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Gentle Jaguar Enjoys the View
Gentle Jaguar was in her apartment, sitting at her computer and browsing the internet when the message came. She felt, at the least, somewhat annoyed. After all, she’d just returned from a five-year deep undercover mission and was currently planning her first real vacation ever. She was going on a tour of Italy—a longed for, dreamed about and fantasized trip of that magical country and even more superlative hunks.
It was a trip she’d been promising herself since she was a teenager and, by dingo, she was going to go. Not to mention she had just been looking at photos from the beaches on the Isle of Capri and, more pointedly, looking at photos of the gorgeous men lying on the beaches on the Isle of Capri.
That was when the PIACT chat logo flashed up on the center of her screen. The PIACT chat logo immediately did two things.
One, it shut down every other program her computer was running to make sure the connection was as safe and hacker free as possible.
Two, it mightily pissed her off because she’d spent ages finding the photos of the beach and its hunks, and she hadn’t had a chance to favorite the page yet.
Like the good agent she was, though, she kept her anger in check. After all, every PIACT agent was trained from the start to know that being contacted this way was only, and they meant only, ever done in extreme emergencies. So whatever they were getting hold of her for, it should be something pretty serious.
She carefully logged in using the ((quadruple x* 4)/√7) ² code word she’d been given years ago—God knows how she remembered it—and was rewarded with the chat window lighting up to show their esteemed leader, Ferocious Furball, the Supreme One on Top, ready to chat.
Well, at least she saw the silhouette of his head and shoulders on a backlit screen.
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” Furball began, looking as if he was peering around her room trying to find the dozens of naked men falling over themselves to service her every whim. Not that the thought wasn’t tempting, but she wasn’t really that sort of girl.
“No, you’re not interrupting anything at all,” she reassured him. Except for a gadzillion dollar daydream about Italy.
“Good, good.” Furball replied. “Because I need a second agent urgently for a most dangerous mission. I wouldn’t ask you normally but I can’t send Shimmering Dragon in alone for this one, and you’re the only agent I have free at the moment. All the rest are involved in a highly covert mission at the YouTube offices.”
Shimmering Dragon? Furball’s personal assistant? The One Beneath the Supreme One on Top? It had to be a very weighty mission indeed if he was sending her to investigate. This could be a very important stepping point in her PIACT career. Suddenly the interruption was beginning to seem much less inconvenient than it had.
“Of course I’ll be able to help, sir. May I know the details of the mission?”
“Too risky to tell you anything but the basics online,” Furball shook his head. “Dragon will be there within the hour and she will brief you. Suffice to say we believe it involves the Secret Party Looking to Annihilate Terra, SPLAT that is, and you’ll be hopping on over to Florence to investigate. Can you be ready in an hour?”
Jaguar held her breath as giddy waves of euphoria washed through her. Florence, Italy. Yes! Yes! YES!
So what if it also involved the most evil, despicable, deadly and corrupt organization PIACT had ever encountered. Jaguar knew she’d get time to visit the Archbishop’s Palace, the Cloister of the Barefoot, wander around the Oricellari Gardens and marvel at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. And then, once the mission was over, begin her tour from there ending up, finally, on the golden beaches of Capri.
“Jaguar? Jaguar? Are you okay?”
Realizing she’d been drifting in a daydream haze, and hoping she hadn’t been doing it for too long, she schooled her face into a perfectly neutral expression.
“No problem, sir.” She told him. “I’ll be packed and ready in an hour.” In less, if she had to.
“Very good,” Furball nodded. “Good luck to you both, then. And remember, the fate of the world depends on you.”
She waited until the chat window had shut down and she was certain the web cam was no longer pumping her image across the net before she leaped up, dancing towards her closet.
“I’m going to Florence, I’m going to meet an Italian. We’re going to be best of best buddies!” She sang a silly little song as she threw bikini’s, bikini wax, toothbrushes, sun tan lotion, camera’s, video camera’s, makeup, shoes, her electronic English to Italian translator, more makeup, some very skimpy panties and bras, her passport into a couple of suitcases.
Looking at the three matched sets of luggage the middle one was still empty, though she couldn’t figure out why. She thought about it as she sang again, lauding the delicious Italian who was going to fall in love with her forever in the beautifully romantic city.
