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Episode 2:  Team Claw in Securing the Sewer Pipes

    Nemo anxiously looked up and down the yard to assure himself that no one was looking. Making sure that no one was, he pressed his paw against the front of the air conditioner unit by the back of the house. It rotated once, then clicked up into place to reveal a communication device. He glanced at the screen, sure enough, a message was waiting for him from HQ.
    That wasn't normal, he thought, because usually they could wait long enough for him to receive messages in the control room. Whenever they felt that it was important enough, they paged his com unit that had been embedded into his tail. Odd feeling indeed having his tail go off, especially when he was curled up and asleep with his tail against his nose. Really odd feeling.
    He clicked on the message, and waited for it to be pulled from HQ, but as soon as he read it, he had wished that he had checked it all that much earlier.
    "He's tracking you."
    That was all it said, and he knew very well who the "He" was. Viktor was tracking them back to the house. Reeling at the possibility of having to relocate he glanced at the sun. He still had one hour of daylight, and he had to wait till night fall before he could act. He glanced around as he clicked the air conditioner unit back to normal, as his eyes continued the patrol, he met another pair of eyes glaring back at him from behind a bush. "
    Not again!" he mumbled, as the all but not familiar voice cut through the branches, towards him.
    "How could you let him find us?"
    "I'm not sure, I do know that he hasn't found us yet though!" he fired back, "please try to remember that we are in this together."
    "I've been here too long to be forced to relocate."
    She lifted herself from her curled position and walked over to him, keeping her glare as icy as possible.
    "Ms. Kitty, I realize that this is very unfortunate, but you know that it is standard procedure to wait until nightfall before I can even so much as scan for him or for the device that he is using."
    Nemo was trying to talk as respectfully as he could without getting angry. He knew the seriousness of the situation, he didn't need an older cat to tell him about reality. His mind continued to think of solutions while Ms. Kitty continued to rail on him about relocation. He knew all about how she had been relocated the first time, that was why she was here. Her parents had been with him on the mission that triggered the accident, only Nemo had survived. He smiled a little, as he was thankful that Viktor hadn't immediately inherited the ruthless behavior of his father.
    Unfortunately Ms. Kitty also saw the smile, and was well aware that she was being ignored, she got really close to him and hissed in his face.
    "It would be easy for you to relocate now, but I don't ever want it to happen again, understand?" She grew sad for a minute, "I really miss my parents."
    Nemo was caught off guard by the confession he looked at her for a minute.
    "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..."
    She looked back at him for a moment, with sad eyes, and then flipped back into her icy as ever mode.
    "You better do something about it right now, get in there and find out where he is and what he is doing, he won't wait for nightfall, you should know that."
    Nemo suddenly realized that she was absolutely right, even with the added cover of nightfall, Viktor most assuredly wouldn't do something nice like that and wait.
    He suddenly hit on it, one of the smaller life forms was coming home from a friend's house, he whipped around the house up to the front door and leapt up to the bottom of the door. She walked right up the stairs and opened the door, letting him go in first.
    Perfect, now the hard part was to get into the control room. Nemo raced up to the main entrance, not this way, a life form was occupying the main entrance, but since the other side was still under construction, he raced through the master bedroom and into the bathroom that was still largely under construction, he twisted his way through the mess and got to the entrance.
    There was a lot at stake here, and he didn't want to let anybody down. He pawed down and the board clicked out to let him in, jumping down into the control room, he flipped on the scanner and did a normal deep scan of the house. Nothing. Not good, it should have picked up something. He flipped it to advanced deep scan, still nothing. He maxed out the dial and hit scan again.
    Finally it got something, there was a radio tag downstairs in the storage closet under the cage that Tsuki and Yoru called home. Old technology, of course, why hadn't he thought of that, but what could he possibly want to use one of those for?
    Because it didn't transmit anything, the answer hit him like a brick, that would have been picked up sooner, the control room would have instantly alerted him to anything transmitting out, a radio tag needed something to transmit to it so that it could transmit out. He widened the scan and sure enough, in the sewer line a couple of blocks off was the transmitter, moving slowly, but definitely coming. Not much time to act.
