WPD FORMAT FOR HARAN'S MAIN TARGET

 *Author’s Note*
 There are several people that I would like to thank.  Sillabub, for allowing me to use Aurelia Javenson in this story, Amy Johnson for allowing her in the story as well, and Zerofox, for teaching me what little I know of Spanish (or Vitrian, which Nakar Gabab suggested).  I also thank Nakar for allowing me to use Dar Mansfield.  Haran Goresins, Ramon, Shivan Tresley, Maxwell Poland, Drake Questia, Storm Larson, and the Justice Cadets are my characters and not to be used without my consent.
 Oh yeah, this is rated PG-13, but then again,....not many people pay attention to this.  Well, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.  One more thing.  I like house cats.  Please keep that in mind.

Chapter One

 “Katt Monroe?  Are you talking about the cat who loves that irritating avian?  Aw, I can shoot her down.  In five minutes flat.”

        --Westly Meenat, Sapphire Paladins
 
 “Frieda, what are you doing?”  Haran Goresins demanded as his wife scurried through the clothing of the top drawer in their apartment bedroom.  They overheard the screams of neighbors through the walls, and outside, their feline ears caught the sounds of a bomb alarm ringing throughout the town of Teasapa.  They would hear the roar of enemy bombers soon enough.  Trooper transporters might come as well.
 The female Persian cat whimpered as she pulled out a white sweater and threw it behind her shoulders, barely missing her husband.  “I must find it....must find it....”
 Haran growled in frustration.  He bared his Siamese cat fangs, though angry at himself, not at his possession-obsessed wife.  After all, this stinking civil war in Macbeth has been going on for five stinking months, and still he refused to leave his home.  He was born and raised in this town somewhere in the southwest hemisphere of Macbeth, and felt too attached to it to just pack up and leave at the first sign of trouble.  He hurriedly went to his wife and grasped her small shoulders.  He was noticeably bigger than her, with pearl white fur and has a grayish tint like storm clouds on parts of his paws and ears.
 “We have to go!  Now!”  Haran commanded, struggling with his orange, thick-furred wife to heed to his voice.  His blue eyes narrowed as his arm muscles tightened, but Frieda was too strong-willed to give up.
 “My heirloom!  It was given to me by my mother!  I know it’s in here!  Back off, Haran!!”  With that she elbowed him on the chest, forcing him to release her.  Instead of going back to grasp her shoulders again, Haran simply howled in fury and threw up his arms in despair.  He quickly paced throughout the small, three room place that they call home, his mind too turbulent to gather some sense.
 He pounded a fist on a small bedroom table, tipping the small framed-picture of Haran, Frieda, and their dead son over the edge of the table.  “C’mon wife, we must leave!”
 Frieda threw out a pair of blue socks.  “Don’t you call me that!  I have a name!”
 At any normal situation, Haran would have apologized quickly, but can a situation with a loud, blaring bomb alarm be considered normal?  “Frieda!  Those frigging bombers are coming, and we will die if we don’t leave soon!”
 Frieda ignored him, and found the heirloom neatly tucked between two thick shirts.  “Found it!”  She exclaimed, holding it up in victory.
 Haran didn’t feel like congratulating her.  “Finish your packing and let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!”
 The first explosion was heard.  Alarmed, Haran stepped in front of the bedroom window, and spotted smoke rising from a small warehouse some distance away.  Teasapa was a small mining town, so the cat could only see a small apartment building for miners like him, a bigger number of warehouses, and the mine itself.  Oh yes, he also spotted five orange-plated jets dropping their deadly bombs and five troop transporters landing to deploy their blood-hungry soldiers.  Oh yes, this was becoming a bad day for him.  Oh yes, indeed!!
 “Might as well kiss my promotion goodbye,” he muttered crazily.  He picked up a packed suitcase on the bed, only for the loosely closed door to plop open and poured out disorganized clothes on the carpeted floor.  Muttering more curses, he threw the suitcase across the room, disregarding wasting time to pack up again.  He ran over to the living room, trying to figure out what to do next.
 Oh gee, Haran, that’s obvious.  How about getting your feline butt out of this place?  Have you ever thought of that??  He thought angrily, picking up another suitcase, this one tightly closed.  He marched over to the front door, and impatiently waited for his slow wife to follow him.  “Frieda!!”
 The orange-furred cat yelped back a response, though it wasn’t clear on what she had said.  She came up close by a window when the glass shattered from the vibrations of another explosion nearby.  She yelled in pain as some of the shards cut across her face, and she tumbled to the floor, glass pieces falling on top of her.
 With the thought of escape finally out of his mind, Haran dropped the suitcase and ran to his wife.  He knelt beside her, brushing off the glass on her, cutting his own paws in the process.  “Frieda!  You okay?”
 “Do I look okay?”  Frieda muttered back, struggling to get back up.  She was gashed alongside the left side of her face, and already her shirt was bloody.  “Get me up.”
 Haran’s ears caught a horrifying sound from the hallway.  Sounded like boots clamping on the wooden floor of the hallway, and the sharp sounds of laser machine gun fire startled him.  He shook his head in disbelief.  Bonaburn soldiers,....the enemy.  “Aw, crud.”
 “Oh God no....What are we going to do?”
 Haran scanned frantically, searching for a good hiding place.  “The only thing we could do,....hide.  To the bedroom!”
 The couple of 12 years scurried across the living room as fast as they could into the bedroom, and Haran crawled under the bed, Frieda following him.
 Snug as a bug beside a door of a trapdoor spider, Haran and Frieda lied down still, eyes full of panic and they were breathing hard.  They huddled together, hoping for the fleecing hope that the soldiers would miss their room.
 Crash!!!  Bang!!
 “They busted through the door,” reported Frieda, whispering.  “Breathe easy and just shut up....”
 Despite the noises coming through the shattered window from outside, very little sound reached the ears of the frantic married couple.  They could hear footsteps, becoming louder and louder.
 “Hello?  Anyone home, you bunch of pukes?”  A soldier cried out, almost mockingly.  His voice seemed youthful, and it does carry a strong voice, but Haran wasn’t at all willing to get out and see who it was.
 “I don’t see anyone here, Charlie.  Looks clear,” said another voice, this one seemly more older.
 “Oh I don’t know about that.  I can smell the fear in this hell pit,” Charlie answered and entered the bedroom.  From the corner of his eye, Haran could see black boots and the bottom of gray uniform pants, which are the color of the enemy.  The soldier picked up the framed picture that was lying down on the floor, and chuckled as he studied the picture.
 Haran heard the shatter of glass as the picture was thrown across the room.  “Here kitty, kitty, kitty.  Come to Papa!  Oh I know they’re here, Sergeant Guss.  I just know it!”
 Haran spotted more black boots coming inside.  “Really?  Where?”
 “Hmmm......maybe under the bed?”  Charlie suggested.
 Haran closed his eyes, knowing that he was doomed.  Charlie went on his knees and looked under the bed.  When the black cat spotted the two hiding future victims shivering with fear, his blue eyes narrowed, and his lips curled back into a grin.  “Howdy.  Would you mind getting your scaredy-cat tails out from under this bed, or will you request this very spot to be your graves?”
 Whimpering, Frieda was the first come out, being prodded by the barrel of the machine gun Charlie was holding.  Sergeant Guss, a cat with red fur and orange stripes, grabbed her arm and pulled her up to standing position.  The bigger sergeant threw her to the corner of the bedroom.
 “You just stay there and shut up,” Sergeant Guss ordered her, spitting as he talked.  “Otherwise, someone here will become a widower very quickly.”
 Frieda, scared out of her wits, sat down in a fetus position, her tail squashed against the corner.  Her husband then got out and stood up, more angry than grieving.  With Charlie pressing the barrel of the machine gun at his back, Haran was escorted into the living room, with Guss dragging Frieda by the arm.
 Charlie stepped away from Haran, his gun still aiming at the Siamese standing at the doorway to the bedroom.  His grin had not faded, and from the look on his face, he seemed to treating this as some sort of game.  A rather sick game.  At the center of the room, Frieda was weeping on her knees, shaking her head, silently begging for mercy.  Guss was still holding her by the arm when Charlie came up to his side.
 “You just stand right there, pussy.”  Charlie ordered Haran.  “We’ll figure out what to do with you soon enough.”
 Frieda had already given up struggling.  She just simply went loose, her head sagging in despair.  Guss shook his head, letting out a sigh.  He released her roughly, and with a kick to her back, forced Frieda on her back to the floor.  He then chuckled.  “Looks like we have a prize here....”
 Charlie burst out in laughter.  Haran, alarmed to recognize what this Guss was going to do, stepped forward.  “Don’t you harm-”
 Charlie stopped laughing and pulled the trigger.  One laser flew out, bursting through the joint of his right knee.  Blood and tattered cloth poured out as Haran stumbled forward, yelling in pain.  He laid on his side, holding his injury, but his eyes still focused on his weeping wife.
 Charlie burst out in laugher again.  “Ooohhh, that must of hurt!  If you do that again, I’ll blow out your other knee, or maybe your brains!”
 Guss stood above Frieda’s legs.  “Don’t worry, you one-legged hag.  I’ll treat your wife with res- oooff!!!”
 Frieda lifted up her left foot, crashing it against his groin.  Guss howled in pain, hopping away, dropping the gun he was holding.  Haran snickered.  What a way to go, my dear wife.  That ought to teach that idiot.
 Frieda grinned herself, not noticing Charlie aiming his weapon at her.  “Take that you mother-”
 Her last words were interrupted by machine gun fire as Charlie fired several lasers into her body, killing her instantly.  Haran screamed, not in pain, but in pure horror, and dragged himself through the messy carpet to his wife.  Charlie would have killed him right then and there, but he chuckled instead.
 “C’mon Guss.  Let’s leave these two love-birds alone.  Ha, ha, ha, ha!”  The black cat said as he left the room, Guss following her with a limp, once he had picked up his gun.
 Everything was quiet again.  Haran halted beside his wife, resting his head on the laser-riddled body of his wife of twelve years.  “No.....this can’t be possible.....”  His tears were running down his bloody face, his blue eyes closed shut in grief.  “Why did this happen to me?  What did I do to deserve this?  No one deserves this.....no one!!”
 A wind blew inside, sending a chill up Haran’s spine.  He sputtered out a sigh of depression, and tried desperately to fall asleep.  Since the attack was only a raid and not an invasion, the town was devoid of enemy soldiers when the “rescuers” came four hours later.  A medical nurse found Haran still laying down beside his dead wife, weeping, muttering out curses at someone the nurse failed to recognize.
 On that day, Haran’s life had been changed forever.  The old Haran, the kind father until his son’s death at age 11, the hard-working miner, had died miserably.  The newer, more sinister Haran Goresins had arisen, like a phoenix coming out of the ashes.  He wanted revenge, and he had never planned to stop at just Charlie and Guss.......
Chapter Two

 “Some say that bombs planted by terrorists are acts of cowardliness.  Actually, they are effective acts of cowardliness.”

       --Haran Goresins, leader of the A.C.L.

 The Evan’s Clothing store in Corneria City was quiet during the first few hours after opening it’s doors one early morning.  A few early-bird customers (though one of them was a beagle) were dotted here and there in the large store, most of them browsing through the latest fashions and fads of Corneria today.  With so little customers, the employees could chatter among the other workers without getting yelled at from their boss, and just outside, an occasional hovercar would dart pass.  All in all, it was a boring morning.
 Kristina Powella, a teenage cat wearing a blue skirt with red stripes and a polyester white shirt, pulled out a green sweater from a circular clothing rack in the back of the building.  The lights on the ceiling shone on her emerald eyes, and she seemed to have an innocent look that would fool anyone.  “Does this look good on me?”
 Her friend Salina Torse made a disgusted look on her face and shook her cheetah head.  “Nah, that one looks so outdated.  My Mom would buy it though,” she said grinning.  Her blue jeans and T-shirt with the words, UP YOURS, printed on it was a style different than her wealthy friend, but they were best buddies, and trusted each other.
 Kristina sighed and nodded in agreement.  She hung up the sweater back in place and began searching for another one.  “I heard in the news earlier today that there was another bombing incident, this time in the Fortuna Base.”
 Salina muttered in anger.  “I know.  Stupid, isn’t it?  The fourth one to happen in the past three months.  What creep would do something like this?  A spy for Venom maybe?”
 “I don’t think so.  If that maniacal ape had anything to do with this, then we would have known, I guess.  I’ve also heard that there’s some kind of pattern in all these bombings, but I don’t know what.”
 “People were killed.  That’s one pattern.”
 Kristina sighed again, then an iguana employee came up to them, smiling.  “Can I help you?”
 Salina shook her head.  “Nah.  We’re just looking around.”
 “Well, we have the latest shipment of new fashions that had just come in,” he said, pointing to an area on the other side of the building.  “It’s pretty cool when I looked through them.”
 “Well,.....I don’t know,” Kristina replied.  “We have to go pretty quickly.  Say, I haven’t seen you from around here before.”
 “I was hired just yesterday.  Will you please take a look on those fashions?  They’re cheaper than all the other department stores here.”
 Kristina was puzzled by this employee’s willingness to lure them to this area of new fashions, but she dismissed it as inexperience.  “Oh alright then.  Follow us to it.”
 The iguana’s smile went wider, seemly pleased with this victory in his version of advertisement.  He led the two curious teenagers across the building, seemly in a hurry.  They reached a section in the back corner of the building which consisted of a sign that said “New Fashions”, a circular clothing rack, and two shelves of clothes on the walls.
 The orange-furred cat picked out a creamy-white shirt from the rack.  “New?  That’s funny,” she muttered to herself.  “I thought I have seen this two weeks ago.”  Kristina looked around, but the iguana was no where to be seen.
 “Huh, Sal, where is that guy?”
 The cheetah shrugged.  “I’m not-”
 If Salina Torse was still alive today, then she would have told the police that in the following second, it seemed like the shelf in front of her had bursted out at her in fire.  The explosion coming from a bomb planted behind on the shelves was so sudden, that the two teens didn’t notice it before they saw only blackness for eternity.  They were thrown nine feet in the air, already dead.  Salina collided against a clothing rack in the next section, splattering jeans all over her.  Kristina landed on the tiled floor of the hallway, and rolled nine feet like a log going downhill.  When she stopped close by the “Used Clothing” section, smoke spewed out from her charred body, her green eyes shut forever.
 A fire arose from the explosion site, burning the clothes one by one.  One of the employees had out a fire extinguisher and was trying to subdue the fire as his co-workers gathered around the two corpses, sickened at the sight of them.  They failed to notice that one of their co-workers, an iguana, was nowhere to be seen, and he was never seen by them again.
 The black robed figure standing atop the roof of the abandoned Corneria Inn was proud of his secret empire.  He braved the hot breeze of summer in Corneria City, enjoying the view of the city forty floors up.  He grinned as he saw smoke coming out of the Evan’s Clothing store.  Hopefully that iguana had lured the target to the spot, and that the target was killed.  He has hundreds of people working for him, undercover, using the shadows to their greatest advantages, making good use of his own bomb-making hobby.
 Standing beside the Siamese cat was a hulking wolf, about twice the size as his boss, but his brown eyes lacked the sinister look that the cat has.  The brown and white thick furred wolf wore civilian clothes, but his “uniform” was a golden-framed circle pin with the letters “A.C.L.” printed on a brown background.  On his black belt was a holster with an AK-10 pistol, which wasn’t top-notch but good enough, and a red pager.  As his boss’s bodyguard, he was taught to act mean, and his scowl proved it.  The biceps on his massive arms shone under the sun.
 The cat laughed in victory.  “I think he had done it, Ramon.  If not, I will be having iguana heart for lunch.  What time is it?”
 Ramon looked on his wristwatch.  “It is nearly 8:00 A.M., Great One,” he answered in a firm voice.
 The cat muttered a curse and sighed.  “Where is that moron?  He’s supposed to be here ten minutes ago,” he replied, referring to a wealthy raccoon that have been giving him money for use of his underground empire, through blackmail.
 Just then, as on cue, a raccoon opened the door to the roof, carrying a suitcase and out of breath.  He wore a fancy suit, but his red tie was loosely fit, and his usually slick brown hair was now a frazzled mess.  His eyes showed fear, and that delighted the cat.  Being the only one of a group without fear would be great power.
 “I’m sorry, Haran.  Traffic slowed me down,” the raccoon said as he halted before the cat and laid down the suitcase.
 Haran shook his white-furred feline head.  “Mr. Guroot, I don’t tolerate excuses.  You was expected to be here ten minutes ago, and this delay upsets me.”
 “God, Haran, it was only ten minutes!  Lighten up!”
 Haran let that remark pass.  “You have the money?”
 The raccoon suddenly made a whimper, but he gave him the suitcase.  He became so nervous that Haran thought he felt like bursting out in a run in a second.  When he opened the suitcase, he knew why Mr. Guroot was so gosh-darn nervous.  There were plenty of credit dollars in there, neatly in rows, but it didn’t seem enough.  He quickly counted them with his blue eyes, then he looked up at the raccoon, the eyes like a predator to a prey.
 “This is four thousand credit dollars.  I asked for five.  Well, Mr. Guroot?  Short on money all of a sudden?”
 The raccoon sighed deeply.  “Look, Haran, I have been giving you money out of my pockets for years,.....faithfully.  However, my company stocks had dropped dramatically, and I’m not as rich as I used to be.  In fact, this is all I have.  Please spare me, Haran.”
 Haran closed the suitcase shut and laid it down.  “I don’t trust you.  There’s still money left in your bank accounts.  You have been unfaithful to me.”
 “No....please!  Don’t expose those pictures of me in bed with that minor!  My career and well-being is at stake!”
 Haran looked up at his bodyguard.  “Ramon, Mr. Guroot’s tie is loose.  Will you please tighten it for him?”
 Wordlessly, the massive wolf walked up to the screaming raccoon, grabbing hold of his tie.  Mr. Guroot struggled with him, but Ramon was too strong.  He soon gagged as the wolf tightened his tie,...though it was rather too tight.  Mr. Guroot was choking actually.  He grasped the wolf’s arms, trying to pull free, but then he gave up and tried throwing weak punches on the assailant’s broad chest.  That failed miserably.
 “Donny, Donny, Donny....,” Haran spoke softly in a deadly tone.  “Ramon here was just helping you, and you pay him back by punching him in chest?  Aw, that hurt.”
 Donny Guroot’s eyes bulged out, his loafers side-stepping on the concrete roof.  “Har-...Har-..,please!”  He tried to speak, gagging as the air was being blocked out by Ramon’s tight grip.
 “I don’t like people that try to hurt my faithful followers.  Ramon, let’s go with my money, but before we leave, let’s have Donny hang around here for awhile.”
 The wolf smiled, getting to his favorite part of his job.  As Donny continued to struggle with him, screaming a blood-curdling scream, Ramon dragged him to the edge of the building.  He halted within inches before open space, waiting for his boss to give the signal.
 “Mr. Guroot, it’s been nice knowing ya.  Your money had funded my secret empire, and I owe you tons.  However, you are like a old-time servant.  You serve your master well, then when you become old, you grow worthless till you are finally fired.  Ramon, will you fire him from his job now?”
 The wolf nodded, and pulled the tie over the edge of the building.  Donny was thrown off the edge, and dropped several inches before he stopped in mid-air, since Ramon was still hanging on his tie.  The raccoon’s feet kicked wildly, his throat being tightened more.  Even as his larynx’s passage was so narrow that he could barely breathe, Donny screamed loudly.  Forty floors up, Donny knew that he would die soon.
 Haran laughed.  “Ramon, since Donny wants you to let him go, you go fulfill his request.”
 Donny overheard that.  “Nnnoooooo!!!!!!!”  He screamed as he plummeted forty stories down, the street below becoming larger and larger in a dramatic rate.
 Haran chuckled as he heard the thud as Donny Guroot, a successful raccoon that mistook a minor for a prostitute, crashed muzzle-first on a parked hovercar.  The car alarm blared; faint music to the cat’s ears.  Just then, Ramon’s pager beeped.
 The wolf checked it out.  “Great One, it is the iguana.  The message says “Success.  The target has been marked and terminated.”
 “Good, good,” Haran replied, picking up the suitcase.  “Let’s go shall we, my friend?”

Chapter Three

 “The Anti-Cat League thrives in the darkness of secrecy.  That way, we can strike our victims without notice.  If things go our way, the remaining cats in this Lylat System will spend the rest of their pitiful lives looking over their shoulders.”

          --Ramon, A.C.L.

 Drake Questia was found sleeping with his greyhound head resting on the desk.  Surrounding his head in three sides were stacks of folders and papers, all work that needed to be completed before their deadlines.  His room was well-lit, but Drake was too tired to allow the lights bother him.  He was frail looking dog, but he could still aim and fire his pistol like he could years ago.  With brown patches all over his black fur, he looked like he had just come off a brief mud wrestling contest, and his green uniform was wrinkled and a coffee stain (not even four washes could take it off) was on his right chest portion of the shirt.  On the other side was a gold badge, which said “Corneria City Police” printed on green letters across it.
 A door slam woke him up with a start.  An angry zebra, wearing a brown suit that didn’t seem to suit him, stood before the dog, carrying a newspaper like a bat.  His nostrils snorted in frustration, eyes showing the same.  Drake knew something bad had happened.  If Storm Larson wasn’t happy, then that means this would not be a good day.
 Storm laid the newspaper on the desk in front of the greyhound rather roughly.  “Read the headlines, Drake.  It happened again!”
 Worried, Drake read the headline.  In bold letters, it read, “Bomber Strikes, Police Confused”.
 “Aw, damn it,” Drake muttered.  “Two people killed in Evan’s Clothing store, thousands of dollars of damages expected.  Wait, this said it happened this morning.  How could the press print all this-”
 Storm sighed.  “You know that the newspapers don’t come out till noon.  Besides, events like this are food to hungry parasites called reporters.”
 Drake looked at his watch.  “Yep, it’s noon.  I have been working all night, Storm.  Must of slept through the entire morning.  Any leads?”
 “Well, there was a witness that said she saw an iguana that was working in the store burst out the doors soon after the bomb exploded.”
 The greyhound Chief of Police massaged his head.  “Great, an iguana.  The bombing incident in Fortuna had a meerkat for a possible suspect, and there was a malamute in the bombing incident in Oswella.  Good grief.  We know that there is some group that is doing this, but just how many goddamn members are in this group, whatever they are called?  Ten?  Forty?  A hundred?  Half the entire stinking population of Corneria?”
 The zebra shrugged his shoulders, calmer now.  “The number is not confirmed yet.  We are still looking into it.”
 “Right.  Of course.  We don’t even know if Venom is involved in this.”
 “That possibility seemed high.  All the bombing incidents had happened in Cornerian controlled areas.  But there’s another pattern as well.”
 “Really?  Well shoot.  I need all the help I can get.”
 “The terrorist bombings had killed ten people now.  Seven of them are cat victims.  Not lion, leopard, cheetah, or any of that.  I meant by Siamese cats, Persian cats,...those kind.”
 “So you’re saying that we have a cat-hater in our paws?  He or she must be some kind of dog.”  Drake said, trying to lighten the situation up with humor.
 That only made Storm angrier.  “Drake!  People are dying here!  This is deadly serious!  The Androssian War happening here is demoralizing to the Cornerian public already.  Now with this bomber killing them one by one, they won’t stand for it.  If you don’t get some real progress done here, then you might get booted out, Drake.”
 “I know, I know, but my officers are overworked here!  We need more help, Storm.”
 “Well, what about bounty hunters?”
 “Bounty hunters?  They may catch criminals, but they don’t care if they let one go if they don’t get paid for it.  No.  I won’t involve them into this.”
 “Look, I have millions of credit dollars that can be offered.  Why don’t you let me do the hiring, and you can be left out of this.  Besides, you did say that you need all the help you can get.”
 Drake sighed.  “Oh alright.  Go ahead, Storm.  What good will it do, anyway?”
 Storm smiled.  “Thank you Chief.  Bounty hunters will be a great help,” he said before leaving the office.  When all was quiet, Drake muttered to himself, then rested his head on the desk again, falling asleep.

 “One million credit dollars?  You got to be kidding me,” a burly aardwolf growled, crossing his scarred arms in front of his muscle-build chest.  The bounty hunter shook his head and chuckled.
 Adam Issis was perhaps the most ugliest person Storm had ever seen, and the zebra had seen some really bad ones in his time.  He stood at six-foot-one, weighting about 240 pounds, and was ear to toe in ugliness.  His murky-colored vest was scratched and worn in several places, his pants were stained and bloody, and the red fur on his arms were ruined by gash scars and tattoos.  Fastened to his right ear was large silver earring, which seemed to have a design of a skull and crossbones imprinted on it.  When he spoke, he exposed his worn gums and his right front fang was chipped off.
 Storm cleared his throat.  The aardwolf in front of him in his office may be uglier than Falco Lombardi in the morning, but Adam does have the reputation as a great bounty hunter.  Fifteen criminals caught in nine months.  Four of them dead “by accident”.  “Well, Mr. Issis, I do have more money.  Say two million?”
 Adam rubbed his chin thoughtfully.  “Alright then.  Three million, and I’ll find this creep for ya.”
 Storm sighed.  “Fine.  Three million,” he said, extending his paw.
 As they shook paws, four more bounty hunters came in Storm’s office.  Leading them was a cheetah, his eyes sparkling with youth.  Behind him was a badger, a tiger with a menacing and tough look on her face, and a black panther (or was it a puma?).
 Upon seeing them, Adam snarled at them.  In response, the huge tiger laughed cheerfully.  “Adam!  Long time no see!  How’s your right arm?”
 “Fine.....” the aardwolf grumbled.
  “Well shoot.  I was hoping to break that the last time we fought.”
 “Shut up, Tigress.  I’m leaving,” Adam grumbled, and marched out of the office, leaving Tigress chuckling.
 Storm raised an eyebrow.  “He’s an enemy?”
 “Kind of,” the panther said, his coal-black eyes still.  “Tigress kicked his butt over who’s going to get the criminal we both were looking for.  We got a few thousand for that criminal.”
 “Oh,” Storm sighed.  “Okay Justice Cadets, here’s the deal.  Please sit down if you wish.”
 Natlarn Berola, Tera Crista, Tigress Mondale, and Jo’hara Prather picked their chairs and sat down.  Jo’hara had a laptop computer with him, and Tigress, like always, had on her brass knuckles.
 “You may have been hearing recently about a series of terrorist bombings happening in the past few months.  The police here is overworked, have no leads, and we need desperate help.  Due to the witnesses’ accounts, this terrorist may not be alone.  He or she might lead an entire group of terrorists, and the criminal might or might not have a bunch of bombs already made.  We know very little about this criminal.  We don’t know where to start, but if we don’t find a lead soon, then the public will turn mad and the media will eat it all up.”
 “Well, can you give us what little information you have, Storm?”  Natlarn asked.
 The zebra gave him a folder with several sheets of paper.  “That’s all we have unfortunately.  Various stuff.  Now, this is very dangerous.  The criminal can strike at anytime, and anyone can be the terrorist’s goon.  Will you be willing to take the risk?”
 Natlarn nodded with a grin.  “Of course we will, as long as we get compensated for it.”
 “How about two million credit dollars?”
 Tera widened his eyes.  “That’s a lot of money, Storm.”
 Storm sighed.  “Yes, but we need this criminal caught, and fast.”
 “We’ll take it, Storm.  We won’t let you down,” Natlarn said, and shook his paw.
 

Chapter Four

 “Your brother or sister.  Your best friend.  Your business partner.  The person next door.  The friendly one who borrows your sugar.  Your own mother.  All of these could be a member of this group, and you won’t even know about it, and if you’re a cat, then once you know it, you will already be dead.”

      --Drake Questia, Chief of Police, Corneria City

 “Where are we going Daddy?”  Albert Goresins asked his father as they walked on the sidewalk in Hemra City, somewhere in Katina.  It was before the civil war had broken out in Macbeth, and years before Andross would be exiled.  Albert, a white cat with orange stripes (which made him the butt of many cruel jokes), looked up to his father with wide blue eyes.
 “To the car, Albert.  We’re going home,” Haran replied back.  They walked into a parking lot and found their car out in the open.
 “Daddy, I need to go to the bathroom,” the 11-year-old said, almost whimpering.
 “Don’t worry, son.  We’ll be home pretty quick.  Just hold it.”
 With a quick spurt of speed, Albert ran ahead of his father, his sneakers clamping on the concrete.  Haran smiled as his son reached for the door handle of their car.  Albert was his only son, and because his daughter had died at birth several years ago, Haran never wanted to let his son go.  He loved him dearly, for he shared his own blood, as well as his wife’s.  Besides, he had always wanted a son to hug, love, and cherish.
 Albert opened the door and got inside.  When he closed the door of the blue car, Haran was still ten yards away.  Still, for years afterwards, Haran felt it had happened just inches away from him.
 A bomb, planted under the car, exploded, spreading fire inside the car instantly.  Albert was consumed by the fire in a snap of God’s fingers, and the blue painted frame of the car splintered out in all directions.  The force of the blow swept Haran’s feet off the ground, and he was thrown several feet away, landing on the concrete hard.  A sickening roar of fire rang into his ears, and he smelled smoke, gasoline, and flesh.
 His son’s flesh.  He was smelling the flesh of his son burning like a main course dinner.  Haran lifted his bleeding head with a sudden headache, feeling the bump on the back of his head.  He watched with horrified eyes as the leather on the car seats were crackling apart, and for a brief moment, he spotted a black lump on the seat.
 “Albert.....” he said with a hoarse whisper, fainting.  He laid his head on the bloody ground, staring upwards, weeping internally and visually as he was lulled into unconsciousness.
 Haran woke up in some hospital.  He was laying on the stiff bed alone, the sunlight peering through the blinds on the window close by.  His head was bandaged, and a cast on his leg told him wonders.  He sighed deeply, trying hard not to think back what had just happened.
 The image of his dead son appeared in his mind.  His face was all charred, rendering him almost unidentifiable.  His clothes was still smoking, and his eye sockets were pitch black.  Albert shook his head.  It had to be a dream.
 The imagine of his son opened his mouth to speak.  He had no tongue.  “Revenge.....”
 Haran closed his eyes.  “No!  I’m dreaming!  This is a nightmare!!!”
 When he opened his eyes, the imagine of his son was gone, but his voice still lingered in his memories.
 “Daddy, I need to go to the bathroom.”
 “Daddy, I want my death to be avenged.”
 “Daddy, I need to die so that my destiny would be fulfilled.”
 “Daddy, I need to go to the car so that I can be killed by a bomb.”
 Haran screamed, pounding the bed with his paws.  “No!  Leave me alone!  Leave me alone!  No!!”
 The doctors and nurses burst inside, grabbing the frantic cat, trying to calm him down.  Haran’s eyes twitched in complete horror, and his head shook furiously.  “Leave me alone, Albert!  You’re dead!  You’re frigging dead!  DEAD!!!”
 His right paw slapped a turtle doctor, almost to his face.  The doctor stepped back, but still held him.  “Sedate him!  Now!”
 A nurse was already one step ahead, for she stuck a needle into Haran’s right arm.  The cat eased down quickly.  The last thing he saw before falling asleep was the image of his burnt son.
 “Revenge, Daddy,” it spoke.  “It is the only way.  Revenge.....revenge....revenge.”

 For the next week, Haran was stuck in bed.  The horrifying dreams of his son’s death came into his mind like a party spoiler, and every time, his dead son demanded revenge.  For years afterwards, whenever Haran woke up screaming, his wife knew that he just had the same nightmare.  When he became the leader of the A.C.L., his followers would know what had happened.  Haran would never get used to the nightmares.  Every time, every single time, his son spoke the words over and over again.  “Revenge....revenge...revenge....”
 By sheer coincidence, by the time Haran was released from the hospital in crutches, the news came to him that the bomber had been captured by police.  He sighed in relief.  However, what horrified him about it was that the bomber was only 19 years old, a college student, graduated High School with Honors.  His name was Jeriano Literan, and most of the public used to think of him as a kind and generous cat.
 Two more weeks later, Jeriano was sent to jail, convicted for acts of terrorism, and sentenced to death.  One week after the trial, Haran had his chance to meet this killer of his son face to face, with only a glass window between them.
 Haran tried to resist his growing anger when he saw the red furred cat sitting down just a foot away from him on the other side of the glass window.  A few holes provided the only way for them to hear each other, and Haran could smell the evil from him.
 Jeriano, a.k.a. Prodigy Boy Turned Maniac, had cold, brown eyes that bore into Haran’s mind, and his prison uniform blended with his fur well.
 Haran growled.  “I think my first question is obvious.  Why?”
 Jeriano chuckled.  “Why?  I was chosen to.  I’m destined to kill your son.”
 “What the hell are you saying?”
 The red cat grinned.  “It was a message from the Gods that I must kill your son.  You see, cats; not the wild ones, but the domesticated species, are evil.  They are the only species to be born in the adobe of the Devil himself.  The Gods had tolerated their existence long enough.  So, they came to me in a dream, saying that there is a certain Siamese cat to be killed, so that the chain reaction would begin.  That Siamese is your son.”
 Haran snarled.  “You are crazy.  You are fucking crazy.  I loved my son, and there is no excuse for you to kill him.  No excuse at all!”
 “Then why do you come here?”
 “I want to tell you that I will be in the same room with you when your brain will be fried.  I suggested a hanging, your limbs quartered, and your heart be thrown into a furnace, but the jail warden refused, saying that it was ‘barbaric’.  Well, I almost punched him in the face, for what you did was barbaric and worse.  You don’t deserve to live.  You don’t even deserve to be born.”
 “I did it as a favor to you.  You will become a hater to cats like yourself,” the red cat then came close to the window, his brown eyes focused on him.  “Once all the cats have been purged from existence, the Lylat System will be purified.  Make sure you remember that, Haran Goresins.  It will become a trademark for you.  You must take what I have left off.”
 Haran shook his head.  He spat on the window, some of the lucky drops of saliva shooting through the holes and landed on Jariano’s face.  The cat seemed unfazed.  “I hope you rot and die, Jariano.  I really do.”
 The cat shook his head.  “No.  You will later thank me.  Oh yes, you will thank me.”

Chapter Five
 
 “Jariano had showed me the way to my true destiny.  When my wife was killed, I have realized that he was right.  The Gods had put those two cat soldiers, Charlie and Guss, there for a reason.  When I received the news about the very first cat victim under the deadly force of my bombs, only then, did I thank that creep.”
        --Haran Goresins, leader of A.C.L.

 “Revenge....revenge....revenge.....”
 Haran woke up screaming.  His bed sheets were thrown out of the bed, his limbs flaying wildly.  Seconds later, he calmed down slowly, gathering some sense.  He laid on his military-style bed panting, out of breath, his white fur moistened with cold sweat.  He was in the back of his bedroom, which was small in comparison to the average bedroom, but he rarely had thoughts of being luxurious on anything he does or wants.  His walls were white plastered and devoid of decoration, and there was only a shade-less light bulb on the ceiling to give the room any light.  The brown door in the front opened, and a caracal came in, her yellow eyes tainted with concern.
 Haran raised his palms forward to confirm her that he’s fine.  “It was the nightmare again, Shivan.  I’m okay.  Oh yeah, good morning.”
 Shivan Tresley grinned and sighed with relief.  She was actually used to Haran screaming in the morning, but there’s always that feeling of worry whenever she hears it.  She made a quick bow.  “Buenos dias, Haran.  Your breakfast is ready.”
 “Oh goodie.  What’s waiting for me?”
 “Scrambled eggs, topped with chopped green and red peppers, and jalapeño peppers, extra hot.  There’s also cold red milk and some biscuits that have been sprinkled with powdered butter.”
 Haran got out of the bed, smacking his lips.  “My favorite.  I take this will be a good day?”
 Shivan chuckled.  “All four of our ‘sponsors’ will be coming here tomorrow.  I have just received word of it.  Also, the mission in Wementon is successful.  Two house cats killed.”
 “Good.  Any others killed?”
 “Only a turtle.”
 “Hmmm, pity.  Oh well.  Let me get dressed, and I’ll have breakfast.  Any thing else to report?”
 “Well, I’m still waiting for our terrorist in Katina to report back.  I don’t think this day will be perfect.”
 Haran shook his head, taking off his sleeping shirt, exposing his rather frail chest.  “Well shoot.  Dismissed.”
 Shivan bowed again and left the room, closing the door behind her.
 The Anti-Cat League has countless numbers of members, spreading from Corneria to Venom, but only four has real power.  The top one, obviously, was Haran, who formed the League several years ago with the help of sponsors who were forced to give their money due to blackmail (the late Mr. Guroot was one of them), and by hiring people Haran trusted, who spread out rumors that cats were evil and such.  Under the very noses of the unsuspecting police, Haran had built an underground fortress under Corneria City itself.  The entrances were inside old rotting buildings, and though the people lived alongside sewers, the walls protected them from the smell.  It was a good living, though in secrecy.  The food was good, the money was plentiful, and since almost all the members were spread out, the headquarters was never crowded.
 He had spotted Ramon when he was watching television and spotted a burly wolf as a bystander behind a reporter in some city.  His size was immense, so Haran hunted him down and had him hired as his own personal bodyguard.  Ramon was loyal to his leader from the beginning, and whenever there was a troublemaker among the League, Ramon would be the one to have his paws grasped around the puny neck of the provocateur.  Whenever Haran steps outside, Ramon would be on his side.  The wolf was strong, but also intelligent.
 Shivan Tresley had several roles in the A.C.L.  She was a personal assassin, advisor, strategist, and Haran’s companion.  The caracal was often calm, but she was ruthless and cruel toward her enemies, and her martial arts skills were often used to kill bounty hunters or people that could of exposed their hideout.  Her intelligence and advice were trusted by Haran, and that alone was an honor to the 22-year-old caracal.  She was young, strong, smart, and extremely important to Haran, so she had the privilege of addressing her boss as Haran.  Ramon and even Maxwell Poland, the second-in-command, called him “Great One”.

 Haran’s private banquet room was the largest room in the underground fortress.  It was also the only room to be adorned in luxury, usually as a show of power to future “sponsors”.  The thick walls of steel were draped in blue and brown silk curtains, and on the back of the room was a mural with Haran, Frieda and Albert, posing in the center, while a small white cat was being disemboweled by hot stakes in one corner of the mural.  On the center of the room was a large maple wood table, covered with a brown tablecloth.  Haran always sat on the back end, and the wolf Ramon, like a statue, would stand directly behind him.  The table could seat twenty people, and Haran often used the room as an eatery, place of meeting, among others.
 As Haran was busy eating his breakfast, Shivan ate her own meal on the right side of the table.  She was dressed in a tight-fitting brown shirt and pants that showed her muscles and rather curvy frame, and the lights on the ceiling shone on her reddish-brown fur, and also made her yellow eyes sparkle.  Her black hair was short, rather oily and not much volume on it.  Like all caracals, she has black tufted ears and a red tapered tail, and has white markings around her eyes, throat, belly, and chin.
 However, for companionship, Haran paid little attention to her beauty.  It was her soothing voice, which was in a different accent that most people.  She speaks part Vitrian, which was a language that Haran considered to be common-spread yet rare, if that oxymoron be allowed to take place in reality.  Oh yes, she can talk dirty, but she was calm whenever speaking to Haran, and she would even try to teach him her native language.
 “So, how was Aquas?”  Haran spoke, stuffing a spicy pepper in his mouth.  Shivan had just came back from a scouting mission, often to steal blueprints of buildings for future bomb areas or gathering new information through computer hacking.  To prevent hacking being used against them, Haran’s group never puts their true location on any computer, and to prevent tracing, there are no computers in the hideout itself.
 “Wet and cold,” Shivan said with a shudder.  “Like always.”
 Haran let out a short chuckle.  “I’m sure you won’t go back there as often.  Anything new?”
 The caracal nodded.  “Well, the people there are quite confident actually.  I spoke with some of them and they say that even though Andross himself denied the rumors of Venomian spies doing the bombings, they think the terrorists had allied with them.  The Cornerians are blaming Venom for it, and the Venomians actually seem to like us, though they don’t even know us.  Estupido, those people are. ”
 Haran grinned.  “This is good.  Very good.  Boy will Andross be surprised when he hears the news that one of his controlled areas had been bombed.  Maybe he’ll treat us differently, but we can take on both Venom and Corneria, since those two are busy at war themselves.”
 “Or maybe Andross would blame Corneria for it.  That seems highly likely.  That loco ape is too loco for me.”
 Haran burst out in laughter, totally agreeing with her.  Then he remembered something.  “Oh yes, I have another mission for you, senor.”
 Shivan raised a finger.  “That’s senorita, Haran.  I’m not a male.”
 Haran chuckled nervously.  “Oh sorry.  Guess I still have a long way to go.  Well, I have heard from a spy up in the surface that there’s a bounty hunter out to get me again.  This time, it’s the Corneria City Police paying the bill.  Some aardwolf named Adam Issis, and even I have heard of him.  He’s ugly, but good at his job.”
 Shivan gave him a puzzled look.  “Aardwolf?”
 “A species more closely related to the hyena than the wolf.  Don’t ask me why.  You will receive a picture of him before you leave.  I have already set up a reservation for a room in the Arwing Inn south of the city, and you will wait for him there.  He will get a note that you have information about my whereabouts, and tell him lies, of course.  Try to seduce him, weakening his alertness, and kick his butt at the right moment.  You can be as noisy as you want.  The hotel is in a remote area and I will make sure that you and this Adam be the only ones tonight.  Once you kill him, a few of my members will try to destroy all the evidence as they can.  I even have several police officers under my control.  Will you accept it?”
 Shivan smiled.  Although he always asked her that same question, she would have to do the mission or face Ramon.  Oh she may have a chance against that massive wolf, but not against the forty armed guards in the underground fortress.  “Si, si,...” she accepted in her native language.  “I will do it, Haran.”
 “Good, good.  Go to the Command Central and there will be someone there to give you the necessary info about your future victim.  At the meantime-”
 The huge doors opened, and two figures; an antelope and a collie, burst inside.  The antelope had horns that were cut for safety reasons, and his brown eyes were full of worry.  The collie behind him was stern-faced, and was grasping the antelope by the arm.
 “Great One!” the collie barked.  “This terrorist was supposed to lure the two victims that he was sent to kill in the Grona mission, but he failed.”
 Shivan leaned closer to her boss.  “That was the Katina mission I told you about earlier today.”
 Haran nodded in response.  “Listen Shivan, why don’t you prepare yourself for your mission today?  Maxwell and I will have a little talk with this antelope.”
 Shivan got up and made a salute bow.  “As you wish, Haran.  Adios.”
 As the caracal left the room, Haran got up and faced the whimpering antelope.  “What is your name?”
 “T-T-T-Teresa Brara, a member of your excellent organization for five months, Great One.”
 Haran realized that the collie was still holding his arm, rather roughly.  “Maxwell,....will you please let him go?  You’re making him nervous, and I need to speak with him.”
 Maxwell Poland, the second-in-command of the A.C.L., released him, then stood firm, his brown, stern eyes glaring at the failure in front of him.
 “Teresa, can you explain what had happened?”
 The antelope gasped, trying to calm down.  “Well,...Great One, I planted the bomb in the car of the two targets, which are brother and sister.  It was nighttime, and I was surveying the area, hoping for the two cats to get in their car so I can blow it up.  Well, I finally spotted someone trying to get in the car, but it was nighttime you see.  I never got a close look at him or her.  When I spotted a second figure with him, I realized that it was them so I pushed the button and the car exploded.”
 “And those were the wrong victims, I presume?”  Haran asked, trying to keep his cool.
 Teresa shook his head in shame.  “Yes, yes,....I’m so sorry.  They were thieves, Great One.  Both canine.  The two cat siblings are still at large.”
 Haran sighed deeply, and wrapped his arm around the antelope’s shoulder, in a somewhat friendly, forgiven manner.  “It was an accident, wasn’t it?”  He said in a voice filled with pity.
 “Yes, yes, it was.  You forgive me?”
 “Hey it was nighttime, and you saved the police the dirty work of capturing those idiots.  A little careless decision and poor night vision will be tolerated.  Look, you must be tired.  Why don’t you have Maxwell here escort you to the kitchen.  Maybe you can have a choice on what the courses will be in tomorrow’s dinner with my future sponsors.  Will you like that?”
 Teresa beamed.  “Yes, of course, Great One!  Thank you!”
 Haran smiled, and mentioned to his second commander.  “Maxwell, take him to the kitchen please.  Make sure he chooses wisely.”
 “Yes, Great One,” the collie responded, and escorted him out.
 When Haran was left alone with Ramon still standing in the same spot, he sat back down and continued on his breakfast.  Maxwell Poland was a collie that had been with him almost since the start of the A.C.L.  In fact, they were actually partners in the formation of the secret army of followers, but the collie agreed to go one step lower and become a second-commander.  Stern and strict with the followers, Maxwell was a soldier that had served some time in the Macbeth civil war a few years back, but quit when a laser injured him.  He always wore a military uniform, always in Macbeth colors, and looked like any other collie except for a torn right ear, which he preferred to as an old war souvenir.
 “Ah, tomorrow, those business people will know that they must give me their money, or die as a consequence.”  Haran muttered after he swallowed a bite of a biscuit.

Chapter Six
 “Si no puedes entenderme, entonces eres un idiota.”
         --Shivan Tresley, A.C.L.

 Aurelia Javenson knew this was a bad day when she woke up with a sore tooth.  The ermine groaned as she held her paw on the side of her jaw, her eyes almost swelled with tears as the result of the pain.  No more chocolate for me, she thought.  Gee, I wonder how long I can get through that?  Two days straight?  One hour?
 She staggered her slim body up from the bed in her guest bedroom in an apartment close to Westuran City.  It was the last day of her visit to her friend, and the suitcases were already packed, since she had to catch a transporter to a military base in Corneria, reporting back to duty.  She dressed herself up in a blue uniform, and was fastening her golden buttons of a Major rank on her collar when her friend came up with worried eyes.
 “Aurelia, you got some toothache?”
 “Yeah.  Don’t let me talk much, please,” the ermine sighed.  She donned her blue military hat on her sleek head, then grimaced from the pain again.  Not taking the sight of her friend in pain anymore, Salan went into the bathroom and pulled out a bottle of aspirin.  The orange furred tabby cat showed the bottle to her friend, but Aurelia promptly refused.
 “Thanks but no thanks.  Aspirin makes me drowsy, and the General won’t like that.  I would rather take a tooth extraction without novocaine than to have that hawk flap his beak in front of my face, yelling at me for two hours straight.  My ears would fall off.”
 Salan chuckled, and grudgingly put the aspirin away.  “Well, I hope you get well soon.  I thank you for staying with me as a guest.  After living many years alone, I do need a good friend to talk to once in a while.”
 Aurelia managed to force a smile.  Salan was a former pilot that had been injured in a battle against Venomian Forces in Area 90, an unimportant Venomian region of space close to Sector Z.  The injury was so bad that not only was Salan was forced out of the military honorably, but she also had to have her large intestines shortened by four inches.  During the operation, something went wrong, and Salan developed some major problems in the digestive system.  Living in a strict and troublesome diet was a thick thorn in the everyday life of Salan Rosbergen, and she often take out her frustrations rather violently, which explained her living alone.  Still, for the common part, she was calm, generous, and helpful whenever she could, and Aurelia was proud to have her as a friend.
 “Well thank you, Salan.  I need a good friend to talk to also.  Katt tries to get in contact with me as often as she could, but she’s been busy recently.  I haven’t seen her in two weeks.  Well, I got to go.  Farewell.”
 The feline friend nodded and hugged her.  “Farewell, my dear friend.”
 
 Outside the apartment building, Aurelia searched through her keys in her blue purse, her red hovercar waiting beside her.  The building was next to a forest and a nearly empty street, and there are several other apartments alongside of it.  She snatched a look at her watch, and muttered a short curse.
 “8:00.  Great.  Now I have just thirty minutes to get my tail over to the airport and-”
 A loud blast startled her.  She looked up and found a shattered window with black smoke pouring out.  The orange flicker of a fire could be seen through the dark screen.  She gasped suddenly and dropped her purse.  The shattered window belonged to Salan Rosbergen.
 “Salan!!!”  She yelled as she rushed back inside the building.  Alarmed tenants poured out their rooms into the hallways, wondering what in Corneria had just happened.  The ermine brushed past them, going as fast as her nimble feet could carry.  The decorations on the walls were a blur, and when she reached the third floor, she was struck back from the heat and smoke.  Risking health, she held her arm over her eyes and marched quickly to her friend’s room, picking up a fire extinguisher along the way.
 She coughed as she got in, blaring white clouds of foam at the small fires burning the furniture and walls.  Clouded by the foam and smoke, she couldn’t find Salan, but she relentless fought the fires and her eyes searched around for a tabby cat.
 A burnt tabby, probably.  Aurelia mentally slapped herself for thinking such a horrible thought.  If I knew she’s dead, then what the hell am I doing here?
 She extinguished another small fire in the kitchen, then went into the bedroom, her eyes still hunting for her friend.  Her foot got caught, and she almost stumbled forward.  She kept her balance to prevent falling, and looked down.  It was Salan, face down, lying there.  Her black patches, a new addition to her orange fur, were smoking, and blood was splattered on her clothes.
 “Hey you!!!  Get the heck out of here!!”  A mongoose yelled at her as he burst inside with another fire extinguisher.  “Where’s Salan?”
 “Right here!  Help me get her out!!”
 The black-furred mongoose, a neighbor downstairs, got up to her and picked Salan up by her feet.  His paws almost burned while holding the charred feet, but with the help of Aurelia, they carried the cat out of the bedroom and into the hallway.  A robin was waiting for them there, and the three carried the body downstairs and then outside.
 By the time they laid Salan on the grass a safe distance away, a fire truck came in with sirens blaring.  Aurelia knelt beside her, weeping, though it wasn’t coming from the sore on her tooth.  The tabby was already dead, probably on contact with the explosion.  A firefighter got up to the ermine and forced her up, allowing other firefighters to tend to the cat.  Salan laid still, her burning eyes closed forever.
 Aurelia sighed mournfully, and then felt pain on her right shoulder.  Several streaks of blood was running down her uniform, which was parched in some areas and red-stained in others.  A flesh wound, the bleeding area surrounded by parched skin, was found.  “Oh fine.  Make my day much more worse than I wanted to,” she muttered crazily.  Her flight appointment to the military base was forgotten, as well as her toothache, for the time being.

 Katt Monroe, a cat with a price on her head in Venom for numerous reasons, was getting a rare break from her duties.  The pink-furred cat was nursing a cup of black coffee in a cafe in Fortuna Base, her thoughts intent on finishing the strong, “thicker than tar”, drink that was slowly burning her tongue.  She wore a purple jump suit with a white leather overcoat, and her thick mittens were laid on the counter next to her empty plate of eaten tornab crab.  Her slim but well-filled arms shone under the dull white lights of the eatery, and her eyes looked down at the coffee somberly, seeing her reflection on the coffee, which was blacker than the eyes of a panther she once knew.  Her purple tail with a white tip swung little in boredom.
 She absently wisped back a strand of white hair that was hanging in front of her feminine face and sighed.  For the last several weeks, she has been quite busy indeed.  For most of the time, she was with Starfox, helping them out against Borzoi fighters (which were jets that Katt often had trouble against, and it wasn’t because the jets were named after a dog breed).  Her jet, the Catspaw, was badly damaged at the end of the dogfight, so she was stuck with Falco and his buddies for the next several weeks.  Her relationship with the avian was so-so.  They weren’t exactly what the average furry would call a devoted couple, since they had other things in mind, but at least they have feelings for each other.  She does have thoughts of having a romantic relationship with him once the war is over, but only if he would stop being so irritable in the morning.
 “Is there a Katt Monroe here?”  A waiter spoke out in the nearly empty cafe.  “There’s a monitor phone call for Katt Monroe!”
 Katt raised her paw.  “Right here!”
 The waiter came up to her.  “There’s someone named Aurelia Javenson on the phone.  It is next to the restrooms to your right.”
 “Huh, I haven’t seen that ermine in a long time.  Thank you,” she said to the waiter and paid the bill before leaving.
 The ermine was near to the point of weeping when Katt saw her on the monitor phone screen.  Sirens could be heard nearby, and since Aurelia was outside, she must be using a portable monitor phone.  A bloody bandage was wrapped around her injury.
 Katt was happy to see her best friend since school, but her smile quickly faded.  “What’s wrong?”
 “You remember Salan Rosbergen, do ya?”  Aurelia said, her voice nearly cracking.
 “Yes, of course.  What happened?”
 “She’s dead, Katt.  The police said it was bomb that did it.”
 Katt bowed in grief and anger.  “Aw, shit....you look bad.”
 “It’s a flesh wound.  The burn is not serious.  Look, I think this has to do with the recent bombing attacks.”
 “I’ll bet,” Katt answered softly, shaking her head.  “You want me to come over and help whatever I can?”
 Aurelia shook her head.  “No, no, you don’t need to.  The police had pretty much taking control here, and I have a transporter to catch to a military base.  Thanks anyway,” she replied.  She looked away from the screen and muttered some curse as she watched the burnt remains of the apartment room.  “Good God what a mess!  It’s horrible!  I have never thought that this would happen to...to..”
 Katt realized her friend was almost choked up with tears.  “The feeling is natural.  Of course you never thought of that.  Is there anything I can do?”
 “Well, could you inform Salan’s relatives in Corneria for me please?  I would really appreciate that.”
 Katt nodded.  “I will do just that, Aurelia,” she said as she let out a sigh.  “She was a good friend.”
 “Yeah.....look, I have to go.  Maybe I’ll meet you soon enough.  Farewell.”
 “Goodbye, Aurelia,” Katt said and the screen went blank.  Katt felt like punching a wall.  “This is going to end.  This terror must end,” she muttered to herself.

 The night cool air was blowing hard outside, but Shivan was warm by the heater in her reserved room in the Arwing Inn.  The room wasn’t lavish or all that, but Shivan wasn’t one to pay attention to luxuries.  A simple, small bed in dull blue sheets was in the back of the room, on the other side a small bathroom with no shower.  Some of the areas of the white walls were cracked, and the drawer was small enough only to fit a holy book for some religion and a telephone that seemed outdated.
 “But at least the heater is working,” the caracal muttered.  She took off her leather jacket and threw it on top of the bed, and frisked her own clothes to for a last-minute weapons check.  Since she knew that pistols were too showy, she neglected to take one.  With her martial arts skills, she felt that she never needed one.  I don’t hide behind a trigger, she would explain.  It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t know how to shoot however.  A knife was hidden in the back of her right brown leather boot, and in her jacket was a knife that was shaped like a miniature scythe.  She would use that if her boot knife was rendered useless.  There was also yet another knife hidden behind her belt on her back, but that was a Swiss knife.  She was also wearing gloves.  Latex ones.
 A knock on the door was expected, but she was still startled by it.  She hated such a sound to roar to her ears when moments before it was so quiet and serene.  Knowing it was her target, she straightened her clothes and briskly walked to the door.
 Adam Issis, about twice the size as the caracal assassin, was at the door, and he crooked a smile when he saw who answered the door.  He chortled several laughs (which had hints of pleasure in it), and his breath forced Shivan to make a disgusted look on her face.
 “Eres muy feo.  Tambien Apestas.”  She muttered under her breath.  Indeed he was.
 “What did you say, woman?”
 Shivan grinned and shook her head.  “Nothing.  And you are?”
 “Adam Issis, the best bounty hunter in the Lylat System,” the aardwolf said with a smile that only his mother would love, and no one else.
 Shivan sighed quickly.  Gee, the best bounty hunter.  That’s exactly what the four other bounty hunters said to me.  I wonder if they were still thinking that they were the best when I slid a knife blade cleanly through their necks.  “I’m Dawn, and I have no last name.  Please, come in.”
 Shivan walked to the center of the room, and faced the bounty hunter as he leaned against the wall, still quite close to the door.  “I hear you have info that I need.”
 Shivan nodded.  “That is correct, Mr. Issis.”
 “Please, call me Adam,” he said, obviously trying his weak charm.
 The caracal almost rolled up her eyes.  “Well, I’m a member of the organization, or should I say, used to.”
 “What organization?  What’s it called?  Who’s the leader?”
 “It’s called T.D.O.T., or The Dominion of Terrorists.  It has only five members.  The leader is named Drake Tembell.”
 “Only five?”  Adam repeated with a puzzled look.  “I was hoping it would be bigger.”
 The caracal laughed.  “Well, it used to have ten members, then I decided to do something about it as I escaped.”
 Adam chuckled.  “Good for you.  Can you tell me more about this Tembell?”
 More lies flowed from her tongue.  “He’s a bulldog, and a mean one.  That’s why I had to leave.  He was too abusive.  He’s an old timer, so fighting him won’t be a problem.  There’s very little guards in his hideout, so you can handle them.”
 His eyes sparkled with interest.  “Where is the hideout?”
 “Near Vereana City, the entrance being directly under the City Hall.”
 “Vereana City?  But that’s in Zoness!  Is this group Venomian?”
 “No, but Drake has ties with Andross.  If you kill him, then it might be a sharp blow to the Venom Empire, because Andross is actually losing in this war.”
 “Huh.  I thought the war was in a stalemate, but I’ll take your word for it,” he said, his gypsy-style ring shining on his ear.  “Is that all you have?”
 “Yes.  However, I don’t want to give you all that for free.  I want something in return.”
 Adam shrugged.  “Alright then.  How about three thousand credit dollars?  How does that sound?”
 Shivan grinned.  “Actually.....I wasn’t thinking about money.”
 Adam smiled again.  “Now you’re talking,” he said, walking toward her.
 When they came close to each other, Shivan delicately caressed her paw on the aardwolf’s rough side of his face, inching up to his ears.  The smell of his breath was intolerable, but she was quick to hide it.  “You know, many people may call you ugly, but I think you’re um...neat.”
 Her paw silently grabbed hold of the ear ring.  “Nice ring.”
 “Thanks,” Adam purred, enjoying this.
 Shivan’s face quickly turned into a scowl.  “Can I have it?”  With that, she pulled the ring with all her strength, and a speckle of flesh splattered on her face was the ring was torn off the ear.  Adam howled in pain and retreated back, holding his bleeding ear.
 The caracal chuckled, and held the ring up for him to see.  “Oops.  I should have asked you to take it off first.  My apologies.”
 Adam sneered at her.  “You......slut!!!”
 With that, the aardwolf charged at her, using a strategy of brute strength.  Shivan side-stepped and laid a heel of a boot on his right knee, toppling him to the floor.  Adam was kicked to the face before he got up, snarling and spitting.
 Shivan shuffled her feet in a fighting stance, her face gleaming mockingly at him.  Adam threw a punch at her face, only to miss and was thrown over the caracal’s shoulder, and landed on his back for the second time.
 Shivan allowed him to stand up again.  “You’re a dummy, you know that?”
 Adam growled, but kept his distance.  Obviously, just simply charging at her won’t work.  She’s too agile.  Adam stepped closer, his paws raised in a boxing stance.  He had never fought against a martial arts expert before, but he wasn’t intimidated by that.  There’s a first for everything.  He threw another punch, more quicker, and the fist smacked at her face.  Shivan stumbled back from the blow, but retaliated quickly by giving him a punch to his ribs and struck a fist up his chin.
 The blows exchanged back and forth, neither getting a clear advantage.  Shivan was much more quicker on her feet and blows, but Adam was tougher in absorbing the blows and whenever his punches and kicks would connect, Shivan would feel that in the morning.
 Adam managed to grab her by the neck, trying to choke her.  Using his strength again, he managed to lift her off her feet, and smacked her back against the wall, adding some new cracks.  With victory seemly on his reach, he chuckled, exposing his worn teeth.  Suddenly he grunted when Shivan wisely kneed him on the groin.  She dropped down as Adam released her, and shoved him back, giving her room.
 She reached behind her back and pulled out the Swiss knife.  “You don’t seem to have any weapons.  Now that’s estupido,” she said, and ran at him, knife swinging in the air.  Adam reacted quickly, grabbing the knife-wielding arm.  Using his other arm, he grabbed her paw and roughly forced her to drop the knife.
 Shivan gave him a kick to the stomach and thrust the heel of her paw at his chin.  Hopping back, she arch-kicked him in the face and then added a side kick on the chest to the combo.  Adam tripped himself and fell back.
 Shivan shook her feline head.  “No eres muy bueno peleando, no es asi?”
 “Shut up!!”  Adam snarled as he stood back up.  Though he had given her a good fight, he was bleeding in some places, and his clothes were torn.  He was breathing hard, seemly wanting to swallow up the entire oxygen supply in the room.  He was standing nearly across the room from her, near the door to the bathroom.
 Shivan was out of breath as well, but not as noticeable.  Wanting to end it all, she reached inside the jacket laying on the bed and pulled out the scythe-like knife, which might be around a foot long.  She brandished it like an expert, nearing her opponent slowly and cautiously.
 Not to be intimidated by his enemy carrying such a deadly looking weapon, Adam straightened his stance and kept his eyes focused on the knife, hoping to catch it like last time.  With a fierce cry, Shivan charged forward, her eyes yearning for blood, her nostrils waiting to smell death.  She thrust her knife forward, toward the stomach area.  Adam attempted to grab it, and maybe force it out of her paws and use it for himself.
 This time, Adam was too slow.  He forced out a grunt as the curved blade sheared itself into the stomach, cutting an intestine in two.  Shivan grinned as she heard the silent whisper of flesh being cut open, but she wasn’t finished yet.  With expert swiftness, she pulled out the bloody knife, and with quick steps, swirled around and stabbed the knife into his right side of the stomach.  Adam uttered another scream as more shoots of pain rammed up his brain, and life was draining away.
 And now for the finishing touch, she thought.  She pulled the knife out again, splattering more blood on the wall, stepped away and swung the blade in a red-trailed arch.  The knife cut cleanly through Adam’s neck, ending his life.  Red liquid speckled on her face, Shivan retreated back, watching her dead victim lean back against the stained wall, and slid to the floor in a sitting position.  His eyes stared forward, lifeless.
 Panting in near exhaustion, Shivan smiled victoriously.  “Now who’s the best, bounty hunter?”  She was bleeding herself, but most of the stains belonged to the dead furry sitting on the floor.  She sighed deeply.
 “God, what a bloody mess.  Oh well.  Getting my paws and clothes dirty is a risk factor in this job.  Or maybe it’s a beneficial factor since it’s a reminder of a job well done,” she muttered, followed by laughter.  After cleaning her knife, she took a shower, washing away all the blood into the shower basin, but never bothered cleaning her clothes.  When she was “clean”, she donned her leather jacket and gave one last look to Adam Issis, the former best bounty hunter in the Lylat System.
 She grinned evilly.  “Dulces suenos, perdedor.”

Chapter Seven

 “Of all the cases that we were having involving the bombings, the one in the Arwing Inn was the strangest.  Sure there was an explosion there, but there was no cat within miles from there at the time.  The only one found was some aardwolf that was unidentifiable.  Therefore, I don’t think that incident is in any relation to the secret organization of terrorists.”

      --Drake Questia, Chief of Police, Corneria City

 A memo was waiting for Katt Monroe at the hangar near Fortuna Base.  It was a rather short one, taped on the canopy window of the Catspaw.  Puzzled, Katt pulled out the small sheet of paper and read it out loud.  “Dear friend, it’s me, Opal.  I need you to come over to my condo in Corneria City immediately.  It is of pressing concern.  Please come.  Thank you.”
 Katt shook her head.  “Now why would that badger....”
 A cheetah interrupted her, carrying a clipboard.  “Miss Monroe, your parking time limit is almost up.  You must leave now.”
 “Alright, alright, I’m going,” she answered.  She opened the black canopy window and climbed up into the cockpit.  Crumbling the note, she stuck it behind her seat and turned on the engines.  Opal Tremat was a friend of Katt’s mother, and one of the richest badgers she had ever met.  Her condo in Corneria City was said to be her best home of the four she has, locating four stories up.  The entire fourth floor consisted of only one tenant, which was Opal.  She’s that rich.
However, Katt wondered what was the urgency of this matter.  Why couldn’t she just simply phone her?  Why was the note typed and not paw written?  Puzzling questions for sure, but if she was in trouble, then she must go and help her.  Opal had known her since as a kitten, and has been friends with her mother since preschool.

 “The four sponsors are here, Great One,” Maxwell spoke in Haran’s bedroom.  The stern-faced collie snapped in attention at the doorway as Haran donned his blue robe.  The cat was dressed in rather luxurious clothes, as a show of power, of course.  He grinned and patted his second-commander on the shoulder.
 “They are seated in the Banquet Room?”
 “Yes, Great One.  The dinner will be ready to be served in three minutes.”
 Haran nodded.  “Good, good.  Well, let’s go meet them, shall we?”

 The four business people were seated all on one side of the large table, keeping quiet as Haran sat down on his chair on the end, though their eyes were focusing on the wolf, not the cat in front of him.  The Siamese cat studied them with a sense of glee.  The four had been brought here in the hopes of higher profit, though Haran was unclear on how he would do so.  Greed overpowered judgement, so the four decided to come.  Though they may be in different industries and species, they are all rich, greedy, and had their own little “scandals”.
 Sitting closest to Haran was a black-feathered hen, the only female of the four.  Her name was Emily Cocanal, the CEO of Fevan Oil, which was the largest in the oil industry.  She had brown eyes that flickered and moved sharply, and a short hooked beak that was typical of hens.  Owning three houses on high-valued property, she was the richest of them all, but she was ruthless whenever going against competition.
 To her left was a baboon named Chris Bonsan, a highly successful sports agent.  Though he doesn’t own any business and lives in a middle-class home, he still have millions in the banks.  He had a sneering look on his face, but wasn’t one to stomach gruesome sights.
 The next two were brothers, Jaren and Edgar Fagurin, were apes that co-owned a highly successful architectural firm.  They were both fathers, but their private lives were secret, or so they thought.  They both have white beards, making them look older than what they really are.
 “I welcome you to my abode,” Haran spoke calmly.  “I thank you for taking the time to come here and-”
 Emily, ever the impatient one, interrupted him.  “Aw, cut the bull and get to the point.  A few days ago I received a letter that you have methods that can help us achieve higher profits.  There was nothing else, but you still demanded us to leave our busy schedules and come to this underground stink hole.  Now, will you just ease down on flapping your gums and tell us just how you will able to help us?”
 Haran chuckled.  “Look, I have a confession to make.  You have all been duped.  When it comes to profit, there is nothing I can do to help you.”
 A sudden uproar arose from the four business people.  Emily squawked angrily and got up, but the four instantly quieted down when Ramon stepped forward beside Haran, his eyes looking down at them.  Emily gulped nervously and sat down.
 Jaren shook his head.  “Well, what the hell are we doing here?”
 “You four will provide the funds needed to help my secret empire alive.”
 The four were at first silent, but they soon ended up laughing.
 “I’m serious,” Haran said, keeping his calm intact.  “I have my ways of making you pay.”
 Chris rolled up his eyes.  “Really?  And just how you would able to do that?”
 “All of you have done things in your lives that you wanted to be kept a secret, for if exposed, your entire careers would go down the drain,” Haran replied.  Those words forced them into silence.  They knew he was right.
 Haran faced Emily.  “I have proof in the form of reports and documents that you was responsible in the illegal takeover of Cartapa Industries, which used to be your toughest competitor, and that you was planning to create and lead a monopoly in the oil industry.”
 Emily spurted out a short gasp.  “How-”
 “I have my sources, Miss Cocanal,” Haran answered, and faced the baboon.  “Chris, for the past nine years, you have been laundering money from the Corneria City Mob, and I know that due to the fact that the Mob has several members that serve me as well.”
 Chris knew he was going to say that, and covered his face in shame.  The onslaught went on.
 “Jaren and Edgar.....boy are you two in hot water!” Haran said amid chuckling.  “Child abusing.  Now, that’s sick, and you know it.  In fact, one of your own children is in my organization, and I know he will testify if you fail to pay me the amount of money that I wanted.”
 Jaren growled in anger.  “This is blackmail!”
 “Yes.  Believe me, I have done worse sins than that.  Far worse!”
 “Just who are you anyway?”  Emily demanded.
 “Haran Goresins, my good lady.  Leader of the Anti-Cat League.”
 Jaren looked at the cat with shocked eyes.  “Anti-Cat League?  Wait a minute, are you the one responsible for the recent bombing incidents?”
 “Yes, that is correct,” Haran answered cooly, then mentioned Maxwell to him.  “Have the waiters come with the main course, Maxwell.”
 The collie saluted.  “Yes, Great One,” he said and left the room.
 Haran rubbed his paws in enthusiastically.  “Now, there is one more thing I must warn you,” he said as the waiters came in with covered dishes.  “Other than having your careers going down the drain, this is what happens if you fail to do your duties.”
 The waiters laid the dishes in front of the puzzled sponsors, and when they opened the covers, they were appalled at what they saw.  On three of the plates were a disgusting disarray of red meat, covered in some transparent sauce.  However, the one in front of Jaren got the most attention.  It was the head of an antelope, it’s eye sockets replaced by tomatoes and facing the ape upwards like a subject to a king.
 Haran had gotten a humorous thought and could barely sniffle a laugh.  Here’s looking at you kid.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!  Now that was funny!
 Chris, not being able to take the sight anymore, covered his mouth with a napkin, gotten up, and vomited on the floor.  Haran appeared unfazed by all this.  He picked up his fork and stabbed on a piece of chopped meat.
 “I call it ‘Teresa Brara Delight’.  I’ve heard it’s delicious!”  Haran spoke, with a sickening cheery tone on his voice.  To the ultimate disgust of the sponsors, Haran ate the chopped meat and swallowed it.  He then glanced at Emily, who herself was about to vomit as well.  “You know, it tastes almost like chicken.  Maybe I can invite your husband over for dinner next time!  Ha, ha, ha, ha!!!”
 And so, with a few lies, some spies, and a cooked member that had dared to fail his master, Haran had grabbed four sponsors that would pay him through blackmail.

 Jo’hara’s eyes may be of one color, but Natlarn could see the fatigue in them as the panther shut down his computer for the night.  “Nothing.  It’s been three days and nothing.  I can’t do it, Natlarn.  It’s next to impossible trying to hunt this terrorist down this way.  I seriously doubt there are computers in his or her hideout, so I can’t use tracing to give me a lead.  Also, I have looked and looked and I could find nothing that would connect to what they were doing.  I don’t think they use computers at all.  This terrorist may be a coo-coo, but he’s a smart coo-coo,” he sighed, and looked at the portfolio Storm Larson had given him.  “And here’s another thing.  All the bombs have three main ingredients:  ammonium nitrate, fuel oil, and blasting caps.  Now, I went through every store that sells them, which are thousands in Corneria alone, and I was hoping to find a report about a purchase of a large number of any of these three items.  However, amid millions of customers, I could find no stand out amount of quantity.  Therefore, I can’t tell whether a purchase was bought to make the bombs or not.  It’s so frustrating.  This terrorist is one smart puppy.”
 Natlarn rested a paw on his friend’s shoulder.  “Look, you’re tired.  We need some sleep and especially you.  In fact, you’re overworked.  Take a break.”
 Jo’hara sighed.  “Well, you know we can’t really afford to take a break,” he said, yawning.  “I’ll continue this first thing in the morning.  No objections, Nat.”
 Natlarn shrugged.  “Fine.  Goodnight, Jo.”
 “Night, Nat,” Jo’hara replied back.

 The next morning was quiet and depressing.  Jo’hara was too intent on getting back to work to eat breakfast, so only Tigress and Natlarn were sitting on the table, waiting for Tera’s average-to-good omelets and hash browns.  Frustration and restlessness were creeping up on them, and though they have failed some missions before, this one seemed not to be allowed to escape from their paws.
 Tera came up to them with the finished food and sat down next to Tigress.  “I hope these are good enough.  I’m experimenting with developing new tastes.”
 To break the tension, Natlarn made a mock gasp.  “I hope we don’t get sick by it.”
 Tera shook his head.  “I only added some new spices, Nat.  It’s not poison.”
 “Or so you think,” Natlarn muttered jokingly.  His friend only rolled up his eyes.
 Tigress sipped some of the orange juice.  “Hmmm,.....have any of you seen my ID card?  I haven’t seen it since yesterday.”
 “It’s probably in your jacket,” Natlarn answered.  “I hung it up near the door.”
 Tigress was too depressed to eat anyway.  “I’ll check.”
 As the massive tiger stood up and walked away, Tera made a short chuckle, obviously thinking about something.  “You know, it seems very quiet here without the Crimson Firehawks to hang around us anymore.”
 Natlarn agreed.  “Yeah.  We may be living like sardines in a can with those four in the same place with us, but I miss them already.  How long has it been since they had gotten their base?”
 Tera could only shrug.  “Not too long ago.  I’m not sure.  I miss them too, though the last few days with them has been tense.”
 Tigress came back, not only carrying her card, but also a small suitcase.  “I don’t think this thing is ours.  I found it just outside the door,” she said, laying the suitcase on the table.  It consisted of some metal, and there were no insignia or markings on it.
 Puzzled, Tera opened the suitcase and found several sheets of paper along with an electronic clipboard.  “Huh,” the badger spoke in wonder as he inspected the clipboard.  “I think this suitcase is built to brave against the cold, extreme temperature of Fortuna at night.  Otherwise, this clipboard would have it’s circuits frozen.  Unbelievable.”
 Natlarn searched through the papers.  “These look like maps of some base or the like.  What does the clipboard say?”
 Tera spoke the words on the clipboard out loud.  “Justice Cadets, please trust the information that I have written, because this will be the only chance you have in halting the plans of the prey that you four are hunting down.  The terrorist bombing attacks are done by an underground organization called the A.C.L., or Anti-Cat League, and leading them is a Siamese cat named Haran Goresins.  He believes that he is on a mission sent to him by the Gods themselves, and with the number of bombs that I have seen, he seemed capable of even getting close to completing that mission.  His goal was to exterminate the entire domestic cat population of the entire Lylat System, and is no way in association with Emperor Andross.  He haven’t struck any Venom-controlled areas, but he will soon enough.  Now, I am not bashing the Corneria City Police Department, but I find it amusing that the hideout of the A.C.L. is right under the noses of the police.  It is directly under the center of Corneria City, but the only way in and out is hidden inside an old warehouse at the eastern side of the city.  Included with this clipboard are maps of the entrance and the total layout of the underground fortress.  Forty guards are in there, and knowing you, that might not be a problem.  I would have stopped Haran myself, but I have better things to do and besides, you need to earn your two million credit dollars worth on this.”
 “Boy, this a complete shock,” Tigress replied, shaking her head.  “Is it signed?”
 Tera nodded.  “Yeah.  Dar Mansfield.”
 Natlarn narrowed his eyes.  “Who?  Never heard of him.”
 Tera chuckled.  “Must be Darwin Dracka doing one of his fantasies again.  Get it?  Dar and Darwin?”
 Tigress rolled up her eyes and sighed.  “Tera, that’s even worse than your knock-knock jokes.  You think we should have trust this Dar Mansfield?  Could be a trap.”
 “This sounds too convincing to be a trap,” Natlarn replied.  “I say we do this.  Where else can we go?”
 Tigress’s lips curled up in a grin, her paws itching to be worn by brass knuckles again.  “Alright!  Now for some action!  Let’s go kick some anti-cat butt!”

Chapter Eight
 
 “Despite what you may say, Haran is not Hitler.  Hitler envisioned the perfect human being.  Haran doesn’t give a hoot about perfection.  He just wants the census of the Lylat System not to include house cats anymore.  Once he becomes the last one, then he would just simply kill himself, therefore completing his mission to ‘purify’ the Lylat System.  What a loony.”
         --J. Wolfman, Earth

 As the elevator door opened in Opal’s floor, Katt was puzzled and in awe by it’s silence and luxurious surroundings that was home of her mother’s friend.  It was morning when she got there, and the sun was just coming up in the horizon.  The floor consisted of a large kitchen, complete with a voice-activated fridge, an even larger living room with a large screen television and large panel windows on the wall facing the street four stories below.  On the other side of the floor were about ten bedrooms, with a bathroom (with a three-sink counter) in the very back.  The walls were adorned by oil paintings that seemed priceless, and ancient vases were quietly placed on several coffee tables here and there.
 However, as Katt walked on the plush carpet, it was the silence that spooked her.  As long as she could remember, Opal was always home, always ready to welcome visitors.  However, there was no one in sight.  “Hello?  Opal?  You here?”
 She was not answered by Opal’s cheery voice, but by a muffled scream.  In a world of confusion, Katt went into the hallway with the bedrooms, and followed the sound into the first room to her right.  Opal was in there alright, but Katt didn’t expect her to be seen like this.  The badger was sitting on a wooden chair, a bomb tightly attached to her chest, and she was bound in rope.  Opal’s eyes were filled with fright, and she was trying to scream loudly through the cloth that wrapped her muzzle shut.  On the bomb was a clock that was counting down.  Ten....nine....eight....
 Katt gasped and stepped back.  “Oh crud!!”  Knowing that it was already too late to save her, Katt ran out of the room, her mind counting down along with the bomb.  Running for her life, she burst into the living room and dove behind a red leather sofa.
 She huddled against the back of the sofa, muttering curses in grief.  She closed her eyes.  “Five...four...three..two...oh God...”
 An explosion followed, the sharp roar frightening her.  Her fur felt stung by the sudden heat, and was rocked as a burning piece of wall struck against the sofa in front of her.  As the flying rubble died down, Katt stood up, panting.  Amazingly, the windows remained intact.  Such the mysteries of reality.  The wall that separated the living room from the bedroom where Opal spent her last moments was mostly a burning hole, the small fires eating away the part of the wall still intact.  The chair was gone, and so was Opal, though parts of her were thought to be seen.
 Katt covered her face in grief.  It was a trap.  She doubt anyone would want Opal to be killed.  The bomb was meant for her.  The badger was just simply bait.  What slimeball would do such a thing to her?
 Katt whirled her head to face the elevator when she heard the ting of the bell.  The doors opened, and a caracal came outside, a smirk on her face.  However, her smirk quickly turned into a scowl when Shivan spotted the pink-furred cat that was supposed to be killed.
 “Por que no solo te mueres?”  She snarled.
 Katt failed to understand her, but she knew by the tone of that voice that this caracal was upset at seeing her alive.  “I’m a tough cat, idiot.  It’ll take more than a bomb to kill me.”
 “Too bad you can’t say the same for that badger, Katt Monroe.  Such a shame, isn’t it?”
 Katt growled.  “You want to finish me off?” She said, raising her fists.  “Why don’t you go ahead and try?”
 “You sure you have the tripas to fight me?”  Shivan replied, chuckling.  “I think not!”  With a battle cry, the caracal (still hurting from the recent battle in the Inn just hours ago) leaped at the waiting cat, and smacked a kick on her face.
 Katt stumbled back and counter-attacked with a punch, but she missed and instead was struck on the rib and thrown over Shivan’s shoulder.  She landed on the carpet hard, but it was cushioned enough not to make her dizzy.  She got up on all fours when the caracal planted a boot on her stomach, forcing Katt to roll away, grunting.  She had very little fighting experience, and though she could punch and kick, she has little chance against someone with martial arts skills and had just ended the life of someone twice her size.
 Frantically trying to get up, Katt crawled in a quick pace away from the wall that would have trapped her, and got up to her feet quickly.  As soon as she turned to face her opponent, she was punched to the face and was followed by a side kick to the stomach.  Katt groaned loudly, taking the blows hard.  She knew she was a great disadvantage, but what choice does she have?  She circled out of harm’s way again, trying to regain her breath.
 Shivan was too smart to allow her to do that.  She jumped at her again and struck her on the chest, sending her reeling back.  She arched her boot up and smacked the boot on her face, then gave another whirling kick that made her notice stars.  Katt was smacked against the wall, unable to take the blows much longer.  Her knees gave way, and she toppled forward, near unconsciousness.
 As Katt laid on the bloody carpet still face down, her white hair a tangled mess, Shivan laughed and shook her head.  “Para un gran piloto, tu seguro eres horrible peleando”.
 She came up to Katt’s head, and grabbed her white hair.  She pulled the limp cat by her hair, noticeably about to end up as the victor.  “Hmm, what am I going to do with you?  Snap your puny neck?  Stab you four times?  Attach a bomb on your face?”  She then spotted the windows, and smiled.  “Or....”
 She dragged Katt near the windows, and grabbed her by the collar and the back of her belt.  “Well, it’s been a nice exercise for me, but I have better get going.  More cats like you to kill.  Adios, stupid.”
 With a mighty heave, Shivan lifted Katt up and threw her at the window.  The glass shattered from the force, slicing Katt’s once beautiful face as she was thrown outside.  Miss Monroe dropped four stories down along with the pieces of glass, and crashed on the top of a garbage truck, her hard landing cushioned by a bunch of plastic trash bags.
 Shivan looked down at her defeated enemy.  She was disappointed that Katt didn’t become a stain on the street, but at least this humored her.  “Drop by my place sometime, Katt.  I need the exercise.  But take a bath first,” she muttered, laughing.

 “You sure this is the place?”  Jo’hara asked his leader as they came upon an old building that used to be an office building in the edge of Corneria City.
 Natlarn looked at the map and nodded.  “Yep.  This is the entrance and exit of the hideout.  Pistols to level seven, and be alert.  I want this Siamese cat alive.  You can kill anyone else.”
 Tigress chuckled in anxiousness as the tiger check her pistol.  “Alright.  Let’s go....”
 The four bounty hunters stepped inside the dark building, smelling dust and hearing silence.  The first floor was generally empty, but on the far side was a door that was left ajar.  No one was guarding it, but that seemed to be the right door.
 Natlarn suddenly spotted a figure at the corner of his eye.  He turned to find a black-footed ferret standing almost hidden behind one of the plastered pillars in a far distance.  Alarmed, Natlarn aimed his pistol at the ferret, thinking it was one of Haran’s goons.  However, the quick-footed ferret scurried away, and didn’t come back.
 “What is it, Nat?”  Tera asked.
 Natlarn shook his head.  “Nothing.  Well, this is it.  Haran Goresins...here we come...”

 Two laser shots awoke the red fox Neddy as he was sitting in the hideout’s first hallway, close to the door.  The guard stood up, curious on what had just happened.  He knew that there were two other guards closer to the door, and the shots scared him.
 “Meg?  You there?  What happened?  Ryan?  What’s going on?”  Neddy yelled out, walking toward the door.  Just in case, he pulled out his phaser, and slowed down as he reached a corner in the hallway.
 He suddenly stood face-to-face with a huge tiger.  He looked up to find the tiger grinning.
 “Howdy,” she said, preparing a punch.  “And goodbye.”
 Neddy’s spine broke as the punch smacked him on the chin.  He lifelessly dropped back, and leaned against a wall, ending up on a sitting position.  Tigress laughed cheerfully.  “Oooh, I just love to do that!  Did you hear that spine break?”
 Jo’hara behind her shuddered.  “Yeah....unfortunately.”
 The Justice Cadets continued on through the hallway, their eyes alert for more guards, and hopefully the sight of the white cat named Haran.

 “Sound the alarms!!  Sound the al-aaaahhhh!!!”  A walrus guard screamed as a laser burned through his heart.  He limped forward, becoming another obstacle as Natlarn stepped over him, firing his pistol at another guard.  To his great disappointment, the alarms went off, blaring the loud noise into their ears, and red sirens flashed on their eyes.
 “Damn it!  We must hurry!”  The cheetah yelled as he dodged a laser and firing back with his team.
 Haran was eating breakfast when the sirens halted his appetite.  Ramon came up to his side.  “Great One!  There are intruders here!”
 “Isn’t that obvious?”  Haran replied angrily, standing up.  “Maxwell!!!  Get your doggy tail over here!”
 The collie burst inside the Banquet Room, equally alarmed.  He quickly saluted.  “Yes, Great One?”
 “Force the intruders into a room so that I can escape!  They are blocking the way out, so send every guard here to the same area and kill them!”
 Maxwell bowed shortly and ran out.  Muttering angrily, Haran prepared for his escape.  “You tag along with him, Ramon!  You know what to do!”
 “Yes, Great One!”  The massive wolf replied and hurried out.

 “There’s too many guards here!!”  Tera yelled as a laser burned a portion of a crate the badger was hiding behind in the hallway.  The seven guards ten yards away were lined up like dominoes, firing relentlessly.  Natlarn spotted a room with an open door.
 “Let’s go in there!  We’ll have a better chance of maneuvering!”  The cheetah ordered his team, and the four ran inside.  As the lasers passed by them harmlessly, the four dove behind some more crates in the large room, and the guards filled the entrance, once again firing relentlessly.
 At nearly the same time, Haran, Maxwell, and Ramon were at the scene.  Haran chuckled gleefully as he noticed almost all of the remaining guards left in the hideout firing at the hidden Justice Cadet members.  The three ran past behind them, onward their way out.
 “Anyone got any grenades?!!”  Tigress asked, a splinter of wood almost hitting her eye.
 Tera thanked his lucky stars as his free paw felt a bulge in his right pocket.  “Got one!”  He said, pulling out the sphere grenade.  He quickly pulled out the safety pin, and threw the sphere at the crowd of guards.
 The explosion was followed by sudden silence.  Natlarn got out of hiding to find a disarray of dead guards at the entrance.  “Pitiful fools,” he muttered.
 The rest of the remaining guards were quickly taken care of, and the hideout of the Anti- Cat League has been secured.  The Justice Cadets were very upset about the escape of Haran, but they knew that they had just crippled his organization.  As the police came and searched through the area, they found hundreds of bombs, and many more quantities of ingredients needed for the bombs.  However, Natlarn realized that the Anti-Cat League was not dead yet.  If Haran was smart enough to keep the police and the Justice Cadets in a state of confusion for days, then he must have a second hideout,.....somewhere.  But for now, the Justice Cadets had won.  The award they had gotten was half than what should be, since Haran was still at large, but one million credit dollars could feed them for months.  And they have a certain ferret named Dar Mansfield to thank.

 Amy Johnson, Major of the Venomian Air Force and leader of the Sapphire Paladins, nursed her coffee in a bar somewhere in Macbeth.  The snow leopard knew that the bombing attacks had somewhat benefitted Emperor Andross, but she was still relieved when she heard the news of Haran’s capture.
 “Maybe I’ll send the Justice Cadets my thanks,” she muttered happily.  “Just before I shoot them down.”
 She sipped another drink when a loud bang occurred some short distance away.  She spurted out the black liquid in surprise, staggering to get up.  She turned around and got out of the bar into the street of the small town.  A fire was breaking out in a nearby building, and the people were running away or toward it.  Amy knew it was a bomb that had just exploded, and when she saw a dead Siamese cat lying on the street, she knew that Haran Goresins had not given up.
 “Damn.....” she muttered.  She used to believe that only the Cornerians were taking the brunt of the bombing incidents.  Now, no one would be safe.

To be continued..................