Stories by: Mirri

The Tall Tails of Catwood

Chapter Ate


”Tika! Get out of the shower!!” rises the voice of his twin sister, followed by a hard pounding on the massive door to the bathroom. Tika’s eyes snap open as he is instantly and rudely awakened. He finds himself sitting on the floor with a sleeping tiger in his lap.

Mirri probably only just woke up and have been banging at the door for a few seconds. Enough to be yelled at still.

”Just a dang minute!” Tika replies, as he runs out of the shower, grabs a nearby towel and does his best to dry off Senajit in an awful hurry. The tiger simply *mwrrs* sleepily at the somewhat panicky leopard running around and rubbing at him with a white piece of fabric.

Tika on the other paw only needs to put on his loin cloth. An easy task. A few impatient seconds pass before the door slowly opens, revealing Mirri’s form.

”Are you done yet?” she asks in an annoyed tone.

”Patience striped one. I thought from all those magic classes, you’d be taught that. Y’know, shield your mind from annoying things.” Tika grumbles.

Mirri rolls her eyes, ”Tika, no measure of mind shielding could possibly block out your idiocy.”

The leopard uses a towel to calmly dry off Senajit, who is also standing in the doorway and looking around with lidded eyes, ”Sen needed a bath.”

”Oh really? And why is that?” she asks with an amused smirk.

Tika replies, non-worried, non-stressed, ”You shoulda smelt him before. He needed one.” After a few more scrubs to the back, Senajit thinks he has had enough petting for now and leaves with a rough nuzzle to Tika’s leg. The tiger walks out with a proud look, certainly not as depressed as the other day.

”What got into him?” Mirri says aloud. Her brother merely shrugs, ”Dunno.”

She turns to him again, ”So, he needed a bath, hmm? What about you? Why are you all wet?”

”My dear sister, I’d think you’d have gained some common knowledge through all those courses, but since that does not appear to be the case, let me enlighten you. Isn’t it obvious that a tiger can’t bath on it’s own?” he replies back. A sly remark too. The twin feels rather proud of himself for that answer, and feels its effect, as Mirri is silent for a few long moments, most likely feeling a bit stupid.

”And what does it matter too? Shouldn’t you be dreaming about Kes?” he chides, giving her no time to retaliate. His tone seems to give a musical emphasis on Kesonam’s name.

”Who says I wasn’t?” the tigress replies back. The left brow on her face raised slightly above the other, in a questionative form. But quickly, a smile ensues her muzzle and she giggles.

”Grow up.”

The two finally move downstairs to greet the rest of the family and get ready for school. A moments worth of breakfast, and then they hurry out the door. The twins take their normal route to school, the city not even visible in the background yet. Almost at the same time that Tika is about to complain about how far they have to school each day, a JX-200 hovercraft pulls up along side them. Here they are, way out in no-where land and a state-of-the-art hovercraft pulls up and parks a foot off the ground. Needless to say, four ears are perking with curiosity as the door glides open with an audible *swoosh*

”Hey guys, thought you might want a ride to school”, comes the voice of Kesonam from inside.

”This is your car? Cooool!” Tika chimes with amazement and checks out the set of coils. He steps back to take another gander at the vehicle, looking like a cub with his nose pressed against the window in the candy store.

”Why’d you come all the way out here?” Mirri asks in a dreamy voice. Of course, she knows the answer, but she would like to hear it with her own ears, rather than listen to her thoughts. She fidgets with her book bag and the edge of her skirt.

”Just thought my friends could use a lift to, uh, school for once”, Kesonam replies, suddenly feeling a bit nervous as he does his best to send Mirri a charming smile. Tika seems to be the only one not fooled by it.

Tika’s expression is not too displeased, but rather bored as he watches the two get lost in each other’s eyes for who knows what time again. He concentrates on his inspection of the hovercraft and not do or say anything foolish so he will miss the opportunity of riding in this thing, ”Yeah, thanks Kes. Very thoughtful of ya.”

