Lady Gwenllian trotted down the tunnel she had been assigned and tried to ignore her wet fur. She disliked the feeling and knowing that the once white fluff cloud she was proud of was getting dirtier and dirtier the further she went. She was going to need, horror of horrors, a bath when this was over. There was no way she was licking all that filth off. She'd make Angus do it. Or maybe Liz. Liz had a way with her that you knew she knew you hated water but it had to be done and got it over with as quickly as possible. Yes, Liz would give her a bath when this was over.
When she wasn't thinking about how dirty her fur was getting or the mission, Gwen was happy to be back in the field. She had been a great field agent back in the day but she'd been offered promotions and those came with desk jobs. What with one thing and another, it had been almost a decade since Gwen had been in the field. For a twelve year old cat that was almost a lifetime. She'd stayed fit and active. She occasionally took the job of instructing the new kittens on exercise when the normal instructors were gone for various reasons. Sometimes the kittens couldn't keep up with her. But exercise in the yard at headquarters was vastly different from running down dirty, dusty, and dingy corridors with wet fur. Gwen enjoyed being out in the field. When this was over, she was going to have to find away to be out in the field more often, the dirt not withstanding.
Gwen rounded the corner and heard the sounds of people up ahead. She stopped and regrouped her thoughts to focus on the mission. She advanced down the corridor, silently. She had always been the cat who was best at stealth. She frightened new recruits, on a regular basis, by sneaking up on them, usually when the recruits were talking about herself. She learned the most fascinating facts about herself that way. Her favorite was that she had never been a kitten but had been born full grown and took down her first enemy agent when she was just hours old. It wasn't true but the fear and awe that it inspired made her smile.
Gwen shook her head and the laser came out of her collar. She had forgotten that it was motion activated. She wasn't used to having a tactical collar since her usual was a collar of estate indicating her position as the head of MEOW. She was just about to do the counter motion and reset the laser when the conversation she'd been listening to registered. She had to move now. She ran around the corner, a blur of dirty white fur, and let out the battle cry of her people – a loud yowl. She found a half dozen men all crowded together at the junction of two tunnels.
The men, gathered around a crate and an electronic assemblage, looked up at the sound of a cat. It wasn't unheard of in the tunnels, there were mice, after all, and where there were mice cats tended to follow, but the cats normally in the tunnels didn't yowl. They were too busy catching the mice.
The moment of surprise was all that Gwen needed. She fired her laser at the man who looked to be in charge and got him in the eye. He back off and tripped on the man behind him. They went down in a tangle of limbs and screams. That left four for Gwen to deal with. The second in command made a leap for her but she bounded out of the way and he collapsed across the crate.
“Careful, Lloyd,” cried a man with glasses working over the assemblage. “You don't want to set it off accidentally.”
“Sorry,” Lloyd said as he picked himself up.
Gwen had used the distraction to launch herself at the last two men but one of them had ducked and shoved the other directly into her path before running down the tunnel on the left. She let the man get away, knowing that was the tunnel that Fiona had taken and he'd soon be taken care of. Sure enough, the man started howling minutes later.
Gwen, herself, clung on to her victim's face with her claws. She twisted and forced the man to the ground and moved to the center of his back. She dug her claws in, again, and held on as he twisted and writhed beneath her trying to dislodge her. That was the beauty of being a cat in situations like this- you could stand in the spot a human couldn't reach and hold on with claws, which made the person twisting beneath you inflict wounds to their own selves. While holding on, Gwen was moving her head until the right tool came out of her tactical collar. She injected the needle into the man beneath her and in seconds the sedative took affect.
The men were all subdued and Gwen went to look at the device. It was more complicated than she expected. She pushed the buttons to get a close up of the device since the camera had been running the whole time.
“Erik? Do you see this?” Gwen queried.
“Aye, I see it,” Erik answered over the comms. “I'm alerting the bomb disposal tech now.” The sound of typing filled her ears before Erik spoke again. “They say they can get to you in a half hour.”
Gwen looked at the counter. “We don't have that long. It's set to go in twenty.”
“I can see that,” Erik said.
“I'll be there in Five,” Angus said.
Fiona, Beru, and Phoebe came into the intersection then. They took one look at the situation and turned on the humans who were trying to regain consciousness. They puffed up and started hissing at the people. The humans looked at the angry cats, who were slashing out with their claws, and started edging towards the river. The three felines herded the people into the waiting arms of MI5.
Angus rounded the corner and saw the device. Rhys was right on his heels. The new cat hadn't the training to know he shouldn't be there, so he hopped up beside Gwen.
“What are we looking at?” he asked.
“An explosive device,” said Gwen. “And you need to join the others, away from here.”
“I could help,” Rhys protested.
“You might but it's against the rules,” said Gwen.
“Only one person or cat down range of an explosive,” explained Angus. “It limits the damage.”
“Oh,” Rhys said as he hopped down. “Good luck,” he called as he raced after Beru and the others.
“That goes for you, too, my Lady,” Angus said.
“You're going to need more light than you've got,” Gwen said, ignoring his impertinence. She shook her head and the flashlight in her collar activated.
“You have a point,” Angus said as he looked closer at the device. He traced several wires with his fingers an inch above them, so he wouldn't jostle the wrong one.
“I don't think I can disable the firing mechanism,” Angus said at last. “There are two many redundancies in place.”
Gwen looked where he was pointing. Yes, the firing mechanism was wired in enough places that to severe them all would take more time then they had. But what was that? The majority of the fire power of the device was in a secondary container? The device could be crippled but not stopped? She got Angus attention and pointed out that most of the explosives could be removed.
“That would work,” Angus answered. He removed the explosives just as the counter got to ten seconds left. He grabbed Lady Gwen, who didn't protest at being cat handled, and the explosives and ran for the river down one of the tunnels.
Just as they reached the river, an explosion shook the tunnel behind them. A cloud of dust came their way. When it cleared, Angus put Gwen down and they looked into the tunnel. It appeared to be intact.
“What was that?” asked Lieutenant Wallace of the Bomb Squad.
“The detonator charge,” Angus explained as he thrust the remainder of the explosives at her.
A dingy pulled up next to Angus. He recognized the captain as Henry Jones, Clouder Number 2's usual human.
“Need a lift?” asked Henry, for all the world as if it was a pleasure cruise.
“Sure,” Angus replied, in the same tone. “We could use a ride to the Tower.”
Angus got in the water craft and the cats followed. Their prisoners had been rounded up by the men from MI5 and the Bomb Squad would deal with the remains of the explosive. No one needed to know about the role MEOW had played in today's action. The Agents of MEOW headed down the river to the London MEOW outpost, known as The Tower for their debrief.
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