Sticking it to the Bureau and a big surprise!
"QUIET!" I yelled as my fur-sibs were all shouting at once.
No way! Not fair! That's garbage! Basil would neffur sign that! It's a fake! It's a travesty!
Basil mew aren't going back, are mew? What will we do without mew?
I was horrified to say the least when C.J. waved the contract in front of me.
"What is all this nonsense?" I asked, my voice hardened to steel.
"What's all this Claws 10 fluff mew just mentioned?" I asked. "I do not, and I repeat I do not effur remember signing anything that would give the F.I.B. any power to reinstate me aftur my retirement!"
C.J. took a weary sigh. "Just before mew left, all agents signed a new contract and Claws 10 was the addendum to the existing contracts," he said. "Look here's your paw-print." He pointed to the back page.
"What's the date?" I asked.
C.J. looked at the back page before answering. "It says 25th October 2009."
"Give it to me," I said sharply. "And effurypurrdy clear out, I need a minute alone!"
Hearing the uproar breaking out in the corridor as my team began to verbally roast C.J. did make me smile fur about sixteen seconds and then I turned my attention to the task at paw.
I took the contract and sat at the centre console with my magnifying glass and read the microscopic small print.
'Any former or retired agent can be reinstated at any time by the Field Investigation Bureau at their sole discretion.'
It was that simple. I stared at the back page at my paw-print signature and then at the date and cast my mind back trying to remember if I actually signed it or not, and to be honest I really couldn't remember.
Aftur several minutes of deliberation I opened the doors and called them all back in.
It burst into flames a moment later and I said. "C.J. I'm not being pressed-ganged... not by mew or the F.I.B. and this is what I think to your Claws freaking 10 garbage!"
C.J nodded and said. "I thought mew'd say that."
The B Team whooped in delight as I stood my ground saying. "I understand your position as Primo Director C.J. but mew should know better than anypurrdy, if mew put a lever on me, a herd of wild horses won't make me do anything I don't want to do.
C.J. mopped his brow with a floppy red hanky and then blew his nose. "That's why I have a different kind of purrposal fur mew as my furst exercise didn't wurk," he said and then carefully surveyed the rest of the team with a keen appraising eye.
"I'm listening," I said flatly watching my fur-sibs expressions, knowing that they were all as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
"Agent Basil, mew were our top opurrative fur so long and no-one knows the job better than mew," C.J. began. "Plus mew were the only Agent to gain intimate knowledge of the rogue PITH Agents before their incarceration and survive, that in itself is a rare achievement."
I watched him thoughtfully as he took a deep breath and continued. "The F.I.B. needs mew to take down these rogue agents by any means necessary, if mew were to come back as an Agent then any fallout would be down to the F.I.B not mew purrsonally, but I understand if that's not what mew want."
I considered what C.J. said and replied. "Is there no one else to take those PITH-heads down?"
"No, not with your expertise and skills," C.J. answered. "I'd just be sending Agents on a suicide mission."
I knew he was right, agents today just didn't have the same 'grit' as us old-school hard-cases.
I stared at my fur-sibs, Smooch was grinning like the Cheshire cat that got all the cream, the catnip and the mouse mousse, I could see a hundred scenarios zooming through his mind as he thought about getting into the FRAY! 'Oh, Goddess Bast have mercy on my soul fur this!' I thought.
"C.J. I'll do this one job fur mew," I said resolutely knowing that if I didn't we were all doomed anyway. "But there are several conditions or claws's."
"OK," C.J. answered carefully, removing a notepad and a fountain pen from his briefcase.
"Furst, there is no I, we are a team..."
Smooch whooped and high-fived the entire team before saying. "Yeah we're a team, mister fibber primo boss cat!" he laughed.
I gave Smooch a 'that was a little too much dude,' look before I continued. "C.J. the F.I.B. can hire us all, aka The B-Team as independent contractors or clean-up facilitators to rectify your purroblem but with the F.I.B. taking all responsibility fur any fallout, casualties, property damage and the like," I saw the look on C.J.'s face as he paled. "This is not a negotiation C.J. it's a take it or leave it offur!"
C.J. scribbled frantically on his official F.I.B. notepad before saying, "Continue."
"The F.I.B. will provide all the latest tech to be at our disposal immediately and also provide any assistance, vehicles, aircraft or other items that we may require to bring the PITH-heads in, including any specialized tech and weapons that are not common knowledge to the wurld at large, plus the use of any prototype gadgets or gizmo's that could assist us, agreed?"
