiss of approval.

"Clearly, it can be a very potent experience," she said after she returned to the stage. "Especially once you cut off hearing as well, with a good pair of earplugs or muffs. The more senses you cut off, the more trust you're putting in your partner to make sure that what happens feels good for the ones you have left, and not to take advantage of you. That's something to keep in mind for one-offs in particular."

"Why would anyone want that?" the Wolf asked, his tone more shaky than incredulous.

"Would anyone like to give an answer?" Queen looked around the group and nodded to the summer-coated Arctic vixen.

"Every sense that is blocked focuses more attention on the ones you have left," she said with easy confidence. "People who are blind are well-known to have sharper senses of hearing, smell and touch. The nose-dead usually have much sharper vision and touch to compensate."

"It's also a trust issue," Queen agreed, taking the gag out of Judie's mouth so she could join in.

"When you can't see, smell, or hear," she explained, "you have to count on your Master or Mistress, especially if you're bound. Personally, I like to trust her that much, and to have the trust proven right. She's right though - it does make things much more intense," she purred throatily.

"Remember, not every kink is for everyone," Queen said firmly, her gaze primarily on those who had found the vanilla unsettling.

"Queen?" the Tigress drew her attention. "Have you experienced everything you do to others?"

"Personally, yes," she nodded. "And I recommend it for any dom, unless your partner is insistent about something you don't want to experience. Even then, I suggest you still try; it helps you to find out the best ways to do your part. That's something else to keep in mind," she added. "Even if you've got a relationship like mine with Judie, it's ultimately a partnership, and both have a role they're supposed to play."

"What are your duties to each other?" the Tigress asked, clearly intrigued by the idea of a pet, though it was hard to tell which side she was interested in.

"That varies from one couple to the next. Why don't we start with a quick rundown of the difference between a relationship like mine with Judie, a casual relationship, and a 'part time' pet relationship. Or are you mostly interested in our specific case?" She asked the Tigress politely.

"I'm interested in the general things to expect, Queen," she said politely. "And ... well, I'm curious how it works with two of your neighbors. Jake Clawson and Rock Furlong. I've seen them here, on the news and on the street, and more than a few vids, and I don't understand it."

"Ah, well, that's another story," she chuckled. "Though a good example of the difference I'm talking about. First off, I feel I should warn you, and everybody else here, that it's not typically considered good manners to bring up names with people you're not sure are in the same community. I know that Jake and Rock are both fixtures here, and at several of my clubs, so they're hardly going to worry about it, but there are some people who really don't want to be 'outed.'

"Back to the point, their relationship isn't a full-time one. They're probably the best example you'll ever find of bedroom dom and sub. Jake is an Enforcer pilot; he has to be in charge as part of his job, to keep himself and his partner alive," Queen explained. "However, neither of them is a full-time dominant personality; they're actually both switches, though you wouldn't know it to see them in the club," she grinned at memories of some of their better shows, and hid the sadness at the last four years. She never did find out what had happened to Jake that had turned him off pain so sharply, but it hurt her to know it happened.

"They're equals the majority of the time, but when they're in bed Rock is typically the dom, and at clubs too. Get Jake going without Rock around, and you'd better be a very good dom if you don't want him to have you on your knees," Queen warned with a wicked grin.

"Not that it's a fate worse than death or anything," Judie giggled, getting a playful swat on the side of the face from her Mistress' tail.

"That little Kat is that strong?" the Wolf who's freaked out earlier said incredulously.

"Don't knock it," the Tigress turned to him. "Gunners that last as long as he has are tough minds and strong wills. He's a Champion to, and they are anything but weak."

"And he'd be a dom if it weren't for having found a partner he loves having top him so much," Judie explained. "He's also very much a sadist, and has been for years; if you enjoy pain, you could do a lot worse than asking he and Rock to put you up on stage. They might not take you up on it, but if they do, it's worth it."

"Though if you do and like it, be prepared for Rock to try and get you to attend a service or six at Eshik and Marka's temple," Tamera giggled. "He does recruit rather aggressively."

"Actually, if any of you decide that you're interested in S&M long-term, or if you find yourself in a relationship that isn't socially acceptable, I'd recommend it myself," Queen agreed. "Finding it could be trickier, but you can find people who'll be able to give you pointers. Just don't try sneaking past the bouncer," she chuckled lowly. "Back to the question of responsibilities. It's typically very much like a contract. Between Judie and myself, her duties are to obey my commands, not sleep with anybody outside my pack without permission, always to have dinner and a massage ready when I come home from business, and when I had pups it was her duty to take care of them. There were a few other incidentals in there, but not too much. In exchange, my duties are to provide for her, to make sure she has some time off for her own interests, and never to end a scene without making sure she's come at least once. Which does mean that I'll owe her an orgasm before we're done here tonight," she chuckled.

"By contrast, Jake and Rock's relationship is much more based on being equals; they probably don't even have a contract that they recognize as such, because the balance of power is a lot more even there," Judie explained, her voice breaking with a moan as the timer went off on the vibrator inside her. "Typically, contracts only start to become important when you get into a dom-sub relationship that extends beyond the bedroom; however, it becomes necessary when you start talking about taking on a full-time slave, even if the contract wouldn't be considered a legally binding one by most."

"Does that answer your question?" Queen looked at the Tigress.

"Yes, ma'am," she nodded. "Thank you for the detour."

"It is a good one," Queen smiled at her, pleased to have active participants. "Are there any other questions before I return to the scene?"

"Why do you do it?" A young calico Kat asked Judie curiously. "It doesn't really seem like an even trade."

"The value of such things is very much in the eyes of the individual," Judie looked towards her despite the blindfold. "For me, I enjoy the arrangement. I have had a successful career; I know what that life is like. I prefer one where my needs are taken care of. It is not a life that many find agreeable in this age."

"Because of how rough things are as an Enforcer?" She asked curiously, trying to put it together in her own head.

"No," she shook her head. "Because I enjoy having my entire focus being on taking care of one person and her family. In another time, I would have been very happy as a classic housewife who cooks, cleans and cares for the kits. A friend of mine has a mate with very much the same personality and history as mine in many ways. She supported herself and could have done well in the workforce. But she wanted nothing more than to stay at home and care for it and a family. I found it though becoming a pet. She found it with a more traditional relationship. It was not how either of us were raised, but it is what makes both of us happy."

"I think she's talking about mom," Tamera murmured to Lyth.

"Sounds a lot like it," Lyth nodded and smiled at her when she shifted to snuggle against his chest.

"It's not the sort of life that works for everybody," Queen offered. "Are you finished?" She asked politely.

"Yes, Queen," she nodded, letting the she-Wolf return the gag to its place.

Queen took advantage of the situation to feel her pet up, teasing the big shekat's nipples until they were hard. Then she placed a pair of earmuffs over Judie's ears and kissed her cheek.

"Does anyone have a request for what kink to explore next?" Queen looked at the group.

"S&M," the Tigress suggested with a grin.

"Always a fun one," Queen chuckled. "Let's start with clamps; a lot like cock rings, you don't want to leave them on for more than a half-hour or so," he said, fixing a pair of clamps to Judie's nipples and her engorged clit. "Any particular form of S&M that somebody would like to see then? Spanking, whips, stress-play... I've got a variety of options here, and if I don't have what I need I can at least tell you about the basics."

"Something I've heard about, Queen," the Arctic vixen spoke up. "Capsicum oil coated ice. How do you use it, what are the safety concerns, and some idea what it feels like."

"The oil is what makes peppers hot," Queen explained. "Which should answer how it feels as well; anywhere between having a mild pepper rubbed over your skin, or having a very, very strong one. The safety concerns are relatively low, as long as you stick to a mild mixture. At higher levels, it can blister and burn, even be fatal if swallowed. You'd use it pretty much however you'd use regular ice; it's just a way to add some burn to the cold. My personal favorite? Rub it around the clit and anus," she said, circling her fingers around the places she indicated. "Or, if you're a tom and your partner is willing, you might consider pushing it up in their pussy or ass before you fuck them, just be ready to go through everything they are. I don't recommend it for urethra play; too strong a blend can easily damage the vessels, but to be honest I'm not much for that type of play in the best of circumstances. I know that it's something Jake was very fond of."

"Thank you, Queen," the vixen nodded.

"What is stress-play?" the big tri-colored Wolf asked.

"That I can demonstrate," she smiled. "The idea is to stress the body's joints and bones; it usually involves some combination of suspending the submissive, and of suspending things from them; if you'd like a demonstration, come on up and help me with the frame. If somebody else would like to join in?" She offered, looking around. "Either as submissive or my helper," she added with a look at the more obvious submissives.

"I know enough to help," Lyth offered even as a lanky teenaged tomkat with mousy brown fur and green eyes raised his hand nervously.

Queen nodded at them both, guiding Judie up to her feet and over to a frame.

"Would you prefer the frame, or to be suspended?" She asked the young tom who came up to the stage, the tip of his tail betraying his nerves.

"The frame, Mistress Queen," he managed to say without his voice cracking.

"You don't have to undress, but I recommend it," she smiled warmly. "I'd prefer to work with you myself, but are you more comfortable with a male, or another Kat?"

"I'm fine with you, Mistress Queen," he said as he stripped down.

"Thank you," she smiled. "Are you all comfortable giving everybody your names?" She asked as the bartender brought out some of the things they would need; rope and weights mostly.

"I'm Lyth Bastet-Son," he introduced himself.

"I'm Deric, Mistress," the lanky teen said.

"A pleasure to meet you, Deric," she smiled. "Lyth, go ahead and set things up, but I'd like to help you with the actual suspension," she told the young priest as she helped Deric onto the X-frame and buckled him into place. "Comfortable?"

"Yes, mistress," he nodded. "The traffic light safewords are good with me."

"All right," she nodded. "I'll be right back for you," she promised, stepping over to remove the gag and help suspend Judie by her hands, working with Lyth and the bartender to pull the ropes taut, until she was a good six inches off the ground.

"Make up your mind, Mistress," Judie teased lightly.

"I've made mine up, but you know how it can go with an audience, pet," Queen teased, swatting her rump lightly. "Now behave."

"Now," she said, addressing the audience again, "just suspending her puts stress and strain on the arms, legs, and spine. Deric; do you have any piercings that you're not wearing?" She asked him.

"No, Mistress Queen," he told her.

"All right then; Lyth, you'll find a number of hoop piercings in my kit. If you could select seven of them and put them in for me, Judie will tell you where," she told him as she tied silk bonds around Deric's wrists and ankles, leaving a loop free for the weights.

Under Judie's direction Lyth replaced the clamps on her nipples with hoops, carefully replace the glittering dangle on her clit, both her earrings, the four-point piercing near the end of her tail and her navel.

"Mistress?" Judie asked with a low purr. "Is this just going to be the suspension, or a full demonstration?"

"A full demonstration, eventually," Queen chuckled, running her hand down Deric's chest. "At least for you. Perhaps with me, perhaps with the pretty tom tending you."

"Yes Mistress," she purred, able to hear enough through her muffs to get the idea.

"Now, with her suspended like that, take some of the light chain and run it through her nipple, clit, and navel rings," Queen informed Lyth, taking a small, two-pound weight from the ones the bartender had brought out and hooking it over the tie around Deric's left ankle.

"You have to be careful of several things with stress play," she told the audience. "The first is that your partner can use their safe words if it gets to be too much; the second is that you don't suspend too much weight from any one limb. You can break bones like this, particularly if you don't have a frame and are going against the bend of a joint. Dislocating something isn't any fun either, and both tend to require a trip to the emergency room if you're not a trained EMT. However - if something does ever go wrong, or if you ever lose a toy in yourself, don't do something stupid. EMT's and ER doctors and nurses, quite frankly, have probably seen far more embarrassing things than whatever you did to yourself. They might have even done them," she chuckled.

"Queen?" Lyth glanced at her for permission to speak. He turned to the audience when she nodded. "Any temple of Lyris or Mokra is also very good at keeping secrets and fixing any damage that may have been done if you or your partner is leery of the hospital system and its records."

"As is the temple of Eshik and Marka," she nodded. "I'd recommend either Mokra, or Eshik and Marka, myself. Either will also help you with training, particularly Eshik and Marka. They're generally happy to teach you how to do something safely." She added another weight to Derick's other leg. "How does that feel?" She asked the teenager as Lyth began to put small weights onto the chains he'd threaded through Judie's piercings.

"Strange," he admitted, still trying to work it out for himself. "Good in that run almost too hard way."

"Good," she smiled, putting a heavier weight around a tie on his thigh. "I don't recommend using large weights on the wrists," she told everybody. "The bones there can be particularly fragile. If there are piercings involved, then you can have some extra fun by testing the particular part of the body that's pierced. This is especially fun if you go all the way; the swaying of the weights is an additional pull that many people find enjoyable. I'm going to try something little trickier," she said, turning back to Derick and picking up a large, flat weight. "If you're uncomfortable with it, say so," she said seriously, putting the weight on his chest, the angle making it so that it only made breathing a little more difficult, keeping his lungs from fully inflating. "If you need to get it off fast, push up away from the frame and it should fall off of you."

"Understood, Mistress," he said as he adjusted. While he wasn't entirely sure he liked it, it wasn't bad.

"Is there anywhere in particularly you'd like more weight?" She asked him clearly as Judie moaned, a two-ounce weight being suspended from her clit-piercing.

"Balls, toes, Mistress," he said with a trace of arousal in his voice.

"Glad you're up for exploring," she rumbled, fixing a pouch around his balls, pulling them down a bit even before she added a weight that tugged them down further, stretching the skin. She moved down, carefully tying a series of weights around his toes as his boyfriend watched curiously. "What do you like about this?" She asked him to keep him talking.

"The stretch, the way it tingles and aches like a good workout," he began purring deeply, his arousal soon evident to everyone.

"Do you want me to keep working on that, or do you want to try bone stress?" She asked, increasing the weight on his ankles.

"I'll try bone stress, Mistress," he said easily.

"All right," she nodded, moving up to his knees and pulling supports out of the middle of the frame by his legs, threading strong bindings over his knees and carefully adding a light weight, judging his reaction before increasing it. "Do you like working out?" She asked him.

"Yes, Mistress," he moaned, his muscles tensing and shifting against the strain.

"Have you and your boyfriend ever considered combining play with your workout?" She asked him. "There are some fairly involved toys out there for people who are interested in that."

"Yellow," he said softly but firmly. "We'll have to look those up. We do play sometimes, but not with toys."

"Let me know when you've adjusted to it," she said easily. "In case anybody is interested, you'll want to check out FitnessKink.com; they've got a variety of options, including one of the better selections of mechanical fucking machines you're ever likely to find. Their stationary bikes are particularly well designed, whether for spanking, fucking, or regular use."

"Do they have benches?" Deric's boyfriend perked up, his ears flicked fully forward.

"Like weight benches?" Queen asked him. "I'll admit, I'm not very familiar with their products, I just know they're out there."

"They do," the Tigress confirmed, her eyes glued on Judie, the grey and black shekat purring as Lyth put some extra weight on her legs, stretching her arms out.

"I think we'll be shopping soon," Deric grinned at his mate. "Mistress, I do not like the bone stressing."

"All right," she nodded, quickly removing the weights and ties, and replacing the supports. "This is another of those very individual things; would you like to be left like that for a while, or released?"

"This I like, Mistress," he wiggled and stretched his toes with a low groan of pleasure.

"Queen," his boyfriend, a Brown Spotted Tabby in his teens, spoke up. "May I come up and play with him?"

"Of course," she chuckled as he hopped up on stage and claimed a kiss from his partially prone lover. "Lyth, would you like to play as well?" She asked the young priest.

"Yes, Queen," he purred deeply. "What may I do with her?"

"Mmm... anything you'd like, so long as you stop with her safeword or mine," Queen decided, glancing out at Tamera. "Unless your partner has any limitations she wants?"

"No Queen," Tamera purred and leaned back. "I do enjoy watching."

Lyth grinned at her before he focused on Judie. He slipped his fingers along her wet sex, then leaned in to kiss between her breasts.

Judie purred through her low moan, pressing into his touch as the Queen walked around behind her and rubbed her shoulders lightly as Lyth took his time, putting on a show for the audience as she began to squirm, the pleasure building.

When he removed the vibrator from her pussy and the weight from her clit she whimpered in objection until his mouth replaced them. His tongue slid across her sex to swirl around her clit.

Queen reached around, toying with the weights from her pets' nipples as Lyth ate her out, Judie squirming and whimpering helplessly between them, her thighs quickly soaked with her juices. She curled her tail up between her Mistress' legs, rubbing it against the she-wolf's sex to pleasure her as well.

"Such a good pet," Queen rumbled and claimed a kiss around the gag in Judie's mouth, savoring the way the powerful shekat cried out as she came, her body tried to tighten around the head between her thighs and held back by the restraints.

"Done?" Queen asked Lyth curiously.

"Yes, Queen," he nodded, licking Judie clean before standing and wiping his mouth. "Thank you both."

"Good manners," she smiled appreciatively as he returned to his table. "Which is a good point; it's not mandatory to thank somebody for sharing their pet, but it is still good manners." She waited for Deric and his boyfriend to finish up, the weights swaying from the teen's body as his lover fucked him hard and deep, both of them moaning as they came in unison.

"It's getting awfully hot in here," Tamera rumbled as she nuzzled Lyth, her fingers playing along his crotch. "You're so hard after playing with her."

"I wanted to save that for you," he purred, kissing her tenderly.

"Well, as long as we're here, why don't we take care of it?" She grinned, unzipping his pants. "Just pay attention to the talk and let me know if I have to say something," she winked and slipped under the table to take him deep into her throat.

Jake walked into the private gardens of Biama's home not long after dawn. He knew his mate was out here, he could feel it. A small smile crossed his face as he spotted the buff ocher tabby working on katas that were familiar to them both. Rock from doing and Jake from watching.

His movements were unusual, for what Jake was used to watching. Kyale didn't waste any effort, but much more of her body was in motion at all times. Rock's, instead, moved the bare minimum it had to, twisting and shifting defensively inches at a time, hands occasionally darting out like striking snakes to touch a point on the practice dummy he was working with, returning to their neutral location in the blink of an eye.

Jake had never seen him actually use the style in a fight; he tended to use his powers instead, when it happened. The closest he'd come were the occasions where Rock had used a pressure point, as he had in the interrogation earlier. It made him wonder just what he could do.

True to his training and long-standing understanding most warriors had, Jake found a spot out of the way and simply watched, absorbing as much as he could without making a sound.

"Am I late for something?" Rock asked him out of the blue after a few minutes, his fingers punching into the sawdust-filled dummy's shoulder.

"No, love," Jake smiled at him. "Chance and Midnight are sleeping, and I like watching you work out."

"Well, that's good at least," he chuckled. "Though I think I'm going to take a little break," he admitted, picking up a bottle of water nearby he'd brought along when packing and taking a swig from it as he sat down next to his mate. "How's it going?"

"I'm looking forward to her heat actually starting," he admitted and leaned against his mate with an affectionate nuzzle. "Hopefully the excitement will calm down when we don't leave the room."

"Well, most of it can wait if it doesn't," Rock purred, returning the nuzzle. "After all, we're on vacation. Jake... would I have been misreading you, if I thought you were starting to get a bit of your interest in pain back?"

"I think so," he nodded, though he didn't sound confident of the statement. "At least when mixed solidly with pleasure like you threatened her with."

"Would you like to try it some time, maybe after we get home?" Rock offered. "Of course, with the week we've got lined up, you might end up doing it without much choice," he chuckled.

"Between the three of us, I think we can keep her satisfied," Jake grinned and kissed him soundly, his fingers wondering down Rock's broad chest as he held on to their kiss. "But the garden is private, and no one will be up for a couple hours yet."

"Mmm... you're assuming nobody's going to come looking for the roars," Rock winked, kissing him tenderly. "But I'm game to take advantage of it until they do. You want to get anything from our room?"

"No," he purred, sliding his hand down to finger under Rock's belt before unbuckling it. "Just you, me, and passion."

"Sounds good to me," Rock purred, kissing him deeply and undoing Jake's pants. "Want to try it this time?" He asked, caressing Jake's cheek lightly.

"Yes," he murmured, pressing into the contact as they quickly undressed each other, their arousal hot in their hands and their moans already heavy.

Rock gently pressed on one of Jake's pressure points, setting his nerves on fire as skilled fingers danced over his barbs and shaft.

"I love you," Rock murmured, kissing him tenderly.

Jake gasped, arching instinctively away from the pain despite the moan it drew from him.

"Slower?" Rock asked him, reaching down to fondle his balls and sheath instead. He leaned into the kiss Jake started, enjoying the arousal in his scent.

"Yeah," Jake said a little sheepishly. "I still like it, but things aren't right yet."

"That's fine," Rock purred. "Mmm... think you're up to a massage like this?" He offered.

"Yes," he purred and claimed another kiss. "Or to have you against my back and deep inside my ass as you reintroduce me to painful pleasure."

"Sounds good to me; go make yourself comfortable," Rock rumbled hotly.

Jake claimed another quick kiss before be stepped over to the fountain pool and slipped into it, crossing his forearms on the edge as he waved the top of his tail above the water with a wink for his mate.

"Are you sure you're not a kat-fish?" Rock laughed, coming out to join him, nuzzling the back of his neck and enjoying the way his mate pressed up against his chest and rubbed against him. "If Midnight gripes about you being too worn out, you asked for it," he rumbled.

"I'm not sure at all, and I'll take the blame," Jake winked at him playfully before moaning as Rock rubbed his chest. "Gods I love you."

Rock pressed his hard cock up into his mate's ass with a low groan.

"Love you too," he moaned, biting down lightly on Jake's scruff as he started to thrust slowly. No matter how many times they did this, no matter how much pain was involved, it was always a level of intensity that never existed with anyone else. He could count off all the things it could be; the surrender of a strong will, the absolute trust it showed, the way Jake got off on it ... but it really came down to what he'd just said.

He loved his mate more every year.

He gripped Jake's hips as he pumped himself into his ass, purring deep in his throat as they moved in the water. One of his hands shifted forward, wrapping around the base of Jake's shaft and starting to stroke it lightly, keeping his senses sharp in case he was going too far for now.

Jake gasped sharply as his ramped up senses pushed him to the edge of orgasm almost immediately. "Oh, yes."

"Don't hold back," Rock purred, his thumb shifting to put pressure on the base of his cock to keep him from ejaculating with the orgasm that rippled through his mate with a strangled cry of pleasure.

"I can let up on this any time you want," Rock promised him, starting to thrust faster, hitting his prostate and purring deeply as he pushed his lover to the peak of orgasm again and again, only allowing him to come every third or fourth orgasm.

Soon Jake's cries of pleasure had the familiar edge of pain from years before, and just as sweet was the body language that went with it. This intimate with him, Rock could feel every twitch and shift. He knew there was no effort on his mate's part to tone any of it down.

"How... is it?" Rock asked, recovering from about his sixth orgasm, not sure how much longer he'd be able to keep up. Jake was as insatiable as ever.

"Gods, you are good," he moaned, pressing up and rubbing against Rock's chest. "I could definitely enjoy doing this again."

"Midnight'll give you the chance, I'm sure," Rock purred. "Even without the tricks."

"And three of us there," he chuckled and snuggled close, his body relaxing in the familiar movement of water. "Think you can teach me your new fighting style?"

"I'd need permission," Rock explained. "It's something that Tamorl's church is touchy about keeping to themselves, if they can."

"Will you ask? I'd like to learn," Jake turned his head to nuzzle his mate. "And it would be one more thing we can do together."

"Mmm... I'll ask," Rock purred, returning the nuzzle. "Love you, Jake."

Wave Runner swore under his breath as the Current's alarms blared at him; he brought the ship out of hyperspace and quickly ran a scan to try and figure out where the Hell he'd come out. As the computer compiled the results and ran them against the astrogational databases, he stood and started to swim through the fluid-filled cockpit, back to the engine core to try and figure out what had gone wrong. He felt a low, warning thrum against his green-brown scales from the device tightly strapped around his wrist as he started back.

"I know, I know," he muttered. "The drive going down in hyperspace means I'll probably need help." He crossed his arms so he could activate the Myradi in an instant if he had to, already hearing the sound of something thrashing around back by the drive.

When he crossed the threshold of the small room where the core was kept, the noise stopped, and he pushed the pulsing button in the center of the Myradi's face, his body quickly warping and growing as the device's power flowed through him.

As he did so, a lean, hungry-looking quadruped leaped out of the corner of the room, through the wall itself, hurling itself at him while he transformed. He twisted away from it, claws raking against his scales as they thickened and hardened. Fortunately, the creature wasn't used to moving through water. As his webbed Aquusian fingers separated and extended into the razor-sharp claws of the Traxian warbeast he favored in a fight, he closed them around the beast, keeping it from disappearing through the angles between the engine core and the floor. He pulled it back, shifting his body so that as his density increased, he crushed it against the floor. When it was trapped, he let go, ending the fight with one swift, simple blow that ripped the creatures head free and left it drifting up into the middle of the room, a look of utter surprise on its dead face. Another moment passed, and the body sagged, dropping him to the deck plating as it rapidly decomposed into a sticky sludge.

Runner reached over and hit the button to drain the ship, letting it jettison its liquid cargo so that he could breathe in this form. He sniffed deeply, satisfying himself that the creature had been alone, and then started inspecting the engine. He didn't have to be an engineer to recognize the damage; the monster, whatever it was, had managed to cut through the coolant cables and smash the tachyon converter. He'd have to set down to make repairs ... set down, and pray there was a planet nearby that would have the technology he needed to jury rig something.

Turning his now-massive, reptilian form, Runner walked back into the cockpit, opening a small compartment and pulling out what looked like a flight suit before he activated the Myradi again to return to his Aquusian body, muzzle lengthening into a long, narrow snout as his body shrank. He dressed and gave the suit a couple minutes to start circulating the liquids in the internal reservoir before he bothered looking at the scan results.

"Well, looks like it's my lucky day," he murmured to himself as he considered the probable places he'd come out. Aristal was on the star charts; he wouldn't have to make his way home blind, and there was even a chance he could make repairs. If he couldn't, he could at least send out a distress signal and wait for a freighter to come by. "Computer, send out a standard distress signal and find a safe place to land," he said, turning his scout ship towards the blue and green planet and kicking in the sub-light engines.

He just hoped he didn't come down in the middle of a warzone or anything of the sort. He didn't particularly want another fight, especially since any others he had would probably be a lot harder than the one he'd just finished. Aristal wasn't even colonizing their solar system yet, but they'd beaten the crap out of several nasty invaders and rumor was their native hazards were at least as bad. Low tech and dangerous, but just advanced enough that he might be able to get help and the supplies to fix the Current.

He just hoped he'd manage to make friendly contact wherever he ended up landing.

The current jerked as he hit the atmosphere, angling to present the shortest profile he could and maintain control, pulling the wings in to shrink the drag and heat even more. The liquid left in the ship began to steam as the hull heated up, the Current glowing from the outside. It came down like a comet, streaking through the sky until it was far enough down that Runner could extend the wings and take control back. He came down in a long spiral to bleed off some of his speed, shifting his wings to brake further as he approached a safe landing zone. Finally, he managed to slow down to a hover, dropping the Current to the ground carefully near the edge of a huge lake.

"At least that worked," Runner muttered to himself. "What's the water like?"

"Potable, fresh, temperature 16," the computer replied. "Significant small life. Some large life."

"Anything in the database?" He asked, getting out of his seat and heading back to inspect the engines. "And how far from the nearest population center," he added, pulling out his toolkit and starting to take the core of his ship's propulsion system apart systematically.

"Negative species identification," the computer replied. "General apparent classification; full healthy ecosystem. Please define lower limit for a population center."

Runner thought about it as he worked on a particularly stubborn bolt, using both hands to wrench it loose.

"A thousand or so," he decided. "Preferably with signs of at least internal combustion engines and telecommunications. Should be enough for me to find somebody I can borrow a form from so I can blend in around here."

"Three hundred kliks southeast is the edge of a population city of at approximately fifty thousand," the computer supplied.

The Aquusian let out a slightly irritated squawk, but considered the situation. This was a good enough place to wait in for a while, at least. He had supplies, there was fresh food and water available. It was only inconvenient for the purposes of finding a place where he could load one of the locals' forms into the Myradi.

He could wait a while to do that.

"Run a complete inventory of supplies and local mineral resources, see if there's anything we've got or can scavenge to rebuild the hyperdrive," he told the computer. "In the meantime, after I'm done with this I'll see if I can get anything edible out of out of the lake."

"Working," it told him as it sank into silence to run and compile the needed scans.

"You're being cruel!" Midnight cried out in frustration as her mate and his cousin held her down with playful kisses and fondling of her breasts while Jake knelt between her spread legs, drinking in the scent of her fertility as he nuzzled her swollen, slick sex before drawing his tongue along it.

"You're the one who lost the dare last night," Chance grinned, licking her cheek as she moaned in pleasure at Jake's attentions. "You should've just gone ahead and told us, instead of letting him call dibs on the first round. You know how much he enjoys foreplay and drawing things out."

"Don't worry, beautiful," Rock purred in her ear as he traced her nipple with a claw. "We'll ensure you are well-sated before we rest."

"You'd better," she whimpered, spreading her legs for Jake. "Oh fuck," she moaned as his tongue briefly delved into her sex. "More," she panted.

"Now you know what I've had every few months," Chance chuckled. "Incredible, isn't it?" He grinned.

"Y-yes," she moaned, shuddering as her heightened arousal made the work of Jake's tongue short and intense. It was only moment before she cried out, her hips bucking and her body clenching down on the emptiness inside her. "Please Jake," she begged, trembling uncontrollably.

"Now who's not playing fair?" Jake purred as he kissed up her body, his fingers continuing to stroke her enflamed flesh until he was on top of her. He exchanged his fingers for his cock, rubbing the full length of it across the length of her sex until she cried into his mouth and came again. Only when she was trembling, panting, unable to resist or demand, did he sink into her body with a groan of pleasure.

"You think this isn't playing fair, wait until you've already come about a dozen times and she's still hungry," Chance rumbled lowly, nuzzling Midnight's neck and drinking in her intoxicating scent, his cock raging hard in response to her need.

"It never was in the plan for a shekat to only have one male," Jake groaned as he thrust, hard and deep without any effort to hold himself back. "She was designed to keep up with four or five toms at a time."

"Don't give her any ideas," Chance groaned as one of her hands found his shaft.

"Think she's getting 'em already," Rock grinned, rubbing his own cock lightly against her leg.

"Besides, if it wasn't a favor to them, I wouldn't want have considered anyone else," Midnight purred, turning her head to kiss Chance. "You're the one I love."

"Love you too, baby," he purred into the kiss. "That a hint to shut up and pay more attention to you?" He asked her teasingly as she stroked his barbs lightly.

"Ohhhh!" she gasped as Jake pumped his first load of seed into her body, drawing an orgasm from her wombs as he claimed a long, demanding kiss.

"Who gets her next?" Jake asked with a grin at the tabbies.

"Chance better," Rock grinned back down at him as he pulled out. "Unless we want his balls to burst."

"Now we just can't have that," Jake laughed easily.

"I'm not about to complain," Chance chuckled, taking his partner's place and kissing Midnight tenderly. "Ready, hon?" He asked, lifting her legs and pulling her close to him.

"Always," she whimpered in her hunger, her sex already trying to draw him in. He sank his shaft into her body with a lusty groan, his rod hard as a rock as it responded to her scent and heat.

"Never get tired of this," he moaned as he started to thrust hard and deep, his cock already leaking pre as her body squeezed and milked him.

"Me either," she whimpered into his mouth and hugged him tightly. "And what comes after the mating."

"We're gonna set family records soon," he groaned, his balls slapping against her ass, his pelvis grinding into her clit.

"Is this what all their pillow-talk is like when she's in heat?" Rock chuckled, snuggling against Jake, stroking his mate and trying very hard to keep from getting too frisky. They had all promised that every drop of their seed was for her wombs.

"Probably," Jake chuckled, then rumbled as Chance roared, his hips thrusting on instinct as he came hard and fast. "Damn that is hot."

"Mmm... let's give him a couple rounds, so he doesn't get so wound up he fucks you by mistake," Rock purred, then snickered. "By the way - you'd better stop calling her your sister after this, or folks'll think you're Eshik and Marka's Champion, not me."

"I would hardly be one to complain about getting some of that," Jake grinned with a hungry rumble. "We'll have to see what she wants to be called," he nuzzled Rock affectionately. "After all, the kittens we sire we're going to raise."

"You wouldn't, but she'd pitch a fit," Rock snickered, kissing Jake hungrily. "Mmm... so, we've got a few minutes before she's free again...." He trailed off suggestively.

"I think we have as long as you can stand to not come," Jake purred, reaching down to stroke his mate's cock lightly. "Then I get to have fun pushing Chance to the very edge."

"Mmm... you do realize that after this week, you're going to spend the next week getting every bit of frustration you cause us taken out on you," Rock purred hotly, snuggling up and reaching down to fondle Jake's spent shaft.

"You say it like it's a bad thing," Jake snickered as he claimed a heated kiss and rocked his hips shamelessly against his mate's hand. "I'm going to enjoy every minute of it."

"Midnight probably will too," Rock purred into their kiss. "Mmm... once her hips stop aching, anyways," he grinned as Chance roared with another orgasm. "My turn, cuz," he said as he shifted his attention from Jake to Midnight. "Gods, you are hot," he murmured as he kissed her, encouraging her to shift to her hands and knees with her rump up.

"I'll be hotter in a couple days," she moaned when Rock pressed into her slick sex and began to thrust hard and deeply.

"Mind if I clean you up?" Jake purred hopefully in Chance's ear.

"Mmm... go ahead," Chance purred, leaning back against the head of the bed. "Just behave yourself, or Midnight'll cream us both."

"I'll make sure she gets it all," Jake promised as he relaxed along the inside of Chance's leg and slowly licked his cock, sheath and balls clean as they watched Rock fuck Midnight as hard as she wanted.

She moaned as he wrapped one arm around her chest, squeezing her breast as he drew her up in a show for the other toms. She spread her legs further apart when his fingers began to stroke her clit, pressing it down and back to rub against his cock.

"Mmm ... she's been dreaming about this," Chance grinned, groaning as Jake fondled his balls and started sucking his throbbing cock. "Damn this is hot," he moaned.

"I didn't think you'd like so many toms to one fem," Rock grinned, knowing his mate wanted to ask but had his mouth full.

"Not if I didn't know how much she wanted it," Chance grinned back at him, leaning forward to kiss Midnight hungrily as he started thrusting unconsciously up into Jake's mouth.

"Mmm, I know the feeling," Rock rumbled, closing his jaws around Midnight's scruff as his thrusts became sharper, more erratic, as he was pushed to his peak by her body and pheromones. "See'm that hot ... so good."

"Nnngh... Jake... not long," Chance warned him, reaching down to tug the tom's scruff lightly as his balls started twitching, his wife's heat pushing him towards the edge along with Jake's hot, skilled, wet mouth.

Jake slid his head up and grinned at him. "Let me finish and she'll get it all."

"S'okay," Midnight whimpered, kissing Chance with a cry as she came hard around Rock's shaft. It was enough that he let go of Jake's scruff. A strangled cry escaped his throat as Jake took him all the way to the root, his fingers playing with his balls. At the last moment, after the first thrust of the orgasm came, Jake pressed his finger against the same spot that Rock used to keep him from spilling his seed the day before.

Chance moaned in frustration, his cock twitching but unable to vent itself. Rock pulled out of Midnight with a chuckle.

"There you go," he grinned at his cousin, rolling Jake onto his back and nuzzling the lean tom's balls. "You're mean, you know," he purred hotly.

"This is my only chance to play with him, you know," he grinned up at his mate and claimed a hungry kiss. "And I'm not about to stop anyone from being equally mean to me," he purred throatily.

"I've got other ideas... for now," Rock rumbled into his kiss before sliding down to take Jake's cock in his mouth, suckling it hungrily and reaching back to finger his tight ass.

"Ohh, yeah, no complaints," Jake moaned and shifted, spreading his legs and arching his back to give Midnight a good show and Rock full access. "Anything you want, love."

Rock purred around Jake's shaft, finger-fucking Jake's ass as he suckled his throbbing cock, already hard from Midnight's scent and the thrill of sucking off his partner.

"This is how it oughta be," Chance teased, tipping Midnight's face back to kiss her hungrily as they mated, her pussy latterly dripping with the seed of three toms as her mate thrust deep and hard, moaning at the sensation of taking her like this.

"How it usually will be," she whimpered at the pleasure he pushed her towards so quickly after over a decade together.

Chance roared as he filled her sex again, his seed mixing with Jake and Rock's as he kept rubbing his barbed tip against her g-spot until she cried out and milked his cock through her orgasm. They were both only distantly aware of Jake's cries of pleasure as he filled his mate's mouth with his seed.

"Looks like they lose," Chance panted after a few moments. Rock looked up at him with a challenge in his eyes, then pulled back, keeping his mouth closed, a bit of Jake's seed trickling from the corner of his mouth.

"I think he's planning to get it inside you another way," Jake chuckled. "Lay down, sweetie."

She laid back on top of Chance, the tabby pulling out of her as they both looked down at Rock curiously. He sealed his lips against Midnight's sex, pushing all the seed in his mouth out into her body with his tongue before he moved up, grinning as he licked her clit.

"Acceptable?" He grinned.

"Mmm, yes," she moaned, reaching down to rub his ears. "Does that mean you're next?"

"I don't know how Chance survived you all on his own," Rock purred, sliding up to slip his cock back into her sex as Chance massaged her breasts from behind.

"Sedatives," he teased, enjoying the relatively relaxed time of sharing her need with trusted friends.

Rock moaned, nearly melting into the unusual aggressive, dominant kiss as he was pushed back and pinned to the wall of their bedroom by his mate. They'd barely dropped their backpacks on the floor when Jake had grabbed him and claimed him, hungry to be by themselves for the first time in three weeks.