That seems to tear the two apart, ”Uhh.. yeah, sure, no problem, just hop on in and we’ll get going. And don’t worry about walking home either.” The lion adds as the door on the opposite side glides away. Mirri gracefully steps in, having no trouble at all. She takes a seat next to Kesonam, giggling with all sorts of shy comments to herself, but the spacious interior of the hovercraft tends to carry voices, and Mirri’s words are doubled in volume. Her ears turn red, followed by her cheeks.

All the time while Kesonam is just grinning away like a Hyena, ”Um, thanks, Mirri…” he says embarrassed.

By this time Tika has entered the craft, ”I take it I missed something funny?”

Kesonam smiles and winks at the tigress, ”Naw, nothing you’d be interested in hearing.”

”Probably not.” Tika slips in under his sister, putting her on his lap since the silvery hovercraft only has two seats. But what seats. Tika slowly sinks down into the extremely large seat and stops as soon as he has reached what a team of scientists and developers have agreed to must be the perfect position for just him. The fact that he has his Mirri in his lap should not matter too much; it is the form of the body and individual weight that is used for the computer’s calculations, regardless of possible additional load. Tika is a bit surprised at finding that the windshield goes all the way from one door, over the front and to the other door, just one big half circle. Especially since you cannot see it from the outside, everything just looks like metallic silver.

The dashboard is sleek and silvery like the rest of the craft, almost looking a bit fluent at the right angle. Mirri is most occupied with smiling and blinking cutely at Kesonam, while Tika is looking around at everything, much more interested in the hovercraft than the other two.

Kesonam presses a silver button on the panel at his door and the other door glides shut again, giving off a slight beeping noise as to indicate that it is now hermetically sealed like the rest of the craft. The vehicle lifts off the ground an additional several inches and hums softly to itself. The leopard’s curious eyes move to the roughly two feet wide main control panel in front of the driver and hidden under the design of the dashboard.

The same image is projected onto the windshield in transparent colors that change against the background at different viewing angles since some colors might be hard to see against other colors. The computer appears to display just about every value of anything science can possibly measure in and around the vehicle. Even the fuel gauge is too complicated for Tika to figure out, but there are a few things that he can guess what might be for.

Tika recognizes an altimeter, a compass, a speedometer, a clock showing both local planet time and Galaxy Standard Time, a 3D map with the route to the school seemingly already plotted and various counters for traveled distance, remaining fuel, acceleration, air pressure, relative air resistance, light intensity, outside and inside temperature and humidity, hull condition, atmospheric composition, magnetic fields, efficiency and temperature of the reactor core, gravitational pull, angles to the sky and horizon, total weight of the craft, acceleration strain of the hull, outside radiation, wind velocity, wind direction, length, width and height of the craft, which seem to be changing constantly etc. etc.

Plus a lot of smaller screens in the main one, tirelessly plotting every information they can get their sensors on and logging it all to the shipboard computer. There is also a radar that shows all organic forms close to the craft with larger mass than a bird, but only relevant objects such as other vehicles more than a mile away.

Kesonam touches the top of the screen to bring down the main menu and before Tika can blink, he has already gone through several other menus and deselected most of the counters, resulting in larger divisions of the panel and bigger instruments. The windshield display changes to a smaller one that is only in front of the driver and all shown in a neon green color.

”I hate that default screen”, Kesonam mumbles and prepares to lift off. His paws grab around the steering joystick by the side of his chair on the right and the accelerator handle on the other side, and he turns his head to the other two with a smile, ”Hang on.”

Tika grabs around Mirri’s waist to hold her in place, but neither of them feel anything but a slight dizziness at looking out the windshield as the craft suddenly whisks away frictionless through the jungle, silently. The characteristic low hum of the engine is barely audible inside since Kesonam turned down the volume of outside noises in the cockpit. Mirri and Tika look and feel around curiously, but cannot find any other evidence of the craft moving at all beside the view of the jungle blurring past the 180 degree window.

Mirri is the first to question her mate about this remarkable piece of modern technology, ”So.. umm.. how high can you fly with this thing?”

