After Topcat and Panther had spent the night drinking catnip rum punch. Topcat had a dream of the summer he had spent in his youth in Katmandia, a mountain nation in the mysterious East. In his dream, Kato the friend he had made there, seemed to be calling for help.
Captain Topcat awoke the next morning hungover but determined. Determined to
sail to Katmandia! When he announced that to Panther she had a quick reply for
his idea,"you gotta be nuts!" Topcat just glared at her with his one big green
"Oh Top, I am to hung over for this now at least let me get a hair of the dog
or cat, then we can discuss how you plan to sail into a landlocked mountainous
Topcat's wanted poster:
Even though Panther loved a good adventure, she was enjoying the vacation she
and Topcat were taking on Catalina island and was in no mood to go back to sea.
Topcat was already making plans to go to Katmandia. Panther was skeptical that
the ship could sail to the mountain Kingdom in the Himalayas. "We could fly but
I have the feeling we are going to need our crew." Captain Topcat said. Panther
was still reluctant to quit their vacation.
The next day the decision was taken from them, one of the crew brought in an
outlaw poster with Topcat's picture on it ! The cats made a hasty retreat to
their ship the Catavenger and sailed off.
Once out at sea Panther began to get more enthused for the idea of a new adventure. "I supposed if we were to go there it would just be another vacation anyway." Panther pontificated.
However prescience proved to be correct as we received an email message from Kato. The king of Lepan had disappeared under mysterious circumstances and things were not going well in that country. Our help was needed. Right before Spooky died she had the idea to sail back in time and steal a zeppelin, specifically the ZX1 which was being tested in 1938 when it mysteriously disappeared." "So," I naively asked, "are you sure this airship can lift Panther?" She glared at me while Topcat laughed, "oh yes it can lift tons of cargo so I suppose it can lift even her." Then I told the feline ship mates, "I don't trust those things after all the Hindenburg blew up" Panther said "yes but the Hindenburg was a hydrogen Zeppelin, the ZX1 used helium which of course is not incendiary."
Thus the cats made plans. Topcat decided that the ship could use a good officer; the ship had been lacking one since Spooky's death " Ach I know just the cat for you!" Engineer Spott said. He is a fellow Scot named Marty and has just the experience you need. Aye he he is a right thief and bad cat as well as having friends in low places." The remark about low places was true for there is not much lower place than the depths of Loch ness, for Marty is friends with Nessie the Loch Ness monster. Thus they sailed off to the wilds of bonny Scotland to recruit Marty. By recruit read -"Shanghai!" Once in Scotland that was not necessary for Marty was wanted for bear mugging and grateful to be out the country.
Marty fit right in with the crew and soon had won most of their money at cards, not poker, the cats favorite game is "Go Fish." Topcat had been tight lipped about what stored in a large crate taking up most of the deck space. But I was soon to find out what this was for. Without further preparation the ship sailed though the seas of space and time back, back to 1938. It always amazes me how quickly the crew can prepare for adventure. Poo the miniature polar bear was helping to open the crate by prying it open with her claws. Panther was on deck with a spyglass looking for the airship. Soon the contents of the crate were apparent it was the cat's own (stolen) airplane. Engineer Spott soon had the wings put back on and the plane fitted with pontoons. Not a moment to soon for Panther had seen the zeppelin.
Panther flew the plane over the zeppelin. When they were precisely over the airship Marty, Minty the Monkey and Lup the Pup and Mr. Spott dropped down on it and scrambled down inside the hatch. Then, As soon as they had dropped inside, the quartet had donned gas masks and set to work by throwing the gas grenades inside. These had been prepared by Tiberius the ship's chief cook and new quartermaster. The gas grenades were about ninety proof and soon had the small test crew aboard the airship quite incapacitated.
Ever since this plan had been conceived Minty, Lup and Engineer Spott had been learning all they could about zeppelin operations, (as had several other crew members actually,) they quickly went to work. Engineer Spott and his fellow Scot Marty a jack of all trades went to the engine room. While Lup and Minty went to the flight deck.
Minty confessed that the controls were more complicated than she thought they would be. Lup was also confused by the array of controls.
"Perhaps I can help said a small muffled voice. Startled the two pirates looked around and saw a small grey cat wearing a gas mask almost as big as she was.
"You can take that off. The gas has already dissipated." Lup said. " By the way who are you?" " I am Helga a stowaway," the little cat said, removing the gas mask. I have been watching the crew and know how to fly this craft."
