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Housepets! Changing by the Seasons: 2. The New Era 
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Post Housepets! Changing by the Seasons: 2. The New Era
If you want to know why the titles have changed, go ahead and stop by "The Way Back Machine" thread and there is a brief explanation there! As with the other one, here are the links to the stories!

CbtS: 1. The Way Back Machine
In which Peanut talks a bit about his life.

CbtS: 3. Pet Project
In which our heroes discover the ups and downs of equality.

As with the other one, I hope you enjoy! Thanks again for reading.

Housepets: The New Era

“Pet Friendly”

"The bond between mankind and animals go back before the dawn of primitive civilization. Before the written word. Before philosophy, before gods and demons. Back to an age where we were all animals. Survival was the key to happiness. We were equal in the face of nature. Years later someone somehow gained an upper-hand."
-Excerpt from Peter Hooke's best selling book, Man and Beast.

In the corner of a room sat a lone television. The lights all around were dimmed, accentuating the luminescence of the magic talking box. A pack of wolves sat a good distance away; wolves of different sizes, shapes, ages. All of them transfixed by a single program. There was a man in blue suit standing at the pulpit. Signs were all around him that read “Hooke for President,” held aloft by roiling masses of cheering crowds. Camera flashes illuminated his face with a sharp strobe like effect.

“I stress equality, for generations to come. They will hear my battle cry, our battle cry! And they will forever remember us as the ones who changed the world for the better.”

The crowd erupted on screen. A surging wave of passionate cries for justice.

“Isn't this wonderful Miles? Finally someone else out there that thinks like Mr. Milton.”

The head of the pack looked at his mate and gave her a solid nod. His teeth spread out into a toothy grin. “He seems like a real stand up guy.”

“Shh we're watching the man yell.”

“Sorry son.”

All of them continued to watch in pious silence. Smiles on their faces, watching the dawn of a new era unfolding. The entire household had been seized. All save for two. Not but a few steps down the hall and to the right was the kitchen. The television set was quite audible to those inside. A small, Pembroke welsh corgi, was straining to reach a jar at the top refrigerator shelf. His companion trying to hide a smile.

“Hey Fox can you reach me the mayo?” Said King, his voice mixed with defeat.

“All you had to do was ask.” Fox replied, smug smile creeping up on his face as he grabbed the white jar from the highest shelf and handed it to his vertically impaired friend.

“It looked closer to the ground than I thought it would be.” The corgi replied as he grabbed the mayo and walked to the table. They had both already spread out bread, ham, and other fixings for a mid evening snack. The mayonnaise was the only thing missing.

“Dunno how you can stand that stuff.” Fox grimaced as he watched King spread liberal amounts of mayonnaise onto a slice of bread.

“I grew up eating mayo on my sandwiches.” King muttered as he placed a few slices of ham. “Besides it adds just the right type of flavor.”

“If you say so.” Fox shrugged as he threw together a plain ham sandwich. “I should come over to your place more often, you eat like a king, so to speak. Dad never lets me use to the good ham.”

“I'm lucky if I get any meat, have you seen those wolves eat?”

“No I guess not, but right now I think they're a little busy.” Fox poked his head out of the kitchen, the light from the television spilled into the hall. “So long as that guy keeps talking I think you'll get first dibs here in the kitchen more often.”

King nodded as he took a seat and rested his elbow on the table top. “I guess so, would you call me crazy if I said I was kind of worried?”

Fox tilted his head a little. “Why worried?”

The Corgi sighed a little and shook his head. “The guy running for president, Hooke was him name I think, something just seems up with him. Call it doggy intuition but something doesn't feel right when I hear his voice or look in his general direction.”

“I don't know, but if you haven't noticed most politicians are like that.”

“Point taken.”

King did not expect Fox to understand. In fact King wasn't so sure he understood it himself. Things had been too quiet. Not just for a few weeks, or even months. No, the past few years had been strangely quiet. Quiet in a normal way, and his life was hardly ever quiet in a normal way. No spiritual disturbances. No news about the direction of his soul. Nothing.

“I think his idea is noble, animal equality,” Fox shrugged, “but I don't think that's a step even the animals are ready to take.”

“Agreed.” King nodded, remembering all too well the fine dividing line between cat and dog in quaint little suburbia.

“Besides, unless animals are allowed to vote, I don't think Hooke will have a chance.”

“Yeah, you're probably right.” King muttered as he nibbled away at his sandwich. For some reason he did not feel at all reassured.

~~

A starkly chill breeze weaved through the sleeping houses of Babylon Gardens. The shift from summer to fall was always subtle at first. Like a lion stalking its prey, there would only be traces of change, traces of a beast in the brush. Until one morning one would awake and the leaves would all be falling from their perch and the crisp autumn air had replaced the summer haze. The beast had pounced.

Kevin shivered a little as he tucked his hands into his K-9 vest. Wishing he had a double coat rather than the thin layer of fur that provided scant protection to the elements. His mind shifted to thoughts of warm blankets and healthy helpings of hot drinks.

“Kevin are you even listening to me?”

The doberman's eyes snapped to attention as he looked to his right. “Oh! Yeah sorry Sarge, it's kinda chilly out don't you think?”

“That's why I brought my coat, I actually pay attention to my two-way.” Sargent Ralph rolled his eyes.

“Well if these dumb radios played music once in awhile I might not be bored to death of the chatter.” Ralph rolled his eyes.

“If you listened you might be focused, this isn't a job to be taken lightly Kevin.” Ralph's voice took a much more serious tone. Kevin stopped shivering for a moment. “Can I rely on you or not?”

Not one to be talked down, Kevin had an instant reaction.

“Yes sir you can rely on me, sir” The doberman went to attention, with his back straight and chin up.

“Then pay attention to what we're dealing with, stay close, and for the love of dog, do not under any circumstances tackle.” Ralph hissed, his voice low.

Kevin was not all too certain what he was up against. It sounded incredibly dangerous. Danger was something he rarely felt while on his job. Even when he was up against hardened criminals, they would not dare hurt a dog. Even inmates frowned upon that.

“Ralph...what exactly are we up against?” Kevin's imagination went wild. Was it a ten foot tall man-and-pet-eating bear? Big foot? Michael Vick?

“We're on crime scene investigation.” Ralph grimaced. “The officers had been tracking a guy for months now, turns out he was right under our noses.”

“What did he do?”

“At first his only offense was drug related, they only needed sniffer dogs for that one.” Ralph replied. "They needed him because he was connected to a dealer they were looking to bust."

“So that's what Jamie has been up to this whole time.” Kevin nodded. “Then what?”

“They found his hideout about two hours ago, he had long since flown the coop. What really concerns me is what he left behind” Ralph replied. “Turns out he had been kidnapping pets from all over, taking them with him, and doing...” Ralph could not begin to speak.

“What?”

“Terrible things.” Ralph choked a little on his words, Kevin had never seen Ralph choke. “Just know this man is still at large and what you are about to see is going to be, for lack of a better word, scary.”

“I understand sir.”

The house looked fairly average on the outside. Save for yellow tape and police cars. Most other members of the K-9 unit had already assembled there. Most were sniffers, but they could see Fido out questioning the neighbors.

“Have you ever been on crime scene investigation before Sarge, I mean when it comes to pet abuse.”

“Once when I was a rookie.” Ralph muttered as they approached the house. "I think you were still a pup back then. We had trouble with a Gator and a guy that was kidnapping pets to feed it. This is the first time we were too late to stop something like this though."

Kevin could see about five pets sitting down next to a police car, all wrapped in blankets. Their fur matted, some had eyes puffy and swollen. Clumps of fur were completely gone on others. They all shared an uncanny dull stare that was lost in the distance. He could only begin to wonder what they were thinking.

“There were ten pets locked up here when they found the hideout.” Ralph said as he opened the door. “The five you see here are in shock but thankfully recovering, three had been in bad shape; they were promptly rushed to the vet. Two others they found were already...they didn't make it.”

Kevin stepped into the house and covered his muzzle. A rancid smell had lingered in the dimly lit house. He did not dare think too long about what that smell very well might be. The two dogs carefully worked their way around the house, Ralph had a flash light out. The kitchen was full of rotten dishes and left over food. Flies buzzed around, blackening the beam of the flashlight. Kevin whimpered a little as they made their way to a stair case obscured behind piles of newspapers and trash.

One cautions step after another they made their way to the second floor of the house. Checking the rooms one by one. Kevin was not quite used to the smell of the air, but Ralph recognized it. It was a sinister scent. One meant to excite predators in the wild. It was fear and submission. It was release. Ralph knew they were going to find the last two pets on that second level.

There were beds, cages with broken locks, and assorted tools scattered about. The police dogs could only imagine what sort of atrocities had happened in those rooms. Eventually Kevin pushed against a door that would not give. Suspicious and rather impatient he threw his shoulder against the door, effectively "tackling" it open. He stumbled a little in the door way, his eyes squinting to get a better look in the dark. “Ralph...you might want to get a look at this.”

Ralph turned his flashlight into the room and gasped. Words had been painted all over the wall, at least it looked like paint. Kevin gulped as they stepped into the room. “Beast is for man, and man alone.” Ralph read aloud. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Something to do with Animal equality.” Kevin replied.

“Now where did you pull that theory from?”

Kevin pointed at a newspaper clipping on the wall, with the headline “animal voting amendment reaches senate.”

“Kev, I think we have ourselves a real nut case on our hands. That or someone watches a lot of television.” Ralph replied as he picked up a notebook left in the corner of the room. He gently opened the pages and scanned through them.

“What's that?”

“It's a journal of some sort, it has a bunch of names, descriptions, breeds.” Ralph winced. “Holy- these are past victims. He has been at this for a year now.”

“Something tells me this guy had a little more than drugs on his mind.” Kevin peeked over Ralph's shoulder. “Ralph, I think we should let the humans take this one.”

“Never send a man to do a dog's job.” Ralph closed the notebook. “His motives seem awfully political don't you think? He had a lot of Senator Hooke on his mind when he did this.”

“Yeah, but then again he could just be crazy.”

“That is a viable theory, but he seems too methodical. He has kept every intricate detail of his... prisoners, in this note book. Not to mention it seems like he was dragging them around with him. His recent entries are for pets all the way from neighborhoods like Mariana Trench."

"Where is that?"

"A small coastal place, and you know how far from the coast we are." Ralph stroked his chin and tapped his foot. "It makes me wonder if he isn't the only one in on all of this. He might have accomplices all around the country. Misery loves company after all. How do you think PETA gets members?”

“That's a scary thought.” Kevin replied as they left the room.

“He is trying to make a point, that's how I see it.” Ralph frowned. “That guy is still out there and probably still willing to make his point. Hopefully the sniffers got his scent.”

“Hey lets show them the notebook! That should help.”

“Good idea Kevin, let's go.”

~~

Fido let out a long heavy sigh as he slipped off his K-9 vest. Tired did not begin to describe how he was feeling. Though he did not believe he was getting any sleep that particular night. He slumped into a chair and rubbed his temples. The neighbors yielded some useful information, the car the perp drove away in was a gray Oldsmobile, which is a fairly unique looking car. However without the license plate they could be out looking for Oldsmobiles for weeks.

“Long night?”

The police dog rubbed his eyes. “Hey there, how long have you been here?”

“Not too long.” Sabrina stepped into the room and sat next to him. “Your dad was nice enough to let me hang around here until you got home. I had a feeling you needed the company.”

“You read my mind,” Fido smiled a little.

“No I didn't.” Sabrina tilted her head.

“Figure of speech darling.” He yawned.

“Oh yes, sorry.” They both shared a laugh and huddled close together. “You nab your guy?”

“We're working on it, I have a feeling he did not get too far out of the neighborhood.”

The black cat nodded and scratched her lover's back. “I could help.”

“You sure that doesn't violate any psychic rules or anything?”

“I know my ways around all of the rules.” Sabrina winked. “It's a gift of mine.”

“Then by all means we need help.” Fido closed his eyes and leaned his head against a cushion.

“But we'll discuss this tomorrow, I think.” Sabrina smiled as she watched the dog doze against her. “Good night.”

“More like morning.” He said, half asleep.

She watched the dog finally fall into his slumber and gently slipped away, letting his head rest on the couch. He curled up into a ball in his sleep. Sabrina scratched behind his ear and left the room.

“I wonder if all dogs look like pups when they sleep.” She mused as she opened the front door. Only to find a Pomeranian standing before her. “Arcana, you know you might want to invest some time into finding some friends other than myself.”

“I apologize, I would be with Tarot but she's at that retreat and you know Peanut and Grape probably want this time alone.”

Sabrina smirked a little. “Is the great spirit dragon feeling lonely?”

Arcana blushed slightly and nodded. “It's something I'm not used to.”

“I know a couple of places to hang out at this hour, hope you don't mind fish.”

The two girls made their way down the road. Sabrina had always wondered what it might be like for someone immortal to spend their time as a mortal. Everyone in the Gardens instantly recognized Arcana as being strange, but luckily Tarot was rather strange her self. It was easily assumed to be genetic.

“How are you getting along at the Good Old Dogs club, heard you went to a meeting or two.”

“I think I've spent too much time as a dog because for some reason I was starting to care about their issues.” Arcana smiled a little. “Between you and me Bino is cute when he yells, like he's actually threatening or something.”

“Cute is not the word I would use, but...” Sabrina paused for a moment. “You aren't implying that you like him do you?” Sabrina felt a grin spread across her face.

“No, I'm just making an observation.” Arcana shrugged. “If I did like him, that would be rather awkward, considering the petty stuff he did to my ex.”

“You mean Tarot's ex.”

“Right, that's what I mean.” Arcana blushed madly.

“Well good to know you're starting to fit in around the place, dogs certainly are an interesting crowd.”

“Amen to that.”

The two girls laughed a little as they kept up their brisk walking pace. Sabrina felt it odd to connect to an all powerful being on such a friendly level. Usually when she talked to them it had a “boss and intern” feel to it. She was so absorbed in the conversation that she almost did not realize the strange car that had started tailing them.

“That's not at all suspicious.” Sabrina muttered as she glanced over her shoulder. “His lights are dim and everything.”

“Hm?”

“Don't look now but there's some car not too far behind us.” Sabrina said. “Just keep walking and pretend you can't see it.”

“You sure we shouldn't do something about it?”

“I am, I think Fido might be interested. I'm going to call him up. Just be careful, if this guy is who I think it is, be prepared to run.” Sabrina warned as she used her psychic link to establish a connection with Fido.

Arcana could not help but notice the car slowly pick up speed, gaining inches closer to them.

~~
And that's part one done. Hope you guys enjoyed what I've got thus far. As always critiques, comments, and other such things are greatly appreciated on my part. I only want to get better and I want you guys to enjoy what you read.

As always, Happy Reading.

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At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

RP Character:
Lucky Abbot: S-9 P-6 E-7 C-6 I-7 A-4 L-3


Last edited by Honorable Intentions on Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:26 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
YAYYYYYY! You're back too and again with pure awesome!
Can't wait to see how these events will unfold!
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:56 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
..I really hope that person didn't....never mind

Yaaaaay! King and Fox appeared!

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Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:40 am
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Post Re: The New Era
Housepets: The New Era
Progression

For years animals and man worked together. Hunting and sharing the spoils. Keen allies against the harsh tribulations wrought against them by nature. But man wanted more out of the relationship. They weakened the pride of the animal spirit. At first it was innocent, and a smart trade future engagements notwithstanding. The humans would get the food and the animals would do menial jobs for humanity. Even then they still had more rights than the average pet nowadays, seeing as how they lived among their own tribes. Then humans had the animals live with them. Then humans broke up the animal families. One thing after another and in no time at all humanity enslaved species upon species for its gain.
-Peter Hooke's Man and Beast

Dawn broke the cloudless horizon of Babylon Gardens with unbridled gusto, beams of sunlight blasting the eastern ends of homes. Which was unfortunate for anyone sleeping next to a window. Peanut winced a little as sunlight flooded onto his side of the bed. His mate, Grape, was having better luck against the morning disturbance. She was fortunate to have a dog block the window. He grumbled a little and held a pillow over his head, trying to savor what little sleep he had left.

However his movement had caused her to stir a little.

“Ugh what time is it?” She said, punctuated with a yawn. Peanut poked his head out from under the pillow and glanced at his alarm clock.

“Nine o'clock hon.”

“Don't you have to be at that interview in thirty minutes?” Grape said as she scratched her mate's back. He kicked his leg a little and stretched, his tail wagging slowly.

“I still have thirty minutes.”

“I don't think you'll make a very good first impression if you show up late.” Grape sat up on the bed and looked over at the snoozing dog next to her. She rolled her eyes and dragged her claws along his back. Peanut yelped loudly as he sat up straight and rubbed his back.

“Fine, fine, I'm up.” Peanut grumbled as he stepped out of the bed.

Grape smiled as she watched the Canadian Pointer Mix stumble off to the bathroom to get ready. If she knew how to do anything, it was how to give any stubborn dog the right “push.” Content with her work, she slipped out of bed and made her way across the house. Earl and Jill were making small talk over breakfast while Peanut was showering and getting ready in the bathroom. Eventually she stopped at Peanut's old room and pressed her ear against the door. The low buzz of a television could just barely be heard over the morning chatter.

With a gentle push, she opened the door and poked her head inside. A small pup, no older than four years, was fast asleep on the floor in front his television set. Grape rolled her eyes, knowing exactly what that pup had been up to.

“Jon?” She asked, her voice soft. No response.

The lavender cat took a seat next to her son and lightly prodded him. One eye half opened and looked up. A tired smile crossed his face as his tail wagged.

“You stay up all night again?” Grape picked up the border collie pup and set him on her lap.

“Mmhm” Jon nodded. “Sleeping was boring.”

“Tell your dad that.” Grape poked his nose. “What happened to the excited pup that wanted to go check out the Good Old Dogs club today.”

“Too excited to sleep.” Jon stifled a yawn as he snuggled closer to his mom.

It was impossible not to chuckle. She could remember so many times Peanut actually said that exact same phrase. Though it had been awhile since anyone in the household was excited to go to a Good Old Dogs' club meeting. Jon was just as out there as his dad when it came to hangouts. The regulars at Heathcliff's were all cats, and he knew them all by name. Then just a few days prior, the young pup had sudden interests in other dogs. He wanted to be around someone of his own species for a change.

For all the qualms she had with the club. She was not about to deny her son a chance to be with other dogs. Grape knew all too well how it felt to be the odd ball cat. The only catch was that she wasn't allowed to go in, she needed a dog to take him. Unfortunately Peanut had other business to attend to, Tarot was at her “gypsy beach retreat” in Florida (though she had to wonder what a bunch of psychics did at the beach), and that left her only one option.

“You be on your best behavior for officer Fido okay?” Grape said as she helped her son get up and ready. “If I have to bail you out of jail and you're this young we'll have to have a long chat with the paddle.”

Jon gulped, he had only had a “chat with the paddle” once in his life and it was one time he would always regret. “I promise.”

“Remember if you are in an emergency and Fido can't help you, grandma is going to be at the house today and you know dad and I both carry phones now.” Grape replied, pointing to a small pouch just in front of her collar.

“I know, I know.” Jon nodded. “Come on mom I'm not a baby.”

“It's my job to baby you,” Grape ruffled Jon's fur, “what kind of parent would I be if I didn't care?”

“Okay mom.” Jon rolled his eyes a little and stood up. “Do you think there are any pups my age at the Good Old Dog's club?”

“I bet there is.” Grape stood up and turned off the television.

“Do you think they'll like me?”

Grape paused for a moment. “Why wouldn't they like you?”

“I dunno.” Jon looked at the ground sheepishly.

“Jon, if they don't like you because you have a bunch of friends that are cats, or that your mom is a cat, then they aren't worth your time.”

The pup nodded a little as he followed Grape out of the room, not all too convinced of his mom's blunt advice. Breakfast was laid out on the table, nice and warm. Peanut had already made it half way through his helping of food. Rapidly glancing from his plate to the clock on the wall, back to his plate.

“Nervous?” Earl asked.

“Kind of, can't believe you've done this thing like four times.” .

“It gets easier with experience, but I never thought I would see the day where animals would be allowed to in on it. And I never thought I would see you of all people first in line for it.”

“What's that supposed to mean?” Peanut said between a mouthful of food.

“Just means you have different priorities now.”

Grape took her seat next to Peanut and planted a quick kiss on the cheek. He smiled a little and looked over at her. With a gulp he swallowed his food and kissed her back.

“Good luck today pooch.” Grape grinned.

“I definitely need it,” Peanut stood up and grabbed a small folder, “see you later, oh and Jon have fun at the club.”

“Bye dad!” Jon watched his dad dash out the door while his grandpa picked up his keys.

“Next thing you know they'll start letting pets drive,” Earl chuckled a little as he followed Peanut out.

That was an odd thought to Grape, she half wondered just how Peanut would fare. A silly image of him sticking his head out of the window while in the middle of the highway popped into her head. Though but a year before the idea of animals interning and getting jobs was about as insane as letting them drive. It was a little unsettling how fast things had changed.

The idea of animals acting like people was cute in pictures, but she had no idea what to think when it really happened. Her relationship with Peanut mirrored a human one to the T, and the way she treated her son, she got it from her human adopted parents. Now he was going off to be a working dog, in a job that dogs don't generally work. A human job.

It was like staring off into an uncharted land. Strange and exciting, but all the same terrifying.

“Mom what do you think about Peanut getting a job?” Grape finally asked.

“I think with how the future is looking at this point, it's a smart idea.” Her mom nodded. It was no secret that legislation was going crazy with their animal rights bills. All fine and dandy, until the pets had to pay taxes. “He is just looking out for you and Jon, like any dad and husband would.”

“I know mom, I just have a bad feeling, and I can't put my finger on it.” Grape frowned.

“Change does that, no matter what. Like back when it was just Peanut, Earl, and myself, we lived in a really run down neighborhood up in the city. Our apartment was crummy, the neighbors were mean and I'm sure some tried to bust into our house to steal things.” Jill replied, counting the problems on her fingers, “but when we first moved to Babylon Gardens and Earl had a new job. I felt insecure. I had no idea if we were going to make ends meet. At least I knew what to expect in that old neighborhood.”

“I guess things turned out alright.” Grape gave her mom a wry smile.

“Yes they did, eventually things become normal and you tend to be thankful for the good things that came out of the change.”

“Hopefully things work like that for us.” Grape scratched behind Jon's ears and smiled at him. If anything, she just wanted her one and only son to be happy. The poor kid was going to go through a lot if things kept going as they were. “Well I had better get going, I don't want to keep Fido waiting.”
“You take care, you know where I'll be if you need me.” Jill smiled as Grape walked out.

“See you later mom, and you take care too.” Grape nodded.

~~

Fido tapped his foot impatiently with a phone to his ear. Dial tone, dial tone. Answering machine. He slammed it on the receiver and rubbed his temples. His nightmares were literally coming to life. They were so vivid.

He could remember Sabrina's voice, telling him to wake up, to help. But his body would not budge. Like he was powerless to do anything. He wanted to wake up but could not force it. Instead his paralyzed body was stuck watching her chased down by a man driving a red Oldsmobile. From the smell of the exhaust, to the sound of the car tires squealing, the taste of burning rubber in the very air itself. Everything felt real.

When he awoke the next morning his first reaction was to dismiss the dream. Yet the vivid feeling of his nightmare would not let him alone. To appease his troubled mind, he decided to call Sabrina. No one answered. He called again, still no answer. He paced around for ten minutes, called again, no answer.

“Please let this be some sort of coincidence, just some sort of sick coincidence.”

It had to have simply been that. The things he saw that other night, the condition of the pets, the bowels of that “house” they had to investigate. He had never seen anything like that before in all of his years on the job. Babylon Gardens didn't have problems like that. They just had kittens stuck in trees while showing off to their friends, or the occasional stolen treasure.

Now suddenly he was a paranoid wreck. He told himself a million times that it was just his nerves getting to him and nothing was really wrong. Suddenly the phone rang and he nearly destroyed it with a death grip upon picking it up.

“Hello?”

“Fido! Oh my goodness you do not know how long I have been trying to get a hold of someone for help.”

“Arcana? What happened.” Fido's grip on the phone tightened.

“I got separated with Sabrina last night, some crazy guy in a car tried to run us down. We split up to try and confuse him. Now I'm lost and I can't find her.”

Fido told himself a million times not to panic. It wasn't working. “Alright where are you?”

“I'm at a small corner store, Jenkins and Co.”

“The one on Moores or Summer.”

“Excuse me?”

“What street is it on?”

“Hold on...Summer.”

“Okay you hang tight I will be right there as soon as I can.” Fido placed the phone on its receiver and grabbed his vest. The images of the pets he had found at the house invaded his mind, he could not bear to think of Sabrina in that position. It was too much.

He darted to his door, threw it open, and stopped in his tracks. He had completely forgotten. “Grape I'm sorry but something has come up and I can't take Jon to the meeting.”

“What happened?”

“Sabrina is in trouble, and Arcana is stranded at a corner store. I don't have much time at all, I'm so sorry.” Fido looked around, he grabbed a paper and pencil. “Here call this number, you know Fox right?”

“Sort of.”

“Tell him that I recommended him for the job, and I do trust him. He's good with kids.” Fido said as he slipped past Grape.

“Alright, be careful Fido.” Grape nodded as she took the number. “Do you need any help?”

“There is someone kidnapping pets in the neighborhood, do me a favor and tell all your friends, don't go anywhere alone, don't stay out at night, and if you see any suspicious characters start to follow you, call the cops.” And with that he was halfway down the block.

Grape looked at the phone number and then at her son. “I don't think I want you to be alone with strangers today.”

“Aw come on!”

“Did you hear what Officer Fido said? There is a kidnapper on the loose.”

“I heard everything he said mom, I'll tell all my friends, be home before dark, and call the cops when I see someone I don't like.” Jon looked up at his mom with pleading eyes. Grape looked down at the small pup, she had not met a dog in her life that wanted to go to a Good Old Dogs club meeting this bad.

“I don't know if I trust Fox.”

“Officer Fido trusts him! And he's not a stranger, he always hangs around the police dogs.” Jon folded his arms, putting on his best puppy dog eyes.

The two stared at each other for a moment, Grape had wondered what exactly it was Jon wanted out of that meeting. Was he really that starved for company of his own species? Or perhaps, she was just being overprotective, as many moms are over their kids.

“Okay I'll give Fox a call, but I'm not pulling anymore strings today you got that?” Grape said as she pulled out the cellphone in the front pouch of her collar. Jon nodded with a wide grin on his face. She punched in the number and drummed her fingers on her thigh.

“Hello, Lindberg residence.”

“Hey, is Fox there?” Grape asked, it was odd how little she knew of the guy. She had not been around him much since he was a pup and he was not exactly a sweetheart back then.

“That would be me, who is this?”

“Grape Sandwich.”

There was a pause on the other line for a moment. “Yeah what's up?”

“I need a little help with something, and I know it's weird for me to phone in a favor like this, but Fido was supposed to help me out and he had something come up.”

“Okay?” The confusion in his voice was unmistakable.

“My son, Jon, you've seen him around right? He wants to go to his first Good Old Dogs club meeting, but all of the dogs I would send him with are busy today, and obviously I can't go.”

“...and you want me to take him.”

“That's right, sorry to phone in like this, Fido recommended you for the job.”

“I knew he was going to get me back for poker night...”

“What?”

“Nothing.” Fox audibly sighed over the phone. “Alright fine I'll do it. I owe him a favor we'll just say.”

“If it means anything I owe you a big favor too.” Grape smiled a little. “Thank you.”

“Yeah no problem, where are you at?”

“Fido's house.”

“Okay hang on I'll be there in a minute.”

Grape closed the cell phone and slipped it back into her collar. She rubbed Jon's back and took a seat on the steps of the front porch.

“Looks like you're in luck.”

He looked up at her and wagged his tail a little. “Yes!”

“Remember to behave for him okay? I already feel kind of bad for calling him on such short notice.”

Jon nodded and watched the sidewalks, waiting for his “escort.” He refused to call anyone a “babysitter.” That would imply that he was in fact, a baby. And he knew that if he wanted he could take care of himself. Then again being alone in a strange place would make anyone long for a familiar face just in case the crowd proves less than accepting.

“And here he comes.” Grape glanced over to the right, Fox was walking along the sidewalk, his inseparable friend, King, right next to him.

~~

Henry Gulliver Junior gave Peanut the impression Goliath must have given David. He stood two whole heads taller than his father, and towered endlessly above the cinnamon colored dog. The suit he wore was broad in the shoulders, giving him the appearance of a big gray wall. He had dark skin and high cheek bones. His hair was jet black, cropped neat and short, peppered with slivers of silver here or there.

Peanut had no idea what to expect.

“Good morning Mr. Sandwich,” Gulliver gave them a nod as he took his seat behind his desk.

“Morning.” Both the dog and his owner replied. Gulliver glanced down at Peanut. “I take it the dog is here for the job and not yourself.”

“That's correct, I have to be on my way in a minute, but I trust he can take care of himself.” Earl nodded as he twirled a key chain in his hand.

“I see, well young Mr. Sandwich, you happen to be the tenth pet applying today. I am only obligated to accept five animal workers.”

Peanut gave an uneasy nod. Wondering just what this man was getting at. Earl gave Peanut a solid pat on the back, mouthing the words “good luck,” and left. He had never felt so small and alone in his life.

“Now, let us begin.” Gulliver said, grabbing a small envelope. “As a pet, I must first inquire, why do you want this job at The Scribe?”

Peanut took a deep breath, trying his best to organize his thoughts. Grape was right, when they were practicing interviews, the first question she was certain they would ask is why would he want the job.

“To start, having been a cozy house-pet for my entire life, I have not really gained many applicable workplace skills.” Peanut said, meticulously picking his words. He had to sound professional. “However I like to write, draw, and to create. A lot of my free time was put into stuff like that. The only jobs I could think of where things like that were necessary happened to be publishing.”

“I see, now what do you expect to gain from a job as a pet, I take it your 'parents' already make decent salaries, why not live off of them as you always have?” The tall man in gray adjusted the papers on his desk and drummed his fingers on the small portfolio Peanut had turned in.

“Well all that stuff happening in congress is making me worry. What happens if it all gets passed and I actually need to go off and start supporting my family?” Peanut replied, trying to fight the intimidation clawing at his throat. “I have a wife and little pup to look after and if I can't help support them then what kind of dad am I?”

Gulliver paused for a moment. This had been a first in the day, a pet that was also a father. “How noble of you.”

Peanut could not tell whether if the man was being sarcastic or sincere. “Thank you.”

“Moving on, you mentioned earlier that you have experience in writing, I am assuming it is not academic writing.”

“Yes you are definitely right, I mostly write fictional stories and tinker around with my own comic.” Peanut nodded. “To be honest my wife is definitely the more experienced writer between us, but it has rubbed off on me over the years. If you read earlier pages of my comic and later ones you can see the difference.”

“Ah yes, Spot The Super Dog.” Gulliver nodded as he skimmed through the portfolio on his desk. “Cute, but how does that prove you are ready to work a newspaper publication?”

“If all else fails I'll draw Sunday Funnies.”

“Can't fault you on that. How good are you with other people?”

“Well as a dog, most humans fall in love with me at first sight. I also like to add that I have better self control around strangers than most dogs.”

