War Between Worlds part 1 of 2
by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

Javrin San'rik'el had lost track of how many times the sun had risen over the makeshift raft he'd cobbled together from the wreckage of his master's starship. His half-finished Jedi training had helped to keep him alive, despite his having lost most of his survival gear to the unfamiliar ocean. The only survival equipment he'd recovered was the hat and sunglasses to protect him from the sun, and the filter canteen to make fresh water out of salt water. Aside from those his primary concern had been to preserve his lightsaber and his master's, not that his master needed the weapon any long but it was Javrin's responsibility to return it to the Council and report what had happened.

Of course, Javrin had no idea how he was going to do that since he was stranded in the middle of an ocean on a world he did not know. He was sure he didn't know it because the stars in the night sky were completely unfamiliar. If he could figure out where he was, he might be able to devise a way home since finding what he needed was something Javrin had always found very easy.

His musing was distracted by a life presence moving near the boat, focusing on it he recognized it as one of the medium sized game fish that often traveled near the surface in this ocean. Extending his mind outward, he used the Force to lift the fish upward and onto the raft. Part of him worried that this might be Dark Side use of the force, but then the more practical part of him pointed out that this was merely part of the circle of life and that there had been no anger or other negative emotion involved.

The philosophical issue resolved, Javrin focused his mind on accelerating the molecules of the metal plate he used for cooking so that it began to glow red-hot as he cleaned the fish. This was one of those times when his youth spent growing up in a harbor town with an active fishing community proved useful, since most city folk couldn't gut and clean a fish to save their lives.

He chuckled briefly at the irony of that statement just before he noticed a shape on the horizon moving closer at a reasonably fast pace. His breath quickened as he realized that it must be a ship, and that could mean rescue from this never-ending ocean of blue with its not-infrequent storms. As it came closer he stood carefully, holding onto the makeshift mast and waved his hat in the air hoping to be seen.

"What're you doing out in the middle of the ocean, boy?" The captain of the super-freighter asked the strangely dressed blue-grey furred young tom curiously. The boy couldn't be more than thirteen or fourteen at most, and was dressed in unfamiliar brown robes. The burly grey and white tom wasn't usually this suspicious of shipwreck victims, but there was something here that didn't seem right. For one thing, the boy's robes barely seemed wet, as if he'd just arrived and yet the look in his eyes was what the captain was used to seeing in victims who'd spent weeks or longer on the open ocean.

("My transport crashed.") He explained, as he indicated with one hand something crashing into the ocean. He didn't understand the strange feline's language, but it seemed logical to explain how he ended up in the middle of the ocean. Picking up language by mind-reading was difficult at best, and he certainly wasn't at his most calm and contemplative right now. He was also very grateful that he was wearing the feline form from his mother's side, as opposed to the large canine form that was his father's legacy to him. Being a Ti-Can had its advantages, but the sometimes involuntary shapeshift wasn't one of them. Fortunately, his mother had been a Blue Cat from the semi-tropical region of his homeworld, while his father had been Malwolf from the sub arctic regions. The warm weather and humidity had kept him solidly fixed in feline form since he arrived and with his rescuers being feline, this was a good thing.

"Crashed, huh?" The captain nodded, reading the pantomime even though he couldn't understand the boy's language. That was odd in itself since the captain knew enough of almost a dozen languages to deal with port masters on both sides of the ocean. "How long ago?" He asked, tracing an arc across the sky, hoping that would be self-explanatory.

"Many days." Javrin explained haltingly, hoping he wasn't butchering the language totally.

"Quick study at languages, huh?" The captain smiled. "Good thing to be if you're going to travel. Well, I don't know where you were going but my ship is headed for MegaKat City. Maybe somebody there can help you get home. In the meantime, Conroy, my first officer, will show you to quarters and a hot meal."

"Thank you." Javrin said, adding a polite bow. He had only understood part of what had been said, but he'd definitely understood the room and food part. Both sounded wonderful, and drove all thoughts of just what to do next out of his head.

"You're welcome." The captain smiled back, and turned to head for the bridge as his lanky tan and white first officer took their rescue below deck. "Smythers." He yelled to the comm officer, as he entered the super-freighter's bridge. "Radio ahead to MegaKat City, and ask them to have someone from Kitten Services meet us. Our rescue can't be more than fifteen and I doubt he's that. Need someone to take responsibility for him, that city is no place to leave a kit unsupervised."

"Yes, sir." The calico female nodded crisply. "Any idea where he's from, sir?"

"Not a clue, Smythers." The captain shook his head as he computed course adjustments to get them back on schedule. "And that's very strange, I can usually place foreigners right away."

"Aye, sir." She nodded.

<< ---- Eight years later ---- >>

"Sure, Dr. Sinian, I can take your car to the mechanic for you." Javrin said eagerly, as always. He never minded running errands for the doctor, and this was no different. "Who do you take it to?"

"Take it out to Megacat Salvage and Garage." She said from under an artifact. "Callie recommends them highly. You'll probably have to leave it overnight." She added. "Let me give you money for the cab back."

"No need, Doctor." The steel blue-grey grad student said with a grin. "I'll just put my scooter in the trunk, and ride back."

"If you like." She chuckled, and slid her keys across the floor to him. "If you can get back in time, I'd like you to take the discussion section for Basic Archaeology today. It'll be good teaching experience for you."

"I will be, and thank you Doctor." He grinned, as he grabbed the keys and ran out to the car.

"To have half his energy." Abi chuckled, as she turned her attention back to the passage that was stubbornly defying translation.

"Yes, Dr. Sinian asked me to bring her car to you to have it looked at." Javrin explained to the large burly tabby who'd identified himself as Chance Furlong. "There's some serious lifter noise in the engine, the steering needs alignment and spark plugs need adjustment." He said easily. "The timing is slightly off on the firing."

"You a mechanic?" Chance asked curiously.

"Strictly amateur." Javrin chuckled, as he watched a smaller tom approach the car. This would have to be Jake, the partner that Chance had mentioned. "All the Doctor said was that it's noisy and seems to be using more gas than usual."

"That'd be the way a non-mechanic would see it." Jake chuckled. "We probably can't get to it 'til tomorrow; you got a way back to town?"

"Scooter in the trunk." He grinned and got out of the car, handing Chance the keys though his attention was more on Jake. "It's not fancy or fast, but it gets from point A to point B." He chuckled. "And I can park it in a closet."

"Given the parking downtown that's a definite plus." Chance commented as he watched the athletic tom expertly unfold the lightweight scooter.

"Well, the Doctor will probably call you tomorrow about the car." Javrin smiled. "I've got to get back, got a class to teach." He chuckled. "Nice meeting you, Chance, Jake." He grinned and drove away the scooter picking up speed steadily.

"Okay, who was that?" Jake asked curiously, as he watched the scooter go faster than he would've thought it capable of.

"Javrin Rikel, Dr Sinian's research assistant." Chance explained with a grin. "And you think he's cute." He added matter-of-factly.

"Well, he is." Jake grinned back. "And smart too, from what little I heard."

"Well, you know where to find him." The burly tabby teased playfully.

"Hey, Javrin." Jake's tone was low and easy as he leaned against the wall near where the blue-grey tom was working on a translation.

"Jake Clawson, right?" Javrin said casually, as he finished the paragraph he was working on. "Something I can do for you?" He asked politely, wondering why Dr. Sinian's mechanic would be stopping by the museum to see him.

"Yes," his smiled brightened a bit. "I was wondering if you were free for dinner."

"If you don't mind waiting." Javrin said apologetically, as he cleaned up what he was working on. "I'm due at Kendo shortly, but I'll be done there about seven." He said as he quickly packed his backpack. "I really do lose track of time working on a translation." He admitted sheepishly.

That raised an eyebrow and a bit of a grin. "Will anyone object if I if I tag along and watch?"

"As long as you're quiet and stay out of the way, I don't think so." Javrin said easily as he shouldered his bag. "Tonight is just workout and sparring. If it was an instruction or kata night, I would have to ask my Sensei first."

"I can do that," Jake smiled easily and fell into step with the lithe tom that was probably about his age. "Watching can be as good as practice on occasion." He added, though he kept the rest of the thought that it would be an excellent couple of hours of watching that beautiful body work at peak performance.

Javrin blushed light under his blue-grey fur, having inadvertently picked up a hint of what Jake was really going to be watching. Sometimes it was very irritating being only half-trained, and reading people had been his strong talent to start. He stopped at a large storage closet near the back entrance to the museum and pulled his scooter out of it. "Like I said, no parking problems." He grinned as he rolled the scooter-trying-to-be-a-motorcycle out of the museum.

"You definitely have a talent for machines," Jake nodded approvingly and settled behind Javrin as the lithe kat revved the engine.

"It's what I could afford when I was an undergrad." He chuckled, as they headed across town. "I've just been upgrading it piecemeal since then. Better engine here, better tires there." He chuckled. "You make do with what's available."

"I've very familiar with that concept," Jake chuckled and settled in to enjoy an unexpected chunk of time to get a good physical feel for the guy he was asking out. The hard muscle and warmth against his chest and under his arms only heightened his appreciation for the tom he already found appealing.

"With all those spare parts around your business, I bet you are." Javrin chuckled back, as he deftly weaved in and out of MegaKat City rush hour traffic. He seemed to have a knack for knowing where spaces would open up, almost before they did, something that didn't escape Jake's notice or curiosity.

"Here we are." Javrin said as they pulled into the underground parking space of one of the city's innumerable high-rises. "Dojo is on the tenth floor." He said as he pulled up to a caged in storage area, and unlocked it with a key. "Sensei's sister's husband owns the building." He added by way of explanation.

"So how long have you been studying?" Jake asked for idle conversation.

"Eight years with Sensei Shimonara." He said easily, before locking the cage behind him. "Four years with my first Sensei." He added quietly, not quite managing to mask the pain he still felt at the loss of his Master. Eight years and he still couldn't achieve any detachment from the emotions, which made him wonder if maybe the Council had been right and he had been too old to begin training.

"You started about eighteen?" He asked curiously after a bit of quick math in his head. "What got you interested?"

"My first Sensei bailed me out of trouble with the law." Javrin explained quietly. "He said I had great potential and offered me a better way if I studied hard and stayed out of trouble. At first it just seemed like a better deal than jail."

"I bet," he chuckled softly and relaxed against the lift's wall. "After a while it was something that just seemed to fit." He added with a soft smile.

"Yes, it did." Javrin nodded. "And my first Sensei was the father I never had." He smiled fondly, focusing on the good times. "If you don't mind my saying so, you seem overly talented for what you do." He commented, hoping to change the subject from himself as he worked on calming his mind for sparring.

"I know," Jake nodded with a half-hearted shrug. "Politics got involved. Kind of got me stuck where I am."

"Ah, politics." Javrin chuckled softly, though sympathetic. "The mirror image of common sense, as Doctor Sinian puts it."

"Yeah. Not that I haven't thought about doing something else anyway, but I really don't mind the work I do." He shook his head with a bemused smile. "It may not be all I can be, but it's easy work and gives me plenty of time to keep up on my other interests."

"I'm sure it does." Javrin nodded. "And as long as you know what you're capable of, that's really all that matters." He said as the door opened on the tenth floor. The younger tom led the way to a set of double doors which opened onto a large room where about a dozen kats, both male and female, where already sparring. Some were working with wooden swords while others were sparring with actual swords. "Wait here." Javrin said politely, indicating benches around the edge of the room. "I have to go check in with Sensei." He smiled, and headed across the room while Jake complied obediently.

A short while later, Javrin came back in dressed in a white karate uniform. Noticeable was the black belt with two red marks that Javrin was wearing. A slightly larger black and white tom wearing the same uniform only with a belt with three red marks followed onto the floor. His immaculately cared for sword was as sharp as any of Razor's blades and held with the natural grip of a lifetime in his hands.

A few minutes later, an older graying black tom wearing the same uniform but with six marks walked onto the practice floor, and all activity stopped as though switch had been flipped. All the kats on the sparring floor turned and bowed to the older kat with great respect before lining up into precise rows. Showing no signs of age, the Sensei lead them in a very demanding set of warm-up and conditioning exercises before the group broke into sparring pairs.

As Jake watched, it became apparent that this was Javrin's natural element. His movements were fluid and graceful, and his opponent was hard pressed to match him even though he appeared to outrank him. What was also evident was that Javrin's focus had narrowed to the width of the blade, without losing awareness of his surroundings. Several times the Sensei picked an item from the room and threw it at Javrin, only to have the blue-grey tom either parry the object or dodge it.

It was magic to watch. A display that literally took his breath away.

Jake knew how to fight. He was damn good at it, and made no bones about it. He could take almost any opponent he met and very few of them were a challenge. But in this room he knew he'd be hard pressed to win against several of the students, Javrin definitely included.

It was an interesting feeling; to know that if trouble started his civilian companion could more than handle himself.

To watch Javrin move in him element touched every nerve in Jake's body with a mixture of pleasure, awe and comfort that relaxed him as much as it turned him on.

The highly intense sparring went on for about an hour, with the occasional synchronized switching of opponents. And then there was the sound of a small gong, and the class smoothly moved back into straight rows and performed a series of cool-down exercises before heading out through the same door that Javrin had gone through to change in the first place. About fifteen minutes later, the students began wandering out, now in street clothes by ones and twos.

Javrin came out talking quietly with his Sensei who was now dressed in an Enforcer uniform with precinct Captain insignia. Javrin bowed respectfully to his Sensei before heading over to Jake. "Hope you didn't get bored." The freshly showered, and still slightly damp, tom grinned as he reached Jake.

"Not in the least," he smiled back and stood with more grace than he thought he'd manage given how much his mind was not on the present. "It's something else to watch."

"That's what I thought the first time I watched my first Sensei and his partner spar." Javrin smiled, as he began to relax from his combat focus into the present. As if seeing him for the first time, he began to appreciate the attractive tom who had invited him to dinner.

"Quite an eye-opener too," Jake chuckled and followed Javrin as the scooter was collected and they got back on the lift. "It's been ages since I've been in a room with that many people I'd be leery of getting into a fight with."

"Advanced martial arts classes are like that." Javrin grinned as they reached the parking garage. "That was Sensei's best students, and a number of them have law enforcement or military backgrounds."

"Given his job, I'm seriously not surprised." He nodded. "Swords aren't my thing, but I can appreciate having a mentor like that."

"He's very good." Javrin nodded, and then chuckled. "He's tried to recruit me and a few of the others who aren't in law enforcement a couple of times. I'm flattered, but I have reservations about the person he takes orders from." He said simply, as they left the underground parking garage and paused at the edge of the street.

"Yeah, I know." Jake muttered darkly. "He'd be a top-notch Commander if he didn't have so much of an ego involved in micromanaging. But if he's still got it now, it'll never get beaten out of him. At least his current successor is likely to be better." He added with a bit of honest fondness for the younger Feral.

"That seems to be the general consensus, among the Enforcers in class." Javrin nodded. "Sensei is quite guarded in commenting on the Commander." He said simply. "Was there somewhere in particular we were going?" He asked casually.

"That depends on whether or not you prefer to dance or have quiet conversation." Jake all but purred into his ear.

"Perhaps conversation would be better." Javrin replied shyly. "Dance I know nothing about." He admitted sheepishly.

"All right. How about Mickey's?" he smiled easily. "Its nearby and good food without too much rowdiness."

"Sounds good." Javrin nodded. "Just tell me where to turn, I don't happen to know where it is even though I've probably driven past it plenty of times." He chuckled. "I don't go out very often." He admitted.

"This I'm used to." Jake chuckled and easily directed them to the bar and grill. "Chance may drive, but I know where to go."

"I usually make sure I know where I'm going ahead of time." Javrin smiled, as he parked in one of the motorcycle spots. "But then, I usually travel alone."

"That may be changing," he purred softly. "And I bet you'd be good at dancing. You definitely have the natural grace for it."

"Thank you." Javrin blushed lightly at the compliment, before setting the security system as they walked away from the scooter. "You're probably very good yourself." He replied somewhat clumsily, and feeling quite self-conscious.

"I like to think so," he smiled at the tom about his size and cautiously slid an arm around Javrin's waist. "So what do you do in your spare time?

