LIFE GOES ON
Chapter 1: Hiding the Commander
Everyone asked for a sequel to my story Life Changes so here it is. Hope you like it. Review please!
Holding Kiara to my chest, I felt the turbocat begin to descend to its hidden base. Smooth as silk, T-Bone landed the sleek jet in its hangar. Moments later, the engines shut down and the ramp was being lowered. T-Bone dropped down from the pilot's seat to my side.
"Here Uly, let me take Kiara" He smiled and cooed at his daughter while extending a paw to help me get to my feet. I still moved a bit stiffly, giving birth really takes it out of you. We exited the jet and I got my first look at their secret base. I must admit to being impressed. The two had done a remarkable job upgrading what I could see was an old Mega War II underground base.
T-Bone led the way to a small changing area where stood two lockers with their names painted on them. Reaching his locker my mate handed Kiara back to me and proceeded to strip off his G-suit and mask. He turned his head and smirked at me. Well, well, so my suspicions were accurate. There stood one of my ex-enforcers, Chance Furlong. I nearly laughed at his disappointed look when he realized I wasn't surprised.
"Crud, how did you know it was us?" He pouted.
"Oh, a number of things gave you away" I said coyly
"Oh yeah! Name one!" He snorted belligerently.
"Later, I'm getting tired and want to lay down for a little" I sighed. I felt exhausted. I still tire easily and even though I'd only gotten out of bed an hour ago, I find my legs starting to shake and my body feeling heavy. I really wanted to be flat soon.
"Oh babe, I'm sorry! Here let me take her again and let's get you settled upstairs" Chance said contritely and quickly led me towards a set of short steps leading to a wall ladder. I really wasn't up to climbing and seeing my difficulty, Chance handed Kiara to Jake and helped me get upstairs. We arrived in their kitchen and I had to stop a moment before climbing the next set of stairs toward their upper floor bedrooms.
As I passed through their living quarters, I had to admit they had done a great job making the apartment comfortable. Those two idiots, Burke and Murray, had left the place trashed and unliveable. We moved upstairs to Chance's bedroom. I could see he'd made an effort to tidy up and make space for our daughter and I. Next to the bed was a bassinet for her and Jake gently deposited the sleeping kitten into it. He slipped out of the room quietly while Chance helped me out of my clothes. I slipped gratefully into bed and sighed.
"Well talk later, love, you just get some rest." Chance murmured quietly and leaned down to kiss my cheek before leaving the room. I can't believe how tired I am, it really annoys me. But I can't raise any energy to try and get up again and end up dozing off.
I woke some time later to Kiara's hungry cries. Groaning, I start to drag myself up when Chance popped into the room with a tray.
"Hello, love. Sleep well? I know you need to eat regularly while nursing Kiara, so I've rustled up some food for you. Why don't I change her while you sit up and get situated...hmmm" Chance said cheerfully.
I just nodded agreement and struggled to a sitting position. I watched him bustle around getting a diaper and cleaning stuff for Kiara, then lifting her out of her bassinet and laying her on the bed to change her. His room is far too small for a changing table. She stopped crying when her father lifted her and is now waving her tiny limbs around and cooing at him. She's a good kitten and I'm grateful for that. Minutes later, Chance hands her to me for feeding. She settles in my arms and begins nursing with gusto.
Chance settles the food tray over my lap and hands me a roasted tuna sandwich. It's tastes wonderful! I hadn't realized how hungry I was till that first bite. He had also made me some chicken soup and there was a cold glass of milk. He smiles and sits down beside me and watches our little one nurse with a look of wonder on his face.
"I still can't believe I'm a father. She's so tiny and so beautiful. I'm grateful to you for giving me such a wonderful miracle." He sighed.
I smile indulgently. Actually, I'm still amazed too. She's perfect and I gave birth to her! Just incredible! Of course, he's responsible for her being here and, in a burst of warm emotion, I lean towards him for a deep felt kiss which he returned with enthusiasm.
"Thanks, Chance, for her and for this delicious lunch" I smile warmly.
"You're welcome on both counts" he laughed. Then he sighed and his face became serious "Okay, now you owe me an explanation. How did you know who we were? Jake and I did everything we could to hide our identities. Jake made a mask that hid our eyes, we altered our voices a bit, so how...?" I sighed and studied him a moment while I drank some milk.
"You couldn't hide your piloting skills nor Jake his sharpshooting abilities. After all you were the best enforcers I had on the force until Felina, that is. Once I watched your abilities, I began to pay closer attention to you when you were fighting on the ground. Most of your moves were enforcer training. I still had some doubt but that vanished when you and I became intimate. Your face may have been hidden but your body was a dead giveaway." I smirked at him triumphantly.