“I've noticed.”

Peanut felt warm inside. That big scary man just gave him a compliment.

“How about other animals?”

The cinnamon furred dog paused for a moment. His confidence suddenly started to waver. It took him a little bit to think about how he was going to answer honestly without it making him look bad. “Most animals are fairly polite to me, but I have a bit of a taboo working against me when it comes to certain dogs.”

“A taboo?”

“I mentioned my wife earlier, well, she's,” Peanut took a breath, hoping for the best, “she is a cat.”

“That's all? I was expecting something much worse.” Gulliver said. “But do you think that will be a hindrance between you and other dogs that may have to work with?”

“Some it might, I can never tell until they hear about it, and by then it's too late to do anything.” Peanut nervously twiddled his thumbs.

“Alright then, moving on...”

Peanut nodded and bit his bottom lip, this is going to be awhile...

~~

“I want to know whose idea it was to have a retreat in the middle of fall and I want them beat down with a fish.” A shivering Siamese cat muttered under his breath as he scooted closer to the bonfire set up in the middle of the sand.

“We're not here to have fun Squire, the vacation thing is just a cover up, so people don't get suspicious.” A tall and slender Laika mix replied.

“I know that but do you think we could have done this and had a little fun on the side?”

Tarot rolled her eyes as the squabble began to unfold, while Squire was the first loudmouth to admit it, everyone had already thought it to themselves at least once. Psychic rehab was a long arduous process, it was essentially starting from the beginning and working ones way back up. Though that was not the part Tarot had to mind terribly.

Spending years as an avatar gave one rather special experience in the world of psychics. However it was a double edged sword. Tarot had placed herself far from the bon fire, the cold wet breeze only emphasizing the fact that the fire was oh so nice. It was almost unbearable. Almost. She was not in the mood to face any sort of resentment and discrimination due to her standing as a former avatar.

“Just a few more days and you'll be home.” She told herself. “You'll be a rank up again and you can do more stuff, just hang in there. Things aren't so bad in the cold with this fluffy coat.”

Suddenly a unique chill gripped her and ran straight up her spine. Almost like nature's way of saying “things certainly can be worse.” Yet she recognized the chill before.

“Excuse me, miss Tarot?” A voice echoed from the darkness of the beach. It was a spirit, they knew she was on probation, why were they contacting her now?

“Yes that's me.”

“I'm here to relay a message, from your friends back home.”

“How did they...”

“The Police dog used a Ouija board.”

“Okay then what's going on?”

“Your friend Sabrina is in trouble, seems she has found herself kidnapped and not even we spirits can find her. She has up and disappeared.”

“What do you expect me to do? I'm on probation.” Tarot folded her arms.

“Turns out there are thing out there that can scare gods.” The spirit chuckled. “It takes more than the powers of a mere mortal to make a powerful psychic's presence to simply disappear without a trace.”

“That is very true, but would the higher ups be willing to give me reprieve?”

“Not only are you a powerful psychic yourself, but you know Sabrina better than anyone out there. By tomorrow you will have your reprieve, if only until Sabrina is safe. You feeling up to it?”

“At this point I don't have much of a choice.”

“Good. Nice to have you back on board Miss Tarot, I've terribly missed your company.”

Tarot glanced at the circle of psychic vagabonds, knowing quite well how they would react to the news. “Yeah...nice to be back.”

_________________
At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

RP Character:
Lucky Abbot: S-9 P-6 E-7 C-6 I-7 A-4 L-3


Last edited by Honorable Intentions on Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:01 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
yay, another update full of 1) epic 2) sweetness 3) cuteness 4) drama 5) humor 6) a lot of good other stuff :D :D :D
Indeed, good Sir, you are our new Sinder, can't wait for the next update!
Also, I guess we all know who the mysterious kidnapper is... Hmm, someone is SO going to have a talk with the Spookmaster...

PS - (the 'poker night' reference is about the updates I'm writing and submitting privately to Intentions for proofread. You'll know soon)

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Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:48 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
YAY NEW UPDATE!!!

...I hope that kidnapper won't try to hurt(or worse) Sabrina :?

I wonder what the poker thing was, oh well :lol:

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Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:55 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
Housepets: The New Era
The Real Big Dogs

Jon's head darted around with blithe joy, dogs were everywhere. Big ones, small ones, brown ones, bluish gray ones. He had never seen so many of them in one place. Better yet he was actually welcomed. Fox was relieved that nobody caught on that this was Peanut's pup, the very Peanut that kissed a cat in public.

Fox certainly wished Fido was there. The dog had come out in public with his confession not too long after Peanut did his, quite literally minutes after as a matter of fact. Something that should have killed his popularity seemed to only make him more beloved. No dog would ever even look at Fido wrong out of respect.

“Why did I agree to this...” Fox muttered.

“Relax, if things get out of hand we can just throw this ball here, they can't possibly resist.” King pulled out a small squeaky red ball.

“Where did you get that?” Fox glanced down at the little red orb.

“Found it on my way here, it was just kind of laying on the ground.”

“Who do you think it belongs to?”

“Meh, probably no body special.” King weighed the small red ball in his hand.

“Alright, alright attention everybody, attention.” That was definitely Bino's voice trying to break over the crowd. “I said attention!”

A few dogs perked up their ears and looked in his general direction, most still continued conversing. He was leaning against his podium, standing just above all of the dogs. A small silver whistle was held between his fingers. It was his least favorite “toy” but sometimes the only way to make a point was to drill it into their ears. He held the whistle up to his lips and pushed a steady stream of air through and winced.

Now to humans, it would simply be a faint airy tone, hardly a whistle. To every animal in the vicinity however, it was a brazen siren. A chorus of astounded and shocked yelps resonated in the meeting hall as they all looked around for the source of the noise.

“If you guys just listened to me once or twice I wouldn't have to do this kind of crud.” Bino rested his head in his palm as he set the whistle aside. “I hate using that thing as much as you hate hearing it. Now onto business, first and foremost, I have lost something of mine I consider quite precious...”

The crowd collectively groaned, Bino always seemed to be losing precious things. One had to wonder exactly why he considered them precious if he was going to lose them.

“It was a little red ball, I got it as a secret santa gift last Christmas, about this big,” he held up his fingers giving the approximate size with his index finger and thumb, “and it squeaks.” The crowd looked around at each other, all equally unamused.

“Nobody special huh?” Fox looked over at King, keeping his voice low.

“I reiterate, nobody special.”

“Ouch, that's harsh.”

The crowd's apathy only proved to Bino he was going to have to try and win them over with different tactics. At that point he began to wonder if the ball was really worth it. “Of course it is you fool, nobody takes your stuff and gets away with it.” He hissed under his breath.

“In that case if anybody turns in that ball they get zoning rights to half of my eastern section at the park.” Bino declared. That got their attention, much to the confusion of Jon.

“Fox, what's zoning?” The pup looked up at the husky. Fox jumped a little, almost having forgotten that he had a guest along with him. He had to remember this was Grape's kid he was watching, and losing track of him could mean losing his hide via well sharpened cat claws.

“It's just a dog thing,” Fox shrugged, only to suddenly realize, he only ever said that to cats, “basically each dog has 'rights' to territory, every dog owns his own backyard for example. Anywhere else in the neighborhood is up for dispute.”

“Oh, what does having territory do?”

“For ferals it means no one but their tribe crosses the boundaries without proper consultation and diplomacy, to us house pets it is just superficial and bragging rights.”

“Sounds fun.” Jon wagged his tail a little. Wondering to himself how one could accrue and manage large amounts of territory.

“Meh it gets old after awhile, especially when Bino has the ability as co-chairman to claim territory for his own whenever he feels, after all, he also manages the books.”

“That doesn't sound fair.” The pup pouted a little.

“Exactly why you shouldn't get mixed up in that mess, you're only prepping for heartbreak.”

“I'll take your word for it.” Jon nodded.

Unbeknownst to his companions, King contemplatively weighed the ball in his hands. Wondering what would be worse for Bino, not having the ball, or giving part of his zoning rights to the corgi. The implications were certainly satisfying either way.

“What are you doing Joel, you'll end up being just as petty as him if you keep this up.” His inner voice scolded.

“But he deserves it, you see how he treats people.” He argued.

“Who are you to say he deserves it? Some people out there probably believe you deserved to be turned into a little dog and every rotten thing that happens to you is just Karma.”

“Ugh I can't even win an argument against myself.” King muttered sullenly and sighed. “Okay I'll turn in the ball and decline the reward.”

King stood up, the ball in hand ready to deliver. He could not believe he was doing such a thing, it somehow went against his ethical code. Somehow he would benefit, after all that's what happened to good guys who did good things.

“In stories, no good deed goes unpunished here in the real world Joel.”

“Shut up conscience.”

“What did you say?” Fox gave a concerned look in King's direction.

“I said I'm just going to turn in this stupid red ball.” King muttered and tried to push through the crowd, only for the crowd to push back.

The corgi was rejected and knocked backwards into an awkward shuffle. Fortunately for him he stuck the landing and managed to keep from drawing too much bad attention to himself. He was going to have to think of another way to get around with the ball.

“Oh crud where's the ball?” He groaned, in the confusion he had dropped it. Fortunately for him he was a little closer to the floor and he had a better view when it came to finding dropped objects.

He skimmed along the floor when he saw the red sheen of the ball. Relieved he crawled over to grab it, only for another paw reach down to the ground and snatch it up. The room froze as a very audible squeak resonated throughout the meeting hall. King's mind flew into a panic as he looked up at dog who had picked it up. It was that kid they were babysitting.

Bino's ears perked up as he glanced around in the crowd, dropping his topic mid sentence. A few dogs turned back to see Jon clutching the small red ball. The poor pup was quite confused by the sudden attention on himself. He was almost amused. Until he saw Bino's face.

“You...” Bino clenched a fist a little, he knew exactly who this little pup was. “That cat loving little...so you took my ball? What did I ever do to you?”

The crowd had suddenly come to life, the term “cat lover” always seemed to incite some sort of unrest among the dogs. Strangely enough, this was because Bino was a smart leader, thought not necessarily “good” in a traditional sense. He had a penchant for riling up crowds to the most useless of causes. Most never really paid attention to him, but his manipulation skills were to be envied. Spiting him meant he could get the entire club on someone's back in an instant.

“You just waltz in here and take my stuff, didn't your parents ever tell you stealing was wrong, I would think Peanut would have enough sense to teach his kid that, I guess not.”

The crowd gasped a little, the secret was out. Peanut's adoptive son was among them. The rogue agent, the ex member. His blood line had infiltrated the hallowed halls of doggydom. At least that was what Bino would have you believe. Fox had known something like this was going to happen. He should have just told Grape it was not a smart idea to let her son come, just to keep away from all Good Old Dog's club meetings. That no good would have come of it. But no, he just had to humor Fido.

“Hey don't you dare say that about my dad! At least the cats at Heathcliff's don't say bad things about my parents.” Jon snapped, Fox's eyes widened as he looked down at the pup.

“No, no, no, what on earth do you think you're doing?” Fox hissed.

“He's saying I have bad parents.” Jon glared up at Bino.

“I understand that, but you just admitted to a crowd of dogs...”

“Wait you hang out at Heathcliff's?” A random dog asked.

“What of it?” Jon looked in his direction. “I've been there way more than I've ever been to some Good Old Dogs club.”

More gasps from the crowd. Fox was shrinking in his seat, the small pup was biting off way more than he could chew.

“My mom said that if people didn't like me because she's a cat, or my friends are cats, then they aren't worth my time.”

“Oh so cat lover's too good for us all now,” Bino sneered, “what do you guys think about that?”

The crowd voiced their disapproval in a tumultuous roar. Jon suddenly realized he was knee deep in trouble. Opening his big mouth rarely did anything good for him, but it was something he could not help. The unfortunate consequence of having a rather opinionated and blunt mother.

King cursed his rotten luck, even when he tried to be the good guy the world around him still fell apart. With a heavy sigh he looked around the room of angry dogs. What's worse this kid was actually excited to be there at first.

“If your parents are so good, then where are they, are you all alone?”

The corgi looked over a the pup, angry tears welling in his eyes.

“Come on King, give the kid a hand here.”

“Last time I took your advice we all got royally screwed.”

“Just look at him, have a heart.”

“Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I didn't care...” King muttered to himself. “I brought him along!”

The crowd took their attention off of the small and defenseless pup, shifting it to the small and defenseless corgi. He had to think quick, there was something he had to do. Then, it suddenly hit him.

“Oh this is rich, you brought this little trouble maker along?” Bino folded his arms, standing tall on his high horse. “That's grounds for expulsion in my book.”

“You know you like to think you're so high and mighty Bino, but the only reason you can look down on me is because I'm shorter than you. The real big dog in here is a pup that stood up for his parents. That's dedication there.” King kept his mouth moving, and his legs walking, closer and closer to Jon.

“Don't you dare pull that sentimental stuff on me, not like you have room to talk. Always so sour and riding such a high horse for a small dog.”

“You know you may be right about me, but leave the kid alone, before you got up there he was actually happy and excited to be here.” King was inches away, what he was about to do was insane. Too many variables, and all of them would probably work against him. But not like he could do anything else.

“Fine, you and me, we'll duke it out then, dog eat dog action, right here in the hall. I'll even give you the first move because I pity you.”

“Alright then,” King glanced down at the red rubber ball in Jon's hand. “I've just got one word for you.”

“Oh this oughta be great, what is it?”

“Fetch!” King swiped the ball from Jon's hand and hurled it at Bino. With reflexes that surprised even himself, Bino snatched the ball from the air.

“Ha! Is that the best you've got?”

Bino realized too late that the crowd was now more riled up than ever, in his direction. Almost all of them grew up on the age old puppy game, get the ball and take it back. It was just second nature to chase something after the magic word was uttered. Bino at this point has a giant red “X” painted on him, and for an added bonus, it squeaked.

“Oh for the love of-” The closest dog in front of him tackled Bino to the ground grabbing for the ball.

King grabbed Fox and Jon's hand as he tugged them in the opposite direction of the crowd. “Come on, run you fools run!”

It took a moment for their common sense to kick in, but once they started running they did not turn back. The dog's in the crowd were distracted for the moment but when they finally finished fighting over the ball and getting over themselves, King would most certainly be their next priority.

“Curse these stupid...stubby...little...legs.” King panted madly as he tried to keep up with his two companions.

They did not know when to stop running, or if they ever could. King and Fox were both distressed, wondering what fate awaited them at the end of the day. Jon however was giddy, a large smile slapped on his face with his tongue lolling out. Eventually King could no longer run, his body was going to quit on him if he forced any more.

“I...I think...we're safe.” Fox leaned against a tree to catch his breath.

“That...was awesome!” Jon jumped for joy. “Oh my gosh King you are the coolest dog ever, the only thing you didn't do was say a one liner after Bino got tackled.”

“Kid, I was so scared I could barely remember my name.”

“Come on it's not that hard to come up with a oneliner.”

“Alright if you're so good, what should I have said.”

Jon paused for a moment and scratched his chin, deep in thought. “Oh, oh I know, you could have said 'checkmate.'”

“Okay that's not a bad one.” Fox laughed a little. “I have to agree with Jon, you were pretty good out there, I was not sure at all what you were trying to pull talking down Bino like that and then I saw you throw the ball.”

“Too bad none of us can ever show our faces at the club again.” King sighed.

“Who needs some dumb Good Old Dogs club, I see why my dad never goes there anymore.” Jon said shaking his head. The two older dogs looked at each other and then at the little pup.

“You know when Fido hears about this I think we'll be safe.” Said Fox. “And I'm sorry Jon, you only saw Bino's side of the club. It really isn't all bad. We have dances, and parties, and lots of cool stuff.”

“That does sound nice.” Jon looked down and played with his hands a little bit. Lamenting his lack of stress yarn. In the sanctity of his home he would twirl around the fabric and play with it while thinking or simply just letting his mind wander to a better place.

“I just realized, your mom is probably not expecting us for another hour or so, and with your first club meeting going like it did, I think you need to have a little fun tonight somehow.” Fox did feel bad for the kid. Nothing like a personal attack upon everything you hold dear to ruin your night. “My house is out of the question, since dad is busy at the station with the K-9 unit.”

“If you don't mind rowdy wolves, we actually have a lot of games at my place, and the wolf cubs always enjoy a play mate. With your energy I think you might actually wear them out.” King added.

“That sounds fun! Never played with wolves before.” Jon's grin was infectious to the group. “oh but wait, I gotta call my mom and let her know where I'll be.”

“Right, don't want to invoke the wrath of Grape.” Fox nodded.

~~

Sargent Ralph took a good long look at the cat sitting before him. A bandage was put over her left eye and parts of her fur had been shaved clean off so that the veterinarian could stitch her up. The things she must have been through, the things she must have seen. Yet despite it all she was the first one to start recovering mentally.

The night before she had been the first of the victims to speak. It was simple, and nothing too informative. None the less, Ralph appreciated what she had to say.

Her first words after waking from her surgery, were “thank you.”

Now things had become urgent. Already there were reports of kidnappings throughout the neighborhood. Fido called in that morning to report that Sabrina had been taken. A few hours later there was another report of a missing dog from the neighboring city. Their perp had left Babylon Gardens. Something they had feared most. How far he would go was anyone's guess. All he had at that point were PTSD victims and Fido's unorthodox methods with “the spirits.” In Ralph's opinion the guy had been with Sabrina too long.

“Can you tell me your name?” Ralph asked the cat sitting before him.

“Lizzie.” She said, her voice not much louder than a whisper. He recognized the name from the note book. Lizzie Booker, all the way from California. The oldest surviving victim they had found.

“Alright Lizzie, how are you feeling?”

The cat was silent, her breathing slow and even. “Better I guess.”

“Good, good, now Lizzie my name is Sargent Ralph. At the moment I guess I'm a bit of a detective, since none of the dogs on the force really have that title. Just call me Ralph for now.”

“Okay.”

“Okay,” Ralph took a deep breath, “I'd like to ask a few questions if that would be okay with you. You don't have to answer anything and if you would like to be alone I will gladly do what ever you wish.”

The cat's good eye widened as she shook her head. “No, no don't go, please stay. I'll answer whatever you want.”

“Like I said, I'll do whatever you wish.” The officer could not help but pity the sight before him. He had never seen a pet in such a bad state before, strays maybe, but never pets.

“Alright Lizzie, where do you call home?”

“Santa Monica, California.”

“Do you know what day you were abducted?”

“Uh...it was Friday, kids got out of school and went straight to my mom and dad's cafe to hang out. I can't remember specific dates...”

“It's fine, what happened next.”

The cat girl shivered a little. “It was a regular day, at night I was doing chores for the restaurant. Washing dishes, and then I took out the trash. I remember hearing a car pull up and then before I knew it everything went black. When I woke up again I was in a cage, in some dingy disgusting smelling place.”

“Do you remember anything about the man who did this to you?”

“No...whoever they were, they kept us all on some sort of drug. They put it in our food and water, we were starved if we did not take it. It made us always tired, dead to the world, I can remember vague sensations. I can remember missing home. I...I can remember the machine.”

“The machine?” Ralph muttered.

“I don't know what it was for, but when we weren't kept in cages, we were tied up in straight jackets, herded into some room, and they would stick us with needles and put weird head pieces on us. All of it was hooked up to some sort of machine.”

Ralph did not recall finding any traces of any sort of technology in the house. It had to be something easy to disassemble and put back together. Something relatively portable.

“Any idea why you were all strapped to the machine?”

“No....”

Whatever sedative had been used on them all was something quite potent. Certainly a good way to cover tracks. Ralph looked down at his own notebook, thus far he had only learned a little more about what happened to the animals in the house.

“Why were some of you in such bad condition when we found you?”

“It was that machine, whatever it did, it was violent. They'd hook us up and it would feel...it would feel like we were falling to pieces.”

Ralph wrote down more notes and chewed on the eraser of his pencil. This machine was all he had to go off of. Where to follow up next was the hard part. It dawned on him that he had no idea where to go from there. He felt incompetent, that too many pieces were missing.

“Alright Lizzie, thank you for your time, I'll check in on all of you and the other victims often. If you could provide us phone numbers or anything we'll gladly call up your parents and arrange a way to get you home when you are better.”

“Thank you officer...I don't know how much longer any of us had until we...”

“Just rest easy okay? And like I said, call me Ralph.” The police dog nodded and got up. “Do you need anything else?”

“I think I'm fine for now.”

“Alright, I'll check with you later then.”

As he left her bed he noticed another one of the victims that had been rushed to the hospital was awake. It was a younger looking dog, a special cast around his neck. From what Ralph could gather he had to have surgery on his throat. There was no use in talking to that one until his throat healed. He nodded in the direction of the dog and kept walking.

“Come to me.”

Ralph stopped in his tracks. It was a male voice. The dog spoke?

“Come to me.”

He turned to the dog on the bed, wondering if this was somehow a prank. If it was, then it was very far from being funny. The dog on the bed held up its paw, reaching it out towards Ralph.

“Please, come to me.”

The dog was speaking without moving its lips or anything at all. Just holding out its paw and staring deep into Ralph's eyes, concentrating extremely hard on the officer. Ralph looked left and right before walking up to the severely injured dog.

“Grab my paw.”

Ralph looked at his own paw and then at the victim's. Slowly he reached out and clasped his paw together with the stranger's. Suddenly his grip tightened like a vice. Shocked, the officer tried to pull away but the frail looking dog was not letting go.

“Relax, I must show you something.”

Everything was still for a moment. Both dogs locked eyes as the air around them grew tense. Ralph licked his lips nervously waiting for something to happen. In a simple instant the police dog felt a powerful shock hit his body. His back straightened out as he felt his heartbeat ace.

Suddenly he could smell singed fur. The sound of whirring circuitry and pained, almost tired, growls and groans. Ralph looked around the room, everything a blurry mess. His mind tried its best to reassemble the image, to figure out what he was looking at.

There was a large generator looking device, to which a series of animals were attached. A hot, burning sensation began to flush its way through his head. Then it surged through his whole body. The generator type device was connected to another, a laptop. Two men were in the room, one sitting at the computer and another pacing around the generator.

“...more...juice...” he heard the voices of one of the men echo. He could not make out their faces or any defining features. Suddenly the pain surged through him again.

“...better...how much...cops show up?”

“Appro...twenty...”

“They...won't survive...minutes”

“Keep going...can't stop...”

The pain grew, and grew. Ralph was begging for it to end. His body could not take it any more. He wanted to scream but he felt like his throat a gaping hole in it. How long had passed, he could not be certain. Next to him a cat's eyes rolled back into its head before it collapsed right there. Ralph looked on in horror as he felt his body about ready to do the same thing.

Just as sudden as the pain had been brought to him, the pain ended. He was back at the hospital, the dog in the bed was not squeezing his hand, rather barely grasping Ralph's pointer finger with half the strength of a brittle autumn leaf.

“What the...”

“Needs psychics, machine needs psychics,” The dog's mind spoke, it was much more faint this time. “Lots of them, time is running short, Alabaster, look there.” Ralph looked at the dog in the hospital bed, he could see a tear in its eye.

“Hold on, hang in there.” Ralph felt panic rise in his chest, the dog's heart monitor started to become erratic.

“Call 525-0810, tell mom and dad I'm sorry.”

“No, just hang on...nurse! Vet? Anybody come in here quick I need help!” Ralph was losing his best lead. Psychics, all of them were psychics? The victims were all psychics, and Sabrina was the next one...

A group of humans ran into the room, Ralph stepped away from the bed as the heart monitor flat-lined. He wanted to look away, but he couldn't. Slowly the dog's eyes closed as the men and women in the room tried their very best to keep him alive. The officer looked into his note book, and wrote down the phone number he had been told, and the word “Alabaster.”

The vet's best was simply not enough at that point, Ralph turned around and left the room. No longer able to stand it. He glanced down at his two-way radio and picked it up. “Kevin, this is Sargent Ralph, do you read me Kevin?”

Nothing but static.

“Kevin you had better pay attention to your radio or so help me...”

“Sorry sir was not by my radio sir don't kill me sir!”

“Just...just calm down. I need you to run a search on the station's database, look up the name 'Alabaster,' that's Adams, Lincoln, Adams, Boston, Adams, Sugar, Thomas, Easy, Roger.”

“Alright sir I'm on it, and are you okay? What happened.”

Ralph shivered a little. “I just got a very good look at what we're up against...and we just lost one of the patients at the hospital.”

“Oh...sorry to hear that sir.”

“Just look up the dang name alright?”

“Right away sir, Kevin out.”

“Ralph out.” The officer set down the radio and took a long deep breath. “Now I just need to make some phone calls...”
~~

A vast cityscape rushed by at lightning speeds. The sun was beginning to set in the distance, the gusto the day began with had run down. It seemed that the glory of the sun now fell into an abrupt slumber. Every second Earl drove, the autumn sun set just a little further. Peanut got just a scant look at the sunset, maybe a minute or so, before it was all but gone.

“Can't believe I've been away from the house all day.” Peanut sighed. “How do you do it dad?”

“Do what?”

“Work all day, I just realized that if I do get that job I might be gone from the house a lot and won't get to see much of Grape and Jon.”

“It makes you appreciate your time with family more, I got over my hours away pretty quickly, but different strokes for different folks.”

“Not sure how well I'll handle it...”

“I'm sure you will be fine, I only got over it quickly because I had already eased into the process gradually. My mom and dad had me working jobs by the time I was a teenager. The way things are headed, you unfortunately have to grow up really fast or get left behind. Something I would not wish on anybody.”

Peanut nodded to himself and rested his head against the passenger seat window. The cold glass soothing to his cheek. Earl turned on the radio and began turning through stations. Occasionally he would stop and listen to a song, then change it the moment it stopped.

“So Peanut, I have something I want to tell you.”

Peanut looked over at his dad. “Yeah?”

“Seeing you with Jon, and seeing you grow up to be a good father, well, your mom and I are thinking about giving you a sibling finally. A human one.”

“For the record, you are a really good father yourself. Where do you think I get all my good traits from?”

“Your mother.” Earl chuckled. “But in all seriousness, I want your opinion. Because having a baby around the house means we need another room.”

So what, Peanut thought to himself, we just need another room. Then it hit him. There was not any room in the house left for another Sandwich. Peanut and Grape had to room together in order for Jon to have a room. Where would Jon go?

“I guess if all else fails, Jon can just bunk in the room with Grape and me.” Peanut replied.

“I was actually thinking, it might take the better part of a year before it comes into fruition, but how would you like your own little place.”

“Wait live on my own?” Peanut felt panic rise in the back of his throat.

“I mean get you guys a little place in the backyard. It's certainly big enough and you'll be close to home. And I know Grape might like a little more space.”

“That she does...”

“I'm not kicking you out son, don't be so glum. It will just be a small three room place for you and your family to live. You will still be allowed to come inside the actual house to use the kitchen and such.”

It was a radical idea to Peanut. Change was happening too fast. At this point he was just a pinball being smacked around by the bumpers of life. Animal equality was sounding more and more stressful with each passing day.

“Okay dad.” Peanut nodded. On the bright side, having a sibling would be fun.

The cityscape had faded into country side, just as abruptly as the sun had set, with the occasional building here or there. On the horizon there was a plot of buildings, the easily discernible sign in the distance could barely be read, but years of seeing it Peanut never had to. Soon the car pulled into suburbia, Babylon Gardens was as quiet as ever. He never got tired of it. It was always home to him. There was a sudden buzz against his neck, massaging his throat in the strangest way. He reached inside of his collar and pulled out the small cell phone, one of two that had been purchased for Grape and himself.

He pressed the talk button and held it up to his ear. “Hello?”

“Hey hon it's me.”

“Hey!” Peanut's tail began to wag at the sound of Grape's voice.

“Are you still in the car with dad?'

“Yeah we just drove into the neighborhood, what do you need?”

“A ride home, it's kind of dark out and I don't feel safe walking home at this hour. We're just at Mile's house.”

“Whatever you say hon, wait, what are you doing at Mile's house?”

“I'll explain later, it's a bit of a long story, though I'm sure Jon would be more than happy to tell you.”

“...what happened.” Peanut's eyes narrowed a little, he certainly hoped his son wasn't in any sort of trouble. There were certain doubts he had about sending him to the Good Old Dogs club. Yet he knew not letting his own son go would go against the very philosophy he tried to teach the young pup, that being, don't be afraid to try new things.

“You'll see, talk to you in a minute.”

“Yeah, see you in a minute, love you Kitten.”

“Love you too Pooch, bye.”

“Bye.” Peanut pressed the end call button and set the phone back into his collar.

“I'm assuming that was the missus.” Earl glanced over at Peanut.

“Yup, she and Jon need a ride home. They're just hanging out over at the wolves' den.” Peanut replied.

“Okay no problem.”

Earl clicked on his blinker and turned the next corner. Mile's house was fairly close to his own. It was a bit of a walk but nothing too serious. In a car it was but a two minute drive. Though Peanut certainly felt better about picking up his wife. He had heard news of pet kidnappings not too far from Babylon Gardens. The car was parked along the curb of the sidewalk running beside the house.

“Hey hang tight I'll go in and get them.” Peanut said.

“Gotcha.”

Peanut gave him a node and stepped out of the vehicle. It felt good to stretch his legs and walk off a little excess energy he had from the day. Nothing like a long day filling out paper work and being interviewed to keep one restless. He strode up to the door and knocked, giving the occasional glance to the windows leading into the living room.

He heard a click and jumped back as the door flew open. “Nope not this time!”

“Get him!”

“Jon?”

Suddenly three wolf pups (though they were a bit larger than pups at this point) and his very own son pounced on him and tackled him to the ground. The small ball of canines tumbled into the front yard with Peanut at the bottom. Three half grown wolves and a pup on one dog does not a fair match make.

“Graaape!”

“Alright boys that's enough.”

“Aww mooom.”

Grape smiled a little at her son. “Come on, give the guy some space, he had a busy day.” The four of them cleared off Peanut, who smiled up at his wife. “What would you do without me?”

“Make a living as a dog skin rug.” Peanut muttered as he stood up and dusted himself off.

“Pea- oof” one of the wolf cubs began to speak before Jon elbowed him in the ribs, Peanut recognized this one as the cub formerly known as 'Rockstar Leader Hawk.' “I mean, Mr. Sandwich, there better?” Jon gave him a thumbs up. “Can JT stay the night?”

“I promise I'll do the dishes, and clean my room, and vacuum the living room, and...and...” The whole crowd of them were staring up at Peanut with large puppy dog eyes while Jon kept on listing chores. “oh and mom already said it was okay if I could I just had to ask you.”

“Okay slow down, slow down, first, I have to know.” Peanut rubbed his temples a little. “What happened at the Good Old Dogs club today?”

Jon's eyes grew wide and then he looked down. “Oh you heard about that...”

“No son, I haven't, that's why I'm asking.” Peanut replied.

“The poor kid was hassled by Bino.” The small group looked over into the house, King had decided to come out and join the party. “He started saying stuff about you and Grape, and your son stood up for you, for the most part by himself, I think you're very lucky to have him.”

“That I am, you stood up to Bino all by yourself?” At Jon's age Peanut was more focused on trying to fit in with Bino.

“Well Fox and King helped! I just talked.” Jon looked at his toes. “King's the hero, he saved us from all those angry dogs.”

