Chapter 1: Pleading for Cooperation

Feral grumbled to himself. The first hour of the conference had not been a stellar success. It was he that had requested a special conference with the military leaders of the world be held on the subject of alien invasions. It had been prompted by the two close calls Megakat City had endured.

The Chief Enforcer for Megakat City felt strongly that the world should be involved when the next alien crisis occurred instead of his city bearing the brunt of the attack. It was just chance and good luck that they had been victorious. He just didn't feel safe about leaving it at that.

So here he was, after a lengthy battle with Mayor Manx on the need for it, trying to convince his peers that a coalition was necessary. So far he had been encountering a stubborn wall of indifference. If it didn't concern them they weren't interested.

"I think you are over exaggerating the danger, Commander!" Admiral Tyku of the Sandeval Bay Confederation said flatly.

"The Ci-Kat-A had come the closest to taking over our city. It had been a complete accident that our Deputy Mayor stumbled on their hidden nursery." Feral said tightly.

"Oh yeah! That...how many times?...cursed tower of your Mayor's? You should just bring that place down and be done with it." Colonel Spikner of the Tamloren Empire said snidely.

Feral grit his teeth and tried to retain his composure as he continued to argue his point of view.

A beautiful tenor voice spoke up, "I for one agree with Commander Feral. Only timely intervention, their specialized weaponry and a bit of luck, saved the rest of us from a war we may very well have lost. Whose to say we won't encounter more aliens. The odds went up when more than one came our way. Are you all so willing to risk the chance that the next invader might decide they liked one of us better? How many of you can say you have adequate weaponry to vanquish them? There are always bigger and more powerful things out there and it makes sense for us to work together and be prepared for it."

Feral couldn't look away from the handsome cheetah male in the richly made uniform he wore. He didn't know who this was but was pleased he understood the problem so well. He would make a point of meeting him later.

I agree! Turning a blind eye to this now could mean the death of us later!" A voice shouted passionately. The voice belonged to a tiger female from the Tymurr Federation.

Soon after her outburst, the room degenerated into a shouting match between the 'Alien Protection Coalition' faction and the 'let's not get involved' group. Feral tried to recapture their attention but finally gave up in defeat. It seemed a better option to let them hash it out first before trying to get anywhere right now.

Feral hoped by tomorrow, cooler heads would prevail and perhaps a consensus of agreement could occur. Sighing in frustration, he got off the stage and detoured around the bickering groups of conference attendees. He headed for the buffet table that had been set up a short time ago in the room beyond the one the meeting was being held in.

He wasn't really hungry so went to the wine server. He got a soothing brandy and moved to a quiet spot near a wall of windows that looked out over Megakat Bay. He slowly sipped his drink and tried to unwind.

"May I join you?" That same wonderful tenor voice he'd heard moments before said from just behind him.

Feral turned and stared a moment at the handsome cheetah. Now close up, Feral could see his beautiful emerald eyes. His uniform was red and gold, fitting him snugly revealing a powerful and lean physique. His hair was a short fall of spun gold that came to his shoulders.

"Certainly. Forgive me for staring but I don't recall where you are from." Feral said politely.

"Not a problem. This is my first time visiting your city. I am Lt. General Tanlir from the Kingdom of Asszeria. I am very pleased to meet you." He said warmly extending his paw.

"A pleasure to meet you." Feral said warmly as he shook the paw. A momentary jolt of something he couldn't name zipped through him. Outwardly, he kept his face relaxed but inwardly he was shaken by the sudden heat he felt at that touch.

Tanlir felt something as well though he also didn't let his true feelings show. 'Goddess, what was that?' He thought in giddy surprise. Swallowing he tried to ignore the strange sensation and returned to the subject at hand.

"I found your plea for a Coalition to be very moving and a correct assessment of our world's risk from outer space." He said easily.

"Thank you. I wish the others could see it as well. Though we in Megakat City have been the focus of many a weird event that doesn't mean another visitor couldn't just drop in on any one of the other countries on the planet." Feral said passionately.

"Oh, I believe you and I sympathize with your struggle to get others to see it as well." Tanlir agreed.

"And I believe you as well," The tiger female said as she came to stand beside them. "Greetings Commander Feral, I'm General Shenar from the Tymurr Federation." She said reaching out to shake Feral's paw. She was a beautiful silver and black striped tiger wearing a dark blue uniform that fit her well toned form well. Her brilliant sapphire eyes sparkled with excitement. Her hair was a deep blue black and hung down past her shoulders but was tied in a pony tail with a silver cord.

"Thank you, General Shenar. I appreciated your support out there." Feral said with a smile.

"You're welcome. I salute you for trying to insure all our safety. This insular behavior will be the death of us all." She said firmly.

"May I suggest we take a table and continue our discussion there?" Tanlir asked.

"Great idea. I'm hungry and this looks like a great spread. Seems a shame to ignore it." Shenar said with a grin as she made her way to the buffet table.

Tanlir and Feral joined her. Feral filled a plate with a small selection of protein, still too stressed to eat much, and made for the table Shenar had picked out. The table had a great view of the bay.

For next few hours, others joined them at their table and the discussions were passionate and lively. Feral was pleased to note the number of supporters he had managed to gather. By the time he left for his room, later that evening, he felt more confident.

He said his farewells to his dinner companions and made his way to the bank of elevators. He was tired but his mind kept going over what he could do to win over the rest of the hold outs tomorrow. Intruding on these thoughts was his undeniable reaction to the handsome cheetah, Tanlir.