    His mind raced with what to do as he raced out of the room and down the stairs, at this point, what the life forms thought of him was unimportant, and surely they gave him some weird stares. He raced down stairs and over by the cage, when Tsuki and Yoru saw him and knew something was up. To the life forms, they didn't get along very well, at least that was what their assignment was to do. So Nemo approaching their cage meant that they had to be disagreeable towards each other.
    Thankfully none of the life forms occupied the downstairs and Nemo hurriedly found the hot spot on the floor and pawed it. It snapped and ground up, raising a two foot slab of concrete in which they had embedded a closet of sorts. He held out the scanning pad that he had grabbed from the control room and it beeped over their new velcro shoes from the previous mission.
    "Aha!" yelled Nemo, "we picked it up on our last mission and brought it home with us." Yoru and Tsuki blankly stared over at Nemo trying to figure out the break in protocol. Yoru stared at Nemo for a minute, then at the object he was carrying, observing him scour the boots that had set off the pad, finally figuring out what he was doing.
    "I guess we should have known that he was going to pull something, I mean come on, he was trying to blow us and the power plant sky high with all those bombs. What did he use to track us?"
    Nemo nodded at him.
    "A radio tag, didn't get picked up automatically because it was such old technology."
    He turned back to the boots, looking at them and thinking about what to do. Viktor was still a good distance off, but he needed to find the radio tag and figure out what to do with it.
    Tsuki glanced around, listened for the life forms locations, and popped open the cage. She walked over to Nemo, as he was intently looking at the boots. She looked at them for a second, reached at the boots and popped out the radio tag. Nemo looked at her in disbelief as she handed it to him. Nemo held it up as they all looked at it, smaller than a pin head, but to them it was more destructive than all that could be made.
    Nemo quickly described the whole situation to Tsuki and Yoru as they listened intently. They all decided that getting the tag out of the house was probably the best thing, but how to get it out without Viktor knowing about it. Nemo placed the tag on the scanning pad that he had brought with him. The pad hummed for a second as it analyzed the tag and its inner workings, as it finished its diagnostics it started projecting a light image around the tag, that pulsed every twenty seconds. Nemo looked at the readings for a minute.
    "It looks like we have about twenty seconds to do whatever we can to get it out, otherwise he is going to be able to realize that there is a shift in location, it might be possible to..."
    Nemo broke off as one of the life forms started descending the stairs, Yoru and Tsuki dashed into their cage, closing the door, Nemo looked around for a second and headed for a couch when Tsuki squealed and pointed.
    "The closet, Nemo the closet!"
    Nemo did a one-eighty and slammed the closet slab back into place, turned tail and jetted under the couch only seconds before the life form rounded the bend of the last stair. He walked over to the cage where Tsuki and Yoru were, they played their parts perfectly, acting like they had just woken up and wanted out of the cage, the life form seemed to be agreeable and popped the cage for them and continued to his bedroom that was just beyond. After closing the door, Tsuki and Yoru wandered over to the couch and sprawled down.
    "So what are we going to do Nemo?" said Tsuki.
    "I was about to say that we could transport it out, but I still think its too early in the day."
    Under the couch Nemo adjusted the scanning pad and noted Viktor's location.
    "He is still a good distance away, but we don't have enough time to wait the life forms out, plus we only have a twenty second window to get out of here, I'm fast, but with the life forms still around I am not sure I can make it in time.
    "What about if we just transported it to a thousand places at once, that would throw him off wouldn't it?"
    Yoru's comment got Nemo thinking for a minute.
    "I think that that will just have to do. Move upstairs now, I'm going to have to time this just perfect, try to stop anybody from coming down the stairs."