Grape and Peanut both looked at the corgi, who very visibly started to blush. “I...guess I did.”

“Sounds like everyone had a busy day.” Peanut stretched.

“Yes they have, but you know, it's not quite over yet Peanut.” Grape smiled and leaned into her husband.

“Oh...uh.” Peanut looked into his wife's eyes.

“Ahem.” One of the wolves coughed.

“Oh yes, Jon can stay here with you guys for the night. I think he earned some time with friends.”

“Yes!” The small crowd cheered in unison. Grape smiled and walked over to Jon.

“You be good, and be gentle on the wolf cubs, okay?” She winked at the pup and hugged him tight.

“Aww stop it mom.” Jon blushed and hugged her back.

“Call us in the morning okay son?” Peanut said, pointing to the cellphone in his collar. Jon nodded a little and walked back to wolves.

Grape could not help but laugh. In the end of it all, the pup still kind of acquainted with his own species. At the very least a relative. She was happy for the pup, making friends that were a little closer to his age. Quite a bit older, but still kids none the less. Besides he fit right in from the looks of it.

“Alright cubs back inside.” King ordered. “Come on these two need to be on their way home.”

“King stop calling us cubs!”

“I'll stop calling you cubs when your dad does, now come on, inside.” The corgi said, no nonsense in his tone whatsoever. However as all of the kids went inside, he winked at Peanut and Grape.

“This'll be the first time in quite awhile we've had some time alone come to think of it.” Peanut mused as they walked to the car with each other.

“I know, isn't it nice?” Grape smiled as she grabbed her husband's paw. “I think we should celebrate when we get home.”

“Oh? What did you have in mind?” Peanut tilted his head as he looked down at the lavender cat.

“Here, I'll give you a sneak preview.” She grabbed Peanut's face and pulled it down to her level. In no time at all he was locked into a deep kiss. He held her against his body and closed his eyes tight.

“Eeew!”

Both of their eyes snapped open as they turned to the house. The door was back open and kids were staring at them with wide eyes. The lovers looked back at each other and blushed madly. Earl's hysterical laughter could be heard from the car.

“Let's finish this when we get home, kitten.” Peanut poked her nose.

“Agreed.” Grape chuckled a little as they both stepped into the car.

~~

Hey all! Two updates in a row, it is truly a Thanksgiving weekend Miracle! I was really just on a roll today and thought you wouldn't mind a rapid fire update. Hope you guys are enjoying the story thus far. I've been trying to give more spotlights to other characters, considering I wrote an entire story mostly from Peanut's perspective. But I still try and write the Grapenut stuff for people who are suckers for that kind of thing, like myself (I'm such a sucker for shipping).

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Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:04 am
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Post Re: The New Era
Ahh, nothing like a good shipping treat in the morning (at least in this part of the world).
Again, I am at a loss for words when it comes to the awesomeness of your ficcie :D :D :D Characterization is perfect and the subplot keeps growing intriguing. (DRAGON, PETE, WILL YOU SAVE SABRINA OR NOT?!?)

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Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:05 am
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Post Re: The New Era
KING TO THE RESCUE!! YAHHOOO!!!!

Take THAT Bino!!

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Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:45 am
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Post Re: The New Era
You captured all my attention with this story. I dunno how you do that but it's getting better with every chapter.

I like a lot how you are putting in scene more and more characters every time, it makes you doubt about who are the main characters in this story and who not

By the way, I have a little hunch about who is this "Peter" Hooke, but maybe could be just my imagination :lol:

I'm impatient to know what could happen to Sabrina now and who are the men behind the kidnappings :o

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Post Re: The New Era
This and your previous story are awesome. You put great detail into every update, allowing us to see everything that you wanted us to see. I love the plot and how you tell it with the different perspectives at the same time. Your work rivals some of the best this site has seen including Brian(formally Samson), lightwolf, Coatl_ruu, plus many more. Keep up the excellent work! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:21 am
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Post Re: The New Era
Housepets: The New Era
Concurrent Divergance

“Humanity, I ask you, why do we mistreat our position in the world? The animal potential is vastly kept under by the misconception that they are all mere children. That they will not age beyond that mentality. It seems that we are the problem in that regard. How does one expect something to grow up if we do not teach it how?”

-Peter Hooke's Man and Beast

A low bass-line walked up and down a scale in minor key. The amps projecting the sound shivering with the rumble, providing the backbone to a bluesy violin sound. Max sipped away at his drink, tapping his foot in time with the music. It was always a late night treat to watch the local neighborhood musicians perform.

“How'd you convince them to play at this dump?” Max asked a rather similar looking black cat next to him.

“You never know what orange soda can buy sometimes.” Jay shrugged and drummed his fingers against the table. “Which one is the girl again?”

“Don't even bother trying, they're a couple.”

“Musical couples never last man, I mean look at Sonny and Cher.”

“Sonny died in a skiing accident, that's why he's not around anymore.”

“Okay what about that chick from Fleetstick something or other.”

“Fleetwood Mac?”

“Yeah Mac, that her name?” Jay grimaced a little. “Bad name for a girl. Anyways she broke up with the guitarist right? My point being that Musical couples don't ever last.”

Max rolled his eyes and took a long savory sip of his drink. Warm milk on a cold night could cure any evening ailment as far as he was concerned. Even a few drowsy mid-evening blues. “Do you ever listen to the stuff that comes out of your mouth?”

“No, that's what I have you for.” Jay stretched. Fiddler and Keys gave one last powerful run up the scale and ended with a big note hit. The small crowd at Jay's attic hangout clapped a little as Keys went to work on the next song in their setlist. “Oh hey they're playing Piano Man!”

Max flicked his ear up a little and shook his head. “Nope.”

“Fur Elise?”

“Wrong again, you do realize how different those two songs are right?”

“They both have piano in them.”

Max stared at his cousin for the longest time and shook his head.

“What? Don't blame me, blame the drink.”

The black cat peeked over the cup and looked back up at his cousin. “Yeah, tap water is some hard stuff.”

“See you agree!”

“Okay I think I'm done for the night.” Max groaned and stood up as he walked to the window exit.

“Eh who needs 'im.” Jay stuck his tongue out in his cousin's direction as he shifted his attention back to the makeshift stage setup in the far corner of the room.

Max glanced behind him and sighed as he wrapped his scarf snug around his neck. A gust of cold air licked his ears as he descended out of the window to the lawn. The spiked dead grass pressing deep into his paws. Leaves snapped and crunched with each step.

“Note to self, borrow dad's rake.” He muttered to himself.

It was almost that time again. Each year he dreaded it. His cleaned up hangout became a dreary reminder that he lost something special years back. At the time what he did felt like he was opening the doors of a cage, flying free to face the world his way. Now he was not so sure what he gained. The truth of the matter was quite simple.

There would always be other girls, but none would ever quite be like Grape.

He had nothing against her, in fact he found himself taking on the occasional imaginate session with her adopted son. Anger was not his style, nor were grudges. Though that never stopped him from thinking about how he could have had a child of his own. A chill crept up his back as he glanced down at the ground. It had been his fault. That was what struck him the hardest. Jon and his family were a reminder that if he had not been so reckless in his thinking, he might have not missed out on something as special as kitten of his own.

“Forgive and forget.” Max told himself as he kept walking.

Babylon Gardens felt so vast and empty at such a late hour. The cold and the recent kidnappings could have easily been a reason. The black cat could not even begin to make himself worry. No kidnapper could nab him. Of course this very kidnapper did get Sabrina. The sound of rubber grinding against pavement filled the air as a car drove past. Max jumped to attention as he saw it rumble by. It was moving much to slow to really be going somewhere. He felt ridiculous as he watched the car disappear around a corner. A car driving at night was not a crime after all. Yet there is that saying about cats and curiosity.

Max jogged around the corner to try and catch up with the mysterious vehicle. Sticking away from the street lights and trying to keep as close as possible. He squinted a little, looking ahead of the car. Two figures were on the sidewalk. Their backs to the car. He could tell they were dogs.

The car was getting closer and closer.

“Oh this is so stupid...” Max looked around and sprinted ahead of the car. “Hey, you two! Run!”

The two canines turned around. Arcana and Fido were together. For what reason he could not fathom.“Max?”

“Can you not see the frickin car behind me? Get going!”

“I'm not going anywhere.” Fido shook his head. The car had stopped and dimmed the lights.

“What do you mean? Call in some backup or something. There is a suspicious car tailing you and you are just going to sit by and...”

“I want it there.” Fido whispered, his voice low and harsh. Arcana took a look at the police dog and frowned. A few dots connected in her mind.

“You weren't just trying to escort me home at all were you...and I'm bait?” The white pomeranian folded her arms. Her green eyes glimmered in the streetlight. Fido's eyes grew wide as he turned to the small dog next to him.

“No it's not like that at all! I really did want you safe. Ralph told me the kidnapper was targeting psychics.”

Arcana's eyes narrowed a little. “I sure hope that's what you wanted, I know you want Sabrina back and all, but...”

Max turned around to see the window on the car unroll a bit. He tried to get a good look at the driver, but it was impossible to see in the dark. There was a small glimmer in the window as Max felt his ears twitch. His instincts were telling him something.

“Get down!” Max shouted. Fido yelped and jumped down as a small thiwp sound popped in the air. Just inches away from them was a small dart bent into the ground.

“Jeez that was close...” Fido muttered as he jumped back up and took off. Arcana and Max were not too far behind. The tires on the car behind them squealed into action. “Whatever you do, no splitting up, understood?”

Max and Arcana nodded with vigor as the car pulled up beside them. Another thwip sound, another dart grazing past Max's thigh. “Shoot!”

“Where do we go Fido?” Arcana panted.

“I dunno...any of these houses.” Fido yelled between breaths. He ran up to the first door and twisted the knob. “Open up! Police!”

Another dart whizzed past his head and into the door. He yelped and took off to the next house. The door was locked.

“Keep trying houses, make noise, anything.” The police dog turned to his companions and took off towards the next door. The cat and the dog looked at eachother and shrugged. Both of them screamed and whooped with wild fervor.

“Shuddap you stupid animals!” A hoarse voice called from a house nearby.

“Sir you have to help us, crazy guy, dart gun...no wait don't shut your window.” Fido just about cursed. A small prick resonated through his back and up his spine. His eyes widened with fear

“I know a house we can get into, come on.” Max grabbed Fido's hand and led them to a turn on the street. More darts flew past as Fido felt his world begin to spin. His legs flopped around in a wild fashion.

“Max, he's hit, one of the darts got him.” Arcana gasped as tucked her head under his arm.

“Alright let's keep going.” Max muttered as he held up Fido. With their combined strength they managed to drag along the police dog, albeit at half the speed they were going before. Making them much easier targets for tranq darts.

“We're not too far off, I recognize this part of the neighborhood.” Arcana smiled with relief, Fido began to lapse in and out of consciousness.

“Don't get too excited we're not out of the fire yet.”

The pomeranian nodded as the two of them dragged Fido up to the front porch of a house. He could hear the car skid to a halt behind them. A dart smacked into his arm, he bit his lips and winced. There was only moments before things would fall apart. His hands felt like jelly as he got on his hands and knees checking under the welcome mat for a key.

“Use this.” He thrust the key into Arcana's hands. “Now please!”

Arcana fumbled around with the key and unlocked the front door as the three animals barged in. Slamming the door behind them, Arcana was busy at work locking it shut. Max leaned against the door and looked down at Fido.

“Happy?” Max closed his eyes.

“No, thanks for asking.” Fido muttered between heavy tired breaths.

The sound of a loud thud caused their heads to swivel to the left. Standing in the living room area with wide eyes was a familiar looking figure.

“Don't worry, just us.” Max could feel his breathing slow down. “Mind...if we...woah...crash.”

“No, not at all.” Peanut looked at Arcana as he rushed over to the two animals falling unconscious on the living room floor. “What happened?”

“That kidnapper almost got a hold of us.” Arcana replied. “Lucky for me I had these two to help me out.”

Peanut nodded and glanced out of the window. He could hear dogs bark up a storm in the neighborhood as tires squealed. The car took off down the road, the engine roaring like a wild beast. Fido looked up at him with glazed eyes, his tongue lolling out a little. His voice lost in the back of his throat, he wanted to say something. Though Peanut, not one to read minds, gave him a simple nod and eased Fido onto the living room couch.

“At least you guys are safe for now.” The dog squinted as he removed the dart embedded in Fido's lower back. He examined it a little, taking care not to prick himself with the potent tip. “You want to know something crazy, I think I recognize this kind of dart.”

Fido's eyes grew alert, though his body remained in its stupor.

“You do?” Arcana tilted her head, leaning in to get a closer look.

“Yeah, this is one of those animal darts from the zoo.”

“And you know this how?”

“That's a bit of a long story.” Peanut set the dart down on a table. “When I was a little younger, I had a habit of making certain zoo animals a little agitated. I'll say that much.”

“Ah, I see.” Arcana replied as she followed Peanut towards Max. “Poor guy, I wonder what he was up to before he ran into us.”

Peanut plucked out the dart in his arm and hoisted up the cat. He was much lighter than Fido, which was much nicer on his back. The smell of a party lingered in the air around the black cat, bringing a slight frown to the dog's face. It was that time of year again.

“Let's keep this between ourselves that I carried Max to bed. I'm sure he would want that kept underwraps.” Peanut frowned as he walked to Jon's vacant room and set the cat on the bed. Feeling rather safe knowing that Jon was surrounded by a pack of wolves.

“Oh! Fido mentioned something about Tarot coming home tomorrow.”

“Wait...why so early?”

~~

Knock, knock

Morning had approached faster than anyone realized. It was about eleven AM, and after staying up way beyond midnight, no one wanted to get the door. Of course someone had to do it.

Knock knock knock

“Yeah, yeah, keep your tail on I'm coming.” King grunted as he tiptoed over and around the sleeping wolves on the floor. Their guest somewhere in the middle of the haphazard pile of sleeping canines. The corgi twisted the knob on the front door and pulled it open.

“Excuse me is your, er, father here?” It was a tall woman dressed in business attire. Just behind her King could make out a plain white car.

“If you're talking about Miles, he's at work. And no, he isn't my dad. I kind of just...live here.”

“Then you must be the King person they mentioned.”

“Yup that's...wait who is they?”

“Forgive me, I'm Jennifer Layne with my team here from Weston City and we're getting some coverage on Pet Friendly neighborhoods across the country. We had already talked to the Mayor before we took a visit out here.”

Weston City News, King recognized the name from his days as Joel. “What's such a high profile news corporation doing way out here?”

“You sure ask a lot of questions kid.” She raised an eyebrow, King did not flinch nor did he not break eye contact. “From what we understand Babylon Gardens is unique in that it has allowed wild animals to live in a home by themselves, supervised by their employers, the Milton Ferrets. First, we would like to confirm it and second, we want the inside scoop behind the Ferret's reasoning for this.”

“Right, well if you want to talk to Miles he's at the Milton's estate, you can't miss it, trust me.” King replied.

“Good to know, and uh, looks you had quite a night.” The woman glanced over King's head and into the room.

“Don't ask...” King said as he rolled his eyes.

“I don't think I want to know.” She replied as she nodded. “I'll be off then.”

King nodded a little as the woman walked away, her high heels giving sharp clicks with each step. The corgi shook his head a little and shut the door. Once again he felt his doggy intuition going off, something was just a little off. Weston City news was a little sensational at times, at the very worst they were going to showcase the horrors of animals calling their owners “mom and dad," but he could not shake the feeling there was something more sinister behind them being there.

“Who was that?” A muffled, tired voice said from amidst the pile. Jon's head poked out between the wolves on the floor.

“News people, they were looking for Miles.”

“Oh.” The pup stretched a little and yawned as he clambered out of the wolves. “I didn't know this but the cubs played with my dad when he was younger.”

“He used to come around here a little bit. I didn't get to know him much back then though. Now they're all about as old as your dad was then. Kind of weird to think about it.” What was more strange to him was that had been a dog for almost ten years. Even if he could be a human again, he was not so sure he would function anymore.

“They're fun! I've never played with dogs, let alone wolves before.” Jon looked over the pile of wolves and wagged his tail.

“Really?”

“Cats will play with me, but they don't like to wrestle around much like these guys do. Cats love imaginate though. Might have to try more of that next time with the wolves.”

“You might want to be careful about that, the border between reality and make believe can get a little thin for those three.” King grimaced a little, knowing full well what playtime usually amounted to between him and the wolves.

“Nothing I can't handle,” Jon wagged his tail and walked over to the pile of canines. “Rise and shine guys! The sun's up! We can go outside and stuff.”

“Mmm.” The eldest wolf grumbled. “Where do you hide all of that energy?”

“I dunno, dad says it has to do with being a puppy.” Jon took a seat in front of the pile. “Come on we can go outside!”

The wolves awoke little by little, the constant chirping of their young guest was a rather effective alarm clock. King could only describe the scene as poetic justice. Eventually the youngest of the wolves got up and walked over to the pup.

“Wait what are you doing?” The other two jumped up.

“Entertaining our guest of course, don't want to be rude you know. I mean what if dad found out we were rude to a guest?”

At the mention of their father the two on the ground ran over to join their sibling. Jon began to wonder just how an angry Miles looked. Terrifying was probably the best word he could use to describe it, if his kids' reaction was anything to go by. King watched as the kids walked out of the front door, feeling like he had forgotten something. Something important about Jon. He took a seat and scratched his chin.

Right on cue, the phone rang.

Meanwhile Jon was busy formulating some sort new Imaginate session in his head. He wanted to start them off easy, nothing too crazy like Max liked to do. Shakespeare was hard to imaginate after all. He would let them decide what they wanted to do, that was the best course of action. He looked over the group, deciding who would do what.

“The tall one would...wait what's the tall one's name. In fact...” His cheeks turned crimson, the pup had never found out their names. Everyone around him simply called them “cubs” and he just called them “the wolves.”

“Guys, I have a silly question to ask.” Jon spoke outloud, the three of them turned to their companion. “Uh...what are your names?”

There was an awkward silence for a few moments. Jon felt smaller than he already was compared to most of the wolves. Once again wishing for some sort of stress yarn to keep his mind busy. How he could have played with them and not once caught their names was beyond him.

“About names,” The oldest one started. “We-”

“We choose the names, but you know it's really hard to pick a name and stick with it.” The middle child interrupted. “I mean Rockstar Hawk is really cool for a year or so, but then there are so many other names that sound much better after awhile.”

Inside the pup laughed at the idea of changing names all the time. He was just fine with simple old “Jon.” Then again names were really important and picking the wrong one would be terrible. It was really no wonder to him that even his own father dumped the responsibility of naming on Grandpa Sandwich.

“Well then what are you called now, so I don't get confused?”

“That's actually a really good question.” The rambunctious leader type nodded. “Any suggestions Jon?”

Jon's pupils grew small as he looked at the group of wolves. He was by no means the name master, in fact he was certain they were better off choosing their own names. They seemed old enough to do it themselves, but he knew they did not have to keep his suggestions. “Uh okay, you could be, hmm” Jon looked at the oldest of the three, “you look like a Rudy to me.”

The tall wolf gave the other two a slight look of exasperation. The middle one gave him a mischeivous grin. “Totally does look like a Rudy.”

“Hmm and you can be Alexander! Like Alexander the Great, he was a Greek conqueror or something like that. I read about him at the library the other day.” Jon looked at the wolf formerly known as space laser and before that, Rockstar Hawk.

“The Great huh? I envy a guy with a name like that.”

The pup took a long look at the youngest of the three. At the back of his mind he knew they would probably change their names after he was done. But it was still loads of fun to make suggestions. It was like playing house and naming the kids. “Oh! You could be Rocky. Rocky is a cool name right?”

The younger wolf raised a brow and looked at the older two. A smirk riding their faces as they both cracked up laughing. Jon's ears fell a little. “What did I say wrong?”

“Rocky is a bit of a guy name don't you think?”

“And you're not a guy?” Jon tilted his head. The other two laughed even harder at that statement.

“Will you two knock it off!” A bright red blush appeared along the wolf's muzzle. It dawned on the pup that this “he” was a “she.” He hid his face a little. After hearing his own father's story a billion times, he told himself he would never make that mistake. Now his family would never let him hear the end of it once they found out.

“I'm sorry...uh,” Jon was, for once, speechless.

“Don't worry about it.” She rolled her eyes.

“Well...well...you could be Lupa!” Jon blurted out.

“Doesn't that just mean “wolf” in another language?”

“She wolf to be specific, so nobody has to wonder if you are a boy or girl.” Jon's mouth kept moving, and he wanted to stop. He was digging himself a hole so deep he was about to lose sight of blue sky. She took a deep breath, Jon closed his eyes and braced himself.

She started laughing with her brothers. The pup opened an eye and frowned. “What's so funny?”

“You are, come on I'm not going to hit you. And for the record, I'll take Lupa into consideration for a name.” She winked a little and gently punched his shoulder. Jon's ears fell a little as he rubbed his arm, the embarrassment still was not subsiding.

“Hey you said you weren't gonna hit him.” The wolf, that without a doubt was going to use the name "Great" somewhere, said.

“I'll rephrase it then, I won't hit him hard.”

Jon laughed a little as the two siblings went at it. It almost made him want to have a younger brother or sister. Then again he would have to share a room, and that did not sound so appealing.

“Jon! Your dad called, says you need to start heading home, something about your aunt coming home early.” King called from the front porch. Jon's ears perked up a little as he turned towards the corgi. He had an aunt?

“Okay, I'll be on my way then.” Jon tilted his head.

“Who's your aunt?” The wolf that might be known as Rudy asked.

“I...oh Tarot!” Jon smacked his own forehead.

“'Oh Tarot?' Never heard of her.”

“No I mean Tarot, you know, the gypsy?”

“Ohhh.” The Wolves replied in unison.

“Sorry guys gotta go! Swing by my house someday, we should do this more often.” Jon said as he started running off.

“Sounds like a plan.” Lupa yelled after him and waved.

“Pfft, you know I'm not really sure, you are a girl right?”

“Shut up!”

Jon glanced behind him, the wolves were already tackling each other into the ground and trading blows. He smirked a little as he went on his merry way.

~~

5250 Alabaster street was a mere peek into the dark underbelly of urban life. A large chunk of buildings condemned to destruction. All that lived there were abandoned, homeless souls, each roamed in search of shelter and food. The strays and the humans had a distinct look to them. A feral look. Kevin felt his breath wax uneven as he approached a large building.

“I can't shake the feeling that I'm going to get mugged out here.” Kevin said under his breath as they passed a few wandering vagrants. “Doesn't help I'm wearing a big blue vest that says 'hey beat me up I'm a cop.'”

“Will you knock it off? You look like a pup with a thorn in its backside.” Ralph replied.

“Excuse me?”

“Just stop drawing attention to yourself.”

“Yeah, don't have to tell me twice...” Kevin shuddered a little as he followed Ralph to a large abandoned building. The doors and windows were barred shut, heavy boards blocking any chance of peeking inside. “So let me get this straight, a kid with his last dying breath sent you a psychic message and this is where he said to go?”

“You had to be there.” Ralph replied, half his mind on his partner, the other looking for a way in.

“Sounds like you have been hanging around with Fido too much.”

“Alright why don't you tell me any other leads you've found, I'm listening.”

Kevin was silent for a moment and shrugged. “Okay I've got nothing.”

“That's what I thought, now use that muscle for something useful and help me pry open a way in.” Ralph said as he pulled a crowbar hanging from his vest and jammed the head into a crack between boards.

The large doberman standing next to him pressed his weight against the lever, and with their combined force, tore the board from a door. One after another they went to work, the sound of rusty nails being torn from their nestled perch turning a few heads towards the police dogs.

“Oof, alright just one more...” Ralph clenched his teeth as he tore the board away. “Now just to get the door open.”

“I've got it.” Kevin smiled as he stabbed the crowbar into the doorjamb and tore it open with ease. The door swung open, its ancient hinges groaning with their sudden use.

“Good boy, now let's be careful, from what I hear these guys are packing heat.” Ralph said as he clicked on his flashlight. Cold heat really, tranquilizer darts were non lethal.

The abandoned building did not look much different from the house they had raided. Mold crusted papers with ink that had long since faded were scattered along the floor. Kevin took mild caution as he stepped past a pile of broken glass, thankful now more than ever for the clunky urban foot protection provided to K-9 units.

Unlike the house before, the scent of animals was old. Not a new soul had permeated the bounds of this building for what must have been twenty or so years. Ralph furled his brow, wondering if he had picked the right building to search. Alabaster street had quite a few to choose one. This one somehow stood out to him, though he was not sure why.

“Hey get that light over here.” Kevin's ears straightened as he looked at a small chunk of wall.

“What about it?” Ralph glanced along it.

“The color's a little off.” Kevin replied. “You can see where it doesn't match right here. It looks, I dunno, newer.”

“Very observant.” Ralph leaned in close and drew his fingers along the discolored wall and knocked on it. A heavy hollow sound reverberated beyond . “I think this goes somewhere.”

“Well good thing you brought that crowbar.”

“Now wait a second, maybe we should figure out how to get this open.” Ralph glanced over the wall and pushed against the wall in different places. “You know what never mind.”

The German shepherd took the crowbar and dealt the wall a heavy blow. A small series of cracks trailed along the door. With another firm strike, the cracks spread even further. With one final smack, a hole punched into the wall. Ralph glanced inside, a dank hallway lit only by small electrical lights continued into the vast darkness. Just to his right, on the otherside, was a small doorknob. He pushed his paw inside and grasped the knob.

“You sure you want to be sticking your paw in places like that?”

“It's been in worse places.” Ralph grunted as he twisted the knob and pulled the door open. “Open sesame.”

“Now that looks a little suspicious don't you think?” Kevin folded his arms. “I'm calling backup.”

“Good idea...when you finish I think we should keep going.”

“But what if there are, you know, bad guys in there?”

“If they hear sirens they'll just pack up and leave before we can find anything. I say we get back up on standby, keep the sirens cold, and if things go south we'll have them here to help.”

“Alright, I'll give HQ a call.” Kevin nodded as he walked aside and tuned his radio. Ralph tapped his foot as he listened to Kevin relay his instructions.

“Be careful down there boys, these guys are packing non lethal, but very potent tranq rounds. The stuff zoos use on big animals.” The voice on the other end warned. “HQ out.”

“Kevin out.” The doberman nodded as he holstered the radio. “You still sure about this?”

“Dead sure.” Ralph replied as he took the first tentative steps into the hallway. “Not afraid of needles are you?”

“No, hostile kidnappers scare me.” Kevin replied as they began their descent.

Ralph dimmed his flashlight and kept his eyes and ears alert. They were in the belly of the beast, much to Kevin's chagrin. Though he had to wonder what exactly why there was such a tunnel in an old building like this one.

“I bet this was made during prohibion, people did crazy things for their drinks back then.” Ralph muttered they saw another door at the end of the hall. “Won't surprise me if this leads to an old speakeasy.”

The police dogs stopped as they saw a door at the end of the hall. It looked exactly like the one they had found before. They looked at each other and nodded as they took light, catlike footsteps to the door. Ralph squeezed the handle while Kevin stood behind him, he took a deep breath and exhaled at a nice, easy pace as he opened the door. A stream of light flooded through the crack, the ever so familiar smell from their last excursion wafted along their sensitive canine noses.

Kevin grimaced as Ralph took a careful glance throughout the room from his small crack in the door. Little by little he opened the door and moved into the room, keeping low to the ground. Temptation to use his radio grew with each step into the danger zone.

“You know what, I don't think anybody is here.” Ralph whispered.

“I hope they didn't bail out of here.” Kevin muttered as he peeked over a table. On the wall was a map of the entire county. Several red dots littered the map, Babylon Gardens had a bright red star on it. A time table was set up at the right side of the wall, on it were several phone numbers with names written next to them.

“They move in shifts.” Ralph whispered as he looked along the map. “They pack up the pets and move them around in shifts.”

“And it looks like they have a pretty widespread network.”

“I knew this couldn't be just one guy...but there might be at least ten teams and maybe over thirty little dots on that map.”

“Looks to me like this isn't their only map either.” Kevin said as he folded up the county map, the map of the neighboring county was just beneath. More dots on it. Though it was missing the star they had found on their county map.

“What makes Babylon Gardens so special then?” Ralph mused to himself. “I have a feeling they aren't leaving the Gardens anytime soon. I think they're looking for something.”

“What about the Peter Hooke stuff on the walls at the house we found the other night?”

“I think that was to throw us off the trail.” Ralph replied. “Think about it, they target psychic pets, they have a bunch of maps from across the country, and now they have triangulated the location of something very close to home. They are tracking something down.”

“But what?”

“That's the big question isn't it? What are they looking for.”

“Maybe...it's not just something.” Kevin said, a thoughtful look on his face. “They are kidnapping pets left and right, maybe they are looking for just one specific one.”

“Who could it...” Ralph felt the words snatched out of his mouth as Kevin tackled him to the ground. A dozen darts pounded the wall not too long thereafter. “...get that backup.”

Kevin nodded as he reached down to his radio, his hands fumbling with the knobs. “Help!”

~~

“It's so odd, we still can't find her, even with Tarot here to help boost our strength.”

The group of animals sat around in a circle around a table. Their hands clasped together with a crystal ball in the center. An nebulous chorus of voices emanating from it like a speaker.

“Come on, there has to be something else we can do, you are all seeing spirits for dog's sake.” Fido shouted. The group turned towards the dog, Tarot in particular stared daggers into him.

“Don't be rude.” Tarot whispered, business with spirits was risky and they did not tolerate a lack of manners.

“The poor dog just wants his kitty back.” The voices sniggered. “We may be all seeing, but only to the extent of what someone wants to see. It seems that they have someone among them rather knowledgeable in our skills. Long story short, they have a firewall. They don't want psychic energy going in or out of their location.”

“Is it possible to hack it?” Peanut blurted out. “Uh...sorry if that sounded stupid.”

“Well there is always a way around the system, I'm certain with enough time we can figure out a way. In the meantime, you might want to tune into your radio police dog.”

Fido tilted his head as he unclasped his hands from the group and reached down to his two-way radio. He had it turned off so the séance would not be interrupted. Each knob was turned into place and the radio clicked on.

“...K-9 units are in danger. Suspects have taken them hostage and are demanding they talk to a negotiator. Suspects appear to be armed and dangerous...”

The police dog's jaw dropped a little as he placed radio back at his hip. One thing after another seemed to be going wrong, and he felt powerless to stop it.

“Well what do you intend to do about it, officer?” The voices asked.

“What can I do? I'm no negotiator.”

“How about you say you are, get me in there close, and then we can get past that 'firewall.'” Tarot suggested. Fido looked around the room and sighed.

“You sure this will work?”

“Positive.” Tarot nodded. Fido stared at the savant for a moment. When he first joined the academy, and even for awhile after, he would have been a staunch opponent to using spiritual help on a case. Now it was all he had left, and the things he had seen since then we quick to remind him that there was something out there way bigger than him, than humans, than the universe as he knew it.

“The things I do for love,” Fido muttered. “Alright come on we need to get you a vest, Tarot you're an honorary K-9 unit for today.”

What am I doing? He asked himself. There was a chance she could get hurt too, and they both knew that. This time he would not let it happen, he would be there and he could stop them.

