The Dame de Fer, her crew, and the world they sail across are the property of The Clockwork Dolls.
Miles over the wild frontier of the Pacific Northwest, the Dame de Fer hovered as crewmen frantically crawled over the hull on support cables. Sparks jumped and carried in the wind as the engineers welded patches over the smashed portholes..
There was an emergency meeting in Emma Wilhelm’s sick bay. Captain Helene de Fer crossed her arms, nonchalantly covering a reddening bandage on her arm where a bullet had grazed her but an hour before. She glared at the inhuman corpse reeking of sulfur that lay on the dissection table. The Science Officer, Allison Curval, peered down at the creature’s head through the array of lenses suspended from the ceiling. She stared squarely at its face and her features were reflected back in the creature’s bulbous, multifaceted eyes. Those tissues of the torso and abdomen that had not been ripped apart by the barrage of bullets and flurry of fierce blades were methodically sliced and arranged in a set of metal trays by Miss Wilhelm.
“What can I tell you that we haven’t figured out already, Captain? These things are more like wasps the size of humans than anything else.”
“Wasps with tools,” interrupted Curval. “Mr. McGregor and Mr. Bass have examined their weapons. They are newly constructed from die-cast metal and designed for their own species, and not human hands. The guns use a caliber no one else uses. As accurate as they were in shooting, a lack of sights on their guns suggests either lifelong training or their optical construction makes it unnecessary.”
Black Jack Jezebel was eavesdropping from just outside the door. “They’re fast. But their swordplay stinks.”
“What about the poison?” Helene scowled. “We’ve got a dozen crewmen on respirators!”
“It is not the same as common wasp venom,” Wilhelm answered. “I could have countered that a while ago. Until the chemical analysis is complete, I can only treat the symptoms.”
Captain de Fer flipped the switch for the speaker on the wall beside her and hailed the bridge. “Mr. Park! What’s the chatter on the airwaves? Has anyone else seen these things?”
A pop of static, and a response: “It was all treated as drunken hogwash until bigger ships started vanishing. Then there was a CQD from an Imperial Cruiser about a Swarm...”
“But these things don’t even have a SHIP!” shouted de Fer.
“Captain Gilbertsen reported a...floating beehive...over the Oregon Territories. They barely escaped…heavy casualties.”
De Fer frowned. Gilbertsen’s Trireme was one of the few ships fast enough to pursue the Dame de Fer.
“Another update, Captain...” Bas continued. “You may want to hear this yourself...”
A few seconds of static, and a man’s voice was heard across the ether.
“...to repeat, this is Dr. Darien Mason, Medical Officer on board the Bloodwing’s Revenge, controlled by Captain Qlippothic Projects.”
“Never heard of them,” muttered de Fer.
“Our ship has engaged and defeated the Demon Wasps on a previous occasion, and we are now en route to intercept the Wasp hive-ship. I ask any battle-worthy vessels hearing this transmission to assist. The only payment we can offer at this time is the antidote for their venom, which I shall now broadcast...”
Wilhelm reached for the quill and pen on the desk by the dissection table.
“The following assumes the victim is an adult weighing 150 pounds. Take 23 grams of charcoal...”
The recipe was drowned out by the screech of tearing metal.
A metallic and female voice rang over the din. “Father! Ash reports the swarm has overrun suppression fire. Now engaged in close combat.”
“Hold them off as long as you can. Qli!”
De Fer turned to stare up at the loudspeaker. “Get me the coordinates of that transmission!”
Curval furrowed her brow in thought. “A Level Three android?”
“Now where was I?” sputtered the transmission.
“The CHARCOAL!” yelled Wilhelm at the speaker.
“Oh yes! Take 23 grams of...”
The rest of the broadcast was drowned out by the drone of insect wings.
“Captain? Bas here. We’ve lost transmission, but we narrowed their location down to the Puget Sound area.”
The captain squeezed past Curval and Wilhelm towards the door. “Then that’s where we’re going! We need that antidote!”
Dr. Mason slammed down the headphones on the Marconi transmitter.
“BLAST IT! They’re jamming the transmission!”
