TRIALS OF MOTHERHOOD, III

Chapter 1: Just Another Day?

Author's Note: More tales of the Feral/Khan triplets. Set in "The Tiger's Mate' world. Though this has chapters it's still going to be a short story. Enjoy and please review!

Sighing Feral, with the help of Khan's staff, got his three five year old kittens ready for their doctor's appointment. They hated this type of visit as much as he did but it was necessary.

The only up side, the kittens thought, was the trip to Enforcer Headquarters. Since their appointment was at eight-thirty a.m. and their mother had to be at an emergency staff meeting at seven they had to go in with him to wait. Their father, Shere Khan was out of town.

"Alright let's go!" Their mother called out as he headed for the door of their apartment.

"Yay!" Casimir cheered as he and his siblings rushed to their mother's side a nanny following behind.

They loved riding in the elevator. Sometimes their father would take them to the park and let them ride the elevator up and down a couple of times and sometimes Bagera, their bodyguard, would treat them to a little up and down trip. Bagera was also responsible for putting the triplets through their morning calisthenics that helped burn off excess energy. He was their driver for this morning.

He helped Commander Feral secure the triplets in their seats then he took the driver's seat as Feral took the passenger one and concentrated on his notes for the morning meeting. The nanny, Matty, took a jump seat facing the kittens.

Despite the heavy morning traffic, they arrived at Enforcer Headquarters within twenty minutes. Before the triplets were allowed out of the car, Bagera and Feral got out first and looked around. Then with a nod to the nanny, the triplets were unstrapped and one by one lifted out of the car. The nanny carried their necessary's and the kittens each carried a small backpack of their own. Feral led the way with the nanny and kittens between him and Bagera, who brought up the rear.

They made a small parade as they marched into the busy shift changing crowd within the lobby of the building. Many curious and smiling faces watched their progress as they crossed the lobby. The kittens were kept close together as they moved through the busy area, their eyes wide at all the activity around them. Suddenly a familiar face appeared smiling at them.

"Hello guys, how ya doing?" Lt. Feral chirped brightly at them, grinning warmly.

"Cousin Felina!!" Came a happy chorus from the kittens.

She stayed close to them as each one tried to tell her what they'd been doing and where they were going today. She kept smiling even though she really couldn't tell what they were saying since they were all talking at the same time. Feral just sighed indulgently while Matty and Bagera rolled their eyes.

An elevator arrived and they waited for it to empty before all piling aboard. Felina let Casimir press the button for his mother's floor. They reached their destination in seconds, Feral and Felina stepping out first followed by the triplets, nanny and Bagera. Many eyes of the admin staff watched with amused expressions at the Commander's beautiful brood.

Feral stopped at his secretary's desk. She stood and handed the Commander a stack of mail and reports.

"Good morning, sir. I see you've brought your beautiful kittens with you this morning." She said grinning down at them. They smiled back shyly.

"Yes. They have physicals this morning after my meeting. They'll be waiting in my office. You don't have to concern yourself over them. Matty and Bagera will be taking care of them." Feral said pointing to each as he named them. "Just make sure no one barges in. Bagera might take them to the floor before asking who they are. I'd prefer to avoid that." Feral said.

"Of course sir. Your officers are nearly all here for the meeting. Here is your coffee, sir." She said briskly handing Feral a large mug.

"Thank you, Karen." Feral grunted his mind already on the meeting. He walked into his office and up do his desk. Dropping his correspondence onto it's surface, he unlocked a drawer. Reaching in he grabbed a red labeled folder. Relocking the drawer he turned to leave pausing a moment to look at his kittens.

"Listen up you three. I don't want you giving Bagera and Matty any trouble. Just play with the things you brought in your packbacks and momma will be back in a little while." Feral admonished studying each face then nodding, left the office with Felina following him. She gave the kittens a smile and a wave as she closed the door.

Sighing the kittens moved to the conversation area to take out their playthings. They already knew not to pull anything with Bagera around.

When Feral returned an hour later, the kittens were immersed in a game of chutes and ladders with Matty. Bagera was reading a mystery novel not far from the door and was on his feet in seconds when the door opened. He relaxed when he saw Feral and put his book back into his pocket.

Feral was pleased to see the kittens being so well behaved. "Momma's very pleased with you. You've been very good. Now pick up your things, we've got to get going." Feral told them smiling warmly. His kittens quickly gathered up there things as Feral returned to his desk and relocked the file back in the drawer.