Whoever they were.

~~
Author's note:
Hey all! Thank you so much for reading and commenting up to this point, it really means a lot to see you guys like the story.

I'm popping in to say that this chapter marks just a little beyond the half way point of this story, it's getting fairly long and I hope at this point you aren't hit with story fatigue. This turned out to be a little more ambitious than I intended as far as length goes. There are so many characters and so many perspectives and I have to restrain myself from depicting every last one. It's a load of fun though, I feel like I'm writing more than one story in this fic. Kevin and Ralph's buddy cop show has probably been my favorite to write thus far.

Once again thanks for reading, you guys are awesome. :D And as always, Happy Reading.

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Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:15 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
Wammola! YOU keep being awesome, Honorable! :D :D :D
Can't wait to see where this goes, NO fatigue of any kind here!

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Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:21 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
WWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEE IIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!

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Post Re: The New Era
I feel like you have some surprises in store for us.

If this is only about halfway done, I'm looking forward to an interesting second half.

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Post Re: The New Era
A very interesting update indeed... yeah, the updates are long, but they are worth the read!

I am enjoying the overarching story quite enjoyable.

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Post Re: The New Era
Housepets: The New Era

New Pieces On the Board
"Humanity needs to be put back in its place. We have grown wild with our power. Abused it, and have taken it out on the animals among us. Things need to go back to nature, equality needs to be established. Otherwise animals will continue to live as slaves. Slaves to themselves, slaves to the humans. There will be no hope, if we do not change our thinking."
-Peter Hooke's Man and Beast


Sirens wailed from every direction, police cars blockaded the streets on both sides as several officers, both human and K-9 flooded in front of a large abandoned office building of sorts. The homeless on the street turned and ran at the very sight of the police. Some were trapped behind the barricade. Standing just at the entrance of the building was a short man wearing a large, white, rabbit mask.

“The boss refuses to talk to any 'man.'” He shouted through a bullhorn.

“You don't understand, our K-9 units are too scared to negotiate!”

“So big tough police dogs can't handle 'human' work?” The man snapped. “You dogs are all a disgrace to your ancestors.”

“I'm here! And we're going in!”

Fido had arrived in the nick of time, riding a bicycle. Tarot clinging to his back. He was panting his lungs out as he dismounted the bike, Tarot following close behind. All of his potential rides had already been called to the scene. At the very least some kid allowed him to use his bike, only because Fido “was adorable.”

All of the officers took a very long look at the panting dog as he walked up to the man with the rabbit mask. His paws in the air and Tarot following suit.

“You sure about this Officer Byron?”

“Positive.” Fido nodded as he stopped in front of the man. The man and a few others removed Tarot and Fido's vest.

“Hey how can we guarantee their safety?”

“Looks like you'll have to take our word for it.” Another man wearing a similar white mask, this time a dog. The officer's eyes narrowed as he looked at Fido.

“It's all we can do right now, trust me.” Fido said. Hoping to whatever decent deity out there that Tarot's plan would not fall through.

“You so much as touch a hair on one of our dogs and we'll have you and your boss in pieces.”

“Oh you're not in a position to make threats, good sir.” The man in the rabbit mask chuckled as he plucked a hair from Fido's head. “Don't worry, if your negotiator is smart, then we won't have to do anything brash. Now get in there.”


The two men walked into the building. Fido looked towards Tarot and followed close behind, though not without a distinct feeling of confusion. From what he gathered at the other crime scene this group hated animals. Or at least the idea of them having rights. Now he couldn't place their motives. They wanted an animal to negotiate and no one else. Their masks were all animal themed.

“Tarot, any luck?” Fido whispered to the Pomeranian at his side. She shook her head and held an index finger to her lips.

Fido glanced around the building as they walked through. There had been quite a scuffle from earlier. Furniture had been overturned, windows were broken. Darts, like the ones from the night before, were scattered all around. Soon they walked up a narrow stair case, an ominous scent lay stagnant in the air.

He recognized it from a camping trip years ago. It was a very wild smell.

The two men in animal masks stopped at a door and turned to Fido. “Be polite and you'll make it out in one piece.”

Fido was silent. He was not planning on being too polite. The two men opened the door and shoved Fido and Tarot in. He stumbled a little and almost lost his footing, catching his balance seconds before he tumbled. The dog glanced back as the door shut behind him, a low rumbling growl shook the air.

“Fido!” Tarot took a few steps back.

“Holy...” Fido leaned back against the wall, a gigantic bear was staring at them. A threatening snarl on its face.

“Behave Boris!” Another voice snapped at the bear. It was a female. “We have guests.”

The bear named Boris glanced to the corner of the room and back at his “guests.” He snorted a little and nodded. “Smells like pets, Miss Alana.” His voice a very low grumble.

“They're the negotiators we asked for,” the voice spoke again, “you will have to excuse him, ever since he was rescued he has had a hard time trusting any thing human related.” A sleek calico cat took a few steps in front of the bear.

“You're in charge of all of this?” Fido felt at loss for words.

“Yes Fido.”

“How do know my name?”

“Your lady cat friend told me all about you. I did not, however, expect to meet you so soon. Your poor friends interfered much too early.” Alana wore a false mask of sympathy as she took a casual stroll around the large bear.

“If you did anything to them I swear...”

Boris stood to his full height and stared down Fido. The bear's shadow engulfing both him and Tarot. The police dog gulped and clenched his paws. Trying his best not to shake out of fear.

“What was that? Was that a threat? Now poor Boris here does not like ill mannered pups.”

“No Ma'am, it was a statement.” Fido evened out his breathing.

“You're just a poor, scared, pup looking for his girlfriend. You can drop your tough guy act.” Alana smirked. Fido's ears fell, his eyes narrowed. A snarl on his lips. “With a temper like that, you won't get any treats.”

“Enough of this, what do you want from us?” Fido said, trying to keep his demeanor calm.

“I want for you to stop tracking our case, and you can walk out of here in one piece with your fellow officers.” Alana replied. “We have worked too hard to fail now.”

“For a bunch of animals concerned with rights you don't seem to care much for their well being.” Tarot spoke. Alana's eyes shot towards the Pomeranian.

“Did I say you could talk?” The cat held out her paw and focused with all her might. Much to her surprise, it did not have the intended effect on Tarot.

Tarot folded her arms and frowned. “Your psychic parlor tricks aren't going to drag us down. Read the poor dogs mind all you want, mess with us. It won't do you any good. Fido meet our firewall.”

Alana's lips narrowed as her whiskers twitched. “Boris...shut her up.”

In a few mere seconds the bear pinned Tarot to the ground and reared its paw back, ready to swipe. She yelped and kicked her legs trying to fight the bear's hold on her, to no avail.

“You can stop this all Fido, just call off the investigations. I know with the help of your psychic friend you can get them off our case. I would do it myself, but she would stop me I am quite certain.”

“What about Sabrina and my friends?”

The cat narrowed her eyes a little and drummed her fingers against a desk. “Yes you can have them back, if you agree.”

“Fido don't trust her.”

“Silence insect. I could end this now and let Boris deal with you, or we can all go home in one piece. What's it going to be?”

Fido did not have much of a choice at this point. That bear was a bit of a problem, whether he trusted her or not. The police dog looked down, once again powerless. He had played himself right into a trap.

~~

Peanut tapped his foot with rapid ardor as he sketched. Nervous energy fueled each stroke, the sound of lead scratching paper tingled in his ears. With a perturbed sigh, he crumpled up the paper and tossed it aside.

Almost all of his friends had been thrown into the face of danger. One after the other. They had to answer the call to action. It was like some sort of preordained pattern. A pattern he could not figure out, but one none the less.

It all started with Sabrina. Then one massive domino effect happened and now Tarot was out there with Fido sticking their heads into a hornet's nest. The very concept of fate working in predetermined paths and schedules rang in his mind. What would he do if Grape was next? Or him?

He rubbed his temples and sighed.

“Hey there you are, been looking all over..”

The Canadian Pointer Mix glanced over his shoulder. “I like to come here and relax sometimes.”

Grape took a seat next to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. “You don't seem very relaxed to me.”

Peanut forced a smile and looked down at his wife. “Given the circumstances can you blame me?”

“No, but you're going to worry your hair gray if you keep going like this.”

The dog nodded a little. “I know, I guess a lot of stuff is happening too fast. ” Peanut looked around his old room. It had changed so much in the years since it had been Jon's room. A Devil Dog poster on the wall, and a hand drawn picture of Peanut and Grape's “wedding.” Jon claimed to have drawn it, though something seemed odd about it.

“The only thing we can really count on is that our lives are going to change, whether we like it or not.”

Peanut closed his eyes and laid his head on Grape's shoulder. “Some days I wish we could all be regular pets again, you know?”

“Like we were regular pets to begin with,” Grape rolled her eyes, “you just have to remember the good about change.”

“Such as?”

“We're together, you are doing things no dog has ever done before, we have a son.” Grape listed the ways as she counted on her fingers. “It's not that hard to find something to be thankful for.”

Peanut smiled, for real this time, and nuzzled her cheek. “Since when were you the optimist?”

“I have to be when you aren't, otherwise we might create an all devouring black hole with our pessimism.”

“And we don't want that do we?”

“No, we don't.” Grape chuckled as she flicked her tail.

A sudden shout with a tinge of familiarity filled the air. Her reflex was to jump up to an attentive state, ready to pounce.

“Mooom!” Jon shouted from outside of the room. “Uncle Max won't give me back my yarn.”

Grape took a deep breath as Peanut covered his ears a little. “Max give the pup back his yarn!”

“Aw c'mon Grape, what pup needs a bit of yarn anyways?” Max shouted back into the room.

“My pup does Max, do I need to come out there?”

“Oh fine...”

She heard Max mutter something as Jon's excited voice filled the air. Grape smiled, content with her work. Her head turned back towards Peanut who had uncovered his ears.

“Did you teach Jon that?”

“I've only played with yarn once.”

“No I mean teach him the 'Peanut call.'”

Peanut's head tilted in that quizzical manner all dogs do. “Oh I know what you're talking about, and the answer is no. I only use the 'call' in emergencies.”

“That little pup reminds me so much of you, it's almost scary sometimes.” Grape smiled as she peeked out of the door. Jon sat there in a tangled mess of yarn as Max batted at the ball.

“I guess you chose the pup that was most like me.” Peanut shrugged and smiled.

“He was nothing like you at the shelter, I think you rubbed off on him.” Grape gave Peanut a playful scratch.

“Oh sure and he gets his fanfiction writing tendencies from me.” Peanut jabbed Grape back and smiled.

“Since when did he write fanfiction?”

“For a little while now, he left his notebook out when I came looking for something in his room.” Peanut gestured beneath the pup's bed. “He's not too bad, I bet he could use some tips from a pro though.”

“Now you're making fun of me.”

“You're the one that helped improve my writing though! It went from mediocre to decent in like a year. That's a lot of work.”

Grape gave Peanut her sly smile as she reached under Jon's bed and opened up a small green notebook she found. Jon's handwriting was a little bunched and messy, but legible. Peanut glanced over her shoulder as the two began to read over their son's handiwork.

~~

Little by little, sensations returned. A voice pounding in his head, telling him to get up. Telling him to focus. Ralph stirred a little and tried to stand, only to knock his head against the top of a metal cage. The world around him out of focus and blurring together in a hobbled mess of colors and shapes. It was by some miracle his body was fighting the tranquilizing drug that entered his system. He was certain he had no resistance to it prior.

That disgusting smell. Was he still on Alabaster Street? He was not sure.

He inched towards the door to his cage and looked out into the room. From the sound and smell of it, there was about ten other animals in the room. A man in a rabbit mask was snoring away in his seat. Ralph sighed a little and saw his vest in a pile with Kevin's. The crowbar on top of the pile.

The dog needed to get creative, all he had was his collar. He leaned his head against the cage door and scanned around the rest of the room. There right in front of his nose was the padlock holding his door shut. A simple padlock, just like the one he had fiddled with many times as a pup. He had tried to pick the lock just like his favorite television police dog, Duke McGurdle, could.

Maybe all he needed was his collar. He hoped television had not lied to him in its usual manner. It was all he had left at that point. Ralph slipped off the collar from his head and tinkered around with the tag. There was a few thin metal rings holding it to the collar, if he could break them off he might be able to use them as a makeshift lock pick.

With a powerful bite, he severed the thin metal rings and straightened them out into small rods. Hoping that coiling them together would make them tough enough for where they were going. He had succeeded at picking a lock about three times in his life, and it had been years since he had done anything like it again.

He took long and slow breathes as he slipped the metal rod out of the cage and slid it into a keyhole in the bottom of a padlock. Ralph held his ears against the cage and listened inside of the padlock. His paws slow and steady as his makeshift lock pick would make it through the pins.

Click.

“That's one.” He whispered, a great feeling of relief welling in his chest. Just a few more to go.

Click.

His tongue lolled out a little as he placed all of his concentration on opening the cage and getting the last pin. The rabbit masked guard was still sound asleep.

Click.

With a satisfied smile, the lock came loose and clattered to the floor. Ralph pushed the cage open and slipped out. His legs felt like jelly, and his back was stiff. But he had escaped.

“And Sargent McGurdle saves the day again...” Ralph whispered with a smile on his face.

However he did not want to go walking around defenseless.

The dog grabbed his vest and strapped it on, the crowbar in tow. Now he needed something with a little more range. Maybe the guard had a dart gun. Ralph held his breath as he walked over to the snoozing guard. His dart gun was cradled in his arms like a precious treasure. The police dog reached down, and with a gentle squeeze, pried the gun away from the guard's arms.

This guy's a heavy sleeper, Ralph thought to himself as he took a few steps back. He smiled, fortune had smiled on the dog. He had somehow escaped and was ready to go.

Then he felt it, a powerful force building in his head. He tried to stifle it, but the tingling feeling in his snout was much too powerful. Ralph sneezed so loud it shook the cages. To his horror, the guard began to stir awake.

“Bless you.” He yawned. “Wait a sec-”

The two locked eyes for a moment. Ralph took aim and shot the guard with two darts. His paws shivering so bad it almost threw off his aim. The tranqs took effect in seconds as the guard tried to stand, but only managed to stumble around a little.

Ralph took a step to the right as the rabbit masked guard tripped and succumbed to the tranqs. A loud crash rang through the air as the guard tumbled into the cages stacked against the wall. His mask tumbled to the side, giving Ralph a clear look at just what kind of man he was dealing it.

It was in fact, not a man at all. The police dog glanced over the unconscious guard before him, the distinct spots of a cheetah all over his head. Ralph's eyes narrowed as the gears in his mind tried to work out the situation.

“How on earth did you get involved in all of this?” He asked himself.

He shook his head and glanced through the cages. The animals sat in abysmal silence, too tired and too weak to do anything. One by one, he could not seem to find his partner. He bit back a curse as he glanced around the room again.

It hit him, there were two open cages. The other had to be Kevin's. But what were they doing with him? Ralph was not about to wait and find out. He bent over the guard and sifted through his pockets for any sort of ammunition. Not too much ammo, but he needed some sort of method to rid himself of any “armed” conflicts.

“Hey Jago! You okay in there, somebody said they heard a noise.”

Ralph froze and looked at the door leading into the room. Lazy, plodding footsteps echoed into the air. The police dog readied his weapon and held his breath as the door opened.

“Jago?”

“Sweetdreams.” Ralph said as he shot the guard. He stumbled a little and reached for his own gun, but he was already disoriented the point of being unable to hit anything a few feet in front of him. A few darts flew past Ralph's head, most six or seven feet to the right.

“H-he-help.” The guard slurred as he turned to run, only to fall to his knees into a deep slumber.

He walked over and removed the guard's mask, another big cat, a lion. Where were they getting lions and cheetahs? The only place that had any sort of animal like that just so happened to be...

“The zoo?” Ralph glanced over the unconscious guard and took any more darts he could find. To his surprise, there was a few keys on him. That would come in handy.

He thought for a moment about the zoo theory. It was starting to make a little sense. Whoever was in charge was raiding zoos for ammunition and willing members. He was already certain they had left a red herring with the anti-equality messages. Now he had confirmed it.

That only made things worse for him however, because he was not dealing with regular humans. He was dealing with animals born to hunt. He hoped living life in the zoo had stifled their senses. The police dog clenched the gun in his hands and pushed onward.

“Slow, easy, step after step. Relax, no fear. Fear attracts them. They are animals, they can smell you.” Ralph repeated over and over in his head. He recognized some of the area from somewhere. Though he was not sure why. He had never been anywhere else in the house.

A loud thud shook the ceiling above him, a dog's yelp rang in his ears.

Whatever that was he needed to hurry. He glanced to his right and saw a staircase. Throwing caution to the wind, the police dog sprinted full speed up the stair case. He could hear a muffled voice from the top.

“Fido don't trust her.”

Fido was there? And there was that other dog, she was friends with Sabrina. Tarot was her name if he could recall. His speed picked up a little more as he reached the top of the stairs. With a fierce bark he threw open the door.

“Alright paws where I can...” Ralph's eyes grew wide at the sight of the monstrous bear before him. It looked up at him, just as surprised. Tarot was pinned down under one of its massive paws.

“Who the...”

Ralph shot the bear four times before stopping. His legs quaking, the bear stumbled a little and looked down at the darts embedded in his flesh. Tarot squeezed out from under the paw and crawled away as the bear collapsed, like a big swollen tree.

The resounding thud that shook the room left it in stunned silence. A calico cat looked between the three dogs, her jaw slacked open a little.

“Ralph get her too!”

Ralph squeezed the trigger, but he was too late. The cat tumbled out of the way and pounced on him. He yelped while her sharp claws cut his muzzle as she made a mad sprint down the stairs.

“Jeez she's getting away.” Ralph wiped the fresh cut on his muzzle and stumbled after the cat. She had already disappeared by the time he had reached the bottom of the stair case. He could hear the sound of thudding foot steps as a few K-9 officers barged into the area. Masked guards cleared down the hall as the officers ran in pursuit. They were going to be cornered in the room full of cages.

“The Calvary is here sarge.” Kevin jogged in, his K-9 vest missing.

“Thank goodness Kev, how'd you get out of your cage?”

“Cage? What Cage?”

~~

30 minutes ago

Her tail flicked back and forth, a shiny key in her paw. The guard was fast asleep but one foul move and she was a pin cushion. Opening cages was loud business and her friend would not be in any condition to walk on her own once she busted her out. She needed a distraction, then she saw him. They had a new dog locked up, a police dog they had captured. He had been hit with such a heavy dose he went out in an instant.

She needed to concentrate. Focus, the drug had been out of her system for a good hour now. She was not experienced with manipulating thoughts. However she would have to try. The dog in the cell seemed her best bet for a distraction. If she could somehow get him out and have him deal with the guard, that would be ideal.

It hit her, do what her new friend did. Help the mind ease the drug through the system so as to regain consciousness. It would work for a bit and the police dog would do what he does best.

It took a moment of concentration. A ton of effort in her weak state, but she managed to get him to budge. Little by little the dog came back to his senses. Ralph, that was his name, Ralph. Police dog, from Babylon Gardens.

She shook her head and kept her focus in the right area. She was reading too far into the dog's mind. That was a fatal mistake for young psychics. Mental overload would turn her into a vegetable if she was not careful.

Soon the dog awoke and she left him to his devices. A smile spread across her lips as she saw the dog go to work on his collar. He was building a lock-pick. Not bad, for a dog. It was just like watching a television show as he tinkered with the padlock sealing his cage shut. A loud clank filled the air as she winced, the guard did not do anything.

“What?” She whispered to herself, tempted to punch the wall. “That didn't wake him up?”

In no time at all the dog tumbled out and went to the guard. He started messing around with the guard while she darted into the room. With no time to lose she fiddled with the lock and popped the cage open as the dog sneezed. With a loud clank, she had timed it to perfection. The guard was awake now and she was halfway out of the room with her new friend.

“Mission accomplished.” She whispered to herself.

~~

“...and then I found my way out after running for like an hour.”

“But then how did they get your vest?”

“Oh I took it off and set it aside to throw them off my trail. They were, like, smelling me out. It was so weird, like they were animals or something.”

“Funny you should mention that.” Ralph sighed. “Good to know you made it out safe though.”

“They're gone!”

Ralph and Kevin both turned their heads towards the cage room. They ran in and saw their fellow K-9 units staring at an empty room, save for the drugged animals in cages. All of the assailants had disappeared into thin air.


“What the heck?”

“Must be a hidden door or something in here.” Ralph said as he looked around. Knocking on the walls. He took the crowbar in his hands and smacked a wall in front of him. To no avail, it only shook the crowbar in his hands and sent a stiff shiver up his spine.

“Keep looking, we'll have to find it eventually.” Kevin said as the K-9 units patted down the walls and floor. Ralph checked his vest and pulled out the keys as he started opening cages.

“Give me a hand here guys, we need to get them out of here.”

Meanwhile, Fido and Tarot were helping a group of officers secure Boris. The large bear knocked out cold. It took about six full grown men to move the bear down stairs and into a proper vehicle for his transportation.

“You okay?” Fido asked as he looked along Tarot's neck.

“Just a bruise, I'll be fine.” She nodded as she rubbed where the bear had pinned her. “Now that Alana's gone I think we can have the spirits search the place out. Maybe even find Sabrina.”

“Where do you think she went?”

“I'm sure she has several hideouts, and I have a feeling she's not the only one in charge of this group.”

Fido watched as a few officers dragged out the animal guards. It was a disturbing revelation to them all. But the puzzle was starting to fit together a little better. They also had rescued several witnesses that might shed more light on Alana's little operation.

“Fido, I think Sabrina is still in the building somewhere, her presence is faint but I can feel it.”

“Can you point me where?” Fido turned towards the psychic dog.

“Follow me, I think she's on the move.”

Tarot began to jog at a light pace down the stairs. Her eyes glowing a little as she followed Sabrina's psychic trail. Fido kept close behind, not wanting to find himself lost. Much to his surprise the building was quite a bit smaller than he anticipated.

A few turns and corridors. Several rooms had been set up with bunks. Drinks and discarded wrappers were scattered about, but no sign of Sabrina. Tarot weaved throughout the rooms, following a strange convoluted trail. Fido was beginning to lose his patience, he stopped and opened his mouth, when he heard a small voice.

“Come on, get up! Somebody's coming, we're out of time, and I can't keep carrying you.”

“Tarot did you hear that?” Fido asked as he followed the sound of the voice.

“I sure did, and Sabrina is just in that direction.” Tarot pointed to a door.

Before she could blink, the police dog had charged through and pushed open the door. He had entered a bathroom of sorts, the wall was wide open with a long chasm-like passage way. His eyes darted around the room, searching the source of the voice. A small kitten stared up at him with wide eyes, her ears down and her paws shaky. In one paw was Sabrina's little charm that, under normal circumstances, hung from her collar.

“Leave me alone!” The kitten shouted as she tossed the charm and tried to run. Fido caught the charm out of the air and grabbed the small kitten. Keep his muzzle clear of her sharp claws.

“Where did you get this charm?”

“I'm not telling you!”

“It belongs to my friend! A black cat, her name is Sabrina. You meet her down here?”

“Never heard of her.” The kitten stuck her tongue out.

“Look if you don't tell me soon I am going to take you down to the station and we can talk there.” Fido's eyes burned with rage. The Kitten stared on with defiance.

“I'm not telling you a thing.”

“Fido put the kitten down!” Tarot gasped as she ran into the room. “She didn't do anything wrong. Just look in the cabinet.”

The police dog set the kitten down and fumbled to his knees as he opened the cabinets. With a deep sigh of relief, there curled up into a ball was Sabrina. His paws were shaking, he had thought the worst had happened. Every night since her kidnapping. She looked almost at peace. A little frazzled, but better than the other pets he had recovered from their kidnapping.

“Hey leave her alone you big bully!” The kitten snapped as she pounced at Fido. Tarot snatched the kitten out of the air and set her down.

“Behave, we're friends of hers. That's her boyfriend right there.” Tarot said, her voice stern. The Kitten looked at Sabrina and then back at Fido.

“Y-you're that Fido?” She choked out. “She's dating a dog?”

“Has been for a long time.” Fido muttered as he tucked her into his arms. She stirred a little, the drugs still in her system keeping her at bay.

“Fido?”

“Shh take it easy, you've had a long couple of days.”

“Sabrina how could you be dating one of those disgusting mutts!” The kitten was jumping and throwing a tantrum.

“Snow, please behave, for my sake.” Sabrina's voice was a soft whisper, but the kitten complied, though not without reluctance.

“We'll have to talk about this later...” Snow said, her arms folded and her lips curled into a pout.

“Just go with officer Fido here, he will make sure we're safe, Fido, please take her to my place. She doesn't mean any harm.”

“Alright, alright, just take it easy, we'll get you some help.” Fido lifted Sabrina up as Tarot kept an eye on the small, feisty little kitten.

Things had only gotten more complicated with each passing day.

~~

Alana took a quick peek out of the car window, her whiskers twitching with anxious fervor. They were just out of the city while cops were flooding in. A pang of anguish stabbed her soul, hard earned troops, hard earned supplies, hard earned psychics, all lost in an instant. She had gotten cocky, and it cost her.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk, you should have known better.”

In a frightening instant, the highway froze in time. Her eyes darted around as she looked down, a vanity mirror had appeared in her paws. With a gulp she looked in. Instead of her reflection, she was greeted with a glowing pair of yellow eyes.

“I'm sorry but something went wrong without my knowing. I had those hostages locked up nice and tight and...”

“Relax, I know it was not entirely your fault. I should have anticipated you biting off more than you could chew. A few prisoners were plotting your downfall it seems.”

Alana thought for a moment. “Sabrina, it was her, I know it.”

“Ah I told you, once you took her, you only had a limited amount of time to nab her friends before they got back to her.”

“They acted much sooner than I had anticipated.” Alana admitted with a voice of dejection. “I apologize boss, I thought I had at least another day.”

“Do not worry your pretty little head, it only means I have to change up my tactics on the board. The time to act is now. In a few days animals will be able to vote, meanwhile I have a few more tasks for you. Rile up the zoos, rile up the pets, spread the good word. It seems getting rid of dragon and any pawns she could influence was a futile attempt on our part.”

“Seems the machines could not rid them of their abilities without...lethal consequences.”

“And subjects are more useful to us alive. Have they any idea of your motives?”

“At the moment I think not. The animals they captured are well trained in our cause, they won't speak a word. Boris will have them broken out soon.” Alana replied. “And Master, I have a question, what of your Avatar? The one that used to be human.”

“You can deal with him in due time, he's surrounded by very powerful body guards. Dragon is no fool. She may be without godhood status, but she knows I am in a bind myself. So long as she has him on the board it makes doing anything...difficult. I fear the game only grew more complicated, it did not end.”

“I understand sir.”

“Good, we shall talk later. I have important business to conduct here in Washington.”

“Good luck to you.”

“Good luck to you as well.”

The mirror disappeared from her hands as the world returned to regular speed. It was as if nothing ever happened. Her driver looked at her, a concerned look on his face.

“Miss Alana, are you okay?”

“Yes I am fine, tomorrow we're going to pay a visit to Babylon Garden's zoo.”

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At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

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Lucky Abbot: S-9 P-6 E-7 C-6 I-7 A-4 L-3


Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:31 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
so this must be the 'speedway' Pete intended to take all along, the fast method to bring equality no matter the chaos it involves. 8-)
Very much like him! :lol:
Awesome update again, ready for another anytime, man! Oh, and fair warning: I'm SO gonna use Sarge McGurdle in my fic, ohh yes! :D And thanks for the new references to my latest crossover :D :D :D

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Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:50 am
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Post Re: The New Era
So at the end Peter hooke was really Pete or I get it wrong?

I like the direction you are taking this story. I never thought the ones behind the kidnaps was zoo animals. It's not going to be easy for the officers to deal with this group, even unarmed they are dangerous.

Your OC are just great! Boris the big bully bear, I wonder how his going to escape from the police and animal control but surely he will do it. Alana who seems the right hand of Pete, I wonder how she met him and how far she can go to please him. And the little psychic kitten Snow, who surely going to be a pain in the *** to Fido at first but at the end she'll going to warm up to him.

I'll be waiting for your next update :D

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Post Re: The New Era
Housepets: The New Era

Pete Strikes Back

Nothing could quite curtail that worrisome feeling in his bones. He should be happy. Yet he felt like all he was doing was ignoring the real issues at hand. A psychotic animal rights activist was on the loose, ready and able to plan her next scheme.

“Fido what should I make, I can't decide.”

The dog jumped a little as he was pulled from his thoughts. “Uh...I dunno, that one.” He shrugged, placing his finger on a random dish in her recipe book. After that, Sabrina watched the dog recede back into his own little world.

“You seem distracted.”

“I am distracted.” Fido said. Sabrina rolled her eyes.

“If this is about Alana and her gang, just take a breather and forget you're a police dog for a night. From what the others have told me, you've been eating and breathing this case for at least a week now. You deserve a bit of a break.”

“Ralph's not taking a break, he's guarding the rescued pets.”

“He's playing cards with the rescued pets at the shelter, if that isn't a break I don't know what is.” Sabrina sighed as she moved the small recipe book aside. “You know what, the only person out there that doesn't want to relax is you. Come on I bet even Alana wants to lay low for a bit before she does anything big again.”

The off-duty police dog took a good long look at the cat and shook his head. “I-I'm sorry alright? Just been paranoid ever since you got snatched up.”

“Fido, you got me back again didn't you? Just like I knew you would.” Sabrina kissed him on the cheek before she climbed up on the counter top and grabbed some spices. “Besides I think I know what I'm making. Can you be a dear and get the frozen chicken out of the fridge?”

He was not going to win. He knew that. Maybe she really was right. Maybe he really did just need to slow down get over himself. Fido was never one to worry, always the laid back one. The one with the level head. That was what made leaders great, as his wise father once told him. With a nod he turned towards the fridge and grabbed a bag of frozen boneless chicken.

“You sure your dad won't mind us, you know, cooking?”

“I've taken quite a liking to cooking and he doesn't mind it at all. That man doesn't know how to feed himself properly and as a bonus I get to pick what's on the menu.” Sabrina replied as she laid out a frying pan and placed the chicken down. “It's not much harder than brewing a potion after all.”

“If you say so.” Fido replied as he watched the chicken sizzle. Sabrina went to work adding various spices. “So that kitten you found. Snow, what's her deal?”

“Ah...yes I've been meaning to explain.” Sabrina dusted some powdered garlic spice from her paws. “When Alana got to her she was a stray, poor thing had been abandoned by her parents.”

Fido nodded, that was one way to put a chip on the shoulder. “I hate hearing about owners that do that, I mean they don't even try to put them up for adoption.”

“Not owners, biological parents. She was born out there on the streets.” Sabrina shook her head. “It's been a common phenomenon for thousands of years. Weird offspring, and by weird I mean ones with psychic potential, are abandoned. It's a deep seated superstition. Only now do they get homes because humans don't smell the very wrongness around them.”

“Ah,” Fido felt a little guilt riding over his head for snapping at the kitten. “I guess that would be a little difficult to get over.”

“That's a bit of an understatement.” Sabrina nodded as she flipped the chicken over on the pan, the exposed side a golden seared brown. He tapped his foot as he leaned against the countertop.