"Mmm... glad to be home?" Rock grinned, giving Jake an equally hungry kiss.

"Oh yeah," he shivered and rubbed their bodies together. "It was incredible, but I missed just us."

"I'm sorry to interrupt," a voice said, sounding amused even as Jake turned, his fur fluffed and head down, "but if I can at least warn you that I'm here, I'll wait in the other room for you?"

"Who?" Jake demanded as he zeroed in on the source of the noise.

"Tamorl's Seer, Andrea," she said, the human stepping out to show herself, blood glistening on her face. "My apologies for the intrusion, but I felt it would be better to not be seen by your neighbors while I waited, and I wasn't sure when you would be back."

"Right," Jake settled a bit and regarded her, his tail still twitching as he managed to place her from the conversation with his mate four years before. "The human?"

"Yes," she nodded. "The blood witch," she added, "if he ever told you about that. I'm sorry, but I wanted to deliver some news, regarding one of the things I had seen when Rock was at the Tower."

"Will you be staying long enough that I can get a look at your ship?" Jake asked hopefully.

"If you would like, certainly, though you might find yourself having to leave before you get a chance to go over it in any detail," she chuckled. "Though I will ask that you not rip the engines apart; they're rather important."

"I understand," Jake nodded. "What did you come to tell us?"

"Mostly good news," she smiled. "You'll have kits by Rock soon; within the year."

"I know," Jake grinned. "The litter with Midnight should have two that are by both of us."

"You don't understand," she chuckled. "You will have the kits; I'm still not entirely sure how much I can tell you about the how, but you will fulfill all of Bastet's preferences for a Champion shortly."

Jake blinked at her. "Okay," he drew it out a bit. "What is the not-so-good news?"

"I'm afraid that you're going to have to leave again, rather soon," she said apologetically. "There will be an alien crashing soon. Not somebody I know, but he will be of great interest to Dark Kat, and others. I sense something about him that will make him a target."

Jake groaned. "How soon, and where?"

"Within the week, and far from here. Not too far from Majeare, I believe; a lake in the sub-tropical forests near there," she explained. "A small, dark-furred female close to you would be good to bring.

"We'll be ready," Jake sighed. "A warrior, mother, priestess or thief?" he asked, hoping to get a clue which 'small, dark-furred female' close to him was intended.

Andrea considered the question. "A warrior," she decided after a moment. "I am sorry that I can't give you anything more helpful," she said apologetically. "I suspect you'll feel better about it after you've had the chance to look over the crashed ship; I believe it will be in good shape, as will the pilot. More a technical difficulty than a disaster."

"That's more information than I usually have," Jake chuckled lightly. "Are your new pieces of news related?"

"No," she chuckled, shaking her head. "You're not about to trip over a ship with a zero-matrix genetic manipulation laboratory, I'm afraid. It would be quite convenient if you did; it'd make it much easier to consider children of my own."

Jake flicked a glance at his mate, then looked at her. "It is within my powers to arrange that if you find a male you like."

"If I do, perhaps," she nodded. "But I wouldn't worry about it. I'm not entirely sure how fond I am of the looks of the results, to be honest. Or are you not referring to a genetic mix, of human and kat?" she asked as something twitched behind her eyes.

"It's probably the easiest variant, but given I can arrange for a male to carry a litter to term, ensuring that your child is your species isn't exactly difficult," he grinned at her. "Whether it's a clone of your DNA or a mix with someone else, you're at least designed to be pregnant and give birth."

"I didn't know you could arrange for a male to carry a litter to term," she pointed out with a chuckle. "I'll have to think about it, in the future, but I'll admit that it's been some time since I've seriously thought about it. Would you like me to leave the two of you to settle back in?" She offered.

"It's unusual at best to do so," Jake admitted. "But it's been a race between technology and timing as to which we chose," he managed a grin. "It turned out to be Midnight that won the race."

"If you don't have anything else to tell us, I would appreciate it," Rock chuckled softly and nuzzled his mate.

"We really do need to arrange for some time for me to check out your ship," Jake purred and tipped his head up to kiss him. "If you'd give a call sometime when it's likely to be calm for a couple weeks?"

"Certainly," she nodded. "Or at least calm enough," she added with a smile, heading to the door and pulling her robes up to help conceal her face.

"I wish she'd told us a bit more about this object to investigate," Rock grumbled as they entered a search pattern over the warm forest and lake that were the centerpiece of Lake Tysil National Park. "At least if we're looking for a person or a rock."

"A person with a functional ship," Jake supplied.

"And you know this how?" Rock regarded his mate evenly.

"Because a rock or crippled ship would have made a crater and burn path," Jake told with a sideways grin.

"Right. So, how are we supposed to find him?" Rock asked, closing his eyes and reaching out. "I'm not picking up anybody hurting, so that's no help."

"Search the grid," Jake said simply as their VTOL jet began the back and forth sweep. "Hopefully either sensors or our eyes will find something."

"I think we've got something," Kyale called over to them. "Something large and metallic near the lake, inside the trees a bit. Could just be a trailer."

"Or it could be our target," Jake said as he turned the jet around and dropped their elevation to just above the water line as they came in over the lake's surface. "That is not a trailer," he said with utter certainty. "And it doesn't look like the design of anyone who can build that kind of equipment on Aristal."

"Jake? We've got a transmission coming in, think it's from our friend," Rock said as one of the lights on the console started flashing.

"A good sign," Jake said as he flicked the audio on to listen.

"Unknown ship," a markedly unusual, almost mumbling voice said, "this is Aquusian exploration ship Current. Identify yourself, and your purpose."

"It knows Katian and doesn't know this beast?" Kyale glanced over at the toms.

"It happens," Jake told her before clicking the broadcast on to reply as the shift slowed to a near hover over the water. "Current, this is the Enforcer rescue craft Wavedancer. We would like to talk with you."

There was a pause for a few moments, then the reply came.

"Please touch down; rescue is unnecessary, but I'm quite willing to talk. Any information you have on local technical limitations would be welcome; my hyperdrive is disabled."

"We have specialists that can probably fix it," Jake replied before he swung Wavedancer around to set down near the shore. "Rock, I want you to stay on board in case something goes bad."

"All right," Rock said, though he was frowning as he said it. "Be sure you yell if something does."

"You'll feel it before you'd hear it," Jake pointed out and claimed a soft, lingering kiss before he opened the hatch and stepping into the warm, moist air around the sub-tropical lake.

He and Kyale started down, and a few long, tense moments passed before a hatch in the side of the ship opened up and a green-furred shekat climbed out, wearing a simple flight suit with a network of tubes along the limbs.

"Hello," she called out, in a voice completely different from the one that had spoken to them before. "Sorry for the wait, I had to put on something more suitable."

Jake blinked. "Umm, hello. I though you would be a bit different."

"I don't blame you," she chuckled slightly. "I thought you'd be more comfortable meeting me like this first, after I saw you," she explained. "Would you rather I shift to my true form?" She asked, looking to Kyale first, then Jake.

"Yes, please," Jake nodded. "The Aquians are nice folk, but there is something a bit unsettling about alternate forms."

"Ah... that wasn't in the database about this world, is it common?" She asked, reaching over to press the button on a small device on her wrist, her body shifting and losing its fur, quickly and easily growing scales and a long, seahorse-like snout, eyes spreading out and darkening into solid black orbs that glistened in the light. "I am an Aquusian; the shapechanging is not a common ability," he reassured them.

"I don't believe it's common," Jake said. "It comes with my training. Do you know what happened to your ship?"

"I picked up an unexpected guest during a hyperspace jump," the Aquusian said irritably as he looked back at his ship. "It looks like the tachyon compressor was trashed and the coolant system ripped up before I could stop it. I can fix the coolant system easily enough; most of the way to having that patched up now. The compressor ... that's going to take a lot more work. And reviewing my manuals," he admitted with what sounded like a sheepish chuckle. "By the way, my name is Wave Runner; you are?" He asked them politely, turning to extend his hand to Jake, bowing his head deeply to Kyale on the way.

"Jake Clawson, Champion of Bastet and Halikar," he supplied with a smile and firm handshake.

"I'm Kyale Bulank," she supplied with a smile and offered her hand.

"Well, I've put more than one hyperdrive back together, and if it's beyond me, I know it's not beyond Chim's."

"I'd be glad for the help," Runner smiled, taking Kyale's hand after a moment's hesitation. "Maybe the two of you wouldn't mind answering a few questions while I'm here? I'm not sure about how comfortable your world would be with me exploring it for a while, but it'd be good to add details to the database even if I can't stick around."

"We'll answer anything that isn't restricted knowledge," Jake agreed easily. "Why don't you show me the damage and we'll see how much I can work out while we talk. For sticking around ... as long as you're polite about it and follow the local laws, most places won't mind. Do females make you uncomfortable?"

"Not at all," he said, the corners of his strange mouth quirking up in a sort of smile. "My apologies," he told Kyale, bowing his head again. "On my homeworld, the females are generally in charge, particularly ones who are obviously strong and skilled warriors. I'm not too used to somebody with your skills treating me like an equal while I'm in a male form, especially that of an alien male."

"Rather the opposite of how I was raised," Kyale said as they entered the ship. "How many forms do you have?"

"Eight races, most with both genders," Wave Runner told her, leading them back through the small vessel to the engine room. "Going to have to pick up another couple of them while I'm here."

"How do you do that?" she asked curiously.

"I have a device," he explained. "It lets me copy the genetic makeup of any creature, though there are some limitations."

"How perfect a copy is the body?" Jake asked with keen interest that went well beyond the technological fascination it had for him. "Is your ship normally full of water?"

"Normally, though I haven't refilled it after jettisoning what was left of my 'guest,'" Runner said easily. "I don't need it to be able to breathe, it's just more comfortable. As for the copy, it seems to come out as a close relative, as far as I can gather, and has never been close enough to pass for the person. I've never run into a more difference, at any rate. I do know that a few people have managed to get pregnant by mistake while they were using one," he smirked, disconnecting the compressor. "Here's what I'm trying to rebuild ... the nasty part is the crystalline lattice it uses to create the tachyon net. Very delicate, very hard to engineer properly."

"Ah, cool," Jake grinned, his face lighting up in the way only a true geek could in the face of a broken, high-tech device they had permission to play with. "I bet they are," he said as he knelt and settled his mind into the place that dealt with such things. "I suggest you are still careful about who you copy then. Looking too much like me or Rock, who's still in our jet, will draw a lot of attention. We're well-known because of our jobs and have more than a few potent enemies."

"Thanks for the warning, though I wouldn't have copied you anyways," Runner said easily. "I do have schematics, an exploration vessel can't really do without instructions on how to build replacement parts. So ... this is the point where I stop talking because he's not paying any more attention," he chuckled after a moment, turning towards Kyale. "Would you like to sit down?" He offered her politely.

"Sure," she smiled with a light chuckle. "He gets like that, but your ship should be better than new when he finally pays attention to us again."

"I've met the type before," he chuckled. "He said something about another of you on your ship? Should we bring ... him over?" He guessed.

Kyale nodded with a smile and tapped her small communicator patch. "Hey Rock, Jake's got his head buried in the engine. Ready to come down and visit until he remembers we exist again?"

"Sure thing ... our guest is friendly then?" He asked.

"Quite," Runner said loud enough to be heard through the patch. "You're welcome aboard my ship."

"Coming down then," Rock said as they heard the jet land outside.

"While we wait for him, your people are typical mammals?" He asked Kyale curiously. "Warm blooded, females bear the young, no eggs, the usual?"

"Yes," she nodded. "A typical litter is two or four, though from one to six is within the normal range, female nurses the young with milk. Aristal doesn't have a world culture yet, though the language we are using now, Katian, is understood in much of the world to some degree."

"Two to four?" He chuckled. "That must be relatively easy.

"Easy?" she raised an eyebrow. "Granted I've never given birth, but babies come out this big," she motioned to the size of Midnight's kittens. "I wouldn't call it easy."

"Ah; rather larger than ours," he admitted. "Ours tend to be much smaller," he indicated about six inches or so with his fingers, "but we have them one or two dozen at a time, unless something's wrong with the environment. I didn't expect a world culture or government, fortunately... it's actually not as common as some people seem to think, when you actually live on a planet for an appreciable time."

"Even on major things, like what gender is typically in charge?" she asked him curiously.

"That's more common to see world-wide, but really, it's not so much world-based as species-based. My people are matriarchal; it's how we developed to protect our fry. The Ice Walkers are more egalitarian, whatever world they're on, because their culture couldn't afford to hold anybody back based on gender. Then you've got the Formicae. They're a matriarchy in most of the guidebooks, but that's only because 90% of their population is female. If you look at who's officially in charge, you can't really classify them, because the males and ruling females alike have just enough brains to eat, breed, and figure out that they need to find a new place to settle down when they get kicked out of the old colony because it's overpopulated."

"Where as with Kats, and most Xanith and Kantin, it is entirely cultural," she said as they walked out to the cockpit and settled down. "Maybe with all of them, but I've never heard of Lions or Hyena breaking from the norm. You will find everything from one gender being considered property to complete equality in treatment, depending on where you are."

"I've seen that too," he nodded. "Which is the most common situation?" He asked her curiously.

"It's hard to say, but I think that in most places you have at least legal equality for genders and races," she said as she thought. "The lands you really want to avoid as a given gender or race are generally well-known for it."

"Good to hear," Wave Runner nodded, looking over as Rock came in. "Greetings; sit down anywhere you can find the space," he said easily, before turning back to Kyale.

"Would you recommend a particular species for any reason? I'm likely to want to look for a form of each gender before I leave."

"Kat," she said easily. "We're the most common race in all but a handful of places, and the three of us know more about Kats than any other group."

"Makes sense to me," he nodded. "I'll have to see about meeting somebody who doesn't live anywhere near where I'm likely to be traveling ... the copy's not exact, but the resemblance is still strong," he chuckled. "I have a device that lets me borrow the forms of other people," he explained to Rock. "I mostly use it to blend in on new worlds I'm exploring, and for fights that turn out to be more than I'm up for."

"Nice," Rock raised an eyebrow, his mind clearly on its uses locally. "Have you ever been on a world with super-powered criminals?"

"From time to time, though it's not common," Wave Runner explained. "Your world's encounter with Mutilor is the sort of thing that usually comes closest. I take it that it's different in your world's case?"

"Yeah," Rock nodded grimly. "The reason we could handle him like that is because the home-grown threats are at least as bad, and some are worse."

"Yeesh... I have a feeling I'll be glad for a few old trips of mine," he chuckled. "How often are they trouble?"

"It depends on where you are," Rock said as he leaned back against the edge of the control panel. "MegaKat City is the hot spot with something in the Omega classification every few months. Some areas can go generations between strikes."

"Do you have any databases on them, and their activity patterns?" The Aquusian asked.

"I know they exist, but how much is classified is something Jake would know," Rock admitted. "Most of the data they are created from is public access though. If you check the newspaper sites and cross-reference it would give you a good idea of what they're up to that's generally known."

"That's good ... how free is access to information, in MegaKat City? And how well accepted are people who are obviously different," he added, indicating his amphibious body.

"If you can log into the internet, it's effectively free, you just have to find and judge it yourself," Rock chuckled a bit. "While much of it's true, much isn't, or are people's opinions or written as fiction, and it's very difficult to tell the difference if you don't know how, and that's not usually an easy skill to learn. For what I think is a reasonable fee, you can have someone who specializes in compiling the information you want into a report for you. How much it costs depends on how much effort is required to put it together.

"I think people are generally okay with obvious aliens if they behave well, particularly if introduced first, but you will find life easier in general if you look as if you are at least likely from Aristal. We have aliens in residence, some even stranger than you, but they tend to avoid the general populous without a disguise."

"Would the Aquian female be a good start, until I find a local form?" He asked, looking to Kyale for the answer, since she'd seen it already.

"I don't mind if you use me," she offered. "But yes, it would be a good start. Folks would probably look at you twice for being different, but she is reasonably feline."

"If you truly don't mind, I'd be glad to see what the Myradi does with your... genes," Wave Runner said, clearly catching himself and realizing that what he'd been planning to say would probably be inappropriate. At a minimum, it would be too easy to take poorly.

"I don't mind, and I'm a reasonably normal example of a shekat," she smiled at him, though they were both quite aware of Rock's focus on it. "What do you need to do?"

"You simply need to touch the Myradi," he said, extending his arm towards her, the face of the device on his wrist glowing faintly. "And don't be too shocked if it tries to touch you back," he warned her with a smile. "It can be friendly."

"All right," she nodded and reached out to touch the thick bracelet on the glowing centerpiece. It glowed brighter, seeming to moisten before extruding a tentacle and wrapping it around her wrist, squeezing it lightly. Despite the warning, she pulled back slightly on reflex before she managed to relax about it, watching the strange device carefully.

It rubbed her wrist for a moment, then retracted, and Wave Runner's body shifted to that of a muscular black shekat, shorter than Kyale, with more of a muzzle, but still well built and attractive with golden-green eyes and sleek black fur.

Bustier and wider hipped than she was too, she couldn't help noticing.

"A well-endowed little sister," she couldn't help but snicker with a grin.

"Apparently you've got the genetics somewhere, they just aren't turning up," the new shekat mused, looking down at her new form; fortunately, the suit was loose enough to fit it, though she turned off the lubrication system before she was soaked to the bone.

"Nice," Rock couldn't help but say. "Don't be surprised if Jake really loves it."

"I won't be," Wave Runner chuckled, staying in the new form to get used to it and save the Myradi's power. "Are the two of you a couple?" She asked Midnight.

"Ah, no," she shook her head. "Jake and Rock are mates. I'm an occasional lover."

"Ah," she nodded, glancing over at Rock. "Same sex couples are accepted well then, at least in MegaKat City? The Aquians didn't have much information about your world, for obvious reasons," she chuckled.

"In most of Aristal," Kyale nodded. "It is also common to have more than one mate or lover, though not universal."

"Legally, or simply cultural acceptance of open relationships? And for both directions?"

"Yes, it goes both ways," Rock said. "It is both legal and cultural acceptance where is it acceptable. The places that are different are obviously so if you are watching. A good place to start is a book series and website called 'The Hiker's Guide to Aristal.'"

"Computer, make a note to look it up," Wave Runner told the system. "And keep an eye on what Jake's doing with the engine, just in case," she added. "So, your world hasn't developed FTL travel yet?"

"No," Rock shook his head. "I'm not sure if you managed to notice on the way in, but we've barely made it out of the atmosphere. Personally, I'd put money on magic being the way we travel in space, not technology. There really isn't much drive in the technological cities to go into space to stay."

"You realize that your mate will have at least a working understanding of hyperdrives by the time he's done?" Wave Runner pointed out. "If not other people as well. Actually, I should probably warn him about that before he tries to fire it up," she murmured, looking back towards the engine room.

"Considering this is at least the third one he'd taken apart and put back together, I'm sure he already does," Rock said dryly.

"Has he ever gone into hyperspace?" Wave Runner asked seriously. "And do you know who designed the ones he's worked on?"

"I don't think he has," Rock had to think back hard.

"He did once," Kyale piped up seriously. "That Ji ... Jigrini? slaver ship that had to be sent on its way a few years ago. He was on board to ensure the captain did what he was told. That fighter he brought back could too."

"Ugh, Jigrini?" Wave Runner shuddered. "Bunch of self-righteous sons of bitches, the lot of them. He got lucky though; they've got a slightly different type of hyperdrive than the most common one. It forces its way between dimensions through sheer brute force; Telari Dimensional Engineering models use a different approach though. I won't go into the specifics, but it harmonizes a localized area of space with the hyperspace dimension. The nice thing about hyperspace is that relativity doesn't work the same way and light speed is less a speed limit than a mild suggestion. The problem with hyperspace is that it's not empty - you've got creatures in it, and they are not friendly. A Jigrini drive punches in, gets to the exit point, and punches out fast enough you almost never run into the locals; maybe one trip in a hundred thousand. Telari drives, it's more like one in ten thousand or so. Still uncommon, but that's why I'm here. The really tricky part is that, since I got 'lucky,' there's a good chance that they'll be nosing around this sector of space if I go back in too soon. That's what I was thinking of warning Jake about; you don't want to run into those things without any sort of prep. Ships have ended up dead that way."

"Definitely thanks for the warning, but I honestly prefer if I could read through what you know on it and bring it up to Jake myself," Rock said with quiet seriousness. "He's still young and arrogant enough to think hunting them might be fun."

"He'd have gotten along well with my ex-wife," Wave Runner chuckled lowly. "She figured that if it was alive and not recognized as sentient, it could be hunted with enough firepower. Then she found out that most of them ignore anything shy of a plasma cannon, and can outflank you through creative use of physics. Take the critter I dealt with; the damned thing jumped into a corner on the engine and jumped out of the corner of the wall behind me. If I hadn't been underwater...." He shook his head. "There's nothing good in screwing around with hyperspace aliens. Besides, there's no saying they aren't sentient, for sure, nobody's dealt with them long enough that I know of."

"Has she ever hunted dragons?" Rock asked curiously.

It took Wave Runner a few minutes to place what he was talking about, of the several creatures that word brought to mind. "Like you're thinking of, I don't think so; they're not particularly common in the parts of space we've been in."

"They aren't common here anymore, but back when they were, he made a name for himself at it," Rock rolled his eyes. "These days he tends to stick to hunting Omegas."

"Adrenaline junkie?" Wave Runner guessed.

"That, and occasionally he just likes looking for trouble," Rock chuckled. "He finds it perversely amusing some days to piss off the local gods, knowing they can't do anything about it."

"And why can't they? Usually it's pretty much part of the definition of being a God that you can do something about people pissing you off."

"Because he's a Champion," Rock said. "It's a game they play so they don't fight themselves and obliterate the world. No god can directly act against the champion of another, and if they punish their own, they forfeit any real power for a thousand years because they won't be represented at the end. He was more than a little pissed about being chosen."

"A very strange system, but I'm sure there's a history behind it; is that publicly available information as well?" Wave Runner asked, cocking her head.

"A fair amount, though it's not all completely accurate, and definitely incomplete," Rock nodded. "If you want the most complete story on nearly anything, look up a Temple of Izaris. They tend to charge for their services, but there is no better way to find out what really happened."

"I may be able to make a trade," she mused. "I've got information they won't, after all; places that archive such things are usually open to tit-for-tat arrangements."

"Oh yeah, they are definitely open for that," Rock grinned at her. "The fees tend to be reasonable if you run out of intel before they do. It's more about funding their upkeep and acknowledgement that they do something valuable than controlling the flow of information. Even your personal life story will be worth a good trade to them."

"Izaris is the Goddess of Knowledge, our record-keeper," Kyale added.

"Well, I'd want to make friends with them anyways, so it's certainly a good start," she smiled before a low beep from the console got her attention.

"We have company," Rock stiffened at almost the same moment, his body already in motion for the door.

"Expecting trouble?" Wave Runner asked, getting up and following Rock, ready to switch on the Myradi if necessary.

"Not really, but it easily could be," she said, hurrying to keep pace with Wave Runner. "You can never tell what's going to be drawn to an alien shipwreck."

"Granted," she nodded, following Rock to the door and looking out the new arrival as the well-built tom, dressed in kakis and with a light backpack, stepped from the forest. While not nearly as buff as Rock, the Classic Silver Tabby shorthair had a definite musculature to him and a winning smile.

"I'll handle it," Wave Runner assured Rock, stepping out with a smile of her own.

"Hello; is something wrong?" She asked.

"I hope not," the newcomer smiled at her and offered a hand. "I'm Jeramin Culdon. That didn't look like anything from this world," he nodded towards the Current.

"Wave Runner of Culten's Reef, and it isn't," she admitted, taking his hand and shaking it. "I had some engine troubles and had to touch down for repairs."

"Are your friends crew too?" he asked with a nod towards Rock and Kyale.

"No," she chuckled. "They stopped by the help with the repairs, that's all. They've got the jet over there," she said with a nod towards the ship they'd come in. "How about you? Just in the area, or did I come down in your campsite?"

"I saw you come down," Jeramin grinned. "I'm something of an alien buff, so I check out landings when I can."

"Oh really?" She grinned back. "Well, to be honest this isn't my natural form; I'm an explorer, and I have a device that mimics selected forms. Kyale was kind enough to let me use this one," she explained. "I would prefer having a male one as well, if possible. Would you mind if I got a scan of your genes to use?"

"Willing to trade something for it?" he asked with a playful grin. "Spend the night with me, sex?"

"In this form, or some of my others?" Wave Runner chuckled, aware that both Rock and Kyale were similarly amused. It wasn't the first time he'd made a deal like this; xenophiles were some of his best friends, really, and not just for the obvious reasons.

"As different from a Kat while still compatible," Jeramin said, his tail twitching in obvious excitement.

"Well, most of my forms that would fit are male, if that makes a difference." She chuckled, then cracked a grin. "Though you'd have a hard time telling with my native form. Actually, if you want the whole night, I could give you a brief tour of the galaxy."

"Really?" Jeramin's ears flicked forward, nearly quivering in excitement. "Sounds great. So what do you need to figure out a male Kat?"

"Very little, but I like your stripes so I won't hold it against you," she winked. "You'd just have to touch the Myradi for a few moments," she explained, indicating the item on her wrist. "And to think about whether or not you'd like a little privacy; I have a feeling those two will watch unless I lock them in the Current," she chuckled, nodding back towards Kyale and Rock.

"I don't mind," he winked at Kyale before he reached out to touch the glowing center stone of Wave Runner's bracelet.

It glowed more brightly for a minute, then pulsed beneath his touch.

"That ought to do," Wave Runner purred, reaching up to stroke his cheek lightly. "So, you want to top or bottom first? It'll make a difference in what form I use."

"Top first, I think," he leaned into the touch. "Do you have a bed in the ship, or want me to set camp?"

"I've got one on board, but it's only got space for me," she admitted. "So if you want any real space, you'll have to set up camp. I'll change into something more suitable while you do," she grinned.

"Will do," he nodded and made quick work of a light tent with a foam mix floor that quickly expanded to a thick mattress to sleep on. With a glance at Wave Runner's new form, all slick greenish-brown scales and a well-muscled body beneath them, he grinned and began to undress.

"Believe it or not, this is a male form, my native one," Wave Runner chuckled as he walked out. "A very nice tent," he observed, walking up behind his helper and helping him undress, rubbing his long muzzle against his neck.

"Thanks," he purred and arched into the touch. "I spend a lot of time in the wilderness, and it's nice to have a soft bed," Jeramin said before bending down to open the flap and crawled in, his body already aroused.

"Especially if you're using it for this sort of thing," Wave Runner chuckled, following him in.

Now that Jeramin could get a closer look at him, he realized that he didn't have any exposed genitals; just a slit up along his belly and towards his chest, with a bulge beneath the slit, by his crotch.

"What do you like in bed?" Wave Runner asked, reaching out to stroke his barbed shaft with surprisingly gentle fingers.

"Ohhh, exploring the differences," Jeramin leaned back slightly as his eyes fluttered shut. "Does your slit feel good?" he asked, reaching out to gently caress the opening.

"Mmm... some, but more what's beneath it," Runner explained. "Want a lesson in Aquusian reproduction?" He asked, nuzzling Jeramin's neck, tipping his head up to nip the edge of his ear lightly as he explored the tom's barbs with his short, dull claws.

"Sure," Jeramin moaned in pleasure and pressed inside Wave Runner's slit gently, much the way he began with an inexperienced female. "I love this."

"Glad you do," he shivered as the tom's fingers slid lower to fondle the tip of his erect shaft. "Aquusians are the reverse of most species... our females put their eggs into our slits, and we fertilize them there," he explained, hands slipping down to fondle his balls. "That's why everything stays inside for us."

Jeramin touched his mouth to Wave Runner's much longer muzzle, experimenting with a kiss as his hand pressed further inside his pouch to fully stroke the short, hard penis inside, his body thrilling at how different everything was while still familiar.

A short tongue flicked out against his lips, the scaly hand on his member starting to stroke it fully.

"You like getting oral?" He asked, pressing up against Jeramin's furry fingers with a soft moan into his mouth.

"Oh yeah," Jeramin moaned in return. "What gets you off?"

"Think your word for it'd be dry humping," Wave Runner explained. "I can still feel a lot through there," he reassured the striped tom.

"If she doesn't feel like using her hand or mouth," he shivered and sped up his hand around the short, firm length of hard flesh. "I bet your muzzle would reach."

"It does," he agreed with a low groan. "Mmm... just not a good idea with eggs in there," he pointed out. "Won't be long," he warned him, thrusting into his hand lightly.

Jeramin smiled and closed his hand just a bit more as he worked the thrusts of his lover to best advantage, really grooving on the pleasure of this alien lover. It was nearly as good as the finely scaled hand around his own cock. "How long does it take you to recover?" he asked with another hot kiss.

"If I stay in this form? About a half-hour," he moaned, tightening his grip around Jeramin's shaft, rubbing the head against the base of his slit.

"Yes," he panted, speeding up his own thrusts, but not enough that he'd come first. "Face to face dry humping is good."

"Yes, it is," the Aquusian agreed, letting out a bugling cry as he came, sticky seed shooting up against the inside of his slit, coating Jeramin's hand and wrist.

"Ohhh," Jeramin moaned with a hitch in his voice at the sticky, slick heat and claimed Wave Runner's mouth as his hips thrust hard and fast to push himself over the edge quickly.

The Aquusian kissed him, stroking his shaft against his thrusts and helping him to get off, pressing his body against the tom's shaft as Jeramin lost focus on everything but his own pleasure. With only a few more thrusts he rowled and pressed hard against Wave Runner's firm body, soaking the scales with his seed.

"Oh yeah," Jeramin panted after a few moments to catch his breath.

"How long do Kats take to recover?" Wave Runner asked him, snuggling up close and enjoying the affectionate, pleasurable way Jeramin stroked and explored his body as they caught their breath.

"A few minutes at most," he licked the top of Wave Runner's long snout affectionately. "I can keep coming until I physically wear out. Five or six is usually my limit before a solid nap becomes more appealing."

"Mm, well then, you want another round with me like this, or would you rather keep going with a new species?" Wave Runner offered with a grin. "If you like big males at all, I've got a couple that would be right up your alley."

"I do," he rumbled hungrily. "Mounted, fucked hard and deep with somebody big against my back."

"You have any objection to a four legged form?" Wave Runner grinned.

"Not as long as it's people-smart," he grinned and kissed him. "I'm a xenophile, not into bestiality."

"All my forms are at least as smart as I am," he promised. "Not necessarily in their native form, but the Myradi gives me the best of native or species intelligence. The one I'm thinking of, however, we'll have to go outside for," he grinned.

"No problem, hot stuff," Jeramin grinned and stood to crawl out of the tent. He purred hungrily and dropped to hands and knees with his tail raised high and inviting.

"A nice view," Wave Runner grinned, stepping out and touching the Myradi, shifting into the Warbeasts' form again, hulking and huge. He sniffed the air and picked up a second pair's arousal, which did a good job of getting him turned on.

He'd have to remember to thank Rock and Kyale for the 'inspiration,' he decided as his shaft filled out, almost as long as Jeramin's arm and significantly thicker.

"Too much?" He managed to growl out as he noticed his playmate's wide eyes and padded towards the naked tom, nuzzling his back.

"I ... I think it is," Jeramin said with obvious regret and a hard swallow. "Cock against cock, like this?" he suggested as an alternative, shifting to take the horse-sized cock under him and held it against his belly and chest to pin his between its smooth skin and his fur.

"Jake'd kill to be taken by somebody that big," Kyale called out, only to moan as Rock's hand found just the right spot in her pants. She spread her legs as she sat on his lap, her back to his chest when she leaned back and spread her legs further to the outside of his. "Gods, Rock," she whimpered when her continued to rub her swallowed, slick sex with his fingers while his other hand slid under her shirt to squeeze and fondle her breasts.

"Maybe later," he growled out teasingly, starting to slide his hips back and forth to rub his cock against most of Jeramin's body, letting out a low rumble of pleasure as his leathery skin was stroked by soft, warm fur. "Good," he rumbled in real enjoyment as Jeramin shifted to rest on his chest on the ground and reached back with both arms to encase the Warbeast's cock and fondle his balls.

"Yeah, it is," Jeramin agreed, his tail waving against his lover's broad chest.

The Warbeast's heartbeat throbbed through his body, the rhythmic pounding reminding him just what a massive lover he'd found for himself. Then things started getting particularly strange, the shaft between his arms and body thickening out slightly, developing thick, stiff ridges. He couldn't imagine what it would feel like to have that in his ass!

He wanted to badly though, and the scent and sound of Kyale and Rock fucking only a dozen feet away didn't help his focus any. She was decidedly vocal, and when he glanced up, it was almost like she was putting on a show for them. Rocks pants were down, but he was barely visible behind her as he took her, fondled her, stroked her clit and held her legs wide apart.

Damn it was hot to watch, especially with what was happening to him.

He leaned his head down, sliding further back and trying to lick at the massive tip in front of him... he couldn't quite do it though, not from this angle.

"Mind if I roll over to suck you?" Jeramin asked with a deep purr.

"No prob," the huge black beast above him growled with a wide grin, watching intently as Jeramin rolled to his back and put their cocks back in line. This time he did manage to slid his tongue along the wide slit at the head and used his hands to better effect in rubbing the massive length of sensitive flesh.

Wave Runner growled lowly, gasping with Jeramin as the much smaller tom's cock slipped into the channel created by two of his ridges, caught between them, stimulating the skin there more as he licked and nipped at the throbbing tip with his rough tongue.

Just how much would come when he came?!?

Probably enough to make the tom need a bath, either by tongue in water, he thought as he looked up at the big tom and slender shekat that were by all appearances last in their own pleasure. They added a definite level to the exoticness of what was going on.

Wave Runner let out a grunting growl that was meant to warn Jeramin he was nearly there, only to howl completely out of control as the tom came hard inside the edge of his cock and continued to thrust, spreading the slick goo and rubbing it in as hard as he could.

The huge black beast's howl echoed across the lake as he came, pouring his seed all over Jeramin's body, covering his face in pale red come, dripping it in thick globs all over his chest.

He pulled back, tenderly licking the tom clean; his broad, flat tongue was like a Kantin's blown up to huge size and left the tom in a mixture of laughing and moaning at the attention.

"Kat's alive you are incredible," Jeramin grinned up at Wave Runner.

Wave Runner shrank drastically, down to about six feet tall, brown and white fur sprouting and growing out, thick tail slimming down to a furless length, antennae sprouting from his head as he became a very definite she and snuggled up against Jeramin.

"Glad you think so," the Martian Mouse smiled, licking his nose playfully as his hands began to wonder over her slender, muscular form and enjoying the very feminine curves.

"Ohh, you are just full of fun," Jeramin grinned and claimed a kiss as his hands ran down her sides. "How do you feel about letting me eat you out before I fill you up with my come?"

"Mmm ... if you'd like, but weren't you saying something about wanting to explore differences?" She asked him teasingly, flicking her tail up between her legs to tease his anus. "The antenna are a major turn on for Martian Mice."

"Oh really?" he purred and tipped her muzzle down a bit to take one of the translucent red length into his mouth to suckle it gently, much the way he'd start with a cock when he was just teasing.

"Oh yes," she moaned, sliding down to nuzzle his shaft as he worked on her antennae. "That feels so good... can't use this form too much, because of them," she admitted sheepishly as her body trembled, instinctively pressing against his.

"Perhaps we can get you used to them," he grinned and reached up with a free hand to stroke and caress the one his mouth wasn't tending too.

She just whimpered needily as she licked at his cock, drawing it into her muzzle and starting to suck on it, bobbing her head up and down, narrow tongue playing with his barbs as he played with the bulbs at the end of her antennae.

"Come up here," Jeramin tugged on her shoulders gently, guiding her to kneel on her knees and hands to watch Rock and Kyale so he could drive his cock into her quivering sex and lean over her back to suck and suckle the sensitive antennae.

"Oh yes!" She cried out, reaching back to caress his hips. "Mmm... fuck me, stud," she moaned lustily as he started thrusting faster.

He grinned and lifted one hand to cup and fondle her breasts and tucked his tail tightly between their legs to rub against her clit as he pounded into her and fought hard to hold back more than a few minutes against her moans and the sight in front of him.

"Shit," she moaned, pressing up against his body. Her tail curled around, teasing his pucker for a moment before she pushed up, forcing the tip of it into his ass. "See how you like a little extra," she grinned as she started thrusting the prehensile length in and out of his body.

"I like," he moaned around her antennae. "Do you have a form that isn't too big to mount me?" he asked.

"Several," she whimpered. "Nnngh... you like tentacles?" She asked, finding his prostate with her tail.

"Never had the opportunity to try before," he rumbled as his hips started to come up hard, pounding into her as his balls tightened, almost ready to pump their contents deep into her womb.

"You... do now!" She cried out, her body clenching down around him as she milked him through her orgasm, squirting pale green juices onto the grass beneath them as he roared and came hard with her. His jaws clamped down on her scruff as he pulled her into each thrust with a grunt until they were both spent and panting.

Wave Runner relaxed in his new Classic Silver Tabby tomkat form on the ramp of his ship, enjoying the moist, hot afternoon heat and watching two very different combat styles face off against each other in a friendly sparring match. Jake, to no one's surprise, still had his, shoulders and occasionally tail buried deep in the Current's guts.

While he tried not to bring it up, it was still a little strange to have someone like Kyale treat him so equally. She even reacted like he was her superior on occasion. He understood the cultural differences fully now, but watching her spar with another male was the best way to make it stick that the genders were fairly equal here. It wasn't something totally alien to him, of course. He'd seen it before, and knew that it wasn't that unusual.

It just still took some getting used to, particularly dealing with a female who was so clearly a warrior. With both of them sparing topless and with only minimal, close-fitting shorts on, it was impossible to ignore that she was female. With three days of constant downloading, reviewing and digesting the massive amounts of data this world made available on itself, he knew she was not built normal for a shekat of her breed. She was heavily masculine in her face, build and temperament, something that her lifestyle as a professional area fighter had done nothing to minimize.

