Chapter 9 - The Chemistry Lab

The three agents left the Oval Office and followed the map to the lower level and then to the sub basement. F3 led the way, listening intently at each door. They approached a door labeled "Chemistry Lab." F3 scratched on the door. Max opened the door quietly and the three walked in. Not brightly lit, the room still revealed that there were test tubes galore with every color of fluid imaginable covering desks and tables everywhere.

"Max, be careful," whispered 99, knowing what could happen if Max got too near breakable objects.

They approached a second doorway to another dimly lit room. Voices could be heard, but not clearly. Two thugs were in the room, dressed in black, and a man in a lab coat leaning over a metal medical table on which another man was tied. "It's the President!" said 99, excitedly. "I think they're trying to find out information, Max!"

"It looks like that, 99. Follow me…we'll jump them!" 99 caught his arm.

"Wait Max, wouldn't it be better to wait and find out more…we should get closer and surprise them."

"99, you're right." Max conceded. She looked surprised.

The three Control agents crouched down and got as close as possible to hear the conversation. The KAOS agents appeared to be discussing torture to get information out of the President.

"Why don't we just use KAOS truth serum, Professor?" asked one of the thugs.

"No, no that would never work!" replied the lab-coated agent.

"Why not?"

"TRUTH serum…on a government official?"

"Oh, I see what you mean."

"I have something better," replied the Professor. "It's a torture too diabolical for words."

"What is it, Prof?"

"It's tickle-serum! The victim will feel like he is being tickled by hundreds of hands, everywhere, and will laugh, cry and scream. He will not be able to breathe from laughter. Finally he will beg us to give him the antidote. He will then be ready to tell us whatever we want!"

"All right, Mr. President, one more chance…where are those missile silos and the controls for them?" said the Professor.

"I'll NEVER talk…I will never betray my country!" said the President.

"What a hideous plan, Max…we have to rescue the President before they administer the serum!" whispered 99.

At that, F3 started creeping forward. She went into a crouch and made a huge leap forward, landing on the Professor's head, scratching at his eyes viciously. Max and 99 jumped into action. 99 gave a punch to one of the thugs on the chin, catching him by surprise and knocking him to the floor. She pulled her gun and told the man to stay on the floor. Max gave a whack to the other thug's stomach and a left punch to his jaw. The thug crashed to the floor and Max pulled his gun.

Max and 99 looked over at the Professor who was still struggling to get F3 off his head. She was holding on with claws out and her tiny knife was held in her mouth at the Professor's throat.

"Get this dog off my face," he moaned.

"Okay, that's enough, F3. You can jump down now. I have him covered." said Max. He motioned the three men into a closet, grabbing a huge ring of keys from the table. He began to try every key, looking for the right one.

99 untied the President. She then pressed a button on her necklace pendant and put her ring up to her mouth. The ring began to ring. "Chief," said 99. "We found the President and have the KAOS agents locked in the basement lab."

"Good work! I'll be right over with reinforcements and we can take the KAOS agents into custody."

"Well, I must say, that was a most IMPRESSIVE display!" said the President who was sitting on the edge of the metal table. "What is your name, young lady?"

"I'm Agent 99 of Control."

He stepped down and came over to shake 99's hand. "Young lady, it's heartening to see people like you in government service. I am very proud of you. And your little Chihuahua dog was very brave. Very smart…."

99 interrupted the President. "Sir, this is F3 - she's a specially trained Siamese CAT. She has shown herself to be a very valuable agent."

Max was still fumbling with the keys. "Who's he?" asked the President.

"That's my husband, Agent 86. He's Control's top agent."

Max dropped the key ring and had to start all over. From inside the closet came the KAOS Professor's voice…."It's the key marked 'CHEMISTRY LAB CLOSET!'"

"Oh," said Max. He quickly locked the door.

Max, 99 and F3 went back upstairs to the room where the costume party fundraiser was still going on. The party-goers were still dancing.

"Okay everyone," announced Max. "You can all go home, the party's over!"

The party goers started to file out. "That was the worst White House party I've ever been to!" remarked a clown.

The old lady dressed as an alien stopped as she passed by the three Control agents. "What happened to your daughter?" she asked Max. "And where did you get that funny-looking dog?"

The miniature Batman spied Max and looked up at him. He started yelling, "Mommy, he's scaring me! He has beady eyes!" The boy splashed another can of cola on Max as he passed by.

Max and 99 were sitting on the couch in their living room. His arm was around her and they were sitting close. He kissed her gently, then said, "Well, we got a Presidential commendation for this case. What could be better than that?"

"Being here with you, Max," said 99 softly as she cuddled closer.

"The only thing I wonder about is…why did the Chief say F3 should stay with us?"

"Max, she really doesn't have any other place to go…she'd be treated as an ordinary cat anywhere else."

"Couldn't she stay with 13? She really likes him!"

"Max, that's no life for her, being stuck in appliances and furniture!"

"How about the Chief?"

"That wouldn't work…his wife is allergic."

"What about Hymie? She could sleep on his shoulder."

"Max, why don't we ask F3 where she wants to live."

F3 jumped on 99's lap and rubbed her face. Then she walked over to Max, stood on his lap with her hind legs, reached up her front paws gently on his shoulders and licked his face. She rubbed her head on his face. She pulled on his right sleeve to make him put his cufflink up near his ear. She softly mewed in his left cufflink, "You're cute."

Max looked surprised and pleased. "I thought she didn't like me. Okay, she can stay."

Max gave 99 a long kiss as F3 curled into his lap, purring happily.