Copyright G. Dallman
July 2, 1997 Version 1.2

Tigers* and Wolves and Bears - Oh My!

*Saber-Tooth

The Legal Stuff

Though last names are avoided in this story for anti-litigious reasons, those who are mentioned will know who they are. The actions of the characters in this work are based upon rigorous simulations, which were in turn based on the often hilarious reactions of the real-people prototypes.

Any similarity between characters in this work of Fiction and any person living or otherwise is a calculated plot tool and an integral part of this story's extensive character development process, and if you don't like it - I just won't write about you next time! So Much For You Ever Being Famous!

Note: The writer thought he would exclude himself from this narrative as it is beneath his dignity. (However, he couldn't help indulging in a few gratuitous cameo appearances.)

Another Note: This story takes place in the "Gravity Music" Universe. The characters used in this story are the exclusively owned property of the author and any unauthorized reallocation of the aforementioned will be seriously dealt with by the authors cousin, who is also his lawyer. No, really. Try it and see what happens!

OK, one more Note: Because some of the characters are recycled from a previous story (see above), which isn't finished, let alone published, some names and morphological details may not make a hell of a lot of sense. A Readers Guide is available from the author's web site at http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Nebula/7794/notes1.txt.

Just one teeny Note more: Text that is in Italics (like this) shall be assumed to be spoken in Sennal (That's the language of the assorted races from Senn (51 Pegasi to you)).

Enough already!

*****
To anyone looking out through the vast, open doors of the -22 Building, the approaching landing craft would have looked like two tiny black dots flitting through the clouds in the Southern sky. A minute later, anyone still wasting Valuable Company Time looking out through the vast open doors of the -22 Building would have seen an entirely different sight!

Jim was doing just that as the two Greyhound Bus-sized landing craft hurled over the paint hanger at nearly Mach one, crossed the highway, zoomed over the parking lot and barreled in through the open doors of the -22 building, their combined shock waves knocking Jimmy flat on his keester.

"I'll kill ya, you bums! I hates ya!" he yelled with increasing stridence, as he extracted himself from the small puddle of rainwater into which he so ignominiously landed.

Five hundred and seventy feet up the transportation isle, behind the damp and cursing supervisor, the two Alien assault craft (that's what they were, you know!) decelerated from Mach one to a complete stop within one vehicle length, hovering silent and sinister a few feet above the floor.

Deliberately and in perfect synchronization, the two landers rotated 180, so that their rear endgates, rapid-fire plasma cannon, multi-terawatt particle beam weapons and tear-gas dispensers were all brought to bear on the hallowed precincts of Our Shop. Slowly, they settled in unison to the recently waxed concrete floor, generating the sort of resounding *THUD* only 160 tons of slowly descending, solid iridium, Alien attack lander can provide.

Meanwhile, Frank looked up from the fondly remembered remains of his fifth pork chop, his carnivorous activity abruptly interrupted by the Godzilla-like *THUD* of the landing assault craft. A thin line of barbecue sauce oozed, amoeba-like, down his chin and into his beard.

"Wha' th' hell is 'hat?" he mumbled through a mouth full of pig, small meaty projectiles spraying outward.

Just then, the endgates on the two assault craft crashed to the floor, in a spray of concrete chips, followed a second later by a veritable flood of bipedal, Wolfen Dirhal assault troopers in full body armor, each sporting a wicked looking proton pulse rifle. In less than thirty seconds, eighty of the Lupine shock troops were dismounted, weapons ready.

As the alien warriors fanned out from their assault craft, an even more horrific creature emerged from the left-hand vehicle. Standing over eight feet tall, the creature resembled a grizzly bear that walked upright. As the Ursine horror strode down the ramp from its shuttle, a dozen Wolfen soldiers formed ranks around it, weapons menacingly pointed outward.

Aarrl really hated these trips to Dirt…Oops!…Earth. Humans were so…Unpredictable! The only saving grace of the whole thing was that if anyone on this backwater planet said anything about seeing him, nobody would believe them! Little gray Humanoids…Ha!

While Everyone in the shop dropped (literally) whatever they were doing (lotsa noise there!) to stare in awe and no small amount of horror at the invading creatures. Bob was busily coloring his floor charts, oblivious to the Alien Invasion taking place not one hundred feet from his desk. In the ominous silence, the only sounds in all of Final Body Join were the flinty clicks of the huge Ursine's toe-claws on the concrete floor and the reciprocating 'squeaka-squeaka' of Bob's Magic Marker® plying his charts.