She was fast, aggressive and had no fear of going close to a much larger opponent. Yet when they had talked, she was gentle, playful and relaxed. He knew the pattern, but it was still strange to interact with it. He couldn't help but find amusement with the statement both Rock and Kyale had given more than once that the tom rebuilding his engines was better than either of them, and significantly more powerful.

Talk about a strange reality. Here were two people who were all but gods in the flesh as the living representatives of their divine masters and they were both as down to earth as anyone.

Well, except for the blasť they had about meeting a shape-shifting alien.

Kyale dropped into a spin-kick, knocking Rock off his feet. The tabby hit the ground with a grunt, raising his hands in surrender when she put her foot to his throat.

"Good fight," Wave Runner observed, clapping lightly. "Think you're up to trying yourself against one of my forms?" He asked curiously.

It was the easiest way to get closer, and he could offer her a variety of different matches, depending on what he used. He thought it over, and decided that his current form would be best for Aquian t'ai-chi, but that if she was willing he'd use the Mouse. It would prove much more interesting for her, he was sure.

"Sure," Kyale grinned at him. "Have on in mind?"

"Martian Mouse, if you don't mind?" He suggested. "It's not a traditional martial art of theirs, but I modified a couple European styles to use a prehensile tail after I spent some time on the human colony there."

"Sure," she nodded. "What are the rules you want to fight by?"

"Mmm... full contact suitable, in your opinion?" He asked her politely, shifting into his larger male-Mouse form, his fur a dark, chocolate brown over thick slabs of muscle.

"Always," she nodded.

"Full contact, best two out of three for takedowns?" He offered, stripping his shirt off.

"Sound good," Kyale agreed as he activated the Myradi to transform himself into a heavily muscled Martian Mouse with chocolate fur, grey eyes and brown tips to his translucent red antennae. "A KO also wins."

"That goes without saying," he chuckled. "Anything off-limits?" he asked, his long, naked tail snapping behind him as he limbered up.

"Just standard MMA sparring rules," she said as Rock stepped out of the sparring area and relaxed on the Current's ramp to watch. "Do no serious damage and accept a tap-out when given."

"Thank you for the clarification," he nodded, shifting to a defensive posture. "I'm not familiar with the professional fighting around here yet," she admitted as they began to slowly circle each other, judging the other's stance, strengths and weaknesses.

"Stay around me, and you'll learn," she grinned and darted in, testing her opponent's defenses with a snap kick. "Do you have names for your forms, or always Wave Runner?"

"Always Wave Runner," he said, blocking the kick with his forearm and twisting to go after her with an elbow strike. "Do you usually fight like this?" He asked.

"Usually," she nodded and dodged back. "A couple countries have issues with it," she explained before lashing out with a lightning fast strike to his shin.

He winced slightly, but took advantage of it, his tail lashing around her ankle lightning-fast and pulling her off her feet. She landed with a grunt, surprise visible on her face.

"First round to you," she grinned up at him and accepted the hand up. "You know a surprise like that only works once."

"The way I usually fight, once is enough," he chuckled as they stepped back into starting positions again. "Most of the time I'd be switching to another form while you were getting up."

"Really?" she purred, openly intrigued by the idea. "Maybe we'll try a real fight in a couple days," she closed again with a straight punch that took his mind off what her deadly legs were doing. "I know Jake'll drag you into a sparring session or six."

"I'm sure he will," Runner agreed, trying to focus on the fight. He wasn't sure what the right approach was with her; move closer, close enough she couldn't use the big kicks and punches she was so good with and he could capitalize on his elbows and knees, or farther out to try and use his greater reach and tail better.

It was a moment of indecisiveness that showed how very clearly he didn't belong in the ring as Kyale knocked him flat on his ass.

"You're thinking too much," she grinned and offered a hand to him. "Analyzing is good, but not if it stops you from moving."

"Once I figure out what you do, I won't analyze so much," he chuckled, then cracked a grin. "And the Warbeast doesn't really analyze much at all," he admitted. "One of the reasons it's good to fight like this sometimes. Want to add a little incentive to the last round?" He asked her, the tip of his tail twitching in interest.

"What do you have in mind?" Kyale raised an eyebrow at him.

"Not too much; a kiss for the winner, maybe?" He chuckled.

That sent her eyebrow further up, but she grinned and dropped into an aggressive stance. "Deal."

He prepared for the last round, and this time tried to stay back, to minimize her chance to reach him. He did have the advantage on her in reach, but she was much faster, and had the familiarity of an entire life in her body, rather than the here-and there over the handful of years he'd had this one.

Her first move startled him. She bolted in, aiming high and over his head.

He ducked on instinct, regretting it almost immediately as she struck his antennae, slapping them against each other and sending pain shooting down them into his skull. He responded blindly, trying to hit her and knock her back, to get away until he was able to focus again.

"Not my plan, but it works," she grinned and darted in with a low sweep to take him off his feet.

He grunted as he hit the ground, fast.

"You're good," he murmured, shaking his head to clear it up and accepted her hand up.

"You let me in on this form's weakness," she smiled as she helped him stand. "Though I didn't mean to hit quite that hard."

"I forgot about them until after you'd hit them," he nodded. "So... I owe you a kiss?" He asked her with a half-grin. "This form, or the one from Jeramin?"

"This one," she winked at him. "It is the one I defeated."

"Fair enough," he chuckled, leaning down to kiss her. His, furless long tail wrapped around her leg lightly as he licked at her lips experimentally.

"Mmm," Kyale pressed back, a bit surprised at the bold move even as she opened her mouth to let his tongue in and stepped close to press her short, lithe body against his much taller, muscular one.

He deepened the kiss, wrapping his arms around her waist, making it a kiss that was well-worth the fight.

"Want me to stop with the kiss?" He asked her after their lips parted.

"No," Kyale murmured and pressed forward, claiming his mouth again and pressing close.

He reached between them, touching her naked breasts almost gingerly, testing her reaction before he started to fondle them gently, his arousal becoming more clear as she pressed against his crotch.

She could smell her own arousal, and was sure he'd know it too once he'd been around a bit longer. As it stood, she ran her hands along her back, down his hips and then in to tease at his groin without actually touching his growing hard-on.

He unwound his tail from her leg, reaching up to pull down her spandex workout shorts, running the tip of it over her slick sex, drawing a shivering moan as he kissed her again. His breath quickened when she unbuckled his shorts and pushed them down. Without much of a thought he slid back to lie down on the grass, pulling her on top of him. He felt her shift on top of him, kicking her shorts out of the way.

"Just a bit more than a kiss," Kyale grinned down at him, rubbing her slick sex along his cock even as she leaned forward to take one of his brown-tipped translucent red antennae into her mouth to gently play along it with her gums.

"Oh... I don't think you're complaining," he pointed out with a grin of his own, moaning at the sensations that ran down his antenna. He pushed his tail up into her sex, thrusting lightly with it, fondling her breasts as she played with his antennae.

"I'm not planning too," she breathed around his antennae as she shifted to push his cock into her sex along with his tail.

He moaned softly, starting to thrust up into her, reaching down to take her hips in his strong hands. He didn't have the barbs she was used to in this form; the smooth feel of his thick, throbbing shaft was different, but good, especially with the tip of his tail snaking ever-deeper into her slick body. Its faint ridges provided a little extra stimulation, texture to her inner walls, as did the snaking around his cock as he thrust.

"Oh yes!" Kyale cried out shamelessly, riding him hard as she grew close to orgasm.

He thrust faster, his own balls twitching, close to an orgasm that he was trying to hold off until she was finished, as much from habit and instinct as from wanting to make sure she got to come. It wasn't long before she yowled in pleasure, her body tightening like a vice around him as she rode him though her pleasure. He groaned deeply, thrusting his hips up into her spasming sex as he pumped his alien seed into her body, filling her pussy and pulling her down for a hungry kiss.

"Mmm, that was fun," she purred as their kiss broke.

"Definitely," he rumbled, rubbing her back. "Are you a xenophile too?" He asked her curiously.

"I never thought so," she chuckled and kissed his nose. "But this ... it's not that different from a Kat. There are four native races on this world, so it's not like I've never mated something that wasn't a Kat before."

"That makes sense," he nodded, licking her cheek lightly. "Mmm... well, I'm glad you're interested enough to experiment. Was this probably a one-time thing, or do we see what happens?" He asked, scratching her back lightly as they relaxed and came down from the pleasure.

"Oh, I think we see what happens," she purred and lifted herself from his slowly softening cock. "It was fun, and I do enjoy sex as a come-down from a fight, real or sparing."

"You know, I think sex-addict must be a small-kat thing," Rock chuckled from his spot on the ramp. "That's three of you now."

"I've got most of my mature life to catch up on," Kyale teased back.

"Jake's another of the three, I'm guessing?" Wave Runner chuckled.

"You have no idea," Kyale snickered as she stepped to the lake to wash herself off.

"My cousin's mate is another," Rock nodded. "She's another small, black shekat."

"Small sample, but it's worth looking into... I don't suppose you'd count Jeramin as a fourth?" He asked teasingly as he followed Kyale to the lake.

"He's not that small," Rock shook his head. "Not that there aren't big sex-addicts," he cracked a grin. "It just doesn't seem as common."

"His cousin's one of them," Kyale teased.

"Well, then he's a good match for his mate," Runner grinned.

"From the number of kittens they have, I'd say so," Kyale agreed with a grin. "She loves having them and he loves making them. They're my age and already they have eighteen kittens across eight litters."

"Eighteen?" Rock glanced at her, wondering if she knew something he didn't.

"Jake said the current litter will be four," she looked at him for confirmation.

"Ah," Rock nodded. "True enough, but three of those four Jake and I plan to raise."


"To be fair, two of the three High Priests I know of sex-based temples around here are Xanith... small Xaniths though," Rock snickered.

"And here I went and got two fairly small forms," Runner smirked. "I'll have to be careful about deciding if I want to live up to the reputation or not."

"You'll have plenty of opportunities to pick up others," Kyale assured him. "If it's native to Aristal, every race and breed is somewhere in MegaKat City."

"I don't want to overtax the poor thing," he chuckled. "I'm not sure if there actually is an upper limit yet," he admitted.

"Is it technology or magic?" Rock asked as they came out of the water and shook their fur out.

"Nobody really knows... the people who know about them lean towards bio-technology, but it's a blurry line between the two," he explained. "Could be biomancy, or a mix of them, at that."

"Maybe one of the priesthoods can find out," Kyale suggested. "If not what it is, than what it can do. They do have access to some very potent sources of knowledge."

"That is one way to describe a god," Rock chuckled.

"I'll have to ask some time," he nodded. "They might be able to figure out enough about it to really help people understand them. They're not items we create these days, more often we trip over them in a dormant state."

"How common are those things?" Rock asked.

"About as common as hen's teeth, as they say," he chuckled. "I found this one in the ruins of an old settlement on the Reef," he explained. "As far as anybody can tell, they're probably a couple hundred thousand years old, and then some. They just seem to be sitting around, waiting for somebody to find 'em and wake 'em up."

"It can't tell you anything?" Kyale asked. "You said it has something of a mind."

"It does," he nodded. "They're vaguely empathic, but they don't really 'talk' more than communicate emotional content. A Myradi's mind is aware enough to warn you of some dangers, and to tell you if it likes or dislikes somebody, but it's kind of like having a particularly well house-trained pet that doesn't eat much, rather than a partner or another person."

"That's almost a pity," Kyale said as they walked into the ship to dress. "I imagine it gets lonely exploring by yourself."

"Yeah," he nodded. "But I try to make up for it planetside. Particularly when I hit a planet that's already made contact with other races. In the meantime, I actually get along with being alone pretty well; another thing that makes Aquusians good spacers. Open oceans tend to make for wide-spread populations; we evolved to go months at a time between seeing each other, and even if we did become more social it's pretty easy to go back with a few diversions. Like semi-sentient devices strapped to our wrists," he chuckled.

"So what do you like to do planetside, besides absorb as much library fodder as you can manage?" Kyale asked with a playful wink as they rubbed their fur dry and brushed it out a bit.

"On a world like this, or one that's in 'civilized' space?" He chuckled, taking the brush to her back after he was satisfied with his own fur.

"Both, either," she purred deeply at the attention. "I bet your tail comes in handy for brushing your back."

"It can," he smiled. "Honestly, I don't usually bother... it's easier to shift between forms than to take the time for a full grooming. As for what to do... when I'm on a world that hasn't made contact yet, I usually try to keep a relatively low profile, if they haven't had too much contact with aliens yet. My travelogues usually go from the perspective of 'how to live like a native.' It's 90% hype, but it sells well to the crowd that likes to pretend they're sneaky."

"Why don't you give them the real story?" Rock asked with easy curiosity.

"Oh, I give them the real story, there's just emphasis put on some parts of it that are more likely to interest people," Runner explained. "And it's never quite like 'living like a native.' You can tell them the mechanics, but there's some things you just don't get without growing up there. But, my publisher's marketing department likes that better for the series title."

"That's true when you didn't grow up in that city, never mind culture," Kyale agreed with a chuckle. "Those first few years felt like I might have well been on a different planet."

"It is usually the case," he nodded. "Nobody who lives there ever thinks about it, and most visitors don't realize what it is, but you can usually tell somebody who's from another country or world. So, really, the best I usually manage is living like you're from that world, but it just doesn't sell as well."

"I can see that," Rock agreed with a nod. "This is one world that needs to come with serious warnings, and a few kingdoms that should probably be avoided altogether."

"It already has some warnings," he explained. "Though more detail on them would be handy. All I knew for sure was that MegaKat City was supposed to be a reasonably good place to land, and I have a feeling I'm nowhere near it, if you came out in that," he said, nodding towards the Wave Dancer.

"You're not even on the right continent," Kyale smiled at him and finished dressing. "You're a long way from anywhere."

"I was landing more or less blind," he chuckled. "I had the computer find me a place near a nice livable lake and hoped I was aiming right beyond that. So, if you don't mind going on the record, want to give me an overview of the nations you're both familiar with?" He asked the two kats. "I can get it transcribed later on."

"Sure thing," Kyale grinned and settled down for a long chat. "I've been most places that accept outsiders and a few that don't."

"It's a little strange, flying over a city like this and not being challenged," Wave Runner observed as he followed Jake and Rock into MegaKat City's airspace three days later. "Usually they worry about it more, especially with your planet's history with aliens."

"Jake called ahead and you're following him in," Kyale told him. "Normally, you wouldn't just be challenged, you'd be shot down."

"Comforting, but I suppose I can understand it," he mused. "Blasters, or standard slug-throwing weaponry?" He asked curiously.

"Both, and the gods only know what else," she chuckled. "Jake does the arms, armor and vehicles for special issues."

"Ah... a greeting I can expect in most places, then? It's much cheaper to use my own transport to travel, but not if I'm getting shot at everywhere," he chuckled.

"If you are expected, you won't have any trouble," she assured him. "There are thousands of strange craft flying Aristal's skies. But yes, if you surprise anyone, you can expect to be shot at."

"I'll keep it in mind," he nodded. "I do try to do 'undercover work' when I can, so I might just have to learn to drive again."

"Depending on what you are used to, it might not take much to convert the controls," she suggested. "I know Jake uses a neural net on most of his fighting craft and the aircraft are space-capable, so at the high end, our tech isn't all that primitive. Magic might help too."

"It might," he nodded. "I should be able to learn fairly easily at that. I've driven before, it's mostly just reminding myself to think in two dimensions. The same thing that makes Aquusians damned good pilots makes us really lousy drivers, until we get used to it," he chuckled.

"Thinking in 3D from birth?" she guessed. "From swimming all your lives?"

"Yes," he nodded as the comm system beeped an incoming signal. "When you're used to being able to go up or dive to avoid a crash, it can lead to some uncomfortable moments when left and right are your only options." He flipped on the comm. "Current to tower; we're reading you."

"Current, you are cleared to land on the strip," a female voice advised him with a warm tone. "Wavedancer will follow you down."

"Thank you, tower; we'll be down in a moment." He flipped the comm back off and angled down for his approach, coming to a stop to the side of the landing strip and dropping straight down the last ten feet or so in a controlled VTOL landing, giving Jake plenty of room to come down in the Wavedancer.

"The public transportation system in most large cities is pretty good," she told him, watching Wavedancer VTOL neatly beside them. "Taxies work well too."

"I'll keep it in mind," he nodded. "Thanks for the heads up though."

"Current, you may taxi to the hangar," the traffic controller contacted them. "I'll meet you there."

"You recognize the controller's voice?" He asked Kyale curiously as they rolled towards the hangar. "Or is it usual for them to come meet the jets here?"

"This is a temple, not an airport, and you are a guest," Kyale told him. "It is normal to greet a temple guest."

"Ah - I didn't know the Temple ran the entire place," he admitted, taking off a few inches to lift and turn to land and 'park' without a sound. "Would it be more polite to use a kat's form to meet them?"

"Yes," she nodded. "I'm sure Jake told them you are alien, but it is polite, since you can and it will be your primary form here."

"All right," he nodded, touching the Myradi and shifting into his silver tabby form. "On some of the worlds I've been on, meeting people with any trace of deceit or falsehood can end any chance of a good relationship, so I thought I'd check. You guys were okay with it, but I don't think you three are quite normal," he teased.

"I would have to agree with you, on so many levels," she grinned at him with a wink and followed him to the ramp, where he paused, waiting for the priestess to come out before he opened the door.

"Greetings Wave Runner," the priestess smiled at him. Kantin in the local designation, he noted. Her glossy black fur was short, and the black skin under it made her seem almost furless. Unlike most pictures he had downloaded of females from all over the world, she did not seem to have any hair. Her clothing didn't match anything he had seen before either. For lack of a local word, he noted 'Ancient Egyptian' in his mind, only to realize that the clothing matched with the rest of her angular looks to create quite an impressive walking example of a tomb painting of a god from that era. "Welcome to the Temple of Izaris at Mark West. I am Alira, a priestess of Her here."

"I am Wave Runner of Culten's Reef," he said politely with a bow. "An Aquusian explorer. If I can ask... are you a Saluki?" He asked, trying to place the breed name he remembered in the translator.

"We are close cousins," Alira smiled and bowed politely to him as Jake and Rock joined them. "I am an Anubian Jackal. We are rare even in our homeland. Come, I have refreshments and food inside the temple for everyone."

"Thank you," he smiled, following her away from the fighter. "Oh - I should warn you that I've got a solid security system on the Current. It won't hurt anybody seriously, but it might stun them."

"I understand," she nodded as she opened the hanger door to the hot, dry air outside and the short walk to the two-story modern building that served as the temple. "Have you decided where you will be staying while you are here?"

"I had hoped to stay at one of the temples," he admitted, making something of a face at the outside air as it washed over his fur. "Assuming it won't be a problem, at least. I am willing to offer my knowledge, logs, and services in exchange, within reason," he offered.

"You are welcome here," she inclined her head with a slight smile. "I am sure you would be welcome many other places as well," she added and opened the temple door, releasing a relatively cool rush of air. "If the air is too warm or dry, please let me know. My kind are desert bred."

"I'll admit, I prefer a bit more humidity. I'm fine in more arid climates, particularly in forms that are adapted to it, but I grew up in the ocean, for the most part," he said easily, looking around the temple and noting how utterly home-like it looked. While the variations were as myriad as the people who created them, it still surprised him how often he could peg a 'home' from other buildings once he saw inside.

This one made him wonder whether Egyptians visited whatever corner or Aristal she was from, if her kind visited Egypt, or if they were both visited by something else. The building was modern, but the feel, colors and decor was decidedly Egyptian.

"You likely saw it on the way in, but the sea is not far, especially in your ship," she said. "Please, make yourself conformable.

"I'll be fine though," he assured her. "I've been told that other temples would likely welcome me, but a library like this would be the most comfortable... and useful to me, to be honest," he admitted frankly.

"Have Champion Clawson and Champion Furlong told you who Izaris is?" she asked politely, walking into the kitchen.

"The Goddess of Knowledge, I believe?" He asked her. "Keeper of the Great Library was a term I think I came across as well."

"Yes," she nodded with a smile. "What would folks like to drink? I have milk, cold water, juice, soda ...."

"Milk, please," Kyale said as she found a chair that didn't look too much like a relic.

"They are all reproductions," Alira called out to them. "I keep valuable things behind glass. I simply enjoy the look of my ancestral land."

"Good to know, though I suspected as much," Wave Runner chuckled, taking a seat of his own. "They don't seem to have the wear a real antique would. And water, please," he added.

"Iced or tap?" Alira asked.

"Tap would be fine, thank you," Wave Runner said, sitting on a replica lion-armed couch as she poured their drinks.

"I'll take some juice, thanks," Rock offered as he took one of the larger seats.

"I understand you crashed here, but are staying now that your ship has been fixed," Alira said as she served their drinks.

"Yes," he nodded. "I'm an explorer by trade. Unoccupied worlds, I look for resources and reasons to settle. Occupied ones, I write up travelogues for people looking to go visit somewhere that's typically lower tech. Diplomats get first dibs, then the public, though I do tend to warn them if the world has a bad track record with aliens, like Aristal does."

"That is good," Alira nodded and settled in a falcon-themed chair with her lightly flavored sparkling water. "We do have settled aliens, but they are either in remote areas in a small group or can pass for a native."

"Just how close would they have to be?" He asked curiously. "Would the Aquians pass, or need some work?"

"They'd need some work, though relatively little," she said after a moment to place the reference. "At a minimum they would need an impressive cover story about coming from a very isolated area where they looked normal and why they are where they are. If they wish to not be stared at and stick out badly, they would have to fix the fur color and likely a few minor cosmetic changes as well."

"Definitely native then," he nodded. "How badly would people take finding out that somebody was an alien presenting themselves as a native?"

"Case by case basis," she said. "It would depend on so many factors, though the major ones would be how they were found out, how close to law enforcement and bureaucratic the person is, how close to the individual is to the alien and if it was in public or private."

"The usual concerns then," he nodded slightly. "There are companies that can provide 'shells' to various alien species that help them pose as others; given the variety of size I'm already aware of, it would allow quite a few races to visit Aristal if they were careful. That's actually a concern for your world... most tourists wouldn't be trouble, but fugitives might already be considering Aristal just based on what is known about it."

"That's where I come in," Jake grinned in a way that made him look positively sociopathic. "If they can't behave, they face the law like anyone else. Without a government to protect them, they're in more trouble than most."

"Which only makes most of them more desperate," Wave Runner offered. "It was just a friendly warning; they'd be likely as not to take up with your native Omegas, possibly supplying them with additional technology. Ah... and just for the record, Mutilor was not somebody that anybody in our part of space considered a legitimate businessman. Given what he tried to do here, I thought I should clear that up. He was a pirate, not a mercenary."

"Half of our Omegas are aliens," Jake said evenly. "They're the reason the laws were written the way they were. A fair number of the rest are Champions. Once you're classified an Omega, you don't have the same rights as common criminals, and you're constantly on the radar of folks like me."

"The Champions?" Wave Runner asked him.

"Champions, Ghosts, law enforcement, military and every high-end bounty hunter out there," Jake nodded. "Omegas are powerful, destructive and constantly on the run."

"That type of crook always is," Wave Runner nodded simply, looking up as an acolyte walked in and quietly said something to the Priestess. She replied quietly and the girl nodded and hurried off.

"Rock, you have visitors," Alira said uneasily. "High Priestess Henrietta and High Priest Jordan of Marka and Eshik."

"Should I meet them outside?" He offered easily. Politics between temples could be awkward, he knew.

"No need, unless you prefer it," she said easily, standing politely as the two Wirehair Dachshunds were shown in by the acolyte. "Welcome to Mark West," she bowed to them.

"Thank you," they said politely, returning the bow. "Rock, I'm afraid that we're not here for a social call; we heard that you would be coming here from the Enforcers when we called them. Your parents were injured in a car crash the night before last. Their employers contacted the Temple in Sayden Bay."

"How badly?" Rock demanded, his fur fluffing in distress.

"Where are they?" Jake asked, standing to calm his mate.

"I can handle what's left here," Kyale offered, dearly hoping she was right.

"They're at Retimer General in Sayden Bay," Jordan said, putting a hand on Rock's shoulder. "And they're going to be fine, Rock, we sent a healer over even while we were coming out to find you. They weren't hurt too badly, but they might be off their feet for a few weeks."

"They know I'll pay for anything insurance doesn't cover, right?" Rock tried to calm himself down. "Money won't stand in the way of their treatment, no matter what they say about it."

"I don't know if anybody's said anything about it to them yet; we hurried out as fast as we could. Right now, what they need most is for you to be there, and not having a coronary on the way," Jordan said firmly. "We've got room in our plane for a fourth ... or will you follow us up?" He asked, looking at the determined expression on Jake's face.

"I'll join you in the jet, thank you," Jake nodded before turning to Kyale and Alira. "Thank you for seeing to Wave Runner."

"You are welcome," Alira smiled as they turned to leave. "You have done your part, I will do mine."

"They're conscious?" Rock asked as the four hurried out to the hangar.

"Yes," Henrietta nodded as Jordan opened the door to their small corporate jet. "They were both injured, but it was limited to concussions, broken bones and bruising. Unpleasant, likely to keep them from working for a few weeks, but nothing life-threatening."

"Good," Rock sighed with relief as he followed them on-board. "I don't suppose you have a phone on here we can use to call ahead?"

"We called when we found out where you'd be," Henrietta said as they all sat down. "They're expecting us. There is a phone in the armrest if you want to call."

"I'd prefer to," he nodded. "Once we're in the air; it's not that I don't trust you, but I'd like to hear from them as soon as I can. At least it didn't happen until we were already on the way back."

"We understand," Jordan smiled warmly at him as the pilot secured the door and they began to roll.

"We had a working radio, love," Jake nuzzled him. "If we hadn't been on the way back, you could have taken the Wavedancer in."

"I know, but it would've been an extra complication you didn't need... not that you'd have noticed until you were done with the engine," Rock chuckled, returning the nuzzle.

"Rescue mission?" Henrietta asked curiously.

"Of sorts," Jake nodded. "The Classic Silver Tabby you saw in the temple. His ship crashed."

"Well, he seems to have come out of it all right," she smiled. "Controlled crash, since it sounds like there was enough of the engine left... a test pilot?" She guessed.

"An explorer," Jake said before quieting as Rock dialed the hospital.

"Hello? This is Rock Furlong; I understand my parents were brought in the night before last, after a car crash?" He said, hoping he had the right doctor or receptionist. Last thing he needed was to be put on hold.

"Just a moment, sir," she replied, typing to bring up the relevant information. "Yes, they are still here. I will transfer you to their nurses' station."

There was a short pause and a different female voice picked up. "Hello, Mr. Furlong. How may I help you?"

"I understand my parents were brought in the other night; could I talk to them, or their doctor?" He asked politely. "I'm between MegaKat City and Sayden Bay, coming up by jet, but I wanted to check up on them on the way in."

"Just a moment, sir," she said, putting him on hold with calm classical music for a few moments. "They are resting. I'll transfer you to Dr. Smithson."

"Thank you," he nodded, waiting for the transfer, his tail switching against the seat.

"Dr. Smithson speaking," a strong female voice picked up after two rings. "Mr. Furlong?"

"Yes, thank you," he said with an unconscious nod. "Is there anything you can tell me about Mr. and Mrs. Furlong's condition? I just heard about what happened today."

"They are both in good condition, conscious and resting," the doctor said easily. "The air bags saved their lives."

"Thank God," he sighed. "What happened?"

"I do not know the circumstances of the crash," she told him. "You will have to speak to them or the police for that. I do know, that baring something unusual, they will recover fully."

"Thank you," he nodded. "How badly hurt were they? I understand they're going to need some help for a while?"

"It would be useful," she admitted. "I really can not say much more."

"I understand," he sighed, with rather less relief this time. "I'll be down there as soon as I can be; do you have any idea when they'll be up again?"

"I do not know," she said. "I expect they are willing for you to be in their room if they are not awake."

"I'd hope so," he murmured. "We'll be there shortly; thank you for your time, Doctor."

"You are welcome," she said as they both hung up.

"They'll be fine," Jake said with soft assurance, pressing close to his mate and hugging him. "They're alive. It'll be fine."

"I know," Rock murmured, leaning into Jake's embrace and taking the offered comfort gladly. "Just let me freak out about it in my own time," he chuckled weakly, closing his eyes with a shudder.

"I must admit, I was surprised you invited me on a date without your mate around," Mika Salion purred softly, turned on by the strength and bearing of Jake Clawson in full Enforcer formal grays. "You haven't had much to do with me since the kittens were born that wasn't for duty."

"He doesn't get all the credit," Felina Feral, also dressed in formal grays, though without as many ribbons, chuckled as they got out of Jake's car at the Museum of Natural History. "This gives me a date without the expectation of leaving with them."

"Ah," Mika chuckled, climbing out in the flowing blouse of gold silk and dress pants of a bright red that marked her as Izaris' Champion. "The two of you are being discrete then."

"And we both hate going stag," Jake added, offering his arm to her as Felina stepped over to his other side. "Besides, it looks good to have Izaris' Champion around and smiling. You do look good when you smile."

"Well, thank you," she smiled back. "Fortunately, in a place like this, I'll probably keep doing just that, at least assuming Miss Sinnian lives up to her reputation."

"I just hope she lives up to her fundraiser reputation and not her luck reputation," Jake chuckled low in his throat. "She's nearly as talented at getting into trouble as Miss Briggs."

"And Miss Briggs appears to be one of the guests," Mika chuckled as they walked in. "Don't worry; with two Champions and the Enforcers' second-in-command here, what could possibly go wrong?" She asked wryly.

"My uncle will be here as well, with his date," Felina grinned as she spotted him with one of the more powerful individuals on the planet at his side.

"They are so perfect together," Jake smiled slightly at the two toms. His eye was caught by another familiar face, one he wasn't expecting to see. "Shark actually looks like he's enjoying himself."

"He's trying," Felina chuckled. "I think if he'd known he'd be expected at these sort of events, he'd have put off the proposal for another few years," she grinned.

"He's lucky he didn't," Mika observed, watching Shannon return to his husband with a fresh drink. "Somebody else would've snatched his husband up."

"Oh, I don't know," Jake said, his eyes drifting back to Ulysses Feral and Shier Khan and the inevitable fantasies of being at the mercy of two such powerful toms. "They dated for a couple decades before they settled down. Not that different from Feral and Khan. I doubt they'll ever have a ceremony, but it doesn't change what they are."

"If they don't, it'd be a shame," Felina smiled. "And probably straight politics, on one side or the other. Of course, they'll probably wait until Uncle retires."

"Straight politics is why I doubt they'll have a ceremony," Jake said gently. "Tusandrin doesn't acknowledge same-gender pairings as legal."

"They're already one of the world's original power couples," Mika chuckled. "Military and commercial well-covered."

"How did they end up together if Khan wasn't raised to accept it?" Felina glanced between them.

"As I understand it, lovers are acceptable," Jake said. "They just don't carry any legal status."

"And Khan has always been something of a rebel and reformer," Mika pointed out. "Treveris respects him quite a bit."

"That's saying something," Jake nodded.

"Yes, it is," Mika nodded. "I'm not sure if it's favorable or not, all the time, but it is saying something," she chuckled as Abi noticed them.

"Jake!" Abi called out to him as she walked swiftly over and gave him a welcoming hug. "It's good to see you, and your dates."

"You're sure in a good mood," Jake grinned at her as they separated. "Is Rapier still keeping you happy?"

"Of course," she chuckled. "Though not as happy as my latest findings. I'm glad you're here; I was particularly looking forward to a chance to talk to you tonight."

"Oh?" he raised an eyebrow. "So you're off on an expedition again?"

"One of my biggest, with any luck," she grinned. "I think I've found the location of the Seharal Complex."

Jake paused, nearly frozen as his eyes went wide. Mika blinked as her reflexive glance at the Great Library provided enough details to follow what she meant. Felina put on a curious face in hopes that one of them would fill her in soon.

"You are kidding," Jake said with a mixture of shock and amazement shifting towards awe.

"Nope," Abi grinned. "I can't be entirely sure yet, but I'm as sure as I can be without digging. It turns out that the site was converted, several times over, to other purposes and faiths, at least in what it was called. I was able to trace the names used for it thanks to the book."

"The Seharal Complex is one of the major temple-tomb sites of the Balkitan nation," Mika explained to Felina. "Everybody thinks that it's been lost since the Asherian invasion."

"Halikar's homeland," Jake added before focusing on Abi. "You have to keep me updated on the dig," he said with an intensity that almost frightened her. "I can help with identifying people and things."

"I... had been planning on it," she pointed out. "If you know any experts on old Balkitan, it would be helpful," she added. "I can read some, but we don't have any major experts on it available."

"I know people who still write and speak it," he said seriously, forcing himself to calm down. "I will see if they are willing to help."

"I'd be grateful," she smiled. "So, why don't we see about getting you three something to eat and drink?" She suggested, indicating the buffet table nearby.

"That sounds good," Felina smiled. encouraging her date to leave Abi be before he completely unnerved her. "Is it that big a deal?"

"Sorry," Jake said softly, though it did little to mask how keyed up he was. "Those finds ... recovering and bringing the real Balkita out and into the public view means a lot to Halikar. They believed that only by being remembered do people continue to exist."

"And you know there's nobody better for the dig than her," Felina pointed out.

"Yes," he nodded. "I'm just eager for it. I've given him a lot of grief over the years. It would be quiet a gift to him."

"You could always throw in an extra donation to that expedition in particular; you know she won't turn it down," she pointed out, then looked up as she picked up a small plate. "Oh my," she murmured with a low, appreciative whistle. "How long since you've seen Miss Briggs' partners?" She asked Jake, nodding towards a small group standing near one of the displays.

"Apparently too long," he rumbled low in his throat. "Damn, those two dress up well. And you know Rock and I will be giving a good chunk to this dig. I'll apologize to Abi when I've settled down."

"She'll be fine, I'm sure. Just wanted to get you wound down before she comes back."

"I take it you introduced Miss Briggs to her vulpine friends?" Mika guessed as she looked over the three of them, Vanessa in a perfectly cut black evening dress that set off Callie's pink silk gown beautifully, Mark was wearing a smoke-grey tuxedo that showed off his strong, slender form, his hair perfectly trimmed. "I recognize the Vixen from somewhere," she observed. "Model, I believe?"

"Technically Rock did," Jake nodded. "She's one of the rising stars for sexy gowns and lingerie. It looks like they've all flourished."

"It certainly does," she nodded, realizing the context the introduction had probably been in. "How are her kits doing?"

"The girls are doing quite well, and utter menaces," Jake chuckled with a wicked grin. "Apparently they take after both sides of the family. Smart, curious and fearless. Come, I'll make the introductions."

"Gladly," Felina purred, following Jake over along with Mika.

"Hello, Jake," Mark was the first to spot him politely waiting for Callie's attention.

"Hello, Mark," Jake grinned back. "How are you doing?"

"Wonderfully," Mark grinned. "It's good to see you again. Rock begged off tonight?" He asked curiously, noting the two shekats with Jake.

"He's in Sayden Bay," Jake shook his head. "His folks were in a car crash last week."

"They're all right, aren't they?" Vanessa asked hopefully, turning as she heard the explanation.

"They will be," he assured them. "Bruises and a few broken bones were the worst of it. The hardest part is getting them to accept help."

"I've never understood that sort of logic," Mark said, shaking his head. "But, then, kats don't have the sort of pack structure we do," he admitted.

"Pride and independence can be a nasty combination," Jake shrugged. "They don't want anybody to think they're freeloading on their successful son."

"I suppose," he mused. "Well, I hope he manages to settle it with them."

"Knowing Rock," Vanessa giggled, "they'll get taken care of even if he has to have them sedated while he does it."

"Something like that," Jake winked at her. "Have the girls disassembled anything new?"

"You mean besides each other?" Vanessa chuckled. "Or at least trying to."

"They're not that bad," Callie chuckled as she turned around. "Sara just wants to play, not disassemble. It's when the two of them are working together that things get tricky," she smiled, taking a sip of her juice. "Glad to see you here Jake, Felina," she said, nodding politely to both of them. "You are a long way from home, Champion Salion."

"Always a pleasure, Miss Briggs," Felina smiled, inclining her head respectfully.

"Perhaps, but it's for a good cause," Mika smiled. "Good to see you again, Miss Briggs."

"So how much longer before Sara and Terrie start coming to events?" Jake asked with a mischievous grin.

"At least another three years; with any luck, at least another twenty before they get hauled out for campaign events," Callie chuckled, shaking her head. "I'd like to give them a relatively normal life."

"Good luck," Jake said sincerely, putting a hand on her arm to squeeze it gently. "Being in the public limelight isn't a fun way to grow up."

"That's exactly my thought," she nodded. "They need to be kittens first; politicians can come after they're old enough to understand it."

"Hold that pose," a perky voice asked just before the flash and snap of a camera went off several times. "What a perfect shot," she added before wondering off to torment others.

"Is there any event she doesn't get invited to?" Felina grumbled with a tolerant shake of her head.

"None that I've found," Jake chuckled. "I'm sure a few she's there to keep everybody in line."

"It works," Mark chuckled. "At least she just takes pictures, instead of writing the stories to go with them. Those are the worst ones."

"Not always," Callie chuckled softly. "Sometimes the picture is worse without the story."

"I'll give you that, as long as they stick to the real story," Vanessa nodded. "The gossip columnists, they are a pain."

"But they don't have much credibility," Callie reminded her.

They also know better than to lie too much," Jake added with a low chuckle. "Libel laws may not be perfect, but they do help."

"Well, let's not worry about them right now," Mark suggested. "It looked like Dr. Sinnian was glad to see you when you came in," he pointed out.

