Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Citius, Altius, Fortius

Captain Ross and the cats of Clouder Number Twenty- One looked around the room in the athlete village in Rio to make sure they hadn't left anything behind. They had been living there for the last month doing security for the athletes of Great Britain at the Olympic Games. It had been an eventful games – in the exciting feats of skill by the athletes with a few minor jobs for the cats to do.

They had arrived a week before the athletes themselves. They had scoped out the venues and gotten the lay of the land. They had met the security details of the other countries. Among the details was a familiar face for Rhys, one of the British cats, Beruthiel Beauregard of DERP. That was the great things about the Olympics, every country with a cat spy program set a detail of cats. It was part job and part international spy cat conference with war stories and techniques being exchanged in the off hours. The cats of the Mossad being the cats everyone else stood in awe of and slightly scared of. The others learned from them.

Once the athletes arrived, the atmosphere changed from congenial conference to actual work. The first event for security was the opening ceremony. The cats of the larger nations – Great Britain, the United States, Canada, and Australia were easy to get into the ceremony among the humans. The greater numbers of humans disguised the cats among them. But the smaller teams it was harder. Three cats were assigned to the Refugee team but those cats were able to get by because no one was looking farther then the remarkable story of each of the ten members of the team. The ceremony went off without a hitch and the games began.

Rhys had been given the job of escorting the Synchronized Divers. He witnessed the surprise gold by Jack Laugher and Chris Mears. In fact he was doing his job, patrolling the pool area – the surprisingly green pool- when the dive happened and the celebrations started. Then The American dove and the lead held and then the Chinese went and the gold was Great Britain's. The celebrations poolside got out of hand and Rhys was nudged and then shoved into the pool – the green pool. He sunk down sputtering and then remembered the hated swimming training. He kicked and gained the surface and swam to the ramp and walked out. By that time the celebrations were winding down and Mears noticed the wet cat. He picked Rhys up and laughed at the soggy feline. He scritched the fur and then grabbed a towel and rubbed the cat dry. Rhys wasn't exactly happy at the treatment but it was the fastest way to get dry so he put up with it. Besides it would be a good story to tell Nala when they were both back at headquarters.

After the diving, Rhys was assigned to Copacabana Beach for the beach volleyball. Late nights in the party atmosphere was just the kind of place for a former street cat. No problems there, except staying out of Liev's way.

Liev was one of the Mossad cats. The most terrifying of them. The tiger striped cat actually sat a round sharpening his claws so that the merest touch would draw blood. Of course the claw had to get through fur for cat on cat violence, but most of the other international cats steered clear of Liev. Beruthiel had private lessons in feline Krav Maga from Liev's partner, Rachel, so she was the one exception to the fear.

Liev and Rachel were also on the Copacabana patrol. The most exciting thing, besides the late night antics of the US Olympic coverage, was the upset in the ladies competition and the favored team winning Bronze instead of Gold. The problem with patroling the beaches was the sand in the fur.

Rhys was happy when that duty was done. He was tired of eating sand when he groomed. It was a relief to help with the security of the marathon. It might be wet and rainy, but Rhys was Welsh. Rain was nothing new to him. In fact it felt like home.

The games proceeded through the closing ceremony with no problem. The cats walked in the parade and enjoyed the party. The cats kept getting scritched and picked up for selfies with the excited athletes. Myfi was turned into an Instagram sensation when one of the US women's gymnastics team posed with her. All in all it was a very easy first assignment. Though the next one wouldn't be so easy.

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