The alarm buzzed. Angus snaked an arm out of the covers and hit the snooze button. He curled up closer to his wife and the cat that had been disturbed by his movement settled on his shoulder with her head at his ear and purred. Loudly. Directly into his ear.
“Och, cat,” Angus said as he removed his arm from around his wife and batted at the cat. Nala, the cat, moved but only to his pillow and Meowed right in his ear.
“Ok. I'm getting up,” Angus told the cat as he sat up.
“Five more minutes,” Liz murmured next to him.
“Aye,” Angus whispered as he bent to kiss his wife's cheek. “Ye can have five more minutes, lass.”x
He swung his legs out of bed and picked up Nala, being careful not to jostle her feeding tube. The cat was improving and eating wet food but not enough so they were still feeding her through the tube. Liz was optimistic that Nala would have the tube removed at the end of the week. It wouldn't be soon enough.
Angus carried the Russian Blue cat into the bathroom and deposited her on the cushioned bed they had installed in there for Nala's comfort. Nala curled up in the center of the cushion and Angus covered her lightly with a small quilt. The cat normally wouldn't need the covering but between the area on her neck that was shaved for the feeding tube and tape and the area on her tummy that had been shaved for the ultrasound the cat was missing a good third of her fur and got cold easily. Nala napped as Angus went about his morning rituals.
While his parritch was reheating, Angus made up the cat's feed. He fed her. Nala had finally quit shaking her head and covering him with cat food flung from her feeding tube. Liz snuck in the bathroom to see her husband stroke the cat into purring after feeding her. She smiled. Angus may claim he cares for all the cats at M.E.O.W. equally but she knew the truth. Nala was his favorite.
Parritch eaten and dressed in his military uniform and utility kilt, Angus set off for his daily commute, with the cat strapped into the seat beside him in the Range Rover. Liz was driving her Mini right behind them. It was silly to take two vehicles when both he and Liz worked at the same place but with their jobs, it was rare that they left both the house and headquarters at the same time. It wouldn't do to strand one or the other of them at home.
Once at headquarters, Angus delivered Nala to the hospital wing, where Liz and the vet techs would take care of her during the day. Then he headed to his office to catch up on the paperwork generated by Clouder Number Nine. The Clouder hadn't been on active duty with Nala, their leader, on the sick and injured list, but still the paperwork piled up. There was the forms for the loan of Fiona to the Duke of Glasex and the reports for the completion of that job. Then there was the papers for the exchange of Phoebe with D.E.R.P. He also got the progress reports of that mission. He read through that and found that the cats were staking out an American historical tourist attraction. Who really thought targeting a place called Colonial Williamsburg would do anything? But if the threat was true, Beruthiel and Phoebe could stop it even without other cats as back up. Beru might have not seemed competent with her Southern drawl but she had proved to be a smart cat when she had been at M.E.O.W.
Angus finished the papers on his desk just in time for lunch. He went to the cafeteria and grabbed both his and Liz's lunches before joining her in her office. That was the good thing about hanging around headquarters, he could have lunch with his favorite person. Some weeks, their lunch dates were all they saw of each other so Angus and Liz made every effort to be available at that time.
The hour passed quickly, as usual, and soon Angus was making his way back to his office to check his schedule. It was, indeed, Kitten Evaluation Day. He grabbed the tablet with the files on the dozen six week old kittens. They were the offspring of the best agents of Clouder Number Six and Clouder Number Three. The two mothers had been on maternity leave and would get back to active status once the kittens were evaluated. The kittens not making the cut would be placed in the cat shelter M.E.O.W. runs as a cover for the local area.
Lewis, of Clouder Number Two, and Thomasina, of Clouder Number Six, had had six kittens. A one was all white, and another was white with black markings, like Lewis himself. Two more were all black like Thomasina. The last two were tuxedo kittens. The kittens would get names later today if accepted in for training. If not they'd get temporary names until adopted through the shelter.
Colonel Mustard, who ironically held a Captain's commission in Clouder Number Six, had had five kittens with Sushi of Clouder Number Three. Two of them were marmalade toms like their sire and two were Tortoise Shell females. The last kitten was a calico female with the attitude of a runt.
Angus shook his head. It was going to be an interesting afternoon. Lady Gwen would be helping with the evaluations and the parents would be around to keep an eye on the kittens and speak for them. The kittens were too young for collars just yet (give them a week to get use to normal collars and then they'd start getting the ones with basic translation and listening devices) so the other cats were need to tell Angus what the kittens said.
The testing went well and eight out of the eleven were accepted for training. The two tuxedo cats, now named James and Movaise, the calico named Laura, the all white cat named Pearl, one of the black cats named Fedsie, one of the marmalade toms named Creole, the white with black marking kitten now found himself named Clark, and one of the Tortoise Shell kittens found herself named Jane. They'd be moved to the barracks. The parent cats shooed them on a head and would help settle them in for training starting tomorrow.
Angus took the other three kittens, one on each shoulder and one in his arms, to the shelter. He eased them down and played with them and the other dozen kittens of various ages for a few minutes. These cats weren't cut out for field work but would still receive some training that if they overheard something that M.E.O.W. aught to know, they'd report it. The kittens would be adopted in to loving homes but were still apart of the M.E.O.W. family. If they ever needed a home, the shelter at headquarters would provide it. If the kittens chose to receive support personnel training instead of adoption that was also available. They just wouldn't be field agents.
Angus said good bye to the cats and went back to his office to file his reports. Two hours latter he left the office and picked up Nala for their evening commute. Dinner and more paperwork done at home and then finally to bed. He hoped that Clouder Number Nine would get a new field mission soon. He was tired of the tiny claw marks that the needle like claws of kittens left in his shoulder. For some reason, all kittens wanted to play Pirate Kitten and ride his shoulder. He needed an actual assignment or he might go stir crazy doing office work. His last thought was of the trouble a couple o the new kitten recruits could cause. The same qualities that made good agents caused kittens to behave in mischievous manners. It would be interesting to watch though. From a distance as he came in and out of HQ between assignments. Hopefully.
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