Jake lit up at the prompt that sent his mind back to the subject. "She found out where the Seharal Complex is," he nodded eagerly. "It's only the most important find to Halikar in centuries. Every Champion, royal and High Priest during the Middle Kingdom of Balkita is buried there. Each tomb containing more information about Balkita and His people than is currently known."

"Here he goes again," Mika chuckled, shaking her head. "Remember, Jake, she thinks she found it. She could still be wrong," she pointed out. "It's not likely, but it is possible."

"Considering where she found the information, if it's not the Seharal Complex, it has to be the Hakarshi Valley, and that's even more incredible," he countered, nearly vibrating in excitement. "Hakarshi Valley is the equivalent of the Seharal Complex, but it's even older, from the First Kingdom," he explained to everyone else.

"Where did she find this information?" Callie asked, wondering what would excite Jake like this, despite his usual reserve and caution. She was even more curious when her question made him all but freeze.

"Umm, that thing I can't tell you about, that's not a weapon," he hedged around the truth as much as he could. "Mika, Abi and I were all there when it was retrieved."

"All right," she nodded, accepting the answer. "I understand that you and Rock have decided to raise some kits of your own?" She asked, picking a new topic.

"Yes," he smiled softly. "Three of Midnight's current litter of four are ours, and we'll be raising them."

"Congratulations," Vanessa smiled warmly. "You'll have to let me know what it's like, having your own," she grinned.

"As if she doesn't know what raising kits is like," Mark chuckled.

"She did practically raise Sarah and Terrie for a few years," Callie smiled warmly.

"Yeah, but it's different when they're your own," Vanessa giggled. "At least I think so. Not that I'm planning to find out for a few years; that'd put a definite kink in things."

"I'm expecting three little terrors," Jake chuckled. "If they take after me at least."

"Mine certainly did," Mika said dryly. "You never want my nursemaids to get their hands on you," she chuckled, kissing his cheek lightly.

"Well, Lieutenant Commander; have you had a litter by him too?" Mark chuckled. "Seems you're about the only important person around him who hasn't, if not."

"No, no kittens for me," Felina shook her head firmly. "Not while I'm in the Enforcers at least. Pregnancy does not mix with piloting."

"Abi, Ashley and Kyale haven't either," Jake offered helpfully.

"I suspect Abi's already got ideas for who she'll have kittens with," Callie grinned, looking over at the curator as she found Rapier - or, more accurate, he found her, and turned her around into a kiss as he brought her a drink.

"He's not a bad looking sort at all," Jake said with a bit of a rumble. "There's good potential in him."

"Not a particularly good pick for kits though," Mark chuckled. "Doesn't really happen with Kantin and Kats that well, after all."

"It's not that impossible," Vanessa giggled, her bushy tail swaying behind her. "Just not likely, which she's probably grateful for."

"Agreed," Jake nodded. "She's not looking to have kittens again anytime soon, if ever."

"I didn't know she already had a family," Mark mused.

"Oh yes," Callie chuckled. "They've older than you are and have moved on and out since, and she never did marry, but she's already done the family bit. She just doesn't bring it up too much; after they were old enough, she went right back to field work, kittens in tow. I've thought that it must have been an interesting kittenhood," she mused.

"I bet it was," Jake nodded in agreement. "She probably had a dozen dig with them along."

"They likely speak more languages than just about anybody else, besides their mother," Mika chuckled. "They were cute though, if they're the kits I'm thinking about. I remember them from a Treverin site that she was involved with early on."

"A boy and two girls, brown with white markings. One of the girls had spotted silver stripes," Jake said.

"That's them," she nodded. "They probably have kits of their own by now."

"It's hard to think of Dr. Sinnian as a grandmother," Vanessa giggled.

"She's carried it very well," Callie agreed. "So what do you know about your kits?" she looked at Jake.

"There are two females and a tom," he purred with a dreamy grin. "The first girl is by Midnight and me and is as gifted as any kitten I've ever sired. I'm not sure who has focused on her yet, but it's strong and positive. The male is next, and took the most work on my part. Midnight isn't really involved in his genetics beyond the mitochondrial DNA. Rock's his sire, and genetically I'm his mother. I don't have much on the youngest girl, but there was some tweaking involved with her too. Midnight is her mother, but both Rock and I are her sire."

"A pity you have to be the Champion of Bastet to arrange that sort of thing," Mike chuckled. "You'd make a fortune if you could find a technological method."

"Some other priests and mages are capable of arranging it as well," Mika told him.

"It is possible by tech today," Jake told him. "Not easy or cheep yet, and it will probably remain the real of magic for my generation, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it reasonably available in a century. Knowing what I do, I'd still take the magical option over the tech."

"It's probably a lot faster," Vanessa chuckled. "Mmm... just out of curiosity, is there any way to just completely put fertility on hold for a while? I know it's easy enough for you to do the reverse."

"More reliable, safer, and better control over the results with magic as well," Jake added with a nod. "It's much easier to prevent pregnancy than to encourage it," he smiled. "What effect are you looking for?"

"Preferably just something that'd keep me from getting pregnant while I was in heat," she explained. "I know some herbal options that you take while you're in heat, but they can do some nasty things to you over time. I'm not really sure how long though... honestly, I just want to make sure I don't have to worry about it while I still have a career," she admitted sheepishly.

"I would recommend a magic charm, personally," he said after thinking for a moment. "They are not cheap, but not out of your range. The best would be from the priests of Eshik and Marka, Mokra or Fahik. There are medical devices, but like the herbal and pharmaceutical options, they more risky."

"I'll speak with the priests," she nodded slightly. "They've got a good understanding of why already, beyond the career reasons."

"Well, there'd have to be some reason other than your career," Mika purred. "Personally, I think you'd make a lovely maternity model in a few years."

"You're starting to sound like my agent," Vanessa snickered. "Though I think he had an ulterior motive."

"I can't possibly think of why," Jake teased her. "What male wouldn't want to tie with you?"

"Him, for one," Mark snickered. "He's a nice guy, but he's entirely into guys. Except that he's got a major thing for pregnant fems. Weird combination of kinks, but what can you do?"

"Pay her very well for being all dressed up and left alone," Jake snickered. "Strange combination of kinks, but I can see it."

"Well, if I ever do start maternity modeling, there'll be a fifty-fifty shot it'll be a personal favor for him," Vanessa chuckled. "It's not that I mind the modeling that way, it's getting back in shape afterwards."

"A big part is staying in shape," Jake suggested. "I have friends that know the most effective exercises and diet for when you are carrying and afterwards. You might not be a fighter, but you do depend on your body being in shape for your living."

"I'll go for the charm first," she chuckled. "I'm so not ready for kits yet."

"Not typically something to say to Bastet's Champion," Hawk chuckled as he walked over towards them. "It must be refreshing for you to hear that," he observed with a playful smirk for the cinnamon tom.

"At least she's not asking me to sire them when she is ready," Jake grinned back at Halikar's High Priest. "Has Abi told you the good news yet?"

"No, though it sounds like you're about to," Hawk chuckled.

"And he just found the one person besides Abi who'll care," Felina groaned good-naturedly.

"I think I saw your Uncle and Shier Khan off somewhere out of earshot," Callie offered. "I haven't had the chance to speak with either of them yet tonight, for any appreciable time," she suggested.

"If you'll excuse us," Felina smiled at Jake, then inclined her head to Hawk. "You'll enjoy the conversation better without us."

"Of course," Callie smiled, returning the bow before they walked off, leaving Jake to get all wound up again as he started explaining what Abi had told him.

Ulysses Feral snapped his head up at the sound of an unknown aircraft that first appeared far too close to the city on the seaside. "Damn stealth tech," he muttered and watched as a controller went through the motions of contacting the large ... very large ... airship. He was sure, like those he saw with their fingers ready to sound the alarms to scramble the Enforcers, that the answer, if one came, wouldn't be good.

The flicker of an aerial projector confirmed his worst expectations.

"Scramble the jets!" Feral roared, sending the room into an organized chaos that he was far too accustomed too and still felt a real thrill at being in the middle of.

"Toms of MegaKat City!" Turmoil announced over downtown. "For years, you have held yourselves superior to your rightful queens! You make them victims, forcing them to fulfill your libidinous urges! You turn them into trophies and showpieces, ignoring their superior minds even as you force them to pervert Bastet's perfection to satisfy your impossible fantasies! You demand they hide themselves away while their natural glory is at its highest; you deny them the highest ranks within your city, forcing them to be subservient to cowards and boors!"

Well, he did have to give her credit for part of her ranting being right. He had a feeling Miss Briggs would agree ... though he hoped Felina wouldn't!

"Now!" She crowed. "No longer will you be able to defend your actions! You would rule this city? Fine! Then at least let your city be ruled as Bastet intended!" The fighters hit the air as Turmoil's projector flipped off, her air-fortress flying through a cloud bank and projecting a purple ray onto the city, starting at the shore and working its way inward.

Feral frowned, blinked as the beam passed through the building to bath them in an iridescent purple light for a moment before continuing on.

At first, nothing seemed different. Then he shifted and knew instantly something was very wrong.

His uniform didn't come close to fitting anymore, his body was badly off balance with weight distributed differently.

"S-sir!" a very frightened female voice called up to him. "We're all ... female!"

"Not all of us... which makes me worry more than if we were," Commander McKysn said, looking up from... his, now... station. "Commander, if we shoot her down we might not be able to reverse this," he warned her.

"Make sure a full recovery team is out there, send the carrier to be ready," Feral growled. "Call in everyone that's off duty, reservists, the lot. We're going to have a civil nightmare on our hands in a few minutes. Tell the suicide hotline we'll help them however we can. Get Miss Briggs on the line in my office, now," she turned on heal and stormed to his office to prepare for the headache she didn't want to think about. And get that ship in our possession!" She bellowed before slamming his office door.

Callie tensed as a purple light washed over her office, but turned her attention back to her work when there wasn't an apparent affect. No use being worried about something she didn't know about yet. That's what Feral was for, both Ferals.

She signed she heard panicked footsteps rushing towards her door. When would he learn to just sit back, relax and stay out of the way during a crisis?


Her eyes snapped up as she heard a distinctly female voice scream on the other side of the door, and it was flung open. Then her jaw dropped as she saw the Mayor... or, at least, the Mayor as 'he' was now, just as rotund as ever but with a D-cup added on to the pot belly, shirt and suit straining to hold in the entirely new burden they'd never been designed to hold.

Adding to the horror was the fact that Callie could tell quite clearly that... she... was not wearing a bra.

She was going to have to ask to have the air conditioning turned down before she lost her lunch and any ability to eat dinner.

"Mayor?" she asked, still trying to wrap her brain around what she was looking at.

"Callie, what is going on?!?" Manx demanded, a look of desperation on her face. Thankfully, the phone rang, giving her something else to think about.

"I don't know," she admitted as she grabbed the phone. "Deputy Mayor Briggs speaking."

"You're female?" a somewhat surprised sounding female voice on the other end said. It kind of sounded like Felina, but gruffer.

"Yes. Commander Feral?" she asked, just to be sure.

"Yes," she answered. "You are the only person I've encountered to be their correct gender so far. They Mayor is likely to lose what's left of his mind."

"Believe me, if I keep the view I've got now I'll be following... her... shortly," Callie sighed, closing her eyes. "Of all the days for the golf course to be closed. What happened, Commander?" She asked, trying to focus on the immediate issues.

"Turmoil is back," Feral said matter-of-factly. "Her beam has changed almost everyone's gender. We've scrambled to bring her airship down and salvage it, I've called everyone to active duty; off duty, reservists, even the retired and injured for desk work. So far my Enforcers are unsettled but staying focused on the job at hand. You're going to have the harder job, keeping the public from panicking. I expect we're going to have a full-scale civic nightmare on our hands within the hour."

"Especially since the Mayor's in no condition to say anything, and for whatever reason I haven't been affected," Callie groaned. "I'll get Emergency Management on the job; as far as city-wide disasters go, this one's reasonably mild. Huge number of people, but the majority of them can carry on their lives. Thanks for the heads-up, Commander."

"Try to calm her down. It would do a lot of good is the Mayor can manage something useful," Feral grumbled. "I'll contact you when the military side of this is finished."

"Will do," she sighed. "I'll hear from you then, Commander," she said, hanging up the phone, then picking it up and dialing home. Maybe they'd be lucky and Mark or Vanessa wouldn't be affected... or would at least be coherent if they were.

"Mayor, just sit down please," she told her. "We're not sure what's happened yet, but I'm going to have somebody get you something that'll be more comfortable to wear, at least, until we figure out how to reverse it."

"How can I appear in public like this?" she shrieked. "I don't look like the Mayor!"

"Given that almost the entire city has changed gender, you look more like the Mayor than if you hadn't changed," Callie pointed out.

"Well, why didn't you change, do we know that much at least?" Manx asked hopefully.

"Not yet," she shook her head and stood to guide the mayor back to her office, hanging up the phone. She'd try getting hold of them later. "Most females have been changed. I have a theory, but no proof of it."

"Wonderful," Manx sighed. "Oh my... Callie, we'll need to get a speech written about this very quickly, I know your ah... your intern's been helping with that a lot lately, but do you think you could handle this one yourself?" She asked hopefully.

At least she was back in form.

"Yes, sir," she nodded and tried not to sigh before she turned to go back to her office. "I'll get on it as soon as the emergency systems are up and running."

And after she stole a moment to call Mike and Vanessa to make sure they and the girls were all right.

"Thank you, Callie," the Mayor sighed in relief as Callie walked out. She picked up the phone, dialing home again. The receiver was up on the second ring.

"Callie?" Mark asked curiously.

"Are you and the girls okay?" she asked. "A major portion of the population has changed genders thanks to Turmoil."

"You're kidding, right?" He asked her incredulously. "I haven't heard anything like... Callie, what about you?" He asked her worriedly. "It might've missed us, the kits so young and us not being kats."

"I wish I was kidding, and I'm still female," she said. "Just be careful, and try to stay inside today at least. The next day or two are going to be crazy."

"Tell me about -" There was a low hum, and Mark's voice changed mid-sentence. "- it. Oh... okay... uhm, well, it's not limited to kats." Mark said nervously. "Callie, are you going to need me to come in?"

"No, you stay at home, keep Vanessa and the girls calm and inside. As much as I'd like you here, I don't want you out in traffic," she shook her head. "I'll e-mail you the mayor's speech draft on this so you can give the kantin angle."

"Every bit as freaked out as the kats are," he promised her. "I'll read it... talk later, gonna make sure Vanessa's not freaking out," he told her, hanging up abruptly.

So it got them too. Which made her theory all the more likely.

"Callie!" The Mayor called out again helplessly.

She sighed and stood. "Coming, sir!" she called to her to keep her relatively calm until she could make it to the mayor's office. "What is it?" She asked politely as she opened the door to look around.

She wasn't in there... which left just one option, the bathroom just off her office, with the door slightly ajar.

Dear gods, no.

"How am I supposed to... errm... take care of this?" The Mayor's new voice came out from behind that door, and Callie sighed inwardly.

If she ever got her hands on Turmoil, she was going to kill her for not having the decency to katnap her before unleashing this particular brand of Hell on the city.

"Sir, you sit for both as a female," she signed from outside the bathroom door. "And wipe for both as well. I'll go order the fitter. By now, they probably are half expecting it."

At least somebody would be prepared for this before it was sprung on them. She was sure they'd demand extra for seeing that naked ... but they had to see him as a tom naked too, she shuddered at the thought.

Kyale snuggled against a familiar smell, even as the back of her sleepy mind objected to the softness of the body sleeping with her. She wrapped her arms around Jake, pushing it out of her head. Maybe he'd gotten up at some point and showered, that could explain some of it. Her body didn't feel quite right either, but she wasn't exactly awake.

The warm scent of her bedmate soon claimed all of her attention with arousal as intense as her heat.

She ran her hand down Jake's back, surprised at the way he must be laying to curve like that... then she hit breasts pressing into Jake's back.

"Whuh?" She asked, blinking in surprise and opening her eyes, seeing that the faces of the two males in her bed were distinctly not male any more.

"Jake?" She asked... then realized that her voice was deeper than she'd expected. A quick look down confirmed that this had to be some sort of fever dream. She hadn't been very large in the chest before, but she knew she wasn't supposed to have a case of morning wood!

It wasn't a bad dream through, and Kyale purred, deciding to enjoy it. It wasn't the first time she'd dreamed she was a real tom, even if it was the most realistic.

"Mmm... oh Jake," Kyale purred, reaching between them to rub Jake's new breasts, then down curiously, wondering if he was a full female, or a herm in this dream. Her fingers slid between the slick, swollen lips of a female sex in full heat, and he moaned, shifting his leg to give her better access.

Kyale kissed Jake tenderly, thick, dark cock throbbing against his hard abs. Not how this dream usually went, but it was a good start. Strong fingers probed Jake's new sex, and found that the former cinnamon tom's body was tight enough that just getting two fingers in was work. Kyale shivered, remembering how tight she'd felt her own first time, and how Rock had made it better. Foreplay first, she remembered, reaching back up to tease Jake's clit, forcing the heat-scent to the back for now.

"Ohhh," Jake moaned deeply, shivering with the hunger of her new body and shifted to kiss Kyale's mouth as she rocked her hips against his fingers. She reached between them and stroked Kyale's hard cock, encouraging their arousal. "Gods, I've never been this hot."

"Just too bad Rock isn't here to join me," he purred, kissing Jake more hungrily now. "You smell so intense," he rumbled, rubbing her clit faster, pressing it back into her pelvis. "Want me to finish you like this first?"

"No," she breathed, her voice trembling already as she pushed Kyale to his back and followed to straddle his hips. "I want you in me." She glanced towards Owl Eye's sleeping, female form. "And her, when she wakes up."

"I'm sure she'll be thrilled to oblige you," Kyale moaned, reaching up to hold Jake's sides, leaning up to lick her breasts. "Go slow... your first time as a fem, isn't it?" He pointed out with a grin, nipping one erect nipple lightly.

"Slow, right," Jake panted with a moan and slid down, impaling herself on Kyale achingly hard cock.

"Oh yeah," he moaned, kissing Jake hungrily and starting to thrust lightly. "Feels so good!"

"Yes," Jake moaned deeply and squeezed her body around the cock deep inside her. "Fuck me, Kyale! Hard and deep."

"Hard and deep, huh?" He rumbled. Kyale rolled on top of Jake, pushing them both down on the bed next to Owl-Eyes and kissing her hungrily as he started to thrust hard into her pussy. "So this is how you like it, slut?" He growled with mock menace and very real lust.

"Yes!" Jake cried out, her body tight, wet and hot as it milked Kyale's cock uncontrollably. "Oh gods yes."

Kyale kept thrusting, balls slapping against Jake's ass as their movement and cries started to wake Owl-Eyes. The Hyena blinked blearily as she woke up, looking at them. Her jaw dropped as she saw what was going on, and Kylae roared in orgasm as he filled Jake's fertile sex.

"Ohh, yes," Jake whimpered and moaned. "Both of you in my pussy," she begged.

"Not yet," Kyale panted, grinning down at her. "Owl-Eyes? Go grab the cuffs out of the toychest."

"Yes, mistress," she grinned and scrambled to comply, her pseudo-cock fully erect. "He makes a pretty she."

"So do you," Kyale observed with a low purr, watching his pet's ass as she walked over to Rock and Jake's toychest, finally pulling out of Jake's pussy reluctantly. "Go get under the hook, pretty."

Jake nodded, whimpering with need as she complied, her tail tucked between her legs to keep the seed inside her.

Owl-Eyes fetched the cuffs, putting them around Jake's wrists and hooking her up so she had to stand on tip-toes. Kyale got up and walked over, kneading Jake's ass and rubbing his cock against it.

"Go get a spreader bar now," he grinned at the Hyena.

"I've got something extra in mind with that," Owl-Eyes grinned back, hurrying to fetch the spreader bar, and a small pan. She fixed the bar to Jake's ankles, spreading it as wide as it could go, and putting the pan down so that it would catch anything that dripped out of Jake's pussy.

"No need to let it go to waste, after all," Owl-Eyes grinned up at Kyale.

"Good thinking," he rumbled hotly, kissing Jake's neck. "Do you want to play rough, or just get our cocks in your pussy before you go nuts?"

"Anything, just fuck me," Jake whimpered into their warmth, pressing into hands as much as she could. "Please. It hurts to be empty."

Kyale decided this was complicated enough. He pulled Jake's legs back, sliding down and sinking his cock into the former tom with a groan, thrusting up into her need.

"Join us?" He groaned. Owl Eyes kissed him over Jake's shoulder, then forced her pseudo-phallus up along his cock, moaning at the feel of his barbs against it inside Jake's vise-tight sex.

"Gods!" Jake nearly howled, her body contracting hard and fast around the intruders.

"Such a total slut," Kyale grinned, nipping her scruff as he reached around to squeeze and fondle Jake's firm breasts. "When we're worn out, I'll invite the entire complex to come in and work you over."

"Ooh... don't forget Rock," Jake moaned.

"Wouldn't dream of it," Kyale purred, thrusting harder and faster, pistoning his cock into Jake's depths, loving the way her sex rippled and squeezed around the two shafts spearing her. He came hard, pumping his seed into Jake's body. His ears flattened at the irate buzz that interrupted them all as Jake screamed in pleasure.

He kept going, ignoring the buzz and fucking Jake through her orgasm, but it went off again.

"If that's the alarm clock I'm killing sombody," Kyale groaned, pulling out of Jake and reaching out for the pager... then seeing that it was Enforcer HQ.

He shouldn't be able to read if this was a dream.

"Oh shit," he murmured, realizing this was real. "Jake, headquarters, emergency call in," he said abruptly, reaching up to release Jake's wrists, slapping the pager in her hand as the heat-dazed shekat tried to comprehend what was going on. "Jake. Call HQ," he said firmly, shaking her a bit.

"HQ. Right." Jake murmured as she tried hard to make her brain on something besides the need to mate. She hit the autodial. It was picked up almost immediately with an automated recording.

"All personnel report to duty. Turmoil is attacking. Your probable gender shift is due to her weapon."

"Crud," Jake hissed under her breath. "Godda go," she started to scramble for something to wear and found some of Kyale's clothes shoved into her hands.

"Hope this is big enough," Kyale murmured, helping her fasten the bra into place. "Are you safe to fly?"

"I'll have to be," Jake said shakily as she struggled into the jeans and a t-shirt that weren't quite big enough. "Stay put if you can. The city is going to be crazy."

"We will," Kyale promised, giving Jake a kiss on the cheek before she left.

"It's so nice," Tamera purred, finally comfortable enough in her own fur and Lyth's appreciation of it to wear a fine silvery bikini despite her wide, strong frame that was so at odds with the modern beauty standards.

"It is," Lyth agreed as he sat down next to her in his swim trunks, handing her a drink from the nearby concession stand. "The beach isn't half bad either," he added with a cocky grin, kissing her cheek as he laid back next to her on the beach towel she was sunbathing on.

"Oh, you," she giggled and batted his tail playfully. "Too bad we can't have real fun out here."

"Oh, I don't know," he purred, tipping her face to kiss her tenderly. "We can always heat things up until you can't stand it anymore, go back to your dorm room, give your roommate a shock...." He trailed off, kissing her again.

"She'd want to join in," she giggled and kissed him back as she ran her hands threw the soft fur of his chest. "She's terribly jealous of us."

"Well there's a solution to that, you know," he rumbled with a grin, wrapping an arm around her back. "I think she's more interested in you than me," he teased, aware that she was already having a noticeable affect on him.

"Quite possible," Tamera purred as her hands ran down to his abs. "But I think the challenge will be who gets too turned on first. I do love the sun."

"And what does the winner get?" He asked her with a grin as a cloud passed over the sun.

"To play dom," she suggested with a raised eyebrow. "The one who begs, submits."

"I ..." he paused as something big in the sky caught his eye.

"Ah crud," Tamera hissed and scrambled to her feet in the general commotion. "Time to run!"

"Toms of MegaKat City!" Turmoil announced, her hologram dominating the sky. "For years, you have held yourselves superior to your rightful queens! You make them victims, forcing them to fulfill your libidinous urges! You turn them into trophies and showpieces, ignoring their superior minds even as you force them to pervert Bastet's perfection to satisfy your impossible fantasies! You demand they hide themselves away while their natural glory is at its highest; you deny them the highest ranks within your city, forcing them to be subservient to cowards and boors!"

"What the fuck is she talking about?" Tamera growled even as she and Lyth headed inland.

"Less talking, more running!" Lyth suggested breathlessly.

"Now!" She crowed. "No longer will you be able to defend your actions! You would rule this city? Fine! Then at least let your city be ruled as Bastet intended!"

A purple ray dropped from her ship as the hologram disappeared, bathing the beach in its light. It passed over Tamera and Lyth, and the tom fell forwards as he lost his balance.

"Ouch!" He yelped, his voice higher pitched than normal. He got up, reached up to brush himself off... and then yelped before crossing his arms over the breasts that were now there.

"Tamera?" Lyth asked, looking back over her shoulder for the tabby and saw something that looked way too much like her father for his comfort. Her bikini top hug loosely, her full breasts gone. The bottom ... didn't even begin to contain her sheath, and her new balls hung out on each side.

"This is so not good," Tamera said, shaking as he reached to help Lyth to her feet. "Godda get to the car. Place is going to go nuts in a few minutes."

"It's already going," she murmured, following Tamera's lead back to the car. "Your place? The Temple's going to be insane after this."

"Won't you be needed there?" Tamera glanced at Lyth as they got in the car. "The kittens are young enough they probably won't care."

"You're right, it's just... a little hard to think like this, right now. Get me back to the Temple, but then you get somewhere safe and stay there," she told him seriously. "My quarters, if you're willing."

"Unless mom needs me," Tamera agreed with a nod as they pulled into traffic.

Chance snarled a victorious shout into her oxygen mask as Turmoil's air fortress came down in the badlands, veering around to return to HQ.

She hadn't felt that good about shooting down an Omega in a while. It gave a whole new kind of rush with the new body. Parts he didn't have before tingled.

"Good thing we've got the air masks, huh?" She commented to Jake, hers still firmly on. Just her luck - even as a female, heat scent took her brain totally off line.

"For you," Jake nodded, squirming with her own scent and the muskiness of the sex she didn't have time to wash off before suiting up. "I'm calling Rock back as soon as I get a chance. How in the world do females deal with this?"

"How should I know?" Chance asked incredulously. "Ask Kyale, or Midnight... shit," she hissed. "Jake, did you hear from Midnight yet? If she changed too, what about the kittens?"

"I don't know," Jake said with pain in her voice as they touched down and killed the engines. "It's Turmoil, she's probably still a she."

Chance popped open the cockpit as soon as it was safe, pulling off her mask.

"Jake, focus," she called back. "We'll get you back home ASAP, but until then we've got to keep our heads here... can't you turn off your heat?"

Jake swallowed and nodded. "Yes, focus," she murmured to herself as her body settled to something resembling normal. "I'll be needed. That device ... it's my field," she said as she leapt to the ground.

"That's better," Chance sighed, following Jake out. "Figure that thing out, and you can turn yourself back on for when Rock gets home," she promised, taking her helmet off.

"For now, I need a shower," Jake grumbled as they stalked inside. "Then find out where that device is going to be taken, if they found it."

"I'll have somebody prep a briefing for you," Chance nodded. "I think I'm going to have to get out on the ground, myself, after I call home. Stay safe, okay? Turmoil and her troops are probably still out there."

"You're the one that needs to stay safe, buddy," Jake reached out to squeeze her shoulder. "You're going out into the line of fire."

"As long as these don't get in my way," Chance smirked, hefting her breasts, "I'll be fine." She turned, hurrying out to the vehicle pool to get one of Jake's Cyclotrons and hit the streets, cursing her new body with every step and hoping Jake wasn't as distracted as she seemed to be.

She clicked the radio in her helmet onto the main Enforcer broadcast frequency and listened for where the trouble was centered.

It didn't take long to figure that out; the streets that were being called in were ones she knew like the back of her own hand.

"The more things change," she muttered to herself, taking off for the Bars. The streets were mostly deserted, thankfully; people were locking themselves away as soon as they could get home, for the moment. She had to give Turmoil that much... however twisted she was, she did have a penchant for Omega attacks that weren't high on the casualty count.

It didn't mean that nobody got hurt though, as a scream reminded her. She gunned the engine on the cyclotron, trying to track the sound through alleys and buildings that made figuring out exactly where it came from hard.

The sound of a fight drew her attention to the right ally, and she couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of a Furlong tom giving it to a teenaged ruffian. A cowering blond shekat spotted her uniform and bolted for her. It took a moment, but Chance recognized her and sighed inwardly. A perpetual vic as a tom, it would be even worse now.

"The tabby is helping," she blurted out. "What is going on! I only dressed as a girl!"

"We had an Omega who decided everybody ought to try swapping genders for a while," Chance explained briefly. "Pat, do you have somewhere safe I can take you back to? It looks like Mindy's got things under control here."

"That's Mindy?" Pat glanced at the buff Furlong that was now picking up the attacker by the scruff.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure," Chance nodded. "Hay sis! You going take him in, or take Pat somewhere safe?"

"Chance?" He blinked, looking back as he placed the stripes. "Why don't you haul this one in, I'll make sure Pat's safe and then get back out here."

"Watch it, sis," Chance said seriously. "Things are nuts, but you're civilian."

"Heh - just means I have plausible deniability on what 'necessary force' is," he grinned. "Give your buddies at headquarters the news; we're helping keep things straightened out down here as much as we can. Some of the new girls are in heat, but the rest of us are watching out for trouble."

"I'll let them know, but if you come across somebody who's armed get the Hell out and call the Enforcers," Chance told her firmly. "I don't want anybody getting killed playing hero."

"Already the plan," Mindy agreed as they swapped charges. "Same rules as we usually work by. Do you know if there are anything other than the locals causing trouble?"

"We've heard that Turmoil might have some troops in the city, but I haven't seen them yet. So keep clear of anybody with uniforms - they'll probably be armed and acting like conquering heroes," she snorted, slinging the half-conscious thug up onto the back of the Cyclotron and cuffing him in place.

"Great," Mindy snorted and rolled her eyes. "Watch out yourself. I take it that partner of yours is working on the fix?"

"That's the hope," Chance murmured. "Might warn Bruce that there is a heat cycle with this ... I can't wait for it to hit either," she said, rolling her eyes as she gunned the engine. "Good luck, and maybe think about just keeping an eye on Pat for the rest of the night. We'll be out in force through this."

"She can crash with us," Mindy nodded as Chance headed to the local precinct office to drop off his prisoner.

She nodded and took off, hoping she could remember who was probably on duty. She didn't want to leave this idiot with just anybody... had to make sure it was somebody who could handle him.

"Hey, dude," she nudged the prisoner. "You have a name?"

"Ronin," he growled lowly.

"Yeah, sure," Chance snorted. "We'll just fin... yeow!" she snarled as a shot took out the cyclotron's front tire, sending him skidding out of control. It took every bit of her skill to keep from landing in a way that would injure her prisoner as she made a controlled slide to a stop, the cyclotron falling and nearly pinning her leg.

She managed to get it out of the way at the last second, but didn't show it, instead groaning and making a show of what injuries she had from the crash as she tried to see who had ambushed them. "Ronin's" friends, or somebody else out looking for trouble.

Instead of ruffians, she saw uniforms. Two toms and a fem in uniforms that fit them and a variety of weapons.

Turmoil's troops.

"Big mistake," she growled lowly, twisting to her feet as they moved forward, keeping her eyes on the one with the shotgun. Had to drop that one first... then this wouldn't be too rough. She'd have to warn the local precinct... it looked like they were hunting Enforcers.

The three split up, coming at her from different directions, one of the toms was clearly in charge as they circled Chance silently, looking for an opening to tackle her.

No sense in disappointing them. Chance went over what she knew about Turmoil's forces in her head; they were all rabid feminists, they just about made Treveris look tame. Which meant that a fem with them was either somebody who was 'too important' to turn into a tom - a ranking officer - or a tom who'd actually been with them.

And that would be somebody important too.

She faked a start at the tom with the shotgun, then snarled and went down on one knee, grasping it like it was injured. The other tom came for her, and she ducked under the tackle, knocking the tom off his feet and standing, using her bulk to hurl the one soldier at the other before spinning and grabbing the fem, turning to use her as a shield from the other two, claws at her throat.

"Disarm yourselves and stand down!" She barked at them.

Chance knew instantly who the shekat was important to. There wasn't even hesitation in one of the toms. The other took his companion's flattened ears and a low growl to get to comply.

"Taking your son out on a little field-trip raping and pillaging?" Chance guessed. "Nice. Real nice. Kick the shotgun this way," she ordered them.

"Do it," the tom hiss at his partner.

Chance felt her prisoner move, just a little, as the shotgun was kicked in her direction. It was enough to focus her attention on the youth she was using as a shield in time to catch her hand as she tried to drive a dagger into her gut. Her other hand came out, between the younger soldier's wrist and shoulder, and she snapped the arm upwards, breaking it at the elbow. She shoved her towards the two toms, who caught him, and flipping the shotgun up into one hand with her foot and drawing her blaster with the other.

"You want to try something now?" She asked 'Ronin' tiredly, pivoting the shotgun back at where the tom was supposed to be and found that he hadn't tried to move.

"No ma'am," he said meekly.

The sound in the area was concentrated with the injured shekat as she hissed and cried in pain. Chance let her mother do his best to quiet her.

"Get over with those three then. And all of you, start walking," she growled, keeping the shotgun leveled on them as she righted the cyclotron and got on it, rolling slowly behind them.

"You're not going to win," one of Turmoil's officers growled at her. "Not in the big picture."

"We already shot down your boss' airship," she pointed out. "Won't be long before we've found her, and your little toy, and turned everybody back. I call that winning, myself. As for your crew... just ask yourself what it'll be like for you and them, sitting in Alkatraz with rape charges... and being fems again. I'm sure you'll be really popular with the locals."

"Just who did we rape?" the one who wasn't the mother glared back at her, daring her to come up with a name. "Or even try to rape?"

"You three? As far as I've seen, nobody, but clubs and ropes, along with a shotgun loaded with deer slugs to take out Enforcer tires...." She clucked her tongue. "Besides, I was thinking more about the rest of you out here. I'm not an idiot, just because I was born a tom."

"Yeah, right," he grumbled and dived to the side while the other tom went to the other and the injured shekat dropped to the ground in a strange duck and cover. Even as Chance leveled the shotgun at one, the other tackled her with a body slam that knocked her off the cyclotron, sending her blaster flying.

She raised her hand, closing it into a fist and switching the Glovatrix over to the electro-net, launching it at the trooper who'd jumped her.

"I'd hoped to do this the nice way," she muttered as he screamed and collapsed. She twisted to her feet just in time to catch the other officer's wrist as he tried to drive a dagger into her chest.

She spun with his momentum, throwing him to the ground and bringing out the Glovatrix's flamethrower as she stepped on his wrist.

"Do you really want me to use this?" She growled lowly, glancing at the fem to make sure she wasn't trying anything more that to crawl to her mother's prone body.

The officer looked up, deep hatred in his eyes as he glared at the tabby above him. "Savor your victory. It will not last."

"Uh-huh. How many times do I have to kick your asses before you'll admit you're not gonna beat a Ghost?" Chance sighed.

"Never," he growled, struggling once more when Chance shifted to cuff him.

"Right. Well, if you decide you're a capoeirista, lemme know so I can demonstrate what happens when somebody spin-kicks their groin into my fist, 'kay?" She muttered, cuffing him and going to call for backup after locking the chain of the cuffs to the cyclotron. They were being way too difficult to haul in alone, no matter how much she wanted to let the Enforcers work without having to help her.

Wave Runner leaned back as she considered the question Mika had put to her. She'd been talking with Izaris' Champion for a few hours now, the two trading stories and asking questions about each other's worlds for a while.

"I'd have to say that gods like Aristal's aren't all that common, as far as I've been able to gather," she decided after a moment. "Most worlds that I've been on, if their gods are real, they certainly don't have the sort of interaction with the people that yours seem to. Of course, most religions that I've dealt with tend to be more like philosophies, or inclusionary faiths that adapt bits and pieces of other religions they run into. It's not at all common to have a Pantheon that's as well ordered and widespread as yours, particularly not with two or three others on the same world."

"Well, the Pantheon is inclusionary," she said. "Most of the world-wide gods have local origins that are still reasonably well known. Halikar is the classic example, but even the independent groups are part of the greater order. Tusandrin's pantheon, Veldt's, ancient Balkita's, my homeland's of Traveris, they are all part of Aristal's pantheon. They just don't participate in world affairs. It is not that different from the countries they are the gods in. They do acknowledge the rest of the world, have some interaction with it and laws that govern government and personal interactions, but are not active outside their area."

"Mmm ... perhaps I said that poorly," she mused. "I meant that they tend to assimilate other faiths into theirs; for example, Wayism. They have a philosophy, and recognize the gods and holy men as prophets and saints, but the Divine doesn't communicate with them the way you can with Izaris. Most faiths I've encountered are like that; their gods aren't... well, I suppose you might say people. They're Gods. If a Catholic mission or Temple to Orinis were to be established on Aristal, you couldn't really add them to your pantheon all that well. Their deities aren't nearly as personal, according to most."

"Somehow, I rather doubt they would be allowed in," Mika chuckled. "I can't imagine any of them would want in on this world so badly that they would agree to play by the rules."

"The faithful wouldn't be allowed if their deities weren't interested in taking the same sort of role in Aristal's pantheon?" She asked curiously.

"I can't imagine anywhere would permit it," Mika shrugged. "A deity has to be recognized by the gods to be recognized under the law. I guess if the faithful kept it quiet and under the radar, no one would care, but they wouldn't have the special rights priests and temples have here, or the political backing of an accepted temple. They'd operate like cults. Not technically illegal many places, but definitely not accepted or protected anywhere."

"That would likely be a problem," she murmured. "At least as far as many people are concerned. Does Aristal have any serious experience with -" She said a few words that didn't translate for Mika, and her face showed it. Wave Runner frowned, trying to think of how to reword it.