Kesonam smirks and applies a bit more pressure on the front of the joystick while accelerating a bit, suddenly tilting the scenery about 80 degrees up towards the tree tops. Mirri gasps in surprise and grabs onto the handle by the door, but she cannot feel any difference from just a moment before, as if she was merely watching TV through the windshield. Only a slight brushing noise is heard against the hull as the craft forces its way up through the leaves and finally emerges over the wild growth above the jungle. Mirri sees a very familiar scenery as they all fly along the top of the jungle, just above the highest branches. She loves climbing all the way up in the trees and watch the breathtaking sunset as it clears the jungle. The tigress reminds herself to take Kesonam climbing next time.

”Wooow..” Tika is not talking about the view, however, ”Can you fly even higher than this?”

Kesonam nods, ”Yeah. You’re not really allowed to, but this wonder can fly just as high up the commercial transports. Pretty good for a hovercraft.”

Tika is fascinated at that main control panel, ”What’s all that blinking stuff for?”

The lion grins, ”Well, the computer measures everything around us and shows it to me here. I think this whole craft is just one big sensor, coz there’s not a thing in the world this control panel doesn’t want to tell me about. I switch most of it off, no need to make it so confusing.” He points to the screen with his left paw, ”See? For instance that thing shows us what the fuel is made of with every little components in percentages. Completely useless when you’re driving.” He presses it once and then selects ‘hide’ on the appearing menu, making it vanish and all the other graphical instruments rearrange neatly again, both on the screen and the windshield.

”Oh, it even has voice control”, Kesonam presses one of the buttons below the control panel with his left paw and raises his head, ”Computer, thrust 24.6%.”

The computer affirms with a pleasant beep and the jungle below them starts gliding a bit faster until the speed is matched. The two twins just stare in amazement.

”Pretty neat, unless you want to talk to somefur in the craft too, then it can get slightly annoying having to say every speed and such in the middle of a conversation. But when you’re alone in the craft, it’s actually possible to avoid having to say ‘computer’ at the start of every command and then steer by verbal commands alone. But unless you have that switched on, you don’t wanna let go of the joysticks.”

The puzzled look from the two furs in the other seat demands a demonstration. Kesonam lets go of both the joystick and the velocity handle, and the craft breaks so rapidly that they all feel the pull forwards.

Tika grins, ”Cool. No driver, no speed.”

The lion chuckles, ”Something like that, yes. It’s a safety precaution of course, but the craft still decelerates so slowly that you don’t get ripped out of your seat. The seats constantly sort of suck you into them and hold you back in case of a crash or something. If you really wanna drive reckless you should wear the seatbelt, but at normal speeds under 500 mph, the seat can hold you back in case of an accident.”

Mirri frowns and recalls her physics classes, ”Not if you smack against a wall, right?”

Kesonam shakes his head, ”Of course not, but collision radars are standard on all hovercraft. Some are more advanced, but I’m sure none of them will allow anyone to drive into a wall.”

Tika ponders, ”Collision radar... That means the computer steers you away from anything dangerous, right?”

Mirri turns to glare down at her brother.

”Hey, bear with me, I don’t have all those fancy classes in school.” He pokes her side.

Kesonam grabs the controls and slowly speeds up again, deciding to take over before the sibling rivalries flare up, ”That’s right Tika, without that we probably would’ve hit a few branches on our way through the trees a minute ago.”

Tika gets that gleam in his eyes, ”So how fast can this thing go?”

Kesonam grins, ”Fast enough. It can go from 0 to 1000 in 3.2 seconds, but then you can also really feel the pull of the engine. Normally the hull absorbs most of the G-force, which is why you can only feel which way is down if you close your eyes and concentrate. The 2 G gravity we have on the surface are only felt if we hover. My dad and I took it for a test drive not too long ago to see how much power we could squeeze out of it. We started in the middle of the Prata’wi desert and measured 3.24 seconds for the feat. I think my dad pushed it up to a max speed of about 2040. I’m telling you, this thing turns thin as a line at that speed.”

Tika furrows his brow, ”Huh?”

”Oh, well you see, the craft doesn’t look the same at different speeds. If you go fast, it sort of flattens out and stretches in some places. Something about reducing wind resistance I guess, luckily the computer takes care of everything. At slow speeds it looks roughly the same. There probably isn’t a lot of fuel to save by changing the shape when winds from the side still have an influence on your driving.”