A few more two meter paces brought the horrific Ursine to stand behind the Chief Floorist, looking over his left shoulder.

"My instruments indicate that you have what I need," growled the bear-like creature in a voice like boulders grinding in a mountain flood.

"I'll be finished with them in a minute," muttered Bob, without looking up, as he scribbled frantically with a blue marker, fake blueberry aldehydes thickening the air.

"We have traveled far. You will give it to me NOW!" roared the creature, his fearsome six centimeter fangs gleaming wetly.

With redoubled effort, Bob applied his marker, the ultrasonic squeaks were now having a deleterious effect on the Wolfen troopers, who were slinging their weapons to stuff hairy fingers into their long pointed ears, many fighting the Primal urge to howl at the ceiling lights. Without looking, Bob reached back with his left hand, thrusting the floor charts into the bear's abdomen.

"Ooof!" it grunted.

Feeling his fist impact on the rock-hard, furry belly, bob looked behind him and his jaw dropped to nestle among the markers in his middle desk drawer.

"Give…me…that…seat-track!" bellowed the irritated Ursine.

"Seat track…" Bob murmured.

Ever so slowly, never taking his bulging eyes from the terrifying creature towering behind him, Bob groped blindly with his right hand through the pile of junk at the side of his desk. After a few moments of sifting through the clutter of dead PDU rings and mis-drilled intercostals, he finally found the object of his search. Triumphantly, with a clatter of cascading, mangled parts, Bob drew forth a four-foot section of Swiss cheese-like, used seat-track. The Chief Floorist was about to hand over the object of the Aliens' desire, when an odd movement caught his eye and he froze.

As the consummating moment of the Aliens' quest approached, one of the Wolfen warriors accompanying Aarrl (remember? That's the bear's name,) smelled the delectable aroma of Frank's remaining dozen barbecued pork chops and sidled up to his desk. Faster than you can say Armadillo Sauce®, the creature speared one of the meaty goodies with a long, black finger-claw and popped it into her toothy mouth, bone and all.

Well, if there's anything that gets to Frank, its someone else eating his lunch! (Hmmm. This is not entirely accurate, putting Insanity Sauce® on his hamburgers gets him pretty pissed-off too!)

"Hey, what'sa Matter with you? Get the {expletive} away from there!" he yelled, bounding out of his chair with amazing speed, in a forlorn effort to rescue his remaining treasures.

Seeing the movement out of the corner of her eye, the Wolfen muncher casually reached out and grabbed the rotund supervisor by his ample neck, holding him aloft so that his toes dangled six inches above the floor. With her free hand she grabbed another fist-full of porcine portions and scarfed them down, chewing noisily.

Watching his precious pre-lunch disappearing at an alarming rate, Frank commenced to struggle manfully but to no avail, flailing his fists against the armored appendage that held him in suspense.

"mine now. You look like you've had enough already," growled the trooper, eyeing Frank's midsection, her sauce-covered and alarmingly toothy muzzle scant inches from his face.

As the hickory scented breeze of the Dirhal's breath blew past Frank, he stopped struggling, recognizing that there's perhaps burning shame, but no irreparable loss of honor in not dying for one's lunch.

"Ruunn, put that alien down!" roared the Ursine, glaring menacingly at the replete trooper.

Seemingly unconcerned by her bosses ire, the Lupine Warrior belched explosively and with a *plop* deposited Frank on the corner of his desk, in the exact spot formerly occupied by his now departed repast.

As though the sound of Frank's gluteal impact had broken a trance, Bob's frazzled mind returned to the task at hand. Slowly and with noticeable shakiness, he handed the mangled piece of aluminum to the waiting Ursine.

"Hmmm…Perfect." Aarrl muttered. "You have added the required holes to the Vector Path Permutator. For years, we have searched this region of the galaxy for this. Delivery services can be sooo maladroit! Yes…These holes on the end are drilled at the exact seventeen degree angle required to achieve Quantum Phase Enhancement."