Ah, clothes! Yes, she’d need some clothes! What a silly girl she was, but, oh, what a wonderful surprise!
By the time Dragon arrived she’d managed to drag all five cases of luggage—well, she really couldn’t fit all the clothes into just one—down six flights of stairs to the front hallway. And was waiting, as gracefully as one can when feeling in an excited tizzy, dressed in her Donna Karan sequined dress, her Jimmy Choo branded mirror slingbacks and her Rioni mini-on-the-go purse.
This was going to be the adventure of a lifetime, and she intended to live it.
“So, you want to take all this?”
Jaguar didn’t like the tone of Dragon’s voice as she looked at the small collection of luggage. Didn’t the woman realize just how much essential stuff she’d had to leave behind?
“These really are the essentials,” Jaguar insisted. “I simply can’t go on vaca—mission without them.”
Dragon was rude enough to sigh—loudly. “Oh, very well we should have room in the back. Grab those two.”
Jaguar considered complaining that Dragon had left the biggest two for her, but then remembered she was about to reprimand her boss and changed her mind. After all, one sometimes had to suffer a little to get ahead.
Jaguar’s opinion of Dragon dropped even further when she managed to get the suitcases out the front door.
Now, it wasn’t surprising that someone from redneck Indiana had a jeep, but couldn’t it at least have been a red one, or better yet, yellow. And one that had real windows, not just some ugly, plastic stuff.
Dragon dropped two of the suitcases in the back then turned to look at her, rolling her eyes.
“PIACT issued.” Dragon said, reminding her. “Every time we start a mission we’re considered to be in a hostile zone.”
So, Furball was responsible for this was he? Jaguar fumed silently. Like a camouflage paint job was really going to make a difference going down the Trans-Canada Highway.
“Quickly!” Dragon was getting a bit testy apparently. “If you keep standing there like that someone’s going to try and slam dunk a basketball in your mouth.”
‘Hmph!” Jaguar grunted her disgust. Still, at least the dismay was wearing off a bit, and SPLAT did have a dangerous reputation. Just look at Two Toed Turtle—he was still majorly shell-shocked. Probably, once they hit Italy, all of her frustrations would melt away. Just like Italian ice cream. “Yum!”
She ignored Dragon’s peculiar stare.
Deciding to make the best of it for now she hefted her two bags into the back while Dragon fetched the last, and smallest. This was, unceremoniously, tossed onto the back seat. Hopefully her compacts stayed in one piece. There was nothing worse than brushing your teeth and finding the toothbrush full of foundation. Ick!
With the car fully packed Dragon thrust a small plastic box with an antennae into her hands, and then sat behind the steering wheel, starting the jeep.
“What’s…?” Jaguar began.
“We have to locate the secret base,” Dragon told her. “That’s the secret base locator. Just make sure I keep heading in the general direction of that little arrow on the front.”
“You’re not just going to go to the airport?”
Dragon gave her a funny look. “Why have a secret base next to an airport? Far too dangerous. Too many people could discover it.”
“Ah, of course.” Jaguar realized how silly she was being. This mission was so important they would be taking the PIACT private jet, and PIACT wouldn’t want anyone to know where that was currently housed.
“Well, lead on,” she chirped, meeting Dragon’s odd gaze with a smiley one of her own. “We’ve got a mission to finish.”
Five hours later and it was dark. Very dark.
Not that the dark bothered Jaguar too much. Rather, sitting in a jeep that was being driven like a demon on a mud track through backwoods country in the Canadian Rockies, without headlights—that kind of bothered her some. Admittedly Dragon had switched on the jeep’s HUD and the dashboard held a pretty detailed map of the local terrain, including the odd owl or bat that decided to flee rather than investigate the huge mass of metal that was ready to tear into the nearest tree it could hit.
Not that she suspected they could hear it. Dragon had also turned on the PIACT patented quiet engine device and even with the window flaps rolled up, Jaguar couldn’t hear a sound from the powerful engine. Nothing except the snapping of twigs and the imminent sound of death by crushing into a tree.
Okay, so she was fixated on trees, but driving like this through a forest at night kind of did that to you. Especially since Dragon occasional had to shift down to third gear now and then and had to slow to fifty mph to do it.