In very short order, the group was again trooping to the elevator, across the lobby and out to their car. Once more in their seats, Feral moved slowly into traffic and headed uptown.

As they were about half way to their destination, a frantic call came over Commander Feral's radio.

"Alert, Alert, the Metallikats Express has been seen traveling north down Tower Blvd at a high rate of speed. All Enforcers converge on the area. Calling Number One, come in." The dispatcher summoned.

Bagera handed Feral his enforcer radio. "This is Number One, report!" He barked.

"Commander Feral, the Metallikats have stolen a prototype megabeam being developed at a private lab. The beam is said to be able to punch through anything with ease." The dispatcher explained hurriedly.

"Anyone in the area yet?" Feral asked his heart hammered with concern as he looked around quickly while driving. The Metallikats were on the same road he was on and they were either ahead of him or coming up fast behind him. If it was the latter they were in trouble.

"Lt Feral here, just getting a bead on them Uncle. Where are you?" Felina asked anxiously in her chopper closing in on the hurtling car.

"We are just passing Tanner St." Feral replied.

"Oh God! Uncle get off the road, the Metallikats are nearly on top of you!" She said urgently then fired a laser at the fast moving vehicle below her hoping to distract them.

Feral looked quickly around for a way to get off and finally opted for a quick turn into a parking garage racing through the gate bar breaking it in half. He quickly pulled over to the side and hopped out with his laser pistol and radio in paw. Leaving Bagera to guard his kittens, he raced to the parking kiosk whose barrier he'd broken.

"Get out of here, trouble is on its way! Hurry." He shouted at the angry gate Kat whose face turned to fear from the urgent tone and who it was giving the orders. He quickly left the kiosk and ran back into the garage. Feral didn't have long to wait as the Metallikat Express came barreling down the street with a pack of Enforcer choppers harrying it. Oddly enough, Mac and Molly didn't return fire and instead, to Feral's horror, they veered off and headed right for the parking garage.

Feral leaped away just as the reinforced car hit the kiosk hard, shattering into pieces spraying the debris everywhere. Mack apparently lost control and the car slammed into the cement pillar straight ahead of him. Snarling with anger the male robot slammed out the bent door on his side just as Molly did the same. Molly was holding some kind of strange weapon, Feral had to assume was the prototype.

Before he could take any action, his enforcers had arrived in mass and were rushing through the damaged entryway. Furious and arguing with each other the Metallikats fled, their path taking them to where Feral's car was parked. Feral was in a panic as he raced after the metal pair trying desperately to make them veer away from his kittens.

Bagera had been watching alertly and when he saw the metal pair begin to head their way he quickly had Matty unstrap each kitten and push them to the floor. He kept hoping they would turn off and go up the ramp not far away but the pair seem determined to head for the stairs that were not far from their stopped car. Hissing tensely, Bagera looked around quickly. There was only one option and very little time to act. Opening his door that was away from the advancing pair, he quickly got out then opened the kitten's door.

Warning them to stay close, hold paws, and move quickly with him, Bagera stayed crouched to the ground and pulled the kittens with him heading for an cement alcove not more than a few paces away. He hoped to hide there and avoid the attention of the Metallikats.

The kittens were frightened but did as they were told staying tightly close to each other and Bagera and not making a sound. Matty crouched after them, her eyes wide with terror but keeping quiet and moving.

They reached the alcove and hid behind it. Feral had seen Bagera move the kittens and felt a little relief when the Metallikats passed his car with only a casual glance inside before heading up the stairs at a run. He sent his enforcers to follow while he went to his family.

The kittens cried for him. "Shushu my little ones. I know you are very scared and you are being very brave. I need you to follow Bagera and Matty out of the building to safety. Can you do that for me?" Feral murmured comfortingly to his kits who were clinging to him.

"Mamma don't go!" Little Kiara wailed softly.

"I have to sweetheart. Mamma will be back I promise. Now you've got to go. Make Daddy and Mommy proud of you. Love you!" Feral said quickly then glanced at Bagera. The panther nodded his understanding of the silent message then Feral raced away and up the stairs after his troops.

Bagera quickly gathered the kittens, "It's okay to be scared but I need you to be brave a little longer. Okay?" He asked gently.

The kittens trembled but nodded with tear streaked faces turned up to stare at the panther. His heart clenched. He had to get them to safety, Feral was depending on him. "Okay let's go!"