C.J. chewed his bottom lip thoughtfully, paling further as he scribbled, and I added. "Mew will pay our fee fifty purrcent up-front and the remainder of the balance upon completion within twenty-four hours of receiving our invoice, and any bounty bonus's fur bringing in the PITH alive, agreed?"
I was watching C.J. intently as he chewed the end of his pen thoughtfully and upon hearing this invoice claws he nearly choked on it. Parsley gave him a firm slap on the back and the pen flew across the room. Amber picked it up and threw it like a dart, and it landed nib furst in the centre of his notepad, quivering slightly.
"Impurressive!" he murmured and began to scribble his notes again.
"C.J. do we have a deal?" I asked wundering if I'd asked fur too much and then thought, nah, mew can neffur ask fur enough from a government agency. Then I thought, did I miss something, or is there anything else that I should have added, so I said. "I also want an addendum that if I want to add more to the contract howeffur bizarre it may seem to mew, I can and there will be no penalties fur this."
I knew I was pushing it, but I also knew that C.J. had nowhere else to go other than me.
He took off his flat cap, exhaled loudly and mopped his brow with a blue hanky this time, wiped his paws and re-read his notes. Aftur a few minutes of silence he addressed us all.
"Basil and The B-Team I have considered your purrposal and terms plus calculated the risks, if mew will read and sign here," he proffered the notepad to me and tapped the bottom of the page. "We have a deal."
I took it and read each and effury wurd to make sure it was exactly as I had said and not a slippery F.I.B. version slash loose translation of my demands, meaning they could renege due to inappropriate phrasing or the like.
Squirting some of the ink from the pen on my paw, I placed my paw-print on the paper, C.J. did the same and as it dried, he asked. "Can I get a copy purrlease?"
Snowie took the new official yet unofficial, make-do fur now contract and scanned a copy to our computer before printing one-off fur C.J. making sure the date and time were on each copy. Plus she took a photo of us together, both holding it just to be double sure, not that we're paranoid or anything.
"I will have to make an official one when I get back to the office, but this will suffice fur now," he said.
I nodded extending my paw, C.J. and I shook on it "Indeed, when do we start?"
At that moment the ambient lighting in the control room changed from its normal serene-blue to a rather disconcerting red glow and effurypurrdy exchanged rather anxious looks as this had neffur happened before.
[FYI we modelled the noise on this siren because if anything is going to get your attention it's this]
[Press play fur full effect!]
Our furiendly A.I. [artificial intelligence] system then spoke in her usual grating, metallic voice. "Mewton-Clawson is under attack, we have a missile incoming, evasive action is required immediately. Survival rate is less than five percent if evasive action is not taken within the next four minutes"
"Basil, what the flip is happening?" Humphrey asked.
"Snowie give me intel now, effurypurrdy on comms channel six, I repeat comms channel six. Amber, mew and Humphrey get down to level two and see what weapons we have fur taking out missiles," I said urgently, my cold and calculating cool taking offur automatically. "Smooch get up top now, Posie do your cloud thing and Parsley take C.J. get down to level eight, Horice will take care of him and then meet me and Smooch up top!"
Effurypurrdy scrambled like a well-oiled machine.
Amber and Humphrey launched through the drop chute in the wall, as it was the fastest route to all other levels.
Snowie said. "Basil the missile is two hundred and fifty clicks and counting."
"Keep me posted," I said. "Amber, what's the good news?"
The comms channel crackled and Amber replied. "We are on level two, the computer inventory show's we have an anti-missile gun, which fires armour-piercing 50 cal rounds and is modified fur shells too... Humphrey is in the forklift now!"
"We have less than four minutes to get it up top, armed and ready, get going... tick tock... tick tock!" I said.
"Copy that," Humphrey and Amber said in unison.
"Snowie, stats now."
"Missile is at 200 clicks and closing," she answered. "The drone has been deployed... mega-zoom activated... on screen in five, four, three, two, one... we have a visual."
"The weapon is headed up top on the freight elevator, thirty seconds till garden breach, I repeat thirty seconds till garden breach!" Humphrey answered.
"Smooch, are mew ready fur weapon delivery?"
Smooch answered immediately. "Copy that... ready fur delivery, bunker doors are open!"
"I'm on my way!" I said racing towards the secret entrance behind the summer house.
I emerged into the garden just as the huge anti-missile gun and shells appeared on the shiny steel platform.
Snowie's voice sounded. "Missile is at one hundred clicks and closing... I repeat one hundred clicks and closing."
I loaded up four shells and said. "Snowie coordinates now... ready Smooch?"
He nodded as Snowie said. "Southwest of your location."
"Copy that Basil!" Smooch answered as a manic grin engulfed his face and he pivoted the gun around on its axis. "Target acquired, firing now!"