Though it wasn't unusual for conference goers to dally with others to relieve stress or enjoy a casual fling, he hadn't intended to do so this time. The conference was being held in Megakat City and he could simply go home but decided he needed to stay on hand in case any of the attendees wanted to talk with him so he had taken a room.

So as he waited for the elevator, he couldn't understand why he felt such a strong attraction for Tanlir. He really needed to stay focused on his mission here but he couldn't shake his minds insistence on fixating on the male and his wonderful scent that teased his senses.

It wasn't as if he didn't occasionally have a fling with a fem or tom. He was sexually active but lately he came away from each encounter unfulfilled and unhappy. He realized that he felt unsatisfied because not all his sexual parts got involved. It never mattered before but lately it began to grate on him, leaving him feeling frustrated but being an hermaphrodite left him with few options in solving it.

Males didn't mind him dominating them but there were none he would allow to do the same to him much less take him as female and females enjoyed his company but he was the one unfulfilled when they were done. Megakat City was a bit prejudiced about his odd sexuality but outside the city he knew very well how valuable he was and he had no intention of ending up on the slave block being sold to some ridiculously wealthy tom who wanted him for his rareness rather than for himself.

So though he found the cheetah very attractive, he firmly decided to keep his distance despite what he felt just being near him. He stepped into the elevator and punched the button for his floor.

Tanlir had noticed the occasional looks Feral sent his way even when the imposing Kat obviously didn't realize he was doing it. The cheetah couldn't shake what he'd felt when he had taken the Kat's paw. He liked males well enough and would indulge in a moments pleasure with one especially on trips like this. However, he hadn't intended to do that at this very important conference and certainly not with the one sponsoring it. Also, he was in a competition with his five brothers to mate and breed the next heir to the throne and that meant a female.

But he couldn't shake the feeling he got when he looked into those golden eyes. It so distracted him that when Feral had gotten up to get more wine, Tanlir committed a mild sin...he took a deep sniff to taste the Kat's scent. It was considered bad manners to check out another's scent in a public setting and without the permission of the person themselves but he really needed to know why he was reacting the way he was.

He jerked in shocked surprise when an amazing scent filled his nose. He quickly moved back from the table a moment to compose himself while his mind worked furiously. 'An hermaphrodite! How rare!' He thought in shocked amazement. He had only encountered one in his life but that one had been mated. This one was not. It sent a thrill of excitement thrumming through him.

After he'd said goodnight to Feral, he had planned on returning to his room and compiling his notes on the conference so that he could report his opinions to his father but as his guards took up their posts at his side when he left the meeting room, he realized he just couldn't let this chance go by.

He sent one of his guards to the front desk to ask what room the commander was staying in. When he returned with the information, they made for the elevator. General Shenar got on with them.

"Would you be interested in sharing a little play time?" She asked, swishing her tail and fluttering her eyes at him in invitation.

"I'm honored but I have a prior commitment. If it doesn't work out, may I call on you later?" He asked smiling warmly back.

"If I haven't found anyone else, certainly. Have a good evening." She said with a smirk then got off a floor before his.

He sighed inwardly. She was quite a fetching thing and if he wasn't already twisted up about Feral he might have taken her up on her invitation to play. If things didn't work out with the tom he might see if she was still willing later.

The doors of the elevator snapped open and they walked down to the correct door. He signaled his guards to remain outside as he knocked.

Feral opened the door. He stared at Tanlir in surprise, he'd removed his coat and undone his tie revealing his well built chest pushing against his shirt. "Was there something you wanted?" His deep baritone voice asked.

"Your pardon Ulysses, may I come in and speak with you in private?" Tanlir asked politely.

Feral eyed the two panther-cross guards on either side of his door, questioningly.

"They are mine and will wait out here." The cheetah explained.

Privately wondering why Tanlir needed guards, Feral stepped back and gestured for the cheetah to enter. The room wasn't as ostentatious as his own but it was large and comfortable, especially the kingsize bed.

"What can I do for you?" Feral asked courteously, crossing his arms over his chest.

"I wish to satisfy my curiosity about something that has been plaguing me since we shook paws earlier. I know you felt the same thing but like myself, intended to ignore it because of the importance of this conference. However, I am guilty of a small indiscretion." Tanlir admitted softly, moving slowly closer to the tom.

Feral eyed him in confusion. The cheetah was closing in on him and he didn't know whether to move away or stand firm. The handsome Kat's bewitching emerald eyes sent tendrils of heat through him.

"Umm, what indiscretion would that be?" He asked, his voice going low and husky as he reacted to the approaching Kat's unspoken desire.

Tanlir shivered at the sultry tone. "I couldn't resist checking your scent out." He murmured stepping even closer.

Feral's eyes widened and he felt his heart stutter in fear. 'No he couldn't be one of those?' He thought in a panic.

Sensing what was going through the tom's mind as he scented a spike of fear, Tanlir quickly set him at ease.

"Easy, I've no desire for a slave only...to assuage my curiosity. I would never dream of forcing you." He breathed hotly now close enough to caress Feral's arm nearest to him.

The dark tom sucked in a breath as that light touch sent a shiver of fire straight to his groin.

"I'm not so certain this is such a good idea. I...I hadn't intended playing since others might seek me out." He said, annoyed his voice sounded breathless and shaky.

"Oh, I think everyone has the same idea right about now. It is late after all," Tanlir whispered, his eyes dark with lust as he leaned closer and surprised the tom by capturing his mouth in a searing kiss.