From the journal of Dr. Mason ~
After a hurried restock of supplies and armaments, the restored and upgraded Revenge sailed across Absolute Elsewhere in pursuit of the new Wasp Queen. We have tesseracted to the Queen’s final destination. It is a world where the British Empire crushed the American Revolution (or Rebellion as the victors call it). Our scanners tell us the creature is in the Pudget Sound area, right where our hometown of Steelhead City should be. Our Steelhead is built over deposits of unique minerals with antigravitational properties; a prerequisite for a proper airship fleet. After our first encounter with the species over the site that is destined to become the metropolis of Seraph City, I cannot dismiss it as coincidence. This must be the strategy of their species.
About ourselves...the Revenge itself is a true anachronism, as one would expect from a time-jumping vessel. It was the first Renaissance galleon fitted for flight, and now it sports 20th century upgrades (none of the digital nonsense, mind you) and 19th century furnishings (my personal touch). Our crew consists of myself, my firstbuilt daughter Qlippothic (Captain), my construct son Ash (Armaments), and my biological son Koen (Navigation). Perhaps I should mention that Koen, like his mother, is of the species homo sapiens tigris. He inherited his mother’s Bloodtail fur pattern…black with red digitgrade paws, and red tips on the ears and tail. To the best of our knowledge, Koen is the last of the Bloodtail tribe.
Above deck, a female shape in a shell of brass silently held fast to the wheel at the bow. At the stern, a universal turret, equipped with a huge rotating cannon, continued to track and hit the invaders spiraling around the vessel. By this time, the operator had shifted from automatic fire to single shots to save on ammunition.
The Swarm had begun to overwhelm the Tesla field generated by the masts (“energy sails” as the inventor below deck called them). Individual drones were now slipping through undamaged. However, the opportunists were quickly dispatched by bullets fired by a blur of red and black fur weaving between the masts. Koen spun as a wasp rushed at him from a blind spot. The Neko snarled,and dropped his empty revolver. In the blink of an eye he leaped on the giant insect tearing its bony limbs out of its sockets. The drone’s clumsy-looking pistol and the claw that held it spun across the boards.
“WE’VE BEEN BOARDED!” roared Koen.
“Adjusting tactics.” The brass woman’s ruby eyes blazed as she spoke. She did not flinch as the blade of a straight sword sliced through her neck. With a loud clang, her head fell to her feet, and the fire in her eyes quickly extinguished.
The wasp lunged and wrapped its four arms tightly around the metal torso. It thrust its mandibles down into the opening of the neck. Its hiss echoed inside the shell for only a moment before a jet of flame shot straight into its face. The creature dropped like a stone, still clutching the smoking shell in its arms.
Something pushed out the panel under the wheel, and a pale, lithe woman clad in loose silks and sturdy leathers crawled out. She had a small cylindrical boiler fused to the small of her back, radiating twin rivulets of steam from the exhaust pipes jutting upwards from the sides. She drew two clockwork pistols from her boots as she stood.
“That’s no way to treat a lady...especially a pirate captain!” smirked Qlippothic as she fired a shot between the antennae of another wasp that was drawing aim at her. She spun to witness a dozen wasps crawling over the turret at the other end of the ship. Suddenly the turret expanded, revealing massive metal arms and articulated hands as large as cannonballs.
The words “COMMENCING MELEE” rumbled across the deck as the metal arms snatched the offending insects off of the juggernaut’s frame and crushed them in its grip. The turret rose on colossal iron legs from a crouching position and summarily flattened a wasp that raised its firearms at the human-shaped construct operating the turret-turned-exoskeleton from within.
Meanwhile, Koen had pinned another foe’s thorax to the main mast. His other paw held the drone’s pistol-wielding claw immobile. He bent his knee so his back paw could push against the insect’s upper left claw, which clenched the hilt of a crude sword. Even in this state, the wasp had two lower limbs free, and snapped wildly at Koens face. The Neko bared his fangs and sank them into the claw that nearly gouged out one of his eyes. He growled something with alarm as the insect thrashed about wildly and loosed the equivalent of a shriek from its mandibles.
Koen heard the trap door open behind him. “Case of enchanted rapiers! Two for one sale!” A straight, shimmering blade ran through the drone’s skull between the eyes, silencing it. Koen took a step back and pulled the hilt free. “Thanks, Dad!”
“Don’t mention it!” Dr. Mason gripped the blade of the other rapier in his chainmail shrapnel glove. He waited for Qlippothic to slide one pistol into her belt before hurling the blade at her. Qli snatched the sword as it flew.
“Get below deck, Father!”
