this model is going to work perfect. As long as you keep it dry,
the final touches on this version blend so well with the feline
population, it would take an expert to tell the difference."
rubbed his stubble for a moment before he replied.
If it gets wet, it's over and if it runs into catastrophic
damage in any way the jig is up."
was quick to defend his pet project. "I got it covered, Duck.
I have a new waterproof skin in final stages in the lab. The next
rev will be waterproof to fifty feet, and you know how cats hate
water. I got him programmed to fight like hell if forced at more
than three ounces of any kind of liquid."
haven't addressed the mess if it is destroyed in view of witnesses"
of all, Kitty has 3900 lives. My Catastrophe Avoidance Teleportation
System deals with the issue. If a cat were to be run over by a
terrestrial vehicle, you get a red tinged skimming cat. If the
same thing was to happen to Kitty, he simply disappears."
is only if he is aware of the impending danger."
has far more sensors than you and I. He can 'feel' danger long
before we could see or hear it coming. Any semblance of aggression
is the trigger."
so your Kitty sees a leaf falling from a tree and disappears?"
He has a defense system as well as the avoidance
system. He can observe and react accordingly. He has the right
tools to fend off a predator or pest like a canine. His claws
are tipped with light fecal microbes to make a scratch painful
and not soon forgotten and his motivation is about twice what
a normal feral cat would have."
feral? Would it not be better to have him living with the targets
as a house pet?"
pets go to the vet."
point, but when do you put the real poison in its system and when
will the new skinned Kitty be ready for testing?"
next week. I think everything is ready now but for the waterproofing.
I'll call you when we start the first test run on the next prototype.
The aggressive cancer accelerator is ready now and will be in
system with the new model. Take Kitty 6 here and watch him until
the new model is out. You can make a list of questions or comments
and I can address them at the next showing. If you find any serious
bugs, let me know immediately so I can clean them up in the working
* * *
Mommy and Daddy and Fossy. Amen."
is Fossy, Sweetie?"
is my best friend."
climbed into bed and pulled the covers up to her chin. She looked
up at her mom with a smug smile.
I didn't know you had made a friend here in the neighborhood.
Who is Fossy?"
is my kitty friend. I found her behind the house by the garden
shed. She's pretty and she likes me because she let me pet her
and even climbed up on my legs when I sat down so she could snuggle
that must be a neighbor's cat. It must live near here. Where did
you called me for supper, she ran down the trail into the trees
behind our house."
you see her name on her collar? Could you read it?"
Mom, she didn't have a collar."
did you find out her name?"
must be a special cat. She can talk?"
Honey, time for sleep. Maybe I can meet your new friend tomorrow."
Mom, maybe she will tell you her name too."
flicked on the night light, kissed her little girl goodnight and
stepped out of the room, flicking off the light as she did.
pair of yellow eyes reflected the dim glow of the Mickey Mouse
night light from the back corner of the open closet.
a few minutes, the yellow reflections became blue lights and a
low hum began as the hard drives were backed up to the permanent
discs orbiting the planet. The hum was rhythmic. Essentially,
it sounded like a contented purr.
* * *
Remolds, was the upload successful?"
Jenks, it looks fine. Thousands of feeds are now populating the
recon database. Get me Duck and Beans."
trotted off the bridge and headed for the lab. Those two geeks
would be in heaven with all this data. He popped into the lab,
where he found them bent over dueling monitors.
Beans. Cap'n wants you on the bridge."
he had an answer, he popped back onto the transport wheel and
rode on toward the lounge. Shift was over and so was he.
later the Kitty engineer and his manager were stepping onto the
this is the king's ship and protocol will be followed."
Ya, sorry, Captain. Just not used to military talk."
get used to it. Beans, have you a report ready for me?"
about, Boss... Uh. Captain, we are just compiling the results
as we speak. May we?" Beans pointed at one of the navigators
by all means. I want a project status to baseline this mission.
The Marble needs our report by 16:00."
problem, Captain," Duck responded as he flopped into the
navigator's chair with something less than finesse. His fingers
flew over the keyboard and ones and zeros were soon running all
over the monitor.
pulled up a chair and pointed with comments as needed.
a few minutes a key was turned, a button pushed and the captain's
console lit up with a report to inspect.
nodded and grunted at it for a few minutes and waved Beans over.
"What does this mean?"
means we are almost ready, Captain. A new shipment is on the way
down as we speak. The outback of Australia is loaded to the point
of saturation. It's a good thing Kitties don't need to eat. By
this time next week, we will be ready to implement the project.