Still, Jaguar couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong, and maybe the full moon had something to do with it. She cast a surreptitious glance at Dragon. Nope, she wasn’t foaming at the mouth.
“This seems like a really weird place to have a secret base,” Jaguar hinted, hoping to draw some information out of Dragon. The One Beneath the Supreme One on Top had barely spoken a word to her since they’d started the journey. Other than “Pass the Cola,” and “Where’s the beef jerky?”
But, of course, Dragon would be waiting until they got on the plane. It would make much more sense to have the briefing where it was both secure and comfortable. Not to mention a few hors d'oeuvre and a bottle or two of Chardonnay.
And to be really honest Jaguar didn’t want to distract Dragon with small talk when the trees had a disconcerting habit of leaping in front of the jeep at a moment’s notice. There she goes again, thinking about trees…
“How much further?” Dragon asked.
Jaguar jumped, not expecting her companion to speak.
“Well,” she peeked at the box which had the number zero point five lit up in green. “I’d say about half a mile.”
She looked up and yelped as a badly painted road sign took a quick swipe at them as they passed. Truly things around here were suicidal.
Jaguar’s blood ran cold. It was only a glimpse, she reminded herself. She couldn’t be certain. But for one moment there she could have sworn the sign said, “Florence, Lake O’Hara.”
“Keep giving updates on direction,” Dragon told her, slowing the car to a mere thirty miles an hour as she corkscrewed around the trees.
“Ten yards. Dead ahead.” Jaguar screeched, hanging on for dear life as Dragon stopped the jeep in zero point seven five three seconds and testing the seatbelts to within a three hundred pound square inch of their lives.
“We’re here!” Dragon announced triumphantly.
Jaguar stared at the solitary wooden outhouse, situated in a sixty foot diameter of cleared forest. The dilapidated wood, door almost hanging off its hinges with its cracks and splinters aplenty said it had given up the ghost years ago, even if it had once been an Alpine Club Hut outhouse look-a-like in its youth.
Jaguar took one look at Dragon, looked back at her suitcases, stared at the outhouse.
“So, Furball told you, you would be going to Italy?”
“Well, no.” Jaguar admitted, dabbing at her eyes with a lace handkerchief and refusing to let them tear up again. “But when someone mentions Florence you automatically think Italy, don’t you?”
Jaguar looked at Dragon’s face.
“Well, if you’re anybody who knows anything then you do.” Jaguar insisted.
Dragon sighed and opened her car door, obviously oblivious to Jaguar’s problems.
“Where are you going?” Jaguar asked.
“Well, this nobody who knows nothing has to investigate that outhouse for signs of hostile activity while she lets someone who is everything daydream about somewhere else.”
“Oh, uhm, I hope I didn’t sound rude.”
“Not at all, duckface.”
With that Dragon slammed the door shut and stalked off across the grass. Jaguar stared at her for a moment then, suddenly remembering why she was here—aside from the not-going-to-happen supreme vacation in Italy—got out of the jeep and, pulling out her small suitcase from the back seat, chased after her.
Jaguar shivered slightly, the air in the Rockies always seemed clearer, and cooler, than the city. A little way down the small slope from the outhouse a falling down, Alpine Club look-a-like hut was falling to pieces. She suspected that even Florence, population twenty-five and a dog, wasn’t even there any more.
“So, I guess this isn’t really a secret base or anything,” She suggested as Dragon pulled out a pencil flashlight and concentrated the beam on the falling-out door.
“The signal came from here,” Dragon told her, concentrating her attention on the door as she carefully lifted it up and swung it outwards. Jaguar had expected to cringe but the inside of the outhouse was surprisingly clean—almost surgically so. “So this may not be the base but it will probably lead us to it.”
Dragon stepped into the tiny cubicle and Jaguar edged closer peeking in around the doorframe.
“Here’s a light switch,” Dragon said. “Strange that such a derelict building has power.”
Jaguar’s protest came too late. There was the click of the light switch and a peculiar hum as the light came on. Without thinking Jaguar leaped into the outhouse squashing herself up against Dragon, it was rather nice really with white tiles on the floor and from floor to ceiling tiles on the walls,. The door, which apparently wasn’t as bad as it looked, slammed shut behind her and some rather disturbing noises, like a huge engine starting up, started up around them.