Mirri smiles, ”So what else can this thing do?” Acting as if her question was not one that could take days to answer in completion.

Kesonam takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, ”Well.. I’ve tried fiddling with the computer settings. There’s all sorts of things like roll, horizon calibration and stuff that you can set yourself if you know what you’re doing, but most of it is something that you’ll let the computer handle automatically. It makes sure to level out the craft so it’s horizontal when you’re not changing your altitude, it takes care of fuel intake to make it most economic, it monitors outside activity, it changes the shape of the craft etc. I even found an option where you could set the maximum amount of G-force you want to feel in here, so even if you fly at top speed towards the ground or make a really hard u-turn, the computer will not allow the craft to accelerate above the G you set. It will simply slow down or flatten out the turn.” He grins toothily, ”It’s really cool if you’re going for a thrill ride. You just set it to max 8 G or however much you wanna feel, then you turn down the amount of G the hull automatically absorbs and you start making loops and acrobatic turns and stuff. Endless fun. I think it’s possible to change every little detail of the whole craft to suit your own needs, but as long as neither my dad nor I are race drivers or anything, I think we’ll put our faith in the factory settings. Except for all the silly instruments. Normally I have my own settings for what I think is relevant to look at, but I think my dad accidentally switched off the custom selections and we can’t figure out how to turn them back on.”

Mirri blinks, ”It doesn’t say in the manual?”

The lion turns to her, looking a bit surprised, ”Of course it does, but who reads a manual??”

Tika grins, ”Yeah, if we can’t figure it out ourselves, we’d rather be without it, right Kes?”

Mirri rolls her eyes, ”Males...”

She takes a peek at the time. With this thing it will not take long to get to the school even from way out here, so they still have time to fool around since Tika and her left so early, ”Okay. So what’s this thing?” She points at one of the graphic screens in the corner of the main panel, which resembles the hovercraft drawn in an outline of yellow.

Kesonam looks and frowns a bit, ”That’s just the shield, dunno why I bother to look at that either. See, it says the shield is running at maximum efficiency, it has no malfunctions and everything in general is peachy. The yellow line around the craft shows if it’s damaged or breached anywhere. I think it’s set to switch on automatically if there are more than a few other craft visible on the radar, or if there is a potential hazard nearby. Maybe it can see the big trees just below us.”

Mirri tilts her head at the screen, ”There’s like a force field around us?”

Kesonam nodnods, ”Exactly. It’s beginning to be standard equipment on hovercrafts too. Previously only spaceships and big cruisers had shield generators; they could already make ones small enough to put on a civilian vehicle, but didn’t because it was too expensive. Now they found a way to make them cheaper and just as powerful and they say it makes transport much safer. I believe them. The shield can actually protect the craft if you smack against a wall, or if you ram into another craft. Accidents before usually ended in crushed furs or explosions, but I’ve seen two hovercraft hit each other head on and neither of them get a scratch in the hull. Powerful stuff. Plus with the superconductors, the shields only draw energy from the reactor when they are turned on or hit with something, so they automatically solve the problem of getting a good burglar alarm. You need to drain the whole core to lower the shield and then recharge it again to get enough power to start the vehicle if you wanna steal it. So now they are working on a fool-proof way to shut down the core completely if the shield has been drained abnormally.”

Mirri nods interested and Tika smiles unsympathetically, ”Cool. But we better get going if we wanna make it to the first lesson.”

Kesonam grins, ”We’ll make it, don’t worry.” He pushes the thrust handle on the left and the G-force measure on the instruments increase until the velocity instrument reads 473 mph. The jungle below flies backwards it seems, until Kesonam forces the craft down through the leaves and branches once more, much to the dismay of the already nervous squirrels.

Mirri and Tika grit their teeth as the huge tree trunks fly past them, the collision radar is alert and working overtime to avoid hitting any of the wide obstacles and blowing into a million pieces as the craft races through the jungle. Suddenly it clears the edge of the jungle and soars out over the top of the hill, gleaming in the sun at the city below. From way up here they can find the school pretty easily. Since they approach from the uncivilized side of the urban area, they do not have to keep to the designated roads and can keep flying above the rooftops without worrying about traffic until they reach downtown.