* * *
Mom? Fossy is such a nice cat. All she wants to do is cuddle and
purr." Fossy watched contentedly as Francis came over to
pet the soft white cat curled on her daughter's legs.
does look friendly, Honey. I've been to the neighbors all around
and no one seems to know her, so I guess by the missing collar
she must have been abandoned. She is too friendly to be feral,
though. I suppose she's just lost. I'll tell you what, I'll post
a message at the post box and if no one claims her in a week,
we'll have her checked over and you can keep her if she checks
beamed and hugged the big white cat close. Fossy returned the
affection with a purring snuggle and Francis felt a glow at seeing
her daughter finally in a positive mood in their new home.
love you, Fossy. Show Mom how you can talk. Tell me you love me."
meowed quietly and nuzzled in further.
on, Fossy, don't be shy." Fossy just cuddled more.
ok, Honey; she doesn't need words to prove it. Look at how much
she loves you."
turned for the house but a tiny little frown crossed her face
as she pulled the screen door open. As she closed the door, her
hand reached for the phone book. She would feel much better when
this cat was checked out, de-clawed, had all current shots and
was spayed if needed.
found a listing and dialed. In a moment, the answering system
spat out a person.
my name is Francis Pennington. My family just moved here and we
have been adopted by a huge white cat. I haven't been able to
find an owner, so I would like to bring her in for a visit to
make sure she is healthy, tagged and safe
Yes, Friday will
be just right. See you at two."
hung up the phone and watched as her daughter enjoyed the back
yard with her new friend. She was amazed at how the cat followed
the girl around more like a dog. The poor thing must have been
starved for attention after being lost from a very loving family.
Maybe there is a chip or tattoo in her ear.
made a mental note to give the cat a bath before she took it in
to the vet. Maybe she could see a tattoo.
peek at the happy scene in the back yard and she began to prepare
dinner. Ted would be home soon and a good movie was primed for
* * *
we are ready to launch."
work, Captain Remolds. Next month we can start clean up operations
and with a few months dealing with the carnage, the teams will
have the exiles ready to retake our homes."
you, Major. The Kitty project is ahead of schedule and we have
identified and fixed every bug we have found in the system. I
have to say this eccentric team of lab rats has outdone themselves
with this Trojan horse scheme. We don't have to risk a single
are these 'lab rats' you are so proud of?"
sir, they are an unlikely duo named Henry Benson and Donald Ducuvney...
They have become known as Beans and Duck partially from their
names, but more so from their mannerisms. I'm sure you don't want
when the dust clears, I want to present medals for those boys.
Their work is going to free us from the Marble and allow us a
great life on an unpopulated planet. Our people deserve a home."
sir. I will deliver them when we get settled in."
I see all the continents listed here and all the major islands.
Have there been measures to deal with the smaller pockets of Earth
sir. As you can see on the next screen, kitties were supplied
by grid to any land mass more than a mile across. If any local
population is left, they may as well be on a deserted island if
they are not already. I'm sure there will be the odd local to
deal with, but case by case will take only rudimentary effort
and there has to be no trauma to exile personnel."
looks like you have it covered, Captain. Good work. Begin at 06:00
Marble time and send me hourly reports. The general is going to
be most interested in the details."
and Captain, send me a benign version of the WMD. I want to really
scrutinize the workmanship."
sir. On its way."
signal died abruptly and Reynolds labeled a box for Major Hernandez.
'One kitty for the Marble,' he thought. 'I bet it becomes a pet.'
Remolds turned his attention to the launch count down.
* * *
filled the sink with water and brought out the new pet shampoo.
She laid out towels and laid a mat on the floor near the counter.
She was excited. It seemed there was a large family of these abandoned
cats and the neighbors were taking them in all around. She was
proud; she had been the first to help the poor things.
smiled as she thought of how her mom had tricked Fossy by wrapping
her in a towel. Fossy was content and purring with her eyes closed
in her mother's arms.
temperature is just right. I can put my elbow in it without jumping."
Honey. Fossy is going to enjoy this when it's over. You watch,
she will be as frisky as a kitten."
Kitty was dipped towel and all into the warm water with eyes bulging,
but it could not move. It tried to enable teleport, but the trigger
was not met. It did not sense danger or aggression, only distaste
for water. It stopped struggling as the wrapping became heavy
with water. The soggy blanket was loosened and Fossy stood still
as it was removed. This was a new experience to its sensors and
there was no action bound to the environment. Fossy was quickly
a dripping mop of clotted hair with a warm vinyl smell. Things
progressed without event until the shampoo was applied. Eyes wide,
the WMD was neutralized as its coating melted slowly and sagged
heavily under its belly. Metal and wires became evident and a
shocked mother and daughter backed away as their new cat sparked
and sizzled in the sink.
ran for the phone, dialed 911, and explained the event to a skeptical
dispatcher. She had just enough of the right tone to spark a call
to a cruiser near by.
brought wild stories on the early news as masses of the robotic
cats were discovered. Word spread like a tsunami around the world,
where people were washing and hosing down cats with fervor and
watching most disappear as realization seeped in.
were stories of cat attacks and the bulletins were full of cat
scratch fever. All ended with death. A pandemic was in full force
and quickly attributed to an attack from an advanced enemy.
exiles fled back to the Marble to wait out the events, where Beans
and Duck never got their medals.
attack, the vast majority of kitties teleported back but the incident
provided the extinction of the common house cat and there were
huge fatalities including one on the Marble, where Major Hernandez
died of cat scratch fever when swatting at the WMD in anger.