“And miss all the fun? RUBBISH!” The doctor was dressed in his combat medic gear: a soldier’s uniform and helmet adorned with the red cross that he had proudly worn decades before. In his right hand he held his inoculation pistol against his white apron. He lifted a bonesaw from where it hung at his belt, next to a large pair of shears and an assortment of large-bore hypodermic needles. He carried several small, buttoned pouches as well as an array of dark bottles strapped to his bandoleer.
“Now, my dear children!” His radium goggles glimmered as his smile stretched nearly as wide as his bold mustache. “Let’s cause some triage!” He looked back and forth across the deck: it was littered with the remains of the enemy drones. “BOLLOCKS!” He threw down his bonesaw. “I haven’t had a decent battle since the last zombie epidemic in New Babbage!”
Qli deftly leaped over the corpses to join Darien and Koen. “Our shields should have held longer. The swarm was absorbing our energy.”
“Waste not, want not...” the doctor continued, “...they’ll risk hundreds of drones to disassemble a ship as it soars rather than destroy it outright.”
Koen noticed the sky turning dark, and craned his neck to watch the sun painting the western sky as it set over the clouds below them. “Which...they will probably do. We’re outmanned...again!” His ears pulled back and his voice broke into desperation as he kicked a wasp’s head off the deck of the ship.
Dr. Mason leaned in and stared straight into his son’s feline eyes. “Koen! Calm down! The last thing we need...”
“AIRSHIP SIGHTED OFF STARBOARD BOW.” The searchlight mounted on Ash’s exo-unit pierced the thickening darkness. The hull of a much larger ship grew closer. Dr. Mason adjusted his radium goggles until he made out the name painted on the hull.
“Dame de Fer, eh? This is the so-called Pirate Queen we’ve heard about. Stay calm...”
He squinted as several searchlights blinked on and blazed back at them, scanning the carnage on board their deck as well as the flags on their mast...the 13 Stars and Stripes. The tartan flag of Caledon. The dark blue naval flag of Steelhead. The crossed wrench and hammer of New Babbage. Above them all the gold flag with a black ziggurat, backed by red batlike wings and crowned with a red flame: The emblem of House Bloodwing.
Qli watched the crew assembled on deck. “The one in the red jacket is a construct,” she whispered.
Koen grinned and muttered back. “And the one in the middle has big...YOW!” He shivered as someone yanked on his tail.
“Ahoy! I am Captain Helene de Fer, and this vessel is the Dame de Fer!”
“I am Captain Qlippothic Projects of the Bloodwing’s Revenge! Please state your intentions!”
The deck of the de Fer descended to the same level as the Revenge. “We need an antidote! You need an exterminator! Do we have a deal?”
Qlippothic focused on the flags of the other ship’s mast. An iron rose. And a familiar flag of a crushed rebellion...
Dr. Mason’s Journal~
After a quick discussion between the Captains of our two vessels, Koen and I boarded the de Fer with several crates of the Wasp venom antidote. The First Mate, one Allison Curval, boarded the Revenge with enough ammunition to replenish all or our weapons. With all three androids on one airship, we sidestep the grim mathematics of rationing the antidote between the two ships. Well, except for a small dose for Miss Curval’s pet.
Allison helped Qli lock the shell into the breach of the last cannon. As they rose, Allison noticed the framed parchment bolted securely to the mast.
“A letter of marque from...General Washington?”
“A century ago,” Qlippothic explained as she bolted one of the many wood-and-metal consoles lining the helm back in its place, “the Masons helped repel the British fleet. In return, they were granted a plantation outside of Baltimore and a blind eye to their experiments...”
Qli was interrupted by the sound of a Scottish Terrier scratching at the bulkhead, standing up on two feet to almost reach the water spigot with his paws.
“Sparkplug!” Allison scooped up her pet in her arms. “That’s not for you! I brought some water on board just for you!
Sparkplug whimpered, looking back...
“Absolutely, Miss Wilhelm! It’s a primary component of the Demon Wasp antidote! Did you think demon was just a figure of speech?”
The Chief Medical Officer’s eyes narrowed, but she remained silent as she and Dr. Mason helped a previously comatose patient to his feet.
“It’s easy enough to make, for Heaven’s sake, no pun intended...”
Behind them, a woozy midshipman was sitting up in bed for the first time in days, complaining to Shelby Jennings that he desperately needed a drink.
“...you must have a chaplain on board, don’t you?”
Wilhelm took a deep breath. “And you said you have an entire tank of holy water on your vessel?”
