"Letting the cat out"
By : Socks
© 2005 Socks Furrotica
My name is Mauzer, and I am the property of M'Lady Sarah. In a way, just that alone is a nice thing, to be owned by someone who loves you. I thank M'Lady every day for that gift, the gift of love. She gave me this form out of love, barely knowing what she had gotten in the deal. She gave me a home, she gives me so much. I give her my love, and myself. I sometimes think that even if I never did sign the contract I'd be with her. But my role, my place, as her pet, I find it comforting.
I wanted to pay her back, somehow. It was coming up on my year anniversary of signing my contract with her. The slave contract that keeps me here legally. In a way, it felt special to me. It wasn't the Leash talking either, it was from within. And I wanted to do something special for her. The job I was contracted to do had ended, and after the "bear" incident I hadn't felt much like working anyway. M'Lady was always there for me, however. Always.
It was two nights before our anniversary. It was really weighing on my mind a lot, and I did my best to hide it. I guess it didn't work. M'Lady knocked on the door to my room. "Darlin'?"
"Yes M'Lady?" I asked. I was cleaning up the house, saving my room for last. I don't sleep there a lot anymore, but I like to keep it tidy.
"I'm a little worried about you." she said to me, hugging me from behind. "Why haven't you been out lately?"
I shrugged. "I've been here?" She poked me in the side with a nail and I laughed. She knows all my sensitive spots.
"You really need to go see your friends." She said to me. "You know that Terry called you." I rolled my eyes. Terry was an alright guy, in moderation. He's got one of those intense personalities that can really get in the way of a good time. Especially when he's away from a computer.
"I really should finish here." I said. Before I could turn around, M'Lady had removed my collar, and was placing my leather collar onto my neck. I heard the plastic tag rattle on it, and I just smirked. "Are you telling me something, M'Lady?" I asked, trying to look innocent.
"Yes I am." she said to me, trying desperately to look stern and failing. "As your owner, I am ordering you to take the night off."
"But what about your plans? I thought you needed me to…"
"Out!" she said, poking my side again. I flinched, trying not to laugh. Her stern face broke and we both broke up laughing. "I'm letting the cat out for the night!" She herded me to my closet, and picked a pair of pants for me before I could get in there. I stripped to my fur and got dressed. "I'll be ok, 'darlin." she said to me, kissing me on the cheek. "You're the one who needs a night off."
I sat on my bed wearing only the pants and nodded. "I'm not sure if it will help, M'Lady."
She sat down with me, and held my paw in her gentle hand. "You'll be ok. I know about loss." She looked me in the eyes and smiled that smile, the one I've fallen in love with over and over. "And I know I'll always be here for you, my pet. I also know you better than you think. You need to get out, and you need to be free once in a while." She stroked the fur around my ears gently, and I purred. She knows all my sensitive spots. "Besides, I have plans tonight, and my friends will be here in a while." I opened my mouth, but she cut me off. "No, you can't come with. It's a girl night."
I shrugged and nodded. "I understand, M'Lady."
"And when you get home," she said, completing a thought. "You can finish. But the place looks fine." She kissed me, I kissed her, it was a nice feeling. I find comfort with her, always.
But since I was on orders to get out of the house, I knew I had to. I can't disobey M'Lady after all. At least not without the punishment of being forced to massage her shoulders again. But I really didn't want to go anywhere. I got dressed in a pair of black BDU pants, a loose t-shirt I took the sleeves and neck off of, and a baseball cap I bought a while ago. I figured on grey and black fur that the clothing would reflect my mood and not really give me away. That and I like this cap, it came with ear holes so I can wear it brim forward or back. Tonight was definitely a "back" night. I grabbed my old career issued goggles as an afterthought and went out the door before M'Lady's friends arrived. I didn't really have any plan, so I walked to the train station, figuring I'd have a plan once I was there.
On the train into downtown I tried to get Mo on the phone with no luck. I really wanted a drinking buddy, even if I knew Mo could drink me under the table, then under the floor. I even thought about calling Terry, but ended up walking around for a little while before hitting "Tickers".
