Cattin' Around Chapter 13: North to Alaska
Author's note: I always appreciate feed back. I can be
reached at Cobalt-Blue@runespinner.net
Over the next few years, things just got worse and worse
for transhumans. I could really see the signs of the things to
come that Ridvin warned me about so many years ago in that last night
of passion we'd been granted by the Lord of the Alfs. More and
more transhumans were showing up in the world, and the debate about
what to do with us started to heat up. Some wanted to register us
as dangerous weapons, others wanted to sterilize us, to keep the gene
from spreading, and still others wanted to force us into military
It was this last idea that really came into
debate in the UN. They started making noises about us being
natural resources, that the US was a rich country, too rich in its
possession of so many transhumans while the rest of the world was
trans-poor. They started a debate about who should control the
disposition of this resource. It was suggested that all
transhumans be turned over to the UN to be stationed around the world
to best serve the needs of the whole planet. The problem with
their idea was that nobody asked us transhumans- we were simply to be
turned over and be assigned to work no matter what we wanted out of our
They even unveiled their own team- UNIPACT
(United Nations International Parahuman Acquisition and Combat Team).
The first team was known as UNIPACT Prime and word had already
come down from on high that they were known to kidnap transhumans.
At this point it wasn't as bad as it was going to get, but we
knew that we couldn't trust them, and they knew that they were
unwelcome in the US. It couldn't be proven but we all knew that
they had tried to capture members of the Pacifica School team that went
to Kuwait to help put out the oil fires there. (See File: A Gathering
Then they pulled a fast one. At the time
we had no idea how they got it past the Security Council. Our
ambassador, our representative on the Security Council, had explicit
instructions to veto any such resolution, but he simply sat quietly
when the vote came, and said nothing. They passed a resolution
banning the service of transhumans in any military other than UN
Peacekeeping forces or the UNIPACT Teams.
The President, you know the one with problems
defining the word "is", caved. He ordered the immediate removal
of all transhumans serving in the military. Fortunately, someone
at the Pentagon still had a little sense, and gave us the option of
honorable discharge with full medical benefits or being transferred to
the newly formed Division of Special Intelligence.
Commander Heller, also known as Anchor, and a
classmate of mine at the Academy chose to retire. Me? I got a
good deal. I got to keep my seniority and even my rank and rate.
I transferred to the DSI, but maintained my dual status as an
operative for the Department of Nocturnal Affairs. It was a
win-win situation for me and General Presley who moved over to take
command of the newly-formed agency. Best of all, it meant
that I got to spend more time at home. No more sea duty.
I'd come off several intense missions that had
really drained me. First was dealing with a European vampire that
didn't want to play by the rules. Then Russian Winter and I
tangled again- this time in Russian Georgia. One of these days,
that particular Jotun and I are going to finish things once and for
all. Then I was given a job by My Lady that made absolutely no
sense to me what so ever. It was basically to sit in on meetings
and make a few suggestions to the right people about a specific company
in Florida that got them a computer contract with the Navy.. She
didn't tell me what it was about just what I had to do. I of
course did it, even though it meant using more than just a little rune
magic. In the end the company got the contract. All She
would tell me was that it was important.
My next assignment turned out to a bit of a
surprise. Granted I ended up feeling like Ian Flemming's most
famous character by the time it was over. But, there's a lot to
be said for a good fight, followed by good sex, and then another chance
to kick the ass of several people you hate. Too bad it cost us
one of our best.
Something went down in wilds of Alaska, right
in the middle of Brooks Range. It was late September, and the
snow had already begun to fly. Okay, when I said something went
down, what I meant was, something was shot down. Evidently it was shot
down over Russia, and made a controlled crash across the Bering
Straight and into Alaska. Whomever was piloting it wanted to land as
far away from the Russians as they could. Can't say I blamed them.
As for what it was, it was evidently
extra-terrestrial, and very hot. Satellite images showed it
embedded in the face of a glacier that fed the headwaters of the Kobuk
River. It was so hot that on thermal imaging it stood out against
the cold of the glacial cirque. One problem we were facing was
that with the weather deteriorating, there was no way using standard
insertion techniques to get anyone in there quickly. The other
problem was that the same satellite imaging showed what looked like a
high-tech UN aerial transport already in there ahead of us. How
they got it there, I had no idea. The answer to that
question would cause all transhumans in the free world major problems
for the next ten years.
I'd been pulled out off a mission deep in the
desert near Riyadh, and flown all the way to Fairbanks in a matter of
eight hours. That told me it was important. There, I got to
meet my two teammates for this mission. It was going going to be
an all transhuman team. That could mean either being able cut
loose with our powers or a high stealth mission. Both of my
teammates made an immediate impression on me.
The first was tall well- built brown-haired
man in his late twenties. He was dressed in an crimson body
suit that suggested a very toned form underneath. He had a strong
jaw and piercing hazel eyes that seemed to see right through you.