"Working as Dr Sinian's assistant, along with my graduate studies keeps me fairly well occupied." Javrin chuckled as he forced himself to relax after starting involuntarily at the unexpected contact. "Kendo and tinkering on the scooter are my hobbies. Well, that and keeping up with what's going on with the space program, when there actually is something there to keep up with."

"Would you rather I didn't?" Jake asked softly, indicating his arm as they waited to be seated.

"No." Javrin shook his head. "You just surprised me, that's all." He added quietly. He carefully suppressed his embarrassment at being surprised, since he should've been aware of the movement well before contact occurred. It wasn't as if Jake had been trying to be sneaky about it even.

Jake nodded and smiled slightly as the waitress returned and motioned them to follow her to a fairly private back booth and set their menus down. "Would you like anything to drink, sirs?" She asked politely.

"Milk," Jake nodded to her and sat down, giving Javrin the opportunity to select what side of the booth he wanted to it in.

"Milk as well please." Javrin said as he considered for a brief moment. Part of him wanted to be closer to the door, and the other part wanted to be able to watch the door.

"Two milks it is," she smiled at them and slipped away.

After a brief hesitation he chose the side that let him watch the door. "Nice choice, Jake." He said looking around at the decor and clientele as he sat down next to Jake.

"Thanks," he smiled and took the opportunity to scoot a little closer. "Any idea what you'd like?" He asked, leaving it open to whether he meant the menu or more in general.

"So many choices." Javrin nodded, leaving it open as to whether he was talking about the menu or more generally. "And not a lot of experience." He admitted thoughtfully. The menu itself was choices enough, as he usually cooked his own meals at home. Many of these things sounded good, but moderation and self-control was important. "Guess I shouldn't have done all those tune-ups for Dr Sinian myself." He grinned playfully.

"Nah, you didn't do any damage." Jake grinned at him. "That was M.O.W. damage, and an easy fix."

"Yeah, but if I hadn't done it myself Dr. Sinian would've had me bring the car in sooner." He smirked.

"I have to admit, that would have been a bonus." He rumbled softly and lightly nuzzled Javrin's neck.

"But my first Sensei believed very strongly that if you can do something yourself, you should." He smiled and leaned into the contact. "But then again, Dr Sinian never mentioned how attractive a mechanic she had."

"I'm not sure she'd notice." Jake chuckled low in his throat and straitened a bit as the waitress came with their milks.

"Have you decided what you would like?" She asked politely.

"The large chef salad with ranch dressing on the side." Javrin said easily. "And a side order of french-fries." He said going with what was basically what he'd fix at home, not counting the french-fries. He could feel the surprise in Jake's body at his choice, but the cinnamon tom didn't contest the choice.

"Surf and turf," Jake told her and the waitress smiled, nodded and left them in peace again.

"Surprised you, huh?" Javrin asked with a curious grin.

"Well, yeah." He chuckled a bit. "A salad lover isn't something I would have guessed."

"Only after Kendo." He grinned. "Lunch was heavy on the meat side. Just part of my workout routine. 'Sides, salad leaves more room for dessert and I liked the look of the dessert list."

"Mmmm, and here I was hoping you'd be desert," Jake chuckled softly and ran his tongue along Javrin's jaw.

"No rule against two courses of dessert." Javrin murmured back quietly, as he reached up one hand to ran a finger along Jake's jaw line. The gesture wasn't as fluid as his normal movements, even a little uncertain. Still it found approval as Jake leaned forward slightly to brush their mouths together very lightly.

"You can say no." Jake rumbled through a tight throat. "No obligations, no pressure."

"I know." Javrin said quietly as his jaw was kissed down to his neck and across his shoulder. "This is just unfamiliar territory." He admitted quietly. "It's been a while."

"Then I'll take it as gently as you wish," he breathed in the gray tom's ear. "Dinner is going to be interesting." He added with a chuckle.

"Assuming we actually manage to notice it." Javrin chuckled, as he relaxed and let himself take in Jake with all his senses. It had been years since he'd been this close with anyone, and there was something different about Jake. The grey tom was hard pressed to say how he knew or why, but he just knew there was something fundamentally right about Jake. It was like the one mercenary his Master had introduced him to, who had insisted he was no hero and yet his actions said otherwise. "And I know you will." He said with a quiet confidence and found his mouth claimed by a soft, hungry one that while gentle was almost all consuming.

It broke only when plates were set in front of them silently and the waitress slipped away again.

"You're very good at that." Javrin smiled playfully, clearly having enjoyed the kiss.

"I get a lot of practice with a certain tabby." He chuckled and kissed him quickly again. "Care to eat so we can go further than kissing?" He murmured hotly.

"Lucky tabby." Javrin smirked, and then picked up his fork. "The management would probably get upset if we went too far right here." He chuckled softly, though it was pretty clear that kissing was about as far as he wanted to go in public.

"Yeah, I'm sure they would," Jake chuckled and went to work on the grilled fish on his plate. "Though not nearly as far as Chance'll push it sometimes." He let a slight shiver pass through him. "What that kat can do to you fully dressed is criminal."

Javrin wasn't quite sure what to make of that, though his imagination made him blush slightly before he got it under control. He began to wonder if he was intruding on an established couple, even if Jake had been the one to ask him out. It was certainly something he shouldn't be doing in that case, but he wasn't sure quite how to ask without offending. "Are the two of you a couple?" He asked hesitantly after several quite forkfuls of salad.

"We're partners," Jake said easy with a light shake of his head. "Friends with extras. Neither of us are much on the idea of settling down anytime soon. You're not going to get into the middle of anything unpleasant."

"Good." Javrin nodded, and relaxed noticeably. "I didn't think so, but I needed to be sure." He explained quietly, before getting more serious about dinner.

"Valid question," Jake nodded and relaxed himself, though it was more to actually taste the excellent meal in front of him instead of imagining what it was going to be like to have the incredible body next to him in bed and all his.

It took what little training Javrin had had to keep control and not tense up under the mixture of apprehension and excitement that were running through him. Excitement at the thought of what 'dessert' would entail, and apprehension at the same thoughts. His bedroom experience was a solid mix of wonderful and awful and he had to wonder which this would be even as he knew what he imagined it would be.

The emotions and sensations he was picking up from Jake only heightened the excitement. It was very clear that the cinnamon tom was out for mutual pleasure, it all but radiated off him. And the way he kissed and touched ... it was as much about pleasuring as well as being pleasured.

"So what do you hope to go into after you graduate?" Jake asked with a casualness that concealed just how badly he wanted to deal with the stiffness between his legs.

"Probably take the Assistant Director position I've been filling as a grad student." He smiled, wishing that he could tell Jake his real dream, to return home. And yet, he was apprehensive about returning to the world he'd left as a child. He wasn't sure how the Council would treat him; after all it was only his Master's stubbornness that had gotten him admitted to training to begin with. And now he was over twenty and still barely half-trained ... he worried how they might react. "Dr. Sinian really does need someone in that job full time, and with some of the excavations under way currently there'll be some fascinating exhibits in the next three to five years."

"Sounds like you found your niche," he smiled warmly as the fish disappeared and he began on the beef. "Do you go on the excavations very often?"

"Sometimes." Javrin nodded, picking up a few fries. "Depends on what else is going on, and whether Dr Sinian is on an excavation. We really can't have both of us out at the same time." He chuckled. "There just aren't enough of us with the organizational discipline to keep things running."

"And as I remember, she loves being out on a dig." Jake chuckled. "I think she'd prefer if she never had to stay at the museum."

"Except that there are things that she has to do." Javrin grinned. "She is much better at university politics than I am, and the museums donors much prefer to speak with her directly. So she can't be on digs quite as often as she'd like, however, she'd rather run the museum herself than have to report to someone else."

"I can so relate to that one," Jake rolled his eyes. "There is something to be said for being your own boss."

"Perhaps." Javrin nodded. "I have no complaints about my boss though." He chuckled softly.

"Yeah, but your boss is nice," he snickered. "And kinda cute in an older shekat sort of way."

"And not everyone's boss is so nice." Javrin nodded. "Guess I just got lucky."

"Yeah, not everybody does. There are worse things out there, but a good boss does make life a lot easier."

"Even if she does have a knack for attracting trouble." Javrin shook his head. "We not only need security to keep trouble out, but to keep our exhibits from breaking free periodically."

"A facet to the job I don't think they get told before taking it." Jake couldn't help but snicker. "Or you'd never be able to afford them."

"According to Dr Sinian, they're pretty expensive anyway." Javrin said easily. "You can't get anyone to be a security guard without paying extra currently. Not that I blame them, since you never know where some nutcase like the PastMaster is going to turn up."

"Especially not in a place like that," he nodded. "You've probably got all sorts of his stuff he'll want back sooner or mater."

"Either him or some more mundane crook just looking to make a buck on the black market." He shook his head. "As hard as it is to believe there are private collectors who will pay top dollar for artifacts of that nature. And the big money types who really run the city have blocked any attempt to restrict trafficking in archaeological finds." He added with a disgusted tone. "Pieces of history being lost into hidden private collections just so some rich kat can pad his or her ego."

"Nothing new to that," Jake rolled his eyes. "It's not like making it illegal would actually change anything. Money negates all laws."

"At least if it was illegal there'd be some small chance of recovering things." He shook his head. "Of course, it's an open secret that the Ferals have one of the largest private collections around."

"What else would one of the richest families in the area have?" He shrugged, though his tone was bitter and more than a little hateful.

"Sore subject, I see." Javrin murmured, ducking his head sheepishly. "Didn't realize you had a history with them." He added apologetically.

"We were Enforcer before Feral booted us to the Yard." He explained quietly and as simply as he could.

"Ah, another case of the Commander's inability to manage people with real talent." Javrin replied quietly, and then cut himself off before asking what the military was doing running a salvage yard. "I can see where you'd be pissed at him."

"Only time I've been seriously tempted to kill someone personally," Jake muttered. "It didn't do a lot to me, but it nearly broke Chance."

Javrin was tempted to say that he doubted it would've kept the tabby down for long, but without explaining things he didn't want to yet, he had nothing to back that. "It looks like you did a good job of pulling him through it." The blue-grey tom said approvingly.

"Yeah," he smiled softly. "He's really worked to see this as for the best, or at least not the end of the world. Took some convincing, and he still gets bitter more often than I like."

"A good friend can pull you through almost anything." Javrin nodded, though it had the feeling of rote repetition with any real emotion. "It's a lot harder alone." He added in a quiet and somewhat distant voice.

"Just about everything is," Jake nodded quietly, and then nuzzled his companion lightly. "How about getting to a less depressing topic? We both seem to have plenty of pain to go around."

"A very good idea." Javrin chuckled lightly. "I don't think either of us was looking for group therapy session this evening." He grinned playfully. "So what do you do with your spare time? Aside from picking up archaeologists?" He grinned.

"I fix the Deputy Mayor's car, see what I can create out of the 'junk' in the yard, play with Chance, keep up in Aeronautics, Electronics, Middle Ages History, Mechanics, Physics, Space Flight ... and a dozen other subjects." He grinned lustfully. "Definitely play with Chance."

"Middle Ages History?" Javrin blinked in surprise. "Any particular part of the Middle Ages?" He asked curiously, clearly a bit surprised.

"Queen Callista's reign and the times before and after." He smiled slightly and scrambled for an explanation other than the truth.

"Fascinating period." Javrin nodded. "A brief period of civility in a very long period of chaos. Though she had the misfortune of ruling during one of the PastMaster's active times."

"Yeah, and her descendant gets to rule in another." Jake shook his head. "Talk about an unpleasant job."

"It's fascinating that the two are so similar in appearance, based on paintings from the period." Javrin said thoughtfully. "The odds against it are overwhelming. The only good thing is that, historically speaking, the PastMaster's active periods never last for more than thirty or forty years before something shuts him back down."

"Which means we only have twenty-five to thirty-five more years to go," Jake chuckled ruefully. "Unless we get really lucky."

"Well, I think he may push his luck one time too many taking on the SWAT Kats." Javrin said simply. "Sooner or later one of his plans will backfire on him big time."

"Or one of the other Omegas will get ticked off at him and do it for us." He chuckled darkly.

"Possibly, but they seem to take turns picking on the city." Javrin shook his head. "It's like they have a schedule for whose turn it is. Gee, can't invade on Thursday 'cause Dark Kat already has the day booked." He snickered sarcastically and made Jake laughed heartily.

"Oh, gods, I could actually see that. Scary thought, really."

"Would explain why they always seem to be rushing things." Javrin chuckled darkly. "Nothing sucks like having your Master Plan run over by someone else's. Especially if they're contradictory in some fundamental way, aside from the basic fact that they all want to be the psychopath in charge."

"Which only leaves the question: If one wins, what do the others do?"

"Probably try to take down the one who won." Javrin shrugged. "It's king-of-the-hill for psychos."

"True," he nodded thoughtfully. "Some sort of bizarre code among Omegas. Don't interfere unless they've actually won or something."

"Except when Dark Kat gets it in his head to do it," Jake shivered involuntarily. "He's managed it. The really freaky part? It really was Feral that saved the day that time."

"It was?" Javrin asked curiously. "What little was reported was a bit vague. And the Mayor made it sound like the SWAT Kats did. Of course, I think the Mayor finds the SWAT Kats a useful foil to any ambitions the Ferals may have to replacing him." He said thoughtfully.

"Even Ann Gora only reports bits and pieces," Jake shook his head. "You meet all sorts of interesting people as one of the best, and most honest, mechanics in the city." He chuckled low in his throat. "You'd be amazed what we get told by the folks who were there."

"Probably as interesting as some of the things I hear in class." Javrin. "Just enough Enforcers who can't avoid talking 'shop' in the locker room. Plus I hear interesting things at the high society openings the museum holds every so often." He chuckled. "Amazing the amount of wheeling and dealing that goes on under the guise of a social event."

"Makes sense, otherwise they'd have to spend resources countering each other instead of just undermining the city." Javrin nodded. "About as close as evil gets to 'working together'."

"I'm pretty sure it's where almost all of it happens," Jake shook his head. "It's where the people with money get together after all."

"Only the easy stuff I think, the stuff where they don't need gangs of lawyers and reams of fine print." Javrin chuckled. "And only between the ones who are on good terms with each other. Synder Pumadin and Anton Feral barely talk to each other at social events at all; they only do business in business settings." He said simply. "The tension when they're within arms' length of each other is quite amazing."

"Okay so they're the exception." He smirked. "It's not like they're people I'd want to know anyway."

"Actually, they were more of an example." Javrin chuckled. "But I have to agree, having met them is quite as much as I want to know of them." He shook his head. "However, since they're two of the Museum's larger donors I have to be polite to them."

"At least you don't have to like them," he chuckled and shook his head. "I have to admit I'm not at all sorry they don't come to the Yard for their vehicle work."

"As long as I'm polite, it doesn't matter what I'm thinking about them." Javrin smirked. "And I can't see any of that crowd letting anyone see them or their vehicles near a salvage yard." He shook his head. "They're so worried about their image."

"And Miss Briggs is the only one we'd do house calls for, but she doesn't worry about it."

"She's amazingly down-to-earth for the level of politics she's in." Javrin nodded. "Dr. Sinian and she have been friends for some time, though I think they tempt fate by having dinner together." He chuckled. "Given the trouble that one of them alone attracts."

"Not to mention the field day that the press could make of it," Jake snickered. "But, damn, that it a hot thought."

Javrin blinked. "That wasn't what I meant." He stammered apologetically, and blushed noticeably. He'd certainly never meant to imply a romantic connection between his boss and the Deputy Mayor. To the best of his knowledge they were just friends who got together to have dinner occasionally.

"Yeah, I know." He smiled. "I'm just in that kind of mood."

"Oh, of course." he nodded, as he calmed down and felt the blush recede. "It's just that I didn't want to be contributing to a rumor that already exists." He explained. "Of course, anyone who knows them knows that they're solidly monogamous with their careers." He snickered.

"Oh, gods, no kidding." Jake laughed easily. "Not that Callie isn't a hell of a flirt, but it's just in fun," he purred and leaned against Javrin. "But I prefer guys."