"Tickers" is a bar mostly populated by two kinds of people. Shadowy people who are looking for a job, or shadowy people looking to forget about the last job they did. A while ago I would have gotten dirty looks for walking into a place like that. But since the small incident outside a dance club, and the rumors of what I may or may not have done to a guy named Louis, I'm tolerated. The music isn't loud, the crowd isn't rowdy, it's a drinkers bar. It suited me fine, because I didn't want to talk to anyone. I really just wanted a beer or ten.
At least I was out, I guess.
It was around beer two that another one was placed in front of me. I looked up the guy who was tending bar. "I'm not ready for it yet."
"The fox over there wanted your attention." Joe said, nodding to his right. "It's his usual thing to buy a drink to someone he wants to see." I looked at the bottle, then the bartender. He was retracting a bottle opener from the cyber arm he toted, a nice mod for his line of work. "Hey, all types." he shrugged
"All types." I said flatly. I put down a few bucks to tip, grabbed the bottle I was working on and the fresh one, and walked over to see this "fox" In a way, I shouldn't have been surprised when it literally was a fox. Another morph, like me. This guy was a little over four foot tall, a gray furred silver fox. Just about on the level of me, so I knew this guy either had money or came from money. He had a head of silver hair, pulled and braided into a pony tail. He wore a leather jacket, denim jeans, and a pair of well worn boots. When I took in a breath I could taste the metal under his jacket, which didn't surprise me in this place either. I think I was the only guy not wearing armor or carrying a gun.
"I'm touched." I said. "But you should know I'm usually not that way."
"That's not why I wanted your attention." the fox said. "But I'll take a compliment."
"Touché." I nodded. "So what can I do for you?"
"I'm looking for some help, tonight. If you're not busy, we can talk. If you are, enjoy the drink and we'll call it at that." the fox said. I looked him over once, and scanned the bar with my optics. Nobody seemed to really notice, or try to notice, so I nodded. The fox got up and we walked to a booth out of the way of the main traffic. We sat down, and the fox pulled something from his jacket, a small box. "If you've got audio boosters you might want to kill them." I recognized the box before he said that, and when he turned on the jammer I had my audio down to it's lowest setting.
"You come prepared." I said. "So what can I do for you?"
The fox offered a paw. "My name is Kit." I shook with him. "I need someone to help me run some errands tonight, my normal help is a little indisposed."
"Dead or hospital?" I asked, finishing my old beer.
"Hospital, but not for himself." Kit said. "A friend of his went in a bad way, he's sitting vigil while his friend is in ICU."
I nodded. "So why do you need someone to help you on a milk run?"
"What I stock and sell has value, and I need someone to help me protect it." I nodded. Muscle. Well, I looked the part in my black & whites, even without kevlar. "And I've heard good things about you."
I shrugged. "Why not some of the others here? They'd probably be better suited to help you."
Kit shook his head. "On the contrary, you're perfect." He reached into his chest pocket and pulled out a PDA, and tapped it a few times. "Some of my clients prefer to only keep contact with our kind." He tapped the screen, scribbling a few things on it.
"Our kind?" I asked. "You mean morphs?"
"Exactly." Kit said. "I specialize in exotics. I find that normal humans just don't understand the needs of the exotically enhanced. And I would think that you know the humility of trying to get a decent wire brush through a pet store." I smiled to myself. If he only knew. "So, I provide a service."
"You're a fixer." I said, and felt dumb even saying it. Kit nodded. "How much illegal stuff will I have to ignore or pretend I never saw?"
"Some." Kit said very dryly. "I won't blow smoke up your tail, I've heard you don't appreciate that."
I raised an eyebrow. "And what else have you heard?"
"Enough." Kit was playing dodge ball with me. I looked him over once more, and I knew that if I wanted to, I could probably really ruin his night. But, considering that I wanted to get M'Lady something nice, and I was basically broke, some fast money would be a good thing. Legal or not.
"So what are you offering?" I asked.