"With faiths that acknowledge only one deity, or at least one 'true' deity, or with groups that attempt to convince people to follow their faith, possibly by adopting the 'join the one true faith' line," she explained much more awkwardly. "Though the fact that the words don't translate pretty well answers the question."

"As you just figured out, no," Mika chuckled lightly. "When the pantheon is run by primordals, claiming they aren't powerful is a rather bad idea. For convincing, yes, I know of that, but it is not considered any different than other forms of coercion."

"You'll have a very interesting time if your planet ever opens up then," she chuckled. "What sort of penalties are there?"

"It depends on what you do," she said. "And where you do it, and to whom."

"Oh, I doubt most of them would do anything more than talk and try to win converts... it's been a while since we've had crusading faiths winning converts at swordpoint," she reassured the Caracal. "At least on a widespread basis. Most of our religious zealots are fairly peaceful about it... except the Red Mantis, of course. But, then, there's no real way to deal with them... they might actually get along on this world fairly well really. You've actually accepted an assassin god already."

"What is there to accept?" Mika raised an eyebrow. "Konuse is real. He is quite capable of proving it as all gods can, and he has a champion as all gods do. As long as He plays by the rules, so must we."

"I mean that you don't force his faith to worship in private, and recognize him fully," she explained. "I'm not surprised you accept that he is real, but most assassin gods are considered wicked, evil, and undesirable."

"Sounds like most societies have turned their backs on what their governments go," Mika said dryly. "We may not likely assassins, or special ops, or snipers or whatever you care to call those who kill without being discovered, but they serve a useful function and always will."

"Oh, we have them," she said easily. "They're just not usually religious, they're political or mercenary. Religion is vastly less important on many worlds than it seems to be here. Those faiths that do have assassins tend to have them regardless of doctrine. You never want to harm a Denebian rabbit," she chuckled. "They're not worth the death mark."

"Rabbit ... you seriously have a race of food that became people?" Mika couldn't help but stare.

"Oh, we've got several," she said easily. "Martian Mice, for example. Not the Denebian rabbits though." A purple beam passed through, turning them both into males. Wave Runner looked down irritably, then checked the Myradi. "One moment," he said, pressing it and returning to his female kat form. "That's better. At any... Mika?" He asked, looking at now-male Caracal and realized that he was not taking this as well.

"Izaris!" he nearly howled in a combination of humiliation and terror.

Wave Runner mentally ran through everything she knew about Mika to try and figure out what could be making the reaction this strong; shapeshifting wasn't normal on Aristal, but it couldn't be that unusual. Then it struck her - Mika was a tom now, and the first thing she'd come across about 'his' country of origin was how very strongly matriarchal it was. It was one of only a handful of countries that carried a warning for males to be very careful about visiting, and the only one that recommended males avoid it completely.

All that left his mind as a golden-furred Lioness appeared out of nowhere; no puff of smoke or flash of light, she was simply there, moving towards Mika to comfort him.

"I'm here, daughter," she told the tom soothingly, rubbing his shoulders until Mika turned towards her and buried himself against the Lioness' full chest. "You will not be a tom for long," she promised.

"Okay," Mika drew in a breath, focusing on the words and the comfort. "Not long," he repeated to himself. "Not long. Learn from this?" he looked up. "Experience what a tom does while I am like this?"

"That would be a good use of your time," Izaris nodded, rubbing his shoulders and back as he slowly tried to relax. "You have a place you can stay until Bastet's Champion fixes this; what you will do with your time is your choice, but expanding your knowledge is always something I approve of."

Mika nodded, still a little shaky and likely to stay that way until he was a she again, but in control of himself. "I will, my Lady," he murmured with a deep breath slowly released. "Thank you for coming. I will learn all I can about being a tom while I am one."

"Uhm... Madame... not to be rude?" Wave Runner piped up after a moment. "Are you actually a goddess?"

"By all definitions that I am aware of, yes," she inclined her head slightly as Mika sat down and began to brush out his badly fluffed fur to recreate an appearance of control. "I am immortal, a creature of energy that grows stronger with the offerings of mortals, capable of altering reality within my area of control through force of will rather than technology or traditional magic and considered above the mortals who worship me and my kind."

"The definition that we use," Wave Runner nodded. "You might be surprised how many races lobby to have the 'offerings of mortals' criteria removed," she chuckled. "Would it be more comfortable for you if I were a tom now as well?" She asked Mika seriously.

"Yes," he nodded almost meekly, but the gratitude for the offer was clear in his eyes. "Thank you."

"Would you mind if I stay for a while?" Izaris asked them both. "While you are not the first alien we is here for an extended stay, aliens are rare."

"I'd be honored," Wave Runner said easily. "And it's not a problem; I'm used to swapping genders regularly, most people aren't." She touched the Myradi, shifting into the classic silver tabby form she'd gotten from Jeramin. "I hope you won't mind if I pick your Goddess' mind on a few things," he chuckled.

"I do not," Mika smiled shyly at him. His cultural upbringing, even muted by decades of exposure to the rest of the world, still kicked in enough to make him submissive. "You do make quite an attractive kat," he said out of nowhere.

"As long as you do not mind a goddess picking your mind in return," Izaris grinned at him and relaxed in a floating chair of spun crystal and gossamer padding.

"Not as long as it's the old fashioned way," he chuckled.

"Lady Izaris!" a young voice all but squeaked in surprise before the Siamese tom prostrated himself. "Forgive the intrusion, My Lady. I brought new clothes for Champion Mika."

"Rise, kitten," she stood and glided over to him, lifting him by the chin as he stood. "You need never fear me," she said gently and smoothed his hair a bit.

"Thank you," Mika stood and accepted the simple priestly robes cut for a tom.

"Would you like some privacy?" Wave Runner offered.

"I ..." Mika hesitated, then blushed slightly. "Yes," he murmured. "I'll be right back," he said as he hurried off, his tail tucked between his legs.

"She will recover. It is quite a social issue in Traveris," Izaris said.

"I'm sure it is," Wave Runner nodded as the acolyte settled down next to Mika's seat. "I can sympathize, to some extent. My world is matriarchal as well, though not to the same extent; my wife would have been seriously irritated to find herself a male. Given what little I know about her nation, I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd had a breakdown... at least this didn't happen to her there."

"I suspect one of the local patrons would have reversed it within minutes," Izaris chuckled lightly. "It is far too traumatic for them. Queen Myrikina would have called on help to undo it, and been answered quickly."

"Quite likely," he nodded. "Though I suppose they might have decided to let them learn a little mutual respect," he mused. "Or are their patron deities the source of their misandry?"

"It is difficult to say which is the source and which is the mirror," Izaris said easily. "Gods are influenced by their followers as much as followers are influenced by their gods. Perhaps the best and most well documented example is of Halikar. The Aggressive Protector is very little of what he began as, as the one who united and ruled ancient Balkita for many centuries."

"What brought about the change? The need to defend a realm, rather than expand it?" He asked her.

"The conquest of his kingdom by the Asherian Empire," she said quietly as Mika came back and sat down. "His entire pantheon was destroyed and he was taken into the Asherian pantheon. They re-envisioned him into his current place based on what they saw as his admirable qualities."

"Your gods can be killed?" Wave Runner asked, ears flattening out. That was a fairly new twist, at least among a Pantheon that still survived. Also a twist that could prove... dangerous, in the future.

"Some of his kind can be," she acknowledged. "The method of it is a secret he has not divulged, even to me. Halikar was born mortal and ascended to godhood through his own power and the belief of his people over many generations. Most of us came from energy, or each other, or were granted godhood by a greater god."

"I'm sure that most of the nations of this world would rather have minimal contact with alien species for the time, but would that also be the desire of your kind?" He asked politely. "As I've told Mika, there are religious zealots out there. Some of them are particularly nasty about it, and a world with a pantheon like yours would be unpopular with them at best."

"Ah, you see, I would have as much contact as possible," Izaris chuckled. "I am the goddess of knowledge after all. Most would prefer if the outside never entered out system, and more than a few times we have taken action against those who have trespassed with conquering intent when we agreed that the mortal world was unlikely to be able to handle it. So far, the few gods from the outside that we have had contact will have not objected to leaving our system alone."

"True, you do have something of a bias," he chuckled. "Would you be able to destroy an invasion fleet, if they started with followers rather than making their presence known?"

"Of course," she looked at him curiously. "They do have to show up with sizable numbers, or great power."

"It's related to other beings and groups we've encountered or heard of," Wave Runner explained. "I've never run into them myself, but the Covenant are supposed to be religious zealots with incredibly advanced technology. There's also the Plutarkians, but they're occupied elsewhere in the galaxy. They're the worst kind of religious zealots," he chuckled grimly. "The ones that worship money and luxury."

"Money does not buy the kind of power we have at our disposal," Izaris said evenly. "While many of us go by different names in different places, we are not few in number. The Covenant are crazy, but Lord Tamorl made sure their first foray into our system was the last they should want to."

"How did he do that?" Wave Runner asked incredulously. "The Covenant haven't stopped for anything short of planet-eating waves of monsters before, as far as I know."

"Yes, the Flood," Izaris nodded. "However, Tamorl has a way of being... persuasive. Not only blinding every pilot they had with pain but sending it through them into their Gods did an excellent job of telling them that these mammals weren't worth the trouble."

"Very impressive," he murmured.

"Tamorl is pain incarnate," she explained. "As a Primordial, there are few, if any, deities that could be said to outrank him, especially within that area."

"A most effective defense system," Wave Runner nodded, still amazed at the idea of what had been accomplished. "I don't suppose He could be convinced to help out other worlds?"

"Possibly, though it would depend on the deities there, and if they were willing to give him a reason," she said. "Of course, that would be up to him... and whether or not the rest of the Pantheon objected. Some of his opponents might try to block it as an end-run around the Contest."

"I understand," he said politely. "Politics seem to get involved everywhere. How would a government representative open talks with him?"

"Through priests," she chuckled. "It's much easier to do it on a god-to-god level; have the priests ask their deity to come to Tamorl for assistance, and that would be the best way. Alternately, a government representative would have to go through Tamorl's clergy."

"I'll pass that along, assuming anyone believes the story," he gave a rueful grin. "Could you tell me what this contest I've heard mentioned is all about?"

"Of course," she smiled slightly. "It is one of the more unique aspects of Aristal, and the primary reason outside gods want little to do with us, and we prefer to keep it that way. To avoid a repeat of the damage the first several godswars did to the world, and to the mortals that we gain strength from, Lord Tamorl used the energy unleashed in the last one to force everyone to agree to only use select mortals in our conflicts, and the results of their actions must be abided by for that generation. Those select mortals are the Champions. Each god can have one. Despite the grumbling that happens, it is an improvement. It is not known to the mortal world yet, but people were wiped out three separate times during godwards. This is the fourth time we have repopulated the world, and we nearly wiped them out again."

"Very impressive," he mused. "Does it restrict their activities outside this world?"

"Technically, no," she shook her head. "Particularly not with a primordal such as Tamorl who's natural reach goes far beyond Aristal. Halikar would have a much harder time justifying going elsewhere without native followers going there first, as he was born on this world. However, politics do become involved. There will be those who oppose any given god, and an argument could, and has been made that an effort to help elsewhere is really an attempt to gain power to give a Champion an unfair advantage. It is rarely true, and only sometimes upheld when investigated. It does stop aid from being given on occasion to avoid the appearance of trying to skirt the rules."

"Hence the reason politics might stop him from helping other worlds and places," he nodded. "I understand. It is an unusual system... though one I can sympathize with, given that there are several worlds which have been utterly shattered by their gods warring with each other. The only consolation tends to be that the pantheons involved have gone extinct as well."

"While, for whatever reason, many of Aristal's gods have survived each time we have wiped the life from this world," Izaris said. "It is not always an easy system to abide by, but it has worked so far."

"Being energy beings, it seems likely that it's just too hard to kill you," he mused. "By contrast, most worlds with actively warring gods have gods who are more likely mortals in many ways."

"Perhaps more like Halikar. Those who began as mortals and gained godhood by virtue of great personal power and followers, rather than those who were born of universal energy," Izaris mused. "Likely worlds where people evolved without the influence of gods as well."

"Possibly," he nodded. "Or without the influence of active gods, at least. As I told Mika, many worlds and faiths have deities who take a far more hands-off role."

"What is the point of being a god to a people if you do not participate in their world?" Izaris frowned, truly unable to grasp such a relationship. "Why would people continue to worship one who did not aid them?"

"That's a question they've been asking for centuries," he chuckled. "Personally, my theory is that it varies from person to person, and from one god to the next. The Red Mantis, for example, worship their god out of respect. He's very real, just ask anybody who blasphemes on his homeworld, but practically mindless... or, at least, mindless by our standards. However, he's an unparalleled killing machine, highly respected by his assassin-priests for his lethality and skill. Others are worshipped out of fear... a divine protection racket, if you will. The All Mother of Tau Ceti 3 created the basis of all life before passing into slumber; she is still worshipped out of love and gratitude for bringing life into being."

"I can understand that," Izaris nodded thoughtfully, grateful to having her eyes open to a new way of thinking. "Do they also worship more active gods?"

"Some do," he nodded. "Others are on worlds where the gods have, as a rule, decided to move on. Some people theorize that they've died or otherwise lost their power, others simply worship gods who have too much territory to cover, so to speak. I believe one theologian said that if Yahweh had known that some people would expect him to answer all his followers' prayers, he never would have created life."

"We do not expect all prayers and requests to be answered," Mika spoke up. "We do expect any god who expects devotion to make some effort to help us in return. No different than any other relationship, truly. Something is expected in return for what is given."

"There is something to be said for only having one world to pay attention to," Izaris acknowledged.

"I didn't intend to imply that you were unreasonable in what you wanted," Wave Runner reassured Mika. "It's just a matter of the relationship between follower and deity. Honestly, the majority of worlds are largely atheistic, at this point, or at least for all practical purposes. If you ask them, they're religious, but it's a far more mild form of faith."

"Lip service?" Mika suggested. "They go to service, or at least know the main tenets and stories, but it doesn't affect their day to day choices and lives."

"A good way of looking at it," he nodded. "They might live within the tenets of their faith, but they're less likely to let it dictate terms to them on a small scale. I suppose another way to put it would be that faith has become a matter of habit, rather than faith or conscious choice, for them."

"How many gods out there are still active with their people?" Izaris asked curiously.

"Oh dear," he chuckled. "To be honest, I've no idea. I could give the church the datafile on various religions and see if they can sort it out, but it's not really my specialty, not in space-capable regions at least."

"Which we would not be included in," Izaris chuckled.

"No, you wouldn't be," he agreed with a grin. "Close, but not there yet. Though if I leave Jake with my ship too many more times, that might change."

"Oh, we are more than capable technologically of becoming space fairing. It cultural that we do not. We would love to have the datafile, and all the others you have," Mika grinned at him. "I'm sure we can make an equitable trade for it."

"I'm sure you can too - likely more than equitable, from my end of things," he smiled. "I'm quite amenable to a trade like that, and already spoke briefly with one of the priests about how to arrange it."

"Excellent," Mika said.

"So you have any questions best directed to me before I see to other duties?" Izaris asked.

"I don't think so," Wave Runner said easily. "Thank you for your attention, even if the reason for it is something of a pain."

"You are welcome. You are one of the more interesting people to arrive recently," Izaris said before she vanished with her chair.

"The last one was a human blood witch," Mika grinned at him. "I still think she's a strange one."

"I can't blame you," he shuddered. "Blood witches are strange all over. Does she pay visits here yet?"

"Here, no," Mika shook her head. "She has gone to the Great Library on occasion, but she is in the service of Tamorl and the world does not see much of her. She can not blend in like you do. What do you know of them?" Mika cocked his head. "She is not a bad person, and she has used her gifts to help."

"I'm sure she has, but there are some things that just shouldn't be done to a person," he said. "It makes me a little uncomfortable, the thought of somebody who can stop my blood still or make it burn in my veins."

"Mages and psionics must freak you out too," he said, testing the extend and direction of the reaction.

"Not as much," he admitted. "Blood witches specialize in it, after all, among other things. Some psi's can do the same sort of thing, but not many, and mages are extremely rare in most of my chunk of space, to the extent that most people chalk them up to just being superstitious psi's."

"Ah," Mika nodded. "For reference, mages, priests, psionics and metas, at least as we discuss them, are decidedly different from each other."

"Understood," he nodded. "I'll bear that in mind. I do have one question that I didn't post to Izaris, but I thought you'd be able to answer it instead; she said that they created the current life on this world as a replacement for the last batch killed in a Godswar?"

"Yes," Mika nodded. "They have had to recreate the life here four times that have been recorded, and assisted it back from the brink several more."

"I see... do you know how life began here? Divinely created, from nothing to its current state, or a more naturalistic approach?"

"Life evolved on Aristal, both before there were people and afterwards," Mika said. "We have fossil evidence of life and it's changes going back to single-cell creatures. The gods have given it nudges here and there, and recreated what they destroyed, but overall we evolved."

"Were the gods around prior to that?" He asked her curiously. "Or did they come into being later?"

"The primordals were around before life," he said as he began to relax in his new body. "Most of gods came about after people though."

"I understand," he nodded. "Are you getting more comfortable with a male body?" He asked her politely.

"Yes," Mike nodded slightly, his attention drawn back to what he was in. "As long as I don't think about it too much. It is very unsettling, to be a tom."

"I'm sure it would be," he nodded. "Having had a little experience with changing genders, I might suggest that you'll feel better if you get used to it... you will be turned back, Izaris said. Until then, you're in the same ship as the rest of the temple, if not city."

"It is the entire city, and its outlaying areas," Mika said. "How ... do you suggest becoming acquainted with a new body?"

"Activity ... doing things you're used to doing as a female. I usually work out or work on my ship in a new form; I know some shifters who prefer more ... intimate exploration," he suggested.

"Oh really?" Mika purred with a light chuckle and leaned back to consider him. "Perhaps we can explore your other forms while we are exploring my new one?"

"If you'd like," he chuckled. "Though you did ask for my suggestions. I'll ask before this gets going though, rather than after - do you want to stick to ones about your size and shape?"

"I do not enjoy pain, but other than that, exploring very different forms is very much something I should do," he chuckled in reply and grinned at Wave Runner. "Do you enjoy pain with your pleasure?"

"It depends on the form; it's not something I particularly enjoy in my native body, but in some of my larger ones it can be... interesting," he purred. "I take it you enjoy inflicting it?"

"Yes," he acknowledge easily. "While I have learned it can be good without, it is the culture I was raised in. Most females in Traveris are sadists."

"That could explain the suggestions to avoid the country," he nodded. "In the right situation, I can enjoy it. It's just something we'd need to take a little care with."

"So does that most of those recommendations are written by males and males are not in charge of anything in Traveris," she tried to keep her inherent prejudice in check. "It unsettles most of them to be treated the way most of them treated females in their own lands."

"I understand," he nodded sympathetically; he knew there were always two sides to things like this. He hadn't seen much sexism so far, but then, he hadn't been in Treveris to see what it was really like either. "Do you have quarters you'd like to retire to?" He suggested, changing the topic back to the more pleasant one. "Or would you prefer to play somewhere else?"

"My quarters will do nicely," Mika purred deeply and stood.

"Champion, Wave Runner, may I join you?" the acolyte sitting by the couch asked hopefully.

"I don't mind," Mika smiled at him, then looked at Wave Runner.

"I don't mind at all, as long as you don't mind some rather unusual forms," he smiled at the teen.

"I do not mind at all," the acolyte grinned and hopped to his feet to follow them.

"Are all kats as easy about their sexuality as the ones I've met so far?" Wave Runner asked with an easy laugh.

"Most," Mika chuckled and flashed him a grin. "Most Kantin cultures are just as relaxed. That's not to say that you can pick up anyone you meet, but if both sides find each other attractive, it's common enough to enjoy it."

"I'll keep it in mind," Wave Runner grinned as they went up to Mika's quarters. "So, what sort of things are the two of you interested in?"

"I ... believe that I should try things I'm not inclined towards normally," Mika said with only a touch of hesitation. "I prefer dominating my male lovers, and hurting them for both our enjoyment."

"I'm still learning about what's out there, so kinda everything," the acolyte grinned at him. "I haven't done anything that wasn't fun yet, though I hadn't done much with S&M," he admitted.

"Do you have any fantasies you'd like to act out? Either of you?" Wave Runner asked them. "Or do you want to see my forms before you decide? I do have some pictures," he chuckled. "Courtesy of the xenophile who gave me this one."

"Right now I'm just excited by the idea of trying out intercourse as a tom," the acolyte grinned at him. "Especially with a female. It's something I never thought I'd get to try."

"It is not a fantasy, per say, but I would try to give control over to a female," Mika said just as carefully. "To know what my mates do when they are with me."

"Want to build up to some of my bigger, stronger forms, or just start with the one I think you might like most?" He grinned back. "I've got a few fems who could definitely take control, if you're not sure you can give it up easily."

"Let's start with the big girls," Mika grinned at him, only a little nervously, and opened the door to a sumptuous suite with books along almost every bit of wall and the majority of the light coming in from the ceiling.

"Very nice room," Wave Runner smiled. "And that sounds good to me; I'll start with the Mouse, I think. And a little less kink, until I go up next," he promised them both, particularly the young acolyte, and took off his shirt.

"Mouse?" the acolyte cocked his head and purred softly. "There are mice-people?"

"There were," Wave Runner corrected and changed to a white and tan female Martian Mouse. Her eyes were a piercing blue, and tail was long, thin and furless, but her most usual feature were the finger-width translucent red antennae with a bulb on the tip. "As far as I know, they're extinct now, but they used to be in charge on Mars before they were conquered and exterminated by another species."

"What species?" Mika asked as he undressed, looking over the female he would be with for now.

"Plutarkians, and their mercs," Wave Runner explained, taking off her pants and relaxing on the cushions in the nude. "I cleared out of that area pretty fast; 'Plutarkians' is pretty much galactic shorthand for 'don't go there.'"

"Noted," Mika nodded and settled next to her for a kiss with the buck-toothed muzzle. "What are they based on, if it's anything I'd recognize?"

"I'm Tana," the Acolyte spoke up as he knelt to nuzzle Wave Runner's crotch.

"Glad to meet you," she moaned, spreading her legs as she returned Mika's kiss. "They're based on fish, but they're good with disguises. Smell's the best way to spot 'em, that and buying everything that's for sale." Her tail reached down between Tana's legs, the tip teasing his sheath as she rubbed Mika's chest.

"Mmm, what is their goal in conquest?" Mika asked as he began to kiss his way down Wave Runner's body and fondled her breasts.

"Money," she explained with a low rumble, reaching down further to stroke Mika's sheath. "They buy up the world and strip it clean... if they can't, they conquer it, kill everything they can't enslave, and strip it. Not just bare, but down to the core-metals. Only worlds they spare are the ones that are more profitable as centers for tourism and vice."

"Ah ... ahhhh," he moaned at the touch. "Not a group we have to worry about much, then."

"Not right now... besides, better things to worry about," she grinned, wrapping her tail around Tana's shaft as it slid out. "You want to go first, or let him?"

"My turn first," Mika purred as he reached down to tease Wave Runner's clit while Tana's tongue dove deep into her sex.

"Works for me," she moaned, reaching down to stroke Mika's cock with her strong hand, shifting her body so she was slightly above the new tom, subtly taking charge and keeping an eye open for signs that Mika wasn't going to take it. For now, he seemed willing and able to relaxed on the cushions and let her run things.

"Such handsome toms you both are," she rumbled, shifting a bit further to straddle Mika's hips, still letting Tana eat her out. "Never had these before, did you?" She teased, fingering the older tom's barbs.

"No," he gasped, his eyes fluttering briefly at the pleasure. "Even that feels so good."

"Mmm ... play with my antenna, but do it gently," Wave Runner ordered him, enjoying the power play with somebody so important here. She tightened her tail around Tana's cock, going around Mika's with her fingers and playing with or pinching each rubbery protrusion lightly. It was fun to see how much they both reacted to the stimulation. It wasn't something most males had; not too different from her antennae.

She couldn't help but moan deeply as Mika reached up to caress her antennae with a feather-light touch while Tana's tongue worked her sex and fingers worked her clit.

"Either of you want my tail in you?" She asked as her breathing quickened.

"Sure," Tana's voice rumbled up from between her legs. "Mouse sandwich when you're ready?"

"Now works for me," Wave Runner grinned, moving up and sliding down slowly, letting her tight sex envelope the Caracal's throbbing cock.

"Ohhh!" Mika moaned, instinctively thrusting up into the pleasure as he tried to remember to pay attention to all the differences. "Gods!" he cried out sharply as Tana's tongue ran along his cock as he continued to lick Wave Runner's sex.

"Lot better than a strap-on, isn't it?" Wave Runner grinned, rippling the walls of her sex around Mika's shaft.

"Gods yes," Mika gasped, already thrusting out of his control and close to the edge. "It's incredible."

She shifted her tail, releasing Tana's shaft and reaching back to tease his anus with the tip. "Want to finish out the sandwich?"

"Oh yes," he purred and rubbed against her back. "Lube or stretching first?"

"Lube," Wave Runner groaned. "Mmm ... but first, help your Champion get off," she grinned, leaning up and guiding Mika's mouth to her breasts, moaning as the Caracal started licking and suckling at them.

Tana giggled, an odd sound in the male tone, and went to work fondling and sucking Mika's balls as he slid his fingers into the Caracal's ass, mimicking the sexually dominant roll of being penetrated for him.

It only took a few moments of this before Mika grabbed Wave Runner's hips and thrust up erratically and hard as he came as a tom for the first time.

Wave Runner moaned softly, her sex pulsing as she came along with Mika, milking his barbed shaft through the tom's orgasm, kissing him when they were done.

"Good?" She asked with a cocky grin.

"Yes," Mika panted as he recovered, his hands roaming over Wave Runner's firm, rounded body. "No wonder they enjoy it so much."

"Mmm ... and that's only the start," the Mouse teased, raising her tail high. "Up for another round, this time with Tana joining in?"

"Yes," he panted, enjoying the way her body moved around him as Tana did a bit of lube prep work, and pressed his cock against Wave Runner's ass as he rubbed against her back.

"Ready?" Tana nuzzled her neck.

The Mouse took a moment to dip her tail-tip into the lube and press it up against Tana's anus. "Whenever you are," she shivered pleasantly, relaxing her ass and starting to push slowly into the younger tom's ass.

"Ohh," Tana moaned as he was both penetrated and penetrating. "Oh wow," he panted as he sank to his sheath into Wave Runner's body, and felt Mika's cock deep inside her body.

As all three began to move, it was clear to Wave Runner that Tana was going to last even less time than Mika, though he was trying to hold back and savor the experience while he could.

"Let go," Wave Runner recommended. "Mmm ... I'm good for letting you go more than one round," she reassured him.

Good," he panted, grunting as he thrust into her, kissing along her spine and squeezing her breasts as he rode the pleasure to its peak. "Oh, gods," he cried out before he roared and came deep in her ass.

"Good boy," she moaned lowly, squeezing down around both the cocks in her body, loving how they felt against each other through her thin walls, already playing out in her head the game she'd bring up next.

She thought it was getting to be time for Mika to learn to really sub.

The two toms kept thrusting, and it wasn't long before all three came again, collapsing in a happy heap to rest for a few minutes.

"Mmm ... have you ever been penetrated without being in charge?" Wave Runner asked lazily.

"I've never not been in charge," Mika said simply.

"Let's change that then," she grinned. "Have any toys in here you'd like used on you?"

"I don't have toys here," Mika shook his head slightly.

"We'll just have to improvise then," Runner rumbled, sliding off both their cocks and standing up, shifting forms again. This one was huge, muscular, and hairless. Scaly skin parted between her legs to reveal bright pink, swollen flesh. Her breasts were much smaller, almost non-existent, and she towered above Mika's Caracal body.

"So, will you sub to me willingly like this, or do you want me to make you?" She asked with a low, throaty rumble, licking her lips with a powerful tongue.

"I'll try," he said uneasily, looking up at the strange black reptilian creature with thick silver stripes.

"That's all I'm asking of you," Wave Runner rumbled as she stood. "Eat me out; Tana? Why don't you lube him up."

"Sure thing," Tana grinned as Mika shifted to kneel between Wave Runner's spread legs and nuzzled the strange scent of reptile arousal before running his tongue along the surprisingly familiar sex.

"What's the most submissive you've ever been?" Wave Runner asked as Tana fetched the lube and started to loosen Mika's ass.

Mika had to think about that for a while as he began to get into eating his mistress out and Tana sank into his ass with a groan.

"I allowed a tom to be above me when we mated once," he eventually decided.

"Mmm ... well, we definitely have to show you the ropes then," Wave Runner groaned, leaning down to kiss Tana as he fucked the larger tom. "Have to find some ropes," she murmured, shivering as Mika's tongue got some of the seed out of her sex.

"I know where soft ones are," Tana groaned, panting at the pleasure of being inside a willing body, even so soon after coming.

"Good," the Theus grinned. "Mmm... how much experience you have?"

"Not much," he admitted with a grunt. "Been tied up a couple times. Really just the experimenting we all do around here."

"We'll have to be careful then," Wave Runner chuckled with another kiss. "How much do you know about what he likes?"

"Nothing except what's normal for Traveris," he said, groaning as his balls pulled up close.

"I'm very typical there," Mika said before driving his tongue deep into Wave Runner's body.

The rough tongue inside of her, scraping the seed from the walls of her sex, pushed Wave Runner over the edge. With a keening moan, her muscular walls contracted around Mika's tongue, her juices coating the tom's muzzle as Tana groaned and pumped a load of his seed into his ass.

"Chance!" she heard Midnight's unchanged voice cry out in absolute relief as the tabby opened the door. She was in Chance's arms a moment later, hugging her tightly. "I was so worried about you."

"Thank Bastet you're still a fem," Chance murmured, hugging her back. "I've been worried too ... how are the kits?"

"Most are too young to really notice," Midnight said as she let her go and shut the door. "Heather's groggy. The rush of hormones from the change undid most of the good the last few years have done. The school sedated her to keep her under control. Tamera and Lyth are here to help. It's a bit more insane than usual."

"I'll bet," Chance sighed. She gave Midnight a kiss on the cheek before heading into the front room and sitting down to watch Keeu and Marrat play. She wasn't sure if she wanted to know how all the kits would take having two mothers all of a sudden or not.

Keeu gave her the first opportunity to find out as he came over, his eight year old body not much different for the gender change. He sniffed at Chance, stared at her, then cocked his head.

"You're Daddy," he said with a fair amount of certainty, and obvious confusion. "Same reason I'm a tom?"

"Yeah, same reason," Chance nodded, picking Keeu up and sliding him onto her lap. "Looks like it hit pretty much everybody except your Mom and Miss Briggs."

"Uncle Jake and Rock too?" he cocked his head.

"Uncle Jake, yeah... I don't know about Rock though," she admitted. "He's out of town, so he probably wasn't hit, unless it happened in Sayden Bay too. We'll get everybody fixed up though, promise. Uncle... Aunt Jake's working on it now."

"It won't take long then," Keeu grinned and hopped off Chance's lap. "Do you think school will stay closed until then?"

"Not unless Jake's finished in a day or two," Chance chuckled. "They'll probably open up when they know it's not going to cause too much more trouble."

"Good," Keeu grinned and glanced over as Midnight called that dinner was ready. "Are you going back out?"

"I'm planning on it," Chance nodded. "It's going to be a rough night... I want you and Marrat to hold down the fort while I'm gone, okay?" She smiled.

"Yes, daddy," Keeu nodded with serious expression.

"We will," Marrat promised as well. "Tamera and Lyth are planning to stay. "Lady Talos got mom to let her ... him?" she looked up uncertainly. "Gets to be near as well. She was very upset, but happy that Aleice doesn't seem to care about being a tom for a while."

"She's too little to mind yet," Chance chuckled. "C'mon, let's go get dinner, okay?"

"Yes!" Keeu grinned and hopped towards the dining room, gathering Megan and Bruce on the way.

"Well, Keeu's already got a tom's appetite," Chance laughed as she followed him back, kissing Midnight's cheek lightly before taking a look at Heather. He looked miserable; sleepy and a little queasy maybe, which made a half-hearted swipe at Carmin when the new shekat reached over to squeeze her shoulder actually seem reasonable. "Does Talos already have dinner plans, or should I let him know to come in?"

"Please, invite him in," Midnight nodded and smiled as she finished setting the food out on the two tables their family used to dine at. "He's been good enough to stand guard while you were gone. A good meal is the least we can offer."

"I'm with you there; it's hard to get a good security service when the city goes to Hell," Chance chuckled darkly, heading out to the front door. She froze for a fraction of a second when she was greeted by what she was sure was Lady Talos, the tom of Siamese extraction had the same pale platinum blond hair and regal bearing, eviscerating a dark brown tabby shekat.

"Holy... what did she...." Chance stopped when she recognized the dying shekat's face. It wasn't easy, but she looked like the female version of the composite sketch they had of the perp in the Zimmerman case.

"Congratulations," she murmured. "Think you just took out SCU's least favorite scumbag. I'll call this in ... you want to come in for dinner, after they collect your report?"

"Yes, thank you," he inclined his head. "Apparently this favorite scumbag failed to pick a suitable home this time."

"Apparently," she agreed. "Uhm... don't tell Midnight and the kits, okay?" Chance asked, pulling out her cell phone and hitting the speed dial for HQ.

"I will not, unless asked directly," he promised, falling silent as Chance requested a homicide unit and briefly explained the situation.

"You shouldn't have much trouble," Chance said after she hung up. "You're well within the range of three security cameras."

"Thank you," Talos said respectfully. "I will come in after dealing with this," he said, indicating the body. "She did have a knife of her own," he offered. "It's in the bushes somewhere."

"Let the detectives know, they'll find it," Chance nodded as she turned to go back inside. "We're not really in a position to complain about folks defending themselves tonight."

"Understood," he nodded before Chance closed the door and walked to the dinning room.

"Lady Talos will be in shortly; there was a little trouble outside, it's getting cleaned up now," she said, glossing over the gory details and sat down to a feast of rare proportions. "I didn't forget a holiday, did I?" she glanced at her mate with a bit of real concern. She never meant to, but it had happened.

"No," Midnight smiled at her.

"It was a combination stress relief and planning to get everyone full enough they don't want to move," Tamera giggled.

"Well, I'm afraid I do have to head back out again later," Chance chuckled as they heard sirens outside. "But thanks."

"Too many of those today," Midnight murmured, her ears drooping. "This is such a safe neighborhood normally."

"I know, and it will be again, soon," Chance promised her. "It's just the first night after a massive shift... once people realize that this isn't the time to be psychotic, just because you've changed your gender for a while, they'll get back under control."

"Hopefully Jake and his friends will work out how to reverse it soon," Lyth shuddered. "I'll admit, it's kinda fun being female, but the upper ranks are decidedly unhappy."

"I'll bet," Chance nodded. "Not to bring up an uncomfortable topic, but are you planning on having kits while you have the chance?"

Lyth blinked, surprise written clearly on her face as the question was processed for the first time. He looked at Tamera before answering.

"Up to you, sweetie," he kissed her nose. "By me or someone else."

"I haven't thought of it," Lyth admitted. "If I got into heat, I think I will."

"There's a good chance you will; Jake's already gone into it. She's suppressing it for the moment, but I don't know how long Bastet's going to let her."

"Then are you thinking about it?" Midnight looked at her mate with a sly smile. "I'm sure the line for that job would be long and competitive."

"No, thank you very much," Chance chuckled. "I'll stick with siring kits; I've never had any particular urge to actually be pregnant, after going through it from the father's side so many times."

"Then here's hoping you don't go into heat," Midnight teased. "You'd have a hell of a time turning a tom down."

"Maybe I would, but I can think of a few other options while that's going on," Chance chuckled. "Not for discussion while the kits are up though," she winked.

"No, it would not be," Midnight agreed with a smile, aware of the curious looks many of the kittens were giving them. "So how are things out there?" she changed the subject.

"Rough," Chance admitted. "We've got the usual trouble, and on top of it some of the fem gang-bangers have decided to try and outdo their tom counterparts. Worst of it all, Turmoil's troops seem to be throughout the city, and out looking for trouble. I already turned three of 'em over," she chuckled as she dished out a second helping for herself and Talos came in.

"So you're going back out?" Tamera asked, knowing his father all too well.

"Yes," Chance nodded. "Don't worry, honey," she reached over to caress his cheek. "I'll be fine. Sheliel still looks after me."

"It's cleaned up out there," Talos offered simply, taking a seat and accepting a bowl of stew. "Thank you," he smiled politely.

"You are welcome," Midnight smiled at him. "Thank you for helping protect my home and kits."

"It is an honor, Midnight," he said easily. "I will return to my post after dinner," he promised.

"Ma'am, there is no need to hurry," Lyth said. "Anyone who tries to attack us now is in for a lot of trouble. Two full priests, a Ghost, one who is Bastet-blessed and two young spellcasters all in one room."

"Yes, please enjoy the meal," Midnight added with a warm, honest smile. "I do enjoy feeding people well."

"And you do it very well," Talos chuckled gratefully. "I do not expect another attack for some time, I just want to be ready to handle it without having to upset anybody inside. But, for now, I will enjoy the meal as it deserves."

"Thank you," Midnight purred as the conversation drifted to grades, after school activities and other family small-talk.

"Will there be anything else, before I head home for the night?" the well-rounded marmalade tabby shekat Rock had hired as the housekeeper/cook while his parents recovered asked.

"No, I don't think so... would you like to stay for dinner?" Rock asked her as he helped her set the table. "My folks might be more comfortable if you act like a friend instead of an employee," he chuckled.

"If you would like," Xandi looked at the two older kats she was caring for. "I don't have anywhere to be."

"Yes, please join us and enjoy your cooking," Agatha smiled at her. "We have not had company in some time."