“She doesn't seem to like dogs very much either. I mean at this rate she might be living with one of us for a little while, she has taken a liking to you.”

“That will have to change with time. Just be a good example Fido, teach her all dogs aren't like the ones she has met before. You can't force that kind of change into someone, they have to learn. She's still young and has some growing up to do.” Sabrina smiled. “She might even learn to tolerate you over time.”

Fido nodded his head and sighed a little. “Anything else I can do? I feel kind of useless just watching you cook.”

“Just keep me company and don't burn yourself.” Sabrina laughed a little as she set some well cooked strips of tender chicken meat aside. “Or you can go entertain the guests out in the living room, I'm sure they would appreciate it.”

“Nah I'm good, Peanut probably has them occupied.”

“He's good at that I must admit.”

Fido hugged Sabrina from behind as she finished preparing the last of the evening meal. He was not sure if she was working some outlandish mind powers, but he was already starting to forget what was bothering him. Even if she did do that to him, he could not complain. Though, one thing did come to mind.

“Sabrina?” He asked.

“Yes?”

“Do you think it's such a good idea that we left Snow alone with two dogs?”

“I'm sure she'll be fine, it might help her get used to the crowd I hang around with.”


~~
It was talking to her. The pup was talking to her.

“Is something wrong? You look grumpy.”

With a pained sigh she felt complied to answer. “I don't want to talk about it.”

The white pup tilted his head, his tail swaying a little. A sudden a spark went off in his eyes as a smile curled up on his lips. He ran away from her, offering the kitten a moment's reprieve from his presence. Snow curled up into a ball and placed herself in the corner of the couch. Trying to make herself as small as possible.

Her eyes closed as she eased into a nap.

Only for it all to be interrupted a few moments later. She could hear the pup's footsteps from across the room. It would only be matter of time before he woke her up. She braced herself for whatever the pup would do. Much to her surprise she felt him set something beside her nice and easy, and heard his footsteps scuttle away.

One eye opened, she felt like she was being tricked. All of the dogs back at Tawny Oaks were fond of pranks. How different could it be in Babylon Gardens? There sitting next to her was a ball of yarn, rolled up in a neat fashion.

The white kitten looked left, and then right. “Very funny mutt, but I can see right through your trick.”

“What trick?” Jon poked his head over the back of the couch.

“Ack!” Snow screamed and tumbled off of the couch, the ball of yarn bouncing along with her. “Th-the yarn, you're messing with me somehow. But I can smell a trick. I'm not stupid.”

Jon looked a little hurt at the accusations, more than anything he was confused. “I didn't say you were stupid though, you looked upset so I grabbed my stress yarn because you look liked you needed it more than me.”

Your stress yarn?”

The white pup's crimson blush could be seen with ease against his fur. He nodded a little and played with the yarn in his paws. “I know, I'm weird. Mom used to let me play with it when I was really little to help me calm down. Never quite outgrew it, but if yarn isn't your thing I can let you play with the squeaky mouse. I don't mess with that much any more.” Jon looked down at his toes and slipped his fingers between the strands of yarn.

“Uh...the yarn is fine.” Snow cursed at herself on the inside. If there was one thing dogs were good at, it was looking pitiful. It did not help that she felt kind of bad for rejecting the pup's genuine kindness. Though he was silent now, taking a seat on the couch and fiddling with the television remote. “Thank you.”

The pup's ears perked up. “What was that?”

“Nothing.”

“Oh...” His ears fell again as he surfed through various channels. Though any focus he might have had was not invested in the television set. “So your name is Snow right?”

“Yup.”

A frown formed on the pup's face. “Well, I'm Jon.”

“Mhm.”

She was ignoring him. The pup was confounded. A regular cat reaction towards him was with, at first, surprise, and then they warmed up to him thereafter. It was a pattern he had never seen deviated. For a moment he felt like he had lost his touch. Had playing with the wolves already begun to change him?

“Why are you staring at me like that?”

Jon's eyes widened a little. “Oh sorry I didn't mean to stare, I just feel bad for not being able to help you feel better. Sabrina told me your mom and dad left you behind and I thought I could, you know, help make things feel just a little better.”

A nerve twitched in Snow's eye. “You honestly think, that you of all people can make me feel better?” She saw the pup wince and hide his head a little. It surprised her just how pitiful the dog looked, it was a new record in her book. The very sight had, against her very nature, brought her guard down. After a deep breath, she spoke. “Alright mutt, I appreciate the concern, I really do. But you want to know how you can really help me?”

“I'm all ears.”

“Leave the room.”

Jon nodded, his crestfallen eyes did not look back up. He dropped the yarn and made his way out of the room, tail hanging between his legs. Snow looked at him, and wanted to punch something. Something like that little dog giving her the whole “adorable sad puppy” act. The one that got dogs adopted at the shelters or swooped up into caring arms off the streets. Such dependent creatures, those dogs. Animals that needed other animals to survive.

Dogs should have died off on their own while cats, the thinkers, would go on to live. Yet dogs had evolved to the point where other creatures felt so inclined to protect them. The very idea was appalling in her mind.

“Okay fine you can stay here. Just don't talk to me.” Snow groaned, the words felt like acid against her tongue.

The white pup's ears shot back up as he trotted back to the couch and took a seat next to her. Just around the corner, a glint of green in the darkness had been keeping an eye on them. A shiver rolled up Snow's spine as she looked over into the hall. It was a presence like no other she had felt before. Very powerful being was present.

Just in the next room Arcana was writing on a sheet of paper.

Pete, or should I call you Peter?

Just below her written text, fine spidery handwriting appeared onto the paper.

What is it now? I was kind of in the middle of something important.

Arcana grimaced, her brow furled with frustration.

What was the big idea, trying to kill all of those pets? Trying to kill me! I think you're starting to abuse your advantage and have half a mind to report you.

There was a long pause before the gryphon responded.

Now, now, Dragon. Let us not get hasty. I was not trying to kill anyone. Nor was I trying to harm you. I was trying to relieve any potential threats of their ability to stop me, in the most humane way possible mind you. Looks to me like that did not turn out so well, and I apologize. And do you think it wise to get the celestial courts in on our little games again?

Arcana scribbled onto the paper with fury.

It's not just me you should be apologizing to, and if I see you as a threat to the well-being of the mortals you are trying to help, then I see it my duty to report you.

Pete's reply was almost immediate.

Oh please, you have grown ignorant in your days as a mortal. I am elevating those pets you see. My ways are chaotic sure, but it is for the sake of good. Look at your friend, Peanut. Your beloved little nut and his 'family.' In the world I plan for him he can keep that family, he can take it to new heights. Instead of living the lame and wasteful life of a mere pet he can strive for true happiness in fulfilling purpose.

We are both idealists, Dragon, can you see yourself stripping your poor little friend of the chance to earn true happiness?

Arcana wanted to snarl at the sheet of paper before her.

These pets are suffering Pete. A lot of them by your hands.

Pete took his sweet time in responding.

There are two sides to every coin , one cannot truly know what happiness is until they have seen suffering.

The white pomeranian tapped her pencil against the table and shook her head.

It's not worth it Pete, not the way you want it to happen. I promise you this, I'm going to stop this now. Before it gets out of hand

Pete's next words sent a chill up her spine.

My dear Dragon, things already have.

~~

Peanut flapped his arms around, fashioned in some bizarre dance. Max shook his head stifling a laugh. Grape had her paw on her chin with her mind wracking her brain for the answer to a most odd question.

“Flying?” She called out. The dog shook his head and stopped for a moment. A light went off in his eyes as he pantomimed operating a 1930s camera. “Oh! So it's a movie?”

He nodded with vigor as he held up two fingers.

“Two words?”

He clapped his hands and started flapping his arms around again.

“Oh! The Birds, am I right?”

“Yes!” Peanut cheered. “Another point to team Grapenut.” The Candian pointer mix danced a little as he marked up another point on the scoreboard and took his seat next to his teammate. Putting them two points in the lead.

“You know every time you say that I want to punch you.” Maxwell rolled his eyes.

“Don't be a bad sport Max, we're the only team without a psychic advantage.” Peanut grinned his infectious grin. “You don't see me complaining.”

“Hey to be fair I haven't made it any easier for Fido.” Said Sabrina.

“Trust me she hasn't.” He rolled his eyes. “So whose turn is it?”

“I think its yours.” Max replied.

“Oh no not again...” The phone rang as Fido jumped up. “Now would you look at that, I had better get that, someone else go.”

“Okay Max then its your turn.”

“Ugh!”

Fido ducked out of the room and ran to the phone. Charades was by no stretch of the imagination his forte. In fact imagination was not his forte in general. He liked to watch his girlfriend imaginate with the others rather than participate. Fido grabbed the phone from its receiver.

“Hello? Yeah...wait what?”

~~
A cacophony of animal calls shook the air as picket signs danced up and down. Among it all a single, unified chant. “We're people too.” There was a dumbfounded silence amongst the K-9 dogs as they looked at each other. It was always something.

“Officer Byron, the zooisfreakingout, but attheveryleastthey'reall locked up but there's threats of boycotting performances.” Officer Gump, a dachshund yapped into the phone.

“Please, just calm down.”

“It's a mess at the zoo!”

“Well what do they want, did you talk to them?”

“Uh...no.”

“Okay take a deep breath, and go negotiate something with them. I'm a little busy at the moment...” In the background there was a small commotion on Fido's end. The word's “another point for Grapenut” could be made out. “Just go talk it out with the animals alright?”

“Right...” Gump placed the zoo payphone back on its receiver and walked out. “Okay who is in charge of the protest here?”

“I am!” A lion roared.

“Can it simba, I am.” A wolf snapped from his exhibit.

“Why do you keep calling me that? My name is Hans!”

“Ugh...new guys.” The wolf muttered as he looked to the dachshund with a bullhorn. “It's come to our attention that we, as hard working exhibits, do not get the same benefits as the zoo staff. We are considered property of the zoo, not workers. We demand a change in that policy.”

“But you guys get free food, and a free place to stay. And they try and make it look like your old habitats.” The dachshund's mouth went off and the wolf's eyes narrowed.

“We're glorified teenagers in that regard.” The wolf snapped, Gump shut up. “Look at you all, a bunch of complacent slaves, to think that you and I are actually related.”

“We don't see it like that though, we're companions not slaves!”

“Okay then tell me this, you work as hard as any other officer out there right?”

“Right?”

“Now you work just as hard, just as long, but at the end of the day who gets the paycheck bonuses? Is a dog in charge of the K-9 unit? And by that I mean the entire department.”

“No...” Gump did not like where this was going.

“A dog isn't in charge? You mean a human, someone not even of your own species, governs you? Runs you? Someone who could not even begin to understand your true needs as a dog, because they are not dogs, makes sure you live your life the right way? You know they do this to control you right? They want power over you.”

Gump was silent, there was murmuring amongst the K-9 units around him.

“Now get this, its just the same when you go home. Humans treat you like eternal children, they don't let you elevate yourself. They want to control you, just like they want to control everything else. Don't you get it, we want to be people too! We can think, we can work, you and your little squad are evidence that you can work a job and do it right!”

“The vagrant's got a point.” A gruff terrier, a K-9 officer, replied. “No offense.”

“None taken.” A smiled curled up on the wolf's lips. “Now who is tired of being a 'good boy' for the man?”

In a strange, confounding instant. Police dogs started walking to the protestors. Gump's jaw dropped as he looked around himself. He was the only one not going. With a gulp he took a few steps back as the protestors went back to chanting and yelling.

“Cripes...” The dachshund ran as fast as his stubby legs could carry him.

“Yeah and tell your boss that we won't rest until we get what we want.”

~~

King took a few cautious sips of his coffee, the hot drink stinging his lips. The television droning but his mind not paying a lick of attention. The animal rights bill was going to pass. He could not say why he knew that, but he knew it was going to happen. There was no dispute in his mind.

Why did this bother him? He was a dog, he would appreciate having some of the same liberties he lost in his transition from human to corgi. As a human he did not like working a job, working the daily grind. A ball and chain on his very existence. As a dog he was, in a sense, free from that.

Or was he just a lapdog? No responsibility meant no work, no work meant he could not take his life into his own hands. He was dependent on the Milton fortune to live his life.

“In other news, Babylon Gardens seems to be starting a revolution, aren't they Shelly?”

“Why yes Phil! In the spotlight this evening we have a little neighborhood with big ambition. Animals run it, and even a few animals can live on their very own. In what seems to be the most bizarre social experiment this country has ever seen, the late Henry Milton left his entire estate to his pet ferrets, and can you believe it, they actually run the place.”

“They are not only adorable, but intelligent!”

“I know right?”

King rolled his eyes at the enthusiastic news anchors.

“I think its a sign of the times, a lot of critics of the animal rights movement say that, as animals, they can't handle such massive responsibility.”

“Looks like they can rest easy if pets can run a neighborhood. Though I'm not sure if that says something about the job, or the pets themselves.”

“I think animals are lot more capable than we give them credit for.”

“I might have to agree with you there.”

King switched off the television and set his coffee aside. It was almost like magic how in just a year or two the animal rights movement turned into a global shift of ideas. Like magic. His worry started to make a semblance of sense. Pete had not bothered him in a very long time, perhaps he had lost interest and took on new projects.

Like animal rights.

“Oh I'm so stupid...” King facepalmed. “Peter Hooke.”

Pete was on his way to running the USA. He was not only going to run King's life, but everyone else on the side. He had to do something, had to tell someone. But what could he do?

“Yeah tell everyone that their presidential candidate is a malevolent magical Gryphon, sounds smart.” King groaned to himself. He did not care if there was some sort of honorable intention behind this political agenda. If his life as a corgi taught him anything, something Pete related was going to ruin the world.

“Come now, Joel, that's not nice to think.” The television flickered back on.

King could swear the hot coffee in his hands froze. On the screen, a clip of Peter Hooke speaking was now speaking to him.

“Oh man I've lost it...please tell me I've just lost it.” King shivered.

“No Joel, this is happening. I'm talking to you. I come with good news! You're fired, you can go back to being Joel again.”

“I-I...”

“Don't you want that? To be human?”

He told himself a million times, that given the chance, he would go back to being human. Now confronted with the decision he could not even scrounge for an answer. Could he just turn his back on Fox, Miles, Bailey?

“What's that? You still want to be a dog? Goodness Joel how you've changed.” The man on the screen grinned, his eyes sinister yellow glow. “I'm afraid if we take that route, the secret has to go out.”

“No, no don't do it!” King snapped, what did that Gryphon want from him, after letting him alone for all those years.

“I want you out of the picture Joel, you have been a thorn in my side. I should have thought my decision to turn you into a dog through, but we can't change the past. As much as I would like to.” Pete snapped his fingers. “I'm going to leave you a dog Joel, but to make sure you stay out of my way, let's just say you might have a few less friends come tomorrow.”

“Pete! You...you...” words would not come to his mouth. His secret! Everyone was going to know. All of the dogs, Fox, Bailey, and worst of all the officers. The television set returned to normal as he slumped into his chair. He wanted to cry, but what would that fix?

“How does he think he can convince all of my friends I used to be human? He's bluffing, that must be it.” King tried to reassure himself. It did not work.

“On the subject of Babylon Gardens, The Joel Robinson story comes to light this evening, remember that case a few years ago?”

“Why yes Phil I do.”

“Well that man is hiding in the most unlikely of places. It seems almost out of a plot out of science fiction.”

“What ever could you mean Phil?”

“The man, a vehement PETA supporter, despised his humanity so very much, that he actually went through a controversial reconstructive surgery. The doctor who operated on him has let the news out of the bag. After living with the guilt of harboring a criminal for so many years.”

King's eyes widened as a clip of a haggard old doctor with a glass eye appeared on the screen. He spoke in a language he could not understand but he was pointing to videos and pictures that spoke for him. Captions appeared at the bottom of the screen.

“Oh my! The man had his brain stuck into a Corgi?”

“This is not in fact a hoax! The Doctor demonstrated the surgery again, there is a whole village in his native country filled with people that had this surgery. Now for obvious reasons this has been kept a deep dark secret, but he came out with the evidence on the Robinson case just this morning.”

No way, King was not going to believe this. Nobody was going to believe this. It was too stupid, it was too fake. They had to realize nobody could just switch brains. That broke the laws of biology or something.

A video of Joel, of himself, popped on the screen. It was footage of the doctor interviewing him for surgery.

“Th-that never happened.” King shook his head. He never saw that doctor in his life.

“What is this surgery for?” The Doctor spoke in his broken English.

“To get away from the cops...I'll pay whatever...”

“Well Phil that is incredibly bizarre.”

“Look at the before and after footage. These two are one in the same. The Corgi and Joel. He now goes under the alias 'King' according to other sources, which choose not to be named at this moment.”

King felt his heart stop. He turned off the television and looked around. Any moment the cops would knock down his door and he would be carted off to jail. Human jail! Because according to that faulty news story he was still human.

A light knock shook him from his thoughts. Someone was at the door. With a gulp he walked over, at least his life had been good thus far. He had to remember the nice things, for a moment he had friends. Really good ones too. Friends that cared. As a dog he lived a better life than a human, in the end was that not worth it? With a sigh he opened the door, ready to face his fate with dignity.

“King...at least I think that's what I should call you. We need to talk.” said Fox.

~~

Greetings readers, so this week's update is a little short compared to my usual ones (by about 2000 words, I counted). I have been studying like crazy for finals and what have you so I haven't had much time for writing fanfiction. :lol:

Anyways, hope you guys enjoyed the update.

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At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

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Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:22 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
Ouch.
H.I., you have just jumped the biggest son of a shark, here. I hope, and I'm fairly sure you will, that you can surprise us once again, because this brain surgery thing here is simply too much. Pete could simply transform King and be done with it....
As for the rest of this awesome ficcie, here's toast for the usual excellent job :D

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Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:13 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
wow, another amazing update, you never cease to amaze me, this time the chapter had a bit of all, comedy, romance, cuteness and drama everywhere. A pretty well balanced chapter. There was a lot of funny and mushy scenes, I wanted to say "Aw" and laugh at the same time XD

The King part was amazing, though Fox had to be really fast to get to his house just after the end of the news (nahh just kidding XD).

And about Jon, I wonder if you are putting him in some sort of triangle, you know *hit your shoulder with my elbow and raise the brows* :lol:

I'm not just a reader anymore, I'm FAN of your fic! I love it! Please keep writing this master piece and never stop making fanfictions (I beg you XD).

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Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:06 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
Housepets: The New Era

Mind Games

Fox had always been his friend. Really one of his only friends in his entire life. Though that was just his nature, even way back in the day as a man in his crummy apartment. Friends and relationships were something he was not at all good at. Now it looked to him like he might just lose that one and only friend.

His appetite left him, though he thought it might be easier to talk to a dog that had some sort of snack in front of him. Something about good meat made any dog happy. Well the wolves had that ham, and Fox seemed to like it.

“You can't believe the news! I mean that stuff on there is insane.” King was exasperated. “Come on it's not even biologically possible.”

“The footage spoke for itself.” Fox folded his arms, his eyes had a strange look to them. Though that might be due to the fact he believed his best friend also happened to be the man that kidnapped him. Still...

“Just...just hear me out.” King shook his head. “I never meant to hurt you or kidnap you or anything. I was just dragged along. Please you have to forgive me, it happened so long ago...”

“I think you might need to talk to my dad about this.”

“What? No! I can't go to the police like this, they'll throw me in human jail or something.”

“Come on King, it's the only way to redeem yourself.”

King shook his head and grabbed at his ears. “No, no you can't do this to me. I thought we were friends.”

“I thought we were too.”

It felt like some sort of deranged nightmare. Something he could only cook up deep inside of his troubled mind. The only problem was how real it felt. It was impossible to eat a ham sandwich in a dream and taste it right?

“Fox...just...forgive me please. I said I was sorry.”

“And the best way to say sorry is to turn yourself in.”

King shook his head, rubbing his temples and trying not to look his friend in the eyes. Then, it happened. Fox reached across the table and grabbed the mayo. The corgi's ears went alert as the dog before him slathered the sandwich with the creamy white substance.

“A bit much don't you think?”

“Nah, can never have enough.”

King's eyes narrowed a little. “Right, say I have a strange question for you, what do you think Pete, the gryphon might I add, is planning? By telling everyone about my identity I mean.”

“You probably know too much or something.” Fox took a bite out of the sandwich. “Maybe you're just in the way.”

“Aha!” King jumped on the table. “I've never, ever, in all of my life as a dog, told Fox about giant magic gryphons. And he hates mayo!”

The dog dropped his sandwich, the look of shock in his face was impossible to hide. His eyes shifted left and right as he stood up. “Calm down there Joel, you're freaking me out.”

“That's King to you...whoever you are.” King folded his arms. “That news report, it never happened did it? It was just another trick.”

“Of course it happened, come and talk to my dad about it, he could tell you what he saw.”

“I'm not going anywhere with you.” The corgi snapped.

The imposter and rolled his eyes. “Okay, okay fine you got me. I'm not your friend Fox and that news report never happened. However, I just need you to stay right where you are.”

“Wait...what?” King's ears fell a little, his caution rising and his confidence wavering. The kitchen rumbled around, knocking dishes to the ground and flailing open cabinets. The corgi yelped as the table he was standing on collapsed beneath him.

With a grunt he stood back up, a large bruise on his forehead. A large gate appeared over all the exits in the room. The imposter tapping his foot as the room changed.

“What is this?” King said as he walked up the gates blocking his way out. He laid a paw on one and shook it, the thing did not even budge an inch.

“You were going to prison, no matter how this was going to end. I just thought I might let the pain sink in a little further.”

“What the heck did I ever do to you?”

“It's nothing personal, you just got in the way.” The false Fox shrugged as he walked through the gate, as if it was not even there. “I'm a busy busy person and you were just a chore. I thought I might have some fun with you, but it looks like you weren't going to have any of it. No matter, I just have to improvise. Your brain is too much fun to waste.”

“You're sick.” King spat.

“Coming from you, that's adorable. I would pinch your cheeks if I did not fear for my fingers.” The imposter Fox gave a bow. “I bid thee adieu Joel Robinson. Have fun in your own little purgatory.”

“Someone will help me, you can't keep me locked up in here forever, I have powerful friends. I mean...I mean the dragon! She'll do something about this.”

“Somehow I don't see her being able to help you anytime soon.” The imposter's eyes glowed an eery yellow as he winked. “Have a nice ride.”

The room began to rumble again as King held himself against a wall. His legs buckling beneath him as he tried to keep his footing. He got one last look at the imposter before he walked away, in a terrifying instant the room detached from the walls around him and fell into a vast outer darkness.

~~

Babylon Gardens was more alive than it had been the entire two weeks before. Faint winds tossed around leaves in a giant swirl of reds and browns. The occasional car drove by while a few dogs played in the park, wild playful barks and yips echoed through the air as a Frisbee was tossed to-and-fro amongst the group. A cat or two could be seen in the trees, eating lunch they had either brought or found in the tangled branches of naked trees.

Jon sat at the base of one such tree, wrapping his scarf tight around his neck. The chatter of the cats above never caught his interest. Rather he was focused on the group of dogs running back and forth, tossing a disc and trying to keep it out of reach of one dog in the middle. It all ended with the middle dog tackling another dog to the ground and taking the disc from his paws. All laughing their heads off as they chased him up the hill. He tucked his legs between his arms and sighed, wondering if he should go join them.

“Hey you're that Sandwich kid aren't ya?” A voice called down to him. He glanced up and saw the cats up in tree.

“Yup that's me.” Jon replied, trying to mask his sullen face with a bright cheery smile.

“Dude that's the guy who messed up the Good Old Dogs club meeting!” The cat nudged the one next to him and pointed down at the fluffy white dog.

“No way, that was you?”

His pupils shrunk ten sizes. The Good Old Dogs club thing was spreading. “uh...y-yeah sure.”

“Man, that's brave. I wish I was there. Heard Bino got tackled.”

“By like ten dogs too.”

“Shoot how could I miss that.” The cat slapped his knee laughing. “Hey where you going?”

Jon stopped in his tracks and looked up at the tree. His ears were low, heavy with guilt. Now he had blown it with any dogs, if the cats were bragging about it then the dogs were going to be plotting to hurt him. “Nowhere I guess.”

“Aww come on kid we're not laughing at you, we're laughing at Bino.”

“I know...just all the dogs must hate me now.” Jon shrugged.

“Meh who needs 'em! I sure don't.” The cat on the right said, shrugging his shoulders.

“Well yeah you're a cat. Think of it from his perspective, what if cats hated you.”

“I wouldn't care.”

“Not one bit?”

“Nope.”

Jon watched the cats go at it amongst themselves and took it as an opportunity to leave. He held his head low and looked over at the dogs running around in the park. Approaching them would not be the best idea. He thought he might get to know some dogs at the club, that was all he really wanted to try and do.

Just to show them that he was cool, a regular old dog that just liked cats too. Though who was he really kidding? Regular dogs don't like cats, the only cat loving dog that dogs loved was Fido. Really because he was a hero in the eyes of all dogs. Though Jon was not sure why. Perhaps graduating from the academy did wonders for one's reputation.

“But they'll chew me up and spit me out at the academy.” He argued to himself. “Oh what the heck am I doing.”

He took a look at himself and rolled his eyes. Self-pity was not his style. That was something that needed to change quick or he would lose his mind. He had friends after all, like the wolves. He would go play with the wolves!

The pup jogged a little, his scarf dangling on his neck behind him. Bouncing in the breeze like a bizarre tail. He jumped up onto the porch of the Wolf house. The Den as his father always called it. Jon knocked at the door and waited, hoping they weren't busy. Doing, well, whatever it was wolves do.

The door opened a crack and Lucretia poked her head out. “Hello? Who's there?”

“Down here Mrs. Wolf.” Jon waved at her and smiled.

“Oh! Jon, nice to see you again. How can I help you?”

“I was just hanging around and was wondering if I could hang out with your kids.”

“Oh of course you can! It will help them get their minds off of King.”

“What happened?” Jon tilted his head.

“Well...we're not sure. He's at the vet and the kids seem very upset about it. Never seen them act so strange. Poor King must mean more than I thought to them.” Lucretia shrugged as she opened the door. “Come on in, Miles brought in a fresh killed carcass this morning. It's on the table if you want a bite.”

“Uh...I'll pass.”

“Nonsense, a good bite of wild meat helps a cub grow big and strong.” Lucretia replied. “Isn't that right dear?”

“Lucretia, the deer is dead.” Miles said from the kitchen with a fresh chunk of meat in his maw.

“No I mean...oh never mind.” She rolled her eyes and led Jon to the table.

“She's right about the cub part though. It's what your ancestors used to eat before all that processed fake stuff. Besides if you want to hang around here m'boy you'll have to try a bite.” Miles smiled, a wild glimmer in his eyes shone through his glasses.

Jon gulped a little and looked at the carcass on the table. He bent over it and closed his eyes as he sunk his teeth in and tried to pull off a bite.

“Thataboy! Now give it a nice strong tear.”

The pup winced a little as he tore the chunk of meat off and started chewing. The blood felt buttery and tasted wild. He had always been used to cooked meats at his own home, but the raw meat had a slight tang to it. All in all, not bad.

“I like this one Lucretia.” Miles gave Jon a stiff pat on the back, the poor pup almost felt his eyes jump out of his head. “Not afraid to try new things.”

“Oh goodness dad! What are you doing to him?”

Jon's ears perked up as he turned around and saw two of the three wolf cubs standing at the kitchen entry way.

“Showing him what he's missing out on in that cuddly artificial housepet land.” Miles winked down at the white pup, his fur stained a little from the deer's blood.

“It's alright really!” Jon held his paws up. “I mean it tasted good, I guess.” He grimaced a little and took another bite from the carcass to prove it.

“Next we'll teach him how to hunt!”

“Miles, dear, one thing at a time. Besides we have to ask his parents before we do anything crazy like that.” Lucretia put a paw on her husband's shoulder. “Go on Jon, hurry before he starts making you do more wolf things.”

“Don't have to tell me twice Mrs. Wolf, but I appreciate it, really. I like learning about my...heritage.” Jon nodded and smiled, only to realize his teeth were probably all bloody. He closed his mouth and ran to the other cubs.

“Sorry about dad there, he thinks all the dogs in the neighborhood are wimps.” The middle wolf, Alexander, said. “Too out of touch with their roots.”

“I think you made the right call there, now we don't have to hear him rant all night about wimpy dogs. We'll just hear him brag about what he's going to do to you.” The older one gave Jon a playful jab.

“How do I always do this to myself?” Jon shook his head and followed the wolves up the stairs.

“Relax pup, it's not all bad. I mean if dad likes you then all of the family likes you.”

“Yeah, it comes with being alpha.” Alexander said with a matter-of-fact tone in his voice.

They led him to a room and opened the door. Sitting on the bed thumbing through a book was their youngest sister. She peeked up over the pages and gasped, a smile curled on her face as she started laughing.

“Dad got him to take a bite?”

“Two bites!” Rudy held up two fingers as he slumped into his bed.

“I didn't know you had it in you. And you didn't hurl or anything?” She set the book aside and stepped of the bed.

“Nope, went down nice and easy.” Jon tried not to smile with his teeth. Inside he was somewhat bothered by the fact that dead animal tasted better than most anything he had tried at his house before. Now he knew why his mom hunted down rats and mice. “Hey wait what's that supposed to mean?”

“She's saying you look like a wimp.” Alexander replied, looking away with a false innocent glow in his eyes.

“Oh go stuff a sock down your throat.” She rolled her eyes and threw a pillow at him. “I didn't mean anything by it Jon, honest.”

“It's okay.” Jon chuckled a little, inside he was cursing himself. How dare he look fragile! He was not a baby, he was a fearsome bundle of claws and teeth. A beast to be reckoned with. A fluffy ball of adorableness. Really who was he kidding?

The wolves all looked at each other and then at Jon. “Hey...can you keep a secret?”

“My lips are sealed.” Jon replied, pantomiming lock and key on his muzzle.

“Good, good. You hear about King yet?”

“Sort of, heard he went to the vet.” Jon replied as he took a seat at the edge of one of the beds.

“He's in a coma. Which was really strange. I mean he was totally normal, well normal by King standards, one minute and then the next morning he's passed out in a coma. The vets say his body is normal, everything is normal. Even his brain is normal. They don't know what to do about it.”

“Well we did some sniffing around and we found a trace of something.” Alexander interrupted. “Something strange, it smelled like a cat. A fancy one too.”

“How do you know what a fancy cat smells like?”

“She smelled rich! Like how the Milton's smell with the caviar and crud.”

“Yeah, as I was saying...” Lupa rolled her eyes, “there was more to the scent. It smelled almost otherworldly. In our tradition there are tales of 'death-talkers,' animals in touch with the dark side of the world.”

“The...dark side?” Jon tilted his head.

“Yes, the dead one. The stench of death and life, brewed together in an unholy abomination. It sent shivers up my spine.” Lupa waved her hands around, her eyes wide.

“You're pulling my tail aren't you?” Jon chuckled and looked around. The wolves wore very serious eyes as they stared down at him. He gulped and nodded. “Okay you're not making fun of me, go on.”

“This is deep wolf stuff Jon, we don't tell anyone about this. Especially not housepets.” Alexander folded his arms.

