Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Trains - The Only Way to Travel

The Duke and Duchess of Glasex, their daughter, Lady Anne, and Fiona the cat stood on the platform of the Glasgow train station. They watched their luggage being loaded onto the elegant Royal Scotsman train. Its wooden sides gleamed in the sunshine, relic of a more civilized by-gone era, when train travel was more than just a fast way to get from place to place.

Lady Anne was dead chuffed to finally have the cat she always wanted. Fiona, a black and white Norwegian Forest cat with long and soft fur, stood patiently on the end of the leash the girl was holding. Anne had always wanted a cat to walk and show off and now she had one.

Fiona, on the other end of the leash, was thinking thoughts about how much money she was being paid to be this girl's bodyguard so she would put up with the indignity of being walked like a dog. Fiona was on constant alert watching all the comings and goings around them. She was secure in the knowledge that the leash was MEOW issued and had a special release mechanism if she needed to get away to do her job. Lady Anne only thought she was in charge.

Soon enough the call for “All Aboard” came and the Glasex family embarked on to the train. The Duke and Duchess were shown to on of the double cabins while Lady Anne and Fiona were settled into one of the twin cabins next door. Fiona claimed the bed opposite the door to the train corridor. No one was getting into this cabin without going by her. Lady Anne was left with the bed at the far wall, but as that was the bed she would have chosen herself, she was quite contented. Once the steward left, Fiona hopped off the bed and inspected the attached bathroom, pleased to see that beside the commode was an enclosed litter box. She sniffed it and found it full of her favorite litter. She decided now was as good of time to try it, so she did.

A knock on the door sounded then. Lady Anne opened the door to see her mother standing there. The train had left the station and it was time for tea. Anne picked up Fiona and carried her to the dining car. On any other train, a cat in the fine dining car would be looked askance at but everyone on this train knew who Anne was and allowed that Royals, even minor ones - in both status and age, were a bit different from the rest of us and made allowances for her.

The staff had prepared a special place at the Ducal table for Fiona. They had brought over one of the side tables from the observation car and put a cushion on it. Anne set her cat down on it. When the tea was laid out before them, a saucer of the finest cream from the finest Highland coos was placed before the feline. When the sandwiches were served, another saucer was placed before Fiona. This one contained tidbits of smoked salmon of sufficient quantity to keep the Agent of MEOW quite contented for several hours.

Fiona was licking the last of the salmon from her whiskers when the humans were finished with their tea. Anne picked her up and carried her back to their cabin. Fiona wasn't upset with being cat handled. If she was going to be fed in that manner at every meal, four meals a day for eight days, then she would be more than happy to be carried a bit right after the meal.

Lady Anne set Fiona down on her bed and retreated to her own. She pulled out a tablet and proceeded to talk to her friends. She may be on a train in the wilds of Scotland but that wouldn't keep her from gossiping about who like Phillip this week.

A chime sounded an hour later and Lady Anne put down the tablet. She opened her wardrobe and found her clothes already hung up for her. Fiona watched from her perch on the bed as Anne pulled out a formal satin gown. Clearly one dressed for dinner on this train. Fiona wondered if that included her.
Anne finished dressing and turned to her dressing table and opened her small jewelry box and fastened a necklace around her neck.

“I have a little something for you,” Anne said as she came over and sat on the bed next to Fiona. “Let's get that ugly collar off of you.” She reached around and unfastened it and tossed the tactical collar on the bed.

“Daddy got me this one for you,” Anne said as she placed a diamond crusted black velvet collar around Fiona's throat. For a moment Fiona panicked. What if some thing went wrong and she couldn't alert anyone. Then she felt the familiar vibration of a MEOW collar. This was one of the few formal tactical collars. It didn't have the laser beams and things of her regular one but it could communicate both directions between her and headquarters and that was enough. Fiona doubted that if anyone was after Lady Anne that a laser beam would help. What she needed was the communications and this had it.

Lady Anne clipped a matching black velvet leash to Fiona's collar and lead the way back to the dining car. So far the trip was turning out to be the vacation Fiona needed, but that didn't mean there weren't dangers. Fiona would be on alert when they went on excursions away from the train but while on the train she'd enjoy the cream, salmon and whatever other delicacies came her way.

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