    Tsuki and Yoru trotted over to the stairs and in seconds they were gone, Nemo glanced at the panel, three, two, one, NOW! Nemo bolted out from under the counch with pad and tag in hand, he raced up the stairs, and opened the transporter door. He glanced at the control panel and programmed the last thousand destinations into it as fast as he could. He disengaged the tag from the scanning pad and threw it in.
    As he waited for the coordinates to load he glanced at the pad, just five more seconds. He looked at the panel again, perfect timing, he jammed down the send button and watched the tag go. He glanced down at his pad, Viktor had paused, he hoped that was a good sign.
    Since everyone was still up, it looked like he would have to use the long route to get into the control room, it was certainly a little harder to get at, that he knew as fact, he lifted the carpet away from one of the middle stairs and pressed himself between the stair and the wall, but it would be a little less suspicious to the life forms. As he squeezed his way through the old half of the garage, and towards the middle of the house, he wondered if the control room wouldn't be better here. As a huge gust of cold air seeped through the ground he thought better of it and hurried toward the opening in the wall. He pried open the heater vent and climbed in, he hoped that it wouldn't turn on like the last time that he had to use it, his hair had been crazy for a week. Finishing the last leg through the heater vent, he pulled open the door next to the control room and got out, closing the door behind him.
    As he looked over at the monitoring equipment that he had left on, he was instantly surged with surprise. The tags had been extremely successful, as he watched Viktor move towards a tag, discover another one, pause for a minute, then move towards the new one, apparently confounded at yet another tag's signal. Nemo figured that Viktor had brought a rather limited tracking device, as the sewer pipes would not allow very much room to do otherwise. As Nemo continued to watch him flounder for a bit, he glanced at the time, still too early to go after him, or was it?
    Nemo's mind raced, Viktor could be caught unawares right now, surely Nemo could do it all alone. He looked around the room for something to aid him, as his eyes fell on the glass case in the back, he shook his head, Viktor could never merit putting on his uniform. He hopped over to the storage shelf next to the glass case and glanced at the available equipment. His eyes fell on two containment transmitters and the heat goggles, and his trusty scanning pad, they were just what he needed. He scooped them up into a little carrying bag that he slung over his back. As he headed for the door, he thought better of it and grabbed a mini transporter. Setting the coordinates for Viktor, he powered it up. His mind lapsed to Tsuki and Yoru, they wouldn't be there to see him catch Viktor, excited at the possible capture, he dismissed that feeling and reached over to the transporter and he was through.
    Looking around him, he took in his surroundings, as he pulled out his scanning pad from his little pack. Right on top of him, couldn't have done any better. He checked which way he was going and ran the opposite way about twenty feet. He pulled out one of the containment transmitters and placed it on the ground. As he pressed the button, it sank into the asphalt. He raced well ahead of Viktor, now going the correct way and outdistanced him by about fifty feet, going past a manhole. He placed down the remaining transmitter, not waiting for it to do what he knew it was already going to do. He headed for the manhole and pried it up. Looking down into the abyss, he grabbed the heat goggles from the bag, put them on, and dropped down in, placing the man hole back into its place gently. When he was halfway down the ladder, he reached over to his tail and pressed it. An instant hum filled the air, and as he glanced up, he saw the top part of the shield near manhole cover. Everything was working as planned. He set his pad to infrared and glanced at it, perfect, Viktor was in the field. There was no way out, and Nemo had the only way to deactivate it. Feeling the confidence surge within him, he put the pad into the bag and tied it to the railing. The bag would only hinder his movement, and as small as the pipes were, he needed all the flexibility that he could get.