He placed the PDA on the table, turned it around, and slid it over to me. "I believe my offer is reasonable. I need a driver, a little protection, and a companion through the night to go with me. I do not anticipate this going any later than , and if it does I will add five percent per hour rounding up." Kit was good, and the figure on the screen was more than I made in a month at my old job.
I thought about it for a moment. If I was arrested, M'Lady might skin me, or at worst she'd go down with me because I am her property. For the money offered, I figured I'd have to ignore or pretend I didn't see was going to be more than he let on. But, I felt the Leash. A sense of adventure, and a little bit of mischief seemed afoot. I smiled, and closed the lid. "Done." I said. "But I need some front payment to prove you won't shaft me."
Kit smiled, and pulled a wallet out of his inside jacket pocket. He handed it to me. "Will this prove my intentions?" I looked, and it was stuffed with hundred bills papercash. I smiled, nodded, and offered a paw. With a handshake, we were off. And suddenly, I was happy that I wasn't drinking as hard as I wanted to.
We went to his car, where it became obvious why he needed a driver. His car was built for a normal sized person, not a short fox. "You can get a smaller car, you know." I said.
"The last one got stolen." he said to me. "So I stick to the cheap cars. It's stolen, I'm not out much." He handed me the keys, then stopped. "Do you have a gun?" he asked.
"No." I said.
"Why the hell not?" he asked.
"I've never needed one here." I said. "And I can't own one."
Kit looked at me funny, then took a look at my collar and the tag. "That's not for show, is it?"
"No." I said.
Kit nodded slowly. "I have a few customers like you." he said. "The law says you can't own a gun, but you can borrow one." He opened the trunk, and took out a filled holster. "Do you know how to work one of these?"
I pulled out the pistol, a .45 automatic. I took out the clip, checked the bullets. Hollowpoints. Pulled the slide, checked the pipe, clean. A well maintained weapon. I put the clip back in, and loaded the weapon. "I've used a few." I said.
He simply nodded. "I can loan you a holster too, if you'd like. I've got a few accessories in here."
I nodded. "Ok, so first stop?"
We drove and talked about sports. We were warming up to each other, learning the other. He said our first stop would be to an exotic who lived downtown in an apartment complex there. We drove there without incident, and parked the car. Kit led opened the trunk and got out a backpack. "His name is Kennel." Kit said. "He's not an exotic, but his housemates are. He'll be undergoing his surgery in a few weeks."
"Kennel, huh?" I asked. In my mind I envisioned some kind of leather fetishist guy with dogboys hanging off of him. I shook that image off, and decided to let things roll as I they got to me. We went up to the elevator at his apartment building, and he buzzed us in. The elevator grinded up several floors, and the door opened.
The smell of canines was obvious when the doors opened. Kit was in his element, and I tried not to let the scent get me too edgy. Kit walked in, I followed. "Kennel? Where are ya you old hound?"
"I'm coming!" the voice said. It was followed by a thin man, not the leather clad freak I envisioned at first. He looked rather plain and normal. "Thanks for coming on short notice. Rex isn't doing well, I can't get the doctor on the phone."
"I understand." Kit said, pouring on the empathy. "Is he getting better?"
"No." Kennel said. "His temperature is going up, and he's really tired. You brought the meds?" Kit nodded, handing them to Kennel. "Please, come in, let me give some to Rex, ok?" We entered the apartment as the elevator closed behind us.
Kit looked to me. "Rex is Kennels' lover." he explained. "Rex had his surgery last year, and the doctor that did it didn't do the job right. He's been having reactions to the fur ever since."
I sighed. I knew that it was a risk when I had mine done. "Do I want to know what you're giving him?"
"It's legal." Kit said. "A mix of human and canine meds. It's just hard to get this time of night. Kennel's a friend of mine, and I don't charge him more than I pay for the medicine." I looked over Kit's shoulder into the other room. And smiled. "What's so funny?"
"A fixer with a heart." I said sarcastically. "I'll call the media, they'll never believe it."
"They believe in Ogopogo, don't they?" Kit said with a smirk. "Besides, Rex is an old friend. I hooked him up with the doc."