"I think I noticed that." Javrin purred back, reaching one hand up to gently brush Jake's cheek and found one finger encircled by a tongue and then drawn into Jake's mouth while the cinnamon tom pressed closer.

Javrin moved his finger out of the way as he moved to claim Jake's mouth in a passionate, if inexperienced, kiss that quickly got even more intense that the first one.

"I think we should get out of here before they call the cops," Jake rumbled deep in his chest. "I want to touch that fur of yours."

"Good idea." Javrin agreed easily. "Your place or mine?"

"Yours," he chuckled and let his hands linger before Javrin got up. "Mine has a good chance of a very sexy tabby showing up and wanting in."

"And as attractive as he is." Javrin smiled. "I don't know that I'm ready for a threesome tonight." He said, only half-succeeding in being nonchalant about the prospect.

"And I don't want to share tonight," Jake rumbled and pulled Javrin close before walking to the small cashiers stand near the entrance/exit to pay for their meal.

Jake drew Javrin after the small apartment's door was locked and kissed him gently. "Would you like this a low and gentle first time exploration, or hot and heavy action?" He asked in all seriousness.

"Slow and gentle would be better." Javrin replied softly, as he led the way into the medium sized living room that was full of pillows of varying sizes, colors and shapes which seemed to replace the usual couches and chairs one normally found. Jake simply smiled and drew him down into the pillow collection for a kiss even more heated than before.

"That I can definitely do." Jake purred.

"I thought so." Javrin rumbled back, as he let Jake take the lead. He figured his experience would show less that way, and besides he was curious to see what Jake considered slow and gentle.

It began with just those kisses; slow and passionate with gentle hands that explored without any real attempt to remove their clothing.

Javrin lets his own hands explore similarly, though they were less sure in their movements than Jake's. It was not something that seemed to bother the cinnamon tom.

"It is your timing, Javrin." Jake purred against his neck, his arousal clear against the younger tom's body as well as in his nose. "I will go no further than you tell, or show, me to."

Javrin thought about it for a short while, and realized just how far out of his depth he was. He sighed quietly, and then claimed another kiss. "I was hoping you could show me what it can be like when it's good between two toms." Javrin asked softly. "My last experience isn't something I want to repeat." He murmured. "And I trust you." He said with far more certainty than anything else he'd said as Jake looked down at him.

"All right," he finally accepted with a soft sound and another kiss. "Ready to show a little fur?"

"That far I can certainly handle." He grinned playfully up at the older tom, as he moved to take his shirt off and found the motions mirrored as perfectly as their different clothing would allow to show off well-groomed cinnamon fur covering a tightly muscled body that saw as many workouts in combat as in the gym or training grounds.

"You are a very handsome kat," Jake purred as he kissed his way down the lean, well-muscled chest covered by dense, soft grey fur.

"You saw a lot of combat, didn't you?" Javrin commented as he admired the lean, cinnamon kat. "And you're very handsome yourself." He rumbled, as he reached one had down to gently caress one of Jake's ears.

"You could say that," he admitted quietly and worked his way down to one of the dark gray nipples that peaked out from Javrin's soft fur.

Javrin's purr deepened at the attention, and he shuddered lightly in anticipation of the touch and gentle tongue that swirled around the soft skin until it was a hard pebble in Jake's mouth and lavished with even more attention. He shuddered and moaned softly and tried to touch Jake's shoulders and ears with a matching gentleness as the cinnamon tom worked his way lower until the kisses were halted by Javrin's belt.

"May I?" He purred softly, looking up from just over the gray tom's crotch with a hunger that was undeniable, and just as tightly held in check.

While he could barely nod, it was enough for Jake to open the younger tom's belt and pants and work them down, kissing along Javrin's thighs and calves as he moved. With the fit gray body on display under him Jake smiled and stood to give his playmate a good view of his own body being revealed.

"You will be a delight to enjoy," Jake rumbled as he lowered himself for another heated kiss, this time complete with the pleasurable friction of two naked bodies rubbing together.

"Mmmm, you are very handsome." He didn't know what else to say. His hands moved along Jake's flanks, unsure of what to do but enjoying the touch all the same.

Jake broke it off and kissed his way back down the downy-soft chest until he could ghost a breath over the half-erect cock. He turned his attention to the balls in his hand, working one, then the other with his mouth and tongue until Javrin squirmed with pleasure and arousal was the only scent in Jake's nose.

Only then did he move up Javrin's body again, rumbling when the hard length of flesh that tasted of the essence he'd been smelling for hours slid into his mouth and down his throat with practiced ease. His rumble increased and worked up to his throat as he went down on Javrin, intent on bringing him off as quickly and intensely as he could.

It wasn't a difficult feat, or one that took long. Jake murred and began to hum as the body under him tightened and the sounds of pleasure shifted to whimpers of the same. Even when Javrin's self-control slipped and he started to thrust into Jake's mouth, Jake took it easily and worked the cock with his throat and tongue mercilessly until Javrin roared and threw his head back with the first heavy spurt of come that shot down Jake's throat.

All through the whimpers and cries of raw pleasure Jake continued to suckle and lick and fondle until Javrin was well and truly spent. Only then did he let him slide from his mouth and slid up the panting tom's body for a heated kiss.

"Oh wow." Javrin rumbled, recovering quickly. "You are incredible." He added, claiming another kiss as he hands resumed exploring Jake's body, clearly feeling a little more confident.

"I'm just getting started," he chuckled and reached down to gently encourage Javrin to hardness again. "Think you're up for something a little more advanced?"

"Most likely." He rumbled excitedly. He gasped as Jake stretched out and rubbed their cocks against each other, then lifted himself upright to straddle his playmate.

He looked down at the gray tom with a smile and reached back to guide Javrin's cock against his ass, then into it with a single slide and moan of pleasure.

Javrin squeezed his eyes closed, overwhelmed by the intensity of pleasure in that tight heat for a moment. When he opened them Jake's expression matched the ecstasy Javrin felt from him. Without even thinking about it, Jake was making an erotic display of slowly moving up and down the hard length deep inside him.

It took what little control Javrin had left to keep from coming almost immediately from intensity of the display, as well as from the sensation of being engulfed in Jake's body. Slowly Javrin began to move in rhythm with the cinnamon tom so that he was thrusting up as Jake was moving down.

"Oh, yeah," Jake rumbled as he brought his muzzle down a bit to watch Javrin's face. "Touch me, handsome."

Javrin reached his hands up and began to gently explore Jake's chest and abs, spending more time rubbing and caressing the lean tom's nipples through his soft fur. The expression on Javrin's face was a mixture of ecstasy and surprise, probably surprise that things could feel as good as they did.

Jake's breath hitched before he moaned deeply and gently guided one of Javrin's hands to curl around his cock to stroke it. The instruction was taken easily and Jake shuddered again and his head fell back.

"Come with me," he whispered as his body tightened around Javrin's and the first powerful spurt of pearly come arched from him to splatter across Javrin's chest.

Letting go of what little control he had left, Javrin shot his seed deep into Jake's body with the first powerful spurt. Even as the spasms shot his seed into Jake, he continued stroking Jake's cock until the cinnamon tom's last drop was drained and they were both panting and spent.

"So," Jake smiled and slid forward to lie next to Javrin and drew him into a loose embrace and kiss. "A good reintroduction to guys?"

"Good would be an understatement." Javrin murmured with a slightly loopy grin. "Incredible would be more like it."

"Aw, we'll see if that assessment holds after you've had a little attention from others." He chuckled and nuzzled his playmate. "But I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sex is supposed to be good for everybody."

"You certainly make sure that's true." he grinned and nuzzled Jake back.

"Hey buddy!" Jake called out to his partner as he came inside to check their workload after parking his motorcycle.

"Morning, Jake!" Chance's voice boomed from underneath the SUV he was working on.

"So did you have as much fun as I managed?" He ginned and reached down to cop a feel before moving to the work list.

"You managed fun, huh?" Chance teased playfully. "He's not all seriousness then I guess." He snickered. "As for my fun, well we only had her neighbors complaining about the noise a few times."

"Only a few?" Jake laughed easily. "You must be slipping."

"That was just after we got to her place." he smirked. "We started the evening at really wild party a friend of hers was holding. And I do mean wild."

"Sounds like you didn't miss me," he grinned at him. "I think mine would have been permanently freaked if you'd joined us."

"Of course, I missed you." Chance grinned back. "You and her would've been a perfect evening." He rumbled lustily. "Your friend wasn't interested in a threesome, huh?" He asked with a curious wink. "Did you ask?" He chuckled.

"It came up," Jake shook his head with a slightly bemused expression. "But more my assessment that you are not the best choice for a first time." He leaned back against a tool bench. "That was a seriously weird moment considering how hot he was all through dinner."

"His first time?" Chance blinked in surprise. "Odd he didn't seem quite that innocent, usually it shows."

"Innocent he is not," he grumbled. "As he put it, it'd been a very long time, and the guy wasn't nice. No one, girl or guy, had ever even tried to make him feel good. That showed." Jake sighed a bit. "Which makes it even more amazing he invited me home, really."

"Sounds like he had a bad run of losers." Chance shook his head sympathetically. "Which is a shame since he seems like a nice guy, if overly serious." He added with a teasing wink. "Sounds like he'd gotten far enough from the last jerk to try again, or something."

"Oh, he looses that seriousness when the clothes come off," Jake chuckled easily. "I think he'll find you interesting when he's a little more sure of himself. You are not beginner's material, you know."

"Depends on the beginner," Chance smirked playfully. "But beginner's with bad previous experiences, probably not. I'm just a little too enthusiastic." He grinned broadly. "He's definitely cute though. Like you, only in a different color. You don't see too many of that blue-grey shade around."

"No you don't, and he looks very good with pearls all down his chest." He rumbled and turned to get a pair over coveralls so he could help with the workload.

"Damn that's a hot thought." Chance rumbled lustily, as he turned back to focusing on a stubborn bolt. "Think you'll be seeing him again?" He asked curiously.

"This weekend," he chuckled and flicked his tail invitingly. "And there are much hotter thoughts I could tell you."

"Keep that up and we won't get any work done." Chance rumbled playfully as he stopped working on the bolt to watch his partner and caught and even more provocative sway of his hips.

"And maybe I'd rather be very well laid by an experienced tom right now." Jake licked his whiskers and looked over his shoulder invitingly. "The day is young, you know."

"Well, I think I can handle that request." The burly tabby rumbled, as he got out from under the vehicle he was repairing. "So, shall we take it inside?" He purred deeply, as he came up close behind his partner.

Yes," he murred and pressed back against the powerful chest before heading towards their living quarters.

"So, Javrin," Abi Sinian smiled at her aid as he ate a quick lunch break. "Am I imagining things, or do you have something going on with Jake Clawson?"

He blushed lightly, at the unexpected comment, since he hadn't figured anyone had noticed. "I've been seeing him for awhile, yes." He admitted quietly, and there was a slightly bemused grin on his face.

"And he's been treating you well?" She smiled a little more warmly.

"Yes, he has." he grinned. "He's too much a good Kat not to." He added with sincere affection.

"Good," she relaxed a bit. "Think it's anything serious? I've heard he's very tight with his partner."

"They're not monogamous." Javrin said simply. "I guess it's just best friends who play together." He added thoughtfully. "As for serious, I don't know. I like him a great deal, but it's only been a month." He said softly. "Guess it comes down to, I'm not sure I'd know serious until it ran me over. Jake's the first person I've dated for this long."

"I have noticed that," she nodded and walked over to squeeze his shoulder. "It's good for you to get out a bit. If you want to talk about something, I'm available." She added almost maternally.

"Thanks, Dr. Sinian." he smiled appreciatively. "Nice thing is, he's someone I can actually talk to. He's probably about the smartest Kat I've ever known."

"So I've noticed," she nodded easily. "It's odd that he's doing mechanic's work with all he could do well at."

"That's what I thought." Javrin agreed. "I think it's connected to him and Chance getting booted from the Enforcers, but it's a sensitive subject so I don't push."

"Mmmm, yes," she agreed and continued into the workspace. "I can't imagine that went over well for either of them."

"No it didn't." He nodded, as he finished his lunch. "But I think the city lost as much in that fit of mismanagement as they did." He grumbled quietly.

"It wasn't the first time, and it's unlikely to be the last," she shook her head with a sigh. "Just look how he handles the SWAT Kats. They are the best thing that's happened to this city in years."

"His response to SWAT looks like unrestrained territorial behavior, pretty much." He said thoughtfully. "They're inescapable proof that his Enforcers can't handle everything, no matter what he claims." The grey tom added quietly. "And there's more than a few of his officers who think he ought to be finding a way to make SWAT official, instead of harassing them."

"I'm not surprised," she nodded a bit. "I bet quite a few of them think those two are former Enforcers anyway. Or they are official, just not officially." Abi added with a bit of a chuckle. "It'd hardly be the first black project that was in the public eye before it was admitted to."

"I suppose that could be true, but it seems a strange way of doing things." He shook his head. "They do good for the city, what would be lost by admitting they are official, if they in fact are?" He asked curiously. It was questions like these that reminded Abi that her assistant wasn't native to MegaKat City even if he had no discernible accent.

"Politics work in strange ways," she shook her head. "Black projects have their own laws too. There are a lot of reasons, very few make much sense to me."

"Ah, politics." Javrin nodded sagely. "That seems to be the root of many problems." He snickered quietly.

"Unfortunately, no one's figured out how to get rid of them," she chuckled in reply. "How's the translation going?"

"Pretty good actually." The grey tom smiled. "The real trick was realizing that that odd recurring character was how they indicated a space between two words. Turns a run-on string of gibberish into something much easier to translate." He chuckled. "Well, assuming my hypothesis about it being a 'space' is correct."

"If it works, use it." Abi chuckled and turned her attention to her own work.

The last of the robot troopers fell to mini-rockets from Razor's Glovatrix, leaving the battered and scorched Kat surrounded by piles of scrap metal in every direction. Most of the scrap was from the robots the enemy had thrown at them after the TurboKat had been shot down by the swarm of drone fighters, but some of it was from the TurboKat itself. As he looked around, Razor could find no evidence of the large armored mothership that had dispensed all this destruction, but more importantly there was no sign of his burly partner, T-Bone.

He drew in a deep breath to try and calm down a bit, then clicked the Glovatrix's comm. "T-Bone? You out there?"

All that answered him was static, singularly uninformative static. The only good thing was that he knew that the Enforcers were tied up dealing with a more mundane crisis on the far side of the city. He and T-Bone had been responding to that crisis when the black armored mothership had appeared out of a crackle of blue energy and opened fire on them. On an instinctive level, it had felt very much like an ambush.

Not that it had mattered, or would it have been the first time. He shivered to work some of the tension from his body and set the Glovatrix to track its companion. The negative lock created a rock in his gut. T-Bone's Glovatrix was either destroyed, or out of range already, which meant the tabby was on that mothership. It barely mattered if it was his idea or he was captured, that was a very bad thing.

As Razor considered the battlefield, he noticed a strange insignia that appeared on all of the robots. It seemed familiar though he couldn't place it at first, and then he realized where he'd seen it before. Part of the insignia appeared on an engraved crest that adorned the highly decorative box sitting so prominently on the mantle of Javrin's apartment.

The box that called to him in the way unique pieces of working technology tended to.

"Well," he rumbled and broke off a piece of metal with the insignia. It gave him something to focus on what he needed to do instead of the increasing level of panic in his gut. "Let's see what you know about that little box." He muttered as a plan began to form that gave away the fewest number of details as possible while still getting what he needed while he made as much of a systematic search of the battlefield as he could for his partner's body or evidence it wasn't here.

Javrin's latest, largely unsuccessful, attempt to meditate was interrupted by a heavy knock on the door. Despite the extra emotion and urgency behind it, he had no doubts it was Jake.

Still dressed in his martial arts uniform, Javrin forced an outward calm on himself as he opened the door. "Jake, come on in." He said opening the door all the way. "Is something wrong?" He asked, focusing on Jake's problems instead of his own and found the kat's physical condition a very good place to start. Despite a clear effort to clean himself up, not all the singed fur or battered muscles could be hidden.

"Have you caught the news?" Jake asked quietly.