He was introduced to me as Lieutenant Victor Sanders US Army,
code named Crimson. There was an implied "former" to the
Lieutenant, meaning that evidently he got the same deal out of the DSI
as I did. Ironically enough, as a member of Shadow Force, in ten
years I would work rather close with his brother and would mentor his
niece Tori when she became a member of Storm Force.
The other was a tall woman with long raven
hair and dark violet eyes. She was built like Angelina Jolie on a
good day, and something about her confused the crap out of me.
She gave off all the vibes of a vampire, but she was definitely
living. I could hear her heart beat, and we were standing in the
bright sunlight when we first met. She was dressed in crimson and black
that hugged her form in very interesting ways. Her name was Doctor
Amethyst Yarr, codenamed Onyx.
There was an instant attraction for all three
of us- across the board. I could feel it, and I could see it in their
eyes as we studied each other. There was a hunger and desire in
their gaze with the promise of passion. I was thinking that when
this mission was over, things could get interesting. I just
didn't know that would happen far sooner than that. The cold
nights of Alaska can drive even hardiest of transhumans to seek body
heat- and that can always lead to more interesting ways of keeping
Turns out both of my companions were
teleporters of considerable power. The plan was for them to study
the satellite images, use whatever far-seeing powers they had combined
with my own magical skills to "lock" onto the ship, and teleport us
there. Unfortunately, something went wrong. We couldn't get any
closer than about five miles from it. No matter how hard we
tried, something kept shunting us off to the side.
We made our way through the five miles
of hard terrain in about three hours. Just before sunset, we
found ourselves looking down on what was basically a heavy troop
carrier as UN soldiers were unloading equipment and supplies at the
base of the glacier. Several men were preparing to ascend the
sheer wall of ice.
"How in the hell did they get that thing in
here?" I asked indicating the troop carrier we'd seen on the satellite
pics. It wasn't like anything that the general public was likely
to see. It was very high-tech and boxy looking. It was
obvious that its design was not based on any kinds of aerodynamics, but
instead of something that could ignore concepts like lift and
drag. To be honest it reminded me of one of the "Eagles" from the
old Space:1999 series. A small conical nose sat on the front of a
what was basically a box. A gantry stretched around either side
and across the top of the box to form a mounting for some kind of short
engine array in the back. It was obviously designed to be modular.
Onyx looked down at them for a second. I felt
a slight buzzing against my mental shields and then her probe fluttered
off to find her target. After about five seconds, she whistled lowly.
"They teleported it in about five miles from here.
Evidently, UNIPACT Prime has a powerful teleporter on the team."
"We have to take it and the radio out first,"
I said. " Also, I don't want it getting into the air, and I don't
want them getting any messages off to UNIPACT."
Crimson said, "Leave the radio part to me."
He looked at me and said, "You do realize that we're about to
attack an organization that is technically an ally."
I nodded and said, "They're an unauthorized
military force on American soil, carrying out some kind of covert
operation. If you remember that oath we took as military
officers, I'd say it still applies- whether we are still attached to
the military or not."
He grinned hugely at me. I could tell he
was thinking the same way I was. "Just wanted to make sure you
were clear about it, Commander."
I nodded and said, "I'm clear."
"Now how do you want to get down there without
being seen?" Onyx asked. We can't teleport."
I looked down the long slope below us.
It was steep and open and even in this low light, there would be
no way to get down it without being seen. We needed to hit fast and
hard. I looked at both of them and said, "You can't fly can you?"
Onyx nodded her head and said, "I can fly
"I can do more than fly," Crimson said as he
faded from my sight. I could still smell him, I could hear the
sound of his breathing and his heart beat, but he was totally
invisible. "I have a few enhancements beyond just teleportation,"
he said as he faded back into sight. I was going to have to speak
to General Presley about getting more information on my squad's
abilities before being sent into a mission.
I grinned broadly and said, "Good."
Looking at Onyx I asked. "How long will it take you to fly
around the valley to the other side of the and come down from directly
above the glacier?"
She seemed to think about it for a second and
finally she said, "Give me five minutes."
Looking at Crimson, I asked, "And how long
will it take you to get all the way down there and be in position to
"Three minutes, tops," he said.
I nodded and grinned. Looking at Onyx I said,
"I want you to hit the climbers first. Keep them away from that
craft. Your secondary target it sat-dish they've got set
up." She returned my nod and waited for me to finish. I
turned to Victor and said, "Crimson, I want you to take out the
sat-phone, and the RM. Got it?"
He nodded back and said, "They won't know what hit
I grinned hugely, "Oh yes they will. They just won't
be able to do anything about it. I want you guys to get in and
out of there as quickly as possible. I don't want you getting
hurt. I'm going to take out the troop transport."
"How?" Onyx asked.
"I'm going to jump on it, and then take out its
engines. We may need the fuselage for later," I told them
and thought about my strategies. The linear distance across the
valley was almost a mile. However we were high enough from the
transport that I should be able to take running leap and hit it.
It would take me about a minute to reach the bottom.
Looking down at my watch I said, "I want you to start your descent in
five minutes, from my mark Onyx. Crimson, I want you to start
yours in two minutes. I'll start mine in four. Does
They set their own watches and nodded. "Any
"Nothing that can't wait until later," Onyx said
with an enigmatic grin.