Death talkers, what a concept. Animals that communicate with the dead. How insane, how...familiar. His eyes widened a little as he realized Tarot and Sabrina had that whole stint with “the spirits.” What had they done to King? No it couldn't have been them. “You know what I believe you.”

“I understand if you think our culture is dumb and primitive but- wait what?”

“Yeah, I know for a fact there are ghosts and all that stuff. Now how about I blow your mind and tell you a secret of my own.”

“You're a death-talker, I knew it!”

“Close, I'm friends with a few.”

The room grew silent as the wolves stared, their jaws gaped open. Rudy laughed a little and looked between the group and then at the pup. His eyes laden with disbelief. “Now you're making fun of us!”

“Am not! I swear it on my life, my dad used to date one before I was born. She still hangs around our place sometimes.”

“You do realize Jon that they are very, very bad animals.” Lupa replied, her ears down.

“What? No that's not true! Tarot is the nicest dog I know! A little strange but she's so friendly and always helps my family with stuff. One time grandpa lost the keys and she used her powers to help him find them! He was...really weirded out. But appreciative at the same time.”

The wolves looked eachother and sighed. “Okay Jon, since we like you we'll take your word for it. Be careful what you say in front of our dad though.”

“I...I promise.” Jon sighed. “I can tell you that this scent isn't any of my friends since none of them are rich cats.” Jon knew it was not Sabrina or Tarot, definitely not Snow.

“In any case we think they are trying to steal Kings soul or something weird like that.” Lupa looked amongst her brothers. “The poor dog is knocking at death's door. And we won't even know until he's gone.”

“And...well we kind of like that weird little dog. He's strange sometimes, acts more like a little person than a corgi. I mean one time I saw him sleep walk and he tried to shave. But we don't want him to suffer a fate like that.”

Jon looked between the wolves, an idea brewing in his head. “I think I can save him, remember my friends? If a death-talker can get his soul, another one could fight to bring it back.”

“But how can we trust them?”

“I'd trust them with my life.” Jon held his right paw up. “I swear on my grave.”

“Alright Jon, I hope you don't put faith in the wrong people.” Lupa frowned. A shout shook them from their hushed voices and forced them to turn around.

“Jon! Jon come down here! I need you to show Uncle Jack and cousin Rodney something...”

“Oh...crud.” Jon knew exactly what that something was.

“Better get to that, dad's gonna make a wolf out of you yet.” Alexander winked and chuckled.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Jon grimaced as he walked out the door.

~~

“Here we are, the Cerebrum!”

King spun around in place trying to find the source of the disembodied voice. With a jerk the room around him came to a sudden halt. He fell flat on his face, curses mumbled from his lips too and fro. The corgi stood up and took a good look around him. Outside of the window he could see a vast, impenetrable darkness.

“What the heck is going on here?” He grumbled as he walked around the room. A familiar sound sent a shock up his spine. The room was rumbling again. With a yelp he threw himself to the ground and held his paws over his head.

Much to his surprise, the bars holding him in the room were sliding back into the ground. He was...free? The corgi jumped back his feet and took a few cautious steps closer. A million thoughts running through his head.

“This is too easy, I'm not going to just walk out.” King said to himself. “But wait, wait that's probably what they want me to think. Just to have a cheap laugh. Watch me in my indecision, wasting away.” The corgi walked closer, and closer. “But then again it could be a trap, and some despicable creature could pull me away and tear me apart!”

Before he could complete his thoughts, the room rumbled again. It looked like it he had to think fast. King tossed caution to the wind and leaped into the darkness. Just as the gates closed behind him. He screamed as he saw the darkness before him, without end. He was going to fall to his doom.

“Oh I'm such an idiot.” He whimpered, only find his face smash into what felt like solid ground. His eyes opened in a snap as he stood back on his feet. To his unending relief he was not thrust into free fall. Rather, there seemed to be a floor obscured in the dark oblivion he was standing in.

“Next stop, the Limbic System!” The disembodied voice spoke again. In a bright flash, the room he had just been standing in disappeared. Leaving him all alone in the bleak world he had thrust himself into. With a gulp, he realized it was stay there and never get out, or keep walking.

It was odd to walk in the dark. Not knowing where his foot was going to land or fall. The terrain was ambiguous. Perfectly flat but by no means slick. His bare paw pads could tell it felt lukewarm. It was true neutral. Then in an instant, one step forward, it all changed. He was now walking on carpet! Or so it felt. The smell of a carcass lingered in the air. One that Miles had dragged in. Fuzzy shapes surrounded him in the darkness. If he focused on one just long enough, it would become more and clear. Yet when he turned away it lost all definition.

“Where the heck am I?” King muttered to himself as he kept walking. The faint sounds of voices echoing in the darkness. Miles, he could hear his voice. The television running, he could hear that. It was stuff he had already seen before. It was all familiar.

A few more steps in and the shapes, the smells, the sounds. It all disappeared. He was tempted to walk back to a more familiar time. Something he enjoyed, something that felt comfortable. Yet he knew, just somehow he knew, staying too long would not get him anywhere closer to escaping what strange place he had landed in. In the distance he could make out bright lights. A few alarms went off in his head. They could easily be just as dangerous as they could be helpful. It was something different though. Something that broke the tide of darkness enveloping him. He broke out into a sprint towards the lights, his heart pounding as he grew closer and closer. His footsteps echoing into the great nothing that surrounded him.

The corgi stopped just short of the sources of light. Panting escaped his dry lips as he looked up at the large glowing ball of pure light. It was a beautiful sight, it had the brilliance of the sun yet no pain or burn. Against his better judgment he reached out to it.

It was tangible! He could grab and pull on it. Curiosity got the better of him as he pulled it closer to him, a beautiful orb of pure white light. He squinted into it, there were images, shapes, moving about. It smelled like a warm, bountiful, Thanksgiving dinner. He could almost taste the turkey it was so powerful. He pushed his head closer, and closer, until white light enveloped him. He yelped as he felt himself tumble a little and land, once again, on his face. With a sigh he stood back up, only to be greeted by more ambiguous shapes and colors. A smell so faint, yet so recognizable lingered in the air.

The longer he stood there, the clearer everything became. The shapes became furniture, they became food, they became people. The colors blended into a more sensible form, giving even more life to the images forming before him. Voices, he could hear voices. Someone was saying grace at a dinner table.

Sitting before him was Thanksgiving at Bailey's house out in Kentucky. So many years ago. He felt taken aback by the whole sight. It was so clean, so vivid. The person saying grace stopped and the group got to eating. They seemed to take no notice of the corgi just standing right there in the room. A warm feeling entered his system, as if he was right there again, falling in love with that crazy husky girl. King smiled a little as he walked over to a chair to take a seat, yet the moment he touched it, it dissipated. The whole room collapsed into bright white light as he fell himself stumble onto his backside. Once again back in the darkness. Several balls of light bouncing around in the air, lively and free.

The feelings from before now gone, leaving him with a sense of longing. A sense of nostalgia. He was not sure why he was here, or what he was supposed to do. But he had to keep going. How he wanted to take a dip into all of these spheres bouncing around. Look into better times, the sights, the sounds.

Yet there was a strange ball of light. Smaller than the rest, a blood red color. It bounced around, erratic and spastic. It grabbed his eye as he walked closer to it, the comforting glow of the white spheres no longer a distraction. He jumped up to try and snatch it out of the air, but it dodged his eager paws.

Frustrated, but not to be stopped. He tried again, and again. Still no luck. With a sigh he watched its movements. It had a pattern to it. A very spastic one, but simple to grasp. He just had to hold his paw where it would go. His tongue lolled out, his mind deep in concentration. The sphere almost seemed to slow down as he placed his paw right where it would land.

“Gotcha!” He shouted with victory and held it close. In a very instant it exploded.

With a yelp he held his hand over his head as the light surrounding him dimmed from red, to pink, to white. He felt a shiver run up his spine, the air was cold. The faint sound of crickets chirping in the background. In the distance he could hear a car or two driving by. Shapes formed, growing definition with each passing moment. There was a dog, a cat, and a little boy.

His eyes wide and scared. The dog snarling, the cat looking away with annoyed indifference.

“You guys said you were gonna help me!”

“You're being a real brat about this, we need to eat and the only way anyone is getting any food is if you go in there and take it.”

King glanced over to the left. They were talking about a store, just a regular old convenient store. The logo and sign dimmed and fuzzy. He squinted to try and make it out, yet it would not focus. The boy whimpered a little as the dog snarled.

“Okay, okay I'll do it.”

Fear, that was what he felt. King felt afraid, he felt alone. He followed the little boy up the steps, he looked ragged. Dark circles around his eyes, tired from and stressed out. His hair disheveled and his clothes torn. The corgi took care not to touch anything as the boy walked into the store.

Outside, the dog and cat grew fuzzy, he was unable to make them out. The inside of the store became more and more clear. He stood close to the poor boy, watching his every move. A choked up feeling in the back of his throat as the boy grabbed at a loaf of bread. The boy looked over at the cashier, who was buried in a magazine. With a mad sprint the boy tried to make out the door, only for another figure to step out from the darkness.

A taller, much older man grabbed him by the wrist. With a shocked cry the boy tried to pull his arm away but it was no use.

“Help!” The boy yelled.

“Give us the food!” The boy nodded and threw the bread out the door. The dog caught it and ran off with the cat.

Abandoned, that was what King now felt. A pit formed in his stomach as he wanted to cry. Yet he could not. The older man looked like a demon of sorts, but, for some reason that could not be true. The real monster had to be those dogs and cats. King walked up and looked at the boy.

“Who was that out there?” The man asked.

“M-my pets.”

“Are you alone, where do you live?”

“Far away...”

“Where are your parents?”

“Not here, I ran away.”

“What's your name?”

“Joel Robinson.”

King threw himself into nearest object he could find, hoping he could end the memory right there. Everything disappeared as he fell to the ground, his eyes watery. The feeling guilt, loneliness, welling deep inside of him.

He knew it was all of his memories, that one he tried to forget. He spent years trying to get rid of it. Now there it was, a bright white sphere floating around. A tear trailed down his eye as he wiped it away, the feelings beginning to subside. In the distance he could see more red spheres of light, fluttering around in their angry spastic patterns. This must be the purgatory he was meant to see. All of those years trying to forget, trying to move on. Now it was coming back to haunt him.

Though he did not have many other options to seek out. It was time he faced his memories, head on.

~~

A/N: Good day (or good evening, when ever you decide to read this), once again another update. Really quick this time too. To make up for my slack I decided to finish off those last 2000 words and then some. Post a little early, and by Saturday should be another regular update. Thanks again all of you for your comments and the fact that you actually read my little fan thing.

Also, apologies to Valerio for scaring him with a big son of a shark :lol: trust me I'm not entirely crazy.

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At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

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Lucky Abbot: S-9 P-6 E-7 C-6 I-7 A-4 L-3


Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:55 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
Nice to read you again :D

So Alana strikes back! I wonder what she have planned by putting King in this state. She wants to play with his mind but, could it be there are some other ulterior motive?

I feel bad for the poor Joel, that moment had to be really painful. But like he said, there's no other way to move on (with ambiguous sense) than facing his past.

Now his fate landed in Jon's paws. He have to get to Tarot or Sabrina or Snow in no time before Alana's plan be completed.

I'll be waiting for the Saturday's update ;)

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Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:51 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
This new chapter was amazing! How King tricked the imposter Fox thus gaining the truth from them. But it is also so sad how King is now in a Coma reliving all his old memories the good and the bad. Hopefully Jon will tell Tarot and Sabrina and they will be able to solve the problem.

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Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:01 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
So, King's mind is collapsing piece by piece. Ykes! Hope Tarot and Sabrina will rescue him soon!
You're so playing this fine, Int, keep up the great job!

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Post Re: The New Era
Housepets: The New Era

King Versus Queen

Boris did not shift his gaze. His eyes two black holes staring deep into the soul. The only thing separating him from freedom was a barred gate much too flimsy for a bear his size. He knew it, the guards knew it. In most cases they would have put him in the zoo. Though the way recent events had transpired, putting that bear in a zoo would be the worst idea.

All he spoke of, if he spoke at all, was of freedom. For animal kind, large, small, feral or not. With the zoos getting restless and the presidential election just around the corner, Boris would gather a small army of animals if left alone with them too long.

“Come on, what's your story Boris?” Said a guard, a middle aged man with a name tag that read “Harvey” on his shirt. “I'm dying to know how you got mixed up in all of this.”

The guard took a seat in a chair just in front of the cage and smiled a little. The bear just continued to scowl. Though the man did not seemed phased at all. Harvey stood back up again and folded his arms.

"Pfft stupid bear, don't think he even talks."

“I speak to no man, especially not nosy ones like you.” His voice a low, low growl. Rough as sandpaper. Those black eyes narrowed into slits.

“Sheesh, I think they should have this one put down.” Harvey muttered as he backed away from the cage.

“You say that about all of the animals we drag in.” His partner replied from another corner of the room, his feet resting on a table. “I always thought you had to like animals to get a job like this.”

The younger man fished around in his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He yawned a little and tapped the screen a few times, searching for some sort of game to play. Harvey continued to stare at the scowling bear.

“I do like animals, just not the ones we deal with.”

Boris snorted and watched Harvey as he walked away from the cage. If mere mortals stared daggers into each other, Boris was staring claymore swords. It was only a matter of time, the Kodiak Bear just had to wait for the signal and he could break free. Alana was just waiting for the right time, when she needed him. Breaking out and not having her ready would put him in a very bad position, he was certain.

“Harv, they're just misunderstood. These poor guys must have been through a lot. Nothing is born that mean.” The younger guard said. He put his phone back in his pocket and set both feet on the floor as he stared at his partner. The older man scoffed as he walked away from the cage. His hands in his pockets.

“Yeah but when they get too dangerous you gotta put 'em down. I mean that's what we do with bad people right?”

“With a mentality like that it's no wonder they all want rights.”

“Oh now you're in favor of the whole animal rights thing.” Harvey frowned as he folded his arms.

“I didn't say that.” His partner held up his hands with the palms outward. “I just don't blame them for wanting it.”

“Sure, sure, it looks mighty suspicious on my end though. First you defend the bear, next you start talking about animal rights.”

“What is wrong with you? You're the loon that wants to kill every animal that ends up in that cage.”

"Not without good reason! I mean look at this bear he...” Harvey trailed off a little, a chill ran up his spine. All of his hair stood on end. With a gulp he turned towards the bear in the cage. Boris' demeanor had changed. The bear was smiling now, rows of dagger-like teeth that would chase away the devil himself gave off a faint glow in the fluorescent light of his meager prision. Harvey did not like this, not at all.

“Boy go get a dart gun.” Harvery ordered. There was one hanging from the wall with a box of darts not too far away from it. His partner only shrugged and looked over at the wall.

“Why?”

“Just do it!”

Before the young man could do anything, Boris smashed open his cage and pinned Harvey to the ground. His partner screamed as he tumbled backwards from his seat and hit his head on the floor. Both men were yelling like rabbits caught in a trap. Boris looked between both men, he was certain Harvey had wet himself somewhere in there. Meanwhile the younger one had gotten to his feet again and was already on his way to the tranquilizer rifle.

Boris recognized sound of the gun being pumped, ready to fire. He turned to the young man, his hands shaking and throwing off his aim. The bear growled and with a powerful swipe, smacked the rifle away. Its metallic clatter filled the small concrete room twice over with echoes. Boris let out a powerful roar. His jaws inches away from the younger man's face. With a gasp the man lost all constitution and fainted.

The bear smiled as he looked down at Harvey, his hands covering his face while he cowered on the ground.

“So big man, what are we going to do?” Boris stepped over to the man and looked down at him.

“Y-you can start by getting back in that cage and being a good little bear. Maybe I won't have you put down when this is over with. I'll put in a good word for you, but you sure aren't helping your case.”

Boris laughed at the man's feeble attempt to sound tough. “Big talker aren't you! You and I, we aren't so different. You want to put down all of the bad animals, and me, I want to put down all of the bad men.” The bear flexed his paw, his bright white claws glimmered in the fluorescent. Harvey shook his head, what little tough guy he had left in him had left.

“No no no please don't kill me! I...I got a wife and kids...and a sister...I even have a dog!”

“Oh you own pets?”

“Yeah!” The man smiled and held his hand up to his face.

“I hate pet owners.” The bear snarled and swung his paw, it was like watching a sledgehammer come down. Harvey closed his eyes and braced for impact, only for it to not come. He peeked a little, the bear had stopped in his tracks. A strange glow in his eyes.

Boris what on earth do you think you are doing? I said rough him up, not kill him. You remember the last time you broke our little agreement don't you...

That familiar feline voice filled his mind. “S-sorry Miss Alana!”

“What the...” Harvey whispered to himself as he backed away, the dart gun but inches away.

I need you to get your head in the game Boris. I am in the middle of frying a brain here and some little brat is going to do all he can to stop me. He has access to a few powerful individuals that could very easily do just that.

“Right on Miss Alana, I'll take care of him don't you worry.”

And no killing! Just nab him and hide him away until my job is finished. Oh and Boris, be a dear and turn around.

Boris swiveled around and saw Harvey reaching for the gun. With another powerful roar he sprinted over to dart gun and picked it up. The guard yelped and scooted back as the bear used his brute strength to snap the dart gun in half like a twig.

“You're a lucky man, you know that?” Boris grumbled. “I have bigger problems right now, but if you call your friends, just know that I have your scent. And next time you will not be so lucky.”

Harvey nodded as Boris left the room. Not quite sure what to think about what just happened.

~~

Jon stumbled a little off of the porch and rubbed his sore neck, the taste of deer carcass still lingered on his lips. With a groan he took a few steps away from the wolf house and waved at the wolves standing on the door step. He could see the cubs laughing their heads off.

“Remember to ask your parents about that hunting trip! We'd love to have you for a weekend.” Miles waved at the pup. Jon smiled and nodded as he took a few staggering steps away.

“Oh and do please come back! He won't do this to you every time you come over.” Lucretia called out to the pup. “Right Miles?”

“What was that?”

Jon had learned the difference between how cubs wrestled, and how grown wolves wrestle. The wolf had demonstrated a few maneuvers when it came to wild animal fighting and establishing dominance. Miles decided to treat him like a wolf cub. Simply put, not go easy on him at all. He did not know the meaning of sore until he had a wolf maybe six times his size pinning him down.

On the bright side the food was delicious! Once he got past the fact that he was eating a corpse and not some ground beef. It was harder to eat something that had a face, its dull eyes staring at him with each bite.

Now that he was through with that he needed to do his part in saving King. Just a little walk away to Sabrina's house. Which, to him, felt like a million miles with his sore limbs. He had to will each step forward, his once boundless puppy energy now whittled to grit and fumes. To his horror, he realized if his parents found out playing at the wolves house tuckered him out this bad, they might make him go every day.

He was much too deep in his thoughts to realize, not too far ahead, a large figure was waiting for him.


~~

Typing, typing, typing. Move the text block here, cut and paste there. Adjust the headline size, type some more. Move a block here, wait whoops, hit the undo button, readjust, nope, hit the undo button again.

Peanut felt his eyes start to cross as he showcased his page layout skills. His editor hovering behind him, watching like a hawk. For his first time bumbling around on a computer he was not doing too bad. All around him he could hear reserved chatter between co-workers and keyboards.

“Didn't you say you have done very little digital work before?” Gulliver said.

“Yeah, I tried Microsoft paint once, hated it.” Peanut muttered as his eyes scanned the page and then looked over at his new boss.

“Well I must say you're catching on pretty well. That's not a bad layout for a rookie.” Gulliver looked over the page.

“Thanks.” Peanut smiled, he got an actual compliment. Not bad for his first day on the job.

“But your alignment is a little sloppy here or there, pay attention to your rulers and guidelines. And for goodness sake change that font, it's atrocious.”

And with that his ears fell. “Okay then.” Peanut sighed a little as he went back over the mistakes and tried to correct them. He bit his bottom lip in concentration trying to align the blocks of text and the graphics, only to stumble a little and mess up. He tried again, and again, but it never seemed to work.

“Come on, use your guidelines.”

“Henry stop messing with the poor dog.”

“I'm testing him.”

Peanut turned to face the sound of the voice. A dalmatian strolled up from behind another desk and climbed up onto his chair. Shoving him to the side a little to make room on the seat. With skilled hands she highlighted the squares and clicked a small button at the top corner of the screen. The squares aligned themselves in a neat little fashion. Peanut's jaw dropped a little as the dog scanned her handiwork and nodded.

“For future reference, just use your alignment tools instead of doing all that tedious mouse work. Time is money you know.” She winked and glanced over the page. “Also these fonts clash a little. They look too similar. Both are sans serif fonts, just change it up and give the headline a serif font.”

Peanut kind of understood. Kind of. He watched the dog look over the screen and nod again as she hopped off of the chair. Her tail flicked a little as she walked back to her computer.

“You always ruin my fun.” Gulliver chuckled, he was bantering with the dalmatian. As if they were equals. Peanut felt a little short changed, why was he being so chummy with that dog and not him?

“You're probably going to give the poor guy an aneurism if you keep that up.” She said, glancing up from her computer screen and sticking her tongue out at the rather scary looking man.

And with that everyone went back to work. Peanut was left wondering just who that dog was. In fact she was the only other animal he had seen at one of the computers all day. Gulliver hired others, he knew that. He was obligated to hire five, that's what was in the contract. So where were the other three?

“Hey new guy, can I talk with you for a minute?”

Peanut looked away from his computer screen and tilted his head. “Huh who said that?”

“Over here.”

The dog glanced down and saw a raccoon with a notepad. A little confused, but not about to argue. He smiled and nodded. “Uh, yeah sure, what's up?”

“Just want to get to know my co-workers is all. Let's start simple, what's your favorite color? Do you sleep on the cold side of the pillow? If you could be a vegetable which one would you be?”

Peanut's smile dropped a little. “Come again?”

“Okay, okay, here let's try these other questions. How old were you when you stubbed your toe the first time? If aliens came to earth, what would be the first book you would recommend to them?”

“How about you start with his name.” The dalmatian called over, a patient smile on her face.

“Ah yes of course, what's your name?”

“Peanut Butter Sandwich.” The dog nodded and held his paw out to shake the Raccoon's.

“Good to meet you sir! I am Carlin Jones. Or just CJ if you prefer.”

Peanut realized that both of those names were the last names of celebrities. That could not have been his real name, but he decided to just let it go. “Nice to meet you CJ, so are you new here, like me?”

“Yup! Been studying to be a writer and my travels take me here.”

“A writer? Really?” Peanut said, a little intrigued.

“Really. I'm writing about humans and their quirky behaviors here in the cities. You see us forest dwellers are ignorant to the ways of human life. Yet all of us want that funny little thing they call 'rights.' I want to teach everyone what it means to be 'human' by interacting in a human world. And thus it is my mission to...”

“Okay CJ I think he gets it.”

“Sorry, I apologize, I am very long winded. It is my blessing and my curse.” The raccoon laughed a hearty laugh, which was actually quite powerful for such a small creature.

“So uh, why did you join?” CJ pulled out his pencil and looked up at Peanut with thoughtful eyes.

“To provide for my family if I needed to.” Peanut replied as he saved the page he was working on and closed it.

“Oooh a working man -er I mean dog. White collar dog! Or really more of a red collar. Winning the bread for his family. How romantic! How many mouths do you have to feed? Does your wife miss you?”

“I just have one son, and I'm sure my wife misses me.” Peanut replied. Though if one thing was for certain, he did miss her, but it was going to be a few hours before he was going to head home. “Well technically she's not my wife, pet marriage is not legally recognized. I went through all of the paper work for any sort of loopholes, there aren't any.”

In reality he was not even his own son's legal guardian. His owners were. Odd to say that Jon really was not his son, at least not under the sanction of any laws. But as always he had to keep his chin up and hope for the best. If things kept going the way they were, at the very least he would get to marry and actually have legal ownership of his son. A perk amongst all of that animal rights stuff floating about.

“Is it true your 'wife' is a cat?” CJ asked.

Peanut opened his mouth, but made not a sound. The question took a moment to set in before it began to shock him. Where did this raccoon already hear about that?

“Yeah...how did you know?”

“A reporter never reveals his sources.”

“I told him.” The dalmatian called over to them.

“Bah you're no fun!”

“Wait so how did you know?” Peanut said, trying to mask the hostile suspicion in his voice. Who did that dog think she was?

“It's my job to know Mr. Sandwich. I'm an editor, specifically the editor in charge of all you new animals on the team.”

“But...Jenny Gulliver has that title.” Peanut said.

“And who do you think I am?”

Peanut nearly face palmed. He had assumed Jenny Gulliver was the man's wife. It was his...pet? “Oh jeez I'm sorry.”

"It's fine. Not many pets get to work the paper, let alone end up an editor.” She giggled a little and looked over at the large man.

“Yeah, yeah, now I actually have to pay you.” Gulliver rolled his eyes. “I trust you have things under control then Jen?”

“Sure thing Pops.” Jenny nodded and smiled.

“Okay well I'm going to check on the others, good luck. You're gonna need it.” Gulliver said as he walked away.

“Alright then, let's get to work.” Jenny clasped her hands and smiled.

~~

Snow yawned as she eased her head on the soft downy pillow. This was the life. No more streets, no more street dogs. No more alley cats to bicker over scraps of food. Just a cozy warm pillow and a television with a billion channels. Getting kidnapped was the best thing to ever happen to her.

Well meeting Sabrina while being kidnapped, to be specific.

She could get over the whole dog loving thing for the comforts of a home. What standards she had stooped to! But the pillow was so soft and house was so warm. Complaining was not an option, she decided.

“Snooow!”

It was that pup! She threw the pillow over her head and tried to ignore the knocking and shouting. She wanted nothing more to do with that darn dog, she had humored for hours the entire night before.

“Sabrina? Tarot? Open the door! Snoow please there's a bear and he wants to eat me!” Jon was screaming at this point.

“Sure he does!” Snow shouted. “Go ask that man-eating tiger next door for help.”

“No really there's a bear!” Jon pounded the door, and she could swear he kicked it a few times. “Snooow!”

“Ugh fine I'm coming.”

Snow threw the pillow and grumbled to herself as she took her sweet time walking across the house. The pounding on the door grew more and more frantic. That pup was a serious headcase! She let out a yawn as she unlocked the door and opened it.

“Thankyouthankyouthankyou!” Jon shoved past her and crawled on the couch and hid his head. Snow looked out into the street and peeked around. It was, in fact, bearless. She wrinkled her nose as he walked by, what a stench. Had he been eating a carcass? Along the front of his chest was red blood stains. All she could think was a simple "Yuck."

“Jon there's nothing there.”

“No I swear there was this big huge bear and he was chasing me and he tried to eat me and I just wanted to come here because King is in a coma because death-talkers are eating his soul and I threw sand in the bears face but he still tried to eat me so I ran but I was so sore from the wolves house that it was so hard to run and now I just wanna...wanna...” Jon took a long breath. “I just wanna sleep! But I can't sleep cuz the bear is gonna eat me! And I need Sabrina and Tarot to go save King because his soul is getting eaten.”

Snow shook her head and stared at the ground. Not a word the pup had managed to sputter made a lick of sense to her. But he was an imaginative pup, if last night's experience was anything to go by. Though something disturbed her. Sabrina and Tarot were in town out to lunch with his mother, he should have known that both of them were still gone. And if he knew it was just Snow at the house, and he was making up outlandish stories to stay there. Then there was his mixed species parents. The puzzle was fitting together in the most terrible way.

“Okay pup time for you to leave.”

“No, no, no the bear will eat me. You don't understand there is a big huge monster bear and it wants to eat me.”

“Stop making crud up! I know dogs like you, bratty little puppies that can't go a minute without someone gawking over them.” Snow snapped. Jon shut up and whimpered. “Look you're...okay, but I'm not at all interested in you like that. I don't care if you act like a cat, I don't like you like that because you're still a dog. I have humored you for the last time, get...out!”

“But...but...” Jon stuttered. He was beyond confused. “I don't like you like that though.”

“I said...” Snow paused for a moment. The indignant little pup! “What do you mean you don't like me like that? What so I'm not good enough for your standards mutt?”

Jon grabbed his ears and looked down. “No that's not what I meant I...can't win. I just want to be safe from the bear that's trying to eat me.”

The two shared an awkward silence, Sabrina's television was blaring something about Chia Pets. He took a deep breath and buried his face in the pillow that Snow had been using earlier. She took note to never touch that pillow again. Once again she found herself sitting next to the dog, watching television. Feeling bad for him.

She had to get rid of him and fast.

“Okay, okay. Let's start over. Why did you come here again?”

“I need a psychic to come save a friend. Someone is trying to steal his soul of something. At least that's what the wolf cubs think.” Jon explained, he seemed almost unaware how insane he sounded.

“Sabrina and Tarot aren't going to be home for like another hour, with your mom as a matter of fact. Didn't she tell you where she was going?”

“Uh...” Jon remembered his mom mentioning something about leaving. Though at the time he was in the middle of watching the remake of that Duke McGurdle TV show. Instead of remembering the important things, like where his mom would be going, he had retained the scene where McGurdle picked the lock his cage using nothing but the components of his collar. On the bright side, it was a neat scene.

“Alright that's not important. If I come and help you out, will you leave me alone?”

Jon's ears perked up as he smiled. “That would be great! I'd do everything you ever wanted if you helped me out. But there's a bear out there and he wants me gone. I think he's working with the bad guys trying to take King's soul.”

Snow doubted the dog's sanity with each word he said. She just had to deal with him one last time and she could get him to bug off. Well that was how it was supposed to work. “Well...do you know of anyone who can give you a ride?”

“We could call my grandma, she's at the house today.” Jon shrugged as he walked to the phone “I hope we'll make it in time though.”

The kitten rolled her eyes and watched the pup walk away. Grandma, he called his owner grandma. Everything seemed upside down in Babylon Gardens. Never in her life had she met animals quite like this.

She would never, ever get used to this.

~~


King yelped as he tumbled out of another memory, rubbing his leg and whimpering. He had tumbled off of his bike as a child and broke his leg in two places. That was one of those things he should have left alone. Still in the distance were more and more memories, it almost seemed unreal.

“There has to be a better way to do this.” He muttered.

He had gone through tons of those repressed memories and it seemed like he had gone no further. One after the other and no progress was made out of his mind. All he was left with was his broken childhood. The imposter did say he was going to prison, no matter what.

“Hello? Is anyone there?”

That was a very unfamiliar voice. King looked around the vast darkness and scratched his chin. “Yeah! Who's talking to me?”

“Hey it worked! Okay you don't know me and I don't really know you, but your friends said you needed some help.”
“Okay?” King sat down on the ground and looked for the source of the voice.

“I have a plan that might work, but I'm not entirely sure it will.”

“Well...great.” King sighed. He didn't have much of a choice.

A bright flash filled the darkness for a split second. Way off in the distance a door opened, inside a lavish was he interior of a lavish first class elevator. One found at fancy five star hotels.

“Is that one of those anomalies you mentioned?” King gulped.

“I sure hope not, it should be your way out. Right now you're walking around the storage unit of your consciousness. Every thing you've ever seen or done is stuffed back here, for better or for worse.”