"The giant armored craft attacking the city?" Javrin murmured quietly. "No need for the news, I saw it." He shuddered. "News is still sketchy on what happened, since the news crews were tied up at the PumaDyne R&D facility. Seems Dark Kat chose the same time to attack PumaDyne, as the armored craft did to attack the city."

"Well, the cleanup crews have started dumping things at the Yard already, and that second attack had this insignia all over the remains." He showed him the piece of metal and it's insignia.

"Interesting design." Javrin muttered non-committally, though he was curious why Jake was asking him. It seemed strange that he'd be running his own investigation. "Looks like a military insignia, probably like finding the MegaKat City flag on all the Enforcer uniforms."

"Yes," Jake nodded, then paused for a moment to see if Javrin would be any more forthcoming. "It also matches something you own." He pointed out and walked to the mantle to pick up the ornate box that had always been there and tapped the engraving. His hand, however, stopped short of the box as though a short-range force field surrounded the box and kept it on the mantle. It was enough to make him very curious what was in it and where it, and it's owner, were really from.

"Yes, there are some elements in common between the two designs." Javrin allowed uneasily. "This isn't just idle curiosity, is it?" He asked bluntly. "What's really going on, Jake? I may not understand everything about city politics, but I'm sure the salvage yard does not normally run investigations."

"No, we don't." Jake split his focus between the force field surrounded box and his new boyfriend, torn about what to address first. "But I'm still loyal to this city no matter how badly it's treated me." His face hardened a bit as he shifted to face Javrin directly. "Which means that I'll turn in a collaborator as fast as anyone still in uniform. I'm giving you a chance to explain first."

"Collaborator?" Javrin shook his head sadly, and sat down on a pile of pillows. "The insignia's are different for a reason. They represent two sides of a very bitter conflict. A conflict I haven't been involved with in over eight years."

"Well it's here now," Jake said more gently. "And anything you can tell us is going to be useful."

"They won't be back." Javrin said quietly. "That was just a raid. They were after something specific, and obviously they got it. The energy and difficulty involved in getting here makes invasion costly and occupation an administrative nightmare. And to be honest, there's nothing here that would be worth the cost of that kind of operation." He said quietly, and then something clicked. "But I think they do have a collaborator here, and he was here long before I was if the stories I've heard are true."

By then Jake wasn't listening though. He couldn't stop the sick tremble that hit him harder than anything in the battle or even after it.

"Where are they from?" He demanded with what was nearly as snarl.

"Without more information I can't be sure exactly which planet, but their territory is in the Draconis arm of the Paracelsus galaxy." He said quietly, reflexively edging away from Jake. "And I know that your astronomers haven't identified Paracelsus yet." He added softly, fear beginning to show in his eyes.

"And you?" He stepped forward to close the distance again, though it wasn't meant as the intimidation factor it was coming across as.

"I can't find Paracelsus from here either, but I was never trained as an astronomer or astrogator back home." Javrin admitted miserably, as he started to curl up in a corner. He'd thought Jake was different, but he was turning out like everyone else Javrin had ever let close.

Another step and Jake found himself rebuffed by an invisible field around the gray tom. He took a couple breaths to try to settle down.

"Are you sure?" He asked much more softly, though he was no less desperate for an answer. "Those ... what they got was my partner."

"Chance?" Javrin blinked in surprise and got a nod in reply. "Jake, honestly, just how good a pilot is he?" He asked quietly, thinking he might have an idea what was going on.

"Unnaturally good," he admitted without exaggerating. "He can make a jet do things physics won't."

"Not unnatural, just using rules of nature you aren't familiar with." Javrin said quietly as the box flew across the room and landed in his hand and Jake's eyes went a bit wide. "I don't have the training to be sure, but I'm guessing he was a Force-sensitive pilot. It's not an uncommon combination back home."

"Which is where he's headed now." Jake's gut ran cold.

"That would be my guess." Javrin nodded. "Probably to the stronghold of one of the Sith Lords. I'm guessing that Dark Kat set things up on this end."

"Which means the only clue to where I have to go will be with him." Jake nodded grimly. "And probably the only real chance at a ship too."

"Actually, what you need is probably near where you were ambushed." Javrin said, as he looked at the box as if trying to make some important decision. "To move something as big as a behemoth, it would have to be. And it won't be movable for several days at least."

"Okay ..." Jake looked at him and quickly decided that he needed Javrin's help a lot more than he needed to keep a secret that the gray tom had already apparently figured out. "What is 'it'?"

"It's a Tesseract Field Generator." Javrin said simply. "It creates the bridge between 'here' and 'there', and it's powered by an antimatter generator. If I had to guess, I'd say it's probably on board a shuttle in a bunker below ground. A shuttle would be small enough for the TFG to move here without a receiving station."

"Which still means breaking into a DK base, but not as bad," he paused to consider Javrin. "Any idea how to operate one of those things, or how to get a shuttle back here?"

"I know the general principle, assuming they haven't changed the design in the last decade." Javrin sighed. "I was even a decent slipstream pilot. As for how to move the shuttle, it flies. Probably a bit over-responsive if you're not used to anti-grav craft. Problem is, the TFG needs two or three local days before it's safe to move after it's used in bridge mode."

"Move as in locally, or move as in taking it threw its own bridge?" He worked up as many scenarios as he could.

"Move as in either." Javrin said firmly. "Move it before it's fully discharged and you risk the tesseract field leaking into the local surroundings. You could end up with some very distorted local topography at least in the short term." He shook his head and Jake grimaced. "Things like walking out of your bedroom and finding yourself in Commander Feral's office, for example."

"And just after it's discharged it'll probably be out of here." Jake grumbled unhappily. "This is so not going to be fun." He ran a hand threw his hair and paced slowly as he worked over the very few options he had.

Javrin was silent for a brief moment before finally coming to a decision. "Assuming you'll trust me, I can help you with this. I might be an archaeologist now, but I was trained as a warrior first." He offered uncertainly. "And I'm even a decent thief, if such skills should be needed." He smirked.

The words took Jake off guard, even before their content sunk in. He blinked at Javrin a couple times, and nodded.

"Thank you." He accepted the offer without any real hesitation. "I'm not sure which will be of more use, but short of taking the base, it's going to be a very unpleasant couple days in there."

"Fighting the Sith is always unpleasant." Javrin said simply. "But there are few options as far as getting from 'here' to 'there'. Trust me, I've been considering them for the last eight years." He shook his head. "Problem is that even if I had full technical specs on a TFG, the technology of this world won't support building one for at least another century, probably longer." He said as he opened the box, revealing two shiny metal rods about nine inches long. Both had the appearance of being carved and it was clear they were polished and cleaned often, if not daily.

"The first sword you trained with." Jake barely had to guess and was far to wound up to care how he knew what the objects were without even having a name for them. "Which still brings us back to getting the one that is here now, or pray that you are very wrong about the technology level available to me."

"My Master's lightsaber, and the one he made for me." Javrin nodded. "As for getting the shuttle that is here...we would first need to find the entrance to where it is being kept. How long has it been since you were attacked by the behemoth?" He asked thoughtfully.

Jake glanced at his watch and began to feel the weight of the hours of battle and searching. "Nine hours."

"So we've got at least thirty-nine hours before the shuttle can be moved. If Dark Kat thinks that no one knows about the TFG, he may not be guarding it all that carefully." Javrin said thoughtfully, trying to remember how his Master had planned such things. "After all, there are probably only three people on the planet who know that a TFG was involved and he doesn't know about two of them." He smiled.

"And whatever security whoever sent it here has for it," Jake added and rubbed his temples. "Not that either means a lot with DK. Getting into his base is always the easy part. It's finding it and getting out alive that's the trick."

"Finding it won't be hard." Javrin said thoughtfully. "It's having to hold the shuttle until we can safely move it that will be." The grey tom said quietly. "And you look like you could use a hot shower, a meal and some sleep." The younger Kat said seriously.

"You know something about finding this door I don't?" Jake looked at him curiously as he tried to think how it could possibly be easy to find one of Dark Kat's bases. "Pain killers would be a plus too."

"It's related to how I do this." He said as a quartet of pillows floated up from the floor on the far side of the room and began spinning in a precise pinwheel pattern to his friend's deepening frown. "How strong do you need the painkillers to be?" Javrin asked casually, as he considered potential sources and received another blank look for it.

"Over the counter's fine," Jake chuckled after a bit and tried to stretch abused and stiff muscles. "I just took a beating in that fight."

"Those I've got." Javrin smiled. "Those followed by a hot shower should help relax that stiffness." He added. "Be back with the painkillers in a moment." The grey tom said as he ducked into the back room.

Jake shook his head in bemusement and followed much more slowly while he considered what he now knew about his boyfriend. He had to admit; confessing to be a likely Omega class warrior was a hell of a show of trust. And as much as it rankled to sleep and all the rest that Javrin insisted on, it was a good idea. It wasn't as if he had much he could do without a little more help from the gray tom. His instincts had never led him wrong about whether or not to trust someone, and he wasn't going to go against them now, no matter how much he hated the idea. He just hoped that Javrin had a way to help him sleep in that bag of tricks.

"Here you go." The grey tom said as he handed Jake a glass of water and four tablets. "Normal dose is two, but I know four is safe and works better for serious muscle pain."

"Thanks," he downed with without bothering with the water, but after the pills were gone, his throat informed him that the water would be good anyway and for once he didn't argue with it.

"You're welcome, now for the hot shower." Javrin smiled. "And I know you know where that is." He smirked.

"I wouldn't mind an extra set of hands for my back," Jake smiled back even as he walked to the backroom, and for once, sex really was not on his mind.

"I'm not surprised." Javrin agreed easily, as he followed Jake into the bathroom. "You move like you really took a beating." He added sympathetically.

"Worst one I can remember outside of a bar fight I started way back before collage." He turned on the water to nearly it's hottest and stripped down painfully to reveal that the previously visible and carefully cleaned scorched fur were not the only burns he'd suffered, only the ones he'd taken much care with. "And back before I had any kind of combat training."

The movements left little doubt in Javrin's mind that Jake was likely black and blue under his fur already, a condition that would get worse in the next couple days. He was even more disturbed that under the rain of water, a few trickles of red among the cinnamon strands marked wounds that movement and hot water reopened. Trickles that Jake didn't seem the least bit concerned about as he closed his eyes and tried to relax his objecting body so the heat could do its job.

"It's a good thing we have time." Javrin said quietly, as he helped gently clean the burns and wounds that Jake hadn't tended previously. What he knew of first aid said that Jake needed more down time then he'd probably give himself. The kat could probably use a good doctor, but that was even less likely to happen.

"Thanks," Jake murmured as his eyes began to slip closed in a mixture of relief at the lessening pain and appreciation of the gentle touch of his companion. It wasn't quite like having Chance mother-hen him, but it was enough to make him realize just how much he appreciated, and desired, someone that cared enough to take care of him despite his occasionally suicidal risks for the city.

"You're welcome." The grey tom said quietly, clearly more than happy to take care of Jake. "Lets get you dried off." He directed gently, shifting the shower to a gentle rush of warm air jets while he used hands and a soft towel to carefully work the water out of Jake's fur. He wasn't sure whether he could be grateful or concerned that Jake was being very compliant.

"I don't suppose you know how to put me to sleep in that bag of tricks?" Jake's voice was low and a little slurred.

"No, but I have some prescription grade sleep aids that'll do the trick." Javrin chuckled quietly, wishing that he was half the medic his Master had been. "But let's get you lying down first."

"That'll do," he accepted in a completely out of character willingness to be drugged. A small part of him that was still capable of thinking wondered why he was so trusting, especially with Chance missing. It wasn't something that lasted long after Javrin helped him into the soft bed and gave him something liquid to swallow.

Javrin gently pulled some warm blankets over Jake, and settled into the 'protectors' vigil' mode that he'd done often on the streets when he was young. Even before his Master had taken him in, he'd been the one to look after others when they were hurt or sick. He tried to enter the calm state of meditative watchfulness that he'd been taught but his mind refused to be quiet.

He had no reservations about helping Jake, though helping Jake meant returning home and returning home meant facing the Council. The grey tom was very uneasy about facing them and reporting his Master's death. But the fact was that their best course of action to find Chance was to speak with the Council, since the Council had far greater resources especially when there was one of the Sith involved.

The Sith, even thinking about them, unnerved Javrin more than he like to admit. His last fight against them had ended with his Master dead, and him stranded on an alien world. What he hadn't told Jake and what worried him the most was that either Dark Kat was one of the Sith, or that his ally among them had left behind a Dark Force warrior to protect the Generator.

Javrin sighed, he knew that he should be controlling his fear and not the other way around. But that was a lesson he hadn't yet mastered when his Master died, and it was difficult to learn on his own. Javrin much preferred battles against outside enemies, because he knew how to fight those. Slowly he moved into the movements of one of the more difficult Kendo katas, hoping that stringent demands of the form would help clear his mind.

Jake groaned as his abused body objected to straddling his motorcycle despite the top-grade painkillers in his system. Javrin got on behind Jake, holding onto the bike so as to not put any unnecessary demands on Jake's injured body. He had packed a number of things he expected to need into a small backpack before they headed out. It could well be a long time before they got back.

The trip out to the salvage yard was in silence and gave much less indication of Jake's condition if you weren't right behind him and could feel the way his breath caught periodically on a sharp turn. Javrin could also feel the increased tension, and sense of purpose, that came to Jake as they neared his home and pulled into the huge chunk of real-estate and the extensive pile of broken machines that had been dumped while he'd been gone.

Javrin's quick eyes spotted pieces of the TurboKat in the salvage yard wreckage along with pieces of the destroyed Sith robots. But he didn't need his eyes to know the robots were there, as the Dark Force that had briefly been imbued in them was a presence he could feel in the Force.

He blinked as he realized that the dark signature wasn't the only one there. The bits of the TurboKat, and pieces that were less identifiable, resonated deeply with the Force. Not dark, but not exactly light either. Force bent towards a manipulative purpose that had little innate nature beyond what had rubbed off after years spent with an intensely good kat.

"That explains a lot." Javrin murmured quietly, mostly to himself. SWAT being a team of force-sensitives, even if untrained and unaware, explained why they succeeded against staggering odds. It also added an element of additional risk to going up against the Sith; they would be far too eager to get their hands on technologically oriented force-sensitive.

"Explains what?" Jake glanced over his shoulder after he cut the engine on his bike.

"Explains why SWAT was so successful." Javrin smiled as they got off the bike and headed inside. "A Force-sensitive combat team, even without training, has a powerful ally." He chuckled.

"Force-sensitive?" Jake frowned at him and opened the door to the waiting room. "You're going to have to explain this better at some point soon." He added after a glance at the answering machine and noted that there were no messages with a mixture of relief and regret.

"Agreed, but it's not a simple topic so probably better to explain it when we have more time." Javrin nodded, as he followed Jake inside and was led towards the back and a hidden room with an equally hidden hatch that led to a ladder down. All of it protected by Jake's handiwork, something Javrin found both fascinating and a little disturbing. The level of paranoia it represented was not healthy.

Perhaps not healthy, but given the unfathomable attitude of Commander Feral, it was both necessary and understandable. It reminded Javrin of worlds where being discovered as a Jedi was quite hazardous to ones health.

He blinked a couple times as eyes adjusted to the dimmer light of what could only been described as a hanger, vehicle R&D lab, commander center and training zone all wrapped into one. They were immediately drawn to the huge hole where he was sure the TurboKat normally sat.

"Come on," Jake motioned to him to follow the lean tom into the depths of the base.

Javrin followed in silence, amazed that two Kats even Force-sensitive ones, had mention to construct a facility of this magnitude without anyone being aware of it. Of course, it was possible that the hanger had already been here, though that begged the question of who would put an underground hanger under a salvage yard.

Or a salvage yard on top of an underground base.

His attention was then drawn to Jake, and the heavy security on the room they were about to enter. The door didn't even have to open fully before he realized why. This was their armory.

One look around reinforced Javrin's belief that Feral had been a fool to lose this kind of talent. But such foolishness was hardly unique, as leaders more interested in hierarchy than results seemed to be a feature of the universe; even the Jedi had their share of them.

