New Lives, Old Ways 9.99:
The Battle of Quatermass Island

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/F sex
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Ah krud," Chance snarled as he felt their Enforcer jet, the Black Sun, pulled sideways into the portal PastMaster had created in the middle of the battlefield. "Hold on, this is about to get fun," he warned Jake, trying vainly to hit the boosters to keep from being pulled in, before he gave up and turned to fly with the portal, so they'd save fuel on the way through.

They couldn't be sure if they'd be able to get any on the other side or not.

I'm really starting to hate this guy," Jake growled at they hit the event horizon of the psychedelic swirling disk. "At least the others just shoot at us."

"Let's just hope we don't end up in the Jurassic again," Chance muttered, flying on through and into the heavily clouded sky on the other side. "Keep an eye out for anything coming at us!"

Jake let out a small gasp of shock as both their radar screens went green with slow-moving targets.

"Battle," Jake got out, though it was obvious enough with the shooting and chaotic mass of ancient bi-planes in their prime all around them. "Punch it," he ordered half a breath later. "Get us above this!"

"Will d- shit, Jake, if you shoot anything, make it the grey-green ones!" Chance shouted back, peeling off as they nearly ran into one of them. "And take down the guy I'm getting you a lock on, fast!" He added as he spotted one of the planes going after a blue one he recognized.

"Okay," Jake didn't sound sure, but he locked a missile on and fired the moment he was sure he had a lock. "You want to fight?"

"I'll pick the targets for you," Chance reassured him. "Middle of the Battle of Quatermass Island; grey-green are Lothosian, I'm going for targets going after people I know lived through this battle."

"Krud," Jake hissed under his breath. "Understood. I know most of them too," he added as they turned and he picked off another target with the heavy blasters. "Is it just me, or does our side seem to know us?"

"Well, they're not shooting at us, but I'll take that as a good thing ... see if you can raise somebody on comm?" Chance suggested, pulling into a tight loop to get around behind one of the fighters that was trying to get a lock on them.

"Just a minute, I have to reconfigure for the time," Jake said quickly, his tone the distracted one of being heavily involved in something else. "Just keep us alive."

"Will do," Chance nodded, switching fire control to his station, firing a burst across the nose of one of the Lothosian fighters to get their attention.

By the time he'd shot it and it's wingman down, he could hear the crackle of old radio over the comm.

"This is the Black Sun to Quatermass Island, please respond," Jake spoke calmly and strongly despite the jinking and firing of the jet.

"Welcome back, Black Sun," an absolutely relieved sounding voice responded. "What do you need?"

"Welcome back?" Chance asked Jake. "Did I hear that right?"

"Time travel," Jake sighed, irritated to no end. "In the future, we'll be sent back to earlier in the war," he said before clicking the radio on to transmit. "Is there anything we can do other than shoot down the enemy?"

"We've got a Lothosian battle carrier none of our boys can reach," Command told them. "If you can take it out, there won't be as much AA fire to watch out for."

"Understood and will do," Jake told her. "You heard the lady, let's go trash a carrier," he grinned up at his partner as he got into the battle and adrenaline rush of it.

"On our way," Chance grinned back, turning out towards the ocean and gunning his engines. "Got something special for our Lothosian friends, or sticking with the old standards?"

"Do you remember what carrier it is?" Jake asked, running through his options and pulling of ancient trivia from the back of his memory.

"They had six in this battle," Chance said, jinking to the side as he dodged fire from one of the batteries. "Five standard and one super-carrier ... shit, we can't take out the super," he swore, remembering the details of the battle.

"Then let's blast the others," Jake accepted it without asking for details. He was pretty sure he knew why anyway. "Just get me close to one of the others. We can take out the guns without sinking the ships too if any of them survived."

"Best if we can do that," Chance agreed, diving through the fire of flak cannons, spinning the jet in ways the gunner down below didn't know where possible yet to avoid their shots as he looked to get Jake a good firing angle. It wasn't hard, really. They were both trained and equipped to handle much more advanced AA fire than this, more than a century, two generations, more advanced.

Jake opened up with guns and blasters, saving their missiles for the big jobs that might come up. Turret after turret exploded, leaving the ships largely intact, but defenseless and completely out of the battle.

"EMP buildup detected," the ship's computer announced calmly.

Chance swore and veered off sharply as a massive electrical blast flew past them. "Kats alive, they actually have a freakin' lightning gun?"

"Not for long," Jake growled as he locked a missile onto the weapon and fired.

As the cannon exploded, another message came through the comm system.

"Blue Manx to Black Sun - I've got a clear path, taking out the Super Carrier! You two get clear and work on the others," he told them, coming in for a bombing run on the huge, heavily armored ship.

"How?" Jake couldn't help himself even as Chance turned them towards the other targets.

"Steelfire," the Blue Manx replied.

"Two hundred pounds of Thermite," Chance translated. "Not even a supercarrier can withstand it when it lands on an ammo depot or fuel storage.

"Understood, Blue Manx," Jake replied. "Sweet bomber," he added to himself as he got a quick look at the armored bi-plane, a truly odd sight, made it's attack run.

"Bomber, fighter - one of the best of its day, either way," Chance agreed. "You and he had a lot in common, really - now c'mon, we've got four more carriers to send packing," he grinned wickedly.

"I think a fanboy moment's coming up in a few hours," Jake snickered to himself before they both focused on ripping into the enemy forces with an abandon and daring they rarely got a chance to display in their own time.

"Black Nights assemble!" The Blue Manx's voice crackled over the primitive radio transmission when the skies had been cleared of enemies and the ships that remained retreated beyond normal range. "You too, Black Sun. R2."

"Yes sir," Chance responded, moving into formation behind the Wizer's right wing.

"You haven't met me yet, have you, Chance?" the voice came back with a bit of a chuckle in it as the other planes, much more typical for the time, formed up.

"Nope," Chance admitted. "I'm guessing we've been here before, in your time."

"Twice that I know of," he said. "It may have been more. You're heavily classified beyond your jet being an ally. We can talk more on the ground."

"Be a pleasure, Blue Manx," Chance grinned. "Think my partner can get a look at Wizer?"

"He helped designer her, I don't see why not," the Blue Manx laughed.

"Remember," Chance chuckled as he turned off his comm, "that means that when we come back to do that, you can't put anything on her you don't see this time around."

"I know, I know," Jake rolled his eyes. "Just building her from what's around in this time will limit the hell out of it. I am kinda surprised it's still a bi-plane."

"Upgrade it any further, and it becomes the obvious target - sort of like we would've been if they'd been able to keep up with us," Chance pointed out. "And there's the limits of the engine... they'd have already moved beyond biplanes if they had the engines to move them fast enough and still be maneuverable."

"True," Jake said, his mind off in designer land as they came into view of the airstrip at Quatermass Island. "I'm still sure I could have fixed that, but I'll keep it in mind. No screwing with the past."

"Blue Manx, this is Black Sun, we can't land with you," Chance said. "Breaking formation for landing."

"Understood Black Sun," he said easily. "See you on the ground.

Chance broke off of formation, finding a safe, flat place near the strip where his exhaust wouldn't incinerate the landing planes and he could slow down to VTOL speeds without somebody crashing into them, doing so and coming down for a gentle landing.

"How much fuel do we have left, and how long is it going to end up taking us to find a way home?" He asked Jake, hoping to get a feel for their situation. Out of gas in wartime would not be a good position to be in.

"I can tweak the engines to accept the local fuel," Jake assured him as they powered down and did the post-flight check. "We'll loose a little by way of thrust, but given the locals, it won't be significant. It's the missiles that can't be replaced with anything respectable. Getting home ... I have no clue. But it sounds like we're here for a reason, so I'd say we're staying until it's finished."

"Peachy... maybe they'll have a mage they can spare after whatever it is is over with," Chance sighed, sliding back the cockpit after the post-flight was through. "At least we landed in an era with indoor plumbing, huh?" He chuckled lowly.

"Oh yeah," Jake grinned and leapt to the ground where quite a crowd was gathering, including a significant amount of the local brass. It was still the Blue Manx that greeted them first.

"Welcome to Quatermass Island," the fit tan tom a bit younger than them extended a hand to Chance.

"Wish I could say I was glad to be here, but you know the situation better than we do from the sound of it," Chance chuckled, shaking his hand. "Glad we were able to be a help though."

"That you have," Gregory Manx grinned at them. "I'm sure the brass has plenty to talk to you about, but catch you at the officer's club when they turn you loose?"

"Sure thing," Chance grinned back. "Can't wait to get a chance to talk to you."

"Fanboy," Jake snickered softly in the background as Gregory turned away, saluted the ranking officers that had gathered and headed off with his wing.

"It is good to have you here, Furlong, Clawson," a Lieutenant Commander that they both quickly recognized as Tedine Feral, greeted them and returned the salute the pair quickly gave him. "Come. We have much to discuss about the situation."