“Okay that makes a lot of sense, I guess.” The corgi replied as he jogged up into the elevator and stepped inside.

“Now this is the tricky part. To get anything out of that little storage area, your brain needs to pull it out to use it. In theory you should be able to control your brain, but you've lost all control somehow.”

“That's great news, just great. Next you're going to say I have cancer and my girlfriend is dumping me.” King grumbled as he slumped against the elevator wall.

“You're just the optimist aren't you?” The voice replied.

“It's one of my charms.” King said.

“Indeed, I'm certainly charmed. Anyways, we need to get control of your body back if you ever want out of this mess. I could take you directly to the source of the problem...but I think its way too powerful for either of us to handle. We need to drag it to a place where you are just as powerful, and we need to get rid of it before it can escape to anywhere else.”

The elevator doors closed as a panel of buttons lit up on the side. It was a diagram of his brain! Each button a different area to visit. Right now he was locked away in a certain part of the cerebrum.

“Okay just tell me what to do.”

“Well we need to find it first, and we need a place to take it. Any ideas where it might be?”

“Look I'm the wrong guy to be asking about all of this brain nonsense.” King held up his paws in exasperation.

“Okay, okay, let me give your brain a look through. It should only take a moment...” the voice trailed off for a moment. “Ah there we go it's located...wait a second. You're an Avatar?”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Goodness I might have to get your autograph when you're done! I've never met a real Universes and Realities avatar before. Even if you are a mangy little dog...”

“Get to the point!”

“Right. Whatever is invading your brain is attracted to the parts that are sensitive to the supernatural. Your brain has a gigantic hotspot, whomever is there wants to rid you of your avatar status.”

“Good they can take it.” King replied. The elevator doors closed as the hotspot highlighted itself on the diagram of the brain. Calm music played as the strange psychic elevator traveled away from the dark depths of the cerebrum.

“It's a little more complicated than that. Because if they take it like this your entire brain will be fried.”

“And we don't want that.” The corgi rubbed his temples and sighed.

“Your brain is putting up one heck of a fight though. But it can only fight so long before it fails.”

“Just tell me what to do about this thing in my brain.” King snapped. He was not very fond of the whole fried brain idea.

“Okay, in your own brain you are most powerful where your dreams and imagination lie. Because the only thing that limits you there is your very own imagination after all! I just hope you have a good imagination.”

He felt beyond stupid for a moment there. The corgi would have to go back where he started. That imposter Fox was in his dream. He was certain of it. Had he known that he had the ability to strike him down right then and there, well, things would have turned out for the better.

“Now arriving at that hotspot, just give the signal when you've got its attention and I'll open the way to your imagination, I'll keep the door on standby. Good luck!”

“Yeah...gonna need it.” King said as he took a few cautious steps out of the elevator.

Once again he was standing in a field of vast darkness, but this time at the very center was a gigantic pillar of light. Pulsating and throbbing as golden rings of light scattered around. He never would have imagined something like this existed in his own head. Somewhere close by had to be the leech trying to destroy this pillar.

Something like that could not be hard to find, at least he hoped. He was not sure what to look for. It could be anything from his imagination and beyond, a creature that should take shape of anything it so desired.

“Curses! This is turning out to be much harder than I thought...”

King kept his head low and searched for the source of the voice. It was some sort of feline, at least he thought it was a feline. She firing what looked like a giant energy siphon into the pillar. A cord of electrified energy, but to no avail. The pillar simply pulsated and sparked, the sparking siphon became no more. He realized he had to snag the cat's attention somehow. Among his limited options, he settled on the first one came to mind.

“Hey, hey you!” King cupped his paws around his muzzle and shouted. “Yeah I'm talking to you!”

“What on earth?” The cat looked away from the pillar and saw the corgi waving his arms and dancing around.

“Check it out! Big tough brain leech is too stupid to break my...avatar...pillar thingy.” King stuck his tongue out at the cat.

“Oh Joel your taunts are adorable! I must admit Pete picked such an adorable form for you.”

“Yeah I'll show you adorable.” King jogged up to the cat, which was giving him quite an amused smile.

“Oooh what's the wittle puppy gonna do?”

King did not respond with words, rather, he reared his right foot back. The cat's eyes narrowed as the corgi gave her a solid kick in the shin. With a yelp she grabbed at her leg and stumbled a little. Somehow he had hurt it! It felt somewhat cathartic too! He was tempted to do it again, but she stood back up, a raging fire in her eyes. Quite literally too.

He ducked as a beam of pure energy fired from the pupils of this cat creature invading his mind. He stuck his tongue out again and ran in the opposite direction. Fire balls and lightning bolts striking every which way he could run. If he had a tail he would have lost it for sure.

“I need that door now thank you very much!” King screamed as a giant, burning pair of claws smashed the ground next to him.

“On it!”

Not too far ahead crack in the air appeared. Light pierced through it as it opened wider and wider. King winced as he felt the strangest pain in his head. He could feel it, right behind his eyes.

“Sorry sorry sorry, just jump through.” The voice apologized.

King covered his eyes and dove into the crack. Hoping the creature would follow. He tumbled a little and stuck his landing for once. Proud of his small achievement, he turned to face his foe. A black cloud of darkness surrounded him, filling his lungs. He covered his face and felt the world grow dim.

“Gas mask, gas mask, please gas mask.” King muttered over and over, closing his eyes and envisioning the small breathing apparatus on his face. In an instant one appeared. Fresh air flowing to his lungs. He gave a cocky grin to a pair of read eyes floating in the dark clouds.

“Fool! I am more powerful here than anywhere else in your brain.”

“No you're just a figment of my imagination here.” King smiled as he pulled out a vacuum and turned set it to high suction. The clouds spiraled around as the red eyes in the clouds grew wide with surprise. Little by little the vacuum filled, only for the clouds to become solid.

A giant red eyed tiger like creature exploded from the vacuum and lashed out King. The corgi ducked as it stumbled into a cage that had appeared out of nowhere. He locked the cage and stuck his tongue out at the tiger creature. It snarled and turned into the cloud of smoke as it tried to faze through the bars. King simply changed the cage into an airtight container.

“Checkmate.” King smiled as he walked over to the container. The cloud of gas transformed into a much larger tiger creature in an attempt to smash out with size. It only ended up becoming a cramped mess. It turned back into the cloud, and then into the cat form it had earlier. The frustration apparent in its eyes.

“You're better at this than you let on.” The voice from nowhere replied. “Why can't she break out?”

“I had to ask myself a question, can a god make an object so tough they can't break it? On the downside I can't really do anything about this container at the moment.”

“Not to worry, now that we have it stuck here I think I can wait for some help to come and expel it. She's not going anywhere anytime soon though.”

“Indeed.” King nodded. “Uh...sorry for being a little impatient earlier. I had to see some very painful memories. And then you come by and told me they were useless.”

“It really depends how you look at it. What you went through down there sucked, I'm sure, but I somethings are better left unforgotten you know? And don't sweat it. Not everyday your brain is gonna get fried. Glad to be of assistance mister Avatar! You owe me that autograph.”

“Whatever you want...can you get me out of here though?”

“Oh yes, sure, just walk through that door over there.”

King saw a sold oak door materialize next to him. With a sigh he walked to the door and grabbed the handle. A frown appeared on his face.

“Hey...whoever you are. You've been gallivanting around in my brain and stuff...and you probably saw some stuff that might be a little disturbing.”

“What, you got turned into a dog? Indeed! A dog was the worst thing to be turned into, ugh I pity you. You poor guy.”

“Yeah let's keep that whole thing our little secret.”

“Whatever you say mister Avatar.”

King twisted the knob and nodded as he opened the door. A bright light enveloped him once again as he took a few easy steps out.

~~

“D-did it work?”

Everyone's mouth was smiling at the corgi. All except the veterinarian, who was about to faint. King groaned a little as he sat up in his bed and looked around the antiseptic room. He rubbed his eyes and winced a little, the bright white light was not helping his migraine any.

“You did it Snow! You saved him!” Jon whooped and hugged the cat. She immediately shoved him off and groaned.

“Yeah nice try cat lover.” She grumbled. He put on that sad, sad puppy face and looked down. “Oh fine just one hug.”

“I think she kinda likes it.” One of the wolf cubs whispered to the others as they all snickered. Snow blushed and shoved Jon off again and folded her arms. All while shooting a death glare in the direction of the wolves. They all looked away, a bit of feigned innocence in their eyes.

“King! Are you okay? I got to Fox's house when he broke the news and I just had to come straight here...”

King smiled, he knew that voice. “Bailey! What are you doing here?”

“I'm visiting uncle Bill for the holidays, thought it might be a nice excuse to come see my long distance boyfriend.”

The she-husky crawled up on the bed and nuzzled his nose as he scratched behind her ear and smiled. Most of the younger pets in the room groaned and looked away. Jon however, giggled, quite used to the mushy stuff his parents shared.

Snow, had a much different look on her face. It was a very confused one. King caught sight of it and realized, that kitten was the voice in his head. She knew his secret.

“Is something wrong?” Bailey backed away a bit and looked King in the eyes.

“No, nothing's wrong.” King smiled, a sheepish grin on his face. The cat knew he was human. Now she knew he was in a relationship with a dog.

“You sure?”

“Very sure, now come here you, we have some snuggles to catch up on.” King grabbed the husky around the neck and pulled her close. The two shared that warm embrace for a little while longer.

“I'd hate to interrupt, but everything seems to be in order. Who is covering the bill?” The vet folded his arms and looked at the dog on the bed.

“I've got good coverage, I mean, the Milton Ferrets handle that kind of thing.”

“Oi the ferrets. Okay, okay. Fine.” The vet rolled his eyes. “Good to know you're safe though! You had us all worried, and then this little kitten here says she can fix it. Lo and behold she does! No one is ever going to believe this.”

“Maybe it's better that way.” King shrugged as he swung his feet over the bed. “Uh...is it okay if I leave. I feel kind of awkward snuggling in public here.”

“Ah yes of course! Just sign some paper work and you can be on your way.”

Paperwork...well that beats breaking his leg in two places.

_________________
At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

RP Character:
Lucky Abbot: S-9 P-6 E-7 C-6 I-7 A-4 L-3


Last edited by Honorable Intentions on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:38 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
Heh, gotta love Snow!
You know, this Alana gal is turning up, magic-wise, just like Winter in Stu's comic. She SO deserves a nice tail-kicking! :twisted:

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Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:54 am
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Post Re: The New Era
This chapter was totally hilarious hahaha :lol:
"Cat lover", been months since last time I read this words. Like valerio said, you gotta love Snow and her attitude ("I think she likes it" hahaha well said wolf cubs :D )

So finally we could saw Peanut at work, that dalmatian seems really cool, the same with her owner, though that racoon probably is gonna be all a headache throughout his workday. (By the way, you call the dalmatian as "cat" in somewhere, maybe you should correct it just to avoid confusion)

I love Boris and Alana so much! you've created very good villains (or I should say "very bad"?). Now Alana is trapped in King's mind and Boris fail in his mission to stop Jon, now I wonder how they going to strike back?

And the last but not less, I didn't know King had agreed to be Pete's avatar, then how is that possible? :o theres something we don't know yet? a back story? or a trick from Pete?

P.S.: And where was Arcana while this was happening? :?:

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Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:02 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
Whoops! :oops: Thought I fixed all of the cat things in the final draft, in the original draft I had Jen as a cat but then I realized there wasn't enough female dog characters in my story. Thanks for pointing it out though!

Snow and her attitude is a lot of fun to write, she's like my kid sister that I can't seem to hate even with all that attitude.

And not to worry, all will be revealed ;)

_________________
At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

RP Character:
Lucky Abbot: S-9 P-6 E-7 C-6 I-7 A-4 L-3


Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:33 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
oh ok that explains it. :lol:

I'm pretty sure Snow is a character really funny to write, I don't know why but all my favorite female characters of all the series I follow and saw always have strong personalities. So to me would have to be really hard (just to not say imposible) to not love a "sweetheart" like Snow :lol:

And for the rest, I'm pretty sure you're not going to left anything without explain it, all what I saying was rhetorical questions. So don't worry, I trust in you ;)

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Mon Dec 24, 2012 2:35 am
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Post Re: The New Era
Housepets: The New Era


Perpetual Check

“Mhmm, yup, I understand.” He grumbled over the telephone and sighed. “Hold on a moment I need to take this call.”

Pete's eyes glowed yellow as the phone line switched to his “private line.” The one that was only for end of the world type emergencies. Now what had Alana gotten herself into?

“Excuse me, is this Senator Hooke?”

The voice on the line was gruff, very deep. Most decidedly not Alana. Pete raised an eyebrow and rubbed his temple as he prepared for whatever happened.

“It's about Miss Alana, she's, uh, stuck.”

“Stuck?”

“In someone else's brain, I think. She tried to deal with that Corgi person but turns out his friends came to the rescue. They proved too much for me to handle.” Boris said, trying to mask the embarrassment in his voice. After all he had been bested by a pup about a tenth of his size. Sand in the face and a large branch to the groin, what a cruel trick.

“She what?” Pete tried to keep his voice down, he was after all in his office in DC.

“She's stuck in someone else's brain, I already told you.”

Confound it all! That cat and her over zealous little brain was going to be the death of him. Twice, twice now she had gotten too cocky and acted without his permission. He told her not to deal with his Avatar until he gave the okay.

Why did he have to get such rebellious minions?

But he already knew the answer to that question, he chaos was his playing style. It probably attracted people just like him. That being said, sometimes he wondered how he got anything done in the world. Alana was vital to his plans, without her his rival had a distinct advantage. Without someone to stave off the psychics, they could easily dig up evidence of his dirty politics.

Be it Universes and Realities or his steady march to Pennsylvania Avenue, playing fair was not always on his agenda. Unrestrained, Dragon would use her resources to do some digging. Find some physical evidence and flush his chances for presidency down the drain.

“Senator Hooke?”

“Okay, here's what I want you to do...”

~~

The Sandwich household was silent. Not a television blaring, nor mindless chatter here or there. Absent was the thump of a puppy jumping from the couch (or pirate ship depending on the game) to tackle Uncle Max. It was the ideal conditions for a catnap. However Grape never realized how large the house could seem. How empty and how dead it could be. It almost felt like it had been abandoned.

She had been in a relationship with a dog for so long, that his anxious habits were starting to rub off on her. The thought was ridiculous, she was too smart for that. If anything she was the one rubbing habits onto Peanut. Not vice versa. Or was it really about being smart? The dog had always just been there for her. Without the Good Old Dogs club to take up his time he would get with her and take her places, or occasionally she would drag him along to places. They would not separate, not after so many years of being apart under the same roof.

But Peanut had to work, he had to play the part of a human. She knew what was at stake if he did not become acclimated to such a life style. They were not going to earn just rights, but every last repercussion that came with them. There was already rumors going about that once the animal rights amendments were passed, they were going to be hit with a hurricane of political problems.

They would have to pay taxes, have to register in things like the military, if they had kids they had to prove to child protective services they were eligible parents. If they did not make the cut in any of those fields, well, Grape did not want to imagine losing Jon or her home.

“Alright I need to go hangout with someone before I go crazy.” Grape grumbled as she grabbed her scarf and walked out the front door.

~~

Their presence hovered around in the air, the dim light of a laptop casting shadows far across the room. Eyes scanning loading bar after loading bar. A password dialog appeared on screen. It was no problem at all for her.

56768

She typed in the numbers as they appeared in her head. Little by little she was breaking in. Searching databases left and right. Her eyes began to sting a little, she winced and rubbed them with gentle paws as she turned away from the computer screen.

Perhaps you should take a break​? A voice called to her from the corner of her brain.

“No it's these accursed mortal eyes, they wear out much too fast.” Arcana sighed. “Ugh, we're running out of time before Pete makes his next move.”

If you insist.

Arcana rolled her eyes and scanned the screen in front of her. There were police reports, e-mails, photographic evidence. One after the other she saved them to the laptop's hard drive. Each another weapon in her arsenal against Peter Hooke. A yawn seized her jaws as she watched loading bar after loading bar, once again feeling her eyes start to burn.

Dragon, you should not abuse your mortal body like this. Take a break, Pete can't make his next move without his key player.

“What do you mean?” Arcana looked away from the laptop.

I mean while you decided to play master hacker, that Alana gal got herself captured, seems like that little kitten tagging along paid off.

“What? Why didn't you tell me this earlier?”

You never asked.

Arcana sighed as she looked at the laptop screen. She wanted to call it a night, but she somehow knew that Pete would just keep working. It was a mystery to her, how he cold just keep on going. Just because he lost an asset did not mean he done. She knew he was used to “assets” turning on him. The human, Joel, came to mind as she thought about it. What a poor soul, his only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pete took advantage of him, but Dragon could always look back and laugh. Pete struck a deal with the wrong jerk.

The man, now a dog known as King, agreed to become Pete's avatar. Only to do the best thing of all with his new status, absolutely nothing. Some of the most powerful magic on that side of the universe had fallen into his hands, and King opted to take it and hold onto it, to leave it alone and lock it away. Just to spite the Gryphon. Contracts bound them together, but King was free to defy every order Pete gave. Until Pete went under the radar. Dragon never would have dreamed Pete would work with such diligence. It taught her a lesson in Hubris though, never underestimate the gryphon, even if he is lazy. Even with all of his restrictions he somehow managed to build a political empire.

Well, she knew how he did it now.

Extortion, violence, lots and lots of money. Peter Hooke became a household name in two years. Now she could expose him for it, she could get it published, she just needed a trusted news source to relay the information. In fact she needed more than one, just to make her points look less like slander and more like physical evidence. After all, she was not about to tell the world the ghosts in her head gave her access to thousands upon thousands of files detailing various “operations” Pete conducted to build his empire. Arcana bit her tongue as she heard the door open behind her, with a yelp she shut her laptop and turned around.

“Uh...is this a bad time?” Tarot asked as she peeked into the room. She flicked the light switch up and took a seat. “Why are all the lights out?”

“No, no you're fine. I thought you were someone else.” Arcana sighed with relief. “How was lunch?”

“It was fine, you know restaurants are starting to add Pet options on the menu now? It's really kind of neat. Now cats don't have to wait for the catch of the day to become the catch of yesterday.”

“Well that's good I guess.” Arcana shrugged.

“What about you, what have you been doing? I haven't seen you since like last night. You've been locked up here for like a day now.” Tarot asked.

“Like I said, research. On our good friend Peter Hooke to be specific.” Arcana said as she opened the laptop again and pulled it over towards Tarot. “Been digging and digging on him, and I've learned Pete has showcased his typical behavior.”

“You really sure it's all that bad? I think he's being kind of harmless.” Tarot replied as she glanced over the laptop.

Arcana grimaced a little. Pete was a sneaky one, winning over everyone little by little with the promise of “benefits” here or there. Scraps from the human plate, give everyone a taste of what they are missing out on. There was always a catch though, Pete had to be planning much more than giving Pet's a special menu at restaurants.

“I am certain it's all that bad. He takes pets and has them do his illegal bidding, and then that gets him in power. He promises pets rights, but he wants more than just that.”

“Well what else is he planning?”

“I...don't know.” Arcana rested her head in her paws and rubbed her eyes. “But I know Pete, I know how he works.”

Tarot frowned as she shut the laptop and nodded. “Okay Dragon, I understand.”

“So you're with me in trying to stop him?”

“yes...I am.” A glint of hesitance in her eyes. “I don't want him to hurt any more people.”

“Glad I could count on you Tarot.” Arcana smiled as she grabbed the laptop. “Any idea who we might talk to about getting this stuff in the papers?”

It seemed like fate had preordained it, because just recently someone rather close was now in the publishing business. “You know what...I do.”

~~

“Avast ye Land Lubber, I've come to take ye rinky dinky ship! And to execute yer whole crew!”

The wolves stifled giggles as Jon threw on his most convincing pirate accent. Snow sat in a small cardboard box next to Rudy. Her unamused glare was probably capable of burning through wrought iron. When she did not respond, Rudy risked life and limb, and nudged her. Jon drew out his sword, standing at the edge of his ship. The wolf family living room couch. Alexander stumbled around with two eye patches while Lupa had a rather terrified looking living breathing sparrow sitting on her shoulder.

“I'm not doing this.” Snow muttered.

“Come on it's fun.”

“I said I'm not doing this.” Snow whispered, her voice harsh.

“We could play chase the cat up a tree and bark for a few hours instead.” Rudy gave her a snide little smile as she rolled her eyes.

“Oh no, Captain Blue Fur, how ever will we escape.” Snow said in a rather unconvinced tone.

Jon pulled out a plastic sword and held it aloft. His pirate hat, just a size too large, shifted a little off his head, but managed to stay on. With a battle cry he prepared to strike. When Rudy pulled an unexpected move.

“I know what we'll do!” Rudy shouted as he hid his head in the cardboard box.

“Gee I wonder what my first mate, Wolfy the useless, is going to do.” The cat sighed.

Rudy reemerged with a paper bag over his head. A crude, monster face drawn on it. With a ruthless sounding roar he pulled out a toy laser gun and aimed it at the captain. Jon's eyes grew wide with surprise.

“What was that? What happened?” Alexander asked, pulling off one of his eyepatches.

“Argh! He be an alien in disguise!”

“That's right Captain Blue Fur! Hasta la vista fluffy.” Rudy squeezed the trigger on the toy gun, lights flashed and sputtered as mechanical beeping and buzzing sounds filled the air. Jon shook a little, imaginary bullets riddled him as he tumbled backwards onto the soft cushion of the couch. His hat fell to the side as he looked up.

“Alas the good captain has fallen!”

“Heed my last words my loyal crew, avenge me!” Jon shouted before sputtering into a death rattle, his eyes crossed as he lay still on the couch.

“Argh! It looks like it be pirates versus aliens! But we're doomed.” Lupa threw her arms up in a dramatic fashion. Rudy prepped the gun to fire again.

“Fear not pirates! I come to your aid.”

The pirates gasped as they saw a figure with a black mask tumble into the room and throw a paper ninja star at Rudy. The alien had no idea what hit him as he tumbled out of the cardboard box, gasping for air as his laser gun fell to the side with a clatter. Snow face palmed as she saw the figure with the black mask stood up.

“A ninja has come to our rescue! Argh, I knew that treaty would come in handy.” Lupa cheered as Alexander high fived her.

The ninja chuckled as he removed his mask. “Dang it's been way too long since I've done something like that. Alright kiddo time to go home.”

“Aww dad!” Jon whined as he sat up, breaking character. Peanut smiled as he picked up Jon's hat and placed it on the pup's head.

“Hey don't shoot the messenger, mom says it's time to come home.” Peanut gave his son a firm pat on the back and yawned. “Thanks for keeping him busy today you guys.”

“Always a pleasure Mister Sandwich.” Alexander waved as the two dogs walked towards the door. The fact that everyone was starting to call him that always made him feel older, though he was not really all that old. Maybe because he was used to everyone calling his dad “Mister Sandwich.”

“That was so much fun! JT was right!” Rudy exclaimed as he examined the paper ninja star.

“Can I go home too?” A rather small voice squeaked among the noise. Lupa looked at the sparrow on her shoulder and shrugged.

“Sure go ahead.”

The bird disappeared in a flurry of feathers before any of the animals cold blink.

Snow watched the dogs and then looked back at the wolves as they shared a good laugh amongst each other. The kitten wanted cry she felt so out of place, so very awkward. But no Sabrina insisted she come, get to know dogs and make friends. What was she, her mother?

“Hey Snow, you need someone to walk you home?”

Oh no, she thought, now the dogs wanted to walk her home. It felt like a bizarre fever dream. Though, she would rather take her chances with the cat lovers than the wolves. Wolves that were, as a matter of fact, convinced she was some tribal emblem of death.

“Sure Mister Sandwich.” Snow replied. Her voice was calm, yet her eyes told him other wise. It set off those strange instincts, the likes of which only found in fathers. He wanted to say something, but he knew there was nothing he could say to make it better.

“See you guys later.” Jon waved, one foot out of the door.

“Don't forget to ask about that camping trip.” Lupa winked. Peanut's ears went alert as he looked down at his son.

“Camping trip?” Peanut said.

He had been thrown under the bus! How could she do that to him? A weekend with Miles and his family was a weekend of him dealing with the insanity that was the wolf family. It would be a weekend just like that entire afternoon he had spent demonstrating his fearless stomach and becoming a practice dummy. “Yeah about that...”

“Dad wanted to know if Jon could come camping with us this weekend. It's a 'stay in touch with nature' kind of thing we do off and on.” Rudy explained.

“Camping, huh? You know that might be kind of fun.” Peanut smiled at Jon, who was doing his best to keep his ears and demeanor level. “You want to go Jon?”

Jon knew the question he was just asked had a right answer and a wrong one. If he said yes, he would be forced to endure feral “camping.” It really would be more like “surviving.” He would be asleep under the stars, exposed to the elements. Food would be the raw flesh of fellow animals.

On the other hand, he had a reputation to uphold in front of those wolves. If he chickened out they would never let him hear the end of it. Miles would end up disappointed in him and then the rest of his family would end up being disappointed. Then he would lose his chance to see his three only dog-like friends he had in the entire neighborhood close to his age.

“You mean I could really go?” Jon wagged his tail. Trying to keep his mind on the positives, he would be with his three new friends all weekend. They could play imaginate in the woods, or he could listen in on the ancient tales of wolven lore.

“Of course son! I'd ask to come along myself, but, my new schedule won't allow it.” Peanut sighed as he ruffled his son's fur. First time he ever had to say that and it would not be the last time.

“Well then I'm going.” Jon nodded. Hoping, just hoping, that this choice would not kill him.

“Great! We promise we'll have him home with most of his limbs Mr. Sandwich.” Lupa, once again the first to speak before her brothers, said.

“All of them would be ideal.” Peanut chuckled as he walked out of the door. “Now we best get going before my wife skins me alive for having this pup home late. All that weird stuff going on out there, kidnappings, bear attacks in the middle of the neighborhood. It's put her on edge about moving around at night.”

They said their final goodbyes as the three walked out of the wolves house and shut the door behind them. Snow fiddled with the tassels at the end of her scarf, while Jon and Peanut engaged in silent conversation. The pup went on and on about his day with the wolves.

It seemed all he would talk about lately was the time spent at their house. Things had gone that way ever since he had let him sleep over at their house. Always going on about what silly game he taught them, or what silly game they taught him. To any one on the outside looking in, Jon's friendship must have been hard to swallow.

Jon never gave off a big, imposing impression. He did not carry himself with the noble majesty that ferals often did. Rather he was just a runt of a pup, awkward in speech at times but always full of good intentions. Not really wolf material, as far as appearances were concerned.

Even Peanut was a little surprised by how quick the wolves had taken a liking to Jon. At the same time, he was happy for his son. Social stigma followed his family where ever he went, and his son was no exception. It was a nice change of pace to see him interact with other canines on such good terms..

The three pets approached Sabrina's house as Snow ran up to the front door. Salvation at last. The kitten let herself in and ran to the nearest quiet place she could fined. Not even bothering with a thank you. Peanut looked at Jon, who just gave him a shrug.

“Snow? Is that you?” Sabrina said as she entered the room. “Oh! What are you guys doing here?”

“Just making sure Snow made it home in one piece, she just ran off that way.” Peanut said as he gestured towards the room Snow ran to. “Be warned she doesn't seem to be in a good mood.”

“Trust me she never is.” Sabrina rolled her eyes.

“I'm sure she just needs to warm up to the neighborhood a little. Get used to pets, not strays.” Peanut said with a knowing smile. He had a little experience in watching the acclimation of a grouchy stray kitten into society.

“I sure hope she does soon, if things go the way I hope she is going to see a lot more Fido around here.” Sabrina gave him an uncharacteristic shy smile. “But that's just between you and me.”

Peanut nodded a little as he chuckled. Everyone had been wondering what those two had been going to do with each other for a very long time. Looks like he just got the answer.

“Well good night Sabrina, I need to get home. I'm surprised Grape isn't overloading my cellphone with calls, she expected me home a good five minutes ago.”

“Ah I see. Better hurry it up then, I'd hate see you guys get in trouble over Snow.”

“Nah don't worry about it.” Peanut replied.

“Oh! Before I forget, Arcana said she wanted you to have this.” Sabrina walked out of the room and returned with a small laptop. Peanut raised his brow as he took it. What an awfully expensive, and quite random, gift.

“Why does she want me to have it?”

“I thought you would know.” Sabrina shrugged. “I don't know why she won't tell me.”

“Where is she now?”

“They left a little earlier today, but they would not tell me where or why.” Sabrina frowned. “Not sure what they are trying to keep from me, but they have their reasons and I don't need to pry.”

“Alright then...see you.” Peanut said as he looked down at the laptop

~~

It passed. The bill had passed. Pete smiled to himself as he read the good news. It was perhaps his greatest step towards victory. All of those wild and rebellious animals could vote for him now. Ferals, zoo animals, pets, strays. History would remember this day, the day that turned the tide of battle.

Though he still had a few loose ends to tie up.

There was Joel, his avatar. Alana's consciousness was sealed away in his brain. Then there was the issue of the Dragon. Someone had been digging through his computer without his knowing. He had a few guesses as to who might be digging in his computer and leaving scant trails of evidence.

Whomever logged on had used his passwords, done everything like he would have. His only suspicions came from the exact time the computer had been used. He had it set to keep track of his log ins and times, someone had logged on when he knew he was not on his computer. If it was not the Dragon then he was not sure.

He tapped his foot, for once worried about this whole campaign. Everything was so perfect and now Alana had screwed it all up. His most powerful asset became his biggest hurdle in the space of an evening.

“Mister Hooke, there's a call for you, says it's urgent. He sounds kind of crazy, should I just let it go.”

“No, I'll get it Grace.” Pete sighed as he picked the phone from its receiver. “Senator Hooke speaking.”

“Senator, good news. You asked me to keep an eye on those weird pets? A dog just left with a laptop at their house.”

“Did you follow him?”

“Yes! Yes I did, he has the laptop and he's looking through it on his bed right now.”

“Is it possible to take it from him.”

“Oh not a problem sir, just have to wait for the right moment.”

“Alright, and one last thing.”

“Yes?”

“Don't call me from this number again.”

~~

Welcome back user, to resume session, type in password.

Peanut read the glowing words on the computer screen again and again, about ready to curse. She gave him a laptop and then ended up being cryptic about it. Why was she always so cryptic? All of those darn psychics and their little puzzles. He was a firm believer in the courtesy of a straight answer.

On the screen there was a flashing question mark that caught his eye. With nothing to lose he moved the mouse over to it and clicked it.

Password Hint: Six letter word, Fate, breaking up.

“Great, that helped.” Peanut rubbed his temples and sighed. He could figure this out, it was not impossible. This laptop was meant for him, so it applied to him somehow. These three little hints meant something.

Six letter words? Too broad of a hint for now.

What about fate? Tarot and Arcana always bugged him about fate. The world could end when the balance of fate was upset.

Breaking up. That would have to be the thing that narrowed the password down. A six letter word for fate breaking up? There were not very words for that which came to mind. The words turned in his head over and over, trying to piece them together somehow.

Breaking up and Fate.

“Oh duh!” Peanut slapped his forehead. The dragon knew of his break up with Tarot. In fact she was the one that had it happen. Fate, the dream he had concerned fate. To that day he could remember exactly what that dream was about.