"Take anything you think might be useful," Jake instructed quietly as he began collecting his choice of gear, a much more potent selection than he normally used, but still lightweight. "Body armor is in that locker," he waved in the generally direction of a closed set of metal doors.

"Thank you, but I don't use armor." He said simply, as he quickly changed from MegaKat City Street clothes to the robes he had brought with him. Brown in color and lightweight in material they seemed to be designed for maximum speed and agility in combat.

The statement earned him a displeased look, but no actual argument as Jake pulled out what looked like a nearly-normal SWAT uniform, though it was a bit more stiff where the body didn't bend. "Are you going to use anything but that energy-sword?" He asked evenly as he suited up.

"To be honest, I've never actually used anything else." He admitted a little sheepishly.

"You ... it's enough to go into a high-tech fight we're facing?" Razor asked, more concerned than disbelieving.

"Jedi knights have been going into battle for millennia with nothing more." Javrin nodded. "And we've been a high-tech society for most of that." He explained. "If you had a combat simulator, I could show you what I mean."

"We do," he nodded, but turned to dig a slender bracer from the equipment on packed shelves instead. "Just humor me?" He offered it. "Comm, tracking, a small personal shield, cutting laser and a few other tools."

"Very well." Javrin nodded easily, putting the bracer on under the sleeve of his robes. "Though a cutting laser is very redundant. There are few materials that a lightsaber will not cut." He smiled in quiet amusement.

"I didn't build it knowing those things existed," Razor pointed out, then pulled Javrin close and kissed him with all the fear in him turned to fire. "I've lost one partner today, Javrin." He murmured and rested his forehead against Javrin's. "Don't make it two."

"Sorry, I was trying, unsuccessfully, to lighten the mood." He admitted softly. "And I do understand. The last mission I was on, I lost my Master, who was family, teacher and best friend all in one." He said softly, putting his arms around Razor.

"Sorry," he tried to chuckle. "Humor isn't my best subject. Can you fly a helicopter?"

"Not mine either, as I just demonstrated." Javrin shook his head. "And I've yet to find something I can't fly. It all comes quite naturally, though back home the helicopter is something you only find in an aviation museum."

"There's a jet too," Razor chuckled and guided him into the hallway again. "The HoverKat, Thunder Tuck and Cyclotrons too for that matter. I just figured the ChopKat would be the best choice. It's easiest to send home."

"A reasonable choice then." Javrin nodded. "It has taken some getting used to, having technology I grew up with be non-existent and tech I'm used to seeing in museums be commonplace." He smiled weakly.

"I know," Razor nodded. "Try getting dropped into the Middle Ages, or the time of the dinosaurs." He added with a bit of a smirk and led the way to the helicopter that was all sharp angles and SWAT Kat design. "I can fly, I was just wondering if you were any good at it, since you mentioned being a pilot back home."

"I'm acceptable, though I have little experience." Javrin admitted and climbed in the passenger side of the chopper. "I'm better with starships."

"Afraid those are in very short supply around here." Razor sighed as he ran the pre-flight check and powered up the ChopKat.

"I know, I've been looking for one for eight years." Javrin agreed easily. "Almost got myself admitted to a psych ward when I walked into the airport and asked where the shuttle to the starport left from."

Razor couldn't help but snicker as the roof opened above them and they lifted off. "I can only imagine. Not a normal question around here."

"It was an educational few months to say the least." Javrin said thoughtfully. "Kind of like the last month or so." He smiled fondly at Razor. "But not as much fun."

"Thanks," he reached one hand over to squeeze Javrin's lightly. "How close can you get us to that door before I land?"

"Depends, I won't really know till we're fairly close to the battlefield. And I might not get us the door necessarily. It could just as easily be an air vent or some other access point." He explained.

"That'd be better, actually." He chuckled softly as they swept over the terrain towards the warehouse district that was still smoldering.

Javrin closed his eyes and began to reach out with his other senses, looking for the traces of Darkness that would mark the shuttle's location. It was difficult, but finding what could not be seen was something he'd done instinctively without training. Suddenly he had a flash of blood and bone in large quantities. "Look for a meat packaging facility." He instructed quietly.

Razor nodded and brought up a map of the city. Three locations flashed at them. "Start with the closest one to the battle, or another?"

"Closest one to where we are now." Javrin said easily and Razor nodded again before swinging them to one side and landing in the parking lot outside an abandoned plant.

"Open search or can you lead the way?"

"There's an access hatch in the basement." Javrin explained as he got out. "They needed it to get to the communications relay on the roof."

"All right," he stepped out of the ChopKat to study the building before moving in as the helicopter took off.

The building was four stories high and seemed reasonably undamaged by the fighting, which is more than could be said for several of its neighbors. Inside it was what it appeared to be, a meat packing plant though it was currently idle. Through rows of hanging carcasses, a door labeled 'basement' could be seen.

The entire situation was enough to give Razor the creeps, but he glanced at Javrin for place the gray tom and checked the door to see if he'd have to pick or disarm it. It locked, and closer examination determined that the normal keylock had been replaced by a thumbprint scanner concealed in what appeared to be a non-functional light switch next to the door.

"Great," Razor muttered to himself and made quick work of bypassing the security system to open the door and made a quick visual scan beyond it for targets before motioning Javrin to follow him.

Javrin nodded and followed Jake down the dark, confining stairs into the basement. As they reached the bottom, he had a sudden sense of something dark and malevolent waiting below. "Watchdog." He whispered softly to Jake. "Big one." He added as the reached the base of the stairs in darkened basement.

Razor nodded and flicked his visor to infrared and prepped a trank dart for it in his Glovatrix.

The signature on infrared looked very familiar, assuming you accepted a creepling that was about Jake's height with Chance's burly build. And the malevolent red eyes that glowed in the dark were a new touch as well. It all added up to a new critter, one that got a trank dart square in the chest with enough drugs to drop a dinosaur.

"Dark Force manipulated." Javrin commented after taking a look at the strange creature collapsed on the floor. "Probably a gift from the Sith Lord." He added before looking around carefully. "Access hatch is in the boiler room. That way." He said pointing toward the far door.

"You are going to have to tell me how you do that." Razor shook his head in a bit of frustrated amusement as he headed where Javrin indicated, careful for more guards and traps along the way.

"When we're not pressed for time." Javrin nodded as he followed Razor through the door, once the cinnamon tom had bypassed another security system. Inside was the boiler room which seemed normal enough, except that it wasn't uncomfortably hot, the way one would expect a boiler room to be. "Door to the hanger is here." The grey tom told Razor quietly, indicating a plate on the side of the boiler.

Another security system, this one handled with more care for the heat, and the plate slid aside to show them a passage leading downward into the darkness. Razor took a breath and moved forward, careful for traps in the darkness that even his visor HUD might have trouble finding.

The passage opened into a large reinforced concrete bunker contained a large, bulky looking craft about the size of four large tour busses, which was connected by a large number of cables and hoses to the walls of the bunker. There was a constant throbbing hum that sounded like a large engine idling which filled the room.

Before Razor had fully taken in the room and ship, a turret dropped down from the underside of the shuttle and opened fire. In an instant, Javrin was in front of Razor deflecting the bright green blaster bolts with the glowing gold energy blade of his lightsaber.

The SWAT Kat didn't think, he rolled and fired a mini-missile dead on target. The mini-missile impacted and exploded on an invisible shield that seemed to surround the shuttle. "They've put the particle shields up." Javrin explained. "You'll need an energy weapon or a projectile moving slower than most slugthrowers."

"Fine," he muttered and dove out of the way of another series of blasts, trying to make it as easy on Javrin to protect them while still doing his best not to need protecting as a small crossbow snapped into form from his Glovatrix and was fired. A fraction of a second after it lodged in the side of the turret, both exploded from the charge in the bolt.

"Nice." Javrin smiled as he switched off the lightsaber. "I think that was an automated defense system. Entry hatch is there." He said pointed to a door on the side of the ship just beyond the smoking turret and followed Razor in.

"Nice work yourself," Razor nodded in fresh appreciation of how combat-capable his companion was.

"The TFG will be back near the engine compartment." Javrin said quietly, as they entered the ship. "Which should be that way." The grey tom added as they moved through the ship, that while high-tech beyond anything Razor had see, looked like it had been in service for decades.

"Can you tell how long we'll have to hold this thing before we can move it?"

"Once we get to the Generator I'll be able to tell." Javrin nodded as they climbed up a ladder to the next deck. "Hopefully not too long."

"Yeah," he nodded and followed the tom who had a clue about this place that made the inventor in Razor drool with the prospects of getting his paws on it with some time to look around.

"Should be in here." Javrin said as he paused at a door, before opening it slowly to reveal a large piece of very complicated, high tech machinery sitting in the middle of the room with wire, cables and hoses coming out of it. "This is the TFG." The grey tom said as in walked up to the control console. "Looks like it should stabilize in about half an hour. Maybe we ought to go forward and check the command deck."

"We need to clear the entire shuttle," Razor nodded. "Can you pull up a schematic of it from here?"

"Yep." Javrin nodded, as he quickly brought up a 3D holographic schematic of the shuttle, about half of which was cargo hold and engine compartment. "From the command deck, the internal sensors will let us see if there's anyone on board."

"Even better," he nodded and committed the schematic to memory. "Any reason not to take the direct route?"

"We should go around the cargo hold, but otherwise I think the direct route works." Javrin nodded. "Good thing is, looks like she's fully fueled and in good working order."

"Good," he nodded sharply. "Let's go."

Chance's cell might have looked like a jail cell back home, but the manacles he was wearing definitely weren't. Though lighter than they looked, he knew from experience that they became binders at the touch of a button on any remote that most of the guards seemed to have. They also sent excruciating waves of pain searing through him if he got within a foot of the bars to his cell. Though no guards were currently visible, the array of security cameras made it quite clear that he was being closely watched.

A couple of hours after his last examination by the ship's doctor, an insectoid about his height who reminded him uncomfortably of one of the cikata, the door to the cell block opened and a Coyote Kantin came in carrying a covered tray. He placed it on a shelf in the middle of the bars of the cell and it slid through the force field and then floated over to land on a shelf that slid out of the wall near the bunk. As the cover retracted Chance could see a large mug, a plate with something he didn't recognize but which smelled quite edible, and silverware.

"Meal time, Stripes." The guard said loudly enough to make sure Chance would've heard him, even if asleep.

As much as he liked the idea of being as difficult as possible, his stomach had other ideas at this point and he sat up on the bunk with only a little grumbling to eat what he was offered while he tried his best not to think about what could be in it besides food.

"Don't worry, it ain't poisoned." The Coyote laughed easily. "Or drugged for that matter. Our employer wants you alive, and she's not one you cross, unless you have a death wish."

"Sounds like the guys I've made a career of trouncing." The tabby almost smirked. As bad as this situation was, it was so far from as bad as he'd been in it was almost laughable. At least he was still on the same planet, same dimension, same time ... all that fun stuff that made it hell for Razor to find him wasn't a factor.

"I doubt you've ever met anyone like her." He chuckled. "Your homeworld showed no signs of Sith presence."

"And that's supposed to scare me?" Chance snorted. "There's always something nastier out there than what you've met."

"Pretty much true." He nodded. "And no, I don't expect it to scare you. Your psych profile says you're way too stubborn to be scared by mere words."

"So what's she want me for?" He asked almost casually between bites. "And does 'she' have a name."

"Her name is Darth Keira, and as for what she wants you for, well I've been trying to figure that out myself." The Coyote said, leaning casually against a wall. "She went to a lot of expense and trouble, hiring one of the top hunter outfits in four galaxies to grab you from the far side of known space. And she paid that local contact, Dark Kat, pretty well for his help as well."

That raised both Chance's eyebrow and his hatred on several levels all at once. "Well, it seems she has some respect for what she's after at least." He actually chuckled, more than a little amused by the amount of effort that had been described, even if he didn't believe most of it was true. "Assuming you got the right Kat, of course."

"Oh, we did." The Coyote chuckled. "Compared your DNA to the sample Dark Kat provided before we left the battlefield. We don't make that kind of mistake."

"If you trusted Dark Krud, you can," he smirked. "And if you don't know what else could go wrong, I'm not about to tell you."

"Well, physical profile and the fact that you're the SWAT pilot also matches our the information that Keira provided on the target." Coyote shrugged. "And of course, other things can go wrong. We handle them. As for trusting Dark Kat, well he's got no reason to double-cross us. We're not interested in his territory, and he can't get to ours."

Despite the words, Chance couldn't help the small, knowing smile that crossed his face. This Kantin was a real talker, and even more clueless than most. "As if he needed a reason to cross you." He chuckled softly. He couldn't help but be grateful he really was the target. It left Jake free and unaccounted for. A common mistake with a common result.

"I take it weirdness isn't the norm where you're from?" Chance continued conversationally.

"Weirdness is all relative." Coyote chuckled. "Heck, the drive system that got us to your world and back is just about solid weirdness. Most scientists can't even agree why it works. But after watching starfighters engaging in dogfights with witches on dragonback, not much seems seriously weird."

"Who won?" Chance cocked his head, more than a little amused that he'd done that.

"The witches, but it was a close fight." Coyote shook his head. "Idiot general forgot that the witches could cloud the pilots' minds. Even the best pilot can't fight effectively when he can't trust his senses."

"Idiot generals are what usually loose battles," he chuckled a bit. "Best reason out there not to follow one."

"That's why I'm a freelancer." The Coyote agreed with a grin. "It pays well, and I only have a very short chain of command to deal with."

"So what's this Sith everybody's skittish about?" Chance asked in honest curiosity.

"Aside from being highly skilled warriors, they command a power known as the 'Force' and there's not a lot of limits on what they can do with it." The mercenary explained. "Toss enemies around a room with a gesture, control minds and throw bolts of deadly lightning are just a few of their tricks. The lightsabers are nothing to sneer at either, they can deflect weapon fire or slice an enemy clean in half."

"Nothing new there," he nodded thoughtfully; even if some was, it didn't sound all that unusual. "Nasty, but not that unusual."

"They don't really come across properly in description." Coyote shrugged. "But your local fellow, Dark Kat, is a rank amateur when compared to one of the Sith."

"He's neither a warrior or a mage-critter," he pointed out and leaned back. "But I agree with the amateur part when it comes to plotting."

"No, he seems more like an inventor trying to play conqueror." Coyote chuckled. "And I doubt he'd know what to do with that city if he ever actually managed to gain control of it."

"Probably not," he nodded. "So do you have a name, Coyote?"

"Spartan." He said easily, figuring it was harmless enough. "How about you, Stripes?"

"Chance," he replied with a very curious look. "You have a psych profile and not my name?"

"I never actually saw the profile, but our data thief did." Spartan chuckled. "He told me you wouldn't believe the truth about the situation and that you were too stubborn to be scared."

"I've been in worse," he shrugged. "And I'm still around."

"I'm not surprised, since there's a lot of things worse than a jail cell where people have a vested interest in keeping you alive." Spartan grinned. "Jail cells were they don't care, for starters. I've seen a few of those."

"Yeah, there are those," he nodded and relaxed on the bunk so he could watch Spartan. "And there's being stuck in another time or parallel dimension ... or getting turned into a frog."

"So that's why there's Frog DNA in your profile." Spartan chuckled. "Now that is weird. And I've met a few planets that are as bad as a parallel dimension, and a few that seem to be another time." He shook his head. "Hephaestus 240 comes to mind. The planet has a permanent case of the Middle Ages, or at least the fantasy version. It's got knight, castles, dragons and all the rest. They also believe that anything more technological than basic mechanical devices is evil."

"I know some folks who would love it," he chuckled a bit. "The difference with a whacked out planet is it's a hell of a lot easier to get off of it. You try getting home when you weren't the one who created the portal to a time before intelligent life. Then the time he dragged us to the future to fix his mess. Getting to watch yourself die before it happened was weird," he chuckled and shook his head. "Then there was Mutilor. He was actually kinda fun, even if it was seriously freaking everyone out when he stole our water. And the Amazon chick with tech Razor hadn't made work yet. Then there was that gadget that made all technology stop working. That was so not fun. Drove Razor nuts. At least it wasn't at the same time as the giant scorpions or volcano god showed up. Or when we were stuck in that alternate dimension where we were the bad guys or when Zed attacked." He grinned at the Coyote.