At this point Kennel came back into the room, closing the bottle. "He wanted me to say thank you, Kit. He's really wiped, he really just wants to sleep right now. What do I owe you for this?"
Kit shook his head. "I'll put it on the tab. Oh, speaking of that, I have a lead on finding a street doc who might be able to do some genome therapy for Rex. We may be able to get him back to normal."
Kennel smiled and shook Kit's paw. "If you could, you know we'd be eternally grateful."
"Anything for a friend." Kit said. "Oh, this is Mauzer, he's my driver tonight." Kennel offered a hand, so I took it. He seemed like a likable guy, all told. "Can you do me one favor? If I can get a fur sample form Rex, I'll drop it off at the doc tonight and we'll get working on it." Kennel nodded, and went to go get it.
A while later we were back on the road. "I really hate to see him suffer like that." Kit said, mostly to himself. I just nodded. I got lucky with M'Lady's choice of clinics, even if it meant I was registered. This wasn't usually a problem, but I hoped tonight, it wouldn't. "Ok, we need to get to a storage locker by the wharf so I can get the next package."
"I'll pretend I didn't see it." I said.
"You won't" Kit said flatly. He had a PDA out, and he was making notes on it. "Just stay with the car, I'll take care of the rest." I just nodded and drove. When we got to the wharf Kit directed me to a ship on the dock. When he got out, I opened the door out of reflex. "Just wait a moment. You don't want to see what it is." I nodded.
I sat in the car, and a lot of the old reflexes were coming back to me. I was scoping out the area, looking in alleys, checking out the bums who were sleeping or pretending to. It felt like old times, which scared me a little. Not the feelings, but the ease I slid into it.
Kit came back and tapped the trunk. I opened it, and something heavy was deposited into it. He closed the trunk, and sat back down in the car. "Ok, downtown."
"Yah boss." I said with a snicker. "You think this is a secure spot?" I asked.
"Should be, why?" Kit asked.
"That guy there has been looking at the car, a little more than I'm comfortable with." I said. It was when I passed the alley, and the headlights were right on the guy.
"Should be ok." Kit said. "He knows me, he's on the payroll." I rolled my eyes. I should have known.
We drove to an apartment complex in the middle of downtown, one of the ritzy places. Kit did all the talking, and I did my best to conceal a firearm in the car. They opened the gate, gave us a visitors pass and we drove to the parking.
"You don't have to come up with me if you feel you can't see anything illegal." He said.
"But if I don't it's breach of contract." I said, pulling into the spot assigned to us. "So I'm damned either way."
"You read the whole thing?" he asked, somewhat amused.
"And then some." I threw it into park. "And you really need to work on the programming, I coulda hacked that screen with a few good keytaps and made the contract a lot more interesting."
Kit half closed an eye and looked me over. "I thought you were ex-military?"
"I was." I said, patting my goggles. "I got over it." He shook his head, and we went to the elevator.
The ride up was longer than I would have liked. "We're meeting with Sophia Clapston. She's an exotic collector." I nodded, her museum pieces were well known in some of M'Lady's circles. "We need to announce ourselves to get help bringing the delivery up."
The elevator opened to a very fancy apartment. Kit walked in confidently and I followed, taking in the whole place. Laser defenses, metal floor that looked wired for juice, and probably something big behind the main mirror. Damn, it comes back too easy. I hadn't seen anything like this since... well let's not talk about that. But Kit walked with that swagger he has, he plays the part of socialite so well.
"Madame Clapston!" he said, arms open wide to see her. Her face lit up and she hugged him tight. His tail gave away how tight, I might add. "It's been too long since we've seen each other!"
"Oh I know!" she said. For her this was her speech, for Kit I could tell he was forcing it. "I haven't needed your services for a while however. You have it?"
"In the car." Kit said. "Mauzer? Will you give the keys to... Julius was it?" She smiled and nodded. "Yes, Julius. He'll bring up the package for us."
