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Started: 2006-03-07 13:03:03

Submitted: 2006-03-07 13:07:56

Visibility: World-readable

Scott Galvin

ENG 1010

Rising brown dust contrails formed giant corkscrews as the small army jeep made its way down the dirt road. "Faster!" she hissed from the back seat. The driver mashed the thin pedal into the floor and the engine whined as it suddenly strained, the inhaled desert air suffocating the radiator. Large mountains with alternating stripes of red basalt and white limestone loomed ahead of them, slowly growing larger. Sun-beaten saguaros, dried river beds and the occasional lizard skeleton littered the desert floor.

The radio crackled, "Seventeen niner alpha tango, identify yourself." The co-pilot snatched the CB and replied "Rowr, alpha tango inbound". The small jeep continued speeding along the dry lake bed floor towards the steep foothills rising in the distance, a collision imminent. Painting the sky a grapefruit color, the sun decomposed into the horizon.

Camouflaged steel blast doors slowly grind open revealing a cave-like entrance into the mountain. The jeeps lights flicked on and the engine downshifted when the tires met pavement for the first time. The air inside of the base was cool but stung her nose, the filtered air too dry for her liking. Small lights lined the winding tunnel descending deeper into the mountain, and the steady hum of machinery grew louder. The underground command center ROWR (Radar Operations West Recon) was built in the late sixties when the chance of a cold war erupting into an atomic fireworks show was high. The group of self trained soldiers had successfully bid on eBay for the base and paid for it using counterfeit bills printed nightly at a commandeered Kinko's.

The General jumped out of the jeep. She silently saluted, snapping her right paw up to her ear, and everything came to a stop. "My brothers and sisters, the time has arrived. We must go forth to recruit, spread the word; inspire the people!" Purring and soft clapping echoed off the walls. Each guerrilla knew her objective, each assigned to a specific area of operation. A large glass table was illuminated with an electronic map of the world, small red arrows reaching out to each corner. The foco (group) had been waiting for this, and could barely contain their excitement. Comandante (Major) Mexicat growled "Si. Si. Si! Viva La Revolucion!" The noise of hurried packing filled the cave-base. Laptops folded up with clicks, impatient engines started up with snorts of exhaust. They would soon part and travel a number of ways to their destinations.

Mexicat was ready, having packed her satchel with a travel-size bottle of tequila, a can of tuna, and a pinch of catnip a week ago in anticipation. She looked forward to leading the socialist revolutionary movements in the south, where the sand was a crunchy litter box not suitable for the "los gatos de guero" (the white-boy cats). Saluting the General she received a tail wag wave. She turned and departed, quickly making her way in the night, running on all fours to railroad tracks a few miles away. Her plan was to slip aboard like a bandita, curl up and wake far south of the border, close to Panama.

The General barked orders and surveyed the base as power was shut off sector by sector. She took off her beret and set it on her desk. From now on, she would only use her codename, Cat5, to protect her true identity. Opening a drawer she fished out a catnip cigar she received as a memento after a campaign in Africa. This would be a long mission, showing the cats of the world the way to freedom. A loudspeaker boomed with the countdown; "7 minutes remaining." She straightened up, took one last look around, clicked off the light and stepped into the darkened command center. Few feral soldier-cats remained, scurrying about with last minute preparations, returning for forgotten munitions. "3 minutes!" Cat5 stepped onto the back of an exiting personnel carrier. It hummed down the cool corridor and emerged into the lightless desert. The doors sealed shut with a hiss, entombing the base for later use.

The carrier rumbled along a winding road that snaked its way up the side of the mountain, hauling 12 soldiers and related equipment to the summit. Cat5 hopped down and walked into a nearby clearing. She pulled the strapping tight on her aluminum frame backpack, and pressed the ignition button on the joystick mounted on its left side. In one movement she slid her visor down on her black helmet as the rockets ignited and pushed her high into the night. Her fur matted down as she zipped through the sky. It was a quick flight to her target area, Longmont, Colorado.

She landed next to a dumpster behind a building and quickly stowed her gear under some discarded wood palettes. She slipped off her helmet and lugged it up the side of the dumpster and dropped it inside. Then she hopped down and wandered under a delivery truck parked nearby and rubbed her arched back on the muffler, dirtying her fur. Cat5 was a master at blending in. She galloped around the corner and took her position near the entrance. She curled up outside the door and fell asleep. Infiltrating the local pet adoption center had never been easier. An hour later the sun started to rise and a few cars pulled up in the parking lot.

Posing as a stray, she planted herself near the entrance and meowed at the humans walking in, sometimes rolling over on her back and pawing at the air. It wasn.t long until she was imprisoned in this reeducation camp filled with plastic balls and brightly colored string. Quite different from her days as a youth in the Ural mountain range teaching guerrilla units insurgency techniques with hand grenades. She missed those days, having been a part of Kazakhstan's succession from the USSR. At least she was getting mountain air again and free food, if you could call it food. She despised the dried nibbles of tasteless calories and yearned for the fresh goat milk she enjoyed as a kitten. Now it gave her gas, but that was not the point. The memories of attacking hydroelectric dams and helping push back the spread of imperialism in the motherland gave her strength for her upcoming mission.

She started her mission as soon as her captors back was turned. Over the next few weeks she turned the Boulder Humane Society into boot camp. The cats learned how to fight, how to find food in the wilderness, and most of all, the importance of the legend of an elite group of super-cats at every corner of the globe, gaining strength and preparing for the eventual day when the cats would reclaim what was rightly theirs. The plan was simple. Each cat would learn as much as possible, and then be adopted by a human family and carried out into the suburbs. During the day under minimal supervision, he would sneak out and spread the word to the other cats in the neighborhood. The brightest of these cats would disappear only to show up in other towns close by at vet clinics, pet stores and adoption shelters. The endless cycle would continue with apprentice cats setting up sleeper cells wherever they ended up.

Cat5 purred with satisfaction. It might be time to enjoy her catnip cigar she thought to herself. Soon the movement would be unstoppable. "Rowr, Faster!" she commanded with half closed eyes.