    Finished with his preparations, he dropped down the rest of the way and looked down the tunnel. About two cats high by two cats wide there would be plenty of room to maneuver. He made his way slowly down the pipe towards where Viktor should be, as he traveled, he noted everything around him, most of the pipe registered around warm, the ground outside must be a little warm as well. As he went farther down, he started wondering where Viktor was, every corner that he went around, he was just waiting for him, but he found nothing. As he turned another bend, he ran straight into his barrier. Now that was incredibly bad, where had Viktor gone? Nothing animate could escape the barrier, he tapped the wall a couple of times, it was sturdy enough, the wall wasn't the problem. He retraced his steps around the corner, looking everywhere, trying to find what had gone wrong. Suddenly Nemo heard a thump and a whoosh, he looked towards the next corner in time to see a wall of red coming right at him, it bowled him over and sent him into a tumble. When he got up, he couldn't see anything out of the goggles, he ripped them off and looked at them. The flash that had knocked him over had left enough light to see that they were overloaded. He looked down the tunnel and saw a figure turn the corner, this was not a good time to meet the enemy. Viktor was sporting something that looked like a thermal suit and he was pretty decked out, Nemo wasn't feeling so confident anymore. As the last bit of light from the wave burned off, Viktor called out to him.
    "Can you really think that I would come to you unprepared?! Your fate is in my hands and at last I can feel your doom first hand. No more of this running away defeated, tonight, you shall be mine!"
    Viktor had looked pretty decked out to Nemo, he could barely make out him reaching back to his tail to retrieve something. Nemo hoped that it was his weapon of choice, he might just have a chance if it was. He listened in the darkness, crouching against the side of the pipe and creeping back towards the corner, getting ready to dodge. Viktor cocked, Nemo froze, BAM, Nemo took a hit to the shoulder, reeling back against the far wall, this was not looking good, and he couldn't move his right arm any more. Nemo's mind raced for options, one regret floated through his mind, he was alone, and it looked like he might die alone. He peered around the corner with the light that the stun gun had caused, there was nobody in the pipe, Viktor had left. Reeling with pain, he stood up and looked closer, nothing was there. Nemo creeped farther down and peered around the next corner, nothing. Viktor had left. As Nemo crept down the tunnel, he suddenly noticed that he was sloshing through water halfway up his paws, this was not good, he bolted down the tunnel towards the exit and turned another corner when it hit him dead on. The wall of water crammed Nemo back down the tunnel and slammed him into the barrier, continuing to increase its pressure as it continued to pass through, but the barrier held and Nemo stayed pinned against it. His shoulder stung and pierced his body with incredible pain, his single regret passed through his mind once again before he blacked out, he was alone, no one would be there to see him die.
    As Nemo came to and opened his eyes, he was partially blinded by the amount of light that was around him. As his eyes slowly adjusted to what was around him, he noticed the night sky above him with beautiful bright white stars shining in the distance. As he went to pick himself up, he didn't feel any pain in his right shoulder, he reached over to it and realized that it was completely undamaged. He propped himself up and looked around, everything around him was completely made of a pure white marble, as he looked down at the floor it had the brightest and purest gold he had ever seen. And it was everywhere, he looked up and out, it stretched all the way to a wall in the distance. As he followed the wall all the way around he discovered that he was in a room four walls and no doors, huge glittering white pillars were spread evenly across the floor, but as far as Nemo could tell, they supported nothing on top. As he approached one of the pillars, he was startled by a voice behind him.
    "You've come, I've been expecting you."
    Nemo whirled around to find another cat looking at him, her face and front legs were all white, as well as her two back legs for about halfway. The rest of her was black, including her ears. She walked up to him looking at him intently, he looked back, not feeling any fear, but his unfamiliar surroundings were starting to make him wonder about some things.
    "Where am I?"
    "You are where you are."
    She gestured over Nemo's shoulder towards the wall that Nemo had first looked at. He turned and stared in disbelief, the wall was gone and in its place was an edge. Walking over the edge and looked down. He saw the manhole, the sewer pipes, the water that wasn't moving. It was like he could see through it all, his eyes continued up the pipe, there was something at the end of one of the pipes, Nemo looked closer, it was a cat curled up and pinned against a barrier surrounded by the water. Nemo looked closer, it was him, but that couldn't be, because he was here, in this place, wherever it was. He looked down at himself, he was here, but how could he be here and there at the same time? The cat that had spoken to Nemo approached approached him and paused for a minute.
