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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/campfires/item_id/1674344-Revenge-of-the-Aliens
by Twiga
Rated: 18+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Animal · #1674344
The Ava Empire takes its revenge, Zander, Matoaka and the Manimal team against the Council
[Introduction] It begins as an Ordanary day in the Forest, Matoaka is approaching her due date, and is preparing to give birth in the privacy of her home.

But sinister things are being plotted, the Council of Ava who had been fired by King Revel for new fresh blood are plotting a coup to regain their former power in the Ava Empire
Matoaka looked at the sunrise, she rubbed her swollan belly...Her due date would be any day now...She knew she could not go to a hospital for her child would be born in Unicorn form....She heard Zander's footsteps behind her
"How are you doing my love?" he said kissing her, as best as he could with his lipless beak.

"I'm doing okay so far," Matoaka said, with a smile. "It will be interesting to see how the child turns out."

"That it will my love," Zander said. "By the way, James sent us a gift of some sort, though I'm not exactly sure what it's for."

At this, Zandar gave Matoaka a long narrow box, which she carefully opened.

"It's a cigar," she said, with a chuckle, as she looked at the item, which had, in gold embrodary, "For The New Father."

"So, what am I suposed to do with it?" Zander asked.

"It's something of a tradition in some parts of the world for friends of the father to give him one of these," Matoaka said. "Some people smoke them, but I'd advise against that, especially around the baby."

"So what do I do with it?"

"Put it on a shelf inside of our home," Matoaka said, with a smile. "I think that the old wolf would understand."

"Yah, he has been a great help to us recently," Zander said, as he took the cigar and its box back. "Do you think that it's because he missed out in helping his eldest when his wife was pregnant?"

"Probably," Matoaka said with a sigh. "He and the other older manimals arn't like Bill and the other newer ones. James and his generation can't change into their human forms, unlike Bill and the other ones. As such, they tend to wear disguises if they have to go out in public, and that can be difficult to do, especially ever since 9/11 and those wearing Middle Eastern-like outfits get bothered by some of the racist groups like the KKK and the Neo-Nazies and a few other hate groups."

"Yah, but wasn't he in the Army?"

"You know that he was," Matoaka said with a sigh. "It was he and Greta who helped start the whole movement you know."

"Yah," Zander said. "First against one enemy, and now even more."
Meanwhile on Planet Ava a secret meeting was taking place secretly.

The Elder Council had been booted out by the New King Revel and Queen Gear who had proclaimed that new changes were coming to the Andromada Galaxy and the old laws of racial purity were going to be knocked down

This angered the Elders and they determed to get the better of the Young King and Queen their Leader, Chairmen Skeksis had called the secret meeting

Skeksis was a mutant among Aves, terrifing in appearance, unlike a normal Ave whose beak is long and straight like a heron's for spearing fish, Skeksis was hooked like a Raptor, that beak combined with the fact he was losing his feathers in his old age made him look like a vulture.

His Nephew Falco was born simerly deformed, most humans while agreeing a hooked beak was odd for a heron would think Falco's raptor like appearance was handsome in it's own way, no such sympathy among his own kind, who only thought he was a psycopath because of his deformity

"Falco come here." Skeksis said firmly "I have a special mission for you. Want to stay in this family? Want to prove you're loyal to the Old Ways? Than go to Earth and seek the Half Human/Half Beast girl for Whom the Former Prince's lust for distroyed our society."
"Yes Uncle," Falco said. "All that I need is a ship and I'll go to Earth this instant."

"Good," Skeksis said. "A ship will be ready for you in the morning. Don't you dare return until the job is done."

"Yes sir," Falco said. "I won't rest until she is dead."

****

Meanwhile, back on Earth, James was looking down the scope of a long range sniper rifle, aiming at a target that most humans couldn't see.

"Adjust for elevation and distance," he said. "Allow for windage. And then, take your shot."

At this, he pulled the trigger, the gun making a muffled BANG, due to the effects of a silecer. A split second later, a soft TINK is heard.

"Wow," came a young man's voice. "Are you going to teach me to shoot like that?"

"Maybe someday Bill," James said, carefully standing up, rubbing his shoulder. "It takes a great deal of skill to take ot something the size of a tin can a thousand yards away or more. Of course, I've heard from one of my informants in the military that this one soldier took out an insurgant from over a mile away."

"Are you serious about that?"

"Yep," James said, looking behind him to see a young bull manimal. "Then again, the guy who made the shot serves in the same unit that my eldest does. I heard about it from their C.O. during one of my meetings with him."

"But isn't that dangerous?" Bill asked. "What if he decided to betray you?"

"He wouldn't," James said, as he started cleaning the rifle and breaking it down. "I saved his life during the Gulf War, in Operation Dessert Storm. A sniper had a bead on him and his men, pinning them down in this ditch. I came along at the right time and POW! I got the bastard dead center in the forehead. Got a medal for it too. Of course, it was shortly after that that I was, selected. However, he isn't a person to forget things, and neither am I."

Suddenly, James cried out in pain and grabbed his side.

"James, are you alright?" Bill asked, rushing up to the old wolf.

"I'm fine young one," James said, pushing the young bull away. "It's just these damned phantom pains."

"Phantom pains?"

"Remember that time we went back to WW2 and screwed time up?"

"Yah," Bill said. "I saw my older brother, Hans, there."

"Yah, but during the eight years that me and the others spent fighting, after you and your friends, and your brother, went back there and met up with my grandfather, I was shot many times," James said. "Then when I went back to then, I'd just been shot."

"I remember seeing those soldiers bringing you into the camp," Bill said. "You were bleeding baddly."

"Yah, well the Avian ring fixed all of that, and I became fifty-five again," James said. "But my brain still thinks that I'm sixty-three, and it still feels the aches and pains from the injuries that I recieved during that time."

With that, he chuckled and said, "It's lousy being older than you really are kid."

"I guess so," Bill said, as the two of them started walking towards where James had been shooting. However, James knew that it wasn't just his phantom pains that were bothering him, it was the cancer he had, and it was spreading. It was one of the few things he'd kept from Bill. He wanted Bill to think that he was a man who was too stuborn to be killed, not a sick man living on borrowed time. James figured that he had, hopefully, ten years to train the young man, so that when the time came, he could choose him as his sucessor, with no regrets.
Jim the Red Squirrel manimal bounded down from the tree "I just recieved a letter from our friend Belladonna Starchild!"

"Who?" James asked

"Oh, You never met her." Bill said chuckling "Girl who was turned into a Chinese Dragon creature by her mad scientist grandpa...The only real difference between her and us, is she KNOWS who turned into an animal."

"Bell-Bell Says she is doing well." Jim said handing Bill the letter "She said she moved in with the Ninja Turtles."

"THE Ninja Turtles." James found this hard to believe

"Well yeah." Jim gushed "She also said she's going steady with Donatello, Isn't it Romantic?"

James seemed to dissaper in his head a moment, than shudder violently

"I'm sorry." James said "Just tried to imagene what a turtle/dragon hybrid would look like."

"From what we've been able to see of Matoaka's child in the womb." Jim said "It seems Hybrid Children always resemble the Mother, unless the union is Manimal and Human...than it is always resembling the Manimal Parent."
"Well, just as long as they love each other and care for the child I'm fine with it," James said. "Of course, I do know a thing or two about Manimal-related pregnancies."

"Like what?" Jim asked.

"When it comes to the child of two manimals, the child could look like a blend of the parents, or just like one of them, or even human," James said. "As for when the one parent is human, it's a fifty-fifty chance that the child will be born human or manimal. Well, at least that's the way that it is for those of my generation of Manamals and our children. I'm not so sure about those of your generation. You guys are, different, from me and the others."

"I just wish that I knew why me and the others were changed," Bill said. "I mean, things were much easier when we thought that it was because Matoaka gave us some candy and said that we were meant to save the world. But to find out that it was because someone wanted living weapons, that's just a little much."

"Just be lucky that you weren't in Their clutches long," James said. "Otherwise your life would of been a waking nightmare. There have been times that I've wanted to kill myself, not just for what They did to me but what They made me do. There have been many times that I've pointed the barrel to my head and was about to pull the trigger when something would stop me."

"And what's that?" Jim asked.

"God punishes Suicides," James said, with a chuckle. "That and I want to give Them a taste of Their own medician."

"Well, just who are They anyways?" Bill asked. "You've never told me or the others."

"A top secret branch of the Black Ops department of the military," James said. "Very few people know that they exist, not even those in the highest branches of the government know that they exist, for the most part. I figure that a few Congressmen and a General or two knows that They exist, but they arn't telling anyone, whether its due to bribes or threats, they keep their silence."

"Well, at least its not like the H.E. works for them."

"Who?"

"Belladonna's crazy grandfather."

"Actually, that might be worse," James said. "It's one thing to be caught in a pincer move between two forces that are allies. Kill the overall leader and both groups will retreat. Also, they won't risk using weapons that might damage their alliance by killing their ally's men. When they are enamies, they won't hold back, because they'd be killing two threats, you and the other group."

"Well, I just hope that there isn't any immediate trouble," said Bill. "After all, I don't want anything to disturb Matoaka."

"Same here," said Jim.

"I hope so to," James said. "Oh, and not to change the subject or anything, but do you happen to know a couple of Zookeepers?"

"Maybe," Bill said. "Why do you ask?"

"Two of them have been wandering around my neck of the woods, a man and a woman."

"Oh no, not those two again."

"You know them?"

"They've tried to capture us for their zoo many times in the past," Bill said.

"Do you want us to help you take care of them?" Jim asked.

"Not really," James said, with a wicked smile. "I'm having a lot of fun with them. They just keep stumbling into the traps that I set. Also, they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, even if it was ten feet away and a hundred feet long and tall. They are always missing me. That and pushing the man into the mud and giving the woman a big slobbery kiss is very funny."

The Zookeeper adjusted the headphones of his Mighty Mite Sound Amplifier. "They are near by!" he whispered to his wife. "I can't tell exactly what they are saying but I'm sure I hear manimals talking. Get out the net."

"Yes, dear," said his wife and unfolded the spring-loaded Manimal Capture Net that was the Zookeeper's own special invention. It was kind of unproven since it had never caught a manimal, but the basic principle seemed sound to him.

His wife watched the Zookeeper creep slowly forward through the bushes holding the net at ready in front of him. A few seconds after he disappeared from her view she heard a loud splash and her husband said "Argh!"

"Whay happened, dear?" she called.

"Mud! Come help me."

But as the wife moved forward there was a sudden blur of movement from behind her and then a pair of big sloppy lips kissed her cheek. "Aieeee!" she screamed and whirled around, but whoever had kissed her was already zipping back into the woods.

"What happened?" the Zookeeper called.

"Nothing. I'm coming." She wiped the saliva off her cheek and went to help her husband out of the mud.
The two Zookeepers, Donald McRonald and Linda had supposedly been out of a job since their bosse's zoo closed and their boss had been murdured by his own animals.

But still they kept doing it for no other reason than they had no other Job Skills.

Matoaka and and Zander were preparing what would be the child's room, when it would be born. Zander was arranging the crib when they heard a knock at the door.

"I'll get it my love." Zander said as he hurried downstairs, He opened the door to find Ichabod Crane, Bill's Friend from school holding a small plant blooming with flowers

"I...brought these for the soon to-be mother." Ichabod said blushing

"Well Gee, Thanks Ichabod." Zander said taking the plant "It's a shame you don't come by more often."

"Yes well..." Ichabod kicked a pebble trying to think of the best thing to say "I only know you guys through Jim and Bill and I guess if I wasen't so focused on school work I'd come by more often."

Meanwhile James, Bill and Jim were walking though the forest talking about this and that.

"So..." James said "I heard that when humans turn into herbivore animals they can no longer eat meat...Is that true?"

"Yeah it's true." Bill said "But ever since I saw what goes on in a slaughterhouse I don't want to eat meat anymore, Today I'm glad to be a lacto-vegetarian."
"Well just be glad that you can eat the things that you enjoyed when you were fully humans," James said. "When I was a kid I had a hankering for peaches, oranges, and apples, couldn't get enough of them. Now days in order for me to enjoy them I have to drink juice, and too much of that upsets my regularaty and-"

"Okay. that's getting to be too much information," Jim said. "I don't want to hear about getting old."