I smiled and said, "Okay. Mark!"
Onyx took to the air and zipped off surprisingly
fast for a telekinetic flier. I shouldered our packs and looked
at Crimson and asked, "You're not allergic to cats are you?"
He shook his head and headed toward the edge of the
cliff. "I like cats," he said with a grin that told me a
hell of a lot more than words did.
"Be careful," I told him.
"Trust me Commander, I'm a big boy. I
can take care of myself," he told me.
The two minutes it took for him to be ready to leave
seemed to take a lifetime. The last two before I took my leap
drug on forever. As soon as he had disappeared from sight, I
shifted up to my full battle form. By now I had reached my
maximum height and weight. Emory told me that I had gone from
being a big magecat to being simply "stupid big". I stood a just
six inches shy of twenty five feet and my mass was nearly four
I backed up from the cliff and leapt. I could
feel the "drop" in my stomach as I launched myself out into the fading
light. The air was cold, and bit at my fur as made a long
arc across the Alaskan sky to descend onto the top of the carrier.
Four tons falling from a height of two thousand
feet, at terminal velocity. You do the math. I crashed
through the back of the gantry near the engines. I felt the
great ship rock underneath the force of my hitting it, as the front end
was lifted off the ground. Isstonn sliced through the housing
connecting the engines to the gantry and the front end fell forward
again with a loud crash.
Before anyone could react, before they could realize
that the giant cat-like shadow that was towering over them was a
threat, I had finished doing my number on the engines. I figured,
that the science boys back at NASA would love to take a look at
whatever technology the UN had, so I was careful not to damage the
Suddenly I felt several searing lances of
pain. Looking down, I could see what looked like lasers hitting
my skin. It wasn't penetrating my transhuman durability, but
because it was basically heat and fire, the nocturnal side of me
reacted to it.
Trying to ignore the pain, I advanced wincing with
each shot. Someone screamed in French, "Le lasers le
blessent! Conservation du tir
!" <The lasers are
hurting him! Keep shooting!>
With a loud scream of "Iss!" I slashed Isstonn down
and pointed her at them. Ever since that battle with Fer Forge`
when the Moroccan villainess tried to take control of her, Isstonn had
hated anything to do with the French and the French language. To
say that her blast was powerful is an understatement. Within a
half second, ice crystals were forming on the UN
soldiers. The lasers began to dissipate as they hit
the much colder, much denser air between us.
It became a battle of wills. Could they stand the cold
longer than I could stand the heat. In the end it was Crimson who
made the difference. With all eyes concentrating on the big
weretiger and his ice sword, Crimson was able to slip up behind each
one of them. I watched as one by one they stopped firing and
their bodies jerked once and fell to the ground. I looked closely
and could see where it looked like the energy packs to the lasers that
they were wearing on their backs had been merged with their
bodies. There was very little blood as it froze the instant it
hit the air.
A pair of screams caught my attention and I looked
over to see the forms of two soldiers falling from the ice, their
safety ropes and pitons trailing behind them. Onyx floated above
them on the air with a grim look on her face. This was a woman
who did not enjoy killing. I could respect that.
From that point on, the fight became brutal, nasty,
and short. They never really stood a chance. We were three
highly trained powerful transhumans. Even their advanced
technology could not make them a match for us.
By the time the sun had finished setting in
the south west, and the last streams of red and purple had disappeared
from the sky leaving only the inky blackness of the snow clouds, the
fight was over. No quarter had been asked and none had been
offered. They knew their incursion into the US was a violation of
our borders and they knew that even if they were taken prisoner and
interrogated, that the UN would disavow them and leave them to face
execution as terrorists or spies.
"What do you want to do with the bodies?" Onyx asked.
"We can't leave them out in the open like
this," I said as I shifted down to my true-form. Again I
caught the appraising looks from both of my teammates.
"A decent burial? That doesn't fit your reputation,
Runeclaw," Crimson said.
"It has nothing to do with reputation," I told
him. "There are wolves in these mountains, and this would be a
feast for them. I'd rather not have to fight off a pack on top of
whatever the UN sends to check on them. Help me gather them up
and we'll bury them under the snow. By the time the Spring thaw
comes, they can feed the grizzlies and other animals." He
nodded to me and we set to the grisly task.
The cleanup duty didn't take nearly as long it
seemed like it would. Turns out that one of Crimson's other
powers was density control. That's what he did to the soldiers:
slipped up behind them, desolidified and shoved their power packs into
their backs and let go. The merger of the high energy packs with
their spinal columns killed them almost instantly. It
also made cleanup easy because he would do the same thing to their
bodies and sink them into the ground.
Onyx and I were the only ones who could see in the
dark, and decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to try and get to the
alien craft tonight. She knew that the UN force wasn't due to
check in until noon tomorrow. Hopefully, by that time, we
could make it to the craft, secure what we needed, and call in a
Sikorsky lifter to take it to Minot. We also decided
to use the what was left of the UN transport for shelter for the
night. I'd severed its engines and damaged its batteries with
Issstonn, but at least it would keep the wind off us.