Kesonam is cheeky enough to just fly over the school parking lot and set the craft down in his usual spot instead of following the roads that everyone else does. The doors *swoosh* open again in both sides and the four wheels come down to park the hovercraft at ground level. Mirri jumps out first, then Tika a bit more reluctant and finally Kesonam exits on the other side, closing the doors and activating the locks and alarm with the key ring.

Tika moves over behind the hovercraft and stares checks out the back with the trunk and everything. His sister moves up to Kesonam and looks at him critically for some time before asking him what is on her mind, ”Okay Kes. This *really* isn’t yours is it?”

The lion blinks and is about to keep to his story, but he cannot lie to his mate. His ears droop a bit, ”No.. It’s my dad’s.”

Mirri grins and gives him a quick kiss on the cheek, ”Thought so. It’s cool, tho.”

Furs start rushing inside already and the trio makes set off too for another day in school. Mirri takes the east wing, with Kesonam mindlessly tagging along.

”Yo, Kes! We’re going this way?” Tika shouts to alarm Kesonam to his senses.

”Oh, ehm. Yeah. Right. Sure. See ya later Mirri!” he calls out and waves vigorously. He quickly joins the side of his friend and proceeds to ramble about how beautiful she looks today. By now, Tika has developed a keen sense of blocking out anything involving his sister for a while.

Once Kesonam and Tika step through the gym doors, little attention is brought to them. Kesonam does not seem to mind it one bit, at least not from what Tika can tell by his bright grin. Which troubles him a bit. He is used to a little more attention, even if it usually is negative. The class appears normal in attendance, activities and noise. But something itches in the leopard’s mind. He cannot do much about it now other than ride it out.

Their cougar instructor blows his whistle and orders a circle up, all students taking their place and forming a semi-perfect circle. Tika is anxious to hear what the instructor has planned today, bobbing his knees up and down in anticipation, ”I hope we learn more staff fighting.”

”So do I, and then practice on your sister.” The lion whispers just so Tika can hear. His voice must remain low, otherwise it calls for push-ups, or some other non-sense exercise.

Not the best thing to say around Tika, and Kesonam soon finds out with a painful jab to the ribcage.

”Tika. 5 minutes dodge practice, move it.” Comes the crisp and sharp voice from the instructor. By now, everyone is looking where the instructor’s finger points. Tika.

The leopard has no choice but to follow orders. All the students are murmuring amongst themselves, knowing that dodge practice always bites the big one.

”Awww, jeez…” the youth mutters under his breath. Tika can only dread when *this* much attention is brought to him. The downfall of his day approaches, and it started out so well. Slowly, unwillingly, he gets in position to face the onslaught. All the students have now broken their circle and taken interest in how well Tika will do.

Just as the particularly embarrassed-looking Kesonam feared, the teacher is pointing at him right at this moment, ”You, up here.”

The lion droops his ears and walks up beside the cougar, who places a pail filled with tennis balls on a table as he looks to the leopard against the nearby wall, ”Ready?”

Tika hesitantly nods, and then gets in a defensive position. A small murmur through the crowd occurs, then silence as the instructor slaps Kesonam hard on his back and steps aside to let him do his thing, ”Go!”

Naturally, Tika could have dodged the first ball even if he had been tied up on the floor and had to crawl away from it. Which does not help on the instructor’s mood at all, ”C’mon! Faster! Harder!”

Kesonam throws another ball, and another ball, and another, each one faster than the other and more accurate due to the tireless yelling their teacher is doing behind him. Eventually Tika actually has to put some effort into moving away from the tennis balls as they come flying in his direction in rapid succession. He knows the drill by now. A ball comes, he dodges to his left. The next ball bouncing along the ground causes him to lift up his right leg and hold it in place with a paw. Balancing on one foot, another ball bounces along towards his standing leg. He has no choice but to hop over it with his other foot caught in his paw. The agile leopard takes a leap over the ball, and lands on his feet again. He releases his left foot just in time to swing it out of another blurred streak. Kesonam might be just a little too eager with this now, the tennis balls are traveling much faster.