"Julius" was a gorilla. No, I mean that. I heard him amble up the hallway, and I knew he was big. Too big for me to take down with the gun I had in my belt loop, that's for sure. When I say gorilla, I mean that literally. Black fur, round muzzle, probably a silver stripe down his back too. He eyed me with suspicion, and I checked my willpower to not flick my tail. I tossed him the keys casually, which he caught in a huge, meaty hand. He didn't speak, just walked past me to the elevator. I took in a very quiet breath, and forced the fur on my neck to unruffle.
"Would you like to see his progress?" Sophia said.
"That would be lovely." Kit said, looking at me. I took the cue, and followed. "There's been no problems yet?"
"None at all! Your source has been nothing but perfect." We were led through the apartment to a staircase. I didn't realize until now we were on the top floor, and the staircase went to a roof. I found quickly it was a sub-roof, and probably a very well hidden one at that. She turned on a single light, which was barely enough to illuminate what was in the room. "Well, what do you think of him?"
I'm not the oldest person in the world, and I sure as hell know I haven't seen or experienced everything in life. But I like to think that I've seen a lot. But what I thought I knew couldn't prepare me for this. Kit said that he catered to exotics, and now I understood what he meant. I saw what I thought was a man sitting on a perch of some kind, or a platform. I couldn't tell. What struck me was how colorful he was, and at first I thought it was a costume or an elaborate tattoo. Then I saw the feathers spread apart when he breathed.
He was sleeping, that was obvious. His head buried into his chest, and it looked like his nose had been dislocated so badly it was hanging off his face. But it wasn't, it was a lighter tone than his skin and shiny, almost beak like. I could see the red ruffles across the top of his head, and it probably went down his back. I could also see his arms were on his side, and trying to fold behind his back. The red continued down his body, and to where his crotch was. I keep saying "he", even though I couldn't see any form of genitals on him at all. The way he was sitting it looked like he was trying not to drag a tail behind him, or lean on it too heavily.
I kicked on my
I could see the rest of the room. It was
huge, people would kill for an apartment this size.
But it was reminiscent of what I saw in
"He looks more beautiful than the last time I saw him." Kit whispered.
"Thanks to your efforts." She said, ruffling his fur on his head. It was too dark for her to see, but I saw him wince. "We should leave the poor dear to sleep." She turned out the lights and led us back to her main apartment, and she and Kit talked business and social circles. I stood in the background, unobtrusive. The one thing I learned a long time ago was to not look like you want to be noticed.
Julius came back about half an hour later, and bowed to Sophia. Then he nodded, and left the room. "Everything is in order then!" she said, standing up. I noticed another morph enter the room, but she wasn't armed so I didn't step in. Beautiful feline markings, I knew it as an ocelot. She even moved gracefully, and I recognized the chipped twitches just barely on the ends of her strides. Mostly from myself and how the Leash pulls me. She gave me a wink as she handed something to Kit.
"If there are ANY problems, please let me know." Kit said, putting whatever it was in his jacket pocket. "And I will arrange for the next shipment to arrive in a timely manner."
"That would be lovely!" she said, hugging him again. "I don't know what I'd do without you!"
Kit smiled, and looked at me with a nod. I led the way to the elevator. "It's a pleasure to help you out, Madame Clapston."
We rode the elevator in silence, and I gave the car a once over for bugs, trackers, or anything else that wasn't there before. Once I was satisfied, we got in and drove.
"Was that what I thought it was?" I asked. I waited 'till we hit the main road to talk.
"Which that?" Kit asked, pulling out his PDA and tapping on the screen.
"The Parrot morph."
"Yes." He said. "It's good to see his plumage is taking."
"I didn't think that was possible." I said.
"Not here." Kit said casually. "It's a Chinese formula genetic modification. Since it has to change the species it takes a lot longer."
"So it's basically illegal." I asked flatly.
"Very." Kit said. "But with money comes privilege and the ability to get around laws. Besides, the young man who volunteered for that will be much happier once the change is over."
"You arranged that too?" I was looking around as I drove, so I wasn't reading Kit's emotions.
"Not in the sense of I knew the young man." Kit said. "I heard she was looking for a way to get the genetic therapy in, I knew a way to do it, and that was that. Whoever he is wanted it enough to allow himself to take the shots every day. He could have stopped, but now it's beyond the point he can."