Onyx and I set up our proximity sensors around the
craft so we'd know if anyone approached us. Although we knew that
the UN had their teleporter, Onyx had been able to glean from the minds
of the commanders she'd scanned that they too were unable to teleport
directly here. Anyone approaching would still have to do it from
either land or air. Since we set several of the sensors in the
side of the glacier, we could get a bit of a warning of their approach.
As we worked on that, Crimson was building a fire in
the hull of the transport to try and keep it warm. We didnt
bother with trying to fix the batteries. None of us had that kind
of technical knowledge. We were here to secure the area, not do
Between the sensors, my own enhanced senses- I had decided
to stay in my trueform- and Onyx's own psionics we knew it was okay to
sleep. Nobody was going to sneak up on this position
without us knowing it. Still, as we settled into the thermal sleeping
bags we were all still too wary and too wired to sleep. I kept
seeing those looks I was getting from my teammates in my
I dont' know what it was. Maybe the fact that
I hadn't seen Emory in almost six months- Skytreader's balls, I hadn't
had any company but my own in almost that long- maybe it was simply the
after-effects of the fight, but I was horny as a teenager on prom
night. I must have lain there for nearly an hour before I heard a
low sigh and the sound of someone slipping out of their sleeping bag.
Looking up, I saw Amy slipping out of her clothes as
she reached down and touched Victor's shoulder. She smiled over
at me and said in a low voice. "All three of us are too wired to
sleep, all three of us are feeling the same thing, and none of us are
going to get any sleep until we get some relief and answer a few
Vic and she exchanged glances. One of the
disadvantages of the form fitting costumes that so many transhumans
liked to wear is that they tend to show off a lot more than intended if
they aren't padded in a particular way. That's really why some of
the men wear briefs over the bodysuits- to hide their hard-ons.
Well, I could definitely see the outline of Vic's manhood in the front
of his, and it looked impressive. He blushed and looked over at
me. "You too?"
I nodded, laughed and said, "You were the one who
talked about reputations. Didn't you know about mine?"
He shook his head and said, "I didn't think it
applied to men."
Amy leaned down and whispered into his ear, "It
applies to everybody. If it moves, Commander Greenbough will bed
"I'm not quite that promiscuous, but I do have
a certain reputation. If I were a woman, I'd be considered a
slut." I shrugged, "In a man it's a sign of prowess," I
He raised an eyebrow at me, as I lay the edge of my
sleeping bag back to show the hard outline of my manhood in the BDUs
into which I had changed . With a smile, he rose from where he
was lying and pulled his bag over next to mine. Amy picked up her
bag, unzipped it and followed. In the low light, I could see
where the cold air was making her dark nipples stand up.
In a matter of minutes, we'd laid the three bags
down on the floor. I looked at the fire. It was not
putting out enough heat or light to make this comfortable.
Someone could end up with frost bite in embarrassing places. I
"popped a claw" and drew it along the metal floor forming the rune
"Kenaz". Then raking it across my own hand, I filled it with
blood. As I did this, I saw Amy's eyes grow wide with hunger.
I just smiled as I filled the rune. I whispered the spell
and released my will.
The effect was immediate as the transport began to
warm. Amy smiled at me and said, "You could have done that
earlier and saved us a cold first half the night."
I laughed and said, "I'm wary about opening a vein
around one such as yourself."
She grinned showing her fangs, "Generally a good
policy, but I prefer my blood undead."
I raised an eyebrow at that. It seemed that
she and my friend Walther Stone had more in common than I
thought. I briefly wondered if she was a damphir herself.
However, I was distracted as Vic began sliding out of his body
suit. Both Amy and I were impressed with his well-chiseled body
as he pulled the top of the suit over his head. Working the
bottoms off, he revealed a circumcised dick the likes I haven't seen
since Ridvin. The thing was nearly a foot long and the shaft was
over two inches across, the head was even bigger. It looked like
he had a table leg sticking out over his balls. He blushed at us
and said, "Like I said earlier, I'm a big boy."
"That you are," Amy said as she lay down
beside me and gestured toward Vic. Then turning to me, she said,
"You going to stay in that uniform?"
"Hell no," I told her as I began to strip.
Both of their eyes watched me closely as I pulled off my clothes.
Onyx grinned hugely and said, "I wondered if
the fur went all the way down."
I shook my head and said, "No.
Ironically enough, I have less body hair in my natural form than
in my human form."
"Natural form?" Vic asked as slipped in
between us. His body was hard, chiseled and hot.
Even after the exertion of our fight, his scent was still light
and airy, but definitely male. He twisted so that he was facing
Amy, presenting me with his broad back, and his well-muscled bubble
I nodded as I shucked my pants and said,
"Yeah. This is the form I was born in. My human form is an
affected one, one where I make my ears and tail go away. Oddly
enough, in that form, I have more body hair than this one." I
stretched out behind him as Amy turned and looked at me over his
shoulder. "You sure about this?" I asked.