    "The council wishes that you stay, but it is your choice to stay or not."
    Nemo turned around in utter bewilderment.
    "The council? Stay? Stay where? Go where? What am I doing here and there? Where am I? Where is Viktor? What is this place and why are you here?"
    She smiled at him for a minute.
    "You have a choice, you can stay here," she pointed towards the other Nemo, "or you can go there" she pointed up the stairs.
    Nemo peered up the stairs, all he could see was light, and more light. He turned to his body, its contorted shape and wounded shoulder. It suddenly started to dawn on him what had happened. He had died! His regret passed through his mind once again, he had been alone, nobody has seen him die. He stared at the ground blankly, if only he had waited, he didn't have to try and get Viktor by himself, and then to drop himself right into Viktor's hands, that had been truly foolish. The cat approached him again, stopping a few feet away, never breaking her gaze from him. Nemo turned his attention to her again.
    "Who are you?"
    She smiled again, and walked towards the stairs, suggesting that Nemo follow her. Nemo looked back again at the other Nemo, he couldn't just leave HQ in this position, he was very important to this part of the overall war with Viktor and those that were like him. She paused in her steps towards the stairs and turned to face Nemo once again. She peered deeply at him for a while. Nemo just couldn't bring himself to break the silence.
    "You choose to stay then?"
    He jumped a little bit, he had just been thinking about asking her what he had to do to go back to the other Nemo and leave whatever this place was. She smiled at him again, walked past him and jumped over the edge. Nemo looked after her and saw her near the other Nemo. She reached around for the tail and placed it in the right hand. Nemo looked at her, as she finished her work, a picture flashed in Nemo's mind, one of a very young cat in a uniform just like the one in his case from a very long time ago. She leapt back up to the gold floor and turned to him once again. Nemo suddenly realized who was before him, and hung his head down in pain, biting back whatever feelings that were coming to the surface.
    "I'm sorry Amy." He looked up at her, "I wasn't strong enough to save you."
    He looked back down to the floor, he hadn't been strong enough to save himself either, always so quick to act and not thinking about the consequences. He felt her lift his head back up as she gazed into his eyes.
    "You choose to stay then?"
    He looked up at her and nodded, she smiled as she held out her paw to catch a whisker that had just displaced itself from Nemo's face. She took the whisker over to the other Nemo, placing it over him. As they both watched, the other one started to glow and Nemo could see his chest start to move again. Amy leapt back up to where he was and faced away from Nemo back towards the stairs, as if anticipating someone. Nemo turned around to look at the stair and gasped in amazement. At the bottom of the stair sat a young life form that was completely dressed in white from her head to her foot. She had a white shawl wrapped around her shoulders, and her bright blonde hair went down to her waist. Her appearance was brighter than any light he had ever seen and as he looked closer, the looked back with clear blue eyes. She stood up from her sitting position on the bottom few stairs and came over to where Amy and Nemo were. She looked at Nemo for a while then her eyes turned to Amy.
    "He still has much pride in him. Can we trust him to succeed?"
    Amy turned from the life form and looked at Nemo, catching his gaze, Nemo looked down at the floor to avoid her searching eyes. The life form was right, his pride had gotten himself into this mess. When Amy was finished looking at him, she turned back to the life form.
    "This is the third time that he has apologized to me right after he recognizes me," she turned to Nemo again, "I think he can tame his pride."
    Nemo turned back to the life form as she softly gazed back at him, she smiled and nodded her head.
    "Yes, then I think we can trust him to succeed!"
    Nemo nodded slightly and looked at Amy as the life form picked her up and held her in her arms. Amy looked at him, as Nemo started feeling tingly inside.
    "Nemo, you won't remember us, but you will remember what you feel, we will always be with you. Go now, and conquer what holds you bound!"
    As soon as she said that, Nemo knew what he had to do, he turned from them and leapt over edge, he looked at himself for a minute and then reached out to touch the whisker that Amy had placed on him.
