Ace knew how to listen, so she went deep into herself, then opened. Three men on the catwalk, two out and the third still hidden. The cat, two life forms to her right and fear behind the door directly across from her. The cat shot her an image of two mice in a corner to her left and several spiders still in their webs. She also showed her a man, flat against the wall, slowly moving in her direction. Ace turned and shot him through the head, then she walked to the center of the warehouse and took out the three guys on the catwalk. The cat wound around her legs and started toward the door of fear.
“You are a very good cat.”
“I know,” said the cat.
“How many are in there?” whispered Ace, staring at the door.
The cat stiffened for a moment, then said, “Four men, two on the right, two on the left and many other life forms. Dying things too. Sick things.”
“Any other guys around?”
“You can have all the treats you want for the rest of your life.”
“All nine of them.”
“Yes, all nine of them.”
The cat looked satisfied. Ace counted to three, threw opened the door and started shooting. She grabbed a knife and it flew true. The screaming was loud and she didn’t know what to call the other noises she heard but they were loud as well. It was over fast. She stood in the center of the room and turned, her gun held high, no bad guy left standing. Oops, she shot the guy sitting on the floor with the Off Worlders.
“Nice,” said the cat, who was getting pets from a blue being with huge bright yellow eyes. The cat rubbed against what seemed to be the being’s chest and came away with a blue streak running down her side.
“Nfrh,” chirped the being softly.
“That must mean cat where he comes from,” said the cat.
“Right,” said Ace, smiling.
“Ace?” said the cat.
“I know,” mumbled Ace.
“I know,” said Ace. Then she started yelling. “Everyone OUT! NOW!”
Ace began pulling Off Worlders up and pushing them out the door, the cat, well, the cat, did what she could. Suddenly, Tim and the others were there getting Off Worlders to safety, carrying those who couldn’t walk and helping those who could move of their own volition.
The rumbling grew louder and the floor started to shake. “RUN,” yelled Ace, hoping they understood what she was saying.
The floor imploded. The pressure was not as bad as she expected it to be. The cat walked around the rim of the open floor and gazed down at the stars.
“That’s how they were getting them here,” said Ace, staring at Jupiter.
“I thought Jupiter was farther away,” said Tim, as he burst out laughing.
“The technology that did this is inspiring, to say the least,” said Ace, watching stars being born.
“I’m glad you think so, Ace,” said Benny, as he walked through the wall to her right. There were problems, of course, gravity and radiation, you know, those kinds of problems. It took a long time to perfect and it was, well, let’s just say, it cost more than you could afford. Fortunately, my investors believed in me and the scientists who did it, apparently loved their families enough to keep working around the clock.”
“You are an icky person,” said Ace.
“That’s what you have to say to him?” said Tim, staring at her. “You think he’s ICKY?
“You don’t care what you do to others, you only care about yourself,” snarled Ace. “You should run for political office, you’d be perfect. Hateful, egomaniacal, ruthless, disgusting, cheap, mean, boring, and ugly. You’re empty inside. You’re just plain ICKY.”
“Now, now, name calling is beneath you, my dear.”
“Your DEAR?” laughed Ace. “Yeah. No.”
“You don’t think big enough,” said Benny. “Other ‘beings,’ as you call them, are ours for the taking. If they can BE taken, then that’s what they are for. If they can be taken, they DESERVE to BE taken. Just like the animals you love so much. If things are weak, they deserve…”
The cat bit Benny in the leg and raked her claws down his calf. Ace shot him through the head and heart and Tim pushed him into the opening in the floor.
“How’s THAT for perfection,” said Ace, as she watched Benny disappear. She took the Memory Stone from her pocket and dropped it into the opening as well. The hole started closing immediately.
“Jack,” said Ace grinning. “You can come out now.”
The cat stretched and rolled on her back. “I like it in here,” he groaned. “It’s warm and soft and I can run really fast.”
“Enough, already,” laughed Ace, rubbing his ears.
“Will you rub my ears if I come out?”
“How did you know it was me?”
Ace smiled. “I just did.”
“Can I catch the mice first?”
“If you promise not to hurt them,” said Ace, knowingly.
“Spoiled sport,” hissed the cat, as she sprinted away.
“The Jack of Hearts is INSIDE the cat?”
“Most definitely,” snickered Ace. “Our side has been working on what we call ‘hitching,’ for some time. We want agents to be able to hitch rides with others, if they are willing to carry us. I don’t care how smart cats actually are, this one was a little too savvy, if you know what I mean.”
“Can I keep the gun?”
“Sure. I have lots of others.”
“I’m never leaving you,” said Tim, throwing his arm around her. “You know that, right?”
“I do know that,” said Ace.
“Yes, I know you aren’t leaving either.”
“What about me?” asked the Jack of Hearts, who was walking toward her, his long, muscular body, moving more like a cat’s than a man’s. His dark brown eyes staring into hers.
“Nice to meet you,” said Ace, holding out her hand. “How are the mice?”
“The mice are fine but I must admit that I suddenly found playing with them a bit boring,” he said, turning her hand, kissing her palm, as he looked at Tim.
“Don’t even think about it,” said Tim, coldly.
“Uh, excuse me?” said Ace. “Could you two put the down your clubs and lower the testosterone?”
“I didn’t even realize….” said Tim. “Sorry.”
“I’m not sorry in the least,” said The Jack of Hearts, a lustful smirk on his full lips.
“Good idea,” said Ace, as she grabbed his tail feather and disappeared.
Once home, Ace stood looking at the blue being huddled on the kitchen floor. “Nfrh?” it said, looking around for the cat.