“Well yes...normally it’s for drinking water, but considering what we were going up against... We were going to ask the nuns of the local S.W.A.T. Team for several gallons, but then I remembered a merchant in Steelhead’s Shanghai district...”
Wilhelm waved her hands to interrupt. “So you’re telling me that wherever this Steamlands place you’re from is crawling with demons and undead? And your constables are also NUNS? What else do you have?” She rolled her eyes in exasperation. “Elves and werewolves?”
“Oh yes! Especially at the town hall meetings!” He grinned wryly. She was certain he winked at her from behind his goggles.
Later that night...
Ash seemed to emerge from between the shadows as the wings of his flight pack folded back into themselves. “Wasp Queen spotted at top of Mt. St. Helens. Undergoing extensive upgrades.”
“Upgrades?” asked his sister. “Explain.”
“The drones were welding salvage of the ships they destroyed onto her natural armor. Both shielding and weaponry. I believe they were experimenting with engine integration as well.”
Allison and Qli were both soon flashing spotlight messages back to the Dame de Fer in their respective codes.
Dr. Mason and Captain de Fer watched the signals silently.
“Qli says we should strike immediately. Before the Queen upgrades further.”
“Allison agrees.” She lowered her binoculars and tapped her nails on the railing of the ship. She turned, and strode to the intercom and flipped the switch.
The crew of the Dame de Fer rushed about the ship, and Koen scrambled from one side of the deck to the other as sailors hurried in all directions. All of the sailors as well as Koen wore a black armband containing a vial of greenish fluid.
“Remember!” shouted Dr. Mason, “I’ve given each of you one dose of antivenin!” He pointed to the band on the Captain’s arm. “If someone can’t press the injector, do it for them! I have a few extra doses, but I can’t be everywhere at once!”
Koen frantically climbed up a pipe and wrapped his arms tightly around it to remove himself from the sailors below.
“HEY! Where am I s’posed ta go?”
The roar of engines coupled with the thunder of massive wings echoed for miles as the gigantic shape of the Wasp Queen crested the mountaintops. Scores of drones crawled over her augmented shell on all sides in defiance of gravity, their claws cranking and pulling stolen weaponry into position. Six segmented legs hung from her body ending in wickedly barbed spikes. Her bulbous segmented eyes seemed to absorb all light around them, coating them in a sheen as dark as kraken’s ink. Tremendous mandibles sharp enough to slice a man in half snapped angrily. Behind her, a stinger the size of a ship’s mast glistened with poison, twitching in search of a victim to impale.
Captain de Fer watched the Queen’s advance from the bridge. “She dresses up like a ship? We’ll take her down like one! Fire at will!”
With a shout of “FIRE!” from Erzabeth Delore, a volley from the Dame de Fer illuminated the landscape. A wide shot shattered the crest of a mountaintop, starting a small avalanche of boulders. A hit to the Queen’s port side dislodged a cannon and dispersed a cluster of unconscious drones to their death on the jagged peaks.
The Bloodwing’s Revenge, being a smaller and faster ship, took a wide arc and flanked the Queen. Ash and Allison strafed the Queen from their gun turrets at the aft and stern.
Onboard the Dame de Fer, the bridge crew strapped themselves down as the Queen’s weapons ricocheted loudly off her hull. “RAMMING SPEED!” screamed Captain de Fer.
“Aye, Captain!” Bas pulled the lever setting engines to full.
Dr. Mason rose from his seat, lowering his goggles a moment to blink at the size of their incoming foe. “She...she seems to be charging us as well...”
“SIT DOWN, Doctor...” She wrapped a hand around his web belt and pulled him back into his seat.
“Full speed!” Shouted Bas.
“We’re playin’ chicken with a giant wasp?” Koen peeked from behind his father’s seat with concern.
“It seems so. Brace for...”
With the deafening screech torn steel the mandibles ripped through the armor of the Dame de Fer. The crew on the bridge dove for cover as the monster’s jaws gouged their way through the hull. (Find a way to restructure this so as to not use ‘bridge’ twice.) Bernard Jackson drew his pistol and fired at the beast as it plucked Captain de Fer from her seat.
“OH NO YA DON’T!” Koen leaped onto one the mandibles and drove his hind-claws against the opposite jaw, trying in vain to pry them apart as the Captain struggled.
Several crew members bolted for the shattered window, only to be halted by a flood of invading drones. Muzzle flashes and gunshots rang throughout the cabin before blades were drawn, and the battle was joined.
