Friday, July 1, 2016

C'mon Cymru

Rhys Llewelyn sat in the barracks of the training facilities at M.E.O.W. with the other dozen cats (kittens really but Rhys was a full grown cat), waiting to hear what their final test would be. Graduation was a month away and the cats of the class needed a real world practical test. It was the last thing as a part of training before becoming full Agents. Right now they were provisional agents but if they passed the practical field exam they'd graduate and have a badge and everything (not that the cats carried their badges with them but they had them all the same).

The two kittens Rhys had had the most dealings with were running around the room and jumping from carpeted shelf to carpeted shelf in a sort of feline steeple chase. Myfi, the cute little marmalade kitten, was in the lead but the tuxedo Manx named Finn was not far behind. Finn leaped from the shelf on the right side of the door towards the one on the left when the door opened and caught him mid-flight. The kitten fell right on to the head of Angus MacDougal, chief human at M.E.O.W. The kitten was startled and reacted with claws out.

“Ouch,” Angus said as he pried the kitten from his head. “Watch your claws, ye wee beastie.”

“Reoww,” answered Finn as Angus set him down on the floor. Finn didn't much like Angus, particularly ever since the human had paid more attention to Rhys. Finn thought Rhys too old to train with the kittens and let it be known.

Rhys, ignoring his nemesis, switched his speech translator on. “Do have our mission for us?”

“I do indeed,” Angus said with a smile as he walked to the center of the room and turned on the flat screen monitor.

The other cats came and arranged themselves on the couch and floor in front of the monitor. Angus used the computer tablet in his hand to flip through the power point presentation.

“First off, the clouder who will be monitoring your mission and assisting you, if you need it will be Clouder Number Nine,” Angus said. Rhys perked up at that. “Yes, Rhys, the whole Clouder. It will be Captain Nala's first mission back after her illness.”

Finn turned on his speech translator. “I'm sure we're all glad that Captain Nala is feeling better, but what about our mission?”

“I was getting to that,” Angus said. The screen changed to the Euro216 logo and bracket graphic. “Wales has made the quarter finals against Belgium and they play on Friday.” Myfi and Rhys looked excited. They were the only cats from the principality itself and were very patriotic.

“What does footie have to do with us?” asked a gray British short hair kitten named Reginald.

“The French police and particularly those in Lille, have asked for extra help and the Minister has agreed to loan this class, Clouder Number Nine, myself, and four other human support staff for the rest of the week.”

“Why?” asked Myfi. “Not that I'm complaining being near the game but why us?”

“Besides the huge influx of footie fans, this is the 100 anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and ceremonies are planned on Friday as well,” Angus explained as he then outlined the plan and what part each cat would play in the plan.

The cats found themselves patrolling the streets of Lille that night. The atmosphere was strange. One half of the town was celebrating the footie games to be played. The other half was remembering the Great War and those that had died in it. Three days of patrolling the crowds and it was game day.

The cats were doing their job winding between the fans waiting to get into the stadium. They were sniffing for contraband and weapons (explosives and gunpowder).

Rhys found a person dressed to support Belgium and the person smelled funny. He was exactly the kind of human Rhys had been sent to find so he did what he had been told to do. He started heaving from his tail. The yorking sound came from deep with in him and seconds later a mass of partially digested fur and fluids landed on the suspicious human's foot.

“Ah man,” said the human as he noticed the hairball on his foot. He started hopping around trying to figure out how to clean it off.

“Sir, I can help you with that,” Angus said as he came over to the man. Angus was dressed as a stadium event worker. “If you just come with me, we'll get you cleaned up in no time.” The man complied and Angus lead him to a side room.

“I'm Commander MacDougal,” Angus said as he flashed his Interpol badge. (He was on special assignment for them after all.) “And I need to look in your bag.”

“I thought you were going to help me with the cat puke,” said the belligerent man.

“Certainly,” Angus said and motioned to a waiting lackey. “Lieutenant, if you'd please?”

The Lieutenant hand the man some wet paper towels.

“Now may I see inside your bag?” Angus asked.

“No,” the man answered and took a swing at Angus.

“Attempting to assault an officer,” Angus chuckled. “I might not have had more than suspicion to look in before, now I have the right and duty to.”

Angus opened the bag. On top were some bags of a white powder and on the bottom a bottle of clear liquid and a rag. Also a cigarette lighter. An disassembled Molotov cocktail. Who knew what use he'd had planed for it. Angus pulled out his handcuffs and arrested the man. That made four arrests assisted by the cats today.

Rhys came into the room and looked around. He wanted to make certain he had detected the right out of place smells. He needed to know if he needed to do anything about it if he smelled that smell again.

“You were right, Rhys,” the Lieutenant said. “He had drugs and a weapon on him. Go back out there and keep up the good work.”

Rhys preened with the praise. He started purring a tune that sounded very much like “Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau”. You could make a cat patrol the game but you couldn't keep him from cheering for his home country's team.

The game was set to start in an hour. Most of the fans would be in the stadium in the next half hour. The cats would remain in France through the weekend for the celebrations and commiserations to keep the peace.

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