Humming a catchy tune he'd listened to on the radio on the way down from orbit, the bear turned and followed by his Wolfen retinue, strode over to his shuttle, just as another group of Dirhal was carrying a large spherical object down the ramp from within. As the spherical thingy was set down before him, the Ursine took the length of seat track, AKA the 'Vector Path Permutator' and inserted it into a perfectly sized, 'T' shaped slot on the side of the mirror-like sphere. As soon as the V.P.P. was inserted, the Quantum Redactor (everyone else calls it a thingy) began to hum with a tooth-rattling vibration, which proceeded up the sonic scale into ultrasonic regions.

Accompanied by a *Pop* of displaced air, a huge, bipedal, Feline creature about 285 centimeters tall, with the head of a saber-tooth cat and tawny, tiger-striped fur, materialized next to the sphere, his short tail thrashing about like an loose fire-hose. After a few seconds he sniffed cautiously.

"Earth…Not again! Why have you transported me here?" he demanded, in a voice that sounded like a cross between a cat-fight and a buzsaw.

"Because," growled the Ursine, "if I had not, the cunningly contrived title of this marvelous story would never have worked, and the Author is mighty fond of it!"

"The Author? Who's this…Author?" growled the Feline, still exceedingly pissed at having been suddenly whisked light-years away from what had promised to be, in the glandular sense, a Very Fine Time.

Just then, with practically no prompting from The Author, the Quantum Redactor's obviously hyper-intelligent programming decided it would be a good time to bleed off excess energy, and sent a brief but powerful arc of electricity between its gleaming, mirror-like shell and the tip of the Feline's tail. (In 120,000 years of use, throughout the galaxy, nobody had ever been injured by a Quantum Redactor before.)

"Yowrr! Son of a {expletive}!" screamed the shocked feline, glaring at the smoking end if its abused appendage. "Oh, that Author!"

* * * *

Meanwhile, Stewart (which could be abbreviated 'Stew', but I won't) was studiously ignoring the calamitous proceedings swirling around him. As an avowed non-reader of Science Fiction (He did read this story though!), it was patently obvious to him that none of this could be happening.

* * * *

OK, back to the Feline of the Smoldering Tail:

"Author or no Author, I demand that you Send…Me…Back!" spat the furiously fuming Feline.

Not wanting to keep the cantankerous Kitty from his no doubt well deserved Very Fine Time, any longer than necessary, (now that the Author's ingenious plot device had been completed), Aarrl pushed a few buttons on the Quantum Redactor and stepped back.

*Lots of Nothing*

The huge Feline waited, his six centimeter toe-claws clicking impatiently on the concrete floor. A few more buttons were poked.

*MORE NOTHING*

With an irritated growl, the perplexed Ursine withdrew the seat track-like Vector Path Permutator from the sphere, holding it up to the light.

"Ha, LardAss. There's the problem!" spat the Feline, pointing to the V.P.P. "It doesn't have a pointy end!"

Aarrl looked at the end in question, and sure enough, it was cut at a 90 angle, where per the highly detailed, Toccal, drawing specifications, it should have been beveled at 37.556943 (.000002).

"Engineer!" bellowed the Ursine.

In a few seconds a short, stocky creature that closely resembled a bipedal otter emerged from the landing craft and grabbed the V.P.P out of Aarrl's hairy paws.

"Aye Laddie, 'tis got no pointy end. Everybody know 'tis gotta have a pointy end!" came the James Doohan-like voice from its translator.

"How long will this take?" growled the Feline, his impatience growing by the nanosecond.

"Normally, Laddie, I'd say six hours. But see'ns we don't have six hours, I'll do it in fifteen minutes," said the otter-engineer, his Scottish brogue filled with smug superiority.

Taking the piece of used seat-track over to a bench vice and clamping it in, the Mustelid creature commenced to rummage through several Vidmars until he found a Dotco and some files. Returning to the work bench, he connected an air hose to the Dotco.

"How quaint," the Toccal said in an endearing voice, as he revved up the Dotco.

As the high-pitched sound of the air motor filled the aether, Frank was roused from the bout of malaise that had overcome him with the untimely demise of his lunch. Rummaging about in the top right-hand drawer of his desk he produced an employment application and hurried over to thrust it into the engineer's face.

"Not now, Laddie, canna' ye see I'm busy!" exclaimed the otter-like engineer.

"Hey, we're still three heads short for our four day rate. Howz about filling this out?" pled Frank, persisting in waving the application.

"Laddie, if you donna' get this preposterous piece of *&#@* (translator failure) out'ta my face, I'm gonna' shove it so far up yer *@&#* (translator failure), you'll hafta' travel for a week at warp six just ta' get sight of it!" growled the Mustelid, laying his ears back and showing sharp canines.