"Yes, sir," Chance said as they both followed the Xanith officer. "Sir, if I may ask, what's the date?"

"August 28th, 2417," he said as they walked to the control tower. "I understand this is, for you, your first time in the war?"

"It is, sir," Chance nodded. "If it helps, you don't have another attack coming for a few weeks, assuming our presence didn't change what's happening. The attack on Quatermass Island was supposed to be Lothos' opening move in what was supposed to be a land invasion; losing the super carrier, they turn back to try and prepare a larger assault force."

"That is what intelligence said would happen," her nodded. "For us, this is your third appearance, and you have already made a huge difference in the war effort. You have turned major battles, and stopped a great evil that came from your time." He fell silent as they went inside and he walked to his office. It was small and cramped, relative to what they were used to, but he was not disgruntled by it either.

"I would say you just turned the tide on another major battle," he said as he shut the door and sat down at his desk. "Please sit."

"Thank you, sir," Chance nodded, taking a seat. "Unfortunately, since this is our first time here, we don't really know what we're supposed to influence, or how it'll affect the future," he admitted.

"They still haven't figured it out, ay?" he chuckled lightly. "Well, I wouldn't hold back. According to you, we win the war. You can't change that by shooting down the enemy."

"It's still under debate, right along with the nature of magic, sir," Jake said.

"As I remember from our old discussions on the subject," Feral pointed out, "there is a school of thought that says you've already done it, we just classified that you were the ones who did it. You should check for reports of UFO's over Lothosian space when you get back in the future, they couldn't believe that we had any allies with that sort of technology."

"That is what I was thinking," Jake nodded. "This war isn't our first time trip, and on some of them being careful was the further away from our concerns as it could get. It would still be best to avoid things that are too blatant. Pictures will be the most difficult."

"You let us worry about that," the Lieutenant Commander chuckled. "This is wartime. We have almost unilateral authority to confiscate anything we need to, and we have."

"You are so lucky you're not trying to operate in modern day MKC," Chance chuckled lowly. "Your grandkits would have a Hell of a time doing that, with some of the reporters we have."

"It's all because we're in a state of war," he said evenly. "We couldn't do it otherwise. I'm fairly sure your current Commander could as well, if things got this bad again. National security goes a long way in war.

"But on to what you actually need to know," Feral shifted topics. "While you are here, you are part of the Black Knights under Captain Manx. I expect new orders to come down soon though, so enjoy the free time while you have it. You'll likely be shifted to the front lines somewhere, or head to battles all over the world, if half of what I've heard about that bird of yours is true.

"Since you are new to this time, is there anything I can answer for you?" he offered. "I understand you are both history buffs of a sort."

"Of a sort," Chance agreed. "I've got war history, Jake's got tech ... I don't suppose our money's any good here?"

"Let me see it," he extended a hand.

Chance pulled out his wallet, handing over a few bills.

"I'm sure our cards won't be - don't think they even had them yet," he admitted as Feral examined his money. "I've always preferred being knocked into the future, for reasons like this."

"No, your cards won't work, but your money is good," he handed the bills back. "I wouldn't worry about it much though. There's nothing to pay for on the island, and by the time your assigned anywhere else, you'll have a paycheck from us for what little might not be on base somewhere. Plus pilots almost never get to pay for their own drinks or meals," he smiled a little knowingly.

"We'll keep it in mind," he nodded. "I'm more of a buff on the tactics than how troops got by," he admitted. "So, anything else we should ask about, Jake?" He asked, looking at his markedly quiet partner.

The lean tom glanced at him, and Chance recognized that distance gaze all too well; plotting.

He couldn't be surprised, really.

"Just how much of a secret are we, to our own forces?" Jake asked evenly as he focused a little more on the conversation.

"Once Manx outfits you to look like one of his unit, you won't have much to hide," Feral chuckled. "I understand you are Black Knights in your own time?"

"We are," Chance chuckled. "Sir... you've probably already heard this from me before, but I do have skills besides being a pilot. In an actual war, I can use them, as long as I get to tell you if a target's off-limits because of the time-line."

"Yes, I have heard of your abilities out of the air," Feral nodded. "That is not a call I am likely to make, though other CO's may. You are far more valuable as a pilot to me here on the island."

"Lieutenant Commander, Are there any ... special projects ... we are likely to be called in on?" Jake asked a little uneasily.

"I'm sure there are," he admitted. "I do not know what, however, or when. All I've been told is that Command may take the Black Knights from me for a series of special deliveries if the war doesn't end soon."

"Ah... those special projects," Chance murmured, searching his memory to see how long they had before they'd be expected to fly those missions. If he was right, it wasn't going to be something he liked.

The look and nod Jake gave him just confirmed it. The A-bomb. History had credited the Black Knights as a squadron, and never named who had the load, or if all of them did.

It was also a solid two years away.

He really hoped they wouldn't be here that long.

"I'm sure they know just how much I can speed things up," Jake sighed, looking down. "We'll do whatever the war needs us to."

"I know you will," Feral said with an equally grave nod. "You will also receive credit for all you have done when you get back to your own time. Kills, medals, time and promotions have all been arranged to transfer forward. I do not know the details of how, just that it will happen."

"Times like this I really wish I didn't have to worry about changing the future," Chance mused. "My folks could really benefit from me leaving them half my paychecks for a hundred years or so interest."

"They wouldn't get it, somehow," Jake said with a certainty that was entirely inappropriate for such a debatable subject.

"Okay, before this breaks into a temporal physics/alternate dimensions debate, do what you think is right," Feral held up his hands and actually laughed deeply. "You enjoy the party. You two and Manx are the heroes of the hours after all."

"Yes Sir," Chance grinned, saluting the Lieutenant Commander before he and Jake turned to leave.

"You think you might be the guy who built it?" He asked Jake quietly, once they were out of earshot.

"Not by myself, no," he shook his head sharply as they walked. "That I may have given a critical breakthrough or two in a needed moment, it's reasonably likely. Care to help pick out a girl for me tonight? Assuming there's a free one."

"Heh - no problem," Chance winked. "I'll just keep an eye out for girlfriends each looking to get some," he grinned. "Want me to tell you if I spot a guy who's interested?" He asked more quietly.

Jake bit his lower lip, seriously torn, and nodded. "Yeah, if you're sure."

"Only if I'm damn sure," Chance nodded. "Don't worry - I'll mostly be on the lookout for nurses," he grinned, clapping a hand on Jake's shoulder.

"I'm sure you'll find a couple cute sisters to dance with," Jake snickered. "Don't worry if you don't spot somebody for me. You know I can enjoy a night working on the jet just as well."

"Hey guys!" one of the Black Knights, dark brown tabby with a Lieutenant Junior Grade bar, waved at them when they stepped outside. "Gregory told me to wait for you, show you around. I bet you don't even know where you're sleeping yet, or the mess, much less the officer's club."

"Nope," Chance admitted even as he IDed the youth as Arden Sharpclaw. "Though I'm hoping the Club's in the same place it'll be at in our time," he chuckled. "You know they haven't remodeled this place since it was built, probably won't for another hundred and fifty years after I retire," he winked.

"Well, I've give you a quick tour," he said, motioning to an open top jeep. "It's probably all where you remember it. Sleeping quarters isn't much to speak of," he grumbled as they all got on board, and for once Chance didn't get to drive. "Everywhere else, officers get their own quarters and flight crews get the best. Here, we're in open barracks. They've been promising for a year to build more officer's quarters, but it's not exactly a priority, you know. The only thing they've done is make sure that each wing gets it's own bay."

"Bet it makes nights like tonight noisy," Chance chuckled lowly. "Or is there somewhere else to crash for that sort of situation?"

"If you hook up with a girl, they usually have private quarters, or at least only a couple roommates," he told them. "That's the mess," he pointed to a building as they drove by. "And that one's the commissary. Most of us try not to go back to our barracks with a date. It doesn't always go over well."

"We'll keep it in mind; thanks for the heads up," Chance nodded. "We're not looking to cause trouble or anything."

"Is he always this well behaved?" Arden shot a look back at Jake, who chuckled softly and shook his head. "Relax, you're a Black Knight. We're the best of the best. We fly fast, fight hard, and party wild."

"Yeah, but I'm still in 'guest' mindset," Chance chuckled. "Back home, you'd never believe the trouble I can get in," he winked.

"That much is true," Jake snickered. "He's a wild one when he's behaving."

"You'll fit right in then," Arden grinned. "Here's our barracks," he pointed to a building on the right and handed over a couple keys to Jake. "It's not much, but it's a real roof. Better than the front line, not nearly as good as the home front."

"We'll find a couple bunks that haven't been claimed whenever we get back," Chance chuckled. "Anywhere else on the ten-cent tour?"

"Just the officer's club," he grinned as he turned the jeep around. "It'll be a real party tonight, and all the drink is free. About the only perk of this place, really."

"Yeah, but what a perk," Chance grinned. "Especially since we probably know a recipe or two your guys don't yet."

"Oh boy," Jake laughed deeply. "This'll be a wild night."

"That's the idea," Chance winked. "A few atomics can make the party a real blast."

"Keep that talk up and you'll get stuck behind that bar," Arden warned him with a snicker and pulled into a packed parking lot outside a club that was already in full swing. "Go ahead," he stopped by the door. "I'll be in when I park this thing."

"See you there," Chance grinned, climbing out with Jake and heading in, already looking around for the Blue Manx.

"There," Jake pointed to him, still wearing the leather pilot's jacket and scarf that we wore in the air and laughing it up with part of his wing and quite a crowd of girls, some in uniforms, but most in dresses.

A muscular black Kat nudged Manx's ribs and pointed at the door, and his grin lit up.

"There you are!" Gregory called out and strode towards them. "The heroes of the day! Folks! Attention!" he nearly yelled to draw everyone's attention from what they were doing. Even the live band stopped playing. "I'd like to introduce you to the team that flies that incredible black beauty that saved our tails today."

A huge cheer exploded from the room, a combination of cheer and welcome and thanks.

"Chance 'Sundance' Furlong, pilot, and Jake 'Raven' Clawson, gunner, of the Black Sun!" Gregory called out to everyone to continued cheering and greetings. "And they are mine!" he added with a possessive grin.

"No you don't," Chance grinned, grabbing Jake's shoulder before the lean tom could find a way to bolt and loose himself in working on the Black Sun. "This is what comes with bein' a hero, remember? Now c'mon," he chuckled, hauling Jake up to the bar.

"You wanted to be the hero," Jake complained, though he didn't resist being hauled off, or the first drink of many he'd have that night as he tried to relax at the center of attention.

"You just worry about bragging about Blackie," Chance smirked, quickly filling the bartender in on how to make a couple of his favorite drinks and taking one of them, sizing up the room to see just what their company looked like tonight.

From the looks of the ladies, they'd be spoiled for choice. A few were clearly taken, but most gave the newcomers more than a lingering glance. The really noticeable thing to him was the almost complete lack of pure-blood Xanith, and the absolute absence of Kantin of any kind. They weren't common in modern times, but they were always around.

Chance couldn't help a private smile when he felt Jake begin to relax as talk with his new wingmates turned towards their plane and Jake's work on it.

He grinned at a pair of tabby shekats who were looking he and Jake over ... they were dressed much more conservatively than he was used to with skirts well below the knee and dresses up the collarbone and down the arms, and he had to remind himself that they were being fairly provocative for the time.

After a moment, he took another look over the various shekats, and realized that those he could see who had insignia of any sort were wearing nurse markers, or administrative... no pilot's wings or anything of the sort. It was a stark reminder of the differences between his time and this one ... he had to wonder what they'd think of his wing commander being a woman.

He chuckled lowly at the thought as he got a new drink, already starting to feel nicely buzzed ... whatever they were using, it was as potent as it was good.

It also sunk in that for all the looks he was getting, none of them had made a move towards him. A little looking reminded him why; it wasn't socially appropriate for them to here. It was the guy doing the moves.

"Hey, Jake," Chance asked during a lull in the conversation. "What you think of the nurses over there?" He asked, nodding towards the two tabbies.

"If they're nice, they are pretty," Jake agreed, most of his attention on a technical conversation with Gregory.

"When things wind down, why don't we go have a chat with 'em ... unless you'd rather I bring 'em over?" Chance asked him.

"Sure," Jake agreed without paying much attention to what he was agreeing to.

Chance could only chuckle, roll his eyes and start to mingle. At this rate, his partner wasn't going to be interested in a date with anyone but the Blue Manx.

Not that he could blame him - he'd be more than happy for a night with him, himself. He just hoped that Jake remembered not to try anything unless it was tried with him first ... he had no clue if Greg was anything but straight, history hadn't really addressed that beyond the fact that he had married and had kits. And being wrong these days could be a serious problem, which Jake knew well enough.

Girls giggled and gave him flirting eyes, hoping to catch his attention as he moved away from his squad and into the main room. One girl walking in the door caught his attention though, mostly for being different. She wasn't in uniform, she didn't have any insignia, but she was dressed like a pilot, and no one gave her gruff for it.

Then again, being a Feral from her looks, if a short and lightly-build one, that wasn't a smart idea.

"Hey, beautiful," he smiled, walking over towards her. "You a pilot?" He asked her, without the usual tone of incredulity or disbelief he was sure she was used to.

"Yap," she grinned at him even as she accepted a mixed drink from the bartender. "I saw you come in through that whirling disk. You made quite a difference today. Thank you," she added much more seriously, though the look only lasted a moment. "Furlong, right? The Sundancer."

"That's me," he grinned. "And you're Agetha Feral?" He guessed, hoping he had her name right. She wasn't a household name like the Blue Manx, but he knew he'd heard of a Feral civilian pilot at Quatermass, and she was the most likely candidate.

"Yes," she looked honestly surprised. "I'm remembered that long?"

"Not widely known," he admitted. "But to folks who follow fighter pilots? Yeah," he smiled. "One of the first female fighter pilots, and a civilian doing her part for the war effort right out there with the troops? You're definitely remembered. My flight leader's a major fan," he chuckled.

Agetha blushed, an odd look for a Feral, but one that made her look rather endearing. "Glad to know I made enough of a difference to make mark." He hesitated, then shook her head and took a sip of her drink. "How do you ever get that much metal to fly so fast?" she asked instead. "She's incredible to watch, but she doesn't look possible."

"Jake's better to answer that question, but the basics are the wonders of the jet engine," Chance explained. "Metal planes started out when we managed to get gas motors running a better horsepower, and from there we moved to jets - instead of props, they compress air and fuel and just shoot fire and sheer thrust out the other end. Y'want to take a look?" He offered, finishing his second drink and feeling more than buzzed enough that he shouldn't drive, much less fly.

"Yes!" she all but squealed, though she managed to keep it on just this side of appropriate. "That would be great," she purred and hooked her arm around his. "Want a drink for the road?"

"I shouldn't," he chuckled. "They make 'em pretty strong here," he admitted. "Guessing there's a bit more than just alcohol in most of the drinks?"

"You seem fine to me," Agetha looked honestly surprised, and considered her own drink before glancing at the bartender.

"Nothing illegal," he promised them with a chuckle. "You don't seem drunk at all, sir."

"Not wasted, but I wouldn't want to fly like this," Chance chuckled, shaking his head. "Even driving might be a little iffy... which you guys haven't heard of," he guessed, with the looks he was being given.

"DUI's decades away," Jake commented just loud enough for Chance to catch.

"Yes, but it's okay," Agetha promised. "Now, you mentioned showing me that beautiful Black Sun of yours?"

"Sure thing," he grinned, knowing full well that she was flirting with him, but just as intent on making sure she did get to look the jet over before anything else happened.

Besides, if he remembered correctly, she was the Commander's daughter... it'd be good to at least try to be interested in something other than getting in her panties. He turned around, leading her out and towards the field where they'd left their bird. It felt weird, leaving her out in the open by the runway like that, but it was what everyone did. There weren't any hangars here, wouldn't be for decades; not until the jets arrived and they had to pave the airstrip.

"We can take one of the jeeps," Agetha suggested, surprised when he seemed to be walking towards the planes.

"Think I'd rather walk," he smiled. "The weather's nice, and maybe it'll take some of the buzz off," he explained. "Maybe enough that I can take you up for a spin, if you'd like," he winked.

"You partner wouldn't object?" she shivered at the idea and completely lost any idea of taking a jeep. "It must be incredible, flying so fast."

"Oh it is," he grinned. "And not at all - he took a date up just a couple days before we got here, so we'll be even," he winked as the brisk night air and sea breeze did help to clear his head a bit, though he knew full damn well he wasn't sober enough for duty, and wouldn't be for three or four hours at least.

"Mmm, you'll spoil me for my little bird," she purred. "What's it like, in your time? You said your wingleader looked up to me?"

"Well, for one thing, we've got men and women both on our squad. The Black Knight's leader is actually a fem," he explained. "Other wings have Kantin and Xanith too ... it's a lot more integrated than it is now, at all levels."

"Really?" her eyes went wide. "You answer to a shekat?"

"Hell, one of your great-grand-nieces is the second-in-command of the Enforcers," he chuckled, looking up at a night sky clearer than anything he could remember seeing even near the city. "Felina's a real spitfire, and she'll make a good Commander when the time comes. This war is pretty much the death knell for gender segregation, in a lot of ways ... some folks stick to it, but it's hard to argue that women aren't suited for combat duty when some of them were better at it than a lot of the guys."

"Wow," Agetha smiled wistfully. "At least some good will come of it then. I wish I could see it," she signed. "I'll be stuck as somebody's wife when this is over. I only get away with what I do because Dad finds it less difficult to let me fly than to try and make me a proper lady around here. It won't last once I've had my coming out party and my aunts start to look for my husband in earnest."

Chance hoped she had the chance... but from what he remembered, she wouldn't. Too many people in this war, on both sides, wouldn't have the chance to get on with their lives. Not for the first time, he had to wonder if they were the lucky ones or not, but he shook the funk off before it was noticed.

"Well, you never know what'll happen," he chuckled. "Who knows, maybe you'll end up finding some pilot who doesn't mind having a wife who's as good in the air as he is," he grinned.

"Mmm, now that marriage I think I could enjoy," she purred deeply and leaned against him, her warmth and aroused scent doing quite a number on his alcohol-buzzed brain and body. "I don't think there are any Kats like that that'll be around after the war though."

"Well, y'never know," he purred, leaning back against her lightly, his own arousal clear in his scent. "You might find somebody... or maybe you'll find somebody to elope with, when the time's right," he chuckled.

"Oh?" she raised an eyebrow and purred deeply. "Somebody like you, perhaps?"

"Uhm ... we'll have to see about that," he blushed, stammering in shock that she'd take it that way. "Wouldn't that be moving a little fast, even for a couple of pilots?" He teased her lightly to try and cover for it.

"You're from a time it sounds like I belong in," Agetha chuckled. "I already know you better than I would my husband when we're married if my family has anything to do about it."

"You're probably right," he admitted. "But you've got things to do in this time yet... and to be honest, I'm not sure if it'd even be possible."

"I know," she sighed and leaned against him. "Girl's got to have her fantasies, you know?"

"Well, why don't you let me go show you one of them," he smiled, wrapping an arm around her waist and hugging her lightly as they approached the Black Sun.

"She looks so unreal," she purred, her eyes wide as she took in a craft that looked far more like a bird than anything of her time. "Beautiful, though. Did you and your partner build her yourselves?"

"No, but Jake designed her himself," Chance purred, giving the jet a caress. "The entire line, actually. He's got a private jet he built himself, but we don't use her out in the field."

"Why is he an Enforcer, if he can do something like that?" she glanced at him, though most of her attention was on the aircraft that was far beyond anything conceived of.

"He likes the challenge," Chance chuckled, sliding the cockpit back as she looked up wistfully and more than a little in awe. "Want a look at the interior?"

"Of course," Agetha giggled, the first time she really seemed like a local, and climbed up. With one foot on the leading edge of the wing and the other dangling, she leaned forward to stare into the back seat. "How does he see what he's shooting at like this?"

"You familiar with radar?" Chance asked her, climbing up after her, enjoying the view from below while he could.

"No," she glanced down at him and smiled at the look he was giving his view. "Is that how he controls the guns?"

"It's how he finds his targets... the guns we control a couple different ways, but for the most part I point the plane at it and he shoots it. There's a lot of concepts that you guys don't have here, honestly," he admitted. "Rockets that steer themselves, for one thing."

Agetha stared down at him with opened-eyes disbelief. "Next you'll be telling me the plane can fly herself," she said.

"Not well, but Jake's working on it... it's complicated," he admitted. "You know how you can lock the stick in place when you just need to keep going straight?"

"Yes," she nodded easily. "It's an improved version of that?"

"Yeah," he nodded. "A lot of this stuff comes out of developing computers... lets us put a series of commands into something, and it goes ahead and carries out the commands itself," he explained, climbing into the pilot's seat. "The problem is when you need it to make decisions for you ... why I'm not out of a job," he chuckled.

"They'll always need pilots," she said and followed his lead and got into the gunner's seat behind him. "Nothing will take the importance of air superiority out of war now that it exists."

"Doesn't change every war," he murmured, remembering too well what it was like, hearing the bombers flying overhead and knowing they weren't going to do a damn bit of good and never would. It was only the choppers that brought any kind of support, and it was never enough for the targets they made of themselves.

"Something you've seen," she didn't have to guess.

"It shows that much?" he glanced back and saw a gentle smile instead of ... whatever he'd been expecting.

"My grandfather and his brothers get that look when they're remembering something they'd rather be able to forget," she said softly, her voice gentle and accepting. "I think anyone who fights in a war gets that look sooner or later. You don't grow up a Feral without knowing that look."

"Seems to be the case," he admitted. "The war I was in, air support didn't do much good. Thick jungle, fighting guerillas... air superiority is only helpful when you've got something to be superior to, and a target to hit after that."

"We've never had a war like that," she said, only to correct herself. "Not in a long time anyway. Ugly, ugly battles."

"Yeah," Chance nodded. "Why don't you strap yourself in while I get Jake to okay a trip up?" He told her, pulling out his comm as she checked out the complex control panel in front of her that bore no resemblance to anything she'd seen before.

"Hey, Jake?"

"What's up?" Jake's voice went from startled to tense almost instantly at the surprise call.

"Nothin' wrong, Jake - if there was, I'd be a lot louder," Chance chuckled, rolling his eyes at his partner's perpetual assumption of the worst. Still, as bad habits went, it wasn't that bad a one. "Wondering if you'd mind if I took one Agetha Feral up for a spin? I'll stay within a couple minutes of the island, and out of enemy territory, though if I spot somebody sneaking towards us it's their fault."

"Sure, just bring them both back in one piece," Jake chuckled. "I do not want to be the one explaining to her father why she's missing."

"If we go missing, blame it on his daughter deciding to jet-jack me and elope to the future," Chance smirked. "I'll be back by morning, promise," he said, starting the engines before looking back at her. "How are you in a hard dive?" He asked her.

"I'm good," she grinned, her tail twitching in excitement, and just a bit of healthy fear. "Show me what you can do, hotshot."

"You start getting woozy, let me know," he said seriously, starting the VTOL sequence. "I can pull a lot of G's in this thing, even without a suit, but I've trained for it," he explained, taking off as he saw a crowd gathering outside to watch.

"I'll tell you," she promised, her head going every which way as she tried to see all around her at once as they lifted off, almost directly up. "The power this would take..." she breathed in amazement.

"It's pretty impressive," he acknowledged, pulling away from the island, flipping on the radar display. "Let me know if anything back there starts flashing, okay? I don't think Lothos has anything radar guided, but if they do, it'd really suck to find out the hard way."

"I will. They shouldn't still be around. Our ships are still chasing them towards Lothos," she said. "You don't feel the wind," she said to herself. "It's strange, going so fast without any wind."

"You get used to it," Chance chuckled. "Besides, as fast as we're going, you'll be glad for it. I can't go sub-orbital in the Raven, but want to see just how high I can take us? Get up high enough, there isn't any real wind to feel."

"Please," she breathed, nearly begging in her excitement at the idea of seeing something so extraordinary, something no tom could say they'd seen.

"Usually my dates don't sound like that until after we've gone back to my place," Chance smirked, nosing up and going into the steepest climb he could handle without overdoing the G's, spinning on the way up to give her a full, panoramic view of the clear night sky.

He couldn't help but grin at the squeals of delight and amazement coming from the back seat. He honestly couldn't remember a date, including Jake, that was this excited by his flying. She was like a little plane-crazy kit getting her first flight and having it be with a Golden Eagle.

It was a thrill all it's own to be the cause of that response. The arousal from both of them filling the cockpit didn't hurt either.

He began to even out at a few miles up, well above any cloud cover there had been.

"You okay back there?" He asked her, knowing that pushing her limits like this the first time up could either be incredible, or Hell on her system, especially with the alcohol they'd both been drinking.

"Oh yes," she purred headily. "How can we breath this high? How can the engines breath?"

"Pressure," Chance explained. "The way the engines work, they spread the fuel through the air at incredibly high pressures, so it can still ignite. Inside here, we've got air vents keeping the cockpit under pressure ... matter of fact, when we come down, you'll probably have to swallow a few times, adjust to being at ground-level again. If we get up too much higher, or start going too fast, I've got air masks for both of us."

"Masks that let us breath?" she guessed, watching the clouds from above, and the stars above them. "Sundance ... it's flashing," she said suddenly.

"Hang on," he said, checking his display and then nosing into a dive. "Probably local, but I want to be sure. Let me know if you recognize ID lighting."

"Okay," Agetha nodded, her eyes forward and to the side as they punched through the clouds and the blackness of the nighttime sea and the minuscule dot of night he was aiming for. She could see well off to their left the outline of the island base, and further away, the lights of Anakata and beyond that, the glimmer of the mainland.

He brought the jet a bit more level as they got close enough to see patterns.

"That's one of ours," she told him quickly.

"Might need to talk to Jake about faking mini-transponders," Chance murmured. "Thanks for the ID; want to head back up, or find somewhere nice and private to touch down and stretch your legs for a bit?"

"Mmm, there's a pink sand beach on Little Anakata that just local fisherman and seaplanes can visit," she purred throatily. "I've always wanted to visit it."

"Be a little dark, but we can get there," Chance grinned, turning towards the island. "VTOL's great for coming down in small places like that."

"I bet," she purred, audibly excited. "What does VTOL stand for?"

"Vertical take-off and landing," Chance explained, slowing down as they approached the island, coming down for a straight landing onto the rocky middle of the island. "It's a lot trickier for most jets, honestly, but Jake's just about perfected it ... comes of having a rocket scientist for a Mom, I guess," he chuckled.

"And being a jet designer himself," she purred as the canopy slid back. "Ah, it always smells so good on these islands," she breathed deeply, relaxing in the cockpit for a moment before she leapt to the ground.

Chance followed her down, taking a sniff himself. It was a lot better than the industrial areas he was used to, even in his time, but back now, smelling it without the usual traces of heavy tourism in the air, it was incredible.

"You're right," he purred, walking down to the beach along with her. "Really never been out to this one before?"

"Oh, I've been to the Big Island, and Ka'asat''a, but I've never had the time to get a fisherman to take me out here," she shook her head and carefully picked her way down to the beach. "I don't trust those seaplanes. They crash too often."

"The waves," he nodded. "Can't really blame you... safe water landings is the one thing Jake's still working on," he admitted. "I try to avoid them, myself."

"I'm sure he'll get it," she giggled as they reached the sandy edge and she sat down to take off her boots and aviator jacket. "The engine in your Black Sun is probably powerful enough to fly a plane that can handle the waves."

"Yeah, but that much metal doesn't like to float," he chuckled, following her example by taking off his boots and sitting down next to her. "You like the water?" He asked her.

"When it's warm, and I'm not ditching," she chuckled, wiggling her toes in the soft pink sand. "Sharks, those I'm not so fond of, and they're all over around here."

"I've always thought that open water was a Bad Idea, myself," Chance chuckled, relieved that he wasn't going to have to explain not knowing how to swim. "Way too many ways it can go wrong."

"And not that many ways it can go right," Agetha smiled in the darkness, looking up at the bright stars as she leaned against him. "Sundance .... did we ... win?" she asked softly, knowing she shouldn't but needing to hear it anyway.

"Yeah," he nodded. "We did. Helluva price tag, but we win. And I can't tell you what," he said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders lightly. "Classified, these days."

"Not even my father knows," she nodded, leaning against him with a contented sound. "That usually means it's either so revolutionary no one is sure it'll work, or it'd cause decent in the ranks," she murmured, leaning her head against his shoulder and snuggling in. "As long as we win, it'll be worth it. It has to be."

"We're still debating that when I'm fighting," Chance chuckled lowly, rubbing her shoulder lightly. "But we do win," he promised her.

"Good," she smiled and rested a hand on his leg, rubbing lightly as she looked out to sea.

"Yeah," he smiled, looking over at her. He decided to take a gamble, and leaned over to kiss her cheek gently. He quickly found the touched turned into, and didn't resist at all when their lips met and she shifted a bit to press her forebody against his.

"Thought you'd never do that," she purred as she slid her arms around his neck.

"Mmm ... wasn't sure if I'd get punched," he teased, wrapping his arms around her waist and kissing her more deeply as he relaxed back, drawing her down on top of him.

"You could take it," she moaned softly as her legs slid apart, letting her clothed sex rub against his hard cock. "I'm not your typical girl."

"Never thought you were," he rumbled, kissing her again, reaching down to toy with the buttons of her shirt. "Let me know when you want me to stop?" He asked her, starting to open her shirt as he pressed his crotch up against hers.

"Dawn," she moaned, pressing down with a whimper as she pressed forward against his hands, her own working on opening up the less familiar flight suit he was wearing.

"Let's trade," he rumbled rolling over on top of her, leaning up so he could unzip his suit and start to slip it off, following it with his sweat-soaked t-shirt and boxers. Even in the darkness, it was hard to miss the lust in her eyes as she stripped down as well.

"You really are nicely endowed," she purred deeply and reached out to cup his balls. "I bet you get no lack of attention."

"Bet you get it too," he rumbled, groaning as she squeezed his balls lightly. "Thank you though... mmm... how often have you done this before?" He asked, reaching down to fondle her firm, young breasts as she made an absolutely wanton display of her strong, muscular body.

"A few times," she purred, her eyes closed in pleasure as her fingers slid up his shaft to stroke him. "Mostly with Black Knights. Everyone else is afraid of my father."

"Mmm ... you blame 'em?" He moaned, thrusting lightly into her hand, sliding his down to finger her slick sex. "You're beautiful, Agetha," he murmured, kissing her as he pressed a finger up into her body.

"He's a big pussy-cat," Agetha arched and moaned, her fingers closing around his shaft tightly. "Want something better than fingers," she whimpered, her hips rocking against his hand in the soft sand bed they were quickly building.

Chance slid between her legs without a word, sealing his lips against hers as he pressed his throbbing cock into her hot, hungry sex. Feeling how ready for him she was, he started thrusting, groaning deeply into her mouth as her hips moved to meet his with each thrust, as into their mating as any girl he'd been with.

She wrapped her arms and legs around him, her body squeezing down around him as she began to tremble, already right on the edge of coming and not showing any signs of trying to hold back. He threw his head back with a roar as he poured his first load of seed into her pussy, not breaking rhythm for a moment as he fucked her through his orgasm, his barbed shaft flaring up inside of her with each pulse, the rubbery nubs along its length working her insides.

With a cry of ecstasy she bit down on his shoulder, her claws needling his back as her body rippled around him, milking him for every drop and mewing into his mouth as she continued to rock her hips against his.

"So, is Sundancer taking requests, Raven?" A lean, black-furred tabby tom, dark steel-grey stripes barely standing out from his black fur, asked as he sat down next to Jake after Chance had taken off with his date for the night. Jake's eye was drawn briefly to the blue tips of the tom's scarf... it struck something in his memory, but he couldn't remember what exactly.

"Hu?" Jake blinked.

"For flights in the Black Sun," the dark tom chuckled.

"Probably, but I can fly her too," Jake grinned back. "And you'd actually still have your stomach with me. But I'm betting they aren't back till dawn."

"Heh - if he went off with who I think he did, I don't doubt it," the tom grinned, offering Jake his hand. "Sam Neillson, but you can call me Jumper."

"Jake Clawson," he shook the tom's hand. "Just how'd you end up as Jumper?"

"Wingwalker before the war started," he explained. "My pilot and our engine got shot up our first time up, and I had the choice of a controlled crash, or crazy. I picked crazy, jumped from the plane and onto the wings of a Lothosian job, KO'ed the pilot and flew it in from the empty gunner's seat," he grinned. "I was just lucky the pilot didn't have an extra gunner with him."

"Oh my god, you are crazy," Jake laughed hard enough to draw some attention to them, though it was clear enough he was not only honestly impressed, but approved of it. "You would so fit in with our squad. We're all a bunch of crazies."

"Hey, I made good money pulling stunts like that before the war," Sam laughed. "Y'wanna find somewhere a little quieter to relax some?" He offered, sipping his beer.

"Sure," Jake grinned and stood, getting a fresh dark ale for himself before they walked out.

"I know a few places where there's a bit more privacy on the island," Sam promised, leading him out to one of the jeeps. "Y'have to find 'em somewhere, or you'll go nuts," he chuckled.

"I bet," Jake grinned at him and easily hopped into the front passenger seat. "I understand the living accommodations leave a lot to be desired that way."

"Tell me about it," Sam agreed, rolling his eyes. "Some of the guys got together and got a place on the other side of the island," he explained, "and I've got the keys tonight," he grinned, his tail flicking over Jake's lap lightly.

Jake's gaze flicked to the tail, then to Sam. "Umm, this is going to sound weird, but do you know me?"

"I know it's your first time here, from your end," Sam chuckled. "I haven't really talked to you much on your last two trips, but I've picked up the cues... you and Sundancer are a couple, aren't you?" He asked, a bit more quietly than he had to to keep from being heard while they drove on a deserted dirt road. "Don't worry about admitting it if you are; I like toms too."

Jake hesitated, then nodded. "Though obviously not exclusive. I couldn't keep up with him even if he was that into toms," he cracked a sheepish grin.

"Heh - fair enough," Sam grinned. "The scarf's what you should be on the lookout for," he explained. "The blue tip... most folks don't know it, but it's a good step."

"Noted," he nodded. "How many are on the island, that aren't taken?"

"None of us are taken exclusively," Sam chuckled. "Wouldn't really work out. I know of fourteen, though I doubt everyone's out enough to be involved at all around here."

"At least you have a few folks to hang with that you don't have to be too cautious around," Jake smiled, then shook his head. "So what are you into?"

"Mmm ... most anything. Topping, bottoming... I take the 'crazy' into the bedroom once in a while, but I don't need it," he winked, driving out towards the edge of the small town that had been built on Quatermass Island to support the base while Jake laughed.

"Not what I meant, but okay," he continued to chuckle. "I didn't realize I was getting picked up when we left," he said a little sheepishly.

"Figures," Sam chuckled. "You mind? And what did you mean?"

"I don't mind, but I can't say I'm interested," Jake tried to be nice about it. "And I meant in general. I'm a gunner for my paycheck, but I'm a jet designer by trade and interest. You said you were a wingwalker, but did you do anything else for fun?"

"Not even for a one-nighter?" Sam raised an eyebrow. "Anyways, mostly that ... flying ... some reading, of course, though I have to be careful about where I keep my stuff," he chuckled.

Jake leaned against the door a bit so he was better angled to look at Sam, honestly considering him and the situation. The dark tom was attractive, but in an abstract way, not the way that sparked any real interest. He couldn't come up with anything to object to, just a general lack of desire.

Of course, having two very potent drinks in him was not helping the situation, even if he was anything but drunk yet.

"I am sorry, Sam, but I'll be too drunk for most of the night to be much fun that way," he tried to explain something that he knew from experience made no sense to pretty much everybody else. "At least if you are looking for more than a tight ass to pound. You've got better odds of fun with Chance."

"Cheap date, huh?" He chuckled. "Tell you what - why don't we stop over, I can show you some of my things, and we'll see if I decide that tight ass sounds good," he purred. "Or if I pick up one of the other guys while you're sleeping it off."

"Sure, though it's more an incredibly low sex drive and drinking takes my mind everywhere else," Jake shook his head. "It's how I got where I am as young as I am."

"Fair enough," Sam smiled. "So, what do you like? Westerns, spy stories, detective pieces, sci-fi, somethin' else?"

Jake couldn't help but laugh, though it was a much more self-deprecating sound this time. "Tech manuals, and a bit of sci-fi for ideas. Four years as partners and Chance is still trying to teach me how to have a life."

"Heh - well, all the more reason to show you a few of the right things to read," Sam laughed, pulling up by the small house and parking in front of it, heading around to help Jake out of the car. "Maybe you can tell me just how wrong they got it," he smirked.

Jake came around quickly, his eyes snapping open the moment his brain registered the unfamiliar surroundings and unfamiliar body next to him. He could feel the hint of a hangover, he hadn't had quite enough water before sleeping, but not enough that he'd been truly drunk by any standard.

"Mornin'," Sam murmured, starting to stir himself as he felt Jake moving. "What time is it?"

That was enough to click Jake's brain in on what had happened. He was on Quatermass Island in the middle of MegaWar II, and he'd given in and let this Kat fuck him because it cost less energy than saying no would. He knew Sam thought he was too drunk to get it up, and that much had been true, even though he couldn't make himself get more than lightly buzzed when there was any credible chance he'd be call to duty.

"Morning," Jake replied, looking around for a clock as Sam reached down and around Jake's body to stroke his sheath lightly. "'bout five am," he said before he slipped from the bed.

"Head feelin' any clearer now? Either of 'em?" Sam chuckled and followed him.

"Not enough to want to play," Jake told him as he walked to the bathroom. He knew the answer was a lie if the partner had been right, but the intend behind it wasn't. He really needed to get better at saying 'no' when he wasn't interested. It was just hard to put that much effort into it most days.

"You weren't kidding about a low sex drive," Sam frowned a bit. He'd been with more than one guy who was soused before - more than Jake was, by far - but most of them were at least interested in the morning, except for the religious hardballs who wouldn't have done it if they weren't plastered. "Well, lemme know if you can't find anything in the shower. Have a cover lined up?"

"No," he shook his head and looked over his shoulder towards Sam's voice while he turned the shower on. "I was going to ask you about it."

"We usually double-alibi a couple girls from the base who don't do guys," Sam told him. "Just tell 'em you spent the night with a tuxedo-marked shekat; her name's Julie, if anybody asks."

"Understood," Jake nodded and stepped under the hot spray with a low groan of pleasure. "Thanks."

"So, how do you and Sundancer usually cover for each other?" Sam asked him easily, leaning back against the bathroom wall as Jake showered. "Seems somebody'd figure out it sooner or later, with everybody he must bring back to your place."

"The cover pretty much is everybody he brings back," Jake chuckled as he wetted down his fur. "How can a tom who brings home a new girl two or three times a week possibly be gay? As for me, my lack of a sex drive and inability to notice when I'm being hit on has been the running joke since well before I joined the Enforcers. The apartment is still set up with two bedrooms, and his dates go to his room, not the master, plus we lived together for three years before we started sleeping together and everybody knows it's because I have a deep-seated paranoia about protecting what's important to me, which was true at the time. I wasn't interested then."

"Heh - probably factors in," Sam nodded. "How is he?"

"Hu?" Jake looked at him with an honestly bewildered expression.

"In bed!" Sam couldn't help but laugh. "You really don't see these things, do you?"

"There's a reason geeks don't get laid often," Jake chuckled. "He's intense with endurance to spare. Literally fucked me unconscious that first night."

"Damn... I'm guessing he's the one who came on to you?" Sam chuckled.

"Actually, no," Jake smiled at the memory of those few moments of awkwardness before it was sorted out. "I'd been thinking about it for a while, when I caught the scent of a guy on him when he came home one night. I asked if we could share a bed about a week later."

"So he's your type?" Sam asked as Jake began to wash his ass, clearing himself of the evidence of the night.

"For a Kat," Jake nodded. "It's more about trust, and it's hard to trust someone more than your partner. I probably would have ended up with a shekat, if that's who I'd been partnered with."

Sam raised an eyebrow. "But he's not what you really like."

"Times are different," Jake said softly, shifting to wash his groin, and the first signs of arousal there. "We haven't been at war for over a decade."

"What ... Kantin?" Sam asked, his other eyebrow going up. "Not going to be a problem, right?"

Jake scowled at him. "I am an Enforcer, Sam. Full Academy training, Lost Day and the lot. If I had a problem shooting them down, I wouldn't have taken out the two dozen odd ones I did in the last battle."

"Relax, I was just asking... you seemed to take as many of 'em down softly as you could, so it might be something waiting to come up. What's this 'Lost Day' thing you're talking about?"

"Ingrained habit," Jake shook his head as he began to wash the rest of his fur. "I've spent my entire career shooting at criminals over the heart of the city. We're trained to make it a controlled crash as best we can, to have them live to face trial if at all possible. As for Lost Day," he took a deep breath. "I guess you don't have it yet. By my time, everyone who's likely to end up a POW with intel if a war breaks out goes through it. It's half training, half test to see if you're likely to break so they know what kind of security clearance you should max out at.

"You're kidnapped, interrogated, tortured, food and sleep derived, mind games; everything a real enemy might try on you short of permanent damage. Even brought in a Traveran noble to play with me for a while," he shuddered down to his soul. "You don't find out until after you're rescued that it wasn't real."

"Since when do they give pilots any real intel?" Sam chuckled grimly. "Must be different in your time; right now, we're pretty much a dime a dozen, even if the civvies don't see it that way."

"Oh yeah, by my time it's different," Jake nodded, pausing to rinse his hair out. "We're put through four years of Academy training and are considered the elite of the elite, short only of the Commander's Ghosts, his personal special ops team. That bird we fly is worth a solid 300 million off the line, and that's before I got my hands on her. Even the one it replaced cost about 90 million each. When you put that kind of money into a vehicle, you make damn sure the crew is top notch. The air corps is the centerpiece of MKC defense and offense, and has been for a good seventy years."

"That's ... the Hell?" Sam blinked, unable to conceive of using numbers like that nearly that casually as Jake turned on the blowers.

"Umm, brush?" Jake glanced at him. "Yeah, modern aircraft are expensive, and so are their pilots," he continued as Sam handed him a brush and he went to work on his fur. "I heard somewhere that a pilot or gunner fresh out of the Academy is worth something like two million, because of the years of training they already have. They take keeping us alive and getting us back very seriously. But we also have equipment on board that makes surviving being shot down pretty good odds. Not everybody, unfortunately, but probably eighty percent or so of jets that go down have at least part, if not all, of its crew survive."

"Okay... totally different time," he murmured, shaking his head. "The new guys get a few weeks, tops, and they're in the air."

"You're in a war, a bad one, and aircraft are cheep and not very well used," Jake pointed out as he stepped out of the shower and shook himself from toe to ears. "I'm not surprised they treat you differently. Your turn," he grinned before stepping into the bedroom to retrieve his clothes, though he brought them back to dress.

"So, what's the deal with Traveris?" Sam asked him. "I hear they're bad news, but not much more than that."

"They're misandry in the extreme," he shuddered as Sam got under the shower water. "Males are property, and if you aren't deemed worthy of being breeding stock, they'll castrate you. Sexual torture is the national pastime of the nobility, and they have taken breaking males to an artform. Frankly, I'll go down with the jet before I let them capture me again."

"Whoa... uhm... that a new thing in your time?" Sam froze, staring at him for a long moment. "I mean... Hell, we wouldn't be talking with a group like that, I wouldn't think."

"We do, ally with them and all," Jake said grimily. "Them and worse, to stop the Wolves from winning. That's the only rule in war, in a bad war. It's whatever it takes to win. We don't stay allies for long when it's over."

"Yeah, but why would they work with us? Most of our leaders are toms," Sam frowned. "Doesn't sound right... sheesh."

"Because they're under at least as much threat as we are," Jake shrugged as Sam went back to his shower. "The Wolves don't care if we are allies or not. We all Kats."

"I suppose... are they having trouble with Lothos too? I haven't heard anything about it," he admitted. "Not much about Traveris at all, honestly," he shrugged as he showered.

"Lothos isn't the only enemy," Jake reminded him. "They've allied most of the Kantin nations, and they're all of the globe."

"Yeah, but I haven't heard about Xenquii offering us any help, bunch of freakin' brown-nosers," he muttered. "Sometimes I wonder if they're working with the Kantin."

"Xenquii's assistance was mostly in the form of absorbing huge amounts of Kantin resources so they can't be turned on us," Jake told him. "No, they aren't helping us directly, but they're doing a hell of a job keeping Lothos from focusing on us exclusively. I'm not sure how much political geography you've had, but Lothos is about three times larger than MKC. They could win a war of attrition if they'd managed to keep the war to just us."

"This conversation's about it," Sam admitted. "That one of the things they have you studying while they sock you away for four years?"

"Some, but it also comes from basic public school requirements," Jake shook his head. "I've been told more than once that a high school education in my time is as demanding as a four year college education now, and it's only getting more demanding. I probably knew as much going into college as most of the strategists do today."

"Don't suppose you could take a few back with you, drop them off a few years ago after they catch up, could you?" Sam asked dryly, starting to wash his hair. "Be nice to have the advantage in tactics again."

"We never had an advantage, and we'll never have it," Jake said simply. "It's hardwired in Kantin. Only the Lions have anything close, and it's nothing in comparison to a true pack mentality. It's known now, it's just ignored on average. I just know more about world politics, geography and what tech can do in my time. It's an advantage, but not nearly as much as my jet."

"Eh, figures," Sam muttered, rinsing off. "Heh - just so we've got our story straight, you with Julie on your own, or did we double-team her?" He asked with a bit of a smirk.

"Double teamed," Jake decided. "Which was more you and her, with me watching."

"Heh - sounds good to me," Sam grinned as he stepped out of the shower and started drying off. "Mind grabbing my clothes?" He asked easily even as Jake gave him a curious look for not using the dryers.

"Sure," he nodded and walked into the bedroom. "When's she going to find out?"

"Figured I'd leave her a note on the way back to base," Sam said easily. "And I try not to use the blowers after a night like last night; brings the scent back out stronger when you blow what's left on you all over again."

"I've never noticed a difference, and I have a sharp nose," Jake said as he brought the clothes back. "But we've got good scent neutralizers to handle it too. Double-teaming her does give a reason for it though."

"That's one of the advantages," Sam winked. "Want her number, for you and Chance?" He asked with a smirk, dressing and starting out.

"Sure, it can't hurt," he nodded with a smile of thanks.

Jake glanced up when the door opened, and grinned to see his partner walk in. He was equally grateful that the open bay barracks for the Black Knights was largely deserted at this relatively early hour. Everyone was still with their girlfriend of the night.

"Have a good time?" he called out to the tabby.

"Oh yeah," Chance grinned. "Feral endurance? It's hereditary," he chuckled.

That raised an eyebrow. "How would ... never mind. I don't want to know who," Jake shook his head and laughed, then wrinkled his nose when he got close. "You are so taking a shower before you get in that cockpit with me."

"I washed up!" the tabby objected, only to have his tail grabbed and pulled so he followed his partner into the barrack's bathroom, a place that bore more than a minor similarity to the open room changing and shower rooms in their time, though not nearly as nice.

"You didn't do a good job," Jake snorted at him. "You're taking a real shower, and please tell me you left the cockpit open to air out."

"Of course I did," Chance snorted back, undressing without any real protest to the demand for a shower. "Locked everything down though, just in case. So, how was your night?"

"Not what I had in mind, but informative," he hedged the subject, even though the building was abandoned. "I expect you had more fun. Did you get past what she's like in bed?"

"She's a real spitfire... deserves better than what she's got to look forward to now," Chance sighed. "The only good news I have for her is that she doesn't have to worry about growing old in an arranged marriage spent with a faithless dope her family picks out for her."

"And you can't tell her what, how, or who," Jake nodded. "If we're around when she goes down...."

"We're grabbing her," Chance said quietly, getting under the hot water and starting to wash up. "I don't care what it might do to the timeline, Jake, she's been fighting the system for all her life, and when she does go down... nobody ever finds her, so for all we know we already brought her forward, right?"

"Yeah," Jake nodded, his voice low. "Has she said anything about wanting to come with us?"

"Not in as many words, but she hinted that eloping to another time wasn't out of the question," Chance chuckled lowly. "She was pretty damn forward, for somebody growing up in this time."

"And Felina isn't, for our time?" Jake chuckled. "When Feral women are fighters, they're as good as their brothers."

"Yeah, but last I heard Felina didn't practically propose on the first date," Chance chuckled. "I tried telling her that she might find a pilot who didn't mind a girl as good as he was, and she practically jumped me in the jet."

"Okay, that's forward," Jake granted him. "Sounds like she wants out like only a teenager can. Still, she's got a couple years before she's MIA. We don't know if we'll be here, or where she'll be, when it happens."

"That's why I didn't say anything about it," Chance nodded. "I want to try and keep an eye for it though... I can research the battle, if nothing else, and where her plane goes down."

"Assuming we get home before then," he agreed with a nod. "I think we'll both be researching the hell out of this war if we get home before the other two trips we know about."

"Oh, kats, you think we might not?" Chance turned around, and caught the fairly hungry look his partner gave him that Jake wasn't even aware of.

"It's possible," Jake nodded. "All we know is that we have been to earlier points in the war after now. We don't know the timing for us between those appearances, or if those are all we'll be doing."

"Yeah, but... kats alive, what'll happen if we make a later trip that ends up meeting us?!? The longer we're back here, the more likely it is to happen," he pointed out.

"Yes and no," Jake shook his head and leaned back against the wall. "Do you really want the lecture on temporal physics, or just want to go with 'trust me' about it working out?"

"Unless you can explain it without making my head hurt worse, I'll trust you," Chance sighed. "Geeze, you'd think we'd know more about this, with all the trouble we've had with Pastie before."

"Yeah, but given the experts can't even agree on what time travel actually is, I just go with my favorite theory until proven wrong," Jake agreed. "So far, it's that we can't screw up the past, either because we're actually dimension hopping, or because time is linear and for us to go back, it had to have happened there first. Face it, if we could have changed things, we would have by now. Think of how much we did in the Jurassic, or with Queen Callista."

"Point... just not sure what that says about fate, destiny, or what'd happen if you knew the future, which is just your past waiting to happen," Chance sighed. "Gyah, this stuff makes my brain ache... especially on a hangover. Why can't I ever have this stuff come up when I'm sober?"

"Because you know better than to let it come up when your head's clear," Jake snickered in real amusement. "Though seriously, knowing what's going to happen ... could you fly the bomb, drop it, knowing what it's going to do? Then three more times? I know the records don't say we did it, just that the Black Knights did, but what are the odds it's not us if we're around?"

"Jake, odds are we're going to have to do it, if you're right," Chance pointed out. "I'll just have to remember the numbers... but Gods, I hate the idea," he sighed. "That's what I don't do again."

"We can refuse," Jake told him quietly but firmly, his gut in a knot at the idea of killing millions, some of them taking months or years to die, some infants that would die of cancer ten years later.

"But we won't," Chance looked down, his body still except for a deep sigh. "Even in our time, it's agreed it probably saved lives by shortening the war by a decade or more. If it's us, it's us. We have the jet to do it, something that probably doesn't exist now. The story that the plane ditched in the ocean and was never recovered could be a cover as easily as the truth."

"I know buddy," Jake stepped close and reached out to put a strong hand on his shoulder. "Hopefully when we get back to our time, they'll believe us. Megan's going to get one hell of an earful from this, I'm sure."

"Heh... yeah, she will," Chance nodded. "Who knows, maybe Feral'll let us see the records of what we did, so we'll at least know what to do on our future trips."

"Who knows, but I know we'll do what we need to," Jake smiled grimly and backed up so Chance could finish washing up. "If Agetha does come home with us, do you think she'll be a serious girlfriend?"

"It's possible," Chance admitted. "She's less than half my age though, she might not be interested in a tom who could technically be her father," Chance chuckled. "Not long-term or anything, at least."

"I'm sure Felina will take her winder her wing pretty quick too," Jake nodded. "You're hardly old though," he added with a slight smile. "Forty-six isn't even middle aged."

"I know, but compared to fifteen or sixteen... well, would you have wanted something with somebody three times your age?" Chance chuckled, rinsing off and getting under the blowers.

"At that age, I was too focused on college prep to think about it," Jake chuckled at the way his partner shook his head.

"You so need to get a life," the tabby snorted.

"Everybody keeps telling me that," Jake teased back. "I think I'm doing just fine."

"Well fine - nowadays, would you be interested in somebody in their hundreds?" Chance smirked. "Or even their 80's?"

Jake thought over the guys he knew in that age, and rumbled appreciatively at a few of them. "Yeah, I can definitely see some of them."

"Heh - well, we'll see what happens," Chance chuckled, getting dressed in the uniform he'd come in. "C'mon, let's see what we've got issued to us in the way of clean clothes."

Jake nodded and followed him out. "A set of field khakis, a dress uniform, five sets of underwear, and Gregory supplied the pilot's gear," he listed out. "Want the top or bottom bunk?"

"Damn shame we can't take some of it back with us," Chance chuckled. "If you don't have a preference, think I'll take bottom, but it's your call."

"I do prefer the top," Jake said with that tiny release of invisible tension that marked just how true it was. "And who says we can't?" he raised an eyebrow at his partner. "If it's in the jet when we go, it comes with us."

"Point," Chance chuckled. "Just seems a little strange to pack the pilot's gear when we know we won't be using it."

"If you want the souvenirs, I'm not going to stop you," Jake smiled and finished folding his uniforms to fit with far too much room to spare in the trunk at the foot of their bunk.

Chance folded his own after changing into a clean set of clothes, putting them in the trunk at the head of his bed and closing it, though not with as much room as Jake had.

"Cool... hey, next time we get the chance, you want to meet Agetha?"

"Sure," Jake grinned. "I definitely want to stop by the mainland and pick up bedding. This is nasty to sleep on."

"Heh - I'm with you there," Chance agreed, looking up at his partner, who was laying on his stomach on the upper bunk. "By the way, she showed me this little island off of Anakata you'd probably love. No clue what shape it's in in our time, so maybe we should pay it a visit."

"Sure," Jake purred softly, only to snap it tightly under control when the door opened.

"Sirs!" a young, nervous voice called out to them as the figure snapped to attention and saluted them.

"That's been a while," Jake murmured as Chance reflexively returned the salute.

"At ease," Jake called out to him and swung to his feet off the top bunk. "Are we needed?"

"Yes, sir," he nodded. "The Commander asked that you come, in dress A's."

"Be there in five," Chance nodded, starting to redress as quickly as he could in the very familiar uniform that he hadn't worn before.

"Dismissed," Jake added when the youth hadn't moved. He caught another salute out of the corner of his eye as he redressed as well, grateful that the ribbon bar was already attached, but feeling a little weird wearing ones for things he hadn't done yet, but he had credit for because he would do them, because they'd already been done.

"Get the feeling we got a couple brevet promotions in the past?" Chance asked, shaking his head as he made sure everything was in place.

"Do you know what all of them are?" Jake asked, looking down at his set, and noting that it matched his partner's, unlike their modern ones. "And I'm not surprised, even if we didn't do anything we think is special."

"Halikar's sword and shield, Ace with 3 golden stars, 2 silver, and two bronze... I shouldn't be surprised, but we're in the mid-400's for kill count. Not sure what battles the ribbons are for, but I can check when we get back home. Wonder if we have to bring it up with Feral to get them transferred to our records in our time... that ought to help us figure out what we do, if nothing else."

"Sounds like we did a lot of missions," Jake sighed, shaking his head as they both made a quick appearance check in the full length bathroom mirrors, then checked each other, and left the barracks.

"And that's just on the first two trips, from their perspective," Chance pointed out, following him out. "Probably doesn't include the couple dozen we got yesterday."

"Damn," Jake murmured.

"This way, sirs," the youth saluted them again when they stepped outside. "The jeep is ready."

"Thank you," Chance nodded, stopping himself from taking the driver's seat and instead sitting next to Jake in the back as the youth got in to drive them to HQ. It was weird any way he looked at it. They weren't the kind of officers that got driven around yet, and neither planned to be.

The rode in silence for the short trip they could have easily walked, and noticed that there was a level of tension as they neared the control tower.

"What's going on?" Jake asked.

"The Commander is here, sir," their driver said. "I don't know anything else, sir."

"That'll do it," Jake rolled his eyes as they pulled to a stop and got out.

"Commander Vidon? Yeah, that will," Chance agreed. "Sounds like we've got our next missions lined up already, if he's out here."

"At least we had one good night before it goes to hell," Jake muttered under his breath before he took a visible breath and walked with Chance into the control tower and the officer's offices there.

"Go in," Tedine's secretary nodded to them. "The Commander and a couple Ghosts are with him," he added by way of warning."

Chance nodded, and he and Jake stepped inside, saluting and standing at attention even as they took in the odd reality of seeing such a famous, long-dead person in the flesh and very much in charge.

The two toms in the room they didn't know were in the background, the shadows, and easy to overlook with the Commander and Lieutenant Commander front and center. It wasn't a mistake Jake or Chance made, despite keeping their attention politely focused on the brass.

"Clawson and Furlong reporting, Sir," Chance said smartly while the large black-maned Lion took their measure and nodded.

"At ease," the Commander said, his low baritone rumbling through their bones. "I understand that while I know you well, you have not been in the war yet."

"No, sir," Chance agreed. "It sounds like we arrive back here at least twice before this, but we haven't gone through it yet... time travel," he grumbled.

"Very well," the Lion nodded. "I will keep this simple. You are being put under my direct command, as Ghosts, and stationed at MegaKat City Headquarters. Expect most of your time to be spent supporting ground forces, making strategic strikes on enemy targets and flying recon. Know I asked when I met you if you could train someone to fly your craft, and was told it would take longer than it was worth. Is that still true?"

"Yes, sir," Jake nodded fractionally as he tried to absorb the idea of being one of the Commander's Ghosts. "Even the Blue Manx would take months, if not a full year, to be able to take her into combat, or on an extended mission."

"With any luck, the war will be over by then," he nodded. "And we couldn't spare a pilot of his caliber for that long even if it wouldn't be. Is there anything you can tell me about how the war is supposed to play out from here?"

"It gets uglier, sir," Jake said quietly, his gaze not entirely with them. "Years of hell and millions of deaths uglier. We'll loose most of our best field officers. Three nations, along with most of the old guard and nobility worldwide, will no longer exist when the dust settles. The super weapon will be finished before the war is. It won't be enough."

"Is there any way we can minimize those losses?" Teldin asked, paling beneath his fur. "The actual number can't make that big a difference to your future...."

"Even in hindsight, not much, sir," Chance said quietly. "I think we already gave you a lot of intel on when and where things went down. The brunt of the losses will be Kantin. Most of the nobles on both sides are assassinated by strike teams, civil war or insiders. Most of the deaths are from the super weapon."

"More importantly, we can't start holding back our best troops just because we know it's not going to work," the Commander pointed out. "We're still years away in development of the super weapon... and if it isn't enough, we're going to need to keep holding them back. We can't risk losing the war early because we don't want to take chances."

"Yes, sir," Jake spoke up. "We do not know for sure that what happened for our history is what will happen here. What time travel actually is is still under debate in our time. It's entirely possible that this is an alternate dimension that has or will separate from ours at some point."

"And no telling which future you'll be able to return to," Vidon nodded. "Which brings us to your initial assignments." He picked up a folder from the desk and handed it to Jake. "Word is being passed that you have the right to anything you ask for, anywhere we have forces. We have a major operation going down at the time and location in your orders. Do anything you can to make it happen. The highest priority targets within a hundred miles of the operation have all been noted, but do not be bound by them. I know you are both very good at judgment calls. Any questions?"

Jake and Chance glanced at each other.

"No, sir," Jake said.

"Then dismissed," Commander Vidon said, returning their salutes before the pair walked out.

"Think you could put together some low-lethality ordnance in the time we have?" Chance asked Jake quietly, glancing in the summary data of the folder.

"Maybe," Jake said, clearly uncertain. "Let's get in our real uniforms and get to the staging ground. We'll see what I can think up during the flight."

"If we can't, we should think about it for next time," Chance offered. "We might be able to bring a few officers back for interrogation."

"I'll work on it," Jake promised as they got in the jeep again. "Stick around outside the barracks, please," he said as the driver took off. "We'll be going to the airfield as soon as we grab our things."

"Understood, sir," the driver said smartly.

New Lives, Old Ways 9.99: The Battle of Quatermass Island

NC-17 for M/F sex
Het Level is LowHet Smut Level is Low
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

87 KB, Story is Complete, Series is in Progress
Written March 20, 2009 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Kat

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, Relationship (Established), Sex (Adult/Teen), Time Travel

Pairings: Jake/Chance, Jake/male, Chance/Agetha Feral

Blurb: While battling the PastMaster, Jake and Chance soon find themselves in the middle of a much, much larger battle than comes with more than a few shocks.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

Page Hit Count from April 4, 2009    1428