The dog's fingers typed in the word “canvas,” counting the letters as he hit the keys. They added up to six. With a smile he pressed enter.

Welcome back Arcana!

The computer screen went black and then to white as the fans within the hardware buzzed to life. Peanut yawned a little as he waited for everything to load. The first thing that popped up on the screen was a text document, already open.

Contained in this laptop is valuable information concerning Senator Hooke. AKA Pete the Gryphon. He's taking his game further, and I fear for the future if he manages to win that election. Animal Rights might just be a cover up for something big, something very big. I'm taking a bus to Washington DC with Tarot to dig a little deeper, to discover his true motives. What I want you to do, is to publish this information to get the truth out. From What I understand, you work at The Scribe now. Get this to your superiors, get this information published. Ruin Pete before things fall apart.

Peanut read the words over and over again. On the desktop was a ton of files, each unlabeled. He had hundreds of documents, pictures, all of which at his disposal. His eyes narrowed as he shut the laptop. He knew what he had to do, yet he had no idea how he was really going to do it.

“You ever figure out that password hon?”

The dog turned a little and saw Grape standing in the doorway. “Oh, yeah, I did.”

“See I told you that you could do it without my help.” Grape smiled as she took a seat on the bed next to him. “Something wrong?”

“Nah...just tired I guess. Long day away from home.”

Grape stared at Peanut for a minute and stroked his back. “What was on that laptop?”

“Stuff I need to bring to the newspaper. Nothing that important.”

“If you say so.” Grape tucked herself underneath a blanket and nestled her head on his lap “I missed you today.”

“I missed you too.” Peanut smiled at the lavender cat. “And guess what, we get to do it again tomorrow.”

“Oh joy.” Grape muttered. “I never thought I'd feel separation anxiety, not like this.”

“That is odd, you're normally the one making fun of me for that sort of thing.” Peanut gave her a gentle punch on the shoulder, much like she always did to him.

“I guess I got lonely today, I spent all day at shelter looking after those kidnapped pets with the K-9 officers.”

“Now you're doing volunteer work! Goodness you're so different.” Peanut stuck his tongue out and giggled.

“Ha ha, so you're saying I was never a charitable person before?”

“Well I'll just say nothing was allowed to get in the way of your catnaps.” Peanut gave her a playful wink and poked her nose. Grape rolled her eyes and snuggled closer to the dog.

“Peanut, something crossed my mind today. I never considered myself much of a mother until I had to take care of Jon for awhile. I've learned to enjoy it, even though that pup can drive me up a wall sometimes.”

“Is this going where I think it is?” Peanut tilted his head.

“Maybe...Peanut do you think we should adopt again?”

“Oh! I...” Peanut trailed off for a moment. Should he adopt again? Was he ready to take care of another child. Jon might enjoy a friend and a sibling that lives in with him. Though there was that fear that he could not even take care of Jon on his own. Without his own parents he was screwed. Should he tack on another burden and the animal rights act makes him fiscally responsible for more kids, he might end up ruining his family.

“I understand.” Grape said, her ears fell a little.

“What?”

“You don't want to. It's fine, it was just a thought I had.”

Now he was feeling guilty. Why should he say no? He had friends to help him, his parents would support his decision and help support the new adoptee. Why so insecure? Grape proved to be a caring mother and he a capable father. That puppy like indecision that had followed him his entire life was starting to come back with a vengeance.

“Grape...I'm worried that I won't be able to support another child if worst comes to worst.”

She nodded and hid her face a little. It was odd to see her like this. Peanut had never known Grape to do anything like this at all. Then again it had taken him years to understand her well enough to actually start courting her.

“I'm worried, but...we can try this. Jon could use a friend and it would make things a little less lonely around the house. Mom and dad would love the company I'm sure. We could even get another cat, to even things out around here.”

“You're sure?” Grape asked.

“Now you're indecisive?” Peanut laughed a little.

“I was just asking.”

“Yes, I'm sure.” Peanut gave her a warm smile and kissed her cheek. “We'll go to the shelter when I get a day off.”

Grape was silent for a moment as she squeezed the dog's waist. “Thanks Peanut.”

He nodded and cradled her a little. “You're welcome.”

How times had changed, when they first talked about adopting a child she was actually the one who had her worries. Whether or not she was mother material, if she was able to take care of a child. Peanut was excited to get Jon, seeing it as an opportunity to learn and to make their relationship feel more than simple flights of passion.

Jon had only helped his relationship. And he learned how to take care of a pup. Welcoming another to the family could not hurt.

Right?

~~

Hey guys! This is sort of my late Christmas present to you all. With some free time I've had I did a little writing here or there. We're getting closer and closer to the climax. I'm so excited! :D Hopefully I do not disappoint with these next couple of updates. Or you know, this update too.

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At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

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Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:14 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
awesomeness keeps building up! Man, i can't read your updates fast enough! I sure hope pete's plans gets royally scr***** even if only for causing so much harm to so many innocents!
And good luck with your next adoption! :D

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Post Re: The New Era
I'd like to let you know that you just kept me up 20 minutes past the time I meant to go to sleep. Not often is a fic so good I can't stop reading. congratulations, and thanks for the awesome fic. I can't wait for the next update.

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Post Re: The New Era
YEAH! THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT EVAR! Nice chapter, you always draw a smile on my face every time I read your fiction, thank you so much *bow*

Haha so Arcana the spiritual hacker? that was so hillarious, well thought out! :D

And now a new member for the family? This can't be better!

Aww, is a shame that now I'm leaving for a month, so I'm not going to be able to keep reading your master piece (and the comic, of course) because there's no internet service where I go and that's make me really sad. :cry: Hope you have written a lot of chapter for when I return just to compensate the agony of waiting XD

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Post Re: The New Era
Ah, well hope you have fun on your trip Gren. Well had fun, you probably won't see this until you get back. I certainly hope I do not disappoint with the next couple of posts.

RandomGeekNamedBrent wrote:
I'd like to let you know that you just kept me up 20 minutes past the time I meant to go to sleep. Not often is a fic so good I can't stop reading. congratulations, and thanks for the awesome fic. I can't wait for the next update.

valerio wrote:
awesomeness keeps building up! Man, i can't read your updates fast enough! I sure hope pete's plans gets royally scr***** even if only for causing so much harm to so many innocents!
And good luck with your next adoption! :D


Aww thanks for the feedback guys. It's been a load of fun to write this sort of thing (fanfiction has never been my forte :lol: ) and I'm glad you enjoy it so far. Also, it means a lot to know someone gave up some sleep to keep reading my stuff.

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At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

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Post Re: The New Era
Housepets: The New Era

Election Daze

They had been in Washington not but a day and they were already locked away in cramped little cages. This sort of thing was animal abuse, Arcana was certain it was abuse. However if she did try to sue she would have to take it up against some of the most powerful lawyers money could buy. That accursed Gryphon had lured her onto his turf and ambushed her.

“I thought you were smarter than that Dragon.” He mocked her from his chair. “I knew it was you digging through my files, trying to slander my good name.”

“There's nothing good about your name.” Arcana bared her teeth.

“Get ahold of yourself you ill tempered little dragon...dog thing. This is not like you, not like you at all. Has being a mortal reduced your brain to mush?”

She only replied with a glare.

“I thought so. Typical dragon, a hypocrite as always. Accuses me of playing dirty when she was digging around and hacking computers. Trying to slander my good name.” Pete said, playing around with a small paper weight shaped like a winking multi-tailed fox. “You had me worried for a little while there, I won't lie. With Alana out of the picture and you digging up all of those files. It drove me crazy trying to stop you. But...one detail escapes me, one still bothers me.”

“Good to know.”

“Well it involves you. Why did you come here? Right into the hornets nest? Where you are weakest and I have all the connections.” Pete leaned in closer to the cage, his nose inches away from hers. She uttered not a word, nor a sound. Not even a grunt of disapproval or a growl of frustration. “I see...well it doesn't matter. By tomorrow morning I will be president of this little human country, and I'll give them that equality they want so bad. Then maybe I can go back to more important matters outside of this stupid little plane of existence.”

“Not if the news gets out Pete. As we speak those files are being distributed across the world. First through The Scribe, and then you'll see who has the last laugh as every major news company out there sees you for what you really are.”

A very crooked smile crept upon his lips. Crooked even by his standards “Dragon, dragon, dragon, first and foremost. How about we see The Scribe's latest headline?”

Pete grabbed a newspaper from his desk and slid it between the cracks of her cage. She snatched it away and began thumbing through it. Her eyes wide with shock. It was a regular issue of the paper, with some special animal voting coverage on the front page. All in all nothing out of the ordinary.

“I don't understand...”

“Don't you get it? I snatched away your stupid little laptop from that doggy lover boy of yours. Boris is quite good in a pinch I must admit, even if he can be a little dull sometimes.” Pete grumbled as he pulled out Arcana's black laptop.

“Oh no...Peanut”

“Not to worry, he's going to be just fine.” Pete procured a claw hammer from his desk and shrugged. “Boris said he did not struggle too much once he got a hold of him.”

“No don't hurt him! He was just doing what I told him, he is not involved in this in any way.” Arcana shook the bars on the cage.

“I wouldn't dream of hurting lover boy, I never realized how big of a help he was to my cause! He never meant it of course. Loving that cat and all, having that son. What an example to others, that animals can handle rights and have loving normal families.” Said Pete. “You see I know how to manipulate your pieces Dragon, just like you always try to play mine own against me.”

Arcana looked down, a dead silence choked her. Things had gone so wrong so very fast. Now she was behind bars with no means to help anyone.

“To celebrate my imminent victory, I think I just might take out some of this election stress on this here laptop.” Pete smiled as he drew the hammer back.

~~

There they were, packed together in tight little booths. Volunteers flipped through registration papers at an almost inhuman pace. It was early in the morning and already the lines had begun to grow. There was no sign of stopping in sight.

News vans were parked far away from the real action, but the vast lines spoke for themselves. Wedged amongst the ranks of humans were now animals. From dobermans to dachshund's, lions and tigers, even bears and raccoons. Reporters flocked the scene trying to get the scoop first. Peanut fought to keep his large camera steady while a lanky looking tomcat held the boom mike. Jenny held her microphone to a little closer to her mouth and smiled.

“...and with this historic occasion we can only imagine what sort of promise the future may bring. I'm Jennifer Gulliver, and I'm going to go out there and vote! Back to you guys at the station.”

“And cut the feed!”

Peanut pressed a button on the camera and winced as he let it sag a little. Ever so thankful for the reprieve. The animals in the crowd cheered as Jenny and the crew took a bow.

“That was our first time on air guys! Pet news is going to rock TV stations all over.” Jenny said, her excitement nigh impossible to mask. Even the way she was wrapping up the microphone chord was spastic. “Goodness the implications! Someday we might have our own pet channel! For pets by pets. Maybe even myself at the forefront! Well okay that's being a little cocky...”

“Uh, boss, excuse me for interrupting...” Peanut said.

“Oh yes? What's up?”

“Let's not get ahead of ourselves. You might want to you know, vote first.” The pointer mix said gesturing to the back of the line.

“Yeah...you got a point there. See I knew there was a reason I keep you around.” She shot him a wink and walked to the back of the line. He sighed a little and stuck the clunky video camera back in its case.

“Dude she's totally got the hots for you.”

Peanut raised a brow and looked up. It was just a random dog in line. “Nah she's just a co-worker.”

“Come on now you're just being naïve! Who'd drop a catch like Jenny Gulliver anyways?”

“I dunno, someone who might already be in a relationship.” Peanut shrugged as he held up his hand, wedged on his paw was a snug little wedding band. While no one was bound to take his marriage serious, he knew it might at least speak for itself as far as where his heart may lie. The dog blushed a little and looked away.

He hoped his boss wasn't flirting with him. As always he brushed it off as her personality. She seemed to be that way to everyone on the team. He was, fortunately not, a special case. Though if Grape was around and she caught that dalmatian shooting winks at her husband, it would be an understatement to call the ensuing brawl a “catfight.”

Peanut lugged the hefty camera case back to the news van that had been provided to him and the crew. It fit nice and snug in a small corner at the back. Relief washed over him the very moment he had all of that equipment put away. A camera dog he was not, and never wished to be. And if fate was cruel enough to make him one, he hoped that they would invest in lighter cameras.

The warm air in the van was a welcome change to the nipping November breeze. If anything it beat waiting out there for hours just to push a button. Though he knew he would have to get out there sooner or later. At that particular moment, he was content with later. A moments reprieve was all he could ever ask for, and a wonderful future to reflect on. He just might get to have a proper marriage to Grape, and give his son a real family. And now he did not have to worry about that laptop.

Even if everything on that laptop was horrifying. The things Pete did, the people he hurt and stepped on to get into power. Such things were hard to condone. All of those poor animals in the shelter, all of the unlucky ones that perished from their bizarre wounds. Peanut had read and seen pictures of every last scrap of evidence against the senator. If such things got out, Hooke would not even be allowed to walk the streets a free man, let alone become president.

He did what he had to do, and he knew Dragon would not understand. He knew he could not just get rid of the laptop lest he faced the wrath and disappointment of not only a deity, but a good friend. It had be disposed of in a much more creative manner.

Once again, wishful thinking saved the day. That bear that had been lurking around the neighborhood had found him! At first he was terrified about the whole thing, as any sane person would be when confronted with a full grown Kodiak bear. However the bear was willing to talk.

“You give me the laptop and I let out of here with your skin on your body.” The bear had said, his voice shaky. Peanut had no idea why the bear seemed almost scared of him. Of course he had not witnessed Jon taking a large tree limb and smashing the bear in the unmentionables.

“Oh no! You can't have it!” Peanut played up some drama as he threw his arms around. The bears eyes following the laptop the whole way. “But I know what happens if I don't give it!”

“You do?”

“Oh yes you'll tear my family apart! Hunt us all down and methodically destroy us, I know how you criminals work. And you're here to throw the pressure down on me, to force my hand, am I right?”

The bear's jaw gaped a little, he really had no intention of hurting anyone like that. Alana would mount his head on a wall if he did such a thing. But the dog did not have to know that. “Uh...yeah, I'll eat all of your family.”

“I knew it! Take it then, and don't hurt anyone I beg of you.” Peanut threw the laptop at the bear, whom caught it out of the air and gave the dog a sheepish look.

“Uh...yeah...yeah sure.” The bear turned around and walked off. “That was almost too easy...”

Peanut felt a knot tie in his stomach as that bear walked away. But he did the right thing. He knew he did. His family really was on the line, if that amendment did not pass then they were not his family. Just a couple of pets playing pretend. It was not greed, he told himself a thousand times, he was not being selfish. He knew there had to be other pets out there that wanted the same rights to a family. Why did it feel so wrong though?

There he sat in the news van, feeling that same knot in his stomach. Asking the same question. He did the right thing, he knew it would make many more people happy. Once Peter Hooke did not have to worry about being elected he could stop his corruption right?

No he wouldn't, that answer was clear from the beginning. But it was worth it. It had to be done. He would tell himself that. It had to be done. And no one had to know that he did it.

~~

Two black cats ran across the street, one clutching at a handful of garish red and yellow flyers. The other cupping his hands around his mouth and shouting to anyone that would listen. That night would mark the biggest party they had ever hosted, they would be even more mainstream than Heathcliffs. Better yet they were going to dive into the real pet hangout industry. Get out some contracts, get some people to back them up. Then they were set.

“Election party at Maxwell's Attic! Come on everyone and party.”

“Why is it your attic? I found the darn place.”

“I'm the one who cleans it up and manages it, you only run it during the day.” Max stuck his tongue out. “Come one and come all! To Maxwell's Attic. Bring your best collar, bring a date, go it alone! We've got room for everybody.”

A sleek white car drove by them and stopped. Max took a good long look at it, quick to deduct it was one of those elegant sports cars people bought to feel better about themselves. Max and Jay gave each other a side along glance as the window rolled down. A gaunt looking older woman, perhaps in her late forties, was staring out at them. Her hair a strawberry blonde color that was much too bright to be real. Between her lips was held a thin cigarette, clenched in place by ceramic white teeth.

“Excuse me but are you the cats living in the attic at the old Jefferson house.” Her voice had posh undertones to it. Crackled by years of smoking.

“Well Jay here lives up there, but are you interested in my end of the year party?” Max grabbed a flyer and held it up. Rich people at his party, he could imagine the miracles it would perform on his reputation!

“Actually no, I'm just here to say that the house is my property and I'm having it renovated. Pet hangouts are looking to be a rather lucrative future investment... what with all of these pet service and utilities popping up everywhere.” The woman pulled the cigarette from her mouth and waggled it around, she liked to talk with her hands.

“Hey that was my idea!” Max snapped.

“Mhm but you don't have the funds to run a business do you?”

“Uh...no?” Max frowned, he did not like where this was going at all.

“See that's where you fail, my good cat.” The woman reached out of her car and gave him a patronizing pat on the head. Her long fake nails scratching him a little in the process. “But you know I kind of like you, you've got spunk.”

“So you'll let me keep the attic?”

“No, I need alley cat looking workers to wait tables. That bite in your ear gives you an edge.”
The woman yawned a little as she grabbed a business card. “I found this charming little pet restaurant called Heathcliffs. I had to buy it and add it to my little repertoire of pet based businesses. We're giving it a 50s diner theme and outfitting it with all sorts of wonderful paraphernalia. Call us if you're interested.”

Max took the card and shook his head as the car drove off. He was too shocked to react. Years of time and energy, his own funds supplying everything from drinks to entertainment. All of it wasted. He cursed the name on the card, Gloria Angolstern. He had never heard of such a ridiculous name in his life.

“So what now?” Jay asked as he looked over the cards again.

“I...guess we call off the party.” Max sighed as he took a seat on the curb.

“Just like that?”

“If you have any bright ideas I'm all ears.”

Jay opened his mouth to speak again, but stopped for a moment. A glorious idea had spawned in his mind. As if the heavens opened and a light of inspiration had beamed down to him! Well that was being dramatic, in reality he once saw it happen in a movie or something.

“We don't have to cancel the party! We just gotta make a bunch of new flyers.”

“What do you mean?”

“We'll have a 'Save the Attic' ball! That's what we'll put on the flyers, yeah! In big letters it'll say 'donate and save the attic.' Then we can buy the property ourselves.”

“I don't think we'll make nearly enough money Jay.” Max sighed.

“Then take out a loan on the side, we can do this. I'm not about to drop my warm cozy home to go work at some stupid 1950s themed restaurant.”

Max shook his head and looked at his cousin. “This could easily end up the dumbest thing we've ever done.”

“We've done dumber things I bet.”

“No, getting into loans is dumber than anything we've done before.” Max sighed. “We're probably better off letting her buy the place and working at it.”

“I knew I'd get you on my side, we can go change the flyers at your place!”

Jay was already off ready to reprint flyers before Max could do anything about it. Inside he knew things really could only go further south than already were.

~~

Conversation never felt quite as awkward as it did that fine mid afternoon. At least for King, that was the case. Bailey and Fox could not be anymore oblivious to the fact that he had been possessed by some hostile cat bent on killing him for reasons he was not all to certain. Still, he would rather keep them in the dark about Pete and the cosmic nerds as a whole.

Nothing good ever came of mentioning them.

The cat was still locked away somewhere deep within his subconscious. Sealed within a cage forged by imagination! As corny as that sounded, it did the trick. He was hoping to have the cat removed, like the tumor that she was, but Sabrina tried to convince him that she was better off locked away in there. So the whole while, as he talked to his friends about normal things, the idea that some creature was lurking in his brain stayed prevalent in his thoughts.

But as luck would have it, he had learned a long time ago how to make things look normal. He was a normal dog that could have normal conversations. Sure he was a little odd at times, but Babylon Gardens was crawling with weirdos. Dogs that married cats, dogs and cats that told the world of their intimate connections with the spirits. He was, by comparison, quite normal.

“It's so nice to visit though! I thought that drive would never end.” Said Bailey. King smiled at her, the single greatest perk about being a dog lay within her. That being, she loved him. Enough to put up with a long distance relationship for so long, with a plan to get together nowhere in sight. To say she was dedicated was an understatement.

“I thought the same thing when I went to Kentucky this past July.” King said as he took a small sip of his drink. None too much and not too fast, dogs and their sugar/caffeine highs were much like a drunk and his antics. Even though it was a caffeine free cola, the effects could be detrimental to his reputation.

“But you know what? Nothing beats a long car ride to yourself.”

“I bet, with all those kids at your place, if I was in your place I think I might have died a long time ago.”

“Hey you live with the wolves. Nothing beats that.” Bailey winked at him. He blushed a little and smiled as she gave him a kiss on the cheek. Fox shook his head and laughed. Playing the part of third wheel had its perks. For one he had front row seats to juicy blackmail if ever he needed it.

But he was not that cruel.

For all of the strange moments that couple shared, Fox was happy for them. King was many things, and a social carefree dog was not one of them. To that very day he had yet to learn of King's puppy days. All he knew was that they were bad. So bad they were painful.

He did not dare pry at any point. The husky figured that King would tell him what he wanted when he wanted. Such was his freedom and his alone.

“Still, I kind of wish there was a way to fix the whole long distance thing.” Bailey sighed as she looked down at King.

“I'm sure things will work out, they always do.” King shrugged, indecisive as per usual. Fox rolled his eyes, for all of the excitement King had shown towards Bailey, he never seemed too quick on putting together a plan to somehow get together.

Relationships were not by any means his realm of expertise. Most of his favorite books and movies would ridicule the tried and true “romantic comedy” rather than embrace it. He himself was indifferent to romance. But it did not take a genius to figure out that distance could strain any relationship.

Friends could forget about each other given a large enough distance between them. People would go on, live their lives, and since that other person is just not a part of their life anymore, they are forgotten. Set aside for some more meaningful things, things more pertinent to the day.

Watching that happen to King was not something he had on his agenda. But what could he do? Play cupid's angel and intervene? He took a deep breath and looked at his friend. It was becoming tedious, how often he had to save the corgi from himself.

“You know, King really doesn't have an owner.” Fox shrugged. “If you bugged your dad, maybe he could come home with you?”

King almost spit out his drink.

“That actually sounds like a great idea.” Bailey said, a bright beaming beautiful smile on her face. King felt his ears fall a little as he looked between the two cousins.

He loved her, so very much. But there was always that little voice in the back of his head. Not the cat that was no locked away there, but rather that part of him that remembered he was a human. She was a dog and should one strip away the magic, he was a man. Sure he had been a dog for ten some odd years at that point, but he could be turned back at any time.

Any time those cosmic nerds felt it necessary. Which he could not even fathom why they would. He enjoyed having a girlfriend, but he knew all too well that things would become serious if he lived closer. She would not try for anything serious, pets in general did not think much of pet marriage. What was the point? It was not legally recognized and people did not take it seriously.

Still, he was a human, at least for a long time he was. It was the next logical step in a relationship between humans. Somewhere, imbued within his very being, was that instinct. As a human he was trained to think such things. By movies, by parents, by people all over. Would he give in to it? Knowing that he was somehow committing some sort of crime against nature?

“What do you think King?” Fox looked down at him. King wanted nothing more than to say yes, but something inside told him to say no. He looked over at Bailey, that smile on her face brought one to his. Could he dare bring a frown to that face?

“I think it sounds like a great idea,” King said, letting his mouth run on autopilot, “do you think your dad would say yes though?”

“It's worth a try.” Bailey shrugged and gave King gentle pat on the head and scratched around his fur. It was nice to have someone take a gentle approach to handling him. Rather than the roughing up he was used to when it came to the wolves, or young children.

It was a pleasant thought, knowing he could get such snuggles on a day to day basis if things worked out. Getting away from the oddity that was Babylon Gardens, the middle of nowhere was perhaps the best place he could go. It would be like a vacation.

“You know I think I'd miss a few people around here.” King shrugged.

“Really? Like who?” Fox asked.

“Oh I dunno, my best friend?” King said. “And it would be a lie if I said the wolves have not grown on me over the years. As crazy as they can be.”

“Well you could always send a letter or two my way, I'd make sure they got their letter too.” Fox said, feeling a little touched that he would be missed.

“Don't get too ahead of yourselves guys.” Said Bailey. “I still haven't even asked my dad yet.”

King blushed a little. “Yeah...that's kind of important.”

“But don't worry, I'm sure he won't mind having another dog around.” She winked at him and gave him a peck on the cheek.

Was it wrong that part of him hoped her owner did mind? That he would drop a resounding “no” and be done with him? Yes, yes it was wrong. He knew that the key to being happy was just to live his life.

Besides, if he turned back into a man, his relationship would be the least of his problems.

~~

His shoulders buckled under the weight of about six or so books stacked in his arms. Always the nice guy, could not say no to a person in distress. That was how he was raised. For this particular person, he was starting to regret it.

“Come on you said you'd owe me for saving your corgi friend.” Snow gave him a snide little smile and flicked her tail.

“I think...you're just getting...a kick...from watching me carry...books.” Jon winced as he followed the cat, panting a little as he balanced the books in his arms. “Seriously, who needs this many books when they go to the park.”

“Wow is that an attitude?” She turned towards him, she might have been surprised. Though he could not tell.

“No I...” He rolled his eyes and did not open his mouth again. It took him a moment to regain his composure. In all of his short life, he had not met a single person that detested him so. He had just met her and wanted to be her friend. Was that a crime? “Snow can I ask you something?”

“If it's about imaginate or whatever you call it, no I will not play.” She said. Jon stopped and gave her an exasperated look. That was the last straw.

“Why do you hate me so much?” Jon asked.

That shut her up and stopped her in her tracks. Snow looked up, her eyes deep in concentration counting the ways. “You talk too much, you're too hyper, you're nosy, et cetera et cetera.” She said holding up a digit on her paw with each reason.

“No, it's because I'm a dog isn't it?” Said Jon. “Yeah you're like Bino and cats.”

“Like who?” She tilted her head and shook it. “Sure, whatever, that's part of it.”

“No that's all of it, I'm pretty sure.” Jon said, his voice a little more caustic than he would have liked. “Yeah I bet if I was a little kitten you'd be nice to me.”

“And you still acted like that? I don't think so.”

“Acted like what? Like a cat? All of the other dogs and cats out there say I act just like a hyper little cat.” Jon narrowed his eyes a little.

“Oh sure you do.”

“Now you're just arguing to argue with me.” Jon sighed. “I just wanted to be nice. I let you stay at my house, watch my TV, use my yarn, and when you tell me to leave you alone I leave you alone. You called me today to make me do this stupid book thing. I didn't come over to bug you.”

“I...” Snow was, for once in her life, speechless. “Okay so what? I don't like dogs.”

“But all dogs aren't the same! What happened to you? Did a dog take away your favorite squeaky toy or something?”

Snow looked a little shocked. He was shouting at her now. “No they yelled at me, made fun of me, chased me around.”

“Oh and I've done all that, yup, I did that to you the moment I saw you in my living room.”

That very moment, a few dogs were walking from the park. The noise had attracted them, it sounded like a dog and a cat getting into a spat. Something that was not all too uncommon out there in the world. Though when the saw the pup, it seemed almost too good to be true. That little cat lover that screwed up their Good Old Dogs club meeting. He was arguing with his girlfriend, they were certain. One of the younger dogs in the posse jogged up to Jon, a mischievous smile on his face.

“Hey can you take your girlfriend somewhere else out and yell at her? We're trying to have a good time out here.”

Jon turned towards the dog. A smile crossed his face and dropped the books. “Just the person I wanted to see.”

The dog looked confused for a moment. “Uh...me?”

“Yeah, yeah, Good Old Dogs club member right? Yeah I think I saw you there. You were...Skip right?” Jon said, glancing at the other dog's tag.

“Yeah...”

“Okay Skip, this cat here is giving me trouble.” Jon shot her a glare. “You guys would be doing me a big favor if you, I dunno, taught her a lesson. Scared her up a tree, whatever it is you do.”

“Jon...this isn't funny.”

Skip looked beyond confused at the moment. Almost scared. Was this little pup being serious? He looked towards his friends for help, but they shrugged and just watched the mess unfold.

“And I'm not joking. This cat hates my guts and she's making me carry around her books.”

“Uh...”

“So scare her off. Chase her up a tree! Save me from her terrible cat tyranny.” Jon threw up his arms and walked away. “Come on when I want you to hate a cat you guys get confused?”

Skip was becoming more ill at ease with each passing moment. With a gulp he looked back towards his friends and then back at Jon. He opened his mouth to speak but just shut it and shrugged. For a moment Jon thought he heard something in his brain snap.

“Okay I'm going home. Or to the wolf house. At least I have friends there.” Jon kicked a book and stormed off. Snow just shook her head and watched the pup walk away.

“I might not be a relationship guru, but I think you rubbed him the wrong way with those books somehow.” Skip said, his voice nowhere louder than a sheepish whisper.

“...and I have been kind of harsh on him.” She folded her arms and nodded.

“Maybe you should go say sorry or something?”

“No, that's too straightforward he'd never go for that.” Snow sighed as she watched Jon trip on himself in the distance and get back up. “I'd have to get him a present or something. That's what they do in the movies right?”

“Well what does he like?” Skip inquired as he looked at the cat.

“That stupid dog show on TV, the war one?” Said Snow.

“Oh he's a Devil Dog fan! That show rocks.”

“Yeah that stupid show.” Snow nodded. “Anything like an action figure or something I could steal...I mean borrow...from you?”

“Of course! I have this old one at my house and...”

The cat and dog took a look at each other for a moment. Not even the birds were chirping. Both had realized what they were doing. Perhaps a little too late.

“He's not my boyfriend by the way.”

“Yeah and I hate you...dumb cat.” He said loud enough for his friends to hear.

“The feeling's mutual...stupid dog.” She muttered. “...can I still get that action figure?”

“Yeah sure.” He nodded. “I'll drop it off at the park whenever, I'm Skip by the way.”

“Good for you.” Snow nodded and smiled as she walked away. Her standards had drooped to a new low. Fraternizing with dogs to help cheer up to a dog. It was by no means the ideal situation for her. But, it was kind of her fault that Jon was mad, and she was being a little too mean to the dog.

Just a little.

_________________
At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

RP Character:
Lucky Abbot: S-9 P-6 E-7 C-6 I-7 A-4 L-3


Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:02 am
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Post Re: The New Era
wow and doublewow, quite the intense update here, one worthy of three in a row!
Peanut giving out the laptop *because* he wanted to protect his newfound rights!
Snow and JT's antics were adorable.
And King...tsk, poor dear, still conditioned by his the ghost of his former self, while he should be doing the right thing with Bailey! C'mon, boy, you know better than that!
Yet another excellent chapter! :D :D

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Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:13 am
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Post Re: The New Era
Finally took the time and read this fanfic. Just as good as the Wayback machine. Also:

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^ This probably isn't just a coincidence.

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Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:53 pm
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Post Re: The New Era
Indeed I am a sucker for theme naming. :lol: Sometimes I reach a little too far out there but good to see another Game of Thrones fan on the site.

_________________
At the end of the day I often think about what I have done for the world. What I have changed, perhaps made better or worse. I then sit at a computer for hours and look at pictures of cats.

RP Character:
Lucky Abbot: S-9 P-6 E-7 C-6 I-7 A-4 L-3


Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:02 pm
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