I snickered to myself. "Perhaps he wants to fly the coop."
I heard Kit snicker too. "Not with the sex he's having." I turned to look at Kit. "I told you she's into the exotic. Who am I to judge? My girlfriend likes the unique parts I've got, so why not?" I just shook my head with a smile. I knew what he was talking about.
He directed me to a few other places, where we dropped off and picked up several things. But I didn't feel the need to be worried. It wasn't until he had me take a turn into a more run down neighborhood that I put back on the working face. "This should be our last stop of the night." Kit said. I could tell he was looking at me. "Those goggles, military grade?" I nodded. "Can they take a link?" I nodded again. "Give me the gun and holster." I did, and he put something else in my paw. At the red light I looked it over.
Beautiful piece of hardware, a 9mm with a smartlink cord and subdued low impedance cables. Clean pipe, smooth slide, and filled with what looked like heavy rounds. They felt a little warm on my finger tips, even through the fur. "Should I ask about the ducks?"
"Do you really want to know?" he asked.
"I guess not." I said while accelerating. "So we're going in heavy, huh?" He just nodded. "You don't have a vest in the trunk, do you?"
"Only in my size, I thought whoever I hired would be wearing some already." Kit said. It was the first time I heard his voice crack.
I took in a deep breath, and felt the first surge of adrenaline. "Right. Don't get hit. Got it." I hooked the cord into the goggles and started the boot up. "So what are we doing that needs heavy artillery?"
"Weapons drop. It's a gang called the alley cats. Most of them are enhanced. They don't trust regular contacts, but they trust me. It's not them that I'm worried about, it's any given drive by." I just nodded. That's when I felt it all come back again, old habits, old reflexes. I think it waited until I really needed it, and I let myself sink into that feeling.
We got to the location, and there were easily a dozen guys hanging out at this apartment. Kit told me to stay with the car for a moment, but I got out to keep an eye on the whole street. I could hear Kit talking to them, and I could see a lot of them had some minor surgeries to be more feline in appearance. Most had tattoos, whiskers, or tails, and one or two had fur. A part of me wanted to be happy to see them, but what Kit said worried me. I stuck strictly to business.
Kit walked back to the car, and opened the trunk. Inside he pointed out a duffle bag. "They want to meet you." He said. "We shouldn't be here long." I nodded, grabbed the bag, and went with him. The gang members were staring at me, and I knew they were drooling. Out of them all, I was the most "feline" looking one, and I know most of them wanted to be in my fur. I just nodded to a few, not dropping my guard.
"So what's yer name?" one asked. He had a fur covering, and tufted ears. It's hard to say what kind of cat he was, but it wasn't anything normal. More like a mixed breed.
"Mauzer." I said.
He smiled. "He's better than the dog you usually bring." He said to Kit. "So you permanent?"
"We'll see." I said. That's when I caught something on the edge of my hearing. I swiveled an ear to the street, and that's when things slowed down. The adrenaline hit me, and I did fall back into my old habits. See I heard the sound of brakes engaging, but they were heavier than a car's brakes. But it didn't match the sound of the size of vehicle that made the turn at the same time. It just didn't mesh.
When I swiveled an ear, I saw that the cat I talked to was impressed at how it looked. I turned my head to look, and I saw a vehicle coming, and the goggle optics flashed three outlines in my vision. A rifle, two handguns, and a technical readout of the calibers. "DOWN!" I shoved Kit into the doorway past the guy I was talking to, and pulled the 9mm. I stepped a little to put myself in front of Kit, relative to the car. I got a readout on the goggles of the complete weapon status, and recommended targets of threat. The one with the rifle was trying to bring to bear, the handguns were ready to shoot.
The pistol I had surprised me on the first kick, but I recovered on the double tap and put a round into the door where the guy was sitting. Whoever had the rifle in the car panicked, and pulled the trigger to spray bullets. By this time a lot of the gang started to scatter, pull weapons, or the like. The optics recommended I change targets, so I did to the rifle. Both shots on the double tap were right into the silhouette, but the rifle kept throwing bullets at us.