"Besides, you always make plenty for four," Rock smiled, walking over to help his mother get her wheelchair into place as his father came in on his own, leaning heavily on his crutches.

"Leftovers are always good," she smiled warmly at him as she helped Vern sit down. "No one should go hungry when it can be avoided."

"Are you sure you're not a Furlong?" Vern chuckled. "Seems to be the family motto."

"Oh, it's many a family motto," Xandi grinned and served up plates of meatloaf, hand-mashed potatoes and steamed peas for everyone before serving herself and sitting down.

"Well, even so, there's no reason you can't enjoy your own cooking," Agatha smiled. "Thank you so much for your help lately."

"You have an easy house to keep," Xandi smiled her thanks. "Some people I help it takes me months just to get the house sanitary. It has been a joy helping someone who has standards similar to my own."

"Well, thank you," she grinned. "I'll take that as a compliment, especially since I'd been planning on a cleaning jag when the accident happened."

"So, dad, while the ladies talk cleaning products, have you thought about moving back to MKC?" Rock asked between bites, unable not to purr at the flavorful home cooking.

"Some," he admitted. "With our jobs pretty well wiped out by this, we won't have too much of a choice. We're not going to move in with you and Jake though," he said firmly. "We'll find a place of our own first."

"It won't be hard," Rock promised. "Finding jobs shouldn't be that difficult either. You both have solid work histories and experience to bring to an interview. It's something most managers appreciate."

"Even if our degrees are a decade or two out of date," he chuckled lowly. "We'll probably move into one of Meg's apartments to start, I think. Rent should be low enough we can cover it until we're back on our feet."

"And it can show you how much the Bars have improved," Rock smiled. "It's really been cleaned up."

"Good to hear, especially since we've got so much family living there yet," Agatha chuckled. "I'm still glad we got out of there though. It wasn't a good place to raise kits, when we left."

"No, and I don't blame you for it, but Sayden Bay had its own problems," Rock reminded her.

"Rock, we never wanted you to feel you had to-"

"That's not what I meant," the tabby interrupted her, realizing how it must have sounded. "Honest, it wasn't. It just... you both meant well, really. It just didn't work out the way you intended."

"Another thing to thank the Manges for," his father grumbled as he ate.

"And the Blue Moon Killer," Rock tried not to growl. "Seriously, that guy screwed things up more than the Manges ever did."

"What do you mean?" Agatha asked with surprise. "Not that we agreed with his methods, but he'd been trying to take out the crooks up here. Like the Poor Man's Crusader."

"If Jake hadn't gotten to him, he would have made things even worse," Rock sighed. "I can't say most of what I know, but they're both Champions. The Blue Moon killer was corrupted, he bad begun to kill for minor crimes; purse-snatchers and jaywalkers. In taking him down, he killed many good Champions. Because it was on the Champion level, it directly affected the nature of the city. It's why all efforts to clean up Saydan Bay have failed badly. It won't be until this generation's contest is over, if it ends well, that this city has any hope for recovering."

"Wonderful," the dark tabby muttered. "That's the sort of thing I don't like about this business... don't give the rest of us any real chance to change things if one person goes nuts, and it puts good people like you and Jake on the line to try and stop them."

"Given the alternative is the gods running rampant, I'll take this way," Rock shook his head. "People still have a lot of influence."

"He knows, Rock," Agatha said gently. "It's just frustrating to find out that part of the reason we came here in the first place was doomed from the word go, pretty much."

"If you hadn't moved, I wouldn't have gotten involved with S&M, without that, I wouldn't have met Jake, started the business that is doing so well and helping so many people, or become a Champion myself," Rock reminded her with a soft smile. "It may have been a rough few years, but I can't say I have any regrets. A lot of good came of that move, mom."

"I know," she smiled slightly. "It's just difficult to think of it that way sometimes... especially when we're leaving Sayden Bay because we need to move back for support."

"That's not how I think of it," Rock said easily. "It's not like you're fleeing; you're coming back where you can keep an eye on your son," he winked. "Besides, you've been in Sayden Bay for close on 30 years now. That's better than a lot of natives, let alone people used to MKC."

"And our grandkits," Agatha purred softly. "Do you know how many there will be yet?"

"Two by blood," Rock smiled. "Another one in the litter is Jake and Midnight's, but she's giving up custody to the two of us."

"That is very kind of her," Agatha said. "Though with as many kittens as she has, it is probably not be quite the loss I think of."

"And it's not like she'll never see them, just not as their legal mother," Rock chuckled. "It's complicated, but we got it all sorted out... be simpler if Jake had just gone into biology though," he laughed.

"How so?" Vern cocked his head.

"Given what Jake keeps talking about when the topic comes up, if he wanted to invest his energy in it he'd probably be able to figure out a way to do an end-run around needing a mother," Rock explained. "Biologically, at least."

"So two males or two female could have a child without the other?" Agatha cocked her head. "I think that might be the most useful thing he has ever turned his attention to."

"Well, I don't know that he's turned his attention to it yet, entirely," Rock said, shaking his head. "Like I said, biology isn't his forte, and there are magical means to pull it off, apparently. But he's considered it, at any rate."

"I hope he does more than consider it," Agatha grinned at her son. "It would be a great contribution to society."

"I'll suggest it," Rock chuckled. "He might manage it."

"Rock, what is it like to be a Champion?" Xandi asked as the conversation died a bit.

"It depends on who your patron is," he explained. "For Jake, it means a lot of tiring nights, especially when he's abroad; he's the Champion of Bastet and Halikar, which means that a lot of people are interested in his kits. Myself, it's not as troublesome, but, sometimes it comes up... not the same way though," he smirked.

"What do you do, for Him?" she asked, trying to remain polite.

"I'm something of a healer, just in a more painful manner," he said. "I could heal my parents," he said, nodding towards them, "but they wouldn't appreciate it very much."

"Tamorl's healing sounds like it'd be pretty rough on anybody with a bad injury," Vern offered.

"At least that isn't a hard-core masochist," Rock agreed. "Most of what I do is PR work, especially with Jake. I also teach classes in how to use pain safely and testify in court about just what someone experienced before they died."

"Like at clubs?" Agatha asked him. "Or other reasons for using pain?"

"Mostly at clubs, though occasionally I teach Enforcers, doctors and chronic pain sufferers how to accept and deal with the pain they have to encounter," Rock said. "Torture isn't legal, and even suggesting it will get a confession thrown out of court. It's not a very accurate way to get intel by itself."

"Unfortunately, that doesn't always stop everybody... and Tamorl's church has something of a reputation," Agatha admitted.

"Most of it entirely warranted," Rock granted. "They have ways to force torture, or tactics like it, to be effective. It doesn't change the fact that they're not common... and that I don't like using them," he added.

"I'm glad you don't," she smiled, then frowned when Rock turned his head sharply to look out the window. "What's wrong?"

"Somebody needs me," he sighed, pushing back from the table. "Duty's calling... at least it's a good reason, I think."

"Should I call the cops?" Xandi asked, her ears sinking to the side as she stood with him. "Or bring my gun?"

"It's up to you if you want to come, but don't call the cops, and you won't need a gun. It's not outside; it's going to be a bit of a run, and I don't know that you'll want to watch me working." He sighed as he kissed his mother's forehead. "I'll be back as soon as I can," he promised. "And don't worry about me; this isn't a Champion I'm after."

"He means he can't be killed," Agatha said. "Please sit and finish dinner with us."

"All right," Xandi nodded uneasily and sat down as Rock left.

Several miles away, Cassie Creed groaned as her vision cleared and she woke up. The rich red vixen tried to move her hands, only to realize that they were cuffed. Her eyes snapped open as she remembered the sickly-sweet smell, the feel of a powerfully-built person grabbing her from behind and clamping a cloth over her mouth and nose.

Gods... where was she? She couldn't see anything back here, but she could feel that she was moving ... and chained to a rough metal wall.

She felt the vehicle come to a stop, and the side door of the van was slid open inside a dark, enclosed space that smelled of old vehicle oil and gasoline.

"What's going on?" She demanded, trying to keep the quaver from her voice. A garage somewhere? A parking garage, maybe? No, the oil smell was too strong... a junkyard?

Where was she? Who'd brought her here?

Why was this happening to her?

She just hoped that this was some sort of sick joke her students were playing on her. It was possible, at any rate.

"You are very pretty," a deep male voice rumbled from the darkness of the door as a large body leaned in to unlock her from the wall.

This close she could smell the arousal and excitement in his scent.

Oh God.

"Th-thank you... w-who are you?" She stammered, realizing that she wasn't likely to get out of this one easily. The Kantin in the door was still mostly hidden; all she could tell was that he was bulky, wearing coveralls, and more than strong enough to just throw her over his shoulder and walk away.

"You will call me Master," he said gruffly.

"Y-yes, Master," she agreed with a whimper. She tried to remember what she'd learned from her friends who'd survived rapists ... fight back. Great, that helped a lot when she was cuffed. If she couldn't fight back, all she could do was play along and hope his fantasies weren't too painful, that if she did what he wanted, he'd let her go so he could come after her again.

But why take her so far away if he was going to let her go? Maybe he was hoping that if he took her away, she couldn't find him if he took her back afterwards.

The deep chuckle that vibrated both their bodies did little to sooth her nerves, and she knew her fear had utterly permeated her scent by she was dropped into a gynecological chair and bound in place, her legs high and spread.

"You smell so delicious," he rumbled as a blindingly bright light was turned on, right in her face, and she realized she couldn't turn her head to look away.

She closed her eyes, straining against the metal bowl her head was in.

"What do you want with me?!?" She demanded, a sob in her voice.

"Everything," he chuckled darkly as he cut her clothing away, making no effort not to cut her in the process.

By the time she was naked, she was bleeding from a dozen little cuts, a whimper or cry with each one only seeming to spike his arousal even higher.

"P-please, you don't have to do it like this," she tried, hoping that this was more a perceived need than what he wanted. If she could get him to untie her... maybe she could tolerate him fucking her a couple times, until he was tired and she could try and get away.

"Of course not," he laughed and thrust his cock deep into her dry sex, tearing the sensitive skin and folds of flesh. "Don't worry, you won't die for a long time," he grinned down at her as a hand came into view.

It was just enough that she could tell his fur was short, rough and a deep ruddy brown.

In that hand was a thick needle he drove through her breast below the nipple, then threaded a large loop threw the hole before going on to the other side while he thrust, his knot slowly swelling as he got off on what he was doing, and the pained yelps she let out as he pierced her nipples.

"Stop!" She begged him. "P-please, just stop, I'll - I'll sleep with you without you having to do all this," she whimpered painfully. "Even take the piercings if you want, just let me go!"

"I'm not making you comply, pretty thing," he growled, grunting as he thrust, his knot popping in and out of her bloody sex as he hooked the loops to the stripped ends of electrical wires. "You are mine until I tire of you or you break. My very own bleeding, screaming fuck-doll."

She was going to die, either way, she knew it. Until he tired of her, or she broke... either way, she was sure he wouldn't let that 'weakness' go unpunished. His cock slammed into her cervix as he fucked her hard and deep, knocking the wind out of her. He tied with her, just twisting the wires as he humped her fast, grinding his cock against her innermost walls. He reached up, out of the light, as he howled and started to come.

Cassie swore her heart skipped several beats as he threw a switch, electrocuting her through the new piercings, her screams entirely drowned out by his howl of ecstasy as she tightened and spasmed involuntarily around his throbbing, spurting cock.

"Oh yeah, there is nothing like that first time," he rumbled and turned off the electricity.

She was almost too scattered to recognize the crash of a shattering door, then her world dissolved into fiery agony as her pelvis was crushed to free him to face the intruder.

Rock took in the scene in an instant, a scowl of disgust crossing his face.

"Rank amateur," he growled at the Ridgeback spinning to face him. "What, this your first time?"

"Who the fuck are you?" he growled back, shifting towards a rack of tools to fight with.

"The Champion of Eshik and Marka. I already know who you are, Garen. I'm here to shut you down. Now, are you going to do this the easy way, or the painful way?" Rock asked him, quickly taking stock of the tools at Garen's disposal, assessing the greatest threats and was pleased to find nothing that his unarmed skills couldn't handle with ease. It was a basic woodworking and handykat tool setup.

"Why would you want to stop me?" Garen looked honestly surprised.

"You might be enjoying this; she isn't. If you'd just settled for willing partners we wouldn't be doing this, but you just have to go too far."

"It's no fun when they're willing," Garen growled as he reached back and grabbed a large spiked hammer. "You of all people should understand that."

"Then you ought to really enjoy this," Rock said darkly, extending a hand towards the tool rack and activating his latest trick from Tamorl. A portable drill behind him spun up, swinging off the rack by its AC cord. He twisted to dodge it, stumbling back against the band saw.

Then Rock activated that and let him scream, the bones of his ribs along his back cut into by the steel blade before he could pull himself away from it and lunged at the tabby with a howl of rage filled pain.

"Not so fun when it's being done to you, is it?" Rock pointed out, ducking under the lunge and driving his claws into Garen's groin, raking his balls and cock open and letting him bleed as he pivoted to keep an eye on the Razorback. The only question, at this point, was how long he'd last before he passed out.

And if Rock would bother calling an ambulance for him... though he didn't particularly feel like it at the moment.

Garen staggered in pain and blood loss, already having difficulty focusing on his opponent and even more difficulty breathing with a torn lung and destroyed left ribcage structure. With the realization that he was severely outclassed he worked his way towards a hidden door and escape.

Rock considered going after him ... but decided against it. He was already dead; it was just a matter of how long it would take him to realize it.

The victim, on the other hand, needed his help.

He turned towards her, rushing to the table and undoing her bindings.

"How badly hurt are you?" He asked her as he turned the light over her head so she could see. He could tell himself, but he wanted to know how much she was aware of... and to make sure he kept her conscious, at least until he healed her.

"Bad," the vixen whimpered, her head turning towards him the fraction the device she was in allowed her. "Real bad. 911. Please."

"I can do better, if you're willing, but it'll hurt badly," he warned her, lifting her head from the bowl and cradling it gently as he removed the wires from the piercings in her nipples. "I'm a healer on top of the rest, but you'll probably pass-out half-way through."

If she was lucky.

"Can't hurt more than it is now," she tried to stop the tears from coming. "Please, fix me."

He nodded, closing her eyes and removing the piercing, channeling Tamorl's power. She screamed in renewed agony as she went through the pain of having her bones set back in place, the stinging and itching and aching of months of healing taking place in a matter of seconds. Rock held her tightly, keeping her from moving as well as he could as she sobbed, finally going distressingly still as he finished his work.

A part of him wanted to help her mind as well, but he wasn't sure if she'd be up to the stress, after that. It would have to wait.

He took her wallet out of what was left of her clothes, looking up her address, and found a spare set of coveralls she could wear until she was home. Dressing her was a pain, but she started to wake up as he was fastening the last button.

"I'm sorry, but I don't have any new clothes for you; you'll have to put up with something that smells like him until I can get you home safely."

"Wh-what about him?" she managed to focus enough to ask. "Police?"

"He's already dead, or will be in a few hours," Rock promised her. "I'll call the police later, but for now, we should get you home... or somewhere safe, at any rate. If you want, I can take you to my parent's apartment until we know he's dead; my parents are there, and their nurse, so you don't have to worry about my intentions," he offered.

"My girlfriend," she murmured, willing to stand and just as willing to let him hold her. "Cell phone, Jess."

Rock helped her sit up, then found her cell phone in her shredded clothes, dialing Jess and handing it to her as he helped her stand.

"There you go," he said. "You want her to pick you up?"

"Yes," Cassie nodded, her thick, gorgeous tail swishing in agitation until it was answered. "Jess, honey, I need you to pick me up," she got out before a sob overtook her.

Rock could hear the concern on the other end shift to panic, then to determined orders he was very familiar with in tone. When Cassie sank to the floor, sobbing, he took the phone from her.

"Jess, she's at 5291 Wild Pine Ave, and I'll stay here to protect her until you get here. I came across the scene and drove off her attacker, but I don't know if anybody else is going to try anything," he said as the sound of a police siren kicked in on the other side.

"I'll be there in ten," Jess promised, the sound of information and directions passing to another person in the car with her, and over a radio in the background. "How badly hurt is she?"

"Physically, she's fine; I healed her after driving off the Ridgeback who grabbed her. She'd...." He sighed. "She'd had her pelvis broken and breasts pierced, but I was able to repair the damage. She's just realizing that the crisis is over and she can freak out. You'll want to let SCU know that they should be on the lookout for a Ridgeback who's either in the hospital, or dead. He had a bad run-in with a bandsaw to the back before I practically castrated the bastard," he growled with grim satisfaction. He'd have to be sure to let the priests know to include that spell for use in situations like this. Shops were very effective for it.

"Is ... would evidence still be inside her?" Jess asked, only breaking the professional tone briefly after passing the information on to her partner. "An APB is out on the Ridgeback. Do you have anything else on him?"

"Yes, evidence will still be intact... but I'd suggest not worrying about that. If the Ridgeback does make it...." He didn't say what he'd do. He wasn't sure about that, or about the consequences. On the one hand, he'd finish the job gladly. On the other hand... he didn't have orders to do so. But he knew, in his marrow, that if Garen wasn't killed he'd go after somebody else. He'd just have to find some way to get around a shredded cock and balls. "His name is Garen, but I don't know his last name, if he has one. He works out of the shop that we're in right now, and he's a psychotic sexual sadist. He will kill again if he gets the chance, but the band saw probably only missed his heart by a few inches; he'll be breathing blood through one lung at least by now, and have several ribs in lousy shape."

"Understood," Jess said almost cautiously. "Who are you?"

"The Champion of Tamorl, Eshik, and Marka... it wasn't exactly an accident that I came across the scene, I was sent to help her. She'll be fine, especially if she's willing to get some help with the trauma. I can give you both a good reference to the Temple's counselor's, if you'd like."

"Oh ..." he could hear her swallow as it sank in that this wasn't just a rape. Outside, her could hear the sirens approaching, most likely Jess' car.

"I'm coming in," Jess said just before a medium brown shekat stepped inside, a cell phone in her hand before she clicked it off. "Thank you, Champion," she said politely, struggling to remain professional as she knelt to try and comfort her girlfriend. "It'll be okay, Cassie," she crooned, holding the vixen close as they rocked together.

"Yes, thank you," Jess' partner said, his gun drawn but held to the side as he kept an eye on the scene. The buff mix of Alsatian and Bloodhound with reddish brown fur gave a sad, worried look at Cassie, one that spoke of more care than just her girlfriend's partner.

"If you need to get hold of me, for any reason, here's my card... and the card for the High Priest and Priestess of Eshik and Marka in Sayden Bay," Rock said, handing the cards to Jess' partner. "I'll let them know to give directions to Jess and Cassie, and if either of them says that I gave them references, they'll see that they're taken care of," he promised. "I'm so sorry I couldn't get here any sooner," he sighed.

"I'm pretty sure you saved her life," he put a hand on Rock's shoulder and squeezed it in thanks. "Where there is life, there is recovery. If that guy's who I think it is, he's the prime suspect in at least a dozen murders in the last decade. Thank you," he said with honest, strong conviction and gratitude. "Cassie's recovered from worse than this. She's a strong bitch."

"Good to know, on all counts," Rock nodded. "I should be getting back home; good luck with all of this, and with finding what's left of him."

"I just need you to write out an incident report, and you can head home," the Kantin said, then grinned with a wink. "Godda love paperwork."

"Sure," he nodded, following him out to the car to fill it out.

About an hour later, Rock opened the door of the apartment, his ears twitching as he heard the news.

"...mutilated body discovered dockside today. Police are investigating, but early reports suggest that this may be the work of the Carpenter. Has this killer expanded his interests to males as well? Did his latest victim escape, only to succumb to his wounds? More details as they develop...." The reporter went on, but Rock had heard enough.

"Mind changing the channel?" He asked hopefully as he took a seat in the front room. "And they're all wrong," he added quietly.

"Of course not," Agatha glanced up at him as she clicked the remote to the international news channel. "Was that what you had to go deal with?"

"The Carpenter," he said softly. "He had a new victim, first once since I've been up here. Eshik and Marka wanted me to save her... she's fine," he added. "Her girlfriend is taking care of her. The body they found was the bastard... didn't think he'd get very far."

"You're sure it's the Carpenter?" Xandi asked him nervously, and hopefully.

"Unless Sayden Bay has more than one psychopath with a maternity table in his woodshop and a preference for unwilling partners, I'd say it's pretty much a lock; it's up to the cops to link it decisively. But I do know the body they've got is a killer. For what it's worth, I didn't do the worst parts of it to him. He did those to himself, more or less."

That was the easiest way to say it. Particularly since otherwise he'd have to explain, to his parents, using a band saw on him. Even if Garen had deserved it, he doubted they'd understand.

"How?" Vern stared at him.

"Please don't ask," Agatha countered quickly with a rather queasy look on her face. "I really don't want to know."

"Since everything seems to have calmed down, I'm headed home," Xandi said and stood, glancing at the TV briefly as the MegaKat City highlights came on.

"Thanks for staying late," Rock said gratefully as she left. "And it wasn't a big deal; he stumbled into some of his own gear in the middle of the fight and it turned on. Messy, probably what killed him, but no biggie," he said, hoping to satisfy both parents as he listened to what was being re-broadcast. "Looks like they've got a new anchor... shit." He blinked as he saw the headline. 'Omega Attack Changes Genders.'

Rock bolted from his seat and grabbed the phone, trying to remember the extension for MegaKat City as he dialed Jake's primary cell phone. It rang six times, leaving Rock nearly frantic.

"Jake here," a frustrated, light female voice answered. "You catch the news, love?" she tried to greet her mate gently.

"I just did; are you okay?" Rock asked, grateful that Jake's voice hadn't changed that much with, presumably, his gender. "How bad is it?"

"Besides almost everyone swapping sex, pretty normal," Jake tried to assure him. "Midnight's still female, healthy and pregnant, so's Callie. I've got the device that did it, mostly intact, but we're still hunting Turmoil down. How are things up there?"

"Hang on, Callie's pregnant again? During an election year? When did that happen?" Rock asked, confusion clear in his voice.

"No, Callie's still female and healthy," Jake said. "You coming home?" she asked quietly, a hungry edge in her voice.

"I can if you need me... are you sure you're okay, Jake?" He was trying to figure out the edge there... and it dawned on him. "You're in heat, aren't you?"

"Technically holding it off," Jake's voice almost broke. "I can't much longer. I'm already pregnant by Kyale."

"H- right, gender swap," Rock sighed, shaking his head. "I can get my folks packed and we can be back down there in a few hours," he offered. "Unless you want me to stay out of there so you can work?"

"I want you here," Jake said with as much certainty as she could muster. "I want your kittens too."

"We'll be there as soon as we can," Rock promised. "Love you, Jake, see you soon."

"I love you," Jake purred. "I'm at Area 17. See you soon."

Rock hung up and let a breath go as he turned to his parents. "I know this isn't expected, but...."

"You have to go home, tend to your mate, and make some grandkittens for us to spoil," Agatha grinned at him. "There is no reason Xandi can't deal with the next week without you, then both of you can come up and help us pack and move."

"Thanks for understanding," Rock smiled, giving her a kiss on the cheek before heading out to pack up the clothes he'd brought along.

"About time we manage to get some time to ourselves too," Vern chuckled, leaning back as they changed the channel to something a little more mundane than the news.

Rock waited irritably as he was waved through security, more than a little unnerved by all the familiar people who weren't anymore.

"Look, I already told the last three people that I've been in Sayden Bay for over a week, I came down here because I heard about the attack and wanted to check on my mate, Jake."

"I know, but we're working on ... there, you're confirmed," the guard nodded. "I'm sorry, sir, but we've had Turmoil's troops giving us Hell through the city. They seem partial to Enforcers, and we don't know what they look like...."

"Except that some of them, if they were toms, would look a lot like me," Rock sighed. "Can I go through now, please?"

"Yes, sir," she nodded, opening the door to finally let him into Jake's lab.

The scent in the place clocked him over the head with the first breath, and he had to wonder if Jake was still trying to control his ... her heat or not. He didn't have long to work on that question before low cursing drew his attention towards one corner of the warehouse-sized lab littered with the wreckage of gods knew what.

"Parts of the weapon?" Rock asked, trying to breathe through his mouth for all the good it did him. He was just devoutly grateful that he didn't have Chance's reaction to it. The sight of his mate, with female curves and sweaty fur from concentrating so hard was enough to get to him normally.

"Most of it," Jake nodded as she looked up, the hunger blatant on her face. "This'd be over with by now if it was intact. As it stands, I have to fix it first."

"So, think it'll be faster if I leave, or if I help you wound down enough you can focus?" Rock asked with an unconscious purr.

Jake couldn't help but chuckle. "There is no way I would have asked you to come if it wasn't to help me wind down," she purred deeply, her eyes on Rock's crotch as she rubbed her breasts through her uniform before she began to strip. "As intense as it was during Midnight's heat, this is going to be incredible."

"Tell me about it," Rock groaned, letting Jake's scent work on him. "Just remember to push me off when you have to get back to work, 'kay? Chance needs his gonads back before he goes into heat," he laughed.

"At least he won't be getting pregnant if he does," Jake cracked a grin and reached into Rock's pants to fondle his hard, dry cock. "You have no idea how good that feels," she moaned just touching what her body wanted so badly.

"I know how to make it better though," Rock grinned, taking off his pants and grabbing Jake, setting her down on a worktable and climbing up with her. "At least you picked a good night to get gender-swapped; I didn't have to pick between you and duty when I heard," he rumbled, kissing her hungrily. Without another word he obeyed the demands of the burning body under him and sank his cock into her with a smooth thrust.

"Want your kittens," Jake moaned, whimpering into Rock's mouth as they thrust against each other in mutual need.

Wave Runner let out a low whistle as he saw the inside of the Great Library of Izaris. It was very impressive, crystal and gilding everywhere, refracting sunlight throughout the tall building so every corner was awash in natural light. Every surface that wasn't covered in crystal or mural held a shelf full of books, scrolls, knowledge crystals, computer terminals, and other ways of storing information.

"And this is only part of what Izaris' Temple has access to?" He asked the young Priest showing his silver-tabby form through.

"Yes," the golden-furred Coyote bitch nodded with a proud smile. "Every major city has a Great Library, though this is the largest outside of Izaris' Great Temple Island."

"Most impressive... but isn't it dangerous, keeping this all in one location?" He asked. "I didn't notice any guards."

"We have magical defenses, and prefer the guards to be unobtrusive," he smiled. "We do not want to scare legitimate visitors away. Besides, little of the information here is not available elsewhere. Have you browsed the internet?"

"I have," he nodded. "However, I've found that the internet, no matter where you are, frequently pales compared to private libraries such as this. Some information just doesn't translate to electronic formats."

"Quite true, but the principle is the same," the Coyote said. "We try to disseminate information so as many people as possible know as much as they can."

"No wonder you don't need as much in the way of defenses...." He chuckled. "The copyright lawyers in my sector would rip their collective hair out if they knew about a group like this adopting an 'information wants to be free' mentality."

"Oh, we've agreed not to release the secrets or content of anything actually in development or production without a court order, and the state secrets of everyone are safe, but shy of that, not much is," she chuckled. "Well, we don't reveal private lives of the living either."

"So how do you get all of this information?" He asked curiously.

"Much is from a vast mortal network, the rest is from accessing the real Great Library," she said. "Izaris has all information not protected by Jenz, the Keeper of Secrets, recorded there. It is Her duty as the Keeper of Knowledge to find, record and teach it."

"Non-fictional information only?" He checked, looking at the shape of some of the more modern books on the shelves.

"Oh no," the Coyote grinned, nearly yipping in excitement. "Artwork of all kinds, including 3-dimensional images of statues, body paint and plays, films, and all kinds of fictional work from great classics to the most minor doodlings of children. What something is, and how accurate it is, is recorded on it's information card."

"It sounds like you might have a favorite," he observed with a smile. "Anything in particular?"

"The fan-fiction," she snickered. "Stories written by fans about characters from their favorite shows. Some are incredibly imaginative."

"If it's anything like the fan-fiction back home, I'll bet," he chuckled. "I never read that much of it, but the reputation is definitely there. It's what killed the computer-generated actor trend," he snickered.

"Why?" the priestess cocked her head at him. "It hasn't stopped animated shows here."

"Animated shows, yes, but not artificial performers," he explained with a grin of his own. "We reached the point where the software and computing power was available that fan-fiction became fan-movies, featuring the original actors and everything. It turned into something of a scandal when the AI that had been created for one of the top family programs admitted in an interview that it preferred some of the raunchier fan projects it had been borrowed for, and I think the company is still paying for the therapy for the viewers of a children's show with a lower-grade AI that got ... confused ... what project he was working on."

"It was a live broadcast?" the Coyote frowned in confusion. "Those are very unusual here, except for emergency newscasts."

"The first one was a live interview; the second one wasn't a live broadcast, but one of the parents of a live actor went to the media with the story, and it spread like wildfire," Wave Runner explained.

"I can imagine," the Coyote nodded. "What can I help you find today?"

"I'd like to look into some of the recent history and culture -" Wave Runner stopped, looking up as he heard something collapsing outside. "Is there a construction crew out there?"

"No," the Coyote flattened her ears. "Please follow the other guests to the center of the library," she said with a professional, clipped tone as she headed towards the door. "We have trouble coming."

Wave Runner started to turn to do so, but as he walked to follow her, he saw something medium-sized, humanoid and light purple scampering through.

"Are there small animals in here?" He asked quickly and quietly, reaching to dial the Myradi over to the Warbeast even as the Coyote dove for it in an unmistakable hunting lunge that sent deep red blood spurting over her thick golden-tan fur.

That answered that question. Whatever this attack was, it was coming here and these things were to be killed.

He activated the Myradi, shifting into the Warbeast's form and turning around, loping out to the entrance to see what was attacking them. He was reasonably confident that any local creature would be hard-pressed to hurt him seriously like this, especially creatures half the size of a Kat. He forgot that he looked like a monster as powerful bands of energy wrapped around him, dropping him flat on his face as more of the creatures scrambled in to be tackled by priests with weapon, spell and claw.

He strained to hit the Myradi again, snarling as he turned back into his tabby form.

"Black tides, I'm on your side!" He roared at whoever had ensnared him. "Let me go and I can help!"

"He is!" the Coyote that had been speaking with him yipped and tackled another of the creatures before yelping in pain as claws dug into her flesh before she snapped it's neck.

The bands were released as the spell-caster turned his attention elsewhere. He shifted back into the warbeast, grabbing one of the creatures in his mouth as they rushed him, slashing through three more with one powerful swipe of his claws as he bit the head and shoulders off the one in his mouth, spitting them out and rushing for the door again. If he could stem the tide there, they could handle the ones already inside.

Not as easy as it sounded.

The creatures were a swarm, no other way to put it, and they were still pouring out of sewer drains and manhole covers in an effort to win by numbers.

He looked up, and gaped as he saw the source of the crashing noises he was hearing; it looked like a giant sludge monster, and as it stalked towards the city it smashed anything in its way.

Including people.

So this was what they meant by 'Omega attack' around here. What kind of crazy place found this only front page news?

Maybe this was a bit beyond the Warbeast's scale... but it wasn't beyond the Myradi's. It was obviously biological, which meant he was about to take full advantage of its versatility.

He lunged forward, away from the door, and leaped on top of a car, crushing in the roof as he made another leap, this time into the 'torso' of the beast. One of the priests gasped as she saw him plunge into it, sure she'd just seen him commit a particularly foolhardy suicide.

Then the creature started to bulge, swelling up... and it exploded, bursting around the second beast that formed inside!

The new one wasted no time getting to work, smashing all the Creeplings it could reach, taking the chances presented by open manholes to reach down, crush a half-dozen or so of the nuisances, and leave a chunk of itself behind, blocking off that particular access point for them, at least for a time.

Wave Runner was still at Creepling control when the original monster reformed itself and slammed its fists into Wave Runner's back.

He looked down at the thick, gloopy fists protruding from his chest with a scowl. He had one major advantage over that one; he knew that it was capable of controlling its consistency.

It just didn't have the brains to do it consciously. Its fists were solid enough to break through his body. That meant they shouldn't come out too easily if he....

He stiffened his body around the fists, trapping them in it. His head twisted around all the way, shifting on its semi-liquid base as he started pummeling its face, aiming specially for the massive eyes, the only thing he was sure he could hurt.

He was soon aware of the rumbling thunder of approaching jets and helicopters, missiles ... and let out an uncontrolled scream as electricity arced through them both.

It hurt, badly, but he was sure it would have hurt worse if he hadn't been in this form... quite possibly lethal. He glanced back, and saw from the look of surprise on everybody's face that they'd expected it to be just that. It hadn't worked as well as they'd expected.

Monsters weren't that uncommon here, and they knew to react to them quickly. He had to keep that in mind... they shot first, asked questions later. Probably from hard-learned habit.

Which meant he only had so long in this body before they'd find something that would kill him. He had to think ... what would kill this thing. Considering what the Myradi had told him about the body, it was mostly water. No surprise, most of his forms were, but this one differed in that the water was exposed; it could dehydrate easily.

That would be the key, he was sure of it. They were nothing but giant bacteria colonies, from the data the Myradi was feeding him. And he knew all too well what happened to aquatic life forms if they were hauled out somewhere hot and sunny ... like the Badlands around the city. He formed a mouth and rudimentary lungs, keeping up his barrage of blows as he tried talking to the defense forces.

"Find a way to pick it up!" He shouted up at them. "Get it out away from town!" Giving them some time to do just that, he picked up the original creature and threw it down the streets, away from the Temple, satisfied to see that it came crashing down on top of a group of Creeplings that had just managed to tunnel up through one of his blocked manholes.

The blob oozed back up to face him as the aircraft buzzed around, then several darted off. Ground forces were clearing the area as best they could and the priests were protecting their temple with some kind of energy shield.

Hopefully they were going after some sort of special retrieval system; in the meantime, he'd have to keep the creature from doing any extra damage.

"Well, come and get me," he shouted at it; it probably didn't have the brainpower to understand what he was saying, but it beat a mindless roar all the same. It also might help the locals keep track of which was monster and which was help.

The blob lumbered towards him, but he couldn't move any faster that it did as they clashed in the now-deserted street, oozing and lumbering around each other.

Wave Runner hit it, leaving a fist behind and reforming it as he took a lumbering step back, ripping a power pole down and letting it fall into the monster, along with its live cables.

"Whatever you're all working on, work faster!" He called out to the Enforcer vehicles still in the area.

"They're coming!" a bullhorn-amplified voice responded as the roar of jet engines approached again, with heavy helicopters not far behind them.

In the interests of not getting hit by confused friendly fire, he activated the Myradi again, returning to his tabby form and bolting from the battle, heedless of the fact that he was completely naked at the moment. He was quite sure that no one would care either. They all had much bigger concerns than one person running down the street naked. He just wished that he could have gotten back into the Great Library.

An Enforcer patrol car screeched to a stop in front of him, passenger side to him, and the front door opened.

"Get in!" A tall, strongly build gray tomkat nearly the size of a Tiger yelled at him.

He jumped in, slamming the door behind him. "Thanks, whoever you are!" He nearly yelled to him, pulling himself to a sitting position as the car's tires screeched as he turned it around and hit the gas to clear them from the area.

"Thank you, for helping," he looked him over. "What's your name?"

"Wave Runner, and I can explain why it was I was able to turn into another of those things," he told him quickly, folding his hands in his lap.

"Lt. Commander Felina Feral," he introduced himself and reached back to grab his trench coat without looking, pulling it forward for it. "You're the one Jake and Rock brought back a couple days ago."

"Yes, and thank you," he said, taking the coat and draping it over himself for now. "You're in the loop then, about what I am?"

"To an extent," he nodded. "I'm second in command of the Enforcers. They do tell me the basics of what comes into town. In your case that a curious, friendly alien who could change shape was in residence for a while, based out of Izaris' temples."

"That's the gist of it," Wave Runner nodded. "Glad you were there to pick me up... what's the plan to finish dealing with that thing?"

"There's some congealing powder being pumped into it by missile right now," Felina said as he slowed the car and pulled around to watch. "It should solidify it enough that the helicopters can spike it with grappling lines and haul it off to the badlands where Jake and company can have the time to wipe it out.

"That was about what I'd though," Wave Runner nodded. "Didn't know about the powder though. Just leaving it in the Badlands should evaporate it pretty soon, leave enough solid matter for a good-sized petri dish."

"By the way, welcome to MegaKat City," Felina grinned at him. "This kind of thing happens almost monthly."

"I'll be sure to make a note of it," he chuckled lowly. "Though I imagine you don't usually get a full-bore kaiju battle," he grinned at her. "I tried to minimize the collateral damage, aside from those creepy little purple buggers."

"Creeplings," he supplied as the monster was hauled up and away by several heavy helicopters. "Dark Kat's primary minions. Any idea what they're after?"

"I don't know... state secrets, maybe industrial ones? Whatever they're after, it's in the Great Library, and something they couldn't reach without stealing it. It'd be stupid to do this otherwise."

"Agreed," he nodded grimily. "Can I drop you off anywhere?"

"If you don't need any help, I've been staying at Mark West; I get the feeling that my visit to the Great Temple really ought to be put off."

Felina couldn't help but chuckle. "While they would probably disagree on principle, I'd agree with that assessment. It's going to be chaos and trigger-happy Enforcers for hours yet. I'll have an officer drive you out. That's a bit too far for me to be gone right now," he said and picked up the radio mike to call for Lt. Cmdr. Recka Thomas. "Even if I'd be willing to bet the drive is going to be more fun than what I get to do," he cracked a grin at him. "Just don't be surprised if someone comes by to get the details of what happened."

"I won't be," he chuckled.

Midnight's nose woke her, more than anything. Chance was still asleep, gratefully. She'd had a long, hard day keeping the peace on the street and finally came home only after things had largely settled down when folks realized that beyond the gender change, not much was going on. It also helped that almost every new shekat was staying inside, either from embarrassment, fear, or because she was now in heat.

