Wednesday, March 30, 2016

They Came from the Sky

Angus MacDougal, the field agents of Clouder Number Nine, and the provisional agent Rhys screeched into headquarters a half hour after they had left Aberbran. They were getting out of the Land Rover when Lady Gwen herself came out of the building.
“Don't bother getting out,” commanded the white fluffy cat. “I'm coming with you.”
Angus held the door as Lady Gwen jumped in next to Phoebe. He helped buckle her in, while hiding his surprise. Sure he'd heard stories of Lady Gwen as a field agent but in the last decade she'd not left the command center. It must be as bad as he thought if she was joining them. He got back into the driver's side.

“The air field if you please, Angus,” commanded Lady Gwen.

“Yes, my Lady,” he said as he headed to the small airfield a couple of miles away.

There was a small military plane on the field when Angus drove up. He parked next to it and hopped out to help the cats out. In the rush nothing had been done about Rhys so he came along too. Into the plane went Phoebe, Fiona, Beru, Alex, Rhys, Lady Gwen and Angus. The pilot conferred with Lady Gwen as another crew member helped the cats into their parachute harnesses. Angus went to a little hidden area between the cockpit and the cargo area and changed into a flightsuit. No one, particularly Angus himself, wanted him to parachute in a kilt. The harness chaffing was only one of the reasons. Only after all the cats were ready, did Angus get into his own harness. It wasn't the first time he'd parachuted with cats but never so many at once. If it had only been a cat or two, they would have been harnessed to him but there was no place for six cats in his harness, though Rhys would be coming with Angus since he hadn't had parachute training yet.

Lady Gwen came back to the cargo area as the engines revved up. The crew member helped her into her harness. They all strapped in for take off.

“Here's the situation,” Lady Gwen said as the plane was climbing in altitude. “The Gaelic League is planning on bombing Westminster and doing so today. The map young Alex found is of the tunnels beneath the district from a century ago.”
“Are we sure they're still there?” asked Beru.
“Aye, just mostly sealed off,” Angus said. That much had been discussed before he went retrieving the Clouder.
“Yes, like Angus said, the tunnels are there,” Lady Gwen continued. “They have mostly been sealed off except for the entrance in the Thames. That one has a grate in front of it. People can't get through but a cat can. Sorry, Angus.”

“Ah, do not fash,” Angus said. “I'll get through, just not as fast as the rest of you.”
“That is the plan,” Lady Gwen continued. “We cats will scamper through the tunnels as fast as we can to try to find the League and stop them. Angus will deal with the equipment and getting the gate open so he and MI5 can provide back-up.”

“Do we know where they'll be?” asked Beru.

“No,” Lady Gwen said. “The map we saw had five locations marked on it. They were in five different tunnels, which is why I've come with you.”

Rhys looked like he was going to say something but Angus shook his head at the cat. He sat back and listened.

“The provisional agent will stay with Angus,” Lady Gwen continued. Rhys nodded in acknowledgment. He hadn't been looking forward to jumping out of the aircraft by himself. He supposed that someday he might have to, but that day was not today.

“Five minutes til drop zone,” the captain said over the comms.

Lady Gwen and the rest of the team got in final position for the drop. Angus picked up Rhys and clipped their harness together. The tail of the aircraft opened and Lady Gwen got in position. The light above the tail ramp turned green and Lady Gwen jumped. The rest followed her down.

The comms were full of cats purring to try to self-soothe on the way down. Angus was tempted to take out the ear piece but he had no where to put it nor would he have time to replace it before he needed to communicate. He tried to mentally block the sound so that he wouldn't fall asleep to the sound.

Lady Gwen's tail touched water and her purr turned to a quick yowl before she mastered herself and cut the parachute loose and swam for shore. The rest of the Clouder followed suit and Angus was wondering if he'd become deaf from the yowling but before that could become a problem, the cats mastered themselves and swam for shore.

Angus didn't have time to worry about the other cats because his feet touched the water. Seconds later the cat in the forward harness touched the water as well. Unfortunately, Rhys wasn't as trained as the others and he started thrashing about, yowling, with claws out. Fortunately for Angus, the cat was strapped in such away that the claws couldn't reach him. They plunged under the water and Angus kicked for the surface and disengaged the parachute. Someone from MI5 would gather up the parachutes, he had other things to do. Angus switched the cat from a forward harness to a back harness so the cat wouldn't drown before he swam for the bank with a yowling cat on his back. It was a good thing that anyone they'd try to surprise was far from the river, with all that noise.

Angus reached the bank and saw the tunnel entrance. It was barred just as the briefing had said. The other cats had managed to squeeze through. He unlatched Rhys and set the feline at his feet. Rhys promptly sat down and groomed the river out of his fur as Angus picked the lock. The lock was old and rusty and it took a while. Rhys was halfway done with his cleaning when Angus finally got the gate open.

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