”Very good Tika, but this isn’t a ballet” the teacher comments.

Tika knows he is in for it. He tries to put off the showmanship for now and just concentrate on not being hit, his feline eyes locked on each ball as it follows through to its designated target. Each command being sent to his body is rather blunt, ”Swerve left. Duck. Throw out your arm. Cross over to your other arm. Handstand. Land on feet. Pivot body. Jump.” But unfortunately not all of these commands work as well as he could have hoped for. Often, follies such as doing a handstand let a few balls strike him on the chest and legs, making him lose his balance and quickly revert to a more upright position.

In the end, Tika is left on his back, tennis balls scattered all over the area. His chest rises up and down with his loud panting. Not only is he sore in various circular places, he is also rather bruised up. Something just blew away his concentration today.

”Don’t pay attention, pay the price”, Mr. Btaar’o remarks to his class, looking rather proud at his pun.

”No wonder. Must have taken him years to think that one up”, Tika figures. The leopard and his body got the message, however, but could have done with just a verbal remark. This is not a good way to start the first lesson. He rises to his feet and stumbles over to his place next by Kesonam, who has sat down already. Tika shoots a sharp glare to his friend. Not one that should pierce a hole in their friendship, but definitely a clear message that Kesonam should just shut up and make himself invisible for the rest of the day.

Luckily for the lion this is one of the days when they only have a few classes together. After three hours of jumping around and no staff training whatsoever, Kesonam leaves for science class in another wing and Tika and the rest start their soccer practice.

It is just one of those days for Tika as his team is beaten repeatedly. He is plain mad for the rest of the day and goes home the moment his classes are done, not waiting for any of his friends.

After making his way home through the jungle, he is almost trampled down by his mom as she rushes towards the elevator just as he is exiting, ”Whoa!”

”Sorry Tika, listen, I have to go to the city and we’re still having problems with the satellite receiver.”

Tika frowns, ”I didn’t know we’ve had any problems.”

”Well, it’s been acting funny. So I’ve called the electronics store and they said they’d send someone out here to have a look at it. You’re not going anywhere, are you?”

The leopard shrugs, ”No.”

”Good, stay here and.. help with whatever you can. Gotta run.” Mika sort of shoves him to the side and is halfway down the tree already.


Tika goes upstairs to do nothing for a while until he hears the somewhat unfamiliar beep of the doorbell. Not a lot of furs come all the way out here. He drags himself down the stairs and hears the beep repeatedly again, ”Alright, alright, already.. chill, will ya?”

He presses the button to move the elevator all the way up and open the door. The sight that greets him is the most beautiful female wolf he has ever seen. She must only be a year or so older than him, maybe even the same age and she stands there smiling and making Tika weak in the knees. That very intelligent part of the brain, which is activated around gorgeous girls kicks into action with Tika too, ”Uhhhhh...”

The wolf grins and tilts her head slightly while leaning into the room, ”I was supposed to fix a sat receiver for your TV here?”

Only now does Tika see the toolbox beside her on the floor with the same logo on the side as the little black box they have beside the TV, ”Uhh.. yeah.. this way.” He walks into the living room, followed by the slender lupus beauty behind him and tries desperately to remember what a TV looks like. Fortunately, she spots it herself and moves over to the far wall of the room, Tika just following behind and staring at her. Her fur is a pleasant light gray all the way through except under her chin, around her paws and her feet about halfway to the knees where she is pure white. She is wearing a dark green skirt and a dark t-shirt with the company logo. But strangely enough no shoes of any kind as most furs from the city. Either she lives in the jungle or she is just dressed for the occasion.

The magic is broken as a big, curious tiger shoves in between them both and sniffs rudely at the wolf’s feet.

Tika frowns and pushes at Senajit’s side, ”Sen. Go away!”

The wolf grins and rubs the tiger behind his ears, ”It’s okay. He just wants to see who I am, don’t you big guy?”

Senajit *murums* and rubs against her legs happily.

Tika still does not seem too happy about the intrusion, but at least it has knocked him to his senses a bit, ”So.. um.. what’s your name?”

