Spacer The Prince of Cats 239
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    The two Cats broke into a limping run toward the van's open doors. I picked them both up to roof level as they tried to jump inside. The van driver floored it, fishtailing, as the guy in back aimed his machine gun up at me; I paced the van, staying above it at an angle he couldn't aim for.
    "Oh God, she's gonna kill us!"
    "Not if you tell me where Tybalt is."
    "Oh God, she's gonna kill us...."
    I reminded myself that I believe in the fundamental redeemability of human beings and didn't fastball them back to the mangled squad car. I did drop them from fifteen feet up and left them in the care of the police, while I continued following the van, which seemed to be making a loop.

[Aside: Others]

    "Hey, it's Thunderbolt! Run him down!" someone in the van shouted.
    Now, Thunderbolt had just absorbed the heat and flame from a half dozen stories of burning building.
    The front of the van melted.
    It slewed to a rapid halt as the tires it had left exploded. The driver hadn't been wearing a seatbelt; that had to hurt. The machine gun ripped a series of holes in the roof and came far too close to me. Alley Cats bailed out and ran for cover in all directions.
    Thunderbolt and I mopped them up quickly and looked around for the second strike team.
    Ah, that would be them, where the screaming was coming from—Hynes convention center, where those attendees who still could were fleeing into the streets. The Alley Cats were making a noisy exit when we arrived—whooping, firing their guns, sliding down the escalator rail as they headed for the Christian Scientist mother church.
    I dropped Thunderbolt in their path, and we got to work. It didn't take long. Some of them tried to get away across the reflecting pool, but there's a lot of electricity downtown, and once Thunderbolt zapped the pool they were nice and quiet. One tried to hijack a Duck Tours boat, but that was just sad.

[Aside: Others]

    We continued with mopping-up work until we more or less fell over. Scott told us about his run-in with Yen Chu-Hsia—bloody great news, I must say. No real point in looking for him now, he won't be there. Eighty of the Alley Cats are accounted for, including a half dozen or so who were killed in firefights with the police. Phoenix Talon has announced his intention to hunt the rest of them down "like the dogs they are." The toll on civilians and police was pretty high; the hospitals are packed and the Red Cross has set up shelters for people whose homes were wrecked. In total damage, the Cats gave us the equivalent of a decent hurricane.
    I was both surprised and relieved to see Tybalt brought in alive.
    Newton has been released from the closet and spent the rest of the day hiding under my bed, hissing at me whenever I tried to apologize. By this morning he'd forgotten it ever happened, of course, and was sitting on my chest demanding breakfast when I finally dragged myself out of bed at about 1 in the afternoon.
    The question I haven't been able to anwer is, what made him think he was going to get away with it? I have to agree with Scott, in some ways the theme villains are a lot easier to take than the psychos.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson