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I tapped my comms unit and said. “This is Basil, I need the extractor fans on max in BD1 stat!” The bag I'd thrown through the Grandfather clock door was full of C4 explosive, well I wasn't taking any chances that the eveel dimension would survive, and I knew if anything was left, it was space-dust now.
Horice waved his trunk from way, way down the corridor, then he lifted Posie and Snowie high above the refugee crowd that was separating us.
Snowie and Posie shrieked with delight and waved madly from their perch. “Basil!”
“What’s up?” I asked.
“It’s precisely 4 minutes and 31 seconds since mew got back and we haven’t even seen mew yet,” Snowie replied as she adjusted her comms unit.
“Extractor fans are on,” Posie confirmed waving her tablet and grinning. “And thank cod mew’re all safe.”
I waved and smiled happily. I was so glad to be home too.
Turning towards the windows in BD1, I heard the motors whirring into life and I finally relaxed knowing that if there were any particles of that confounded Grandfather clock left here, they were now scattered to the four winds.
Fudge appeared at my side and looked at me with the saddest eyes and said quietly. “Basil I’m so so sorry if I’d known that thing was a portal to another dimension I would have asked mew furst.”
“Dude, stop, purrlease stop apologising,” I patted him on the shoulder, pulling him into a hug. “I can’t thank mew enough because look...”
Letting him go, I gestured along the corridor. “Look,” I smiled widely, there must have been at least 50 creatures; all different shapes, sizes, colours and species, chattering, hooting, snuffling, squeaking and chirruping among themselves. “Mew saved them dude, mew saved them all.”
Fudge looked at me, tears streaming down his face. “But it could’ve ended so badly for effuryone...”
Taking him by the shoulders, I turned him to face my old team. “Mew see those guys offur there?” Fudge nodded and I continued. “They were my old team before I retired from the F.I.B.”
“They’re the original B Team?” he asked in awe.
Nodding I said, “I told mew that in the maze.”
“Mew did, wow I don’t remember,” he mused, then added. “But then all I can remember is mew jumping in front of me and throwing that thing back at the Old One...” An orange pom pom creature peeked at me over Fudge's shoulder and chirruped. Fudge said. “Squash says...”
“Squash, who the fluff is that?”
“Squash is the little orange dude on my shoulder, the pink one,” Fudge said as right on cue the pink pom pom appeared behind Squash. “Her name is Squish, she’s Squash's sisfur.”
“Pawesome,” I said grinning. “Really great to meet mew little fluffy dudes and dudettes.” They chirruped excitedly. “Thank mew Squish for that epic force-field, mew have some mad skills.”
Squish quivered, her pink fur rippling before standing completely on end and she spoke in purrfect English, though her pitch was quite high. “Commander Basil it is an honour to meet mew and my purrleasure to assist mew defeating The Old One.”
Staring in astonishment I was speechless and the phrase, ‘cat got your tongue?’ couldn’t have been any more purrfect than in that moment.
Squish bubbled with enthusiasm as she continued. “Many of the captives in the labyrinth spent endless nights listening to the cats speak about the great and fearless Commander Basil and tell stories of such daring adventures, fraught with danger and that mew never left anyone behind... that mew would come to save them and us too,“ Squish paused thoughtfully, before saying. “And we loved those stories, they brought us hope and kept a beacon of light shining in the darkness for us.”
Extending my paw, she hopped on and scurried up to my shoulder, leaning against my cheek and what I experienced next was akin to a Vulcan mind-meld. Images flashed in my minds-eye and I suddenly blurted, “STOP!” Squish backed away and the images faded. “Squish,” I murmured softly. “Those bad memories need to be released so mew can be free to move on...”
“Move on where, we have nowhere to go?” she mewled sadly.
“I didn’t mean move on literally... move on in your mind and be free of the past,” I explained and added. “Besides I thought mew guys were all going to move into the bunker with us as we’ve got bags of room and I know Fudge would love it if mew stayed.”
Fudge who’d been conspicuously quiet almost squeaked with happiness. “Really dude, they can stay, fur sure, mew promise?” he gushed.
I nodded. “Forever dude, but mew know the rules; no guns, no piddling in the corridors or any place for that matter other than the designated latrines, no mess, no joy riding, no blowing stuff up, no touching anything on levels 2 - 5 ever,” I took a breath. “Well mew’ve got the BBHQ handbook, so mew‘re in charge of our new furiends being brought up to speed with the bunker health and safety protocols, rules and regulations, ok?”
“REALLY? REALLY? OMC Basil that’s the best assignment ever!” Fudge yelled. “Can I take them down to level 8 with Horice?”
“Sure, great idea, take Parsley and Smooch with mew and let’s find out what they like to eat and let's hope it’s not us,” I laughed. "And take Effrun and get him some urgent medical attention."
Fudge whistled and the corridor went silent, mew could have heard a pin drop and he said. “Anyone from the eveel dimension follow me now!” Striding forward, the sea of creatures parted and Fudge strode proudly along the corridor with the creatures falling in behind to follow him.
It did make me laugh as he rounded the corner and gave me a little wave. It was like watching the Pied Piper and his magickal creatures with Horice bringing up the rear, and I made a mental note to scoot down to level 8 next. “Well now they’ve got sorted I think we need a chat,” I said to the B & B Team. “Let's go to the canteen as I’m famished.”
Posie led the way as Pandora, Humphrey, Snowie, Amber followed and I brought up the rear with Winston, GD, Chuffer, Mad Cat and Solitaire. I looked at my old team and when I say they looked wurse for wear that was an understatement, and my heart squeezed in my chest as I imagined the horrors they'd suffered these last five years.
Posie put the kettle on and began to see what food was available, Snowie helped get the old team settled around a large refectory table and Humphrey said. “Dudes, mew guys look done in.”
Winston sighed heavily and rested his head on the table. Chuffer looked at me and asked. “Commander, can I ask mew a favour?”
I grinned at the tuxedo, he was skin and bone, as were all my old team. And I replied as cheerfully as I could. "Sure Chuffer what do mew need dude?”
“I could really do with one of those nip cigars, the special Cuban ones mew keep stashed for special occasions.”
“Wait there,” I replied and headed for my office and was back with the cigar box and a lighter a few minutes later. I clipped the end off the cigar and passed it to Chuffer, sparking the lighter he started to puff, the sweet aroma of the secret nip blend filled the air and I inhaled deeply remembering all the times Chuffer and I had shared a cigar after our F.I.B. missions. Smiling widely, I said. “Dude how is that?”
He coughed a little and said. “OH MY COD! That is just the best, it feels like forever since I had one.”
Posie placed a tray of steaming mugs on the table and began to pass them around as Snowie brought the sugar and cream along with a plate of nip cookies. “Dive in,” she said. “And in a little while we can have some salmon casserole, I just put it in the oven.”
Smooch, Fudge and Parsley appeared and sat at the table. “Horice is watching the creatures,” Fudge said. “I’ll be going back down soon to check though, and yes, they're all being fed and luckily fur us they’re all vegetarians.”
“Good job Fudge,” I said. “And now that everyone is here, let me begin the formal introductions.”
A few minutes later aftur everyone was properly introduced, Solitaire said. “Fudge, thank mew.”
Fudge looked at the Siamese and replied. “Mew would have done the same for me.”
Chuffer, Winston, Mad Cat, GD and Solitaire all began to talk at once; telling us of their doomed mission when C.J. asked them to go into the clock and rescue the other agents, it was in that moment I suddenly realised Diggs wasn’t with us. “Where’s Diggs?”
Everyone looked around and Snowie picked up a tablet and began a bunker search for him via the security camera system. He's trying to open the bunker door Basil, and right then the alarm sounded.
“Unauthorised User At Main Entry... Unauthorised User At Main Entry!” the A.I. said in her robotic voice.
“What the fluff is he doing?” I yelled as I raced from the canteen towards the main entry.
Hurtling along the corridor with Parsley, Pandora, Smooch and Humphrey at my heels we reached the outer door just as Diggs managed to override the system. The huge metal doors opened and standing there was C.J. Catkin Director of the F.I.B., my old employer.
It was still raining, a fine drizzle instead of the monsoon that was raging before we left. He stood there looking rather old and dishevelled.
”Commander Basil,” he saluted me, I didn't return the gesture as he continued. “It’s mighty fine to see mew back and I understand from young Diggs here that mew managed to rescue your old team and a gaggle of alien creatures.”
I didn’t answer as he continued. “I’ve come to take them all back to F.I.B. HQ and your old team too.”
I raised an eyebrow as I choked back the anger that was suddenly raging through me. Taking a step forward I glanced over my shoulder and saw my old team standing behind me and I said to them. “Guys do mew want to go back and work with C.J. or would mew prefer to stay here, recuperate and then decide?”
There wasn’t a moment's hesitation and they all replied. “We’re staying with mew Commander!”
Taking another step towards to doorway, Diggs moved outside next to C.J. as I said. “Diggs, I appreciate that mew did what mew had to do and call it in, mew're young and have a lot to learn,” I took a breath as I was seething inside as I added. “C.J. mew heard the team, they’re staying with me.”
“But they’re under contract,” C.J. retorted. “I own them!”
Oh man, he really just pressed the wrong button. ”Dude, their contracts ran out while they were trapped in that cesspit dimension, and they won’t be renewing anytime soon and as for the creatures that came back with us, they have asylum here in Mewton-Clawson and mew can't touch them, so get back in your chopper and get the fluff off my property, out of my village and stay the heck away...” I growled adding. “I’ll be in touch at some point in the future when I need a favour but in the meantime dude, stay far, far away and if mew do try anything, know I’ll unleash everything at my disposal at mew.”
C.J. looked me squarely in the eye and replied. “I have my orders, your old team and the refugees are mine!”
I was stood in the doorway and I jabbed my paw in C.J.’s chest. ”Back off dude, the only reason mew’re still able to speak right now is because me and my team managed to rescue Winston, GD, Solitaire, Chuffer and Mad Cat, if anything had happened to them because of mew we wouldn’t be talking right now because I’d be burying mew... so turn around, walk away and don’t ever come here uninvited again!”
I saw a flicker in his eyes, I knew that look and I added coldly. “And don’t go sending any of your Black Ops teams here, I think mew’ve lost enough good agents since I left the F.I.B., don’t go sacrificing anymore as mew know what will happen if mew attack me.”
He sucked in a loud breath and let it out slowly. “Fine Basil, but this isn’t over.”
“Oh heck no, it’s not over by a long shot, this is a new beginning and mew owe me, so get lost and when I’m ready to talk I’ll be in touch!” I said stepping back and hitting the emergency close button and the steel doors banged shut.
* * *
The next morning I was sat in my office when I heard a light knock on the door, I knew Parsley, Smooch and Fudge were doing a weapons inventory, Humphrey was directing proceedings and Amber, Snowie, Pandora and Posie were in the control room sorting out a plan to accommodate our new influx. “Come in!” I said knowing who it was.
Winston, Solitaire, GD, Mad cat and Chuffer stepped inside and closed the door. Winston said as he sat in one of the chairs facing my antique desk. “Thank mew Basil.”
I let out a sigh and said, “Guys if I’d known what had happened I would've found a way sooner to get mew back, I’m sorry mew were there for so long.”
Stepping around my desk I gave them all a hug. They looked so much better this morning after a bath, a good nights sleep in a real bed and plenty of nourishment, and I made a note to get Humphrey to formulate a new cat food that would restore them to their former magnificence in no time. “Mew’re all looking so much better,” I said smiling as the group hug broke apart. “And whateffur mew need, just ask, we have most things here in the bunker but if mew want anything else Amber can order it in for mew ok?”
They nodded gratefully and GD said softly. “We can’t thank mew enough Basil.” She had the most unusual markings, striking in fact. One side of her face was light grey and the other jet black and she had the most exquisite eyes, one blue and one green. She was one of the supurr rare two-faced cats and I stared at her in wunder. "GD I’m just relieved mew’re safe and guys mew can stay as long as mew want, C.J. can go and get stuffed for all I care.”
“That’s why we're here Basil,” Mad Cat drawled as he adjusted his eye-patch. “We’ve been talking amongst ourselves and we all wanna join your new crew, we wanna stay forever.”
My heart swelled with joy at hearing those words and as I looked at my old team I suddenly noticed the tapestry behind my chair, the tree was now full; everyone was on there including Horice, all the magickal creatures and they were all waving; and in that moment I knew there was no place like home and nothing better than furmilly as I said choking back the lump in my throat. “Mew don’t know how happy that makes me.”
* * *
A few weeks later...
We’d had such a great time since settling back in, and my old team had assimilated beautifully into our way of life and they were all restored back to full health thanks to Humphreys’ special Supurr Bionic Cat Food. Horice had been counselling anyone that needed it to help offurcome their individual traumas and with his magickal assistance along with Pandora's newly revealed magickal gifts, plus Posie’s expert nursing skills, effuryone was back on track.
We were like a well-oiled machine. Even the creatures had been a joy to have around, Fudge always had a little posse following him about with Squash firmly ensconced on his shoulder, and Horice loved having them with him in the biosphere on level 8, it gave him real purpose, and as we all worked together our already formidable bond was strengthened even further.
Deezul finally finished transforming level 16 into a 15-acre magickal forest by reprogramming the nano-bots to create the purrfect environment for our magickal menagerie; it was incredible, a wurk of art and it even had a lake complete with an island in the middle for Camomile. The creatures loved splitting their time between the bio-sphere and forest, and I noticed that Horice seemed rejuvenated now he had a new herd, although Smooch's Snorggs were kept in a terrarium after he accidentally zapped them back to full size and they got stuck in the corridor, it took 3 days to get rid of the slime.
I was just on my way to the control room for our weekly scheduled meeting when I bumped into Fudge as I stepped out of my office. The book he was carrying flew into the air and he lunged for it. Catching the tome, he landed and spun to face me with a grin and said, "Oh great timing Basil, I can walk with mew to the control room," he beamed and moved the book to his side so I couldn't see it properly.
"What's that?" I asked jabbing my paw towards the book.
Pandora raced up behind, shouting as she offur-took us. "Mew'll both be late and Basil will go nuts," she joked and scooted off.
Parsley, Smooch and Humphrey were the next to jog by, followed by Winston and Chuffer.
"Don't push me Smooch!" Parsley laughed as Smooch tried to race ahead.
Forgetting the book fur a moment I yelled. "What the fluff dudes!" And sped aftur them with Fudge hot on my heels.
Entering the control room, effurypurrdy sat at their stations looking highly suspicious, my fur quivered as I asked. "Should I be wurried?"
Fudge laughed and pushed the book at me saying, "No!"
"What is going on?" I began to grin.
"For Cods look at the book!" They all chorused.
Looking at the cover, I read the title 3 times before it finally sank in. "That is unbelievable dude," I said in awe, in fact, mew could have dipped me in the finest cream, rolled me in kibble and called me Kevin and I wouldn't have been any more surprised.
"Basil we've been documenting the creatures and this is the result, The BBHQ Creature Compendium, what do mew think?" Fudge grinned at me.
I looked at Fudge and then effurypurrdy else saying, "Guys this is absolutely EPICALLY EPIC!" before adding jokingly. "So that's what mew've been doing, I was beginning to think mew were avoiding me."
"We thought it'd make a great addition the bunker library and we can keep updating it," Smooch smirked.
"From intel on future missions," Parsley chuckled.
"In different dimensions," Winston beamed.
"And far away galaxies," GD laughed.
"To distant wurlds," Solitaire added.
"Where we right wrongs," Chuffer said.
"And help those in need," Humphrey gave me the nod.
"Restore order where there's chaos," Snowie smiled.
"Save those that need saving," Amber beamed.
"Stop," I said suddenly. "Have we got a new mission?"
Posie laughed and said, "Mew tell him Mad Cat."
Mad Cat stood up, saluted and clearing his throat said. "Commander Basil we just received a message from a Miss Warts and her feline furmiliar Mog, to ask for assistance at their academy fur feline furmiliars."
I pondered this for a moment before saying. "Is that the prestigious Academy of Alternative Arts?"
Pandora was grinning like a cat that had not only got the cream but the entire Jersey cattle herd too as she nodded excitedly saying. "Basil Ms Varts needs our 'elp, the students are going missing never to be seen again, she's beside 'erself as she thinks an ancient prophecy is apaw."
Looking at my team I yelled excitedly, "PACK YOUR TRUNKS, WE'RE GOING TO MOGWARTS!"
**THE END** Well, mew guys know that's not THE END, only the end for now...
OH MY COD!
What a conclusion, what a journey, I can barely catch my breath! MOL But if mew have any questions feel to ask and we'll do our best to answer them.
Thanks so much fur joining us on another wildly epically epic adventure, we will be here tomorrow with The Pet Parade, so we hope mew can join us then!