She stops rubbing and looks back at the leopard, a bit surprised, ”Rawy.”

Tika smiles, ”Rawy. Kewl. I’m Tika. Where do you go to school?”

Rawy grins and shakes her head, ”I don’t go to school. I’m an apprentice in this company, learning how to repair electronics and such.”

No chance of hanging out with her in school then, ”I see.. so, you live out here or something?” He gives an indicating nod towards her outfit.

”Oh no, I just know how humid it gets out here.” Another right hook at Tika’s hopes.

Senajit leans over and licks at Tika’s face.

”Stop it, Sen!” He pushes his tiger friend back, ”What’s the matter with you?”

Rawy merely laughs and then grabs the little black box and disconnects it, ”Well, I better get to work on this thing.”

Tika nods and walks towards the kitchen, ”Okay, I’ll be upstairs in my room, just yell if you need anything. And if Senajit is bothering you I’ll take him with me.”

”Oh no, it’s okay. He can watch, I’m sure he has a lot to learn about electronics.” She winks and scratches the tiger again.

”Alright. Good luck.” With that he retreats upstairs, walks all the way to the second floor and then sneaks back down to hide on the stairs where he can see through the kitchen and into the living room.

Senajit sits neatly and watches as Rawy opens the box, puts a few tools against it to test various things, but she cannot seem to find anything wrong with it. Must be something with the TV then. She gets on her paws and knees and tries to squeeze in behind the TV to check the connections and everything. Senajit *rowls* softly and moves up to rub his head against her side playfully, making her giggle, ”Hey, that tickles.”

Rawy finishes checking behind the TV and thinks she found the optic cable that needs to be replaced. She backs out, grabs a cable from the toolbox and smiles at the tiger, who now sits neatly beside her and watches with interest. He has been wondering for a long time what that little black thing beside the TV does.

About half an hour later, Tika comes down in the living room and sees the wolf still fumbling around with the black box. Senajit paces back and forth in front of her and tries to help.

She looks up as Tika approaches and smiles at him, “Okay. I think I got it now.”

Tika is not very interested in the TV right now, however, “That’s great, so I bet you get to meet a lot of nice furs when you have a job like this, huh?”

Rawy grins, “Some nicer than others, but.. yeah.”

The leopard smiles wryly, “I see.. so which category would I fall into? The nice, the really nice or the exceptionally nice?”

She giggles and puts the top on the black box, much to Senajit’s dismay. He had only just begun to sniff through the electronics in it. “I’d say you probably belonged to the really nice category.” She blinks her golden eyes softly at him and smiles a smile that could stun a herd of charging Voracious Jawoen Wildlions.

“Hmm.. would what it take to advance to the next?” There is no end to the confidence of this guy.

Rawy puts a paw to her chin in thought, “Well.. I think only my closest friends belong there... and my boyfriend of course...”

She might as well have smacked him in the face with a 20-pound sledgehammer; probably would not have hurt as much.


“Well, I’m all done here, better get going. Your mother said you’d prefer an old-fashioned bill, so I’ll send one in a few days.” She rises to her feet, grabs her toolbox and is already on her way to the elevator. Rawy turns once inside it, smiles and waves at the shocked leopard, “Bye. Nice to meet you two.”

The elevator closes and takes her out of Catwood again. Tika still sits and stares at the closed door, Senajit looking at him with a concerned expression. A paw moves to the tiger’s neck with a sigh, “Think we’ll ever see her again, Sen?”

The tiger looks up at him and *mnruws* a bit sadly.

”Yeah, me neither.”

The tiger jumps back with a slight start as his master sort of loses all the muscles in the torso and slams his head against the floor, “Gaaah... why don’t you just throw me off the balcony..”

Senajit grabs the leopard’s neckscruff and starts dragging him towards the window.

“Hey, hey, hey!” He bats the tiger away with a paw and points at him with an angry stare, “Don’t act like you can understand what I’m saying. Stupid animal.”

Tika retreats upstairs and Senajit cleverly stays downstairs.

At that moment Mirri enters the room and barely notices the two before she floats happily up in her room, giggling and laughing to herself...


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