Now the tabby was in the first stage of a heat herself.

Midnight snuggled close to her and waited. She'd let her mate sleep as long as the tabby's body let her, but it wouldn't be much longer.

It wasn't long. Just a few minutes later she was whimpering softly, in an unrecognized need that wasn't quite enough to wake her up yet. Her hands knew what they were interested in though, roaming Midnight's body quietly.

It was a pity neither one of them had realized this was coming, or they'd have found a way to get the kits out of the house. Midnight just hoped they didn't come in, and that her mate could handle being left alone better as a shekat in heat than as a tom who's mate was in heat.

Still, it would be interesting, Midnight mused as she let her hands wander along the large, muscular frame next to her. Even as a shekat, Chance was more masculine than many toms. Especially these days; most toms were distinctly effeminate. She had to think that it would make TV interesting in the next few months; it'd be a blast to see how they wrote around that particular plot twist.

"Pregnant, aren't you?" Chance murmured sleepily, brain beginning to clue in to the fact that something was wrong.

"Yes, and be grateful for it lover," she couldn't help but giggle. "Or you would be soon."

"Bwuh?" She asked blearily, opening her eyes. "What's that got to do with you bein' in heat?"

"I'm not," Midnight kissed her gently and slid her fingers between the tabby's legs to caress her swollen sex. "You are."

"Ah crap," Chance moaned, spreading her legs instinctively. "Of all the things to come up...."

"At least I'm not a tom to have something else come up," Midnight kissed her gently. "And I know where some toys are."

"Want to go get some, or try this the old fashioned way? Not sure which takes the edge off more," Chance admitted sheepishly.

"Toys," she kissed her again and slid out of bed. "I'll be right back. Feel free to start without me," she added with a wink.

"That would be an all new level of awkward," Chance pointed out as she left the room with a quiet giggle, though the door had barely closed when she found her hand between her legs. Her fingers were soon slick with her own juices, and even wanting to stop, to just let Midnight do her thing, the ragged moan that escaped her throat when her finger rubbed against her clit blew that idea out of her mind.

"All right, so I'm redefining awkward," she muttered to herself, working her clit hard and fast. She ached to have something inside of her, but right now this helped at least. She cried out, her body stiffening as an orgasm ripped through her.

As she lay there, panting, her fingers pressing against her throbbing clit as her body tried to pull in a cock that wasn't there, her deepest need to have her pussy filled was answered by something that seemed real.

"Welcome to the pleasures of a shekat," Midnight purred, kissing her gently as she began to work the warm, vibrating Kat dildo in and out of her mate's body.

"Gods," Chance gasped into her mouth, milking the dildo hungrily as she wrapped her arms around Midnight. "Where've you been keeping this?"

"In one of those boxes you never look at in the bathroom," she giggled, kissing her back as she worked the dildo. "You are gone for days at a time."

"Oh... only when I have to be," Chance groaned, reaching down to pull her legs up and further apart. "Fuck, baby, need this so bad," she whimpered, milking the silicone length.

"Think you can handle fucking yourself for a few minutes?" she kissed her soundly. "Let me call HQ, and get a harness."

"You'd better be planning that in two separate steps," Chance joked weakly.

"I don't know," Midnight giggled on her way out, leaving Chance with the dildo. "Kathie probably has some interesting ones!"

"Probably," Chance murmured to herself as she played around a bit with angle and position, seeing just what felt the best. "Jake would too," she panted to no one as her grip shifted to rub her clit while the warm vibrator moved inside her.

She seriously hoped that Jake could get this fixed fast... the dildo was good, but she couldn't help but feel that the real thing would be better, and she did not want to go that far!

"So do you want to try a different one, or keep with that one?" Midnight's amused voice broke her concentration on her own pleasure.

"Have another one you're more comfy with?" She asked. "I'm good either way... and I don't think I wanna know why you have that," she panted, looking at her mate hungrily.

"Left over from when I needed girlfriends," she said and slid the vibrator from Chance's dripping sex and attached it to the front of the harness. "Tamera uses it these days," she added as she sank into her mate and leaned forward to kiss and fondle the tabby's breasts as her hips began to move.

"Lyth's more playful than I am, I guess," Chance moaned, pressing up into her thrusts and wrapping her legs around Midnight's lower back. Neither of them heard the door open behind them, though they did hear the giggles.

"Not gonna work that way," Heather offered helpfully, holding a tray of breakfast, Pat right behind him.

"Go outside and close the door, girls," Midnight ordered quickly, her head tuned towards the two tomkits.

"How long has it been since we've had that happen?" Chance asked with a groan as Heather yelped, being tugged out by the tail before Pat closed the door.

"Two years, and you forgot to lock the door that time," she moaned as she pounded into Chance's sex with almost as much abandon as he would have.

Ulysses Feral checked her blaster and the new uniform and body armor she was wearing. Technically it was Felina's, and she couldn't help but wonder if she'd warn it in heat last. She was far too aroused, not that different from the feeling as a tom when a lover was in heat.

She shook her head sharply, clearing the thoughts from it and looked around. Everyone was in place. There would be no escaping this time.

She nodded to the strike force commander, and let the energy of the assault wash away the thoughts of sex.

The warehouse they were about to hit was miles away from the ship... Turmoil must have prepared the safehouse before the crash, in the interests of sticking around to watch the chaos. Now, they'd get their hands on her and force her to help Clawson get everybody back to normal.

She couldn't wait.

The commander signaled for everybody to move in, and the massed Enforcers moved forward, rushing each entrance they'd been able to find, including two hidden exits that Felina and Furlong were taking personal care of.

Flash-bangs hurled, the doors were broken down and she heard a familiar screeching inside. Creeplings?

"It's a Dark Kat base!" Ulysses roared in warning even as she continued inside. Despite it, there wasn't enough resistance for a normal base. Maybe he wasn't in?

That would be some help, at any rate.

"Felina Feral reporting!" he called over the radio. "We're meeting resistance, but it looks like we've found a detention area! Main warehouse is not the primary target!"

"Reinforce beta-entrance!" Ulysses ordered the troops who could back off from the Creeplings they were dealing with, firing on them and the handful of startled kats backing them up. It wouldn't do to have them back up the ones Felina and the Killhearts were tackling, but Ulysses would be damned if she didn't make it to greet Turmoil personally.

It wasn't hard for her to work out, she wasn't in the front anyway, and was around the side of the building to Felina's entrance. She started down, rushing ahead. It was a moment's lack of care that she soon regretted, the floor falling out beneath her and dropping her into a chute leading further down into the base.

"Feral here! Slide-trap, beta-entrance," she got out before landing hard, grunting as the wind was knocked from her. Large, powerful hands grabbed her, and her mind flashed to Shier before her nose told her who it was.

Dark Kat.

"Well hello, Commander. I'd been wondering how long it would take you to grace me with a visit," Dark Kat rumbled lowly before hammering the back of Feral's skull, knocking her out.

She came to groggily, aware she couldn't move. Spread-eagled on a frame with her tail bound up along her back and head secured in place. A breath later and she became keenly aware that she was completely naked and turned on like she'd never been before. Her body was on fire and her sex ached, almost enough to make her whimper in pain.

What had that bastard done to her?

A sharp gasp escaped Ulysses' mouth as a soft caress ran across her sex, lightly parting her lower lips and demonstrating just how wet she was.

She felt a sharp beak against her sex, a pointed tongue working her flesh and flicking over her clit. She moaned unwillingly as the creepling between her legs lavished her sex with attention, rubbing its short member against her leg.

"S-stop," she tried to make it sound like a command, and it ended up more of a begging moan.

The Creepling laughed, then skittered up her body, licking her abs as it sank its tiny cock into her sex. Small and revolting as it was, it felt desperately good, the first thing that's even taken the edge off her burning need.

"It feels good, doesn't it?" a light, male voice laughed with a bit of a bark. "Insanely good."

"Mmm... I think she likes him," another voice giggled, the male voice incongruous with the feminine sound. "Maybe after we're through, we should give her to the kennels."

"Only for special occasions," a low, much more familiar voice chuckled. "We don't want to spoil them, after all," Dark Kat laughed.

"She will produce incredible kittens," a strange mix of Kat and Kantin grinned. His dark, grizzled stripes were on Red Wolf fur, and his build half way between. He stepped up to rub Ulysses' chin. "Yes, you are big, strong and well-blooded."

"You won't ..." Ulysses started to snarl, only to moan as the Creepling came inside her.

"Get away with it?" the mixed breed laughed. "Oh, my poor little Commander. You don't recognize me, do you? My name is Arba Amash. I am the Mother of Nations, the Champion of Lamashtu. I could make you pregnant as a male. As a female already in season, it will be so easy. My little one's seed is only the first of many that will fill you today." He reached out, scratching the Creepling's head, the little monster trilling happily at the attention as it lazed on top of its bound partner.

"He's already seen to my having a particularly fascinating army in the works," Dark Kat chuckled lowly as he stepped out of the shadows, naked except for his mask. "I must admit; I'd been quite upset with Turmoil for this particular kink in the works at first, but when I realized the potential if I could get hold of you, all was forgiven."

"You are in so much trouble Turmoil," Felina Feral growled as he pulled the tall, strong shekat to her feet even before all of the opposition had been cleared.

"Just get me out of here; you can't be half as hard on me as Dark Kat," she groaned. Now that Felina was able to see her move, she could tell that she'd been badly roughed up.

A beating had probably only been the start, knowing Dark Kat.

He shuddered at the thought of just how furious Dark Kat must have been when he became a she.

"Probably not," Felina consented with a grumble, cuffing his prisoner and looking around as the situation was mopped up. "That contraption of yours had better have a reverse switch."

"Not exactly, but I can reverse it," Turmoil said cautiously. "If I want to."

"Do you really want to be in a prison where everybody's pissed at you on this level?" Felina glared at her as he hauled her towards the door.

"Along with half my troops, and the rapists getting a taste of their own medicine? My odds wouldn't be half bad," Turmoil pointed out, following Felina out willingly.

"You're assuming you're going to be with your troops," Felina growled a warning. "Do you have any idea how pissed I am right now?"

"I'd think not badly enough to realize that you'll be back to normal faster if the Enforcers work with me," Turmoil pointed out simply.

Felina stopped, slamming Turmoil against the wall as the officers around them pointedly looked elsewhere for trouble that might be coming. He got nose to nose with her, his ears flat and openly furious. "I'm sure," his voice dripped with venom. "You've got a simple choice. Cooperate, or find out just what Tamorl's Champion is capable of. I'm sure she'd love to get her hands on you. So'd her mate, the Champion of Bastet. I bet they're both in quite a mood by now."

"I should think Bastet would be grateful for leaving her Champion in a more suitable form," Turmoil said dryly before she driving her knee up into Felina's groin, and the air from his lungs. He staggered back a step, and Turmoil raised her hands in surrender as the others whirled to face them again.

"I'm sick of being 'roughed up' by anybody who thinks they're in control," she said simply. "Before you try threatening me, perhaps you should find out what I want. A female-only prison, for myself and my crew, after this is over."

"I'm not giving you any promises," Felina growled as he recovered, more from force of will than anything else.

"You're not in a position to; where is your Commander Feral? No doubt she'll be more reasonable. She's had a while to quit dealing with the testosterone poisoning."

Someone snorted in the background at that idea, and several others laughed outright as Felina grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the door.

"You'd better pray his 'testosterone poisoning' comes back in a hurry," one of the Killhearts mocked her. "Before he decides to give you back to Dark Kat."

"Not if 'he' wants his ovaries back," Turmoil pointed out. It quickly became apparent to her that they weren't quite sure where the Commander was, but they found her soon, leading down a troop of Enforcers.

"Good," she growled at the sight of Turmoil in custody. "Keep her at the Tower's special cell block. I'm going to check on Clawson's progress."

"Yes sir," Felina nodded. "Get the lawyers on bargaining for her help?"

"Wait until I find out if we actually need it," Ulysses glared at their prisoner. "I don't want any deals for her if we don't have to."

"We'll go lock her up then. In one of the rougher cell blocks," Felina made sure to clarify for Turmoil's benefit, leading her out to the lockup vehicles with a slight limp.

Ulysses Feral forced herself to focus, to remain coherent, now that her tormentors were all asleep and her bindings loose. If there was going to be an opening to get away, it was right then. She had to get loose, and get out.

Where the Hell were the others? There had to be something keeping the Enforcers from coming after her ... which meant there might be another impostor.

Wonderful. This time Dark Kat was trying to get somebody in the Commander's chair instead of his bed.

She started to move out, keeping quiet and fighting to ignore the burning arousal she was still feeling, and to keep from waking up the Creeplings who'd been playing since Dark Kat and his lovers had tired out.

This was turning into his worst day in years.

She slipped outside, ignoring the way her body burned and the fact that she was naked, dripping with semen and in the middle of an all but abandoned warehouse district without an Enforcer, or anyone in sight.

No clothes or communications in sight, either, and Dark Kat hadn't been particularly interested in revealing where her gear was. She'd have to get somewhere safe on her own. That wouldn't be easy... there weren't many people she could trust, not with the way she smelled. She remembered the 'dream' she'd shared with Chance over a decade before, how strongly he'd reacted to her being in heat. That wasn't a face she wanted to see again any time soon.

If she could reach a phone, she could get help. Felina, or Jason ... or Jake. She just had to get to a phone before someone got to her.

"Hey honey!" A wise-ass called out. "Didn't anybody tell you? Y'don't flaunt it like that unless you want more!"

"Maybe she does!" Somebody else retorted.

Looking over, Ulysses saw a gang of about six toughs... all Lions, dressed in tight leathers and jeans, wearing the colors of the Little T pride.

Just her luck. The punk equivalent of Turmoil's crew.

This was so not her day.

Fight, six again one and she was badly distracted ... or run and pray she lucky that they didn't know the territory as well as they should.

She swallowed her pride and bolted, angling for the waterfront. They weren't likely to follow her into the bay's inlet.

The gamble wasn't paying off; the Lions chased after her, whooping and hollering. Something crashed next to her, and a quick glance said that one of them had thrown a chain after her.

Wonderful. They weren't just looking to catch her either.

One of them leaped for her, and she whirled, crashing a meaty fist into a face that crumpled with a satisfying 'crack.' Then she was back on the run.

She could see the water, the tide going out. Even if the followed her in, she knew she was a stronger swimmer than they would be. She knew how to fight in the water too, trained for it.

Barely a length left to go, and she'd have the relative safety of the water. At this point, she could swim the inlet, come out in a better area and find a blasted phone.

She made a long leap off the docks into the water, and started swimming off beneath the surface, in case they tried shooting. Now it was just a matter of not having them realize where she was coming up....

A boat in the middle of the bay offered that chance. There'd be a radio on board, if nothing else... and if anybody tried to arrest her for trespassing, what would they do? Call the Enforcers?

That'd be a relief, at this point.

She just hoped that whoever was on board wasn't going to try to jump her, or at the very least wasn't capable of taking her down. She surfaced, took in a deep breath and went back down to finish the swim. It looked like it was a diving boat, though it might be a fishing boat. She could spot any crew, but she hadn't had much time to check it out.

The water washing off the scent, sweat and seed from her body was very welcome.

She swam around to the swimming platform and crawled up onto it, just taking a few moments to rest and try to center herself before moving anywhere else... and to plan on what to do if there was somebody on board.

With a deep breath, Ulysses Feral thrust her body up with her arms, landing on her feet on the platform in a single motion that dropped the back of the diving boat and soaked it's entire deck before her dripping body stepped up onto it.

"Who's there?" a strong, demanding female voice called out as a lean, tall orange tabby stepped out of the cabin. Her face said she'd been expecting trouble, not a naked shekat taller than she was on her deck.

"Commander Ulysses Feral... I'd show you my badge, but I'm afraid it disappeared along with the rest of my clothes," she said, raising her hands in deference to the tabby's shotgun. "Do you have a phone or radio handy?"

The tabby glared at her, judging her gut reaction against the odds, and nodded. "Radio's in the cabin. You should make the call, I expect."

"Thank you," she nodded, stepping past the tabby and into the cabin, ducking through the door and picking up the radio. Her hands were actively shaking as she adjusted the frequency, the burning need starting to build up again.

How did Felina tolerate this? And every six months no less.

"This is Commander Feral to Headquarters, come in. Over."

"Commander?" Ashley's confused voice asked. "Is there something wrong at Area 17? Over."

"No," she growled darkly. "That is an imposter. Send Felina or Jason to pick me up on the diving boat Long Blue Yonder in the northern inlet, with clothes. Over."

"Confirmation code Alpha-7?" Ashley asked. "Over."

"Aligro Ti Cieen, over," she said evenly.

"Jason will be out there ASAP, with clothes. We'll have a unit pick up the impostor while you're on the way," Ashley promised. "What happened, Commander? Over."

"The floor dropped out under me, left me in Dark Kat's hands for a while," she said simply, her tail lashing behind her before tucking up to conceal her aching, hungry sex. "Did you get Turmoil? Over."

"We did; she's holding out for a legal rep and has some 'requests' before she helps Clawson finish the device. And ah... it's likely to be much faster with her help. I'll bring you up to date when you're back, but Bastet seems to be tired of her Champion putting off biology. Over."

"Is his mate back at least?" she signed. "Over."

"Yes, sir," she said. "They are staying in the workshop, but understandably the progress is slowing down. Over."

"Understood, over and out." Ulysses sighed, shaking her head. "What a mess," she muttered and turned away to see the tabby standing behind her with a blanket on offer.

"At least until your clothes get here," she said.

"Thank you," she said, wrapping it around her waist; it wasn't really long enough to wrap around her waist and breasts.

"You need anything else?" the tabby asked, trying to keep her eyes to herself, though it wasn't particularly easy to do.

Feral supposed she should have been flattered, and she probably would be when she calmed down enough to really think again. As it stood, they were both trying not to think about her state.

"How long until your divers get back?" Feral asked evenly.

"Probably half an hour yet," the tabby said easily. "I'm Zachary Dartmon," she offered a hand.

"Commander Feral," she repeated, taking the offered handshake. "I hope you don't mind if I wait out there?"

"Not at all," she looked a little relieved as they stepped onto the open deck. "I'm not sure either of us could stand it enclosed in here. It's a situation I'd rather avoid."

"Me too... and warn your divers when you head back in. The Little T's are out and they seem to be particularly 'friendly' tonight," Feral offered. "They're the reason I ended up in the bay in the first place."

"Thanks for the warning. I dock in ClawCrest marina," Zachary said. "Well outside their turf. Your friends don't waist any time," she said in surprise and pointed to a wake with flashing lights coming right for them.

"We try not to," she nodded, fighting to control the slight trembling that was trying to take over now that the crisis was over.

"I hope they thought enough to keep any toms off the boat," Zachary said quietly. "You're hard enough for a shekat to ignore."

"Only one way to find out," she sighed, stepping to the edge as the boat approached and Jason tossed a bundle over to her.

"Clothes for you, sir," she called up.

Ulysses nodded and disappeared into the cabin briefly to get dressed, and came out looking much more like a Commander than when she'd gone in.

The boats were side by side now, and Ulysses made the leap easily to the Enforcer craft.

"Thank you, Captain Dartmon," she called over, giving a small salute as they pulled away and a diver's head came up near the back of the dive boat.

"Trouble, Captain?" The diver asked after spitting out his regulator.

"Not beyond the usual," she said, shaking her head. "Find anything, Shanna?"

"Not beyond the usual," he chuckled, swimming up to the swim deck to climb out. "What were they here for?" he asked, nodded towards the retreating Enforcer boat.

"Picking up their Commander, believe it or not," Zachary shook her head in bemusement. "Swam up naked of all things."

"Of all the times to be looking down," he muttered, shaking out his hair and heading below decks to change.

Rock took a last breath of clear air and shifted both bags of take-out to one hand outside the door to the warehouse lab Jake was calling home for the moment. He checked that his jeans could take the effect of walking back in, and opened the door.

His ears flicked sideways at the yelping cheer from much further in.

He threw open the door, reeling at the impact of Jake's scent, but pushing it down as he quickly closed the door and walked in, looking at the large, glowing raygun.

"It's working?" He asked Jake.

"It's powered up at least," Jake nodded. "Ready to be a test subject?" she asked with a wicked grin.

"Unless you've become a lesbian, I'd suggest you try it on somebody who won't have to turn back," Rock pointed out dryly. "After all, we don't know if it'll reverse the process just yet."

"Right," she rolled her eyes. "Would you go grab a volunteer then?"

"Your secretary want to turn back, as far as you know?" He asked Jake easily, setting the take-out down.

"Oh yeah," she laughed easily. "She is royally pissy as a tom."

"Just wanted to be sure," Rock snickered. "For all I know, you like her newfound ability to drive people away," he winked, heading out to explain the situation to the grumpy tom missing his feminine curves. They were back in the warehouse workshop within minutes.

"I'm good," he said as Rock stepped away and Jake swung the huge weapon towards him.

Jake nodded and fired. It glowed, bathing the tom in its light... and then he switched the purple light off, leaving a relieved shekat in his sights.

"It works!" Rock grinned.

"Oh yeah!" she cheered in absolute relief. "The city so needs that news."

"Yap," Jake grinned down at them. "Go get Headquarters. The beam works. I am going home with Rock to enjoy the rest of my heat." She said as she leapt to the floor.

"And I am keeping you away from the business end of that thing until the kits are born!" Rock grinned, hugging Jake tightly before they started out, her secretary hurrying out to make the call. "Think the Commander's going to want to go through it first?"

"Felina, yes," Jake nodded. "Ulysses is pregnant."

"Who by?" Rock asked, surprised by the news. "I thought he'd be fighting prospective suitors off tooth and claw, even in heat, to keep from ending up on maternity leave."

"I'll explain at home," Jake said quietly. "Shier Khan came to town."

"Oh, well that changes things... after the gender swap, right?" Rock checked as they went out to the car, taking the food along with them.

"Yeah," she nodded, falling silent as they walked to their large black SUV. "Let it drive home?" she purred with a wicked grin, pausing by the back door.

"Mmm... want me to play around a bit in the back seat?" Rock grinned. "If you're up for more than just a thorough fucking, I've got a couple ideas," he winked, opening the back door.

"As long as the thorough fucking is in the day somewhere, I'm game," Jake grinned and got in the back seat. "Autopilot. Drive home."

"Destination home confirmed," the computer responded.

"Don't worry, it is," Rock laughed, climbing in with her and putting the takeout in the front seat, pulling a pair of chopsticks out of the bag as he sat back. "Something a little more back-seat friendly," he winked.

"Do tell," Jake purred, rubbing her hand along his hard cock held inside jeans. She stiffened briefly, and turned her head to the front. "Autopilot, change destination. Badlands. Shortest route," Jake said quickly as she realized that she really didn't want Rock to turn into a shekat in the next hour.

"Destination Badlands confirmed," the computer responded.

"They're just gonna hit the whole city, you think?" Rock asked, opening the chopsticks and breaking them apart. "Pants off, pretty."

"I'd hope so," Jake said as she wiggled her jeans off. "The beam hit the entire city."

"Yeah, but I'd think they'd want to give everybody a good chunk of time to get out who didn't wanna change back... not everybody wants their original gender back," he pointed out, kissing Jake deeply and stroking her sex with the ends of the chopsticks, spreading her slick pussy and gripping her clit with them.

"The device will be available to anyone who wants to use it soon," Jake moaned, shuttering at the cool air caressing her slick lower lips and the pressure on her clit. "Too valuable to rot in a warehouse."

"You do realize you're about to be the patron saint of the transgendered, don't you?" Rock teased. "Want to try it under your tail, while we're being playful? We've got everything to clean up before I try for more kits."

"Never thought of it that way," Jake whimpered as she gripped Rock's strong shoulders for support. "I'm not going to object," she panted with increasing need. "You can do anything you want with me," Jake said with a hungry kiss. "It all sounds so good."

"Anything huh?" Rock purred. "Get your top off and your ass on my lap then," he grinned, cock hard as he undid his own pants and slid them off.

Jake nodded, her body screaming at her to fill herself with the fertile seed so close at hand, and hurried to get her blouse off, but left her bra on. She claimed a kiss, stroking his cock before angling it into her ass and sliding down on it with a low groan of pleasure.

"Oh yeah," Rock moaned, biting down lightly on her scruff, fondling her breasts with one hand as he used the chopsticks to probe and squeeze her clit and labia. Finally he spread her swollen, slick lips and sliding the two thin, smooth wooden lengths up into her sex, spreading them inside and moving them around in her sex as her juices practically dripped onto his hand.

It was only moments before Jake yowled, her body tightening like a vice around Rock's cock and the thin bits of wood inside her.

"Mmm ... like this, huh?" Rock grinned, reaching around and hooking a claw around the bottom of Jake's nipple, thrusting faster as his own balls started throbbing.

"For a start," Jake whimpered, pressing against Rock's chest as her nearly empty sex ached to be filled like her ass was. "Such a tease."

"Mmm ... but I follow through on my teasing," Rock promised, hammering Jake's ass until he groaned, pumping his seed deep into her, pressing the tips of his claws into her tits as he came. "Mmm ... clean me up, and you can put my cock anywhere you want ... maybe fill your other hole with this," he grinned, opening up the storage beneath the passenger seat and pulling out a thick Kantin dildo.

"That's no challenge," she said as she lifted herself from his cock and turned around to kneel between his legs. She tried not to grin at his gasp when her first move was to deep-throat him.

"Fuck, Jake," Rock groaned lowly, reaching down to caress her ears. "Forgot how good your mouth is this week," he grinned before his eyes rolled back at the intense pleasure her throat, tongue and mouth caused right on the heels of an orgasm. "Oh yeah, suck it baby," he moaned, his body twitching as two hands worked his balls and sheath.

He was hot enough from her scent that it wasn't going to take much to make him come, and Jake supplied that little bit extra by reaching back, pushing a finger up into his ass and pressing his prostate. Rock roared, pumping another load of seed down Jake's hungry throat.

"Nnngh ... hadn't meant it as a challenge, by the way," he panted, pulling her up for a passionate kiss.

"I didn't hear an objection though," Jake winked and kissed him again. "Now it's my turn," she purred deeply and shifted, pulling the back seats down to expand the cargo space. She lay down, spread out, and slip a finger along her sex as she watched Rock with desperate hunger. "You know what I want."

"How rough do you want me to be?" Rock asked, rolling on top of her and kissing her again. "You didn't complain when I used my claws," he pointed out.

"Just don't hurt me so much it risks the kittens," Jake rumbled and pulled him in for an all-consuming kiss. "I'll let you know if you should back off a bit."

"Never that much," Rock promised, thrusting into her sex with a lusty snarl, biting down on Jake's shoulder roughly, letting loose the pent-up tension his sadistic side had been putting together for years now. No matter how willing, how masochistic and subby his playmates had been while Jake had recovered in his own way, it wasn't as good as with Jake.

"Oh yes," Jake nearly howled at the pleasure, pain and mating drive all mixed in at once. She clung onto Rock, her body no longer hers to control and loved the rush of it.

Rock grinned, thrusting hard and deep, his balls already about to erupt into her. He held back as long as he could, until the car pulled to a stop in the Badlands, before he roared and gave his mate what her body so desperately wanted. He knew he'd had some incredible wet dreams about this kind of scenario, but to have it real was beyond anything he could have imagined.

"So good," Jake murmured, kissing him as her body continued to milk him. "Up for a little game?" she purred playfully, tracing the contour of his face with a finger.

"Mmm ... what've you got in mind?" Rock asked, licking her chin. "By the way, you plan on turning back after the kits are born?"

"At least until Dark Kat is defeated," she murmured with a kiss. "I can't afford to have to relearn how to fight and use this body. As for the game. You are a prisoner, staked out to die. In exchange for freeing you, I have ... demands," she purred throatily, her fingers playing along his chest. "Afterwards, you can try to get even, if you can."

"And how long do you plan on giving me to let me 'get into character'?" Rock asked warily as they snuggled.

"I'm in heat," she laughed. "If I can stand fifteen minutes, I'll be surprised.

"Fair enough, but I know your sense of humor," Rock teased. "Mmm ... well, fine, just don't knock me out first!"

"I won't," she purred, squirming back to open the back of the SUV, letting in a rush of hot dry air. "Ready to be a prisoner?"

"Ugh... that fifteen minutes better count the time to tie me up," Rock shuddered as he felt how hot it was, climbing out naked. "And you better hope nobody catches us," he grinned.

"You've endured much worse," Jake teased him as she pulled rope and metal stakes from the SUV's supplies. "It's not like you couldn't get yourself loose."

"Than the time, or the people catching us?" Rock smirked. "Spread-eagled?"

"Both," Jake purred, cupping his balls and rubbing up against him shamelessly as she staked him out, spread out for the world to see. "Damn you are hot like that," she breathed sharply, fingering herself as she backed away. "Going to ride you so hard."

"Of course, you've got no idea why they staked me out here," Rock grinned wickedly up at her. "I might not be a very nice person, you know."

"Right now, I can see you're everything I want," she grinned back, her thick cinnamon tail lashing behind her as she took in the intensely erotic sight. "Strong, good markings... I bet you have great endurance too."

"I bet I can make you beg me to stop, before I'm through," Rock purred hotly, his cock at full mast.

"That's only happened once," Jake stepped back up to him, eating him with her eyes before she straddled him and ran her hands through his fur. "He was something really incredible. You'd be hard pressed to top that night."

"I'll do my best," Rock groaned, thrusting up into her slick heat, the sand and dirt burning beneath him in a mildly painful reminder of just how intense the pheromones could be; he could hardly care now that he was inside her body.

"I'm sure you will," she purred, riding his cock in a level of ecstasy that obliterated the rest of reality.

It was just a few minutes before he roared, filling her hungry sex as she came hard around him, crying out to the empty sky.

"Untie me, and I can really give you a good fucking," he offered.

"Mmm," she considered it, her body milking him and licking her finger playfully. "All right," she decided after a moment and stood, pulling off him with an unhappy sound before she reached for the bindings on his wrists.

He waited long enough for her to untie his wrists, then his ankles, and he struck, twisting to grab her and force her to the ground, spreading her legs with a knee. She offered only token resistance; she wanted his cock as badly as he wanted her pussy.

"All mine now," he purred throatily, burying his cock in her aching pussy, barbs rubbing her g-spot as he hammered himself into her.

"Oh gods," she yowled in pleasure, her body spasming around the cock thrusting in and out of her. "Yes! More! Keep fucking me."

"Heh... you're a dirty little cockslut, aren't you?" Rock growled playfully, fucking her hard and deep, his balls slapping her ass. "Nothin' but a fucking whore!"

"Yes," she cried out, her body driving her mind to agree to anything that kept good seed flowing into her and the pleasure coming. "Please keep fucking me. Fill me with your seed until I beg for it to stop."

Rock roared, pumping another load into her sex, then pulling out.

"I want off this sand; get up on the hood," he ordered her, pulling her up to her feet and all but throwing her against the scalding hood of the SUV. They both knew the scream that escaped her throat from the scalding metal her breasts and chest were pressed against was not just pain, but an orgasm that made her whine at being empty.

"Please," she begged shamelessly. "Fuck me, burn me, cut me, please, it's too good to be without you in me."

"You've got it bad, don't you?" Rock chuckled, grabbing her hips and plunging himself into her cunt again, his claws popping out and into her thighs as he started to fuck her roughly, pushing her clit up against the hot grill of the car and rolling with each orgasm he drove her too. He couldn't help but flash back to the early days of their relationship when Jake was the insatiable pain-slut who loves to be on display. He couldn't help but miss it too. They would never play like that again. They couldn't.

His mind was snapped to what he was doing when her scream changed tenor. It was a very slight change, but he backed off on how much he pressed her against the burning metal before she had to say anything and her next cry was of pleasure.

"Sorry," he whispered softly, kissing her head gently before he groaned and pumped another load into her. "Something else?" He panted as he recovered.

"As long as you keep fucking me," Jake panted with what was almost a whimpering whine in her need. "The pain is incredible again. Just like the first time I cut myself."

"Mmm ... climb in the car then, but put down the 'playing around' seat covers," Rock grinned. "I've got an idea, but it'll take a minute to set up."

Jake grinned back and stole a kiss, groping her mate shamelessly and almost not letting him go before they parted. She made quick work of protecting the interior of the large SUV from what was likely to be bloody, painful and intensely orgasmic.

Rock was back a few minutes later, carrying a handful of long, dangerous-looking spines.

"There's a cactus around here that'll look odd, but I don't think it'll care," Rock purred, tracing the sharp spines along her labia.

"And we'll enjoy it's sacrifice," she panted, spreading her legs and arching her back as she squeezed her breasts and pinched her nipples.

"Oh, very much," Rock grinned, taking one of the spines and running it along her swollen lips. "Let me know if I'm poking anything I shouldn't," he told her, before piercing the swollen flesh with the needle, lacing it through her labia in a smooth double-piercing that drew very little blood. It did draw a tremble of pain-pleasure though, along with a moaning gasp.

"I will," Jake whimpered, her sex quivering and contracting, trying to draw something besides air into her body.

"Love how you moan," Rock purred, thrusting into her sex and pressing two of the needle-sharp tips into her nipples, starting to pierce them with the sharp spines.

"Love how you feel!" Jake howled and wrapped her legs around his to reinforce their thrusting. She grabbed his neck and pulled him into an intense kiss as their body's pleasure began to peak again, driven beyond normal limits by her fertility.

Shier Khan had summoned all his willpower and self-control to keep from pacing during the four-hour flight to MegaKat City on his private jet. Much of it was spend reviewing every scrap of information he had at his disposal on Dark Kat, planning to make the other Champion's life a misery for this, and his many other actions.

"Sir, we're preparing for a landing at Enforcer HQ," the pilot called back.

"Thank you," he replied with a low growl.

Replaced with a mystical duplicate... not a real person even, but a temporary homonculus that had melted away before even reaching its destination. What sort of incompetence would it take to be fooled by such a thing, and leave your Commander - your kin - behind to be abused by somebody like Dark Kat?

It was the final straw that had made him ignore his promise of a day before, to keep out of MegaKat City during the gender-swapping incident. This was more than just a nuisance; his lover had been raped, he had no doubt of it. He couldn't stay away.

He managed to remain still until they set down and rolled to a stop, but had opened the door and leapt to the ground before the Enforcers had gotten the stairs rolled over.

"Greetings, Lord Khan," a male Feral greeted him, though it wasn't hard to read his body language; he wasn't happy. "I'm Lt. Commander Felina Feral. My uncle is not happy, but that could be from her state as much as anything."

"You're sure you have the right one this time?" Khan replied with a low growl, starting to stalk towards the building.

"As much as we can be," he said, forcing himself to ignore the barb. "She knows the current Alpha-7 confirmation code."

"What happened to her? The whole story. She hasn't told me more than the basics," he demanded as the door closed behind them.

"You really think she told me?" Felina looked at him dubiously. "I know Dark Kat had her for a few hours, and she's in the first day of her heat. That's it."

"I'll go to the source then," Khan said simply, walking in and heading for Feral's office, knowing the way well enough. Nobody bothered to try and stop him, or even slow him down; they knew better than to get in the way of the frustrated Tiger just as they knew to stay out of the way of a ranking Feral.

"You may go in, sir," Feral's secretary said as he approached. "He's expecting you."

Khan walked in, closing the door quickly behind him, trying to ignore the potent scent of his mate's heat as he walked over to her.

"How are you?" He asked quietly when Ulysses looked up. He knew just from the expression in her bright golden eyes that it was anything but good.

"I've been better, and worse off," she admitted as she stood and walked around the desk and up to her mate. Without any warning she grabbed his tie and pulled him down for a hungry kiss like nothing the Tiger had experienced before.

"Talk later?" He asked, his heart in his throat and his body desperate to mate, when Ulysses finally let him pull back. "Why don't I take you home?" He offered, keenly aware of the others outside, and both their positions.

"Do you really think we'd make it?" Ulysses looked up hungrily, willing to let his mate do it, and just as willing not to care and sate themselves where they were.

"We make it to the limo and it doesn't matter anymore," Khan pointed out. "And much more dignified."

"Deal," Ulysses took in a deep breath to steady herself. She turned and clicked the intercom to Felina's comm. "I'm going home ... probably until this is over. Command is yours for the week unless you need me."

"Understood," his voice replied with a hint of approval. "I'm sure he can make it pass easier, sir."

"My wives have certainly approved," Khan chuckled lowly as Feral stabbed the button to cut the comm. "Come, we'll get you to my house and make sure you're well taken care of," he promised, kissing her tenderly and felt the powerful Kat melt in a way she never had as a tom.

"Yes," Feral murmured, pulling herself together for the walk to the parking level where the limo would be waiting for them. "I won't be back for a week or so," she told her secretary as they passed him.

"Yes, sir," he nodded understanding and went back to finish his work for the day.

"Take this the right way, but there are some advantages to you being a female," Khan offered as they walked to the express elevator.

"Such as?" she looked up at him irritably.

"We don't have to worry as much about what anybody might think," Khan pointed out. "I can call you what you are without anybody objecting," he explained, kissing her again before helping her into the limo.

"Mmm, if I'd chosen this, I might see that as more of an advantage," she murmured, her breath catching in her throat as the door closed and she could smell his arousal. "I have missed you, even before this happened."

"And I you," he purred, leaning against her as the driver started out. "We'll get through this, love. Whatever comes out of it."

"Kittens will," she said quietly, uneasily. "I want some of them to be yours."

"Who else?" Shier asked her softly, sure she knew who some of them were at least.

Ulysses looked away, fighting the churning of her stomach before she managed to answer. "Dark Kat, Arba Amash, the Champion of Lamashtu and some Tiger they didn't bother to introduce," she whispered. "Maybe a Creepling too, given what Lamashtu's Champion can do."

"I'm sorry," Shier murmured, hugging her tightly. "How much do you know about what this Arba did to you?"