“...by charging her head-on we mimicked the behavior of a rival Queen, and she’s responded in kind!” lectured Dr. Mason as he decapitated a drone with a swipe of his bonesaw.
“And she cracks open the loser like a bloody coconut?” Shouted Jessica as she reloaded her shotgun.
“More or less...” The doctor slapped the armband on a fallen sailor whose face had begun to swell from the venom. He took a deep gasp or air, and his skin turned from beet red to a more natural shade.
Meanwhile, Koen had wrapped half his body (as well as his tail) around one of the insect’s jaws, despite the jagged edges. He glanced back at the Dame de Fer. The Wasp Queen had curled over the ship’s bow and was sinking her claws into the hull. He felt the direction of the wind against his red and black fur.
“The ship’s still pushing forwards, but barely. The Queen ain’t gonna let go until she...”
Snapping his head back just in time, he snatched the Queen’s tongue, a long thin and hollow tube, as it darted towards the Captain, intercepting it inches from her face.
“You got any guns on ya?” shouted the Neko over the roar of massive wings.
“Yes! In my boots!”
She kicked her feet upwards. Koen wrapped a back claw around the handle of one of the firearms and slid it out of her leather boot, passing it to her. He cocked his head, noting how the deadly mandibles hadn’t pierced her bodice.
“That’s one helluva girdle...” he murmured. He flinched as she blasted the monster’s tongue, severing it. He grimaced and dropped the appendage.
From the Bloodwing’s Revenge, Allison Curval watched her captain struggle in the creature’s grasp.
“If you’ll excuse me.” She unbelted herself and stood. Qlippothic pulled the lever that lowered the ladder to reach the deck.
“But of course.” Qli responded. Sparkplug whimpered as he watched her owner ascend.
Ash had resumed his role as tail-gunner, clamping himself over the stern as he picked off drones scrambling across the Queen’s back. Allison leaped from the bow of the ship, sword drawn. She landed on the Queen’s thorax, which was bent at a steep angle as the monster wrapped herself around the Dame de Fer. Allison scrambled her way up towards the monster’s head, slashing and stabbing at any drone that got in her way.
Onboard the Revenge, Sparkplug paced the cabin of the ship. Qlippothic ignored him, as she was busy piloting the ship. He stood on his hind legs and howled. A cannon on the Queen’s back struck her hull mere feet from where Ash had staked his position on the stern. His fifteen-foot tall exoskeleton still held a chunk of the alchemically treated wooden hull in its hand as he tumbled from the ship. His exo crashed onto the Queen’s back, crushing the two drones manning the light Gatling gun they were aiming at Allison.
The Revenge listed on its port side. Sparkplug let out a yipe as his he was thrown across the cabin. His front legs caught on the lever before he fell. As he dangled from it, his weight pulled it downwards.
The underside of the Revenge opened, dropping thousands of gallons of water over Ash and Allison.
Qli was able to stabilize the ship after the loss of her cargo. “There was enough water in the hold to cure thousands of victims!” she scolded. “Now we...Oh? Interesting...the drones are...dissolving.”
Not only were the drones melting like wax, leaving only their weapons behind as they drained away. The armor and cannons bolted to the Queen’s shell buckled and toppled as the shell they were bolted to bubbled and dissolved. The Queen’s shriek echoed for miles.
“Very holy water indeed...” Allison mused as she rose, her clothes throughly drenched.
“Especially if the angel was still in it.”
“What...?” Allison stared uncomprehendingly at the winged figure in a white robe hovering beside her. “How…who are you?”
“I am Xavael.”
“WE COULD USE SOME HELP UP HERE!” shouted Helene and Koen as they both clung for dear life to the Queen’s snapping jaws.
Just as the Captain’s arms slipped, she was momentarily blinded by a sudden radiance. A pair of hands found her wrists, and she clasped her rescuer’s wrists in return. She opened her eyes and saw her ship, the hull gashed open in several places, but still skyworthy. She heard the rush of wings and looked up.
“Hello, Captain. I take it you don’t see angels around here very often?”
She shook her head, eyes wide in disbelief.
“I’ll drop you off on the bridge.”
“YOU’LL COME BACK FOR ME, RIGHT?” Shouted Koen.
Scores of drones roared past the angel and the Captain. Koen used Helen’s second pistol he had pulled from her boot (and was ready to pass to her) to shoot a drone that was closing in on him. The wasp dropped like a stone.