"Yeah, that would be a bear." Spartan nodded, a touch surprised anyone had survived that much. "Think I'll stick with the marauding Ancient War Machines we have around here."

"I hope you get the choice," he half smirked and winked. "That kind of thing tends to find me. That was just the highlights of our second year."

"Considering you managed to attract Darth Keira's attention, I believe it." Spartan shook his head and tried not to think about what this creature was to have such a life and still be living it. That assumed, of course, that he was being told the truth. He'd worked with mercs long enough to know that most of them loved to spin a good yarn about their missions, hell he'd done it himself occasionally. But then again, it was a big universe and anything was possible. But still, he did not envy the feline ending up on the wrong end of Darth Keira's attentions.

"So," Razor leaned back in the cockpit and watched foreign stars rush by in a brilliant display that on another occasion he'd be fascinated in. "What will they do with me?"

"What will who do with you?" Javrin asked curiously, as he relaxed during real-space flight time. He'd forgotten how tiring slip-piloting could get, and this route was rarely used, so it was difficult.

"Your friends," he inclined his head at the robes the Jedi were wearing. "You've got a war going. What happens to a Force sensitive who has no intention of joining their side?"

"Actually, there are a lot of Force sensitives who aren't on either side." Javrin said simply. "Especially people who never discovered the talent until they were too old to begin the training. Both sides try to identify talented individuals when they're very young, but there's just too much space to cover."

"Not a very effective way to wage a war," he frowned, uncertain whether they were really that weird, or if they just didn't like to tell the trainees the truth.

"It's complicated." Javrin said quietly. "And the war isn't your typical war. Neither side can really win, because the whole has to remain in balance. Neither Light or Dark truly dominates for long. But the training really doesn't take well as people get older, they have to much to unlearn to manipulate the Force well."

Razor cocked his head and regarded the tom in the pilot's seat for a long time. "No, that is not your typical war." He agreed and bit his lip to keep from added that it was categorically the most stupid thing he had ever heard of doing.

"And of course, there are your typical wars occurring in the same area." Javrin shook his head. "The Jedi and the Sith aren't the government in most places, so you have the usual territorial fights to contend with."

"Politics may get bigger, but rarely any better." He sighed. "So are your friends really likely to help?"

"I believe so." Javrin nodded. "What the Sith are up to needs to be investigated in any case, which is as good an excuse for a rescue as any." He said easily. "Which is a good thing since it's a big universe to find one Kat in."

Razor nodded and fiddled with his hands, uneasy about this now that he had time to think, and think of everything that could go wrong. Especially the possibility that he'd have to choose between his partner and the Kat trying to help him. It wasn't a pleasant thought after watching Javrin in combat.

Javrin stared out into space, trying to let the streaming stars relax him as they used to when he was younger. He'd forgotten how complicated politics at home were. He just hoped there hadn't been some destabilizing political shift back home, and that the Council would be willing to help.

"How could Chance be worth all this money and effort?" Razor asked in the silence. "How could anyone out here even know about us?"

"I'm guessing Dark Kat managed to make contact with one of the Sith." Javrin hazarded carefully. "Probably by accident since I hear he's something of an experimenter."

"That he is," Razor nodded reluctantly. "And he's not afraid of anything," he shook his head and stared at the viewscreen again. "How long before we get to where we're going?"

"Another three streams till we reach Republic space, and then probably another Stream to reach Coruscant." Javrin estimated. "Time is hard to say precisely, since how long streaming takes is factor of how often the path is used, combined with the skill and experience of the slip-pilot. But probably not more than a couple days."

"Is there a library database or something in this thing so I can read up on your universe?" He asked quietly, aching at how long that was.

"Should be something." Javrin nodded, and walked over to the console. "Of course, the computer doesn't speak your language. Give me a few hours to teach it." He said, and then sat down in front of the computer while Razor settled nearby to watch ... and listen.

"Thanks," he smiled at Javrin and tried to relax and catch as much of the language as he could manage.

Thirty-six hours later, Javrin slid the shuttle into orbit around the Republic capital of Coruscant. He'd forgotten just how busy Coruscant was, with all the ships of varying sizes and designs coming and going. Not to mention all the atmospheric craft and the transport pods moving people between the ground and ships not designed for atmospheric entry. To an outsider the strangest thing was the planet itself, for Coruscant was a world-city, a single metropolis encompassing the entire planet. The only green space on Coruscant was in special parks and preserves.

"Coruscant Control to mini-freighter Askalon, please state your destination." A voice came over the radio, startling Javrin out of his reverie.

"Control, this is Padawan Javrin San'rik'el requesting clearance to Jedi Academy landing field." He said calmly, hiding how nervous using his title and real name made him.

"Please stand by while we clear with Academy field." The female voice replied in a very business like manner. After a few nerve racking minutes she came back on the line. "Askalon you are cleared for traffic pathway Obsidian Gamma fifteen to Academy field beacon epsilon-two-zero."

"Oh-Gee-One-Five to epsilon-two-zero, confirmed. Thank you, control." Javrin said as he closed the comm-link and guided the shuttle into the appropriate pattern among all the other air and space traffic. "It'll be about an hour till we set down." He said over his shoulder to Razor, who had clearly just woken up from a nap at the computer consol and was still blinking himself fully awake. "You might want to rifle through the ships stores for something more 'civilian'. No one wears masks on Coruscant." He explained simply.

The cinnamon tom nodded and stood with a stretch and yawn. "The entire outfit too weird, or just the mask?" He asked as he pulled his helmet and mask off.

Javrin considered briefly. "Without the mask, it just looks a uniform from some military operation." He said easily. "Should be fine."

"Which it is," Jake nodded and walked up to him to claim a brief, light kiss. "Just for reference, it's Jake without the mask." He paused, tracing his thumb along Javrin's cheek. "I'm going to grab a quick shower. You might want to do the same when I get back."

"Probably not a bad idea." Javrin nodded. "It's been a long few days."

"You should cut down on any concealed weapons you might normally carry." Javrin suggested, as he adjusted his robes for about the sixth time. "Carrying a single weapon openly is okay, but concealed weapons aren't." He explained, as he clipped his lightsaber to his belt. It was impossible to miss how nervous the grey tom was at they prepared to disembark from the shuttle.

"My Glovatrix acceptable?" He held up his left arm even as he began to comply by slipping a significant pile of blades and blasters and things from his uniform.

"Should be fine. It's just concealed stuff they have issues with." He chuckled. "And it's rare for them not to spot them. Really rare." He paused. "Ready?"

"If you are," Jake smiled slightly and tipped Javrin's chin up for a light kiss. "And remember a little something from my life. They only have the power over you that you grant them. You have a home without them now."

"It's not about them, as much as it is about Kenjin, my Master." He said quietly. "He did so much for me, I just want to make him proud. To prove that he was right." He said as he thumbed the access hatch release. "He trained me, when the Council said I was too old. He might've been on the Council, if it wasn't for me."

"He wouldn't want them to cow you," Jake said softly as he took in the broad open landing field in the middle of towering buildings. A quick look revealed that their landing pad was in fact floating in the sky. "You're a good person, he would be proud of that."

"Thanks, Jake." Javrin smiled, giving the lean tom a quick kiss as they descended the ramp. "I just never expected to be back here, not really." He said as two lanky Dalmatian guards met them at the bottom of the landing ramp.

"Padawan, the Council requests your presence in the Council chamber." One guard said politely, with a slight amount of deference.

"Thank you, Custo." Javrin replied with a polite nod of his head. "I remember where the Council chamber is, assuming it hasn't moved in the last ten years."

"It hasn't." The guard nodded, skilled eyes giving Jake a once over before he nodded to his companion and the two moved away.

"That went well." Javrin sighed slightly in relief, as he walked casually across the open field toward a tall tan and white building with an architectural style that combined modern efficiency with elements that were clearly ancient.

"Good," he smiled and pushed both his instinctive assessment of everything around them and his own unease at being so far out of his depth without his partner to the back of his mind. "I'm glad we cleaned up first."

"Coruscant is a place that is very much about appearances." Javrin nodded, as they passed a number of individuals of different species. They were all dressed in the same kind of robes as Javrin, just differing in their shades of cream and brown. "Not surprising as it's the capital of the Republic, and is not only the political center but the center of banking and commerce as well."

"In that it has many things in common with MegaKat City," he nodded, keeping a curious eye on everything and everyone while trying to avoid being rude about his curiosity. "I guess some things never change."

"Only it is much larger than MegaKat City." Javrin chuckled. "And has less of an underclass, since the politicians find the idea of having such a 'problem' on the jewel of the Republic something of an embarrassment." He shook his head, as they entered the large, wide open halls of the main Academy building. "But then again, it lacks some of the 'interesting' places that an underclass creates. Or at least I think it does, no place like 'Moradians' for example." He smiled.

"Now that's missing something," he cracked a grin back and resisted the urge to take Javrin's hand. "Something's just not right about a city without a bad part of town."

"The danger of utopia." Javrin shook his head, he said as a pair of wiry, twin martens wearing the same brown robes as Javrin passed them. "Somehow when you remove the 'bad' part of town, you remove part of the spirit. I was always grateful that my master didn't choose to live here. But then again, I was born on the 'wrong' side of town."

He chuckled quietly as they entered a large room with a wide window that looked out across the 'city' were air vehicles of all descriptions zipped between parts of the city hovering at different levels. On some of the large platforms, bright shiny starships could be seen arriving and departing. "While I go speak to the Council, you'll have to wait here." He said apologetically. "When they say they want to see me, that's what they mean and no more."

He wasn't surprised at the tension that rippled across Jake's frame, or the protective displeasure and increased distrust clearly visible on his face.

"All right," Jake consented quickly, knowing instinctively that this was not a battle to even try to fight. "Don't let them push you around, okay? At least not for me. I don't need their help."

"Jake, space is big and if we want to find Chance soon, we do need their help." He said quietly. "Their intel at any rate. The Jedi have better intelligence on the Sith than anyone, it could mean the difference between a search that takes days and one that takes years."

"You're going to have to trust me on this." He insisted gently, trying to explain a combination of knowledge and fears he barely understood. "The help would be very useful, but it's not worth a compromise." He gave in and brushed Javrin's cheek. "It's not worth you."

"You're not going to lose me." Javrin said quietly. "The worst that might happen is I get removed from the order. Though once the immediate crisis is past they might want me here for awhile." He added thoughtfully. "We'll have to see." He said, leaning forward to claim a gentle kiss. "I'll be back as soon as I can."

"I'll be here." Jake promised and stepped away so Javrin could compose himself before going to meet the Council.

With a brief warm smile, Javrin stepped away and headed down the hall. He was less than sanguine about this meeting, but it was one he'd known would happen as soon as he returned home.

Jake tried not to pace as he watched Javrin disappear, then gave in and let the motion wear some of his agitation away. Everything about what was happening gnawed at him. The fact that it was Chance that was taken, leaving his city unprotected for at least weeks, having to deal with this group calling themselves Jedi, the politics of a religious war that defined itself as unwinnable, the world-city.

Especially the world-city.

That gnawed at him more than he believed possible. It was as inherently wrong as any Omega. City kat that he was, this kind of city was far too all encompassing. From the air, MegaKat City was still lush and green and surrounded by the same. The waters were wide and blue and went far out of sight. From space, the world was brown, green and blue. This glittering city-world twisted his gut in away nothing else could.

Trying to distract himself from that train of thought, and avoid looking out the grand windows, landed his gaze on a lanky Tiger dressed much as Javrin did looking at him curiously.

Caught looking the young Tiger blushed noticeably and turned away briefly. After a moment to compose himself, and stop blushing, he looked back to see if the unusual Custos was still looking at him. At least he assumed that the warrior was a Custos since all the force sensitive warriors at the Academy who weren't Jedi were.

"Hi," Jake moved a few steps closer. "I'm Jake." He introduced himself awkwardly in the local language, looking for anything to deal with but his own thoughts and the view.

"Hello." The youth nodded. "My name is Tabrin. I apologize for staring, but you're unlike any Custos I've seen in my time here." He explained, rambling a little.

"It's okay, I've been staring at just about everybody," Jake chuckled weakly, hoping he was translating correctly. "I don't think I'm a Custos though."

"Oh, you're not?" Tabrin blinked. "My mistake." He blushed lightly. "I can see you're Force-sensitive, you're not a Jedi and you're clearly a warrior. Custos just seemed logical." He explained. "Master Vodonai is right, I have to stop trying to fit everything into nice, neat classifications." He chuckled. "So what brings you to the Academy then, if you don't mind my asking?" He asked politely.

"Javrin said they could help find my partner," he motioned towards the Council chambers with a jerk of his chin. "Before the Sith breaks him."

"The Sith?" Tabrin shuddered. "Yes, the Council would be the ones to ask. The Sith are a darkness that we must guard against at all times. They believe in no morality save that of power."

"I've heard the lecture," he nodded and shifted a bit. "What are you up here for?"

"Actually, I just came up for the view." He admitted. "Master Vodonai was needed in Council, and said I could spend the time as I wished." He said easily. "And there were no views like this back home." He said gesturing out at the grand window.

"No, not for me either," Jake avoided looking out the windows. "It's a very unique thing to see."

"They say it is one city from pole to pole, but that isn't exactly true." He said easily. "There is both land and sea not covered by city. Preserved for use as farmland, and for their vital role oxygen production." He said simply. "But the ocean floor communities are amazing, especially the ones in the Torus Trench." He added, and then chuckled. "I'm beginning to sound like a tour guide, probably because I spend most of my free time seeing the unique places."

"It hardly looks that way from space." Jake shivered slightly in memory of that mixture of fascination and distress of seeing a world without real life, his gaze drawn to the cityscape again.

"No, it doesn't." He nodded. "The hover-cities cover everything, the farms rely on a network of sunlight-projectors to survive since the real sunlight doesn't reach the surface. The oceans are even more dependent on the artificial sunlight."

"I expect so," he forcefully shoved the entire subject into the part of his brain that housed ideas not to think about.

"The idea disturbs you, doesn't it?" He said quietly.

"That's one way to put it, yes," he nodded.

"Thinking that everything we see is dependent on banks of fusion generators is something I find disturbing as well. Machines can, and do, fail." He said quietly. "I prefer the real sunlit oceans of home."

"I'd prefer to see it for a reason other than asking for help from a group I know nothing about." Jake shrugged. "It's not a way to like a place."

Tabrin blinked in surprise. "You know nothing about the Jedi?" He asked, rather astounded. "You must be from far outside the Republic then, but surely a Jedi must have brought you here." He stated, though it was also part question.

"A Jedi in training, " he nodded and moved around a bit to find something new to look at that wasn't window and tried not to think about what was happening with Javrin too much. "Not that the title means any more than Sith does there."

"Very far away." He nodded. "But the core of the Jedi is the responsibility of power. The power to do good, uphold justice and protect the weak." He explained. "But I suppose that might sound a bit rehearsed." The Tiger admitted. "It's true though, the Jedi Knights are respected throughout the Republic as a force for justice and good."

"And I have a background that speaks ill of any organization with power," he shrugged. "Good people rarely seem to stay that way when they start to get authority. Maybe Jedi are the exception. Maybe they aren't. I just want my partner back and to get back home while we still have a home to go back to."

"Corruption is always a danger." Tabrin nodded. "The lure of the Dark Side is strong, but it is usually the inexperienced who fall to it." He said quietly. "The Masters know the danger too well, to succumb." He added, clearly believing that strongly. "Is your partner force-sensitive?" He asked quietly.

"So I'm told," he nodded. "Something else we don't have back home."

"The Force is everywhere." Tabrin said, curious at the idea of it not being somewhere. "Apparently your world hasn't discovered it yet. The Sith will take advantage of that sensitivity, and try to tempt your partner to the Dark Side." He cautioned quietly.

"They're a lot more likely to kill him trying," Jake sighed with a shake of his head at how damn honorable that kat was. "Or if they'd taken us both to have a bartering chip. We've met our evil versions. It's not happening." He kept to himself that if it came down to it, he'd stay with his partner, evil or not.