"Not much," she admitted, snuggling into the powerful warmth. "Jake said it was beyond his ability to fix, but there wouldn't be any lingering effects if I wanted to try for some with you. She confirmed what Dark Kat had told me, that one is some kind of clone. I'm both sire and dam. Of the rest I'm already carrying, two are blessed by Lamashtu and are Her Champion's. The fourth is by Dark Kat. Jake did his best to stop any others from being conceived from them by convincing my body to reject anything that wasn't a Tiger, but even with that he couldn't guarantee that Dark Kat or the other Tiger wouldn't still sire more."

"And since Lamashtu is the dark side of Bastet, there's only so much that Her Champion can do to help," Khan murmured, hugging her tightly. "I'm so sorry, love."

"Can we focus on making something good of this?" Ulysses asked, rubbing her groin against his leg.

"Mmm ... seeing if the money I spent on the reinforced shocks was worth it?" Shier suggested, starting to unbutton her uniform pants.

"Yes," she moaned and leaned back, toeing her shoes off as she offered her body to him without reservation.

"Do you want any foreplay?" Khan asked her; he could understand either way, given what had happened. He undid his pants and laid down on top of her with some effort, thanks to the confines of the limo.

"No," she whimpered, thrusting her hips against his and hooking her legs along his. "Please, fuck me; make me forget they aren't all yours."

He claimed her mouth, kissing her hungrily as he slid his throbbing cock into her hungry sex. Her feet pressed up against the window of the limo as he started to thrust, her hand going to the floorboards as her body slid back and forth on the seat in rhythm with his powerful frame.

"Oh yes," Ulysses moaned, her body milking his eagerly as she locked their legs together. She pressed her face against Shier's neck, whimpering and breathing in his potent musk as she came hard, then again, before he roared and filled her desperate body with his seed.

"Sir?" The driver called back. "The Enforcers are sending out a message; anybody who doesn't want to turn back should leave the valley within the next hour."

"Take us to the Badlands Palace," Shier muttered, kissing Ulysses when he was finished. "It sounds like they found a solution just too late."

"At least they found it without cutting a deal," Ulysses said, squeezing her body around his to encourage their mating to continue.

"I don't know why you're even discussing this," Mika, dressed in her dress uniform from Traverin intelligence, muttered to Commander Feral. "Obviously you're going to have to destroy the weapon, what's there to discuss?" She was sitting next to the shekat, Shier Khan sitting next to Feral with Manx further down the table. They were waiting for Jake and his guests to arrive, for a 'discussion' about what to do with the Transgenderizer, as they'd found Turmoil called it.

"We are discussing it because it has been demanded that we do so," Commander Feral growled. Despite her heat being well and over with, pregnancy did not suit her. "It is the law."

"You can't be seriously considering keeping it around, can you?" Mika asked him. "A weapon like this in anybody's hands... I may not be a Traverin diplomat, but I can tell you right now what they'd say about it."

"We understand your concerns, Madame," Manx said, grateful to be back in his suits. "And I assure you, I can't think of any reason we'd keep it intact. I'm sure it's just Captain Clawson's reluctance to see any sort of new technology taken out... I understand he'll be bringing a guest. Like as not Tenoic's High Priest, to argue for maintaining it. Of course, the Temple of Izaris will be interested in a copy of the design?" He guessed. "You wouldn't want to have it destroyed before we can fulfill Izaris' interests in it."

Mika's short tail swished irritably at the reminder. Manx was very good at making you recognize how much his interests were your interests too.

"True," she acknowledged. "I am sure Clawson can provide those soon, if not already."

Any reply was paused as the door opened to admit Captain Clawson and more than the one expected guest. With him were four others with various levels of recognition around the room.

"May I introduce the High Priests of Eshik and Marka in MegaKat City; Emis," he indicated a tall orange shekat with copper hair and brown stripes on her tail. "And Matark," he nodded to the short male Snow Leopard.

"Welcome," Manx said cheerfully, shaking their hands. "Please, be seated," he added, indicating their chairs.

"Carmin Grace is the head of the MKC ALA," Jake introduced a beautifully androgynous dark brown tabby tomkat with a thick, long-furred tail with thick, darker stripes.

"I believe we've met before," Manx nodded, shaking his hand.

"We have," Carmin nodded. "At the pride rally last month, before all of this happened?"

"Ah... yes, I remember," Manx nodded, seeming a little taken aback as he sat down again.

"The black shekat is my friend, Kyale Bulank. She has a point to make here," Jake finished as everyone was seated.

"A pleasure," Manx nodded. "Callie should be along...."

"I'm here," Callie said, hurrying through the door, looking a little green around the gills. "My apologies, breakfast isn't sitting very well."

"I can give you something for that," Jake offered softly as she sat down between her and Manx.

"After this," Callie told her quietly, shaking her head a little. "I'll be fine for now," she promised with a smile.

"Good," Manx nodded. "Very well; we're here to discuss the disposal of Turmoil's weapon. Does anybody have a good reason it shouldn't just be taken back apart? Once everybody's back in their original body, of course," he added with a respectful nod for Ulysses and Jake.

"The voter block that the ALA represents for starters," Carmin said with even authority in his voice.

"The medical effects and the ability for same-gender pairs to have kittens for another," Jake added with a look that warned them he was going to win, one way or another.

"What about it's potential as a weapon?" Mika countered. "We've seen what happens when a place as equal as MegaKat City is struck by it. Traveris, for one, will not be happy if this sort of weapon remains in existence. And I'm sure Tusandrin has its own concerns?" She said, looking pointedly at Shier Khan.

"Fine. I'll rephrase it," Jake glared at her, her chin lowered and ears flat sideways in a nearly open threat. "I know how to build it. Destroy this one and I'll make sure it becomes common tech. Leave this one for those who want to change their gender and it will remain quiet."

"Jake, are you trying to convince us that we'll need a war to protect ourselves from this," Mika growled lowly.

"Captain Clawson, stand down," Feral commanded firmly. "Ma'am, of course we're not going to suggest something like that. However, surely you understand that just because something can be weaponized, and even has, doesn't mean that it will be. MegaKat City has nuclear capability; does Traveris lose sleep over the fact that we might use them against her?"

"That's an entirely different situation," Mika protested. "There are legitimate uses for nuclear technology, and the weapons can't be used without equivalent retaliation that everybody knows would be more devastating for Megakat City than any other nation. There's no equivalence here, and the legitimate uses -"

"How dare you --" Kyale was on her feet, her ears flat and teeth bared. It only took a light touch from Carmin to get her to sit back down, but her fur was still fluffed in aggression.

"Why don't we let Captain Clawson and his guests explain those?" Callie interrupted. "There's no need for saber rattling; MegaKat City has never had any reason for open warfare with Traveris, and having this wouldn't change that. Jake, settle down." She leveled her gaze at him, only relaxing her posture when the cinnamon shekat relaxed hers.

"The legitimate use for the device is the fact that there are people who wish to be the opposite gender," Carmin spoke calmly. "I was born a shekat, and still legally am even though I have lived fully as a tom using hormone therapy for over a decade."

"You're joking," Mika said flatly, sounding slightly ill at the idea.

"She isn't," Emiss said, shaking her head. "The majority of the ALA are transgendered individuals, or those whose relationships fall under the provinces of Eshik and Marka. It's not all males who were born in a female body," she pointed out. "Most are females who were born male, or at least would prefer to identify as female. Sure you can understand that, given recent events?"

"How can you possibly refuse the body you were given?" Mika looked at Carmin, her upbringing warring with her training until she swallowed. "You ... you really aren't faking it."

"Not everyone is so lucky to be at home the way they were born," Carmin said gently. "The surgery to change your gender is effective, but it is not the same. It does leave one sterile and less able to feel pleasure, even when everything goes perfectly. It is, at best, a risky thing. To be able to be at home in your body and have a fully functional body is very much a dream."

"It can be done by magic, but it is a rare skill to have," Jake added.

"There's also the fact that the magical means are much more difficult to arrange, because of their rarity," Emiss added. "The rituals tend to be expensive as well. It costs at least as much as the surgery, and there are only two people in the city qualified to conduct them, outside of Champions."

"While running this device would cost, at most, a couple hundred dollars," Jake added. "There is also the point that if it was known technology, even if someone chose to use it as a weapon again, you could change yourselves back."

"Equalization simply by making the weapon obsolete," Callie offered.

"What was the point you came here to make?" Mika asked Kyale after a quiet moment.

"That it can save lives," she said simply. "My father would be alive today if he could have made me a son instead of faking it. While I have chosen to be female, not having the option did tremendous psychological and physical damage that did not need to happen, including my infertility," she pointed out, knowing that was an extra point that would help get through Mika's head.

"Traveris is not going to like this," she sighed after a moment. "My superiors in particular. They'll have a hard time viewing it as anything but a weapon, and if it is ever used in our borders it will only be to undo the effects of it after somebody else uses it. Will it at least be classified? The functions of it. We've been lucky so far, in that it didn't cause miscarriages, but we don't know that it will always be the case."

"Turmoil was bragging about it," Jake shook her head. "It doesn't. Just being in heat is enough to stop it from working on a female. We have a city worth of proof of it too."

"It will be classified," Ulysses assured her. "Though it will do little good. As Captain Clawson pointed out, he knows how to build it now, and it is in your Great Library. I am sure that it would take Champion Kensu Chim all of a month to build it just from what he knows by now, and many who follow Izaris do not see the ability to change one's gender as a bad thing."

"If it is classified as technology with weapons potential, at least Izaris will be the one who has to decide to share it," Mika pointed out.

"Yes," Ulysses looked around the table. "So does anyone want to try to argue Clawson down from his stance?"

"Hu?" Manx looked around in confusion. "How did we agree to let it stay?"

"Mayor," Callie said quietly, leaning close to him, "if we go along with this, it will get the ALA block without seriously upsetting anybody except Traveris, and their concerns can be handled. It'll be much easier to just agree and move on."

He nodded, trusting her to do the job.

"This will not go over well," Mika repeated, openly unhappy but no longer threatening about it.

"We have worked through that before," Callie reminded her politely. "This will be easier than nuclear capabilities or aircraft carriers."

"For you, yes," Mika nodded. "For some of us, not as much. I'll take word back to them though."

"Well, with that resolved, why don't we all go take care of the assorted paperwork and communications... I'll be at the golf course if anybody needs me," Manx said, hurriedly making his way out.

"No surprise there," Emiss chuckled, shaking her head. "Everybody will be all right with this, I hope?"

"When there is no choice, that is the only choice," Mika said evenly. "If there is nothing else, I think I should be getting back to Treveris."

"Thank you for coming," Callie said, shaking her hand. "I should go get to work on that paperwork the Mayor mentioned."

"If you need anything from the Enforcers, Acting Commander Felina Feral will be your contact," Ulysses told her.

"For now long?" she looked at her with a bit of surprise.

"At least eight months," Ulysses said evenly. "Possibly longer."

"Until you have recovered from giving birth," Mika didn't really have to guess and was giving a slight nod. "Then health and long life to your kittens," she smiled warmly at Ulysses and Shier Khan.

"Thank you," Khan inclined his head slightly to her before she left.

"I think that's it, then," Callie glanced around those still there. "Thank you all for attending and expressing your feelings. The device will remain in Enforcer custody and made available to those who wish to change their gender. I will work out the details with Captain Clawson and Mr. Grace."

"And whether or not the Mayor wants photo-ops with the first person to go through," Carmin guessed. "Thank you, Miss Briggs; I'll set up an appointment on the way out," he said as everybody left.

"This is the best choice," Shier Khan said with soft certainty and a kiss to Ulysses' forehead as the private corporate jet rolled to a stop on the palace grounds outside of Satara in Tusandrin.

"I hope you're right," Ulysses murmured, standing with him and accepting the gentle hug. "It hasn't been that long since the last time Felina was in command; I'm not entirely sure she feels ready for it yet. Especially not for this long."

"She has an excellent support staff that she listens too," Shier reminded her before the door was opened and the bright sunlight and hot humidity.

"You've kept the greeting to a minimum," she managed a small smile at the gesture.

"I knew you would prefer none, but not even I can manage that," Shier said as he descended the stairs in front of her, a mark of both his rank and to be able to catch Ulysses if she fell.

"Lord Khan, welcome home," his truschess said with a respectful bow that was mirrored by the handful of others gathered to meet them. "I hope that all is well with you and your Lady?"

"Yes, Niteesh," Shier replied. "Our quarters have been prepared?"

"Yes, My Lord," Niteesh inclined his head, not able to completely conceal his discomfort at the arrangement, even though he had known for days. The midwife-healer Priestess of Bastet was unflappable about it, but the others, Shier's senior wives primarily, were not so self-controlled in their shock.

"She is living with you, My Lord?" Indukala gasped.

"She is," the Tiger nodded. "Don't worry, I will be sure that I have time for you and the others as well," he promised her. "But there are some unusual circumstances with Ulysses."

"Ulysses, My Lord?" she blinked, looking over this new female more critically. "The strange business in MegaKat City caused him to become her?"

"Yes," Shier Khan nodded. "Along with most of the toms in the city. It has been reversed for most, but it didn't work on her yet."

She nodded, her features going back to a more normal attentive acceptance. "Where do your kittens with her stand among ours?"

"They will be Mucoria," he told her simply. "I would not put a half-blood in the succession."

"And I've got no interest in our kits being a part of it," Ulysses offered. "I wasn't exactly planning on motherhood. By MegaKat City law, they will be Ferals, not Khans."

Indukala nodded, accepting the assurances that her and her kit's positions were not going to be challenged by the newcomers.

"I'll be down to see you and the others soon," Khan promised, giving her a gentle kiss. "Ulysses and I have to get settled in for now."

"Please accept my company on the walk, My Lord, Lady Feral," Niteesh bowed politely as Shier Khan walked inside the grand white marble palace of his primary residence with Ulysses at his side. "As you requested, the First Daughter of Sulrisma is here with her best midwife to attend to Lady Feral."

"Good," Khan nodded.

"Has she been informed of the unusual circumstances?" Feral asked quietly.

"As much as Lord Khan informed me," Niteesh said diplomatically as they entered the spacious suite of rooms that were Shier Khan's private quarters. "She is aware that more happened than your gender change."

"Much," Feral sighed. "Is she a priestess?"

"Yes," Shier Khan assured him. "Her best midwife has many skills, and attends to the birth of all my kittens. Between them they are the best prepared in all of Tusandrin to care for you, the kittens and keep what should not be said to themselves."

"Good," she shuddered as they entered the familiar, airy quarters that would be her home for the next few months. "If it weren't for your kits being in me as well, I think I'd have had the entire litter aborted."

"Do not think about it too much," Shier kissed her forehead gently as Niteesh went to fetch the priestess and midwife. "We can do things here that Bastet's Champion is barred from."

"Good," she murmured, turning up to kiss Shier tenderly. "I try not to think about it, but it's hard... I can't help but imagine what some of them will look like."

"Only the healthy and whole survive here," he drew her close for a supportive hug. "Your kittens will be fine. It will be seen to."

"I believe you," she murmured, turning to return the hug, nuzzling his chest with a soft sigh. "Don't take this personally, but it's going to be Hell for the next few months."

"I understand," he stroked her back gently. "Are you ready for the midwife to examine you?"

"As ready as I can be," she sighed. "It's got to be better than dealing with the Enforcer Ob/gyn after I got back to base," she muttered darkly.

"It will be," Shier promised her and nodded over his shoulder to the two elder Tigresses waiting for permission to approach.

"Lady Feral," the younger of the pair spoke to her first. "I am the First Daughter of Sulrisma. This is Murla, my finest midwife."

"I'm glad to meet you, First Daughter, Murla," Feral said, turning and bowing after a moment to compose herself. "My apologies for not noticing you before."

"It is not a problem," the First Daughter inclined her head. "Please sit and make yourself comfortable."

She nodded, taking a seat on the long, low couch that was available.

"You wouldn't believe the nightmare this is going to be back home," she commented, trying to keep her mind off the subject of the exam. "We've got dozens of Enforcers on maternity leave who never would have thought of it before, between officers who were caught by Turmoil's troops and others who didn't realize what was going on before they woke up entirely."

"They are your niece's concern right now," Murla said firmly as she knelt and gently ran her hands along Ulysses' flat belly. "Do you wish to carry those who are not by Lord Khan?"

"No," she growled lowly, ears flat. "I spoke with Bastet's Champion, but he said... she said she couldn't do anything, thanks to who was involved."

"She has restrictions that I do not," the First Daughter said evenly as she knelt to focus on what she could find out. "I am not a Champion, but I am strong in the Mother's magic."

"They are not a danger to the natural ones," Murla glanced at the First Daughter.

"I understand now why she could not remove them," the First Daughter murmured before shaking her head. "It is not protected by only their sire's connections. They are protected by strong magic from harm inside you as well."

"Removing them is possible, but it is a great risk to yourself and the natural ones," Murla told Ulysses and Shier. "While it may be unpleasant, in my belief, it would be best to deal with them after they have been born and the magic not longer protects them."

"That's what it sounded like," Ulysses sighed. "Can you tell me something? How much do you know about Lamashtu and her 'blessings' on people? I've heard that it can be... contagious, for lack of a better word."

"Given the research I have done, it requires a willing recipient," the First Daughter assured her. "However, it would be best to avoid females who are in heat or carrying. Just to be careful. Not even Izaris' priestess is willing to say we know for sure."

"I understand," she nodded. "We'll just have to hope for the best, I suppose. Is there any advice you have, to try and keep the effects minimal?"

"I will check on the kittens each morning to know if anything is going wrong," Murla told her as they stood. "If I find something amiss, we will determine the best action then. It is unlikely anything will go wrong if it has not already."

"The exam is finished?" She asked, sounding more than a little surprised.

"Yes, Lady Feral," Murla smiled down at her. "I use senses other than my physical ones to do much of my work."

"Thank you," she nodded. "I assume you're going to tell me to take it easy, and try not to do too much," she half-grumbled.

"Honestly, I would not recommend it, as long as you are careful about what exertions you choose," Murla chuckled slightly. "Remaining fit and sane are both very important to the kitten's health. I will insist you rest enough and eat well, however. It will likely feel like taking it easy, but only because you overexert yourself normally."

"I'll see to both," Shier Khan chuckled lowly. "Particularly the latter; thank you for your attention, Ladies," he said with a polite bow.

"You are most welcome, Lord Khan," they bowed deeply in return and left, leaving the long-time lovers to themselves.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?" Khan asked, sitting down next to her and rubbing her side. "Care for dinner?"

"No, it wasn't," she admitted and claimed a soft, lingering kiss that drew him down on top of her. "I'd rather have a little attention from you first."

"I think I can manage that," he purred, undoing her clothes with a series of kisses to her soft gray fur as it was exposed.

"Ohh," Ulysses moaned at the soft touches. "This is the only part I like. So much more sensitive so many places like this."

"Always a silver lining," Khan agreed, running a powerful hand down her belly, caressing her hard abs. "Will you want to experiment, while you have the chance?"

"Within reason," she purred at the contact as she unbuttoned Shier's jacket and kissed him again.

"Mmm ... I was thinking of introducing you to some of my wives, as a fem," Shier rumbled into the kiss. "Let them get to know you like this as well."

"There are ones who are not likely to be pregnant soon?" Ulysses asked, not completely sold on the idea yet.

"A few," he chuckled, kissing her breasts as he exposed her plain bra. "Once there is a child to satisfy the marriage, I rarely find a need to insist on another if she does not want it." He nosed her bra up, licking her nipples and breasts. "Nemisha's a good example; she prefers other fems," he offered to his lover's moans.

"I'll try when you feel like you need the help," Ulysses teased him, only to draw in a sharp breath as her hands exposed his powerful chest and ran her fingers through his dense fur.

"If you're saying you think I'm more than enough tom for you, I think you're right," Khan teased back, nipping her breasts lightly before he reached down to stroke her through her panties.

Ulysses spread her legs, rocking her hips into the touch that felt so good and pulled his head up for a hungry kiss. "I think you are," she rumbled. "I think you're all the tom I'll ever want."

"Let me taste you," he rumbled after their heated kiss ended, probing her slick sex with his fingers.

"Yes," she moaned into a pleasured hiss and pressed her hips into his touch.

Khan slid down, twisting his hand to slide a thick finger in and out of her dripping sex as he licked her clit with his broad, rough tongue.

"How do you want me to take you after this?" He asked her with a low rumble, enjoying the arousal on her scent as he focused on making sure Ulysses didn't have too many bad memories of his time as a female.

"Deeply and long," she nearly yelped at the sensation of his tongue caressing such sensitive skin. "What you did before," she moaned.

"Gladly," he rumbled, his tongue sliding into her sex as he pulled his slick fingers out, rubbing her lips before slipping down a bit further to stroke her anus. "Nothing more than this, unless you ask for it," he promised as she tensed slightly.

"Okay," Ulysses nodded, then grinned a little more playfully. "What is something your wives can't do for you?"

"Be my equal," he said seriously, lapping at her sex, savoring the flavor of her arousal as he stoked her fires. "I'm always their Lord Shier Khan, never just their husband and lover."

"I can do that," Ulysses rumbled eagerly, her long, fluffy tail wrapping around his shoulders. "Fuck me good and hard and we'll see about making you feel like a shekat is your equal."

"With pleasure, my lady," he grinned, sliding back up her body and kissing her hungrily, sinking his rigid cock into her empty sex with a deep moan he shared with his lover.

"I never thought being fucked could feel this good," Ulysses murmured, running her hands along the Tiger's broad back as their bodies rocked together, amplifying the building pleasure of their mating.

"Even without being in heat?" Khan asked her teasingly, his barbed shaft sinking into her hot body as he shifted his thrusts to rub against her g-spot.

"Ohh, yes," she moaned, squeezing her body around his. "Like when you took me as a tom, but without the difficulty."

"Mmm ... how do you plan to prove you're my equal?" He asked her, thrusting faster as his balls slapped against her ass, starting to tingle as he held himself back from coming too soon.

"Put you on your back to start with," she shivered, whimpering as her wombs began to tingle and her clit jerked each time his cock ran against it.

"Come with me," he whispered, kissing her hard as he thrust in, deep, burying his shaft against her cervix as he came hard, pumping his seed into her hungry sex. He relished the way she complied without hesitation, though he knew it was more his skill at pleasuring a female body than any real intent on Ulysses' part. It still felt incredible to have it happen without the fertility pheromones affecting them both.

With his last roar more of a grunt, it came out somewhat startled as Ulysses shifted her weight and rolled him to his back when he didn't resist it.

"A good start," he rumbled up at her, reaching up to fondle her full breasts. He purred as he pumped the last of his orgasm into her pussy and relaxed to enjoy the way she road him. Despite the lack of experience, the ease with which she took control without trying to dominate him was intoxicating. It was very much what Ulysses was like as a tom that had made him so attractive.

"Now tell me how to plan to deal with the monsters growing inside me," Ulysses demanded as her pleasure began to spiral upwards again.

"The midwife or I will kill them as soon as they are born," he said simply, watching his lover's expression go from shock to understanding, then to agreement.

"If I have to give birth to them, it will work," she nodded, avoiding thinking about the way her gut twisted at the idea of killing newborns, even ones she wanted to kill now.

Agatha watched Jake move around the small kitchen of her new apartment in MegaKat City in a mixture of bemusement and amazement that this two-week pregnant shekat was the tom that her son had married. It was even more to see how ... content ... Jake seemed to be with the situation. She couldn't imagine Vern taking it so well.

"How long was it before you adjusted?" She asked Jake curiously.

"Honestly, I'm only just getting to the point where I think about it much," Jake admitted as she finished stirring the vinegar rice for dinner. "I woke up in heat, went right into the crisis and trying to rebuild the machine that did this. By the time I had any energy to think about it, I was pregnant and looking forward to the extra kittens."

"How many on the way, not counting the three from your friend?" She chuckled, mixing up a thin tempura batter for some of the vegetables.

"Eight," she managed a bemused grin. "Bastet decided that if She couldn't have me pregnant often, She'd make good use of it this time. They aren't all by Rock though."

"You realize that you'll be cursing him, Her, and everything else related to sex before you're done having them all, don't you?" Agatha snickered. "Let me know when the oil's hot, dear," she added, setting the batter aside and resting for a few minutes.

Rock couldn't help but laugh, and Jake shot him a dirty look.

"More likely I'll be cursing that I can't have sex," Jake said. "I get off on pain quite a bit."

"Well, I did read somewhere that an orgasm during labor helps with the pain," Rock snickered.

"That was your Aunt Meg," Agatha chuckled. "She insisted the doctors let her take her vibrator in while she was having Mindy."

"If doctors get involved, I'll be surprised," Jake shook her head as she began to form a variety of sushi from beef, pork and vegetables as well as the traditional fish and seafood. "Between Bastet and Halikar's priesthoods, modern medicine will be hard pressed to keep up."

"And I'm sure they'll agree to let you take in a vibrator if you want," Rock winked, kissing her cheek as he snitched a piece of salmon.

"You two are shameless," Agatha laughed. "You're taking to this idea pretty well though, all things considered. After all, you're going from no kits to eleven in just a litter... are you sure you'll have space?"

"Our condo won't," Jake admitted. "While we weren't planning on this many, we bought some land at the edge of city limits and started building last year. A house for us, another for Chance and Midnight and one for guests and grown kits who visit. While we had to do massive revisions to our plans last week, the idea still stands."

"I'd have suggested you take up the condo, but I don't know that the neighbors are really your style," Rock admitted.

"I don't think they would be," Agatha chuckled. "Besides, we'd rather cover our own rent," she told him firmly. "Once we can." She started preparing the tempura-dipped vegetables, leaning against the fridge as she dipped them and then put them in the hot oil.

"And this is somewhere that you can do that," Jake nodded as she made a long sushi roll from thin slices of beef and avocado. "How has the job prospects looking here?"

"Pretty good," she said easily. "We haven't been looking too much yet, but Vern's been watching the options. There are a number of listings... most of them temp, but a good number of permanent openings too."

"Good," Jake said. "What kind of work are you looking for?"

"I'm looking for something in management, Vern's looking for somebody after a good CNC operator who's not going to worry about age," she explained, adding the last of the vegetables.

"You aren't that old," Jake scowled, pausing in her cutting of a sushi roll. "Even Enforcers take recruits your age for most positions."

"The Enforcers are open to people having short careers," she pointed out "We're not that old, but we're over a hundred and ten each. It's not legal, but there's usually something they can find besides age when they want to. We're holding out though."

"You also both have skills that are not as dependant on being young," Rock added with a nuzzle for Jake.

"If you have a particularly hard time, don't be too reluctant to ask for a bit of help," Jake looked at them both seriously before tilting her head up to lick Rock's jaw. "We both have a lot of contacts in this city."

"I know you do, but let us try it on our own first," she chuckled, smiling at the displays of affection. "How are you planning on handling the differences with the kits?"

"When they are young, we're both going to be their father," Jake said easily. "I plan to change back once they're weaned. Once they are old enough to understand, we'll explain the gender-change that enabled this."

"I was wondering more about the differences between the kits that are yours, and the ones you'll be having with Midnight as a surrogate," she explained, scooping out the lightly fried vegetables and draining them.

"The truth," Jake shrugged. "They have a different mother, but one of us is their sire. They'll be playing with her kits and partially raised by her as well."

"We figured it would be the easiest," Rock explained. "After all, if we lie about it, then they'll figure it out eventually."

"And that rarely works out for the best," Agatha agreed. "Do you know how many have who as the sire yet?"

"Yes, for all of them," Jake said as she finished plating the sushi. "Midnight's litter has one girl by me, a boy by Chance, a boy with Rock as sire and myself as dame, and a girl with both of us as sire."

"It's going to be interesting trying to sort it out," she chuckled, taking her wheelchair back as Rock put the tempura into a small bowl for the table.

"You should've let me do this," he told her.

"The doctor said I have to try and work my legs, I couldn't come up with a better way to do it," she countered. "Now go ahead and set the table, I'll be out in a minute... and I'm still listening, though I'm guessing most of yours are Rock's."

"Most, yes," she nodded. "One is by Kyale, a good friend and occasional lover of ours. Two are by Kensu Chim, the Champion of Tenoic. The other five are by Rock."

"Well, at least Bastet didn't see fit to make them all by different fathers," she chuckled.

"She didn't get around that much while she was in heat," Rock laughed. "Though it was a good thing her lab was sealed, or she'd never have finished the ray."

"Oh I would have," Jake bapped his ears playfully. "It just wouldn't have been for another week."

"It would've been an amusing queue though," he grinned.

"A biological nightmare though," Agatha chuckled.

"Oh, it could be worse," Rock laughed. "Ask the Deputy Mayor about that one."

"Oh?" Vern raised an eyebrow at his son as Agatha came back out to the dinning room table.

"Can I tell them?" Rock asked Jake as he sat down the veggies and went for the sauce.

"Yes," she nodded. "It's not a secret, exactly."

"Just checking," Rock nodded. "At any rate, it turns out that the reason she didn't change was because she'd gotten pregnant during her last heat, by her Kantin lover. So Sara and Terrie will have a little brother in a few months."

"A Kat-Kit Fox-Red Fox mix," Jake added as they all sat down. "He'll be quite a looker when he grows up."

"I'm sure he will be," Vern chuckled. "Did you have anything to do with it? It's not exactly common."

"No, it's not, but I'm not to blame this time," Jake shook her head before claiming a portion of dinner for herself. "I only interfere when asked to."

"It's a matter of random chance hitting," Rock agreed, taking some of the veggies and sushi for himself. "Of course, with what I know of the father, odds are that slim odds had a lot of chances to hit," he chuckled. "Fortunately, he's back to being a guy as well; managed to avoid going into heat, as I understand."

"Or there may have been more than the one on the way now," Jake snickered.

"Is he likely to stay with her now?" Agatha asked.

"I expect so," Rock nodded. "She already had the girls when they met. He and his sister both like kits, and their own... well, they're probably just hoping he'll be healthy. They hadn't expected kits any time soon, to say the least. The biggest concern is what it might end up doing come election time."

"Well, no surprise that's Manx's biggest concern," Vern chuckled. "I swear, he'll live as long as he keeps getting elected. I remember him still being in office when we left."

"Then I hope Callie changes her mind and runs soon," Jake couldn't help but groan. "I'm so tired of him being around."

"Well, if Mark has his way it'll happen," Rock chuckled. "With him as campaign manager or Deputy Mayor, I'd bet. Kid's got ambition, when he thinks it'll work out," he said approvingly.

"He has the talent for it," Jake agreed. "Though a couple more decades worth of experience won't hurt."

"No arguments there, I just mean he's not going to let her stay in the shadows all the time," Rock smiled. "He's got a devious streak too, when it comes to it. I have a feeling he's going to find a way to get Callie in the Mayor's seat that's perfectly legal, perfectly ethical, and doesn't leave Manx a shot at getting back in."

"And will leave both of us rolling in laughter when we find out how he did it," Jake grinned. "I'm looking forward to it."

"I get the feeling I'm going to like this guy, if I ever meet him," Vern chuckled.

"Oh, you probably will," Rock said easily. "Being friends of Callie's, and theirs, we see each other on a fairly regular basis. Though, if you do meet them, remember that there are some things that don't get talked about without checking first."

"Which are?" he asked.

"For the most part, Mark and Vanessa's pasts," Rock explained. "You know they used to work for me, but it's not something they want getting around, especially given their current lives. There's also the fact that Mark and Vanessa are a couple just as much as either of them is with Callie."

"I can see why," Agatha murmured, clearly unsettled by the idea.

"I think we could have gone without that information, son." Vern said rather firmly.

"Probably, but I've found that most people are better hearing it before they catch them holding hands or kissing," Rock pointed out. "It's why they came to me. There's not a trace of abuse or mistreatment involved in it. They're two foxes who love each other... they just happened to have the misfortune of being born to the same family."

"How ... different are their ages?" Agatha asked after an uncomfortably quiet moment while the idea was digested.

"Two years; as I understand it, they were always close as siblings, and when she started getting interested in sex, they started exploring that together the way they'd done pretty much everything else," Rock explained. "They had a long talk with the priests of Eshik and Marka before they came to me, and even after that I made sure that there wasn't anything wrong happening."

"Given that, I assume they take extra pains to avoid pups?" Agatha still didn't look happy.

"Of course they do," Rock chuckled. "They've always been careful about it. If it weren't for the fact that they're so obvious related, you'd never have guessed if you just saw them in public," he pointed out. "How does it make that large a difference, if they're both wholly willing and careful about the potential consequences of nature?"

"It's not something we were raised or had any reason to learn to accept," Agatha told him evenly. "It's before your time, but my mother saw some of the worst fallout of when it was acceptable for first cousins to marry and have kits and I learned from her. Some things are a bad idea to become too comfortable with when it can inflict damage on the next generation."

"I understand that," Rock granted. "And I don't mean to preach, really ... it's one of the downsides of being Eshik and Marka's Champion as well as Tamorl's," he admitted sheepishly. "Tamorl doesn't like me to back down from a fight, and Eshik and Marka consider it one worth fighting. Truce, with the knowledge that they are being careful about kits and know the possible consequences quite well?"

"Agreed," she nodded with a slight smile. "It really is about the kits, not them, for me."

"Fair enough," he nodded. "So, new topic; how do you like the new place?"

"It's nice enough," Agatha said. "It is strange having family drop in at random moments, but I think I'll enjoy it when it stops being a surprise to see folks that look like me again."

"Or if you just let them know that they're getting annoying," Rock chuckled. "It's a family tradition after all; after we moved in, only the fact that the doorman is supposed to keep visitors to a minimum kept them from dropping in to make sure we were doing okay several times a day."

"Well, a look at the bedroom might have helped," Jake snickered. "I think it completely freaked ... which cousin was that?"

"Albert," Rock snickered. "Though I think it was the fact we had Mike and the others over that freaked him out as much as the setup."

"Okay, we are officially getting way too into your sex lives for your mother," Agatha made a face, though she was laughing too. "I may know, but I don't need to hear the gory details."

"Don't worry, I wasn't gonna go into it any more than that," Rock chuckled. "It would be more than a little creepy, to be honest."

"Thank you," Vern said over-politely with a bit of a grin. "So how is Chance's oldest doing? Tamera, I think?"

"She's doing just fine, and trying to adjust to the idea that she's got kits on the way too," Jake grinned. "She's just very glad that they're going to the Temple."

"How weirded out is her boyfriend about it?" Vern asked. "And how do you handle having two chefs in the house?"

"Oh, we handle it well enough," Rock grinned. "We trade off mostly, when it comes up. It means if one of us has a rough day, the other can make up for it."

"And Lyth's just fine with it - he's the one who wanted to have them," Jake chuckled. "He's a Priest of Bastet, he figured it would be a shame to miss a chance like this."

"Ah, I bet there is a lot of that happening with Her priests," Agatha chuckled. "She's in college, as I understand?"

"And driving her professors nuts," Rock snickered. "She keeps telling them they're wrong, especially in her physics classes, and they don't want to admit they're just simplifying things for the people who aren't pilots."

"Oh my," she laughed. "I bet Chance would have had the same issue if he hadn't gone Enforcer. I was sure he was a natural at it."

"Oh he is," Jake grinned. "Best of his generation, if not better."

"He hasn't hurt his standing to have the best gunner in generations as his partner," Rock teased his mate before leaning over for a kiss of a shared sushi bite.

"You two are shamelessly mushy," Vern chuckled, snagging some of the tempura.

"Mmm, you should see us in our home, if you think we're bad in public," Jake winked at him. "Goes from mushy to sexy pretty quick."

"We'll behave if you're there," Rock promised, though his hand on Jake's leg did little to change his parent's amused looks. "We'll, we'll try to."

"Just don't come by if I've had a rough day," Jake tried to be serious with mixed success. "I need extra attention those days."

"We'll be sure to call first if the Enforcers make the news," Agatha chuckled. "What ever happened to that stranded tom that Rock mentioned while he was helping us out?"

"Wave Runner," Rock supplied.

"He's doing fine last time I checked up on him," Jake nodded. "Hanging out at Izaris' for the most part."

"Must be fun," Vern chuckled, making a face.

"For him, it is," Rock grinned, taking one of the last pieces of sushi. "He is something of an explorer, and you can't do much better than there for information."

"He's not a bad fighter either, which is keeping Kyale interested," Jake added with a grin for those memories. "She has such a thing for anyone who can drop her in the ring."

"Or even come close," Rock teased him. "She knocked you out that first time."

"And hasn't since," she retorted with mock anger.

"Well, she won't get another chance to try for a few more months, I hope," Agatha said seriously.

"She won't, and she doesn't want one," Rock promised. "She knows what's up too, and she's got a kit involved," he pointed out.

"We haven't fought professionally in years," Jake added and claimed the last of the tempura. "Sparing isn't nearly as dangerous, and I'm staying out of all fights for the next few months."

"Good," Agatha smiled. "Well, if you two don't mind, I'll let you clean up after everybody's finished; thanks so much for helping to cook."

"You are welcome," Jake stood and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Trust me, Bastet wouldn't let anything happen to my kittens, and I'm not going to be taking any risks I can avoid."

Power Games 9.99: Turning a Trick

NC-17 M/F, M/M, F/F sex
Het Level is MediumHet Smut Level is Medium
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Medium
Femslash Level is LowFemslash Smut Level is Low
Herm Level is None

501 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written August 9, 2008 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Kantin, Kat

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Femslash (F/F). Alternate Universe, Children, Fantasy, Mpreg, Pregnancy, Rape (M on F), Supernatural, Violence, Violence (Sexual), Xenophilia

Pairings: Jake Clawson/Rock Furlong, Jake Clawson/Midnight Raven, Chance Furlong/Midnight Raven, Ulysses Feral/Shier Khan, Callie Briggs/Mark Guila/Vanessa Guila, many others

Blurb: Jake and Rock have kittens to make to Midnight, and Turmoil turns the city upside down with incredible consequences that Dark Kat takes full advantage of.

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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