"Oh it's not about how old you are," James said, with a smile. "It's how you are being old. My body may be fifty-five years old, but there are some parts of me that are still in their prime, such as my ability to still keep having children with the women in the Resistance, one reason as to why I'm glad that I got rid of the No Fraternization thing between the ranks.Then again, when those instincts take over, it can be hard to stop them, no matter a person's rank and training."

"Okay, even that's a little much," Jim said. "I don't want to be thinking about that sort of stuff."

"I think he's getting embarassed," Bill said, looking at his friend, with a smile.

"Perhaps he's thinking about that lovely girlfriend of his you've told me so much about," James said, with a smile of his own. "After all, if I had a lovely girlfriend like that I'd see about squirreling her right up a tree and kissing her there, and, depending on how old the two of us were, doing more."

"Please, stop it," Jim said, covering his ears with his hands. "I don't want to even think about that sort of stuff yet."
After Ichabod left, Zander said to Matoaka, "That's so strange that he would bring us a plant."

"No it isn't," she said. "Plants are a wonderful gift. Why would you say that?"

"Hmmm, I guess it's one more custom here that is so different from on Ava. On Ava it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment to put a plant in a tiny pot. We respect our plants."

"Oh that is so bogus! Plants don't care if they are in a pot. Many people grow potted plants and the plants thrive."

"Oh really?" Zander said. "Do they thrive or do they just heroically struggle to exist and somehow manage to overcome their problems and survive?"

Matoaka shook her head. "Ava was a tough place, wasn't it?"

"You have no idea," Zander said. "I'm so happy to be here instead of there."

Matoaka put her arm around him. "Well, I'm happy you're not homesick. Are you sure you're ready to be a dad?"

He laughed. "It's too late now if I'm not!"
As James, Bill and Jim approached Matoaka's house, James felt a strange cold feeling overcome him...He shivered

"Something the matter James?" Bill asked

"It's just that...." James hesitated "Ever since the WW2 Incident I've been having strage feelings...I know when bad things are going to happen."

"Oh Geez." Jim said "Do you know what bad things are going to happen?"


"No I just get this general feeling of forboding." The Wolf said

As Ichabod was making his way down the country road he bumped into the three of them

"Hey Ichy!" Bill said giving his closest human friend a noogie "Haven't seen you in a while."

"Bill!" Ichabod gasped "Who is this wolf creatue?"
"A good friend of ours," Bill said. "Ichabod, meet James Jefferson, the leader of the whole group. James, this is-"

"Johnathan Crane's son," James said with a smile. "I happen to know the boy's father."

"And how is that?" Ichabod asked nervously. "Are you someone who's after him for some reason?"

"No, I'm not after him," James said. "He was the guy who preformed my last pysc evaluation before I was selected to join a special unit of Green Barates, long before I was, selected."

"So, what told you that he was my father?" Ichabod asked.

"That long pointy nose," James said as he tapped his. "I've never seen one quite like it on anyone else. That and I never forget a face, and yours looks just like his, if younger."

"I've been told that," Ichabod said, "but I don't want to believe it. I want my own looks, not some rerun of my father's."

Bill laughed. "You say the odd thing every now and then, Ichy, but you can't fight genetics. Everybody looks like their parents."

"Unless you get mutated," James said with a scowl.

Bill stopped grinning. "Yeah, well I meant humans."

There was an awkward moment of silence then Bill said, "How is Matoaka doing? We were on our way up to see her."

"She's doing great!" Ichabod said. "When you get there, stick around until I get back. I've just got a little errand to run and then I want to talk to you some more."

"Sure, Ichy," Bill said. "We'll wait there for you unless you take too long. We were just going to have a short visit, but there are some important things that need to be discussed."

Bill and James continued on to Matoaka's house.

"He's just like his father," James said.

Bill shrugged. "If you say so."
As the three of them made there way to the house, Ichabod walked by himself a little bit thinking to himself


"My life certanly has been going strangely since I met these Manimals." Ichabod stroked his chin in thought

"I just wonder though." He mused aloud "Are they helping me for better...or for worse?"

He shook his head violently...Trying to get silly ideas out of his head

"I've got to stop being so paranoid and suspisious!" Ichabod told himself firmly "Or else people will think I'
Suddenly, a net flew over Ichabod, ensnaring him, causing him to trip.

"I got one of them," came a man's voice. "I told you that this thing would work Linda."

"Yah, but it's just a kid Donald," said a woman's voice.

"That's how they trick you," said Donald. "They wait until you let down your guard down and then they change and take you by surprise. Besides, my scans indicat that he isn't fully human anyways."

"Your scanner couldn't tell the difference from a regular squirrel and that one manimal," Linda said as the two of them came into Ichabod's view.

The man then took out some sort of divice and sweeped it over Ichabod.

"You see," he said. "This kid has the genetic material of a plant."

"Hello," the woman said. "It's called he has grass stains on his clothes. Most kids tend to have them."

Just then, Ichabod heard a loud sharp CLICK.

"Alright you two," Came a familiar voice. "Move away from the kid or I'll put holes in both of your heads."

"The guy's obviously bluffing," Donald said in a whisper. Then he said loudly, "What's your interest in this freek? Do you want him for yourself? I'm sure that we can work out a deal, say ten thousand dollars."

"I'll take him, for free."

"And what makes you think that you'll do that?" Donald asked, as he aimed a tranqualizer gun in the direction of the other person's voice.

However, instead of talking, Ichabod heard a loud BANG, and saw Donald's hat fly off. When it landed on the ground, Ichabod saw a hole in it.

"Half an inch lower and this guy would of been dead," Ichabod thought.

It was at that moment that the pair took off running.

"Guess that take care of them," came the man's voice, along with the sound of grass moving. "Are you okay kid? Did those two hurt in in any way?"

As Ichabod looked up, he saw a human, but his eyes were like those of the wolf he'd met up with less than an hour before. Even his voice was the same.

"Are you related to a James Jefferson by any chance?" he asked.

At this, the man blinked. "That's my father's name," he said. "I'm James the Forth. How do you know him?"

Ichabod was about to tell the stranger how he knew but suddenly his natural paranoia and suspicion kicked in. He didn't even know if this stranger was telling the truth about being the son of James. Maybe he should check with James first before he ran off at the mouth like a blabbergirl.

"I don't know if you could exactly say I know James Jefferson," Ichabod said, "but I heard about him from a friend."

"Really? Then why did you say I looked like him?"

"Uhhh... um..."

James the Fourth flung his hands apart. "It's okay if you don't want to tell me. Believe me, I know all about Dad's love for secret groups and underground activities."

"It's nothing like that," Ichabod said. "It's just that I don't know you. How do you happen to be here? And I guess I should thank you for saving my life. Who were those people with the net?"
Ichabod ran away not knowing what else yo say


Meabwhile on planet Ava...Falco was getting ready to head to Earth
However the workmen were moving quite slowly as they loaded the ship with both supplies and fuel.

"How long does it take you to load up a ship?" he shouted. "The royal loaders would of been done long before now."

At this, an elderly Ava, with a strange plumage spoke, but what he said sounded like gibberish to Falco.

"What did he say?" Falco asked, looking at another ava who had a plumage simmilar to the elder but was much younger.

The ava just smiled and said, "Grandfather says, 'It will be done when it is done.' Besides, as the Eath people say, 'Haste makes waste.'"

"I don't want to hear about what Earth people have to say," Falco said. "Just get it done soon."

At this, the two avas looked at each other with grins on their faces, and got back to work, loading much slower than before. After all, King Revel and Queen Gear had caught wind about Falco's trip and had paid the two of them to work slowly, so that a message could be sent to the exiled prince to warn him of potential trouble.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, James the third was talking to his friends when the wind shifted and he caught the wind of something, something eirrily familiar, a scent that was wlike his own, yet it was unlike it.

"Could it be?" he wondered.

"Excuse me," he said. "I'm going to go check something out."

"Is something wrong?" Bill asked.

"I don't think so," James said, as he checked out his handguns, a Colt .45 1911 automatic pistol, and a Colt .45 Peacemaker revolver, and loaded them. "But is is best to not be caught off guard."

"Can I come with you?" Bill asked.

"No," James said, putting his weapons in their holsters. "This is a personal meeting."

Bill was burning with curiosity. Why would James load up his pistols and head out into the woods? Bill sat down and tried to read a book but he couldn't concentrate. Suddenly he jumped up and headed off in the direction he had seen James take.



Falco pushed into the room where Skeksis was being bathed by his servant girls.

"Dammit, Falco!" Skeksis sputtered. "Can't you respect my privacy?"

"I'm sorry, Uncle, but these workers you provided to load my ship are so slow it's like watching molasses drip."

Skeksis waved Falco away. "So get other workers! Great galloping egg robbers, Falco! You can't handle that? How are you going to complete the mission if you can't even deal with a couple of workmen?"

Falco fumed at being put down by his uncle in front of the servants, but it was his own fault for barging in unannounced, wasn't it? "I'm sorry I disturbed you, uncle."

"Yes. Right. You should be. Go get the job done, Falco. I know you can do it."

Falco bowed and backed out of the room. One of the servant girls tittered and Falco felt his face flush. He had half a mind to go back and give her a spanking but instead he pretended he didn't hear it and left.
Bill bumped into Ichabod as he was running.

"Ichabod!" Bill exclaimed "What are you doing here?"

"I came to tell you guys something." Ichabod said "I think I've met James the Forth!"
At this, Bill's eyes bulged.

"Are you sure about that?" He asked.

"Well, his eyes and voice were like that of James at any rate," Ichabod said. "At the very least he could be related to the wolf."

"Well we better find the two of them because James left the place, and he was armed," said Bill.

At this, the two youths started running, with Bill trying to track down James by his scent.

Meanwhile, James was carefully walking through the underbrush, being careful to not make a sound. The scent he was following could only belong to one person, his eldest child, whom he had only talked to once during the last twenty five or so years, and that had been in disguise. However, he had watched him from a distance, through a scope or a pair of binoculars. The boy had been ten years old when he'd been selected, and declared dead, and fifteen when he managed to escape. After that, James found ways to see the young man grow up, from hiding in the rafters at the school to see him graduate, to using a telescope to watch him enter boot camp, to using informants to watch him during combat, to sneaking up on those who'd been trying to ambush him and killing them silently, by stabbing them in the back or slicing their throats, all the while keeping out of sight.

Suddenly a twig snapped, and James got down on the ground. Then he watched as a man stepped in a small clearing, carrying what looked like a stripped down version of a sniping riffle. James then watched as the light caught the man's face, which looked a lot like his old one. He seemed to be looking for something or someone. However, James just smiled, and decided to use an old trick on the young man, a nice bit of ventrilaquizim.

James threw his voice to a point behind his eldest son: "What are you looking for?"

James Four whirled around to see who said that, but of course there was nothing there.

James Three sent his voice to another point, this time behind a tree. "Kind of nervous, aren't you?"

Again James Four whirled toward the new sound and agin discovered there was nothing to see.

When James Three threw his voice a third time, a sly look came over the face of James Four and he said, "There is only one man I know who can throw his voice like that. Is it you?"
Meanwhile on Planet Ava, Queen Gear was inncubating her first egg when King Revel came into the room

"Ive just got news of Falco's whereabouts." He said "He's on his way to Earth."

"My love." Queen Gear said "I was doing some fact checking on Earth and found something you might want to see."

"What's that?" Revel asked

"It's called Area 51."
"Area 51? What is that place?" Revel asked.

"It's a top secret facility," Gear said. "Depending of the source you hear about it from, it's either a place where aliens and taken to and exparimented upon, and their items reverse-enginered, or where new military weapons are created and tested at, or a combination of both. It's also a place where Earth people see strange things occur."

"And you want to go and check it out?" Revel asked cautiously.

"Perhaps," Gear said. "The information and the stories about it make me curious at any rate."

At this, Revel said, "Well we'd have to be carefull then. After all, as that Earth saying goes, 'Curiosity killed the cat.'"