She nodded and I could see her hands reaching
between her and Vic. "Oh yeah. I'm sure about it.
It's been a while, and this is going to take some getting used
to, but I'm sure about it."
Vic began kissing along the side of her neck
as I reached over his hip and found where Amy had his dick in hand and
was rubbing its head along her sex. Even in this low light, I
could see quite well, and smiled at the moist glisten of her fluids on
the tight raven curls surrounding her pussy. Evidently she wasn't
a woman who trimmed. Maybe it was from personal choice, or maybe just
from lack of a request from a lover.
I stroked the length of flesh between them and
Vic groaned and adjusted his butt so that my own hard cock was lying
between his ass cheeks. With a quick squeeze, I let go and began
to kiss down the broad expanse of his back. When I reached the
base of his spine I began to knead the globes of his butt. With
one hand I reached between his legs and found the substantial set of
balls lying against his thigh and massaged them gently. Suddenly
I felt something moist and furry brush against the back of my hand and
realized that Amy had thrown a leg of his hip and pushed herself down
on the length of his hard dick.
I smiled to myself and continued to dip my
face lower as he twisted over on top of her, to make his thrusts more
comfortable for her. As he did, his legs opened up and gave me
access to his hole. I ran my tongue from the base of his balls up
along his ass and probed his opening. I felt him shudder under
me. "Ah, that's intense," he hissed between clenched teeth.
"Keep that up and I won't last very long."
"What, nobody has ever prepared you for this?"
I asked amused.
"Nobody's ever done this with me," he said.
"You've never been with a man before?" Amy
asked through bated breath as Vic slowly pushed in and out of her.
He shook his head as I climbed his back with
kisses. "No. I've always wanted to try it, but my military
service sort of prevented that."
"We're not bound by DADT anymore," I said.
"Like you ever were?" Amy replied as I scooted
around so I was in front of them, dick rampant and leaking precum.
I came up on my knees and presented the
glistening head of my cock, the foreskin pushed back about halfway, to
Vic and said, "Then, you're probably going to want to lube this up
really well then." He just grinned at me and reached over and
started licking around the head as if testing the taste. After a
moment, he must have decided he liked it because he he took about half
of my seven inches into his mouth before I felt his gag reflex kick in.
"Take it easy," I told him. "And watch your teeth. The
heads of uncut dicks are somewhat more sensitive than cut ones."
He nodded up to me with an unspoken apology
and went back to work. It wasn't long before we started to develop a
rhythm, and giving Vic something to concentrate on must have backed him
off the edge a bit. When I was sure that he was deep into what he
was doing with Amy, I pulled out and worked my way behind him where his
ass was now thrusting into her with a lot more vigor.
I grabbed a double handful of his ass, and
opened up is crack. A quick application of spit to his hole and I
started to work a finger inside him. When I felt that I had
loosened him up enough, I spit on my cock and lined up. I entered
him in one long thrust as he drove into Amy. I felt him stiffen
under me and whispered into his ear. "Don't move. Let yourself
get used to it."
He nodded and after a few moments took a few
small tentative back strokes against Amy to see how it felt. He
seemed to like it and I began to fuck him with long smooth strokes.
Again, we built a rhythm. Amy was already trembling all over as
Vic's monster cock was filling her with more dick than most women would
ever get. I sped up enjoying the feeling of his tight no longer
virgin ass against the base of my own dick. It didn't take long
before I felt his ass clamp down on me and he grunted.
That was all I needed. I let
loose with a blast of hot ropey cum deep in his bowels as I felt my
claws bite through the sleeping bags and into the metal deck below us.
We lay there like that for a long time, him embedded in Amy, and
me inside him.
After a while the cold began to get to us and
we snuggled in tight with the sleeping bags wrapped around us. It
was a pleasant way to spend a cold Alaskan night and I think we all had
plans for a repeat performance after the mission was over.
However, when the morning sun peeked over the
southern horizon, we all knew it was time to get to work. The
days were getting shorter and we didn't have a very long window of
opportunity. By the time the sun was was glistening off the
glacial ice, we were standing under it looking up, trying to figure out
the best way to approach the craft that was embedded in it.
It was a good five hundred feet in the air,
and we could just make out the area where steam was rising off
the ice as it melted its way deeper into the glacier. Crimson
looked at me, grinned and asked, "Why am I suddenly reminded of an old
sci-fi movie with James Arnez?"
I laughed and said, "Aren't you a little young
to remember that version of that movie?"
He shook his head and said, "No. I like
the old version better. Cameron's version got lost in the
I laughed and nodded my head. "I know
what you mean." I could really get to like this guy. He
seemed to think the same way I did about a lot of things. Finally
I looked at the two of them and said, "Both of you can fly. So
what we're going to do is this: Crimson, you're going to be our
point man, Onyx, you'll hang back from the wall somewhat and keep
an eye on the ground. I'm going up the ice face."
"How?" she asked.
I flexed my hand, extended my claws, and said,
She nodded and replied, "You're the boss.