Thus the airship was able to fly over and rendezvous with the Catavenger. A prize crew was put aboard while the regular test crew now groggy and hungover but awake were put in a large life raft with a radio and plenty of food and water.
Once above the Catavenger a silver thread was rigged between the two crafts. In theory this would transfer the "magic" (really advanced science beyond the realm of 21st century humans).
Then the Catavenger sailed back through the seas of time and space with the aircraft safely in tow. Once back on Shel's Cat Cay their secret base the crew (along with Helga the newest recruit) were busy outfitting the airship and learning all about it. I stayed busy too since Tiberius now held the duties of cook, it was up to me to box up and stow food for a hungry lot of adventurers.
That's The Fighting Spirit
The week quickly went by and the airship was was launched once more now re-christened the "Spirit of Spooky." Not using the method of imparting the Catavenger's magic to other things via a silver thread, they sailed off leaving me all alone with the Catavenger on the Cay.
By this time, thanks to the help of Helga the stowaway, the crew were all very familiar with the operation of the the airship and were able to sail over the the mountains and down into the Kingdom of Lepan.
Soon they saw the monastery Kato lived in by the edge of lake Oshi. As the Airship lowered they saw that the monastery was surrounded by horrible mechanical roaches.Yuck!
The Spirit's crew threw down a line which the cats below quickly tethered to a high tower. Topcat and most of the crew then climbed to the ground on a rope ladder.
Topcat met with his old friend Kato. "I surely am glad to see you Topcat, all the more so because we need you. Ever since the King's disappearance his evil councilor Dazure has taken over the kingdom and enslaved the population. Those who resist him are beset with a plague of bugs such as those which surround the monastery It does'nt seem that you are going to defeat the beasts by staying cooped up here. Topcat replied. "Perhaps it is time to take the fight to Dazure."
Topcat deciding that he best defense was a good offense left Panther and a few others at the monastery and took the rest of his troops and Kato, in his airship. They waited until night and flew off over the enemy surrounding the monastery on all three sides (except for the lake side). Over the dark countryside the airship flew until it reached the fortress of Dazure.
The Monastery Part One
At the monastery, Panther with a small group of the Catavenger's crew as well as the local cats were having a hard time fighting the roach brigade. Even though the local cats fought well, they were mostly armed with wooden staves and no match for the horrible bugs.
Big Leon fighting alongside Panther remarked that it was a shame they had no heavy weaponry. Panther's reply was to fire her .45 at a bug blowing a hole in it's head
"At least I have this" she remarked. Blasting more of the hideous roaches.
Despite the valiant efforts of the defenders they were soon driven out of the monastery onto the shores of the lake. Even if they had a boat it would have been hard to cross because Dazure had placed a curse on it and the waters were choppy as if hit by a storm. They were cut off with no place to go as the nasty bugs advanced on them . . .
Since Kato had told him about about a secret entrance Captain Topcat decided to sneak that way.
Once inside Topcat and his band faced the roach defenders. They were able to fight their way through to the interior. Many of the horrid bugs breathed fire. Marty had a great claymore sword as big as he was and was able to smash the mechanical heads in, athough he was upset when one of the fire breathing monsters scorched his new leather jacket, "This is borrowed, I will catch it from Mr. Fluffy now!" He said and gave the bug the coup de gras. Soon the main band went one way.
Spott, Marty and Tiberius (who was armed with his usual heavy skillet and cleaver) went looking for the control panel.
Engineer Spott had assured them that it must be controlling the bugs. They looked everywhere but could not find it.
Topcat was with Helga and Kato. The Captain as usual led the way. As soon as Topcat entered a room a heavy metal door slammed down trapping him inside. Kato and Helga tried the heavy door but could not open it. They went down the hall trying to find another entrance. As they rounded the corner they came across Spott, Marty and Tiberious who had arrived via another hallway.
"This place is laid out like a maze!" Marty exclaimed.
They heard voices crying out from down yet another hallway. As they proceeded down it to investigate they found more robot roaches guarding a door. Marty quickly dispatched two of them with his claymore but not before one of them had scratched his already singed jacket. "Ach me beautiful (borrowed) jacket ruined by these wee beasties!" The others had taken out the rest of the roaches. Soon they had the heavy iron door open and found that the King of Katmandia had been locked behind it. But where was Captain Topcat?
After Topcat had entered that room, the room's door shut locking behind him and a large glass jar had dropped down. Using his feline reflexes he was able to roll out of the way. He looked around and saw a control booth at the top of a short flight of steps.