"I don't think that there's any trouble with a little sight seeing," Gear said. "After all, it's been a while since I've seen Zander. His latest messages have been a little vague. Something about the pitter-patter of little feet coming soon. He also seems to talk about a person by the name of James helping them out as well."

"Perhaps we'll find out soon," Revel said. "Though I am a little worried about something. Do we take the egg with us or do we find an eggsitter?"

At this, Gear smiled and said, "We'll take it with us."

With that, the two of them gave each other a kiss, as it were.

****

Meanwhile, back on Earth, James the Forth was looking for the person who had been speaking to him.

"The only person who could pull off the trick like that," he said. "Was my father, James Jefferson the Third."

"Smart idea," the voice said, coming from a tree in front of him.

"But how do you know that I'm not his son?" the voice asked, this time coming from a boulder.

"After all, twenty-five years is a long time." This time the voice came frome the riffle in his hands.

"It doesn't matter," James said. "I'd like to see you."

"Put the riffle down and I'll come out," the voice said, coming from some bushes.

Keeping an eye out, and carefully looking around, so that he wouldn't be taken by surprise, James carefully set the riffle down.

Suddenly, a set of arms wrapped around him from behind his back and a familiar vouce said, "It's been a long time son."

At this, James gasped. It was deffinatly his father's voice.

At this, his voice broke, and he said, in a child-like voice, "Daddy, is that you?"

"It's me son," the voice said. "It's just been so long since I've held you, my little Jimmy-boy."

Falco had finally gotten the supplies loaded onto his spaceship, one of the newer models shaped like a buckyball instead of a saucer, and was on his way to Earth along with two special agents who would be assisting him. The ship itself had a crew of seven. And there were two "entertainment ladies" on board. So all together there were 12 of them, a dozen Avans, bound for Earth.

"Let's have a song, Mattalina," Falco said to one of the entertainment ladies. She was dressed in a traditional costume of bib, boots, and turban. She picked up her lutang, a long-necked instrument with 9 strings, and began to pluck out a twangy accompaniment for her words.

Lord Falco is the finest Lord
He rules the skies with grace
There ne'er could be another Lord
Worthy to take his place.


Falco smiled. He was a sucker for flattering songs and could listen to them for hours. Mattalina was adept at singing songs filled with praise for the wonderful Falco.

The rest of the crew played cards or watched some of the thousands of Avan videodiscs they had brought with them. Despite the wide-eyed dreams of children, space travel is one of the most boring things a person can do. Yes, the first view out of the viewports is exciting, but when you realize that it's going to be the same view for the entire trip, then the excitement wanes.

It was a 10-day trip from Ava to Earth and by the ninth day even Mattalina's praise-filled songs could no longer entertain Falco. Instead, he locked himself in his cabin and went over his plans, such as they were.
Falco drove the ship all the way to Earth. Falco had a good feeling about this mission, he belived he would succeed

Meanwhile James the Third and James the Forth were busy talking to each other unaware they were being watched by zookeeepers
"So, um, Dad,where have you been all this time?" the younger James asked nervously, as he was having trouble believing that the wolfman was indeed his father.

"Here and there Jimmy," the older one said. "Running, hiding, fighting, and saving peoples' lives."

"But why are you the way you are now?" the younger James asked. "I was ten years old when the Army came to mom and said that you'd died in a training accident."

"That was part of the cover-up," said the older James. "In reality me and over one hundred others were selected because we were the best in our feilds, sniping, demolitions, leadership capabilities, everything. We were told that we'd be part of a special unit, a new breed of soldiers. New breed was right. Those of us who made it through were forever changed. Some of us were given abilities like telikanesis, an increased healing factor, including being able to regenerate missing limbs and organs, laser vision, pyrokinises, magnitism, and more. Then there were those of us who were fused with animals, becoming hybritized versions of humans and animals. I 'm one of those ones. Then there were those who were not only fused with animals, but developed powers like those in the first group. In anycase, we weren't normal humans anymore. Then They put these bands on our heads and made us do terrible things."

"Like what?" asked the younger James.

"Kill people, in ways that were as inhumanly as possible," the older one said, with a sigh. "The worst part of the whole thing was that we could see ourselves doing it, but unable to stop ourselves. Also, They were recruiting more and more for their ranks, olny they just didn't go for soldiers anymore, they went for the homeless, runnaways, criminals serving life or on Death Row, people that nobody would miss."

"How'd you get away from it all?"

"A good Samaritain showed up and freed me. We then went to free as many of the others as we could and we were able to ruscue those held in that place, about a hundred people. We got out of there and I gave them some important orders, survive and help others out. After that, we split up into small groups and went our seperate ways, though I have a good idea as to were all of them are at," the older James said, with a smile, which faded. "Unfortanatly, They are still up to their old tricks. About a year ago they kidnapped some young people, a bunch of kids really. They mutated them, but something was different about them. These kids can switch between human and hybrid, and some of them can go full animal. Their lives might be difficult, but at least they can blend in with normal people, unlike me and those like me."

The younger James said, "Wow, that's quite a story, Dad."

"I know son, but these are strange times we live in. I feel lucky that your life seems to have been pretty normal."

"Well, not all that normal, Dad, but compared to your life my life has been very calm."

"Maybe, but something has been bothering me. How did you happen to be here at exactly the right moment to save Ichabod from the Zookeepers?"
"Well." James the Younger said "I happened to be in the right place at the right time..."

"Look!" James the elder said looking skyward


Something came out of the clear bue sky, something that looked like an alien ship
"What the Hell is that?" the younger James asked.

"It's a spaceship obviously," the older one said. "I've seen more than my fair share of them. This one is of Avein origan."

"And just who are they?"

"Good people for the most part, though they do have their nutjobs like everyone else. And if that insignia is any indication, this might be one of them, guy by the name of Skeksis," said the older James. "Doesn't like the fact that one of my friends married one of the royal family from what I hear. Might be trouble."

The blue buckyball-shaped craft descended gently into the meadow. The big yellow logo on the side resembled a buzzard but was really an image of Skeksis's great-great-grandfather, who was still alive and filthy rich and paid for the ship.

The two James watched the craft's ramp lower to the ground, the airlock slide open with a muted thump, and then Skeksis himself appeared. He was wearing soft yellow boots, a blue kilt, and a dark red equipment vest that had lots of pockets and loops to hold all his gadgets. Skeksis flipped open his com unit and spoke into it. "Looks quiet. I see two natives watching us." The reply he got through the com jsut sounded like tinny static.

James the Younger nudged his dad. "He's got really skinny legs."

"All Avans do. If it was me I wouldn't wear a kilt, but that's their style."

"Do you think he will recognize you?"

The older James shrugged. "I doubt it since we've never met. I just know him by hearing stories about him. In my business you keep your ears open."

"Just what is your business, dad?"

James the Elder grinned. "If I told you then I would have to kill you."
(Why is Skeksis here? Falco is the one who went to Earth)

Just than the Image of Skeksis dissapeared and Younger Bird appeared

"What's going on?" The Younger James asked

Elder James narrowed his eyes and saw what looked like a remote controll in the Alien's hand

"I'm guessing that device he is holding has holographic powers." He stroked his chin thoughtfully

Meanwhile the Zookeepers were about to make an 'attempt' at capturing the Wolf-Man when they heard a twig snapping behind them.

They sun around to see Jim, Bill and Bob
"Hello you two," Bill said, slamming a fist into his other hand. "Me and my friends are going to have some fun with you."

"Yeah," Jim said. "I think that it will be quite interesting to see what would happen if we tied up the woman and hung her upsidedown from a tree and covered her in honey and molasses. After all, I think that Baloo the Bear could use a treat."

"Are you talking about that big old black bear over in the North side of the woods?" Bill asked.

"The very one," Jim said.

"Ha! I wouldn't be surprised if he took her to his cave to enjoy her in privacy," Bill said, with a wicked grin. "What about the other one?"

"We could tie some large boulders to him and toss him in the river," Bob said. "After all, there are some nice sized pike and wall-eye and a host of other fish."

"He looks fat enough to feed them for a month," Jim said, as he and Bob approched the two Zookeepers, who were looking more and more scared by the second.

"Hold it you two," Bill said. "I've been doing some thinking and those ideas just wouldn't be right."

"What are you talking about?" Bob asked.

"Yeah," Jim said. "These two deserve to be eaten by animals."

"True, but these two would make the bear and the fish very sick," Bill said, walking forward. "So let's be humane for the animals' sake and beat these two to a bloody pulp instead."

******

About a hundred yards away, the younger James turned his head when he heard the sound of fighting.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"Oh just three young foxes having some fun with two foolish mice," the older one said, with a chuckle. He'd heard what was going on between the three boys and the two Zookeepers. "I wouldn't worry about them too much. It's that Avan that concerns me."

"What do you think he's up to?" the younger asked, turning his head back.

"He's obviously related to Skeksis," the older James said. "That hooked beak is a dead give-away to that relation. And my gut tells me he's planning to do something to my friends Zander and Matoaka."

"Who?"

"A couple of kids really. Nice people though, and good fighters, not to mention good friends of mine. Of course, Matoaka is married to Zander, and what's more, she's pregnant. If this young Ava is anything like his relative, he's got a purity-superiority complex, and one that I'd be more than happy to convince him is wrong. Of course if I can locate a female bird manimal of a similar race, with similar looks, I might be able to distract him, and I know just the girl to."
Falco did not notice that the Two James were watching him, Falco was venturing into the Forest to find his target...

He came across a brook running through the forrest, he noticed a large Earth Animal was drinking from it.

But than Falco took a closer look, it was not a an animal, it was Manimal! It was a Blue Dragon manimal!

It was clear that the Dragon had human genes because Falco knew no naturaul Reptile would have breats, and this Dragon had a pretty large set.

Falco was not sure weather or not to approch this creature, on one claw she could give him important information on the other claw she may be an emamy, and he must not get too friendly with Enemies.

But before he could think of what to do, the Dragon lifted her head "Salutations." She said "I have not seen you before."

"Um...." Falco did not know what to say "He was not prepared for this."

"My name is Rose." She said "I live in a cabin in the woods what's your name?"

James the Elder saw this turn of events and was pleased with Falco's shock...He knew Rose she was a member of his generation, she was gentle as a flower and was delighted with how she left Falco shell-shocked
"So, um, who's the, um, girl?" the younger James asked.

"That's Rose," the older one said. "Not quite the girl I was hoping for but apparently she'll do the job at any rate, at least until they meet up with Angel, Rose's one friend and, I should mention, her lover, though both of them are bisexual. Those two will keep him busy until we can figure out what to do with him."

"And what does this Angel person look like?"

"A white eagel," said the older James. "If you end up in bed with one of them, expect the other one to show up soon. Trust me on that, personal experiance."

"So, exactly how many women have you slept with?" The younger James asked, crossing his arms.

"More than a few, between my mating urges and theirs," the older James said. "However, I was always in love with your mother. You have no idea how much I miss her. It's like every night she's on my mind, as well as you. And just for you to know, I only saw her, not the other woman."

"Then why didn't you come home if you were so in love with mom?" the younger James asked.

"Besides the obviouse it was for your protection," the older James said, with a low growl in his throat. "They would of found out and then They would of captured you and your mom and either have killed you or mutated you. I didn't want that on my concience so I made sure that the two of you didn't know that I was alive. That was the hardest thing that I ever did, having to watch my old friend raise you as his, not talking to you when you were having problems in school, and more. I couldn't even call you or send you a letter. There was only one time that I actually visited you, and that was when I was in disguise."
[Big Bad Wolf made me do it! *Shock*]

"In disguise?" Younger James said. "Oh my God! You weren't that weird substitute teacher we had, were you?"

"No. Don't worry about the disguise. I might need to use it again some day."

"Were you that guy that tried to sell me an apple in the park?"

"No. Sell you an apple? What the heck was that about?"

"Who knows? This guy said 'Hey kid! You wanna buy an apple?' and I just ignored him. Were you the guy who came to fix the air conditioner?"

"Stop trying to guess who I was. But that proves it was a pretty good disguise."

"But dad, this is going to drive me crazy trying to think of who you were."

"Yeah, well, I'm sorry I mentioned it."

Younger James had his attention back on the conversation between Rose and Falco. "Are you sure that's Skeksis? I heard Rose call him Falco."