But what do we do if we get up there and the pilot starts
shooting at us?"
I stepped back and looked up at the craft,
actually by now it was just a hole in the ice where it had melted its
way deeper into the glacier. "Shoot back," I told her. She
nodded and I asked, "Can you detect any minds up there?"
"Now he asks me?" she said with a sarcastic
grin. "No, but that could be a side effect of whatever is keeping
us from teleporting."
"Not likely," I told her. "Otherwise you
wouldn't have been able to read the minds of the UN soldiers."
"Good point," she said.
I think the speed of our ascent surprised both
of my teammates. I believe they thought they'd be nurse-maiding
me as I made a mountaineer's ascent with ice pitons and ropes.
Instead, I simply sank my claws into the icy surface and headed
up at a fairly brisk pace. It took about a half an our to reach
the area where the ice was turning to slush as it poured out of the
hole and would no longer hold my weight.
I worked my way around the side of the hole and then
several yards above the top of it. It was a good fifty feet across and
took me almost as long to maneuver around it as it did to climb the
whole face of the glacier. It was then that I broke out the rope
and ice pitons. I drove several of them into the ice, secured the
rope and lowered myself until I was standing on the slippery surface of
a long slick tunnel melted into the ice at a downard degree angle.
Crimson and Onyx both landed beside me.
I took one look at the markings on the sleek
craft in the distance and started cussing in Old Norse. The red
tear-drop shaped insignia told me all I needed to know- Gem Corps.
"What is it?" Crimson asked.
"Meirrian," I told him.
"What's a Merrian?" he asked as I cautiously
made my way down the now slick ice floor. Within a few days this ship
was going to be so far buried in that glacier that we'd never get it
out. After that, when it finally cooled down, it would be crushed
by sheer weight of the ice.
"They're an extra-solar empire that claims to
have its origins on Earth in ancient Atlantis to be specific," I told
him. "As a culture, they're ninety-nine bastards and and son of a
"You summed that up pretty well,
Runeclaw," a soft female voice echoed off the icy walls.
"Who's there?" I asked sniffing the air.
A tall woman dressed in a pair of jeans and
flannel shirt stepped out from behind one of the stabilizer fins.
She had white hair with little round furry bear-like black ears
at the top her head, not unlike my own. She was wearing several
things that caught my eye. The first was a cloak that my
infravision told me was giving off a heat field. Secondly she had
a modified Gem Corps psi-sword on her hip, and an energy shield
projector on her wrist. I recognized both of them as equipment
that Jeff Seizemore used as Sun Dancer after he lost his powers.
More importantly though was a dark red tear-drop shaped
crystal on a chain around her neck. I could tell from here
that it was dead. The only other crystal like that I'd ever seen
had been Jeff's. His looked just like it after he had been
stripped of his powers, and his sister, Leighanne now wore it a
similar fashion to this woman.
"Your Panda!," I said. "Angel Blue's
She nodded. "The Gem Corps doesn't have
a great track record on Earth when it comes to keeping their Corpsmen
alive," she said.
"I heard that you left the planet, to have it
out with the Corps," I told her.
"I'm back," she said. "Damn Russians hit
me with a tac-nuke over Siberia. I managed to bring her down
here. The star drive is about to overload. Completely
wrecked local space for about five miles. Can't teleport out, so we're
going to have to get out of here on foot, before the drive goes
"How long?" I asked.
"Less than an hour," she said checking an
instrument on her wrist. Then looking at my team she asked,
"Who're your friends?"
I nodded toward my team and said, "This is
Onyx and Crimson. We're from the DSI. Things are getting a
little tense with the UN right now. They're probably the ones who shot
you down," I told her.
Suddenly I caught the smell of an human about
the same time I heard the beat of a pair of leathery wings. Onyx
reached out and grabbed my arm. "We've got company," we both said
I nodded to Crimson and Onyx and said, "She's
one of the good guys. What's coming up that mountain, I don't
know." Both nodded to me and we got ready for whatever was
coming. Essentially we were trapped in a long tunnel with only
one way out. "Crimson, I want you to go into stealth mode.
Onyx, Panda, I want you two to be prepared for anything. If
that's the UN, I suspect it's going to be UNIPACT Prime."
"An American who thinks; how novel," a strong
male voice with a definite French accent came echoing down the cold
I looked toward the opening in time to see a
black winged shape set down a guy in a light blue body suit- complete
with a UN insignia on the left breast. He had short cropped blond
hair and a strong classical jawline. He also hadn't bathed in at least
a week, which considering his accent, made sense. I could smell
him all the way down here.
A second later another man touched down
beside him. He had long flowing black hair and was dressed in a
red and black suit that was vaguely Middle Eastern in cut. In his
right hand, he seemed to be holding a ball of fire. The speaker
turned to him and said, "Brûlez-les, Agni!."
<Burn them, Agni!>
The man grinned at us with crooked teeth and
drew back his arm. "Incoming!" I yelled behind me and started
charging up toward them. I was hoping they would focus on me and
give my team a chance to escape. A tongue of flame engulfed the
whole tunnel of ice and lashed down toward us. I felt it hit me
square in the chest and wrap itself around me. I roared in pain
as the fire burned the part of me that was a nocturnal to the
core of my soul. I ignored it and continued my charge, knowing
that the pain was not really physical.