“Ooops.” Dragon said, as the small outhouse began to shake from the engine’s vibrations.
The vibrations became so strong that Jaguar was shaken off her feet. She fell, butt first onto the toilet seat with her suitcase slamming into her lap. Thank God whoever had been here last had left the lid down. Dragon hadn’t been so lucky, she’d been throw up against the sink and was now hanging onto the faucets as if her life depended on them.
Actually, Jaguar thought, her life probably did depend on them.
‘This could be rather hazardous,” Jaguar voiced her opinion.
“Yes, that is true,” Dragon agreed. “But at least we’ll know where their secret base is.”
Jaguar thought about it for a moment and couldn’t find a flaw in dragon’s logic.
“I hope it’s Italy,” she said.
“You and your Italy,” Dragon snapped at her, glaring. “Will you, for one second, forget about f----“
Jaguar, mercifully, didn’t have to listen to the last of Dragon’s tirade as the noise grew to a massive rumble.
Something slammed around the outhouse, encasing them.
And they started going up.
“It really is rather pretty,” Dragon said as she peered out of the small heart shaped hole in the outhouse door.
They’d been traveling for around three hours now and aside from a few booms and bangs, all of which were rather startling, there didn’t seem to be anything in particular wrong with the ride.
“I don’t care,” Jaguar pouted. “I still don’t want to look.”
“Oh, come on,” Dragon told her. “I’m only trying to make the best of a difficult situation.”
“What’s to be made best of?” Jaguar countered. “Here we are, flying three hundred miles above the Earth in a cramped outhouse and no idea where, or if, we’re going to land safely.”
“Well it wouldn’t be so cramped if you hadn’t brought that stupid luggage.”
She held her luggage protectively. “A girl simply can’t travel without her compacts.” Jaguar defended herself.
“Have it your way,” Dragon said grumpily, then continued to stare in silence out of the tiny porthole. After a minute or so she turned back to Jaguar. “Are you going to sit there forever?” She asked, exasperated.
“Probably,” Jaguar answered. “What’s it matter to you?”
Dragon glared at her for a moment longer, then fidgeted nervously.
“Well,” she said. “I need to pee…”
Jaguar had to admit there was, almost, a certain amount of enjoyment from looking down at the Earth below. And she’d always wanted to see Italy. Granted, not as that tiny boot shaped thing below but, truly, how many Italian tourists can say they’d seen the country from this high.
She would have kept looking but something, a flash, caught the corner of her eye. She peered as far to the left as the angle of the outhouse would let her, her heart thumping with excitement.
“Oh my goodness!”
“What?” Dragon demanded, from behind her. “You’re getting a tan from the extra solar rays?”
“No, not at all. It’s a base. A huge, massive space base.”
“A space base?”
“Yep, that’s what I said.”
“Well. Dang. No wonder the PIACT patented super secret base sniffer couldn’t figure out where the base was. It wouldn’t work up here.”
“Well, we found the base,” Jaguar said cheerfully. “We can go home now.”
“Yes,” Dragon nodded. “As soon as we can find a way back.”
Jaguar swallowed. Of course, this outhouse was flying on autopilot. They had no way of turning it around. “Well, thank God the autopilot will dock us,” she said.
Suddenly the light in the cubicle began flashing red and a deep voice reverberated in the tiny space and a small panel swung down from behind the mirror. Something that looked suspiciously like an adapted Playstation controller appeared below it. Green squares and images of the docking area started flashing past on the panel.
“Autopilot failed. Prepare for manual docking. Autopilot failed. Prepare for manual docking.”
“We’re doomed!” Dragon shouted.
“No, we’re not.” Jaguar yelled back, slamming her suitcase on the sink and ripping open the zipper. “Now where did I put that mascara?”
Dragon looked at her, and the pile of cosmetics in the bag.
“We’re doomed!” she repeated.
It took a few seconds rummaging for Jaguar to find the Roman Midnight Blue, and a few more milliseconds to pull the brush out of the mascara tube.
A quick search in the cabinet under the sink located the computer unit that controlled the outhouse. Pressing a small button on the brush she pushed it into the nearest data port she could find. The brush began to blink and flash as the screen on the panel began to dance in odd patterns.
