Alex stood rather nervously at Canid HQ, finding himself idly eyeing the Vixen working at the reception deck, his eyes tracing her tail, as it wagged contentedly behind her, when he thought she wasn't looking. She just smiled wryly to herself, and brought up what Alex needed on her computer screen; New Orders.
“Well, Mr. Terman, these are your new orders. It seems you're moving up in the world.”. Alex raised an eyebrow, “Moving up? Those must be some pretty important orders.”. The red-furred Vixen clicked the button on her computer program, and it downloaded the electronic papers to Alex's Personal Data Assistant. As he removed the vibrating PDA from his jacket pocket, he located the new file, double-clicked the icon representing it with a blunted clawtip, and began to read it with interest.
To: Lieutenant Commander Mr. Alex M. Terman
From: Captain John McFathened
Re: New Orders
Well, Alex, after your last stint of guard work, I'm sure you'll relish this opportunity to really prove what you're made of to the Top Brass who have authorized this mission.
We've decided that we cannot allow the Feline's to continue their, how shall we say, unorthodox research. We've enlisted the help of the Canid Special Forces, the Canid Intelligence Service, Special Operations Unit Foxhound, and of course, the Canid Defence Force from which you and I will will be representing. Already downloaded to your PDA, along with this message, are the security clearances needed to enter the Otters's territory. We've used their help to gain access to the underground tunnels network that permeates Canidia; they've granted us temporary access to their territory to use as a as a springboard into those tunnels, because it's a common knowledge no-one interprets the Otters as a threat to security, as they are predominately peaceful in nature, hence their part of the border with the Feline's won't be monitored as closely as our territory with them would be.
We've identified several warehouses where they've housed their experiments. The first is a Genetics Lab. This is where they've been developing gene-sequencing technology, and indeed, they even keep test subjects on these premises. We know for a fact many of our own kind are there, their bodies twisted beyond all recognisable form, all in the name of “Research”. I don't want this to continue, and I'm sure you share my sentiments on this matter.
We've also intercepted coded transmissions on a research project they've been undertaking. While the project has been underway for years, it's only now they've been actively discussing it over the airwaves. From what we've gathered, it's a complex energy-based transportation device. Normally, this would be a scientific breakthrough worthy of celebration, but we, as do many other species on this planet, have grave reservations about their intent. We don't know what they precisely plan to do with this technology. That's your job; to find out, and relay that information to HQ. You are not to take offensive action without prior authorisation, this is very important.
You will be meeting Myself, 2 operatives from the Canid Special Forces, 2 from the Canid Intelligence Service, and 2 from Special Operations Unit Foxhound.
You are to assemble at the Delta/Alpha Sector border. You will receive further instructions and clarification at that time.
Good luck, Lieutenant.
Captain John McFathened
Alex just headed out the door, without uttering a word. The journey by Magnet Rail to the Border was uneventful, but his mind was filled with images, fuelled by his over-active imagination, of tortured vulpine Prisoners of War, mutilated in the name of “Scientific Research”. It sickened him, and angered his very core, that his own brothers and sisters were being treated like this. Like how Humans treated the lesser creatures they shared Earth with, in their own quest for science, during the dark days of this planet's past. This must not be allowed to be repeated. He would personally see this dealt with.
It was cold, and dark, with the faint hint of a light rainfall in their air, as he stepped off the Magnet Train, onto Platform 2 of Station 34, tilting his head up at the Holographic Advertisements as he strolled out of the station, and towards the looming impression that was Building 12 of the Canid Border Patrol Authority. So, this is the kind of place we live in, he thought. We refer to places with numbers, not names.
He strolled up to the entrance, and swiped the door with his ID card, the swiper beeping as it unlocked the door to grant him entrance. As he entered, he knew instinctively where to go. Walking to the Elevator on the left, he pressed the button, idly rubbing his paws together; whether it was anticipation or nervousness, Alex couldn't really tell. As he stepped in, he saw the traditional layout of buttons, “1”, “2”, “3”, etc. But, he also noticed a card slot at the bottom, that he hadn't seen at his own offices. He inserted his ID card, and the system read it for a few seconds, before spitting it out. On the right-hand of the button menu, a new menu displayed itself, as the small silver plate on which it was housed, rotated one-hundred-and-eighty degrees, giving an entirely new set of destination buttons. Alex simply pressed, “B4”, and and waited for the rapid decent that now ensued, to slow.