I saw the fear in Agni's eyes as I kept
coming. Still firing at me, he and the black-winged form that I
still couldn't make out clearly began to back up toward the opening of
the tunnel. I hit blondie with a shoulder tackle that would have
made JD and our old furball league proud. I launched us both out
of the tunnel and into the clear sky. I figured he couldn't fly
since ol' Batwings was carrying him.
As we exited the hole in the ice, I began to
shift forms. If I was going to take on this guy, I was going to
take him on with all my advantages. When we were high over the
valley below, I looked down at his smaller body and growled. "You
are an illegal military force operating inside American territory.
I'm not going to tell you to leave, I'm going to make you leave,
if I have to kick your worthless ass all the way back to France."
"Ce qui?" he asked with a confused look on his
face. Evidently the idea of this huge monster of a werecat
speaking clearly to him didn't fit his concept of reality.
"Ja dit: Vous etes un envahisseur! Je ne
vais pas vous dire de partir! Je donnerai un coup d pied votre bout de
nouveau a la France!" I translated just before I slammed my
clawed fist into his head.
Blood flew from his mouth as my fist, now the size
of his head, slammed him down and away from me. I watched as he
began to fall away from me at an angle. As my own arc reached its
apex, I tucked and got ready to roll to eat up some of the momentum.
When I hit the ground and came up to my feet,
I saw him about three hundred yards away, pulling himself out of the
hole he'd made in the ground. He was shaking his head and
muttering "Mon dieu," to himself.
I growled, "I am not your God. But I'll
be glad to arrange a meeting between the two of you." This guy
had already pissed me off and I took off at him at run.
"Etienne!" a female voice split the cold
Alaskan air. I ignored it as I felt some kind of force try to
grab onto my body, but slip away ineffectual. He looked up
to see me charging and set himself to meet me head on. I'll give
him credit, an angry anthropomorphic tiger the size of a bull elephant
bearing down on them, is enough to make most men turn tail and run.
Agni and old Batwings had already proven that. He managed
to overcome what has become a cultural predisposition to cowardice and
stood his ground. yeah I know, but to be honest, I have very
little respect for the French- so sue me.
He leapt at me, fist drawn back to deliver a
powerful punch. I skidded to a stop and backhanded him across the
valley into the side of the glaicer. He made a nice man-shaped
indentation in the ice. He was strong, he was hard to hurt, but
he had no real experience. Leaving the ground was his biggest
mistake. It then took very little force for me to simply bat him
Suddenly I was hit again with a tongue of
searing hot flame. This time it was ten times worse than what I
experienced inside the tunnel. Agni was pouring on the power, and
staying out of range. It stopped me dead in my tracks, my body
barely able to move as my clothes were burned away.
Flexing my wrist, I felt the charm fall into
my hand. "Vaxa!" I screamed and felt the Jotun's blade grow in my
"Foolish Djinn," Agni sneered at me. "A sword
cannot reach me up here!"
Djinn? Did he just call me Djinn?
Just how stupid was this guy? I pointed the tip of the blade at
him and screamed, "Vedr!" The effect was immediate. A
howling wind of ice and snow came from the blade and slammed into him.
I watched and chuckled as he was hurled back by the force of the
Looking up, I could not see where Crimson was,
but Onyx was being harassed by the bat winged guy, who seemed to be
screaming at her. The sound was very high pitched but seemed to
be directed. She was covering her ears with both hands, but her
eyes were blazing with a purple light as she stared at him. Then
his face went blank, his mouth closed, his wings folded, and he began
plummeting toward the ground.
Suddenly I was hit in the ribs by something hard and
fast. As I tumbled backwards, I was hit several more times by a
series of punches that walked up my body until a powerful blow caught
me on the chin and I saw proverbial stars. I shook my head and
and felt another one catch me in the nose. Much to my chagrin,
the blows were so powerful, that I dropped Isstonn.
I stepped into a back-stance and grabbed the
much smaller man who was trying to climb up on my head. He was
agile and fast, but not fast enough. My hand closed around him,
pinning his arms to his side. This was a time in recent history
before the appearance of Coral or Cobalt-Blue. At the time, I
only knew of one person in the world who was stronger than I was, and
that was Krieger, and I wasn't so sure about him anymore. I'd
grown a lot since I was sixteen. This little blue-clad twerp was
strong, almost as strong as I was. He tried to force my fist
open. I growled at him and said, "You mess with the tiger,
you get the claws."
I curled my fingers in and extended my claws.
I heard several small "pops" as they penetrated his UN blue
costume and then his body. He screamed once and then fell
forward. I opened my hand and shook him off my claws dropping his
body to the ground. I could see where I'd punched a hole
right through his gut, his lower calf, and his upper shoulder.