The control arm of the jar went up but before it could drop down to pin him again Topcat had dashed up the steps to the booth and blasted the lock on the control booth's door with his pistol. Discarding the empty weapon and drawing his sword he sprang into the booth.
Dazure (the booth's occupant dashed out another of the booth's doors down the steps into the room Topcat had first entered. Topcat ran after him. Dazure grabbed a large axe from a wall bracket and turned to face the Captain. Dazure's wild swings were no match for Top's excellent fencing skills. Lunge, parry, riposte...lunge, parry, swing... and off went Dazure's head! The head rolled up next to Topcat's foot... er... perhaps that should read that would be next to his paw. As Top looked down he saw the mouth sneer and eyes wink at him. Captain Topcat then looked up just in time to see the headless body rushing him with the great battle axe. Topcat blocked the axe and turned to skewer the body just as a very large very real roach skittered out it's neck. The body lay there sparking, it was only a mechanical shell. The horrible bug attempted to exit the room but Topcat knocked him out cold. When Dazure awoke the bug found that Topcat had trapped him in the jar.
"You also are trapped," the beastly bug hissed, "Only I know the code that releases the door."
The Monastery Part Two
On the beach by the monastery the cats and company were forced back to the edge of the water. Dazure had cursed the lake and it was rolling and pitching. When they were almost overwhelmed ..." BOOM!" A cannon fired, hurling a cannon ball into the pack of monster roaches ripping them asunder. "Look, a ship!" Leon roared. It was the Catavenger sailing the the lake hurling cannon balls! The ship was'nt the only thing hurling so was Shel the cat's human companion. He was hanging onto anything he could heaving up his guts on the tossing ship as sea sick as as can be. "Boom, boom, boom, boom..." the cannon kept firing. In his haste to keep from being washed overboard from the bucking ship. SheI had grabbed onto the firing lever of the 100mm automatic Bofors gun. The ship ran itself onto the shore. Several of the crew scrambled up on board .
Amazed as they were at this miracle the cats didn't wait to take advantage of it.
From ship the Monastery cats were armed. Panther and the others removed some of the heavier weaponry including a self propelled laser howitzer. Riding upon this, Panther rode. Along side of the machine were the monastery cat's now armed with better weapons than wooden staves. Lup the pup had taken a double .50 machine gun and joined them. They soon were able to defeat the roaches at the monastery.
Once the Monastery was secured. Panther, and some of the others sailed the Catavenger over the choppy waters to the fortress to help Captain Topcat and crew.
They had blasted their way inside then found Kato and Helga attempting to open the door Topcat had entered. "Stand back , let me show you a trick Spooky taught me." Panther said attaching some semtex plastic explosive to the door.
The door caved in and they entered to find Topcat curled up asleep on top of the jarred bug.
The crew sat down to the victory dinner Shel had prepared for them. The king had been restored to his throne. They were able to help him cure the damages and curses Dazure had put on the land. The king was told that Dazure was really a roach, although he may have looked otherwise this was through the trickery of a mechanical shell. The King got the roach to add to the royal zoo's collection.
Since the ship seemed to be able to sail over mountains Captain Topcat decided to leave in it.
Helga and Kato decided to leave in the Zeppelin and randevu at the island Shel wondered why Topcat and Panther had rushed to prepare the Catavenger and zeppelin to depart. On board the Catavenger he asked Panther "why didn't you stay and see if the King rewards you?"
"Virtue is it own reward, my dear Shel" Topcat laughed, replying for Panther. Panther however took pity on their human and while she fixed herself a warm milk cocktail she explained what had happened. "The ship's purser caught Marty dragging a large bag of treasure aboard. 'You signed the ship's articles: you realize you only get a share of any loot the rest is to be divided up?' "
"'Ach this is me share! I found the royal treasury it's full o' loot!'"
Panther explained. "So you see we half emptied the treasury - half because that's all we could carry. We sure did not want a repeat of what happened in Atlantis . . . those cheapskates. Heck if it wasn't for Top's calamari venture we would have gone broke. " She then reached for her drink only to find it empty. "I am getting forgetful it seems. Perhaps I am getting to old for this business." Shel looked up from his own drink, (a motion sickness concoction.) "Perhaps Panther and perhaps you had help with consuming your drink. That zeppelin may be named 'Spirit of Spooky' but I wonder about the Catavenger." The human said as he caught a glimpse, just a glimpse of green eyes peering at them from the darkness of the wardroom.