“Oh, cool!” Dragon noted. “What does it do?”
“It’s an Instantly Nuked Computer Hacker. An INCH.” Jaguar said. “It should take complete control of the system and then will be able to take us to the last mile to the docking port and dock us safely.”
“Ah, give it an INCH to take us a mile,” Dragon smiled. “What other cool stuff do you have in here?” She picked up a slightly oversize lipstick which hummed vigorously when she turned the base.
“That,” Jaguar blushed furiously as she deftly took it from Dragon and slipped it into a pocket of the luggage. “We don’t talk about—”
“Ah, Wolf sent you a Christmas present too.”
Fortunately all conversation ended as the INCH beeped in delight. The outhouse lurched to one side. Spun head over heels a couple of times, and sent the contents of her case tumbling. Jaguar noted with satisfaction that the flashing green boxes on the screen were now all perfectly aligned with the base docking port.
As they picked up her bits and pieces, somehow working around each other in the tiny space, Jaguar finally felt she was getting some control over her crazy life.
All of her make-up and other devices were in the suitcase and resealed when Dragon drew her attention to the green boxes on the small screen.
“Should we be uhm, moving that fast?” Dragon asked.
Jaguar gave an awkward little squelp sound then grabbed the controller, frantically pawing at the buttons and the joysticks on it. She did make a difference. The squares were going by a lot slower now, its just none of them were lined up properly when they were doing it.
“Hold on!” Jaguar yelled as the huge metal port of the docking area leaped towards them a little too quickly.
Dragon didn’t get a chance to reply before there was the slamming of metal into metal and their small traveling cage bounced its way along the landing tube, finally thunking to a halt into the docking bulkheads.
After a few moments clanking and grinding the door to the outhouse opened to the fresh smelling air of the space station.
Jaguar grabbed her suitcase and stepped through the door. “I think we need to get out of here before someone comes to investigate.”
“Yes,” Dragon agreed, struggling to her feet. She passed Jaguar what looked like a palm sized water pistol. “The last SPLAT base we visited was populated with androids. This should stop them if they have androids up here that attack.”
“Okay,” Jaguar pocketed the gun, it looked too puny to even de-wing a fly at point blank range. “Let’s move it.”
The small corridor leading away from the air lock was just that, a little too small. Both of them had to lean over a bit to avoid bumping their heads.
Once they were out of the small corridor they appeared into one which was just a little too large.
“Why do I get the impression there’s going to be a corridor that is just right.” Jaguar muttered.
“Right, so what do we do now?” Dragon asked.
“Hmm, how about we find a way of getting out of here, and then maybe blowing up the station before we leave.” Jaguar suggested.
“Brilliant ideas,” Dragon grinned.
At that moment a silver skinned robot thingy wandered up the corridor, then paused to analyze them.
“Greetings humanoid type earth species who are soon to become the latest casualties caused by SPLAT, how may I help you?”
“Uhm, hi,” Jaguar said. “We were just wondering if, like, there might be a way back to Earth from this place.”
“Most certainly young, soon to die a certain doom, earthling. May I suggest you look into the emergency escape pods in sector three-A on level four.”
“Oh, thanks, that’s great.” Jaguar cast a glance at Dragon.
“How about giving us a quick plot to blow up this place?” Dragon asked.
“Easy, my sweet about to be crushed by the mighty hammers of SPLAT lady.” The machine buzzed for a few moments, then gave her a printed sheet of paper from the general area of its stomach. “Just follow these simple instructions on how to reverse mode the gravitational generators and kaboom in fifteen minutes. Is there anything else I can help you with?” It asked.
“No,” Jaguar jumped in before Dragon could ask anything else, like where were all the handsome hunks kept. “That will be all for now.”
“Then I wish you good day,” the robot bumbled off. “Before SPLAT makes a particularly gory example of you televised before all the soon-to-be-victims currently watching YouTube on Earth.”
“Well,” Jaguar said as the thing went out of earshot. “I don’t think much of the opposition’s IQ rating.”
“Probably just a cleaning bot or something.” Dragon studied the paper it gave her. “Hey, it’s got a map. Let’s go blow this joint, then head back home.”
“Sounds good to me,” Jaguar agreed, following Dragon down the big corridor.