"I hope you are right." Tabrin nodded, carefully hiding his reaction to what he thought he'd sensed from the cinnamon tom. Loyalty was a good thing, but once someone went to the Dark Side, they would never return it. Like everything else good and wholesome in the universe it became merely a tool to further their ends. "If you'll excuse me, I should get some work done on my study of political trends in the outer rim." He said excusing himself, as he turned to leave. The young Padawan felt a sudden need to meditate, due to the strong negativity he felt from Jake. He was just grateful it was dislike and distress rather than true hatred.

He nodded, though the Tiger hardly needed his permission to leave. He'd made excuses like that enough times to realize when someone was making a polite escape. Jake could hardly blame him either. He knew he must be unpleasant to be around right now.

It left him to pacing again, though. Which was not the best way to calm down by a long shot, but it was the best he had.

It also left the blue Mouse watching the sky from a place across the large room to deal with his agitation if she wanted to stay. She sighed mentally and stood with the grace of a dancer to walk over to the pacing feline a good two heads taller.

"You would benefit from calming down, Jake." She told him gently, privately amused at the way he skitted back a couple steps on an instinctive retreat from a recognized and unknown danger before locking eyes with her in a more direct assessment.

It would never cease to amaze and amuse her to how predatory races, even big ones, tended to treat her small Mouse form as one of their own kind.

She let him do his assessment and smiled faintly when he very clearly looked away and had his eyes lowered when he returned his focus to her. "I am Yamari."

"Easier said than done," he muttered quietly, his body language and tone making his words a complaint rather than a challenge of her advice.

"It can be," she inclined her head in acknowledgement of the difficulty of relaxing in his situation. "Perhaps if you would sit with me?"

Jake paused, uncertainty in his body language before he nodded. He followed her to a relaxed sitting position on the floor and watched as her outer Master's robes were set aside to reveal the soft creams that fit her rounded body for all they were unisex.

"Tell me about your partner," she smiled and spoke softly in his language.

Javrin walked tiredly through the halls back to the observation lounge. Two hours of questions from the Council had left him rather drained. The Council's questions about his 'relationship' with Jake had reminded him that Padawans were supposed to avoid such involvements since it could be disruptive to what little control they had. Of course, it was a lot too late for that lesson, about two months too late.

As he started around the corner, he recognized the other person in the room with Jake instinctively as one of the Masters and froze, not wanting to interrupt whatever she was doing. He'd never seen anyone dance with a lightsaber, but the Masters' all had their own ways of doing things. Apparently the way of the blue Mouse was dancing.

However it had begun, it was easy to tell it had improved Jake's mood considerably from two hours before. The tom was watching with the same kind of rapt fascination as he usually watched Javrin, though with less sexual desire. Maybe the Master was doing this to dispel the temperament that had built up in Jake over the past few days. If she was sensitive, it would be quite disturbing, and Jake had no idea how to shield his mind past the natural way he hid things and thought.

When her brilliant blue 'saber, a color very close to her fur, finally disappeared with the end of the dance the sudden sound of Jake's clapping startled both Jedi, though neither showed it.

"I see your companion has returned," Yamari smiled at Jake and bowed gracefully as any appreciated performer on stage might.

"Hurrr?" Jake blinked, then found Javrin standing at the edge of the room and smiled at him. "Thank you," he stood and spoke softly to the smaller Mouse with a great deal of respect.

"It was a pleasure to have a truly appreciate audience again," She inclined her head slightly and slipped into her outer robes.

"Master, I apologize if I interrupted." Javrin said politely as he walked up, with the short bow Padawans used to acknowledge the Masters. He was still on edge after his grilling by the council, despite a concerted effort to regain some measure of calm.

"You did not, Padawan San'rik'el," she informed him easily before walking away to give the pair a little privacy.

"You weren't bored while I was gone, I hope." Javrin asked with a playful wink that belied the fatigue underneath it.

"No," he chuckled slightly and brushed his fingers along Javrin's jaw as he cupped the gray tom's cheek. "Though I suspect that I gave a Padawan a serious headache. You look like you could use a nap, though."

"I wouldn't be surprised if you did. Most Padawans are still learning how to block out other people's thoughts." He smiled weakly. "And you've been thinking loudly the last few days. And you're right about that nap." He chuckled. "After this, defending my thesis at the University should be a piece of cake."

"I bet," he nodded. "So are they going to help us?"

"Yes, they're working on determining the identity of the Sith Lord responsible." Javrin nodded. "There was some discussion of why Chance. Several of the Council thinking that one of the Sith may be looking for a quick way to acquire more Dark Force pilots, and cloning Chance would be quick."

"Would that work?" Jake frowned and guided them to the lift, intent on getting him to a real bed for a few hours.

"Theoretically." Javrin nodded. "Force ability does run in families, so there appears to be a genetic component. That also means that they might try breeding him with a genetically compatible female." He explained as they walked. "Cloning is never a sure thing, but the possibility is strong enough to worry the council."

"And your fate?" He asked quietly when the lift doors closed, giving them a sense of real privacy.

"Well, I'm not in any trouble." He chuckled weakly, leaning against Jake slightly. "Beyond that, they're still considering the situation." He shrugged. "There's no real precedent for a Padawan turning up after eight years without Master or training."

"I just worry they'll kill you," Jake murmured into Javrin's soft hair. "It solves their problem quite neatly."

"That's not the Jedi way." Javrin shook his head. "There's no evidence I've gone to the Dark Side, even if I'm not really up to speed on the meditative and philosophical side of things. And I haven't broken any major rules."

"I hope you're right," he sighed and tried to believe it. "They'd have to give you a new Master for the rest of your training."

"That's the problem." Javrin nodded. "There's so much I'd have to unlearn because of eight years trying to self-train. And there's the matter of finding a Master who doesn't have a Padawan currently. It's strictly a one-to-one relationship."

Jake closed his eyes briefly and pushed thoughts of the logical answer to that problem from his mind. "How long are we likely to have to wait for them to make their decisions about us?"

"It's a matter of determining which Sith Lord it is, and collating the available intel on that person." Javrin said simply. "We should find out who were dealing with in a day or so. At that point the Council will decide what the appropriate resources for the mission are."

"And hopefully include us in that mission," he murmured as the lift doors opened into one of the huge, airy main halls. "And that Chance holds together long enough for us to get there."

"He will." Javrin said confidently. "And they will. I kind of pointed out that we'd probably include ourselves one way or the other." He chuckled weakly, as he paused. "They assigned us quarters here at the Academy, unless you'd rather sleep back on the ship." He offered, clearly okay with either choice.

"True enough," Jake relaxed a bit as they found a small sitting alcove off the hall. "Which is going to be nicer?"

"The Academy ones, since they put us in guest quarters." He smiled. "Actual water bath and shower." He grinned at Jake's shiver of raw, completely out of the blue arousal.

"I hope they shield those quarters too." He rumbled with a wicked grin. "We both need a little stress relief."

"Shielded primarily by distance from the Padawan quarters." He chuckled, as he turned to lead the way. "Accidental pick-up is fairly short range, maybe 10 or 20 meters. Beyond that, it's deliberate mind-reading only."

"Well, we're just have to hope the shower is far enough from the hall to avoid rattling anyone's calm." Jake winked, though he held back from the affectionate nuzzle and hug he would have given back home.

"If they're in the guest quarter area, they're probably full knights at least." Javrin chuckled and turned to claim a quick kiss from Jake, not caring who saw or felt what it did to his lover.

Javrin's rest lasted much longer than Jake's willingness to stay in the bed, which left the kat to find something to entertain himself. There was plenty, and the computer-like console in their quarters quite cooperative in suggesting things to do.

The gardens looked appealing, but the opportunity to see full Jedi working out was too much to pass up. He made a quick note for Javrin and headed out, dressed in what he had, though the rich black, red and blue uniform made him feel a bit self-conscious walking threw the halls full of people in creams and grays.

In one of the wide open areas of the Academy, one of the Jedi Knights was sparring with a trio of spherical hovering orbs that zipped about and fired bolts of blue energy at him. The deep reddish-brown Wolf leapt and dodged the bolts agilely, and the few he didn't dodge he deflected with his bright red lightsaber. The fluidity and grace of the exhibition was made more impressive by the fact that he was doing it while wearing a helmet that obviously blocked sight and probably blocked or impaired hearing as well.

It caught Jake's breath; the grace and skill the display represented gave him a good perspective just how much of a beginner Javrin was.

As the demonstration ended, the group of Masters and students broke up and went in different directions. The Wolf put his lightsaber away, and took off the helmet as he left the courtyard. "I'm guessing you were impressed." He said with wry smile, as he reached where Jake was still standing, watching him.

"It was impressive," he said simply, though he felt the heat in his cheeks.

"You could learn to do it." The Wolf said easily. "It's not easy, but you've got the potential." He added, watching to see Jake's response as the surprise wore off and his words were considered by a sharp mind too used to adapting and strangeness not to fall in with the new rules he was being presented with.

"So that's not a Jedi-only skill?" Jake cocked his head a bit in honest interest and a bit of surprise.

"It's a force-sensitive only skill." The Wolf smiled. "And you appear to have tapped into your abilities already, at least on an instinctive level." He explained. "I'm Jedi Knight Vintakrin D'talrishan, however most people call me Vince or Vinnie." He shook his head in amusement.

"Jake Clawson," he responded, warming up to this idea considerably. "What do you prefer to be called?"

"Vince is preferable." He shook his head. "There's really only one Vinnie is my family's history, and he was a very colorful personality." He grinned. "Jake? So you'd be Padawan Javrin's companion then?" He asked, though it was really just for confirmation.

"Yes," he nodded and shifted into a relaxed but ready stance without thinking.

"Why don't we find a more private location?" He suggested, and began leading the way without any concerns about whether or not Jake would follow him. "It's best to start this training without too many outside distractions."

"It usually is with any kind of combat skill." Jake agreed with a light chuckle.

"But even more so, when one of the big things to learn, is how to focus on the non-physical senses." Vince nodded.

"I bet that's a tough one for most," Jake nodded, absently wondering if it was any different from how he 'talked' to machines.

"It is." The Wolf nodded, as they entered a smaller practice room. "And the older the student the more difficult, normally." He added as he closed the doors.

"And from what I've seen, I'm one of the oldest around," he actually chuckled and took in the simple room completely devoid of anything but the central practice circle painted on the floor.

"Very true, but then most students start here around five." He said easily. "The very basic level of this training is that you are learning to sense the energy flow that connects everything on a very basic level. Different cultures have different words for it, we call it the Force."

Jake nodded; it wasn't far off from various theories that made sense to him based on his experience, even if his education denied it. "I've done something like that with machines most of my life, but not with everything."

"Really?" Vince said curiously. "Master Kastoris also works with machines. Does the most amazing things with them really. Most Jedi can only lift, move and manipulate machines on the large scale, Kastoris does things on the very small scale. Sometimes it seems as though he talks to them." He said in quiet amazement. "But the idea behind blindfighting is that you let go of your physical senses and let the Force guide you. Though Jedi practice it primarily with the lightsaber, the theory applies to ranged weapons as well."

Jake nodded, then chuckled. "If he's anything like me, he does talk to them, and they talk back after a fashion." He considered the Wolf thoughtfully. "If this the kind of training that starts with weapons?"

"If you'd like I could introduce you to him later." Vince offered, as he walked over to a wall panel and retrieved a lightsaber that looked like it had seen a lot of use and a small sphere. "Yes, it does start with weapons." He said handing Jake the lightsaber. "You might want to take a few practice swings just to get a feel for it."

The lean tom nodded. "I would like that. I haven't actually met anyone who does what I do." He admitted and relaxed into a loose combat stance that was better suited for weaponless or staff combat. He shifted a bit, picking up from the weapon itself, even dormant, how it was used to being handled.

He took a breath and let the tension go against before the blue 'saber flicked to life and held his attention in a similar fascination as he'd held for watching it in use. There had been nothing in his life to prepare him for feeling this weapon in his hand: the instant connection and sense of purpose and protection that flowed from it.

"Wow," Jake whispered, his eyes still a bit wide as he processed the concept of a weapon who's purpose was protection more than destruction.

"Yes, a lightsaber's first purpose is defense." Vince nodded approvingly. "Remembering that makes the training easier, since you should never be focusing on attack but on defense. Let go and let the Force flow between you and blade and let it guide you." He explained calmly. "A properly wielded saber can deflect any attack, and is only blocked by either another lightsaber or a force field."

Jake nodded, though the language and concepts were difficult to figure out without any real idea of how. Still unsure if what he was doing was what the Wolf meant, he focus on how he understood the object in his hand that was different from how he knew other people understood object and followed the trail from there.

The room, the emptiness, held only three things for him: his 'saber, Vince's 'saber and the orb the Wolf was still holding. Then the walls and floor finished the box and he pulled back a bit as he began to trace the computer network and other machines that spread out from there.

"Now this is where the exercise gets challenging." The Wolf said as the orb began to hum. "When I release the orb, your task is to deflect the bolts it will fire at you. It's on low intensity to start so while it can't injure you, it will sting seriously." He said as he stepped back and tossed the ball into the air. Swiftly it began dodging about, and then after a few passes it fired a small bolt of bright blue energy.

Jake nearly yelped in surprise as his hand flicked the lightsaber's blade in the way, complying with the desire not to be hit and his weapon's understanding without him being part of the loop. It was enough to break the connection for a moment long enough to give the orb a hit.

A snarl from deep in Jake chest lashed out with the self-preservation instinct that came very close to turning the orb into fried circuits.

"Calm, Jake." Vince reminded the startled kat gently. "Anger will cloud your connection with the Force. You're doing good though, just return to the connection you made." He added encouragingly as Jake settled more quickly than he'd expected.

"Okay," Jake murmured and let go after a reluctant moment for the exercise to begin again.

Vince watched the mixture of formal training in several combat styles and a lot of field experience struggle against the intuitive reactions and trust in the Force needed for the exercise. The kat had potential, he had no doubt of that even this quickly, but the self-trained life he led would severely hamper his eventual limits. The strange way he contacted and perceived the Force would not help in that either, though it did produce amazing results when he trusted the item he was taking guidance from.

"Very well done, Jake." Vince said with honest approval, when he thought Jake had enough for one lesson from the way the kat was breathing and sweating. "For someone who's never used a lightsaber before, you're a natural." He said as the remote returned to his hand and shut down. "A real shame we didn't find you when you were younger."

"Fate had other plans for me," he chuckled slightly and wiped his forehead with a sleeve. "Besides, there's a world that wouldn't be around any more if you had."

"Looks like Fate decided to get you a few Force lessons at least." Vince chuckled. "Assuming you'd be interested in doing this again, while you're here." He offered easily.

"Definitely," Jake nodded easily and surrendered the lightsaber as his breathing evened out. "It's not like I have anything else to do until we have a target."

"After dinner, perhaps." He offered as he put the equipment away.

"Sounds good to me," he actually smiled at the Knight. "When would that be for you?"

"About five hours from now." He said. "Seven to be exact, though I'm not usually. But we can meet here about eight if that works for you."

"Sure," he nodded, remembering that artistically concealed clocks were scattered about most of the Temple that he'd already seen. Six more hours was a lot of time to nose around too.

"I'll talk to Master Kastoris and see when he has time to see you." He added, as he opened the door of the practice room and they walked out. "I'm sure he'll be interested in talking to another Force-sensitive who talks to machines."

"It would be interesting," Jake nodded before they went separate ways in the huge practice room.

Jake was sprawled on his stomach, breathing in the smell of earth and grass as one hand lazily played in a small brook that graced one of the numerous gardens he'd found. It was almost enough to make him forget he wasn't back in his kittenhood back yard when a chirping beep brought his head up to look at a green and gold robot that remained him a lot of round-top trashcan.

"Master Kastoris?" He took a moment to place the name among the dozens he'd heard today. "Oh, right. Sure. Lead the way."

The robot led him through the Academy to a workshop/laboratory that was out on a far wing. Inside the lab looked like rather like Jake's, with numerous projects at various stages of completion and lots of spare parts. There were two more of the round top robots apparently monitoring projects and a wiry dark brown ferret in Jedi robes moving around the room in what seemed a downright hyperactive speed compared to the rest of the Academy. Unlike most Jedi robes his seemed to have an unbelievable number of pockets, which contained tools, parts and something Jake guessed was edible.