"That's Falco. Didn't you see him turn off the holographic projection of Skeksis?"

"It's confusing, dad."

"Maybe Falco likes disguises too."
"So why do you think he'd use a disguise?" the younger James asked.

"Skeksis is a big time polititcian on Ava," the older James said. "He may have been kicked off the Council, but he has a large following from what I've heard, at least amongst some of the more conservative members of the population, and only a small amount of those at that. Those with curved beaks are not exactly looked upon as attractive in a mate. It's said that those with curved beaks are psyco, though I think that that's the exception and not the rule. It's like saying that left-handed people are seial murderers, when that's not true, for the most part. Admitedly I've dealt with left-handed people who are serial murderers, but your mother was left-handed and she wasn't a murderer. I think that the same thing goes for Avans with curved beaks. As for why this Falco might want to make himself look like him, I'd say that it's a mixture of not being self-reliant, and needing to try to some self-esteem for himself. Of course, Rose and Angel will take care of him."

"And how will they do that?"

However, the older James just smiled and said, "They have their ways. In fact, we even send those who are depressed to them, or others who have similar jobs. When those two are done with Falco over there, not only will he have had the happiest day of his life, he'll have one very loose tounge and tell the two of them everything. After that, if his intentions are good, he'll be allowed to meet up with the others. If not, we'll either pursade him to cancel his mission, or kill him."

"And how does that stratagy work?"

"Bribe him or beat him," the older James said. "Whichever method I'm in the mood for. A young punk like him, he might take the money, which will be of the appropriat curancy, or something equivilent like something that is quite valuable on his planet. Of course, if he refuses the money, then I'll beat him."

"And how would you beat him?"

"Bend him over my knee and spank him. His race has a highly sencitive rear-end, and the highest punishment is to be spanken in public."

"And what would you do if you have to kill him?"

"Snap his neck and bury him in such a way that scavangers won't find his corpse. Don't want to posion the wildlife after all."

"You're deffinatly not the man I remember as a child."

"Twenty some odd years of fighting will do that to you."

The younger James grinned. "But I'll say this, you sure have all the angles figured. I guess nothing much ever surprises you."

Old James shook his head. "You can't ever afford to get too cocky, junior. Life is always full of surprises, no matter how much you think you know. You have to stay alert all the time."



Falco looked around the inside of Rose's cabin. "Not much to this place, is it?"

Rose smiled. "It's small but it's cozy. Want to see the bedroom?"

"Sure. I suppose you think you can seduce me? You think I'm some dumb off-planet spy, don't you? And you're going to save Earth from the invasion?"

A hearty laugh escaped from Rose. "Oh you silly! Meet my roommate, Angel."

Angel was lying on the bed and rubbed her eyes as if she had just awakened. "Goodness! Is it noon already?"

"She works nights," Rose said. "This is Mr Falco. He comes from Ava. That's why he's dressed so funny."

"Aw, Rose, don't insult the man," Angel said. "I don't think he's dressed funny. I love those boots. They're so soft."

"I might have an extra pair on the ship," Falco said.

Angel put her arms around his neck. "Would you do that? Actually give me a pair of those beautiful boots? Oh, I'd do anything to get a pair of boots like that."

Her perfume drifted into Falco's nostrils and he felt his heart rate jump up 20 beats. "What is that perfume?"

Angel nuzzled his beak with her nose. "It's Tantalizing Desire by Philipe of Paris. Do you like it?"

Beads of sweat popped out on Falco's forehead. "Yeah... yeah... I like it a lot."
Rose took Falco by the Hand "There is so much we're curious about Falco! Tell us all about your planet!"

Falco looked into Rose's eyes and saw his reflection in them...His heart began to race, looking in the dragon's eyes he was beginning to feel things he never thought he would feel...He began to feel nervous

"I got to get out of here!" He said racing out of the Cabin

Rose looked at Angel, than at the Alien Bird running away "I have a Bad feeling about this." She said

Falco ran all the way to a large pond in the middle of the wood, he took off his boots and dangled his talons in the water

"Something is wrong with me." He said to himself "I just know it."

He noticed another humanoid animal walking on the other side of the Pond, a Mink like creature...Walking beside her was a Tall dark haired man...In the Mink's arms was an infant Mink, a male from what Falco could tell

"That must be Minsk!" Said Falco "Matoaka's second in coomand."
However, just as Falco got up to follow the pair, someone grabbed him from behind, clamping their hand over his beak, and holding a knife to his throat. Then, he heard a voice, one that was cold and filled with death.

"I know who you are, but you don't know who I am," the voice said. "However, if you even think of harming my friends, I'll be your Grim Reaper. I'll kill you on the the darkest of nights, or on the brightest of days. Don't even think that you can kill me, for me and Death are old friends."

Falco then felt the knife leave his throat, and he breathed a sigh of relief, which was cut short when he felt a sharp pain in the base of his neck, and a blackness overtook him.

****

As the elder James looked at the crumpled Avan, a smirk came to his face.

"I figured as much," he said quietly. "Avans are just like every other person I've dealt with, press a pressure point and their out like a light."

Then he looked up and saw the couple, whom he knew as Minsk and Edward.

"Hey guys," he shouted. "Could you help me out here?"

"What's the matter?" Edward shouted.

"This young man fainted," James said. "I know of a place to take him, but I need help in getting him there."

"Well just who are you?" Minsk asked.

"A friend of Matoaka," James said. "Can you help me out? I'm not exactly a young man you know."

The couple looked at each other and talked amongst themselves, so that they could dicide what to do.

Minsk looked at Edward with pleading eyes. "I don't want to get involved. What about the baby?"

"But if this involves Matoaka," Edward said, "we can't just ignore it."

"Then you go help him. I'll go tell Matoaka about this. Maybe she knows something about it."

While Edward helped James with Falco, Minsk scurried through the woods to Matoaka's house. "Matoaka!" she said when the door finally opened after her knocking.

"What is it?" Matoaka said. "Why are you so flushed?"

"I've been running. Edward is helping a wolfman who just knocked an Avan unconscious. The wolfman said he is your friend."




Rose and Angel tidied up their cabin. "He didn't stay long," Angel said.

Rose rolled her eyes. "You didn't help with your blond bombshell routine. Why were you lying on the bed when I showed him the cabin?"

"I don't know. Just instinct , I guess. I look my best when I'm lying down."

"And you didn't have to douse yourself with Tantalizing Desire. Is there any left in the bottle?"

"Zheesh, Rose! Don't be so critical! Can I help it if men find me so attractive?"

Rose shrugged. "Try leaving out all the chemical additives sometime and see what they think."

"Don't worry, honey, they like me with or without."
(One Note BBWolf, Aves don't have orgies unless they are seriously messed up, their monogamy is ingrained into their psycolgy and biology, Falco is a virgin but he is not desperate and also the fact Rose has a lover signals to Falco she is taken and he would not try to get either of them)

Bill, Jim and Bill had finished beatng up the two zookeepers..."Well that was fun." Bill said "Whose up for a dip in the ol' watering hole?"

"I am!" Jim chittered as he raced ahead...Soon he was out of site and halfway to the water hole

But before he could touch the water something grabbed his arm and yanked him off his feet behind a tree

Jim gasped it looked like an achiant Mudskipper Manimal

"Greetings Little Squirrel." The Fish said "I'm Clyde I've been watching you."

"You have?" Jim asked nervously

"Yes I've been watching you a long time and I believe we are soulmates."

"But you're like 30 years older than me." Jim said "And I already have a girlfriend."
"Oh," the older Manimal said, with a sly smile. "But that doesn't mean that we arn't soulmates. After all, we might pair up in the next life."

"Um that's nice," Jim said, with a nervous chuckle. "Um I gotta go!" With that, the young squirrel took off running.

However, the old mudskipper chuckled and said, "Some day young one, some day."

****

Meanwhile, back at Matoaka's place, Matoaka was looking at Zandar, asking him as to whether or not he knew about another Ave being on the planet.

"I wouldn't know," he said. "Though I did hear that trouble might be coming. He or she could be part of it."

"Well I want to know who the wolfman is," Minsk said. "I thought that only me, Bill, Jim, Bob, and a couple of others were like this. Was he one of those who was transformed by the Bettes when they tried to invade the planet?"

"No," Matoaka said, with a low sigh. "You, Bill, Jim, Bob, and the others are but the newest of those who have been mutated, be it by the H.E., the Bettes, and, a third group. The wolfman, who I know quite well, is amongst the oldest of those mutated. He is James Jefferson the Third. He was mutated 25 years ago, by a certain group, the very group that mutated you and the boys."

At this, Minsk gasped. "Are you saying that you gave him some sort of candy as a baby?" she asked.

"No," Matoaka said, shaking her head. "That was a lie that he and the others came up with for the younger ones that they'd rescued, saying that they were chosen fdor a greater purpose, to be heros, or whatever. The truth is, you and the rest were created to be, weapons."

"Weapons!" Minsk said, clutching her little baby tight to her chest. "How could I ever be a weapon? I'm a mom."

"Don't answer that," Bill said as he noticed Bob opening his mouth to speak.

Jim put his hands together. "Matoaka, you know every manimal, right?"

"Just about."

"Do you know an old mudskipper named Clyde?"

"Did you go swimming in the Watering Hole?"

Jim grinned. "So you know him, eh? What's the deal with Clyde. I think he almost made me his boyfriend."

Minsk giggled.

"It's not funny," Jim said. "I don't want to be some old mudskipper's boyfriend."

"Don't worry about Clyde," Matoaka said. "He was just joking. He likes to play pranks on swimmers like pulling their swimsuits down."

Jim's eyes went wide. "Yikes! Matoaka, it's not funny when an old mudskipper pulls your swimsuit off and says you're his soulmate."

Minsk's giggles turned into laughs. "You're such a squirrel, Jim!"



James wad not sure of that...Of All the Manimals that were his own age he never heard of this Clyde

But right now he had to stay focused on the task at hand

Meanwhile, As the sun was setting in the forest, Five reptialian creatures made their way through the wood, Four Turtles One Dragon.
"Are we there yet?" asked one of the turtles, who was wearing an orange mask on his face.

"No Mickie, we're not," said the one wearing a purple mask.

"Ah, but we've been walking for hours," Mickie said.

"We'll be there soon," said the one wearing a blue mask. "After all, Don's got the corrordinants listed in his GPS."

"But Leo, I want to be there now," Mickie said, in a whinny voice.

"Mickie, if you don't shut up I'm going to kill you!" said the one with a red mask.

"You wouldn't do that to me Ralph," Mickie said. "After all, we are brothers. Besides, you can't beat me because I'm the Battle Nexus Champian!"

"Why I oughta-"

"Shut it you two," Leo said. "You guys have been bickering ever since we started this trip. Now knock it off!"

He then looked at the dragon and said, "Brothers, can't live with them, can't live without them."

"Relatable," the dragon said, rolling her eyes. "Same with grandfathers."

"Could be worse Bell," Leo said. "We could be stuck in a zoo someplace, or in a labratory."

"That we could Leo," Bell said, holding his hand. "That we could."
(Just a reminder, Don is the one Bell went steady with not Leo)

"So...Remind me again why we're making this trip?" Mikey asked

"I want to deliver a presant to some old friends of mine." Belladonna said holding up a basket of fruit "You've met them Mikey, they were the Manimal creatures we fought with."

"Oh Yeah, Bill and his friends."

"Bill met us some time before you met us." Raph said "At first we fought with each other but than we realized we should be friends, he used to drop by every once and while..."

"Than he kind of stopped visting us all together." Mikey said "Never told us why."

Leo stopped dead in his tracks "I have a feeling we're being watched." He said

"We are?" Mikey asked "By who?"

Leo took out his Katana and tried to pinpoint where the spy was watching from, he noticed a twitter in the bush and pulled out....A Sheep.

"That's what was watching us?" Raph said raising a non-exsistant eyebrow "A sheep?"

"Wait?" Belladonna said "I know that Ram, he is one of my Grandfather's experments!"

"Mistress Belladonna!" The Ram blurted out "We came to you for help! We the Beastials have been lost ever since the High Elder was distroyed

"I see you've been reterned to a non-anthropomorphic Sheep." Don said "But you still talk why is that?'
(Oops! My bad. Of course, Bell could have feelings for Leo, those of a friend at any rate.)