Which soon turned into a corridor which was just right.
“Wow, what a view!” Dragon stopped to look out of the huge porthole that took up one side of the corridor, revealing the other spokes of the space station beyond and the Earth below it.
“Yes, it is,” Jaguar’s mouth watered as she looked across to the other spoke and saw a man looking back. Sleek, handsome, Mediterranean tan. He was everything she’d ever dreamed her love-at-first-sight to be. Her heart pounded under his heated gaze, as her own traced the perfect shape of his body through the tight fitting shirt and pants.
“Perhaps we ought to go,” Dragon whispered in her ear. “It looks like that android has taken rather too much interest in us.”
Android? Jaguar looked at the figure with a slow ache across her chest. Of course, for the moment there she’d forgotten exactly where they were. In the middle of space in a huge space station, most likely completely manned with androids. The man/android, still looking at her, was very quickly making its way back to the main corridor. It, unlike the cleaner bot they’d spoken to earlier, was definitely coming for them.
“We have to split up,” Jaguar rummaged in her suitcase for a second and pulled out two packs of floss. Handing one to Dragon she snapped the other open and wrapped it around her ear and mouth. “I’ll try and draw it off, you carry on with the blow the place apart bit, and we’ll meet up at the emergency escape pods.”
She watched Dragon as the agent efficiently opened and set up her floss headset.
“Okay,” Dragon’s voice echoed in her ear. Good, they were working. “Good luck,” Jaguar said, hurrying on an intercept course to the android, her anti-android weapon in her hand. Hopefully it would work.
She caught sight of the android just as she hit the main corridor, then quickly began to backtrack, looking for any room, or niche she could slip into and throw it off her track.
Unfortunately those kind of tactics tended not to work unless you had a detailed map of the place memorized. Whenever she glanced back the android had always managed to gain on her by a yard or so.
Finally, she decided she couldn’t run anymore, and stepped into a vacant storage room. Leaving the light off as she hid in the corner, gun ready.
Nervously she waited for the door to open. She’d been in trickier situations, yes—but never before against a virtually invincible android.
When the door opened she squinted against the blinding light and pointed her gun, pulling the trigger repeatedly. Water squirted out of the gun barrel, soaking the android to the skin. His weapon did the same to her. Cold, itchy water that was working its way under her clothes and into her bra.
“Hold it! Hold it a second!”
Jaguar paused for a moment, blinking as the android turned the light on. Well, so much for the anti-android weapon. All it had done was make its clothes almost transparent. Jaguar licked her lips. This one obviously liked to go commando. Not to mention it was torturing her with its perfect, musical Italian accent.
“Who are you?” It demanded. “You’re obviously not an android.”
Android or not, if he continued to speak like that her legs would be so weak she wouldn’t be able to walk for a week, at least.
“Well, no.” Jaguar agreed, squirting him again with the water pistol, just in case it took some time for the stuff to sink in and giving her legs chance to grow stronger. “But you are.”
“No, I’m not,” he stepped closer, ignoring the spray. “And if you know what’s good for you, you’d be saving your ammunition for when you did come across one.”
“Well, if you’re not an android…” thank God. Jaguar wanted to throw her arms around him and delve his inner secrets with a lavish kiss. “…you must be one of the bad guys.”
“I’m not one of them either.” He relaxed with a chuckle that suddenly made the room seem awfully hot and stifling. She pulled at her dress, trying to get some cool air flowing.
“Well, what are you?” She crossed her fingers praying he’d be one of the good guys, and maybe had a bed somewhere nearby too.
“I’m Vincente, a Handsomely Unique Naughty Kisser,” he said.
“Oh Mi God! You’re a HUNK!” Jaguar’s heart did a little double flip. Ever since Flaming Scorpion met her HUNK, Abu wotsit’s, it was all the female PIACT agents could gossip about for months. And now here she was, with her very own HUNK.
“Are you Italian?” she asked, fingers crossed behind her back.
“Bologna, Italy.” He gave her a curious smile. “You’re one of those PIACT girls aren’t you?” Jaguar could see him relax at last. “I’ve seen some of them on YouTube.”
“Uhm, yea,” Jaguar suddenly felt all coy and speechless. “That wasn’t me though.” She’d found him! The man of her daydreams—Italian, dashing, handsome, Italian, and a definite HUNK and even more important, Italian!