I didn't wait, I stepped backwards, into the guy I was just talking to, and pushed us both into the doorway of the apartment. As rock shattered around us. I fell backwards on top of him and Kit, behind the other closed door. I heard the car roar past us with a hail of bullets going both ways. I got into a kneeling stance, poked the gun around the doorway, and looked through the optics to see what was going on. I could see the last gunner and the driver, so I put another six shots in their direction.
The chip later told me it was mostly a waste of ammunition, except I did hit a few vital parts of the car and it would be debilitated within the night. Sometimes, I hate "after action" reports. When it's broken down clinically and by the numbers, it makes you feel so stupid for having a human mind.
The car roared off leaving a few of the gang members shaken and a few bleeding. Come to find that nothing was serious, mostly hit by debris or the panic to get into cover. I looked over to Kit, he was a little dazed but unhurt. The cat I was talking to had a gun in his paw, but he never got a shot off.
He looked over to Kit. "You gotta hire this guy full time." He said.
Kit got up, and brushed himself off. He took in a deep breath and nodded. "Can I take that to mean you'll need more ammunition?"
"Oh yeah." The guy said, standing up himself. "Deliver tomorrow night? I think we've got enough to make a dent in them tonight." Kit nodded as I holstered the gun. We stayed there for a few minutes as money exchanged paws and the contents of the duffel were passed around. I'm pretending I didn't see what those contents were, however. We got back into the car quickly and headed back towards downtown.
I handed Kit back the gun, unplugging it from the goggles. "Nice piece. German?"
"Yeah." Kit said. His voice was a little shaken, but adrenaline does that. "How did you see that coming? You weren't even facing them."
"You don't put van brakes in a car unless it's armored out the ass." I said. "That's an old trick. Too bad they didn't buy the bulletproof glass though." I was trying not to lose myself into my old mindset.
The rest of the trip was quiet, I turned on the radio and headed back to the garage where I found the car. Kit had me park in a different one, which suited me fine. When I inspected the car before leaving, I saw that it had been hit. When I showed Kit, he shrugged "adds character." He said.
We headed back to Tickers. "Hey, thanks for doing that for me, back there." Kit said.
"That's what I was hired for." I said. "Just don't spread it around, ok?"
"If you're ever looking again, I'm always interested in hiring." Kit said.
I shook my head. "I'd love to, my owner wouldn't stand for it."
Kit shrugged. "Oh, that's right. I forgot, it's not for show." I nodded. He reached into his pocket, and handed me a plastic card. "This is for the remainder I owe you. You can pull it out of any machine, password is my name."
I nodded, and pocketed it. "Hey, buy you a drink? One on me?"
Kit shook his head. "I should go check on Butch, he's been there all night and he probably could use the company." I nodded. He offered a paw. "I appreciate your help." I shook his paw back and smiled. He nodded, then walked down the street, saying hello to a homeless guy as he walked past.
I hit up an ATM on the way back to the bar. I passed three before I found one with a broken camera. It was all there, like Kit promised. I pulled it all out, pocketed it, and headed back home. It was funny, one kid on the train eyed me up, like he was going to try to mug me. I growled at him and let my claws extend. He got up and left the car.
Before getting home, I stopped at a store and bought some foam cleaner. Normally it's for cleaning yourself when you can't get into a shower, but I wanted to take the time to get the smell off my paws from the gunpowder. I went into a bathroom stall to clean my paws, and it hit me. I'd probably just killed two guys tonight. It also hit me that it really didn't bother me.
That shook me a little. I mean when I did my time I don't want to think about how many people I wounded or killed, and that didn't bother me because I was a human robot. Between the drugs, the neuralwear and the 'dances I was just a soldier. Do what you're told, don't ask questions, and perform your job. But that's over. I know that. But that night, without thinking and without much remorse, I ended two lives. When I couldn't sense the gunpowder in my fur anymore, I wiped the foam into the toilet and flushed it down. I had to get home, and soon.