"I don't know why," the Ram said. "It could have something to deal with the experiments that the High Elder preformed on us. In any case, we need help."

"And why should we help you?" Ralphiel asked, placing his hands close to his sias.

"Because we are dying."

"Good," Ralph said, pulling out one of his sias. "Perhaps I should put you out of your missery and rid this world of your evil."

"Ralph, sheath your sia," Leonardo said. "Master Splinter taught us to never strike a defenceless enemy. Remember?"

"Yeah I remember," Ralph said. "But I also remember what he and his friends did to those kids."

"I haven't forgotten about that either," Leonardo said. "But if you kill him like he is, you'll be no better than him."

At this, Ralphiel begin to mutter and grumble, but he did put his sia back in its sheath.

***

Meanwhile, James the Forth was walking around. His father had disapeared on him, yet again.

"Where are you at?" he asked himself. He still had so many questions to ask about the strange things he'd seen.

But then he remembered that his father was helping Edward drag Falco's limp body to Matoaka's house, so James the Forth headed in that direction. When he passed by the swimming hole, Clyde the Mudskipper poked his head out of the water.

"Hello, boy. Hot weather we're having. It's a good day for a swim."

"I suppose so," James said, "but I have some business to attend to."

Clyde pointed at the water. "It's cool and refreshing. Take a quick dip. Then you'll be refreshed and can get on with your business."

"No thank you, sir." James wondered why the mudskipper was so persistent about getting him to swim.

"Aw, come on! Jump in the pond!"

"No! Good-bye." And James continued on up the trail, rolling his eyes at the mudskipper's strange behavior.
Matoaka and Minsk and Zander were wondering what to do when Edward and James brought in the Ave

"I reconyze him!" Zander said "That's Falco the Punisher!"

"The Punisher?" Jim asked

"Yes, Falco was the One who personaly paddled me."

Meanwhile, the Turtles and Belladonna were busy talking with Aries the Ram

"So..." What excatly happened to you guys after H.E dissapeared?" Bell asked

"It's a long story." Aries said
"You see, after the High Elder dissapeared, me and the others changed back into our original forms," Aries said. "At first we were alright, no real problems. Then, a couple of weeks ago we started getting sick, starting with Yin and Yang, the termite and ant, then the others. Since I was the strongest, I came here, hoping to find the Manimals, as you might be able to help us."

"We'll just see about that," Belladonna said. "We'll just see."

Falco was tied to a chair. The manimals stood around looking at him.

"We can't just leave him tied to a chair forever," Minsk said.

"No, that's true," Zander said.

"Why don't we arrange for him to have a little 'accident' out in the woods?"

"I'm not a murderer," Zander said.

"But Falco would have killed you," Minsk said. "It would only be fair if you killed him."

"I'm not sure I think like that."

James said, "You could fight a duel with him. That would be fair."

"A duel?" Zander said. "What's that?"

"Oh, you Avans don't have a dueling tradition? It's no big deal. Just two guys face off against each other with deadly weapons and see who survives. There is a referee to make sure it's a fair fight."

"And seconds," Edward said. "Don't forget the seconds."

"Each dueler gets one assistant called a second," James explained. "Just more protection to make sure everything is fair."
Meanwhile, the Turtles and Aries were walking back to the spot where the other Beastials were

"We're all still alive." Aries said "But we are dying."

"What do you expect the Manimls to do for you?" Belladonna asked

"Find out what is causing our sickness and cure it." Aries said

Meanwhile Back at Matoaka's house, Falco was just beginning to wake up.

When he saw where he was, tied to a chair and surrounded by enemies his beak dropped and he just sat there in scilence

"I believe he is now in a catatonic state." James Three said

"But then again, I know a sure fire way to wake him up."

At this, James pulled a small bottle out of a pocket and opened it underneath Falco's beak. At the smell of it, everyone inside the place, except for James, started gagging, and rushing towards the door or a window.

"What is that stuff?" Bill asked, his head sticking out of a window.

"A very strong variety of smelling salts," James said with a chuckle. "As for what's in it, that's a trade secret."

"Can't you give me a hint?" Bill asked. "I might need it to storm a fortress or two."

At this, James just smiled and said, "You don't want to know the complete recipie, but I'll tell you that one part of the recipie is skunk juice. Buddy of mine got mixed with one. He helps out in making this stuff, along with his kids, though I don't ask how they do it. Probably better off not knowing anyways. But it wil either wake you up or knock you out."

"Then how come you arn't gagging?" Jim asked.

"I've used it enough times that my nose is use to it," James said. "Makes things easier if you have to fight alongside of, or against, a skunk mutant or two, in one way or another."

"Then how come he isn't waking up," Zander said from outside. "I mean I'm going to have to take a long shower to get this stench out of my plumage and it will probably be in my nosterals for a week afterwards."

"It's probably because of either he's unconcious now, or because of his curved beak," James said.

"What are you talking about?" Zander asked.

"There's something about how curved beaks affect air flow, though I'm not sure what," James said, putting the cap back on. "Of course, I do know of a purfect punishment for this 'punisher'. One he won't forget."

"And what would that be?" Matoaka asked, looking in through a window, and wincing at the stench.

James just gave a wicked grin and said, "I'm going to see how long it takes to roast him."

At this Bill gasped and said, "James, you can't do that. You don't just cook people."

"I never said that I'd cook him, just roast him," James said. "I know of a spot that gets plenty of sun. We'll stake him out there and let the Sun do its work. Even with food and water he'll be begging to go home in a day or two. After all, there isn't much shade there."

They began to untie Falco, who looked completely unconscious, but when the ropes were loosened he suddenly sprung into action, knocking Minsk aside as he ran out the door.

"Hey! Stop him!"

But fear gave Falco's feet unbelievable speed and he vanished into the woods.

"Now what?" Bill said.

"Let's just wait a while," James said. "If I'm not mistaken I think we'll hear the sound of his spaceship lifting off. I don't think Falco wants to hang around on Earth any longer than necessary."

They stood outside the cabin looking over the trees towards the south and in a few minutes James was proved right when the blue buckyball ship with the yellow buzzard logo lifted into the sky on a tail of flame.

"Looks like he's using maximum thrust," James said.



Falco hung his head in shame as he stood before his Uncle Skeksis on Ave listening to a long rant.

"I can't believe you screwed this up so thoroughly!" Skeksis yelled. "Not only did you do nothing that I ordered you to do, but now you've alerted them to my plans! This was the only chance to take them by surprise."

"I'm sorry, Uncle Skeksis. Please, may I have another chance?"
"I will give you one last chance to redeem yourself." Skeksis said

"Take this poison, And use my smallest ship, take no others with you."

"Yes Uncle." Falco said with tears in his eyes.

"And if you come home and your mission is not completed, you're out of this family forever."

Bill, Jim and Bob were out serching for any evidence Falco may have left behind, and finding none

"Um Guys." Jim said "I don't feel so comfortable near the pond, can't we go somewhere else?"

"Don't be a wimp." Bill said "I smell something."

"I smell something to." Bob said "Yeesh! It smells like a sewer!"

"The Turtles!" Bill said he started running on all fours "Hey Raph, Mikey, Donny! We're over here!"
As the eight young people met up and started talking about what had happened since they'd last met, James the Third was looking for his son.

"Now where is that boy?" he wondered. "Let's see, I left you back at the pond when I captured that Falco bird, that I know. Now you couldn't have gotten far, or could you? Well, I hope that you wern't kidnapped by Them."

Lost in his daydreams, James the Forth suddenly realized that he had been walking for way too long. He should have already reached Matoaka's cabin. Where had he gone wrong? He turned around and began to retrace his steps through the woods. He would really look stupid if he got lost.
Eventually James found himself in a clearing with a road going through the middle of it. He looked one way, and then the other.

Now I'm very sure that I didn't see a road when I was walking through the woods, he thought. Then again I best be getting back to the base. I'll be lucky if the CO doesn't take away my weekend pass for being late. 'Deraliction of Duty' is what he'll call it. Then he'll say something about how in the would could an excelent sniper be such a lousy hunter. The guy needs to understand that this hunt was about more than trying to bag a trophy, but to reconnect with my past, back when my father would take me on his hunts. Though given what I saw and heard, I best not tell him what happened.

With that he unloaded his rifle, shouldered it, stuck out his thumb and started hitchhiking, hoping for a car to stop and take him to the base.

****

Meanwhile, Bill, Jim and Bob were looking at Aries, who had told them his story.

"And just why should we help you?" Bill asked, crossing his arms.

"I told you," Aries said. "Me and the others are dying."

"And I own a patch of swampland in Florida," Bill said, not buying the ram's story.

"It's the truth," Aries said. "And what's happening to us could happen to you."

"I doubt it," Bill said. "We weren't mutated by the High Idiot you know."

"Maybe you weren't, but Belladona was," Aries said angerly. "She could have the same condition that we do, or even worse."

"But how are we supposed to find out what's wrong with you?" Bill said. "I'm not a scientist."

"We're just asking you to help. Matoaka knows many things. And even though you aren't a scientist you can find someone who is."

"What about Ichabod's father?" Bill said. "He knows about problems like this, doesn't he?"

"I know just the person," Minsk said. "My old biology teacher. And I have his address because he just sent me a letter congratulating me on the baby."

"Is there anybody you haven't told?" Jim said.
"Matoaka is also a Unicorn." Aries said "She could be able to heal us with only her horn."

Yin and Yang were hiding in Aries' wool and were lisenin

Falco was on his way to Earth
James the Third was tracking down his son.

"Okay," he said to himself. "His scent leads to this clearing and the road, and he seems to be heading East. Guess he's trying to get back to the city and the base. I hope he's alright. Then again, he's like me at that age, though he's still human. unlike what I was, and am. I just wonder what type of leader he'd be."

With that, he opened up a backpack and got out a cloak, a pair of gloves, and a veil, the traditional garb of a Middle Easterner.

"Always works," he said. "Only problem is the local gangs, and the occasional hothead who thinks he's a patriot. But they find out to their own cost."

****

At the same time, James the Forth saw a car and started waving his hands for it to stop.

"Do you need a lift?" the driver asked, slowing down.

"Yeah," James said. "Got lost while I was hunting."

"Get that a lot out here," the driver said as James opened up the door. "I tend to pick up a few while I'm on duty."

"Let me guess, police officer?"

"Yep. You?"

"Army sniper."

"Not much of a hunter I guess."

"I do it for the memories," James said. "My father used to take me along when he went hunting before he-" At this, James stopped. How in the world was he going to tell the truth that his father had been mutated into some wolf creature.

Thankfully the driver interpreted his silence for something else. "I'm sorry to hear about that," he said. "My own brother was killed overseas. IED along the roadside. Closed casket funeral you understand."

"Yeah, I've seen what those things can do. It's not pretty."

Yin and Yang bounced along in Aries' wool.

"Woo! We go big ridey-ride!"

"Yessirs! Hokey pokey!"

"Where we go?"

"Baltimore!"

"Heeheeheeheeheehee!"

Aries slapped his wool. "Shut up in there!"

"What's that?" Bill said.

"Nothing," Aries replied. "Just a little itching in my wool. Is that Matoaka's house up ahead?"

"Yep."

"It's just a cabin. I guess we'll have to camp out in the yard."
Matoaka was inside enjoying a nice cup of Hebal Tea when she heard the doorbell ring.

Matoaka hated having to get up now that she was so comfortable, but Zander was at the pond catching fish for his lunch (Matoaka being a vegetarian generaly did not appricate Zander eating live fish in front of her) so she put down her cup on the end table, stretched and yawned and slowly made her way to the door.

Bill, Jim, Bob,Belladonna and the De-evolved Aries were standing in the doorway

"Hi, Matoaka." Bell said "We hate to bother you like this but this former Beastial came to us asking for help ...Also we got you a basket of fruit." The White Dragon handed the Pinto Unicorn her presant

"Well Gee Thanks." Matoaka said "By 'We' you mean you and the Turtles."

"Yes." Bell said

"Where are the Turtles?" Matoaka asked

"Oh." Bell said "They went into the woods to find the rest of the Beastials...Aries here claims that they have caught some mysterious sickness."