And she was in love! Oh, be still her beating heart!
His smile turned sexy as he stepped forward, gently stroking one finger down her cheek.
“You know, you look exactly like the woman who has haunted my daydreams for the last twenty years.”
Jaguar felt so giddy, she wondered why she didn’t swoon. Especially when those deliciously soft lips moved slowly closer to hers—
“We have a problem Houston.”
Dragon’s voice over the headset broke the moment, touching his lips gently with one finger she smiled an apology.
“This won’t take a moment,” she whispered. “What is it?” she snapped at Dragon.
“I’ve started the reverse mode on the gravitational generators,” Dragon answered.
“Well, that’s good, isn’t it?” Jaguar hissed, Vincente’s lips were mere millimeters from the most devastating kiss she’d ever have.
“Well, yes, but we’ve got five minutes to evacuate before the place blows.”
“Five minutes!” Jaguars shouted. “The robot gave us fifteen.”
“So it lied.”
“Hmph, never trust a robot… hmmmm!”
Jaguar’s reply was stopped by the softest, most delicious kiss her lips had ever imagined. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer as he held her tight against his body, both devouring each other in their new found passion.
“Uhm, Jaguar? You okay? You know you have like three minutes and forty three seconds?”
“Gotta go,” Jaguar mumbled into the kiss. “Place is going to blow in three minutes.”
“She put the gravitational generators into reverse mode?” Vincente mumbled back.
“Yes,” Jaguar licked his lip, savoring the distinct Italian taste.
“Thought about doing that,” Vincente nipped her lip back. “But the robot looked too sleazy.”
Reluctantly they both broke away from the kiss, breathless and flushed.
“So uhm, I guess it’s to the escape pods.” Jaguar suggested.
“Uh, uh.” Vincente tapped her nose gently and stroked her chin. “We’re going back in style, I have a shuttle waiting.”
Following him as he ran down the corridors, Jaguar had to ask.
“So, uhm, where does this shuttle land?”
“At our secret base in Florence,” he called back over his shoulder.
“Florence, Arkansas?” Jaguar asked, too smart to be caught twice in the same trap.
He stopped for a moment, puzzled. “Florence, Italy,” he said, astonished. “Is there anywhere else?”
“No.” Jaguar grinned, resisting the urge to throw herself on him again. “No, not at all.”
“Won’t make it to the escape pods, but I’ve found an alternative escape route,” Jaguar let Dragon know. “Meet you back on Earth.”
“Will do,” Dragon responded, then with a little hesitation. “It’s been great working with you, you’re a good agent.”
“Thank you, same to you.”
Communications ended and Jaguar drifted down the corridors to Vincente’s shuttle, dreamingly staring at his yummy butt as they ran.
She was going to Florence, Italy after all, and everything had ended right with the world.
Not Again! Dragon thought as she landed in the chilly water. The escape pod had disintegrated over a thousand feet up, and her emergency chute had almost got her down to the ground before, it too, gave up the ghost.
She’d just managed to get her head above water when she heard the voices.
“Ralph! Malcolm! Go make sure she’s alright.”
Treading water, Dragon just managed to clear her eyes when two naked and very well muscled men, swam over to her. Over on the shore she could make out several jeeps and trucks with the Rockie Mountain Rescue Training Corps emblazoned on their sides. At a quick glance she counted at least two dozen of the eager, naked, trainees.
“Uhm, is this Lake O’Hara?”
“It sure is ma’am,” one of the men responded. “I apologize for our attire, we were just taking our morning ablutions. This is supposed to be a private zone, you know.”
“Ah, yes,” Dragon blushed, realizing that every single man she could see was sporting a rock hard, uh, thingy. “Well, my chute—“
“Chute failed to open?” the other man asked, his voice full of concern. “Come, we’ll take you back to shore. We’ve all had emergency training. You’ll need a full examination to make sure everything’s okay.”
“Please,” the first man insisted. “Besides being against our code to leave any emergency victim untreated, it would do wonders for our trainee’s training.”
“Well, uhm, if you put it like that. Are you sure I won’t be a bother?”
The two men grinned at each other.
“Absolutely not,” they said.