When I got home, M'Lady wasn't home yet. I put the money away in my room, and plugged the wrist jacks into the computer and started a download from the memory chip. I had to know. I ran the after action to the chip, and replayed the entire scene with enhancements. The first guy I didn't kill. The bullet ripped through the armored door and into his belly, and probably messed his guts up. DUC rounds are vicious like that.
The rifleman had a survivable injury as well, assuming they got him to someone with real medical skills. I hit him in the chest off to the right and away from the heart, which the chip said was probably a punctured or collapsed lung. I tweaked the information and figured that when he slumped forward in pain, he jammed the rifle stock into his hand, which was jammed into the car. So he emptied the clip because of his weight into the trigger and not by his choice. The round may have gone completely through him as well, and hit the driver with another non-fatal but nasty wound to the driver's arm.
All of the other
fired were useless, but they hit buildings and vehicles and not people. I probably caused a few thousand dollars in
damage, but most of the buildings and vehicles there didn't look worse
in the chip's analysis. Looking at the
data, I was relieved until the chip made it's long term analysis. It chastised me for my poor aim, citing that
I've performed better. It also recommended
that I take more time on the target range to tighten my groupings, and
Sometimes, I hate computers. I think Kit was thinking they'd be heavier in the armor, and he was right on their vehicle. But once the windows were gone they may as well have been hiding in a shopping cart. I'm relieved I didn't vaporize them outright, but I know that I probably made a mess of their lives. In a way, I still have no remorse. They brought it on themselves by coming armed and ready to shoot. They just didn't know I'd be there, and that's their own dumb luck. I felt better knowing they could have survived, if they were smart.
I dumped the chip onto the drive, deleted it all, and went to the living room dropping clothing the whole way. I fell asleep on the couch naked but my collar. I awoke to the smell of her perfume and her gentle touch on my forehead. I smiled, and we cuddled on the couch until we both fell asleep together. It was special for me to do that with her, especially after the night I had.
I've been thinking about that night too. I'm finding that I spent years running away from my past, trying to ignore it or get rid of it. But the more I tired, the closer it came to consuming me. I hate to say that, in the end, it's something I can't run away from. It happened, and as much as I regret it that led to putting me where I am today. I don't know that if I my background was different, I would have met M'Lady. And the old reflexes still work, but that's part of me.
Part of me is what I was, an emotionless robot with perfect memory of what I'd done and remorse years after the fact. Part of me is what I am now, a house cat. The Leash tends to make me not worry about some things, and tends to lower my remorse factor over things like this. But in the end, I'm not sure if it's a bad thing that I don't feel awful about shooting two guys and possibly killing them while protecting an employer. I think back and wonder if I would have done anything different, and I can't say I would. It simply happened, but unlike old times I didn't let it eat me alive. It's just part of the risk I took, and there's no remorse when I know they had no problem killing me randomly first.
What I bought for M'Lady is my own business, but she loves it. It was good to give it to her, she hadn't expected it. We had a good night together on our anniversary, but that's a different and very pleasant memory that I cherish. I haven't heard from Kit, but then again I haven't been out looking for him too. I don't get downtown that often, and I'm fine with that. Sometimes I feel isolated where we live, M'Lady and I. But sometimes, it's not so bad. It's a place we can be together.
It's funny, her being a pro-domina, and I know there's a lot of men and women that puppy-love her. But me? I knew her before I knew what she does, and I've learned so much about her since then. I know it's not the Leash that makes me feel the way I do, I felt it before I had my mods. Cats only come back to you if they get something from the deal. And with her, I do. More than a gift can buy.
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Curator: Socks the Catt / E-mail: <email@example.com>
This is (unfortunately) a work of fiction. It depicts sex. Lots of quite graphic sex between several genders and arguably a few species. Af any of this offends you, or anything vaguely pornographic bothers you, don't read this, and don't send me your nasty e-mail (I may enjoy it, you know...)
Being a work of fiction, none of the characters herin are based on a real person (Save the narrator and one other person...) And similarity to any person alive, dead, undead or unalive is coincidental, totally. However, if you see yourself or someone you know in a character be honored. You've been immortalised.