    Hacking and coughing, Nemo clung to a ladder that he had managed to grab a hold of after he had deactivated the barrier. He glanced over at his right paw that was gripping his tail in amazement, he clenched his teeth as pain shot through his right shoulder and he wondered how in the world he had managed to do it. As the rushing water whipped by, it seemed like it would never end, but end it did. Nemo looked up and saw the manhole at the top of the ladder, using all the energy he could he climbed to the top of the ladder and opened the manhole cover. Judging from the moon, it looked like it had been night for about an hour, he glanced around then climbed out and moved the manhole cover back into place. As he turned to leave a voice pierced through the night.
    "Twice in one night, I can see my luck is improving."
    Nemo grimmaced as he turned to face Viktor with his stun gun trained on him. After surviving that stupid water in the sewer, he was going to be captured by Viktor, this had not been a good night for Nemo. Viktor motioned for Nemo to move towards Viktor's transport that was sitting right next to him. Nemo did not respond, as damaged as he was, this was no time to show fear. He glared back at Viktor, using every ounce of his energy to stay strong through the end. Viktor motioned again with his gun, pointing towards the transport. Nemo refused to acknowledge the gesture.
    "I guess you didn't learn after the first one, you will still be useful to me even if you can't use either of your arms though!"
    Viktor pulled the trigger and Nemo cringed waiting for the impact, what he saw was anything but, the shot bounced off in another direction a couple of feet in front of him. Nemo glanced around in amazement as Viktor was knocked back by an invisible assailant. After Viktor picked himself up and stared around in amazement, he got knocked back again, he looked back at Nemo and raised his gun again, firing another shot at Nemo. It bounced away harmlessly once again and Viktor got knocked back down. As he picked himself back up, Yoru walked out from behind a tree with a rather sharp looking weapon. Viktor raised his gun to attack the new assailant when his gun was knocked out of his hand and he was sent sprawling again. Viktor had apparently had enough, up went a puff of smoke and when it cleared, him and his transporter were no where in sight. Nemo collapsed from sheer exhaustion as Yoru raced up to him. Hearing Tsuki's voice he glanced off in that direction but saw absolutely nothing. He blinked several times and still didn't get nothing. Yoru reached him and looked at his shoulder, putting down his weapon, he reached to touch it.
    "Wow, you seem to be able to hurt yourself in the weirdest ways possible. Did Viktor get a good shot on you before we found you?"
    Nemo nodded and gasped in pain as his shoulder seared again.
    "We need to get him some medical attention fast!"
    That was Tsuki's voice again, but for the life of him, he just couldn't see her. Yoru looked at him with a little pride, he picked up his weapon again and let Nemo see it.
    "They sent us some new stuff in the transporter today, new weapons, new stuff." He gestured over to where Tsuki's voice had come from, "they even sent her a lighter invisibility pack and better heat goggles."
    Remembering the heat goggles he had left in the sewer and the barrier devices that he had put in the ground, he directed Yoru to retrieve them. When he returned, Tsuki, who was still very invisible, picked up Nemo and they all headed home.
    "Did you like my cool little shield that they sent with the invisibility pack?"
    "So that is what saved me, thank you Tsuki!"
    "Don't mention it, after all we are all in this together."
    Yoru turned towards Nemo.
    "After you left, we got a little worried, especially when we didn't find you in the control room. What happened to you?"
    Nemo grimmaced a little.
    "I faced off with Viktor, rather, I dropped myself into his clutches like an ignoramus."
    "Did anything else happen down there, because Viktor came out way before you did, what happened down there?"
    Nemo thought about it a little, and shook his head.
    "I'm not sure really, one second I knew I was going to die, and the next I was hanging on to a ladder after deactivating the barrier."
    "That is sure a long time to hang on to a ladder" said Tsuki.
    "Well speaking of better things, how should we fix you up this time Nemo? asked Yoru, "should we fix you up so that you look like a dog got you again?"
    Nemo chuckled a little.
    "Just get me home, I want to sleep a little before tomorrow night's mission."
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