"It's the truth!" The Ram protested

"Hang on." Matoaka said "I'm a scientist I should be able to determane if he has a sickness or not."
With that, Matoaka went into a corner in the cabin and got a few syringes and some other things.

"I don't exactly have the equipment to do precise tests," she said. "But at least with this I can narrow the range down a bit."

"That's alright," Aries said, looking at the syringes with some concern. "Just find out what me and the others have."

"That is one thing that I can do," Matoaka said, getting one of the syringes ready. "Now hold still."

"Ouch!" Aries said. "My hide isn't that thick, you know."

"Sorry. My needle-sticking skills are a little rusty. Ah, this will be a nice sample. Now why doesn't everybody just sit and chat while I run a few tests."

"Can I help?" Jim said.

"No, it won't take long."

Jim sat down with the group. "Soooo... what have you Beastials been up to lately?"
Matoaka put the sample in the computer and what the computer showed her was that Aries' blood had faint amounts of radiation

"Interesting." Matoaka said "Didn't the H.E. use some kind of radiation to hyper evolve his animals?"

"We have not done much." Aries said "Nrrr'c the Cockroach was the one who helped me and Taurus the most, he found us a Farm Sanctuary to live on."

"What about Tiamat? Where did she live?" Bell asked
"In some remote part of the Amazon," Aries said. "Far enough away from civilization that people don't notice a dragon, but there's plenty for her to eat. The others are in similar places, where there's plenty of room for them to hunt for food and not be noticed, though we do meet every so often, especially after we started getting sick. It's not easy for me to watch a dragon, a tiger, and an aligator eating meat you know, even if it is just deer meat. After all they just might just snap and become feral, and GULP, down someone's throat I go."

"I know the feeling," Jim said. "At least you have size and weight. Try being a little vegetarian guy like me. I'm constantly in fear."

Minsk rubbed his arm. "Jim! You never said that before. Are you even afraid of me?"

"What do minks eat?"

"Anything they can catch." Minsk grinned and showed her sharp little teeth.

Jim shuddered and everybody laughed.

"Well it's no joke when you're in the jungle," Aries said. "Down there the predators are playing for real and they have a lot bigger teeth than little Minsk here."
"Well I doubt that you'd say that to James," Bill said, looking out into the woods.

"Who?" Aries asked.

"Friend of ours, and the last guy you'd want to mess with," Bill replied. "He's an ex-Green Bareet, and he knows what he's doing when it comes to fighting."

"And just how good is he?" Aries asked.

"Name a weapon and he's good with it at any rate," Bill said. "In fact, he's got an armory with a few of every type of weapon out there, including things like swords, axes, spears, all the way up to RPGs and more. The guy is prepared to fight a war with someone."

"And who would that be?" Aries asked.

"You don't want to know," Bill said, shaking his head. "You don't want to know."

"Maybe I do," Aries said. "He sounds like a good man to have on our side when we attack the High Elder."

Minsk gasped. "Surely you don't mean to do that."

"What choice do we have?" Aries said. "We're pretty sure this sickness we all have is the High Elder's doing. And why? Because he's a paranoid lunatic. I can't believe I once worshipped him. I suppose technically he's our 'father' since he hyper-evolved us, but it's like having an insane dad who might kill you for some imaginary sin you commit. I can't take it anymore! The H.E. must die!"

Jim whispered to Minsk. "Sounds like the High Elder isn't the only one who is a wee bit off his beam. What do you make of this Aries guy?"
"I think that the radiation could be affecting his judgement," Minsk said, looking down at her child. "Then again, one does have to wonder if all of us are a little nuts."

"What do you mean?" Jim asked.

"Things like why was I picked to be turned into a mink," Minsk said. "I mean, I love Edward and my son, but this new information about me being turned to be a living weapon, it makes me wonder."

"It could be worse," Bill said, walking over to them. "We could be someone's slaves or some such thing. James told me a bit about his experiance, and even if just a quarter of the things that he has told me are true, I'd say we got off lucky."

"What do you mean?" Minsk asked.

"From what he's told me, he was forced to kill whole families, from the eldest grandparent, down to the youngest of babies," Bill said, with a shudder. "He told that there were times that he has trouble sleeping because of what he did."

"He told you that?" Minsk asked.

"Yeah," Bill said. "That he did."

****

Meanwhile, the younger James was talking to the off-duty police officer, who had told him his name was Josh Sampson, when a call came in over the CB.

"If any officers are near Smoking Joe's Gas Station please come in, Over."

"Officer Sampson here. What's the situation with the old coot this time? Not another 'Alien Spaceship' claim right?" Josh said, with some irritation in his voice.

"No, not this time." the dispacher said. "This time his assistant called us. Claims that there's a robbery in progress and that Joe was shot."

"Now that's deffinatly out of the ordanary for them to say," Josh said. "I'm on it."

"Well you better hurry," the dispacher said. "Zeek tells me that he is hiding in the storage room and from what he can tell through the cracks in the door's edges, Joe's bleeding quite baddly."

"You got that right," Josh said, grabbing a portable siren and putting it on his roof. "The old man maybe crazy but he does sell the cheapest gas outside of the Reservation around here, and people would be upset if the last full-blooded Mahacken died of something other than nateral causes. Over."

With that, Josh turned on the siren and stepped on the gas.

"You better hold on soldier," he said. "The road's about to get bumpy. After all, it's not every day that one can claim that they helped to save the last Mahacken."

"Mahacken?" James asked, holding onto the armrest as the car started hitting several potholes at high speed.

"A very small Native American tribe," Josh said. "Most everyone around here, about two thousand people, can claim to be part Mahacken, myself included, but Smoking Joe is the last full-blooded Mahacken. In fact, he's our Honorary Chieften because of it. However, he's a little touched. He's always claiming to see 'Spirit Beasts' creatures that are half man and half animal, or some sort of alien ship. Pretty crazy right?"

I wouldn't be so sure about that, James thought, but he said, "Yeah, that does sound crazy."

"You got that right," Josh said. "Now you really need to hold on. I'm going to have to take a shortcut on a dirt road that is even worse than this pot hole-filled road."

****

Meanwhile, the older James was in a car of his own, and speeding at that. He had stolen it a few years prior from some bank robbers after dropping them off in front of a police station, along with the money from the holdup. He had then customized it, adding in a few toys, enough to the point that KITT, the car from "The Knight Rider" franchise, would of been jelouse. It had its own turbo boost system, lasers, missile launchers, Valcanic machine guns, which were basically suped up Gatlin-guns which could 3000 .50 calaber rounds per minute, as well as a host of other things.

However, that wasn't on his mind. What was on his mind was the call over the CB he'd installed in the car. He had turned it on to see if some cop had picked up his son when he heard about the robbery and that Joe had been shot. Joe was one of his friends, both from before his transformation, as well as after. Joe had even saved his life when the two of them were younger, and James had promised that he'd return the favor someday. It seemed that the day had come.

"Hold on Joe," he said shifting gears. "Don't you dare die on me now. After all, how can I fulfill my promise if you die on me."

****

At the very same time, Falco's ship had just passed Mars.

Falco stared out the porthole at the Red Planet and felt very lonely. This time he was traveling without companions and the emptiness of space was really eating into his soul. I'm just a tiny speck in an infinite universe, he thought, and a tear formed in his eye.

The ship's computer beeped and it's friendly female voice said, "We are approaching Earth. Landing expected in 120 seconds."

The touchdown was smooth, despite this ship's much smaller size, but its small size also made it easier to hide. Falco pulled some loose branches over it until his little spaceship was only noticeable from up close.

When he showed up at Matoaka's door, she gasped, "You again!"

"I'm afraid so," Falco said as he shot her with his stun gun and then dragged her unconscious body into the woods. Zander and the rest of the manimals were all at their meeting with the Beastials. They had unwisely left Matoaka in the cabin by herself.

When Zander returned he knew something was wrong even before he reached the cabin. He broke into a run, yelling "Matoaka!"

When Minsk and Jim and Bill arrived, Zander was already running back out of the cabin, having quickly searched it. "She's gone!" he told them. "Matoaka's gone!"
Matoaka was captured by Falco unfortuatly for him, it was difficult to carry her because she was heavier than him.

Falco laid her down under a tree, she was tied up so there was no hope of escape
He then took out the vial of posion, looked at it and said, "I guess I'll use this now an kill you. After that I'll see about finding a nice sharp blade and cut off your head, so that I can show my uncle that you are dead."

Suddenly, he felt something sting him in the rear. He put his hand on the object and carefully removed it.

"What's this?" he asked himself, as he looked at it. "It looks like some sort of dart. How primitive can this planet be?"

Then, his vision started to blur and his hands started feeling numb, and he dropped the vial, which shattered.

This is just great, he thought, as he fell to the ground. He's going to kill me when I get home, if I get home.

Then, he saw two figures come out of the bushes, humans from what he could tell, one of them carrying a weapon of some sort.

"Looks like we got two of them my dear," he heard a female voice say.

"That we did honey," said a male voice. "Though that horse-like one seems to have a large belly. It might lower ther price a bit."

"She's not fat," the woman said. "She's pregnant. That means she's worth more."

"Well, at least those guys in the black suits ought to be happy," the man said. "Two million dollars per creature, that's four million rigth here."

"I think that we ought to try to get an extra three million, especially is this one actually is pregnant," the woman said. "Young ones are worth more than adult ones you know."

"Sounds nice," the man said. "Now to drag them out of here without damaging them."

The zookeeper and his wife loaded Matoaka and Falco into the back of their pick-up truck. Matoaka woke up as the truck bounced along the highway. She was tied and gagged, but she was glad to see that Falco was in the same condition. When he opened his eyes she glared at him.



Back at the cabin Zander and Bill and Jim had found Falco's hidden spaceship. They had also followed Falco's footprints where he dragged Matoaka and found where the footprints stopped and the wheel tracks of a truck began.

"A truck?" Zander said. "What the hell is an Avan doing with a truck?"

"He met someone here," Jim said. "Look at these other footprints. Human footprints"

Zander shook his head. "There's something very fishy about this. Who is helping Falco?Where did they take Matoaka and why?"

"Maybe they want to hold her for ransom?"

"That doesn't make any sense. We're missing some connection here. Maybe James can see something in this."
Hidden in the Bushes, Rose the Dragon had seen everything that had happened,

She called Angel to come over

"You tell the other what happened. I'm following the truck."

"But Rose!" Angel said "You could be killed."

"They are going to take them to the Black Suits!" Rose said "I have to protect all of us."
"Alright," Angel said with a groan. There were times that she figured that it was best not to argue with her friend, this being one of them. "Just don't get yourself killed."

With that, the pair went their seperate ways, Rose following the truck, Angel looking for the others.

****

Meanwhile, Josh and the younger James were laying in a ditch, trying to avoid the bullets coming their way.

"This was not what I was expecting," Josh said. "I thought that they'd only have handguns or maybe a sawed-off shotgun, not a couple of uzies!"

"Actually, one's an AK-47 and the other's an M-16," James said, chancing a peak. "Though why they'd use different guns is slightly confusing. Also there's their tactics. These guys are professionals, and I'm not talking about that of even a professional bank robber."

"What are you talking about?" Josh asked.

"The shots to the engine compartment were expert ones," James said. "Ones that a soldier of my caliber or better would use to disable an enemy vehical."

"I just wish that we'd grab our guns before the gas tank decided to blow up," Josh said. "We're like sitting ducks here."

"Could be worse," James said. "We could be dead."

"Yeah but I'm worried about Joe and Zeek," Josh said. "We don't know if they are alive or dead."

"Yeah, we're going to need a merical," James said, as he heard an engine coming at full roar. He took a look and saw a beet-up old Chevey-like car, and behind the wheel was a fully cloaked man, one who felt very familiar. "And I think that it has arrived."

The two gunmen inside the gas station started firing at the car, but the bullets seemed to bounce off of it like pebbles. Then the driver stuck his hand out the window and started firing a pistol, hitting the chest area of the two gunmen, but the pair seemed to be wearing body armor. The driver then pulled his hand and pistol back into the car and started to turn the stearing wheel, causing the car to spin. When the car finally stopped, the rear of it was in front of James and Josh.