“Their Queen has been injured,” Xavael explained to Captain de Fer. “They’ve abandoned the raid to save her. Ah, there’s your crew. From here they seem a bit...”
“I was going to refer to their hygiene, but yes.”
Allison watched the Dame de Fer grow smaller in the sky.
“The Queen is losing altitude.” She steadied herself. What once was a steep climb was now almost level. “At this trajectory...”
“We will crash soon,” interrupted Ash as he pointed at the incoming swarm, “If we do not escape immediately.” He had already extricated himself from his battle suit, which was now billowing torrents of steam. Batlike wings snapped open from hidden panels in his shoulder-blades. “Allow me?”
“Why certainly.” Allison jumped into Ash’s arms, and light distorted around them until they vanished.
The exoskeleton Ash left behind was soon completely obscured by the surviving drones hovering around it.
Koen heard the exo-suit explode, and saw the flames billow. That very moment he was thrown upwards when the Queen’s neck went slack.
“Not again!” he wailed as he struggled to keep level as he fell. “Alright, I can do this. I’m a cat...I’m a cat...falling is no big YAAAAHHH NO I CAN’T! FOUNDER HELP ME! BLOODWING! BLOODWING! BLOODWI...”
He felt the wind knocked out of him as outstretched crimson wings swooped in and snatched him in mid-fall.
Koen could barely make out the familiar pale features through the shock and pain...the flashes of red and black on the demon’s face formed a new but still unmistakable pattern.
“Hey Pops..new body already, huh? It looks good on you...” Koen lost consciousness as the exiled Prince of Erebus descended to the deck of the ship that bore his name and the flag of his dynasty.
“Another two seconds and you would have landed on the deck,” he informed the Neko. The Elder shook his head when he noticed Koen was not awake to listen. He watched the colossal frame of the Wasp Queen tumble downwards with a spiral of smoke behind her. The Founder drew in his wings as the satisfying sound of the Queen’s impact reached his ears.
“Well done, Koen.” He turned his face to the sun. He watched the angel fold his wings and disappear inside the shattered window of the Dame de Fer's bridge. “So that is where Xavael went...”
“...so after I heard the hatch shut above me, I realized I was trapped inside the water tank...” continued Xavael, who was lecturing the staring crew on the bridge of the Dame de Fer. “...I could have forced my way out, of course, but any aggression on my part would have ruined the very enchantment I was...?” He paused and nodded to the tall gentleman in the kilt. “Yes?”
“Are we s’posed to get on our knees an’ start prayin’?”
Xavael looked down at his sandals uncomfortably and drew in his wings. “Not to me...”
An excerpt from the journal of Qlippothic Projects...
...Officer Curval and I spoke at length in private while our crews celebrated. We discussed the conflicts that every sentient construct must someday address: Programmed duty versus innate freewill. The desire to lead human lives like the ones that built us, in defiance of the knowledge we may very well survive our builders. Perhaps by generations. Perhaps the entire species. Yes, we are both blessed to have people who treat us as family. How could I have been so foolish to ask if she thought there was only room for romantic love among our own kind? How was I to know she was only one of four? And that she was the only one that was truly free?
An excerpt from Dr. Mason’s journal...
...after having exchanged a basket of the most delicious scones from Miss Lovelace for the First Mate’s pet, our crew folded space and began the tesseraction back to the Agni Sector. I certainly wish the crew of the Dame de Fer the best in their struggle to break the yoke of Imperial domination. However, just in case I slipped their ship’s Spark, a fellow by the name of Mr. Thom, a hypermap with the dimensional coordinates of the Steamlands...
An excerpt from Koen Mason’s journal...
Oh yeah, she was so into me! She scratched me behind my ears and everything! We coulda gone all night if Velvel hadn’t…
An excerpt from the journal of Velvel Danielovich…
…and I grabbed that miserable cat by his ear and pulled him out into the hallway! Sure, that angelic alter-ego of mine doesn’t hold a grudge, but I sure as Hell do! I had shipments coming to the Bazaar to sign for! I had a meeting with the Baron scheduled! I had some ex-tong members to interview for security detail! And I DISTINCTLY heard a cat laughing as the hatch slammed down on me!
An excerpt from the journal of Dr. Malegatto Alter…
…and that goody-two-shoes never saw it coming! MUAHAHA!!! Now, back to my experiments…