"Hey, you don't have to get all huffy!" complained Frank, wishing he had another pork chop.

After successfully convincing Frank that he didn't want to be a Boeing employee, it took the Scottish-speaking Otter only a few minutes to finish its modifications to the Vector Path Permutator. With a last few stroked of the file, the engineer held his work up to the light, examining the perfection of his bevel. Everything was fine until the creature lovingly ran his furry fingers down the length of the V.P.P.'s inboard side, noticing that there was nothing but a patch of adhesive residue where the Heuristic Search Module should be!

" 'Tis missing!" the Mustelid shouted, in a scandalized voice.

"What's missing?" asked Bob, always willing to help.

"Why th' wee Heuristic Search Module, Laddie. 'Twas right here!" returned the engineer, pointing to the tiny square of gooey residue.

By now, Frank and Steward had gathered around to see what all the excitement was about.

Bob looked at the area indicated by the Otter's furry finger, and suddenly remembered an incident from the day before. "What did this… thing look like?"

"Why 'tis a wee square thing tha' looks for all th' world like a wee piece of pink tape wi' a picture of a big *@#%&!* (translator failure) on it." The Mustelid's translator failed because Scotty never used that word on Star Trek®. Thus, he had to resort to gesturing with his hands, in front of himself a bit below his waist.

Frank of course, was the first to catch on to what the Otter was trying to convey. "Hey, he means it looks like a picture of a big dimph…"

Stewart, being the quick thinking guy he is, and recognizing that the Author intended this story to be something he could show the family, quickly clasped his hand over Franks face, risking serious injury or loss of appendages!

"Aye, Laddie, so tha's what ye call it here! I'da never thought!"

"Where is the Heuristic Search Module?" growled both the Ursine and the big saber-tooth kitty at the same time.

Bob suddenly had twenty pairs of Alien eyes staring at him. "It's up in The Bosses office," he said, pointing eastward and up.

"We thought someone stuck it on there. It's in very poor taste," added Stewart.

"Show me this… Boss's Office," growled Aarrl.

* * * *

The Acting Boss sat at his desk with a small Styrofoam plate of steamed broccoli in front of him. The vile veggy so polluted the atmosphere in his office with its sulfurous, pulp mill odor that the first, battle-hardened, Dirhal Warrior though the door had to retreat and toss her cookies in the trash can outside. Half digested pork chop spattered all over the unread pick-up pink copies that filled the can.

As those who could stomach the odor crowded into The Acting Boss's office, he suddenly looked up and hurriedly slapped the folder shut which contained the much sought after Heuristic Search Module. Wasting no time, Bob grabbed the folder off of The Acting Boss's desk and quickly handed it to the engineer as though it burnt his fingers.

"Ach, 'tis th' wee Heuristic Search Module!" shouted the delighted Mustelid, holding the small pink square up for all to see.

Sure enough, the holographically explicate representation on its tiny pink label left little doubt as to its manufacture's dubious opinion of its customers. (Meaning there's more than one outfit in the Universe, other than Microsoft, that holds its customers in such unabashed low esteem! 'It's not a bug, it's a feature')

Retrieving the Vector Path Permutator from Bob, who'd somehow managed to wind up with it again, the otter-like creature carefully lined the H.S.M. up with the tiny bit of adhesive residue remaining on the V.P.P. and pressed it tight. Instantly, the air was filled with a high pitched whine as the V.P.P. came to life.

"At last!" grumbled the Feline.

Quickly, everyone did an about-face and hurried off to the shop area, leaving The Acting Boss alone in his office, staring quizzically at his lunch and wondering if he'd gotten a bad batch of broccoli.

* * * *

"Yooowwrrrr! Lookout female Kitties, here I come!" howled the huge Feline, seconds before he was whisked away by the Quantum Redactor.

Moments later, after all of the assorted aliens had piled back into their assault vehicles, the two 160 ton shuttles slowly levitated from the floor, pirouetted to face south, and within one vehicle length had accelerated to nearly Mach one, barreling out through the factory doors, the shock-wave of their passing, knocking a certain supervisor on his keester.

"I hates you bums! I'm gonna kill ya!" Jim shouted, waving his fist at the two rapidly retreating specks in the southern sky.

* * * *

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