Then the driver opened up his door and ran towards the rear, keeping his head low. He then popped the trunk and pulled out a Browning .50 caliber belt-feed machinegun and started firing it at the gunmen, who managed to get down.The driver then looked at James and Josh, pointed at them, and then the inside of the trunk, and then the gas station. James got up and saw that there was a wide variaty of weapons in the trunk, as well as a sign that said, "Guns don't kill people. I Kill People With Guns".

"Nice sign," he said sarcastically.

"I'm glad you like it," said a voice that was similar to his own.

James then looked at the driver's veil and saw a set of eyes that matched his own.

"Talk about a good disguise kid," the driver said, dropping the heavy, and now empty, gun and coming over to the trunk.

"So what's the plan, dad?" James asked, in a whisper.

"Phsycological warfare," the older James said, pulling out a remote and pressing a button.

The younger James then started to hear some music playing, but it was at a comfortable level.

"And how is that going to help?" he asked. "That's not very loud."

"Not to us but those guys are hearing it as if they were tied in front of a thousand subwoffers playing the song at full bore," the older James said, with a chuckle. "Custom modification, something that happened when I accidently crossed a few of the wrong wires."

Suddenly, the two of them started hearing screams, as well as automatic gunfire hitting the car.

"Arn't those bullets going to penetrate the car?" the younger James asked.

"Not likely," the older James said. "I lined the whole thing, inside and out, as well as the windows, with a very special substance. This baby could survive re-entry from space, though I wouldn't say the same for the occupant."

Just then however, the older James dubbled up in pain.

"What's wrong?" the younger one asked

"Never mind me," the older James said, grabbing his stomach. "Just grab a set of ear protectors, a gun, they're all fully loaded, and get Joe and Zeek out of there as fast as you can. Now go!"
[Whew! Several intense plotlines going on simultaneously. For right now I'll just add something to the kidnapping of Matoaka.]

Rose kept her motorcycle well behind the Zookeeper's truck so she wouldn't be spotted by him in the rearview mirror. That's why she almost missed it when he turned off the road. She went roaring by and just by luck noticed the back of his truck disappearing into the trees on a dirt road.

She turned around and cautiously followed. She didn't want to suddenly come upon them.


The Zookeeper navigated the truck into a grassy clearing. A helicopter sat there with two blacksuits standing beside it.

"You got her?" one said. "Good! Let's get her in the copter. Hey! Who's the bird man?"

"I don't know," the Zookeeper said. "He was with her. He should be worth something, right?"

"Not to us," the blacksuit said. "We just want the unicorn. And there is no more room in the helicopter. You'll have to get rid of the bird man yourself."

"Don't worry," the Zookeeper said. "I can find a buyer for anything. That's my specialty."


Rose watched in horror as the helicopter lifted above the trees. "Matoaka!" she whispered and tears flowed down her cheeks.

When she heard the Zookeeper's truck start up, she drove her motorcycle back out to the highway to hide and wait so she could continue to follow him. Or should she go back to the cabin immediately and tell them what happened to Matoaka? No, more important to see where the zookeeper's base was.
Rose than remembered she had wings, and firey breath, but to fly was at great risk of exposing herself to the outside world

She decided to risk it, and flew after the helicopter, once she was underneith it she decided to use her firey breath on it to melt a hole in the bottom
However the hole Rose made wasn't big enough for her to grab Matoaka and pull the unicorn out of the helecaptor. What was more, one of the men inside was firing at her through it.

So much for the subtil aproach, she thought. I guess I'll try the door instead.

With that, she managed to grab one of the doors, and ripped it off, but gunfire erupted from it. So she went to the other and ripped that off and bullied her way inside, grappeling with the one who had been shooting at her. During the course of the struggle, her tail hit something, causing a loud CRACK to be heard. Turning her head, Rose saw the pilot's head at an unnateral angle.

That's not good, she thought.

She turned back to her attacker and slmmed her head into his, knocking him out. Grabbing Matoaka, she then jumped out of the helicoptor and started flying as fast as she could. A little while later, she heard an explosion, and felt it rip through her body in a sence. She looked back and saw a fire burning on an island in the middle of a lake. For a moment she felt sorry for the two men, but that quickly faded when she remembered what happened to her and Angel.

"Those kidnappers got what they deserved," she muttered. "Now to get Matoaka home."

****

Meanwhile, the younger James was having problems of his own. He had managed to take out the two gunmen, with a few lucky shots from a rifle he got from his father's trunk, but now he was trying to stop Joe's bleeding.

Come on James, he thought, as he looked at the man's leg. You learned how to do this in that Basic First Aid class in Boot Camp. Let's find a way to slow down the bleeding.

He took a look around and noticed that one of the dead men had a belt on.

"That will work," he said, getting it free from its owner's pants.

He then tied it to Joe's leg above the injury, leaving the belt just loose enough to let two fingers to sliip though, to keep pressure from building up.

"Alright," he said. "What else is there?"

"That ought to do for now," came the older James's voice.

The young James looked and saw his father, still wearing the cloak and whatnot, coming into the station. The older James then went to the two bodies and took off the masks that the two had worn. The caces of the pair seemed to be animal in appearance, and their expressions were that of anger, but the eyes, they seemed to be those of sorrow and regreat. There was also a matalic band on their foreheads.

"I'll pay those monsters back for your deaths you two," he said, taking the bands off of their heads and closing their eyes, and putting the masks back on, just as Josh entered the station himself.

"What's going on here?" he asked. "And who in the Hell are you and those two men here?"

"Young man, if you wish to be alive this time next week, I suggest that you think carefully about what you're going to write in your report," the older James said, with a slight growl in his throat.

"And why should I, Mr. Masked Hood?" Josh asked, with a growl in his throat. "And don't even think about threatening me."

"This is beyond your jurisdiction," the older James said. "Way beyond."

"And what makes you say that?" Josh asked.

At this, the older James spun around and picked the officer off of his feet with ony one hand and took his mask off with the other, causing Josh to gasp.

"Yeah, take a good look at me young man," the older James said, with a growl. "Those two men are just like me in that they arn't human anymore. We were mutated by a top secret organization, but I escaped. So when you write your report, what you will write is that you faced two gunmen with handguns, and you managed you blew their heads off with a shotgun, rendering them unrecognizable."

"But their heads arn't-" Josh started to say, just as the wolfman pulled out a sawwed-off double barreled shotgun and shot the faces of the two dead men with each barrel.

"Now they are," the elder James said, putting the weapon in the officer's hands. "And remember this, you saw nothing out of the ordinary. You did't see me, you didn't see my car. and you didn't see that man over there. You get me?!?"

"Yeah, I get you," Josh said, nervously.

"Good," the wolf man said, dropping him. "And be sure to cheer up. After all, you're a hero, because you saved the lives of two hostages who were held captive by two dangerous men. In fact, you might get a medal for this." The wolf man then looked at the younger James and said, "Come on young one. Let me take you to some friends of mine. I'm sure they'd like to meet you."

The young man nodded and followed after the wolf.

As Josh watched the pair drive off, he collapsed. Strange day, he thought. Strange day.

Rose landed at the cabin with Matoaka in her arms.

"Is she dead?" Bill said.

"No, I don't think so. She's breathing but she won't wake up."

Zander checked Matoaka's pulse. "Falco probably used a stun gun on her. Her heartbeat is way down. That's typical of a stun victim. But don't worry. She will recover with no ill effects. Let's lay her down on her bed."

***

Meanwhile, Falco was sitting in a cage in the Zookeeper's backyard while the Zookeeper talked on his cell phone: "Yeah, it's a bird man. It's got feathers and everything. Aw, come on, you know it's worth way more than that."

Falco rattled the bars of his cage. "You stupid human! Do you know who I am? I am a member of the Avan royalty! You will be in big trouble when Ava learns of this!"

The Zookeeper kicked the cage. "Shut up! Can't you see I'm trying to talk on the phone?"
Falco sat down in his cage and sighed

"This is the Worst thing ever." He said to himself

Meanwhile at the Cabin, Rose told them what happened to Falco

"We got to get Falco out of there!" Jim said

"Why?" Bill asked "I say he should stay there where he belongs."

"But what if the Black Suits interogate him and he tells them our whereabouts?" Jim asked "You know how easily he found Matoaka's house, We got to find him before THEY do!"

Bill sighed and rubbed his temples "Once again you're right." Bill said to his friend

One hour later Donald McRonald and Linda were on the phone trying to find the Perfect Buyer when Jordan, Jim's girlfriend, ran by there house in Squirrel form

"There's anouther one!" Donald said "Quick get my net!"
This must be my lucky day or something, Donald thought to himself, as he snuck up on the young girl a few minutes later. Three humanoid animals captured by me and my wife in one day. More than makes up for losing my hat to that nut back in the woods. Then there's the money that we got from that unicorn. Lucky day.

However, he stepped on a twig, and Jordan turned her head towards him, causing him to stand where he was, which was behind a large tree. After a while, Jorden turned her head back, picked up a dandiline, and started pulling pettles off of it, saying "He loves me. He loves me not." over and over again.

I guess she didn't see me, Donald thought, as he got back to sneaking up on the girl. Lucky day!

****

Meanwhile, the younger James was complaining about his father's high speed driving on the bumpy backroads he was taking.

"Can't you slow this thing down?" he shouted, the bumps jarring him this way and that.

"Not if we are going to save my friends!" the older James said, glancing at his son. "Those two back there told me something very important."

"And what would that be?" the younger asked.

"That THEY are here and after me and my friends," the older one said, as the car hit yet another pothole, causing the young one to almost fly out of his seat, in spite of the seatbelt.

"Then why didn't we use the main road?" The younger one asked. "At least it would be smoother."

"And we'd be tracked from the air more easily," the older one said. "Between aircraft and satilites They have plenty of eyes and they'd spot us like a red brick on a white wall. Thankfully there are ways around it."

"Like what?" the younger James asked.

"Woods and tall fields for the country and rural areas, sewers and abandoned buildings for the cities, and anything else as needed," the older James said. "That and tapping into phonelines and hacking into government databases, especially top secret ones, is very helpful."

"I don't think that they had computers as sophisticated back then, compared to the ones that are in use today," the younger James said.

"Actually, compared to Them, the computers being put on the market are several decades behind Them," the older James said, with a grin. "And I can hack the ones They use quite well. The real problem is that they have a tracer and would send a virus my way and screw up my information, and alert Them to my location. Compared to that, hacking into the military database and locating your information is like having a piece of cake and eating it."

"And Just who are They?"

"You've heard of Area 51 and what is supposed to go on there?"

"Yeah, reverse-enginering alien technology and doing experiments on alien bodies, but that's stuff about aliens is just a story, right?"

"Actually Area 51 is really the organization's cover base," the older James said. "They do just enough stuff there to keep attention off of Their REAL base."

"And where is that?"

"The last place anyone would expect, the Moon."

"That's rediculuse!" The younger James exclaimed.

However, the older James looked at him and said, "Yesterday you would of said that someone like me was something that a drunk hunter would make up a story of. Yesterday you thought that I was dead, due to a training accident. Yesterday you thought that there was no such things as aliens. Now you know that I'm alive and that creatures like me exist, as well as aliens. This organization is very powerful. It is at least one hundred years old from what I've found out, maybe even older. Also, from what I can tell, various people with the last name of Bishop have played an important role since the beginning of it in some way. It was a man by the name of Bishop that picked me and a hundred other soldiers to 'join' the organization. Needless to say, I have that bastard's name on a bullet, and if he's dead or some such thing, then I'll use it on some other Bishop in the organization."

"You'd actually kill thse people?" the James asked, as the car jumped another pothole.

"Every last one of them," the older one said, turning his eyes back to the road. "And I'd do it for you, and James the Fifth, and your Janny, and Janny the Second."

"How do you know the names of my wife and kids?"

"I already told you son, I've hacked plenty of databases, all to keep an eye on you," the older James said, with a smile. "Oh, and remind me to get a presant for little Jimmy's birthday. It is next week after all."

"Do you think that that's even apropriate to talk about right now?"