The doors opened, and Alex was greeted with a dark, damp, and earthy tunnel. The walls were dotted with wooden poles, as the tunnel expanded forwards, towards an uncertain location. As he walked, he kept his ears fully open, his brain taking in every sound of the area, no matter how small or insignificant it would have seemed. His eyes, meanwhile, were by now well-adjusted to the dimly lit corridor, the only sources of light being small battery-powered lights, dotted at strategic points down the tunnel. As he travelled further, he made out dark silhouettes, that slowly began to form into images his brain could identify.
As he approached, one of the figured turned around, and eyed his form. Alex returned the gaze, studying the female figure that stood before him. As much as I prefer my own species, Wolves are a very close second on my list.
“Alex Terman, I presume? I am Commander Predina Reganda, of the Canid Special Forces. This is Captain John McFathened, I believe you are already acquainted.”
Alex nodded at his superior, but immediately perked his ears up, sensing further movement, “We're still waiting for someone, are we not?”, said Alex, curiously following the silhouette approaching them.
“Yes, we have another officer on the way. If I interpreted the way you looked at my colleague correctly, you'll like this one even more.” Alex turned around, to say something, but Predina just smiled, and winked at him. Alex's mind, meanwhile, was allowing itself some free time, to indulge itself.
Alex was just enjoying his daydream when the sight of the approaching Vixen finally registered with his senses, upon which he immediately ceased dreaming about the Lupine standing almost next to him, and started wondering which part this of Vixen he'd sample first. Can it, soldier, you're on a mission.
“... the name's Kala, Lieutenant Kala Recanda. Sorry I'm late, it took me a few minutes to work out how the lift operated.” The Vixen slowly walked over to Alex, clearly able to see the effect she was having on him, “And this must be Alex Terman... your reputation proceeds you, Alex.”
Alex gulped a wad of saliva down his throat, and turned to face her, “My... reputation? Indulge me...”
“Word is, you're sly, devious, and you always put yourself first...”
“I think I can be forgiven on points one and two, I am a Fox after all....and the third point you only win by default, on account of myself not having a reason to put anyone else but me first.”
“Well, Foxy, perhaps I shall find out for myself... but that can wait, we have a mission on our paws. Aren't we supposed to be meeting four others here?”
John grunted, as he started leading the group into a slow walk down the dark tunnel, “Yes, we are... we're to meet them further down this tunnel. These tunnels criss-cross across Canidia, they once provided emergency access to utilities and umbilicals. Now, they're a security breach that each species keeps sealed off. Our fathers designed this city to the very best architectural plans ever conceived on this planet.”
Alex knew of more than just that. He had made it his life's purpose to document the history of what had happened, from the Transformation, right up until the present day. “Not only that, but each quarter of the city has its own Fusion Reactor. Our scientists cracked the secrets of Fusion Power, but luckily for us, none of the other species know how to build one. In fact, it's a miracle the three others are still operating, without our assistance.”
Footsteps in the distance interrupted the conversation, and all four knew their colleagues were right ahead, “There they are. Well, two of them, anyway”, said John, trying to squint his eyes in the distance.
“I must admit, I like the uniform. Grey never looked so fashionable on a Fox.” Alex said, trying to make a joke or two, to hide his nervousness.
“That's what the Foxhound unit uses in infiltrating the river system down here. They frequently go on reconnaissance missions, and I wouldn't be surprised if they've just returned from one. Down here, only a fool would dive into the river system naked, or wearing the normal khaki-wear..”
John was the first to break the now-awkward silence, the ceaseless dripping of water painfully punctuating the silent distance, “Brantaka Kitaka, and Kitsake Kitaka. I'm sure those names arn't coincidence.” The two Vixens looked at each other, and then back at John, “No, we're sisters, hence our last names are the same.” John, meanwhile, looked around and started pacing nervously, “And that just leaves two more. They should have been here by now.”
Alex just stood, focusing on the sounds of his surroundings.
“They're already here.”