"Sentinel!" that female voice from ealier
screamed again. I turned to look in time to see a raven-haired
woman in a white dress, leggings, and cloak racing across the snow
toward the man I'd just dropped. Althought I didn't know her name at
the time, most of the world would eventually come to recognize Shift.
If I'd known then, what I know now, I could have saved a lot of
transhuman lives by killing her then and there. Her powers were
not working in this valley, and she couldn't teleport away. But
as they say, hindsight is twenty/twenty.
I turned to see where Batwings had barely
regained control of his flight before hitting the ground. He was
gliding along about thirty feet off the ground at the base of the
glacier. There weren't a whole lot of thermals coming off the
ground here abouts, so he had to fight for every meter of altitude. .
A movement in the sky caught my eye.
I looked up just in time to see Crimson come
out of "cloak" and shove Onyx out of the way. Suddenly he was
engulfed in one of Agni's fire blasts. I heard him scream once as
the fire began to melt away his costume and skin. What was left
began to fall toward the ground. As I scrambled toward Isstonn,
Panda launched herself out of the hole and tackled the fiery villain
around the waist.
In one hand she had her husband's psi-sword
activated, it's blade burning a brilliant yellow in mid-morning light.
Projected from the bracer on her other wrist, a blue disk of
force was deflecting the fire bolt he'd thrown her way. She
slammed into Agni, driving the sword toward his gut. He
reacted instinctively, pushing her wrist down away from his body.
From where I was standing, I could hear the sizzling of flesh as
the blade of hot plasma seared away whatever flesh was at the juncture
of his legs. He screamed once and flew backwards away from his
Panda was not one to easily give up her target
and twisted in mid air as she began falling toward the ground.
With a flick of her wrist the sword struck again, this time
slicing clean through Agni's right ankle, severing his foot. His
scream of pain and horror echoed off the glacier and mountains as he
flew away, not waiting on his comrades.
I raced to the area where Crimson was falling
and managed to get under him just in time. I could almost hear
Kevin, my old gaming buddy say, "Made that Dex check."
As I collapsed to the ground absorbing the
shock of his fall into my own body, I could smell Crimson's burnt
flesh. He moaned in my arms. I couldn't believe it.
He was still alive- barely. He was burned over most of his
body, and I could tell he was in a lot of pain. I looked up where
Onyx was in a dive following Batwings toward where Shift was cradling
the bleeding form of Sentinel. "Onyx, get down here! I need
you to get Crimson out of here and to a medic!"
She nodded to me grimly and then gestured.
Batwings suddenly did a face-plant into the rocky soil near where
Shift was holding Sentinel. She looked up at him and said
growled. "Get us out of this dead zone. Let the American's
have the ship."
"Actually, nobody is getting my ship," Panda
said from her position floating above the battlefield. "The
damage the Russians did with their tac-nuke has made the star drive
unstable. I'd say in about five minutes, every piece of matter in
this whole valley is going to be compressed small enough to fit in a
tea spoon. I'd suggest we all get the hell out of here."
As she landed, I transfered Crimson to Onyx.
"Get him and get out of range as fast as you can, and then
"What about you?" she asked.
"I'll get home my own way. It may take me a
bit longer, but I'm going to make sure our uninvited guests leave empty
handed," I said turning my back to her.
"You sure about this, Runeclaw?" she asked.
"That was an order, Onyx," I told her.
I could almost see her grin behind my back.
"Yes, sir." I heard the sound of the wind as she ascended
into the air over us.
I stepped up to Shift and Batwings whose name
I now knew was Nocturne. Looking down on them I said, "I've got
injured, you've got injured. We can call it a truce, or the three
of us can battle it out until that engine reduces us all to neutronium.
It's your call."
She nodded at me as as Nocturne began beating
his wings to rise into the air. He grabbed Sentinel under the
arms took off. As he rose further, Shift took hold of his lower
leg and was pulled off the ground as well. "This is not over, Runeclaw.
You will pay for what you have done. The UN will not be
denied. I will not be denied."
Call it a moment of weakness, call it an
attempt to twist the knife. I couldn't help it. I looked up
at her and in my best Mark Lenard voice said, "Threats are illogical,
and payment is often expensive." She gave me a strange
questioning look and I said, "This is American soil. I will
defend it." Then they were gone, disappearing into the rising
mist coming off the glacier.
I shifted up into my battleform and started
off into the direction that Onyx and Panda went. I barely made it
out of the area before half a mountain was sucked into what was
basically a microscopic blackhole. What was left was a huge circular
crater of smooth rock and ice.
As it was Onyx had followed orders
and was long gone by the time I got clear. I didn't get to watch
much of the destruction, I was too busy trying to get out of its way.
By the time the ground stopped shaking, I ended up heading out
of the mountains on foot. It took me a week to make it to
It was years before I ever saw Onyx again. As
for Crimson, I couldn't get a straight answer out of General Presley
about what happened to him. I don't know if he died, if he
recovered, or if he was captured by little furry aliens.
Considering who I met in Florida, I'm not entirely ruling out the
latter possibility. To be honest, I'm not sure even the General
knows what happened to him.