"Yes." The Ferret said over his should when Jake's guide chirped for attention. "Ah, welcome Jake." He smiled at Jake. "I'm Jedi Master Kastoris, but Kastor will do. Vinnie tells me you talk to machines through the Force." He said jumping right to the point.

"So I've gathered," he nodded and watched the projects as much as the Jedi he was talking to.

"Very uncommon gift, my boy." He chuckled as he 'told' a sensor unit to adjust its bandwidth. "Force-gifted inventors are often overlooked, simply acknowledged as rather eccentric geniuses."

"Probably because only a few of the eccentric geniuses are like us," Jake chuckled lightly. "I've only met one that might have been, but he couldn't talk or hear. He could do some amazing things that made me think he might have, at one point."

"And some of them can only talk or hear to machines, so we don't see them." Kastor nodded, and then looked at Jake more seriously even as Jake puzzled the meaning of his words out. "You're the same Jake that Javrin told the Council about, right?" He asked simply.

"Yes," he nodded as it occurred to him that these people were used to being about to tell gifted people on sight.

"He spoke very highly of you." The Master said, easily working with his hands and holding a conversation. "Did he seem happy with his life, back on your world?" He asked with genuine interest.

"I think so, even before we got together," he nodded, thinking back to the shy but smiling tom from a few months before.

"That's good." The Ferret nodded. "I wouldn't want him going back, if he was going to be unhappy."

Jake nodded slightly, not quite sure what to think of that statement as it was filed away to go over later.

"Like me, you're prone to getting wrapped up in a new device, I see." Kastor chuckled, noticing where most of Jake's attention was.

"It's not like I have very long to pick up as much as I can," he admitted, meaning both on technology and about his gift.

"That's hard to predict." Kastor said a bit cryptically. "But then predicting the future is an uncertain talent at best. So difficult to tell probable future from possible future, and there's always the possibility that the prediction itself alters the probabilities." He shook his head, even as he picked up from Jake's confusion that the tom had meant something very different from literally looking into the future.

"Either I have very little time, or the rest of my life for lack of a home to return to," he shrugged quietly as he leaned back against a sturdy table, trying not to show how much the second possibility hurt. "I'm going to stick with assuming the first."

"Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by a little." He shook his head. "I'm quite sure you're going home though."

"If this lasts a month," he shrugged, living the rest unsaid but easily known. "But going home isn't the same as being able to stay." He added quietly. "Even if it takes years here, I'd go back, just on the small chance something survived."

"It won't take years." Kastor said reassuringly. "But it also probably won't be the day after you find your partner."

Jake nodded, not taking the statement with the same credence as someone who knew Jedi, but not dismissing it completely either.

For a moment, there was silence as Jake worked out how to ask what he hadn't found out on his own yet.

"Kastor ... what's so attractive about the Dark Side?" He asked a little clumsily, trying to understand what the risk to Chance actually was.

"It's an easy way to power, because it doesn't demand as much self-control or discipline." Kastor explained, trying to be careful not to preach. "This makes it attractive to those who seek power, but also to those who need power, or think they do."

"To protect something they care about?" He asked, trying to work his brain around the concept of using a talent for good somehow being evil. Hazardous to your health, sure, but so was being a hero and that was simply what they were.

"Yes." He nodded. "The danger is that the dark side can twist things, especially if fear or anger are your guiding emotions. Anger can give you access to greater strength than you have normally, but at the cost of control so there may be harm done that wasn't intended but happens. And then that anger can begin seem like a normal way of doing things. The extra power can be addictive."

Jake nodded slowly. That much he understood. Not in the same context or with the same apparent dangers, but the he did understand it.

And Chance had a temper to start with.

If his practice with Vince was any indication, these people's definition of 'anger' fell under what he'd always considered survival reflexes.

It was not a good combination.

Of course, they'd both been this way all their lives and through a hell of a lot of shit and not had trouble.

"Not good." Jake murmured to himself, as much as assessment of himself as his partner.

"When one first realizes the power is there, is when the danger is the greatest." Kastor nodded. "That unsteady ground before self-control is learned. Javrin has similar concerns because he missed most of his training."

"You have no idea," Jake murmured as it settled in just how easily it would be for half-decent manipulator to have Chance all the way there before he even realized what was going on, if he ever really did. "Javrin's not at much risk," he shook his head. "He may not have all the training, but what he got he took to heart in a big way. But if this Sith is half as good a manipulator as the average politician, Chance isn't that likely to even notice he has power to use when he's using it. Everything we've been through will tell him it's not real."

"That is why Intelligence is working as quickly as possible on finding where your partner is." Kastor nodded. "We have lost enough inexperienced Jedi to recognize the risks. And it's also a matter of not wanting to have to deal an army of force-sensitive pilot clones led by your very talented partner." He admitted. "Our interests aren't totally selfless here."

"Frankly, I prefer it that way." Jake shook his head with a strangely amused chuckle. "I don't like things I can't understand."

"More comfortable with enlightened self-interest?" Kastor asked with an amused smile.

"It's something that makes sense," Jake shrugged with an easy acceptance. "People who claim they are just doing something because they should ... it rarely sits right. I'm sure a few are out there, but I haven't met anyone who's met one I know about."

"We have a few idealists who do claim that they do things just because it's the right thing to do." Kastor nodded. "Javrin's Master was one of them, and a great loss as well." He said quietly, and it seemed that the loss was perhaps not just to the order but to the Ferret personally.

"Yeah, I've got a partner like that." He smiled faintly and tried not to think of the loss he was facing. "But he really loves being the hero. Doing the right thing is just a common by-product of it."

"It does seem to be." Kastor nodded, thinking that there was no real point to arguing the difference. Jake's opinion was the product of years of living in a particular place and time, and all the Jedi Master was likely to accomplish by arguing was to put Jake on the defensive, a result he do not want. "The universe does seem to benefit from them, regardless."

"That it does," he agreed easily and smiled a little distantly. "The world could use more of them like him. It'd be a better place for it."

"Very true, but its really something someone is or isn't." Kastor said easily. "Besides, if heroes were common it would cheapen them I think. It's partly the rarity that makes them so special."

"It's part of the definition, I think." Jake chuckled a bit. "When heroes are common, the standards just get higher and higher to be considered one."

"Applies to being exceptional at almost anything, as everyone improves it gets harder to be exceptional." Kastor nodded.

"And that much harder to be exceptional," Jake added quietly. "So many never see their full potential because they aren't noticed among the throngs. Something you probably face more than I can even imagine." He chuckled sheepishly. "I still think of MegaKat City's millions as far too many."

"Well, we have significantly more resources as well but you're right that much potential is lost." He nodded. "Not to change the subject, but have you eaten dinner yet? It's about that time." He chuckled.

"I don't think I've gotten to lunch yet." He managed sheepishly, responding more to his past than the current situation. "I probably should get something before another workout with Vince."

"Definitely a good idea." He nodded. "And Vince will come looking for me, if I don't go get something to eat." He chuckled. "Something about my needing to not neglect little things like eating."

"Sounds like what Chance likes to tease me about." Jake smirked and turned to leave. "Sounds like you have as much of a mother hen as I do."

"A former Padawan of mine." Kastor chuckled as he gave a few last instructions to the droids before heading out. "He got into the habit of pulling me out of the workshop for meals every so often."

"And we wouldn't have it any other way," Jake grinned at the Ferret. "Not that they'll ever find out from us."

"Of course not." The Ferret chuckled back and felt Jake relax a little more about him. "Who doesn't enjoy a little attention now and then."

The cell door opened and the Coyote walked in carrying a package that he slid through the bars to Chance's side. "We'll be arriving shortly. This is a change of clothes for you. Sancresti Redoubt is far to warm for those coveralls." He explained. "Average temperature is about 85, and during the summer it gets a lot warmer."

"About like home," the tabby nodded and accepted the shorts and flower patterned short sleeve shirt. "How hot is 'a lot warmer'?"

"115 to 125." He said after a moments' thought. "There are places where it gets to 140, but nobody lives there but a few research scientists in specially constructed bunkers."

"Toasty," he nodded and wrinkled his nose and quickly changed clothes.

"We're landing in one of the less oppressive zones. Ocean breezes and white sand beaches, so today's high of 95 won't seem quite so hot." The Merc shook his head.

"Very much like home," Chance chuckled a bit and leaned against the wall. "I take it I won't be staying on the ship much longer."

"No, this is your destination." The Merc said simply. "You'll be meeting Darth Keira today."

"Planning on saying goodbye to Her Nuisance too."

"I doubt it, but keep up the attitude." The Coyote chuckled softly. "Just remember, Sith are sneaky bastards. If they can't scare you, they'll try and corrupt you."

"Corrupt?" He raised an eyebrow, his thoughts more towards the genetic mutation end of things.

"They have a way of offering you things, things they know you'll really want." The Coyote said quietly. "And it looks like a really good deal at first, but what they're doing is slowly getting you to think like they do. Turning good Kats into people like say, Dark Kat, is something they specialize in."

"That's just seriously screwed up," he rolled his eyes. "She'll be lucky if Jake doesn't find her if that happens."

"It's why I'm glad that I can't feel this 'Force' thing." The Merc chuckled. "Neither side of the conflict is interested in me. Except as a blaster-for-hire."

"Sounds like you lucked out." Chance chuckled a bit. "Not that I have a clue what it's about anyway." He rolled his eyes. "They want me to use it, they'll have to explain what it is first."

"Not necessarily." The Coyote shook his head. "I watched the tapes of you and your partner taking on our drones. You may not be doing it consciously, but you use the Force to take your piloting to levels a non-Force user can't touch." He said, clearly being very on the level.

"I'm still just a dumb pilot," he shrugged, not really getting what was so special about it. "Jake's the one who actually makes stuff."

"Dumb pilot?" The Coyote shook his head. "I've yet to meet any good pilot who qualified as 'dumb', and you certainly don't." He said seriously. "You just happen to have a galactic-level genius for a partner."

That made the tabby laugh. "Sweet Bastet, he'd self-combust he if heard that one."

"Yeah, the profile worked up on him suggested as much." The Merc chuckled.

"He'd be cute as hell though." Chance chuckled. "It gives this great shade to his fur."

"I can imagine." The Coyote grinned, as he flipped through a few of the mental images he had from the surveillance team's workup on the pair. He blinked, as he caught a change in the pitch of the ship's engines. "We're about to set down." He said quietly, as he turned to go check on the rest of his team.

"Right," Chance muttered softly and settled in to wait for the Sith everyone was so afraid of.

A short while later the Coyote and his team, a group of very military looking canines came in accompanied by the doctor and a large dark green lizard morph in black robes. The lizard pushed a button on the small remote he held and the bracelets that Chance was wearing on wrists and ankles returned to handcuff and shackle mode. "Bring him out." The lizard ordered imperiously.

A wiry, athletic fox in dark camo gear turned off the cell force field letting the Coyote go in. "Time to go." He said, indicating the cell door.

The tabby nodded and complied, knowing that this wasn't the right moment to try anything. On a lot of levels, it was like when they'd been captured by the Enforcers after meeting their screwed up versions.

The lizard led the way out of the ship and onto the beach followed by the doctor, and then the mercenaries who were escorting Chance. It was the first view that got Chance's attention; the ocean was a copper red and there were two suns in the sky.

"That's different," he murmured with a curious glance around that didn't break the slow progress his shackles allowed him.

"I wouldn't reccomend swimming." A red Wolf walking next to him murmured. "That red is from a bacteria that'll have you 'drunk' for a week if it gets in your system."

"Sounds like fun," he chuckled just as quietly.

Ahead of them Chance could see a bunch of tents that would've looked right at home on any of the beaches near MegaKat City. A large black and gold sun umbrella shaded a lounge chair where a female figure could be seen reclining. A powerful figure that was probably a Lion from the mane was standing to one side of the chair waving a large fan.

"Master, I've brought the pilot you required." The lizard announced as the procession stopped ten paces from the lounge chair.

"Excellent, Apprentice." A sultry female voice replied, as the figure in the lounge chair stood with graceful movements. As she came out of the shade she was revealed as a jet black panther who stood a good eight feet tall. The black and gold two-piece bikini she was wearing only served to accentuate her exceptional figure. And though her movements were as graceful and fluid as an exotic dancer, there was something in them that hinted at something much more dangerous. "So this is the pilot that Karsoris thought would fill my needs. We'll see." She purred as she looked Chance over appraisingly, her eyes having all the subtlety of a strip search and got the same apprizing gaze right back.

Only from the tabby there was a mixture of dismissal right along with the acceptance of her powerful effect on his libido.

And something even more surprising to her. Amusement.

Keira had seen many reactions in her time, but that was not one of them. The Pantheress was not amused, but she was too cool to let it show. "Bravado as well, not unexpected in a pilot." She rumbled in amusement, and snapped her fingers. "You know what to do." She said dismissively to the two burly Lions who appeared at her summons.

Without speaking the two Lions led the tabby away to a concealed entrance in the nearby jungle, while Keira considered her next move.

"Hay," Jake smiled to see Javrin up and doing simple stretching exercises that were probably a good idea for him to join in, given the workout the Wolf had put him through. "Feeling better?"

"Yeah." Javrin smiled at Jake. "I'd forgotten how tiring slip-piloting is, and then to have the Council session on top of it was just too much. Hope you weren't bored while I was sleeping like the dead."

"Not at all." He chuckled and settled into his own cool-down stretches. "I had an interesting chat with Master Kastoris and a couple serious workouts with a lightsaber and a very nasty little training orb courtesy of Knight D'talrishan. The gardens are nice and the computer network quite cooperative."

"So Vinnie's giving you lightsaber lessons." Javrin grinned. "I'm not surprised, and that nasty little orb is what I learned from too. Jedi have been using it for as long as anyone can remember." He chuckled. "I should've known you and Master Kastoris would end up talking. He's technical expert of the Council. He was the only one who was really familiar with the concept of the TFG."

"I can't say I'm too surprised," he chuckled. "Though I am a bit surprised that he doesn't have our ship's TFG directed by now. I know it's not going to stay intact any longer than required when it's not needed any more." He cocked his head at Javrin. "Master Kastoris seemed to be of the opinion that you'd be returning to Aristal with us. He wanted to know if you were happy there."

"The only life I know is there." Javrin said quietly. "As crazy and chaotic as MegaKat City gets, its home. 'Sides, I don't know that I could deal with watching you leaving, knowing I probably wouldn't see you again." He admitted softly. "Master Kastoris was my Master's teacher, and my strongest supporter in the Council."

Jake paused and looked at him uncertainly. "Just how old are you?"

"Twenty-two, a couple of months ago. Why?" He asked curiously.

"You coulda corrected me when I mentioned thirty," he shook his head with a chuckle. "So you were barely a teenager when you crashed."

"I got by early on by not correcting people, it's a hard habit to break." He chuckled. "I was fourteen when I arrived, and spent what seemed like a lifetime floating in the middle of the ocean."

"Well, it'd kinda appropriate to tell your boyfriend your actual birthday," he reached over to caress Javrin's cheek. "We could have celebrated a little."

"My birthday fell between dates one and two." Javrin chuckled. "When I wasn't entirely sure there'd be a date two." He admitted sheepishly, leaning into the touch.

"Mmm, probably for the best," he murmured and leaned forward for a kiss. "I don't usually date people that much younger than I am."

"That's the sort of thing that taught me to never volunteer my age." Javrin whispered quietly, before claiming the kiss.

Go to Part 1         Part 2        

War Between Worlds part 1 of 2

NC-17 for M/M
Het Level is None
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Low
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

166 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written November 22, 2004 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Todd McCall

Setting: Star Wars (Furry), SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Feline, Kat

Contents: Furry. Slash (M/M).

Pairings: Jake/Chance, Jake/male

Blurb: All healing must begin somewhere. Sometimes it is by being hurt. Sometimes it is by following your instincts and opening yourself up to it. For Javrin, stranded on a world far from home and alone, it is by facing the demons he holds inside.

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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