A special request came through for some additional words written on the prompt I posted. (See it here. You might read it first for context.) I didn’t start this with a plan and I sure don’t have one now. We’ll see how this goes.
An hour passed by slowly. She refused to talk, and he got the hint and didn’t try. The teal-eyed cat just sat there like a loaf on the balcony’s wooden railing.
The dusty cow town quieted as those eating and talking downstairs in the hotel turned in. The cicadas and crickets were even lessening.
She squinted her eyes at the full-moon-lit yard beneath them. It would happen any minute. She shifted her weight to her other foot.
Beside her, Merrit pulled out an old pocket watch and checked the time. He let out a bored yawn.
Suddenly, the cat looked beneath them.
A barely-discernible sparkle cut the air near the ground, widening to a black, vertical oval in the middle of the dusty yard area.
Her heartbeat quickened.
Out of portal black stepped a silver-skinned being dressed in silver cowboy-wear.
She waited for the target to step away from the closing portal, then she moved, jumping the railing and flipping down to the ground. Her boot stabilizers caught the landing, but she’d forgotten how heavy the dress would be in this gravity. She stumbled forward to her knees, catching herself painfully against the ground with her hands.
“You need to work on that landing.” Merrit called down at her.
She gritted her teeth, looking up to meet eyes with the target.
The silver being pulled out a gel ball and began to smash it to the ground.
Awkwardly, she flung her bracelet, the gig-time freezer, at it.
The gig-time freezer activated when it hit, but it was too late: the gel ball decimated the signal with pulses.
She grimaced. She hated when targets were ready for her favorite move.
The target flung his gloved hand at his feet, opening a portal, vector-place jumping again.
She scrambled up and dove in after.
Slowed by the boots, Merrit barely made it in time to follow the two, diving head-first into the portal.
His hands touched the incoming ground and he tucked and rolled, the motion landing him up on his feet again. They were on a night-shrouded, dusty plateau, complete with small bushes and sparse grass patches. From the corner of his vision, he saw his cat dashing forward.
Ahead of them, the Time Agent drew her weapon and fired several blue pips at the retreating silver being. The target turned and deflected and deflected- stymieing her attempts to halt the getaway.
Merrit stood, pulling a glowing yellow orb from his belt. He threw the earthquake miffer into the air, trying to get in front of the target. The ground shook mightily, knocking the Time Agent to her feet and felling the target into a canyon he hadn’t seen.
He raced toward where the silver being disappeared.
The Time Agent ran up beside him, yelling, “Illegal much?”
They skidded to a stop next to the small canyon, staring down to see a shimmering, black, vector-place jump right beneath them.
“Illegal what?” He took a breath, a step back, then jumped off the edge. He sensed she jumped beside him. They dropped into the portal.
On the other side of the shiny black, they landed amid cacti and brush, their legs tangled.
Merrit got to his knees, quickly pulling a cactus needle out off his hand. “Well that smarts.”
Looking up, he spotted the target running away from them, dodging in and out of larger desert plants.
Beside him, the Time Agent stood to her feet, her dress a dusty, torn mess. “That’s about enough.” She growled. Stepping forward, she pulled her range stunner out and fired it at the target. The stunner glowed lime green and glitched, zapping her to the ground.
“Didn’t count on having to run.” Merrit muttered, getting up. He took off in hot pursuit, boots clomping. He gained quite a bit, then he pulled out his laser whip from his belt. Lengthening the distance with a brush of his thumb, he turned it to max, wound up and cracked it hard. It snapped close to hitting the target, but missed entirely.
Raising it’s arm, the target whirled around and launched a Tommy bomb straight at the ground in front of Merrit, the tail fins revolving almost comically in slow motion.
Merrit realized he wouldn’t have time to slow down or dodge.
“Uumph!” His breath left him as he was pushed hard to the left, landing hard on the unforgiving dirt behind a rock. Exploded cacti and night sand rained down around him. Breathing hard, he opened his eyes, coming face-to-face with the teal eyes of his cat. “We’re going to have a rocky relationship if you keep doing that!”
The cat took off.
Merrit shakily got to his feet.
The Time Agent caught up, stopping near him, panting. Her hair had partially come undone. She pulled up her dart gun, breathing hard. She aimed and fired her sleep dart at the target.
Merrit watched as the target ducked and kept running.
“You gotta… be… kidding me!” She gasped, starting after the target again. Merrit ran with her.
Ahead of them, the target is suddenly attacked by the cat, a mechanical scream sounding out in the night. The cat yowled back with ferocity.
Merrit and the Time Agent reached the target at the same time, but he paused to let her approach first.
She shooed his cat off and knelt, slipping binders on the target. She angrily read the target its temporal rights.
“What makes you think you get to take him in?” Merrit huffed.
She gave him a dirty look. “Did you cause an un-sanctioned earthquake, cowboy?” She snarled. “I should take you in to answer for your sector’s utter denial of the Time Accords. All one-thousand-and-six of them.”
Merrit spread his hands. “I can’t help it if my sector is more street-savvy than yours.”
“Punks. The lot of you. And your justice system is flawed. The target returns with me. You and-” She looked down at the cat who is bathing it’s leg in the moonlight. “your girlfriend there can mosey yourselves right home.”
“Now hold on there-” He looked down, baffled, at his cat. “Girl? What? Did you lie to me?”
The cat put down her leg and sat, eyes unblinking.
The Time Agent rolled her eyes. “That cat clearly saved your life, so you owe it some catnip or something. Just do me a solid and never run into me again, okay?”
He smiled at her suavely. “No promises, Virginia.”
She exhaled and threw a DIME-opener to the ground to transport her and the target back to her Headquarters. It grew into a sky blue oval of fluids wide and high enough for two people. She moved toward it pushing the target ahead of her.
He took a step toward her. “What? Not going to retort with your real name?”
She whirled around. “No matter how many times you ask, you’ll never get my name, Merrit. If you were a real professional, I wouldn’t know yours.”
“Keep running, Starlight. I know I’ll befriend you one day.”
She turned on a heel and marched through the transport. It flowed into a soupy, glass-like blue ripple, then faded away to nothing.
He looked down at his cat. “Hey. Liar. Did’ja get it?”
The cat moved. Under where its haunches sat laid a small, square, brown leather pouch.
Merrit leaned down and picked it up. “You are unreal, Mister. Uh, Missy… Whatever.” He opened the pouch and peered in. Seeing the powerful Corsecan item within, he tied the pouch and pushed it into his pocket. “Thanks for saving my bacon back there.”
The cat ‘mrrred’ up at him, lazily blinking teal eyes.
Merrit grinned. “You think she’ll come after us now that we have it?”
The cat licked her paw and wiped her maw twice.
“Hn. You’re right. We best stay ready.” Merrit opened a Di-jump for them with a wave of his hand. “If we’re lucky, maybe she’ll find us before we get a chance to use it.”