"Aw crud, well at least you never gave it away, you must have cared about me for a while then, hmmm? He smiled good-naturedly and leaned toward me to rub my cheek with his.
"We were keeping a secret, you moron" I snorted and shoved him away, but smiled to take the sting out of it. He laughed.
"I think Kiara's finished love, here let me burp her" he reached gently for her and began patting her back. "Do you want to get up for a while or rest some more?"
"I think I'd like to take a shower, then I'll see what I want to do next" Getting clean should make me feel better.
"Sounds like a plan." He agreed and placed Kiara in her bassinet. "I gotta get back to the garage. We don't have too many cars today so we should be done by quitting time. You take it easy and rest as much as you need to" he admonished me as he turned to leave the room.
I finished my lunch, set my tray aside and got up to gather my things for the shower. I still felt tired and sore so took my time. The shower felt great, but it didn't help ease my tiredness so I lay down again and napped.
A sudden loud crash jerked me from sleep and made Kiara start screaming. My heart was pounding in shock as I lurched from bed and gathered her up to quiet and soothe her. The noise seemed to have come from the front of the garage. I went to Jake's room, which overlooked the salvage yard. What I saw made me angry. Chance was waving his arms in fury at the scruffy pair standing near a dump truck. The reason for his ire was a huge mound of salvage heaped in front of the garage doors. I knew immediately who the idiot pair were and was just as infuriated as Chance. After a moment of cursing, I got a brilliant idea. Burke and Murray were in for an unpleasant surprise.
I watched until they left and proceeded downstairs. I was met by Chance, he had heard Kiara shriek and wanted to see if we were alright.
"I'm sorry Uly! How is Kiara?" Chance asked but he could already see she was calm again. "Those two are always dumping the salvage in front of our garage and then trying to start a fight. Just once I'd like to wipe the floor with them." He ranted.
"Don't worry Chance this will be the last time they pull a stunt like that again." I promised.
"What do you intend to do" Jake, who had joined us, asked.
"Oh, I have something truly appropriate in mind. I'll just call in a few favors and teach that pair a lesson" I smiled evilly
"Are you going to let us in on your little plan" Chance pleaded.
"Well..., if they like dumping the trash in the wrong place so much, then we'll accommodate them by having some salvage delivered to their home, right on their front door. Let's see how much they enjoy cleaning it up. On top of that, I will be docking their pay and sending them a warning to not repeat this little trick of theirs again. How's that sound?" I grinned
"Oh Uly, that's just too perfect. You really have a devious mind." Chance grinned in return.
"I'll say!" Jake affirmed. "Well, we better get to work picking up that crap and finishing the last of the vehicles, buddy."
"Yeah, yeah, coming" He caressed our kitten and gave me a quick kiss before heading back outside.
I smiled to myself as I looked for the phone. I sat down on the old couch and called up a few kats that owed me a favor and if all worked out right, Burke and Murray would get a nasty surprise come sun up tomorrow. I would also insure that they never learned who had ratted on them. The dump would look like an innocent mistake and the punishment would be through channels not linked to me directly."
About a week and a half later, I was finally regaining my strength and Kiara was growing fast. It was just dusk, and the SWAT Kats were on patrol. About a couple of hours later, I heard the jet returning and went down the secret hatch to meet them. I watched as the obviously tired pair jumped down from the jet. I began to move to meet them when a truly foul stench reached my nose first. I choked and moved backwards quickly.
"What the hell is that stink" I gasped.
"Crud you don't have to tell us. God, I can't stand myself" Razor groaned.
"What happened?" keeping my distance, the odor was truly gross.
"Ack, I just gotta get clean" T-Bone exclaimed in disgust. "We'll tell you later. I'm afraid these uniforms will have to be burned, Razor" he said as he stripped the offending garments off.
"You said it! Here, Chance, put them in the trash bag" Jake was hurriedly stuffing his in it.
I decided to leave them to it and quickly made my way back up to the apartment and made dinner. We take turns making a meal and intersperse with take out, tonight was my turn. When they were through getting descented in their decontamination chamber, we sat down to eat. I waited expectantly for an explanation.
"We were passing Pumadyne when we heard the alarm. On the enforcer channel we heard that someone had tried to steal a new crowd control gas they were experimenting with. The culprit had a sample and was still on the grounds somewhere. Well, we circled and spotted the perp near the chemical tanks. No security was near that area as yet and wouldn't make it until too late. The guy was booking and had a vehicle waiting just outside the fence." Chance explained.
"I couldn't use any weapons near those tanks so we decided to land and head off the creep." Jake chimed in.
"I landed the turbocat in front of the running kat, cutting him off from the fence, he veered off running back towards the tanks. We jumped out and ran after him. I had just collared the guy when he drops the sample." Chance growled angrily.
"And I almost caught it, missed by a claw. The damn thing was ceramic and shattered easily spilling the stuff all over us." Jake said in disgust. "Hell, the security guys wouldn't even come near us."
"It was embarrassing. We had to tie up the creep and walk away to our jet smelling just awful. I left the canopy open all the way home." Chance said.
"Well at least they know the stuff works" I couldn't help but laugh. Chance just scowled at me, but Jake smiled a little. It was kinda funny.
Staying at the salvage yard was like trying to manage a black op. The constant need to keep Kiara and my presence secret was nerve wracking. I remember one incident with those idiots Burke and Murray. They'd learned their lesson and no longer dumped the salvage at the garage door. Unfortunately, they still tried to pick fights with Chance. Always stoking his temper and getting a rise out of him much to Jake's constant annoyance.
On this day, they came in and deposited the junk where Jake wanted it, then proceeded to razz Chance while getting him to sign the invoice. Our daughter was suffering a mild bout of colic so was crying a lot of late. As Murray was harassing Chance, Kiara chose that moment to start screaming. Burke and Murray turned startled eyes towards the garage door trying to see what was making so much racket. Chance and Jake traded worried looks. Jake quickly said it was a new alarm and he would go in and turn it off.
"That don't sound like an alarm, it sounds like a kitten" Murray said suspiciously.
"Now what would ex-enforcers be doing with a kitten you jerk." Burke snorted and batted his brother with his hat. Murray winced and pulled away but still looked doubtful.
Meanwhile, Jake had raced up the stairs to our bedroom and warned me to try and quiet Kiara. That was easier said then done. The best we could do was have me and the kitten go in the closet and close both closet and bedroom doors. Jake went outside the room and breathed a sigh of relief when only a muffled sound could be heard. He ran back down to the garage and was grateful to see Murray and Burke driving off.
"Okay, that was close!" Chance said "What did you do to quiet Kiara?" Jake explained the closet trick. "Cute, worked at least. I'll go up and tell Uly its safe now."
The next near miss was Ms Briggs of all kats, she'd come by to have her car tuned. I was resting upstairs, but Kiara was awake so Chance had her with him in a carry sling. He was in the office getting some paperwork done when she drove up. He didn't hear her so was surprised when she popped her head around the office door.
"Hello Chance, oh what a beautiful kitten, whose is it?" she exclaimed.
"Ah..." Chance stuttered, at a loss what to say.
"She belongs to a cousin of mine" Jake, who had just arrived from inside the garage, improvised quickly. My cousin had a doctor's appointment and asked me to watch her kitten for her. Chance and I are taking turns taking care of the little one."
"How sweet! Can I hold her for a minute?" Callie cooed.
"Oh sure!" Change answered and gently lifted Kiara from the sling and laid her in Callie's arms.
"Hello little one, koohie, koohi-coo" Callie cooed at the kitten who cooed back and waved her tiny fists around. "Oh, Jake she is adorable. How old is she?"
"She's just 12 days old" Jake answered. "Soo, what can we do for you today, Callie?"
"Oh yes! My car is starting to run rough, could you get it tuned and back to me by quitting time?" Callie asked.
"Yeah sure, no problem." Chance answered. "Do you need a ride back to city hall?"
"Yes, please, if it wouldn't be an imposition" Callie affirmed.
"Hey, no problem. I can drop you off and then get that part we need" Jake replied.
"Great, here you go, Chance" Callie carefully passed Kiara back to Chance's arms and waved good-by as she and Jake left in the tow truck.
"Way to go Jake, that was quick thinking" He breathed to himself. "Well I think it's time for you to go to bed sweetheart" Chance sighed in relief and carried his daughter back upstairs.
Later, at dinner, Chance related the incident to me. "That was quick thinking, Jake" I said, pleased by the outcome.
"Seemed to be the only plausible excuse I could come up with. Just glad it worked" Jake said shrugging off the compliment, smiling.
By the end of my third week on sick leave, I was getting antsy. I worried about what my office was going to look like when I got back. Kiara and I had a checkup just the other day and we are both doing well, at least her colic problem had ended. I love her madly but I am going stir crazy. There is nothing for me to do but rest. Except for a little light housework, Chance refuses to let me do anything else. He said I would recover more quickly if I didn't stress myself now. I hate that he's right. It doesn't make the boredom any easier. I return to work next week and it can't get here soon enough for me.