"Any time is the right time to talk about my family. Besides, we still have plenty of stuff to talk about, like your various half-brothers and sisters. For instance there's Anita, Jones, Filipe, Zanif...."

"You can forget talking about Anita," James Forth said. "We don't consider her a part of the family anymore since she married a werewolf and moved to Khasachasistan."

"Khasa who? That's one of the few countries I've never visited and believe me I have visited hundreds of them."

"How many countries are there?"

"Thousands, son. There are the ones the UN tells you exist and then there are twice that many more shadow countries that no one knows about except the top people in the various intelligence agencies."

"And you?" James the Forth said with a grin.

"Hey, I never heard of Khasa-what-you-said and there are plenty more like that. Anyway, forget Anita then. What have you heard from Filipe and Zanif?"

***

In the woods behind the Zookeeper's house, Jordan scampered forward just as he was about to get within netting range of her. Her nose twitched as she watched him from the corner of her eye. She really should get back to the guys and tell them she had located Falco, but teasing the Zookeeper was too much fun.
The Zookeeper was just about to get his net on her when Jirdan scampered away at the ast muniute

Meanwhile back at HQ Matoaka had recovered and was resting in her bed with her husband

"Do you think Jordan is all right?" She asked Zander

"Oh My Love you worry too much!" Zander said "The Three Boys have there eyes in her."

Meanwhile back at the zookeeper's house as Donald was distracted by Jordan, Bill Jim and Bob sneaked into the backyard
"Okay," Bill said. "Jim, you take the East side, Bob, you get the West side. I'll take the South side."

"Wait, which side is which?" Jim asked.

"You get the side where the Sun rises, and Bob gets the side where the Sun sets," Bill answered. "You do know where the Sun rises right?"

"Yeah," Jim said, with a smile. "In the East."

Bob and Bill both just groaned. "Squirrel."


Jordan saw the three of them and came running toward them with the Zookeeper right behind her. (That would be, uh... toward the South)

Bob stuck his foot out from where he was hiding in the bushes and tripped the Zookeeper who tumbled right into Bill's arms. "Whoa, there, old fellow. Feeling a little unstable on your feet?"

Jim slipped in to kneel down behind the Zookeeper and with a gentle push Bill sent the Zookeeper tumbling over backwards when the back of the Zookeeper's knees hit Jim.

"Maybe trying to run with a net isn't safe," Bill said and he snatched up the net and slapped it over the Zookeeper's head so the Zookeeper was caught in his own net.

"Switchy-switchy time!" Bob called out. He had located the cage with Falco in it.

They tied Falco's hands behind his back, dragged him from the cage, and then locked the Zookeeper in it.

"Give us a call when it's feeding time!" Jim yelled to the Zookeeper as the boys left the scene taking their prisoner, Falco, with them.
"Let go off me!" Falco screeched "Let go off me now you flithy animals!"

"Whoa you hear what's comin' out of his mouth?" Bill asked wryly "Pretty strong talk for Bird-Man!"

"I am an intelligent life form desended from birds, you are psycotic humans spliced with stinking mammals and stupid fish!"

"Watch what you say." Bob said "Or this fish will take a bite out of you!"
Meanwhile, James the Forth was complaining about his father's lifestyle, as well as his driving.

"Wait, how many kids did you say that you've had?" he asked.

"At least twenty to twenty-five others," the older one said, with a smile. "I told that we had a lot to catch up on."

"And just how many women have you slept with?" the younger James asked.

"Well over ten at any rate," the older James said as the car hit yet another pothole, causing the younger one to hit the roof of the car. "It's due to mating instincts you understand. Once they turn on, it's hard to turn them off until the instinct has been fulfilled. The problems really arise when two males, who were fused with the same spieces, have the instinct at the same time and they both want the same woman. The two of them end up fighting and those are difficult to break up. I've collected more than a few scars from such fights."

"I wonder how you survive all of this stuff," the younger James said. "I'm surprised that you haven't died from it."

"It's funny that you mentioned that," the older James said, looking at his son. "But I am dying."

"What are you talking about?" the younger James asked. "You're as healthy as a, well, as a wolf."

"I'm serious about this son. I have cancer."

"What? Where?"

"In my bones and my brain. It's inoperable."

"Oh. How long do you have?"

"About ten years, give or take. Plenty of time for me to train my succesor."

"And just who is this succesor of yours?"

"A punk kid name Bill, but he doesn't know it yet. Kid's a natural leader, if a bit cocky and a bit arrogant. He can come up with a good and solid plan on his feet, one that usually works. He reminds me of myself at his age. I can tell that he'll do a good job when I'm gone."

"Do me a favor, Dad," said James the Forth.

"What's that, son?"

"Let somebody else teach Bill how to drive."

"You don't like the way I drive?"

"Well, Dad, I would like to blame it on the roads, but somehow you make even a smooth straight highway turn into a dangerous, bone-shaking experience."

"Ha ha ha! I guess now is not the time to tell you about my experience driving home-built racers on the amateur circuits. I have trophies."

"Where?"

"Good question. When you travel as much as I do you end up with your stuff scattered everywhere. That's my only regret, son. That I can't gather all my stuff into one big pile and leave it to you when I die. But anything you can find is yours. I'll at least try to give you a list of places I've been,"

"Gee, thanks, Dad. It will be like a treasure hunt."

"Well, treasure might be too fancy a word for my stuff. Odds and ends probably hits it better."
Bill and Jim and Bob got Falco to HQ

Zander decided he would question him, Ave to Ave

He could be rather thretning
However, before he started to question his fellow Ave, Zander and the others heard an engine coming towards the place at high speed.

"Now what?" Bill asked, as he and the others rushed outside to see an old beat-up Chevey, with two people in it, stop with a loud screech just feet in front of the cabin, leaving a long skid mark, and a large cloud of dust.

"That's it," said a voice that sounded familiar. "Next time, I'm driving!"

"Nobody but me drives my Rose," said a voice that was similar to the first, except for the rough growl that was in it.

"I guess we can relaxe a bit," Bill said. "It's just James."

"It's not just me kid," the wolf said, walking out of the dust. "I reunited with my son in those woods."

"Well remind me to skip out on the next reunion," a human said, walking out of the dust. "Because of you I'm now mixed up with aliens, mutants, and a top secret organizatioon of psycopaths. Now if you don't mind, I'm leaving this crazy shit behind me, and leaving." With that, the human started walking away from the cabin.

"Suit yourself son," the wolf said. "Just remember this though, this organization has eyes everywhere, even at the base you are stationed. If they even suspect that you know what happened to me, your life will be in danger."

"I'm in danger every time that I go overseas," the human said.

"Yes, but this time it's not your own life that's in danger, but that of your wife and children."

At this, the human stopped, and turned around.

"What are you talking about?" he asked.

"If I can track down your records, so can they," James said. "And they have better equipment as well."

"So what am I supposed to do? Go into hiding? I have to live my life. No way I'm gonna crawl in a hole somewhere and never come out again."

"I understand, son. I'm just saying be careful. Be very careful."

James waved one last time at his son as he walked away from the cabin.

"He's leaving?" Bill said.

"Yeah. I just hope he can keep his nose clean. There's a lot of crap in this world. I'd hate to see him step in any of it. And having me for a father doesn't help. What's happening here?"

"They caught Falco. Zander is in the back room with him now giving him the third degree."

"Why do they call it the third degree?"

"I don't know," Bill said. "Maybe I read too many cop stories. He's questioning him, OK?"

James slapped Bill's shoulder and laughed. "Just kidding with you."
Zander looked at Falco with unblinking eyes, Zander's bright green eyes into Falco's dark blue ones

"Do you think you could get away with it?" Zander asked his voice low and dangerous "Do you think our little army of friends and well wishers wouldn't come after you?"

Falco scoffed, "Your pitiful Earthling Family is no match for the Ava Empire, Our technology is better, our skills our superior..."

"But I've got a sneaking suspition this isn't entirly legal." Zander said smirking The Green Heron-Alien leaned over the Blue Alien Bird who could barly be called a Heron (Yes, Falco and Skeksis are Herons like the others they just have deformed beaks)
Just then, the door opened and in came James, carrying a grocery bag.

"Excuse me your Higness," he said, causing Zander to turn towards him.

"What is it?" the exiled prince asked.

"Perhaps you best let me interigate him," the wolf said. "It's been a while but when it come to interigating people, I was one of the best back when the Resistance started. No one could keep anything hidden from me for long."

"And what's in the bag?" Zander asked. "Tools of the trade?"

"No, just my lunch," James said. "Been so busy I forgot to stop and have a bit to eat. Thankfully I picked my son up a a place that sells a few of the things that I like to eat."

"And just what would those be?" Zander asked.

"Let's just say that just like you don't want to offend Matoaka with what you eat, I don't want to offend you with what I like to eat," James said, looking him in the eyes.

"Okay," Zander slowly said, leaving the room. "Just don't hurt him too badly."

"One can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs," James said, in a manner that caused Zander to shudder, especially when he said 'breaking a few eggs'.

When the door closed, James turned to look at Falco.

"They call you the Punisher on your planet, is that right?" he asked, setting his bag on the table.

"You have that right," Falco said, with a sneer. "And when I get back to Ava, you and your friends will get the ultiment punishment, a public spanking of all time."

"Oh I'm afraid that I'll have to disagree with that," James said. "Because I'm going to show you your place on this planet."

"And Just where is that?" Falco asked, with a sneer.

"As food," James said, pulling a package of chicken and a carton of eggs out of the bag. "Almost every culture on the planet has a dish that involves cooking up a bird in one form or another.

"What are you going to do to those bodies and those eggs?" Falco asked, stairing at the chicken and eggs.

"I'm going to eat them," James said, picking up an egg and carefully cracking it over his mouth, and gulping down the contents. "Then I'm going to eat you." He then picked up a drumstick and swallowed the whole thing, bone and all. "Also," he said, with an evil grin. "Thanks to a minor accident from when Zander fell from a tree and got his forearm caught in my mouth, I know that you'll taste a lot better than any other bird I've eaten."

****

For the next hour or so, Zander and the others heard nothing except for Falco screaming, telling James to stop what he was doing.

"I wonder what James is doing to Falco," Jim said.

"Same here," Bill said.

"I have an idea as to what he's doing," Zander said, with a shudder. "James is eating a bird in some sort of manner. I don't know what's worse, thinking about him eating something that's related to me, or watching him eating it, or hearing him discribe how they taste or even how to make those sort of barbaric meals."

"Well you do have to remember," Matoaka said. "He was fused with a wolf. It's not like he can eat fruits and vegetables."

Suddenly, the screams stopped.

"Now what's going on?" Bill asked.

"Perhaps Falco died of a heart attack or something," Jim said.

Then the door opened, and out came James. He had several blue feathers on him, and was in the process of picking his teeth.

"Tell me that you didn't eat him," Zander said.

"Of course not," James said. "Though I did make a mess of the back room when I plucked his feathers out. Then I used wax to get the nubs out and covered him in condements. I must say, he would of tasted quite good with a few of the things that I used. You'll find the little canary in the hot tub that I instuled last week, all trussed up and ready to be served for either Thanksgiving of Christmas."

"And what is he in the hot tub?" Matoaka asked.

"I told him that boiling was part of the cooking process and I have it on the highest settings for both the jets and the temperature. He thinks he's being cooked alive and that I'll eat him when he's finished."

"Well I hope that he doesn't drown," Matoaka said.

"Not with way that I tied him up," James said. "His head and shoulders are above the water, so it's unlikely that he'll drown. Of course the heat could get to him before long so you can go and get him now. I'm sure that he'll be more than happy to talk to Zander now."

While Zander was in the back room getting information out of Falco, Bill and Jim and James played cards while Matoaka read a book called "Tales of the Blue Unicorn".

Finally Zander returned. "I think I learned all I'm going to learn. It seems like Falco's Uncle Skeksis is turning into quite a power on Ava, an evil power unfortunately. He thought he could gain more power by reminding people of how I left Ava to be with a manimal woman from Earth. Falco was going to "avenge Ava's honor" and make the family of Skeksis look good in the eyes of the Avans.

Matoaka shook her head sadly. "Do people still hate you on Ava for what you did?"

"It looks like it. But I knew it would be like that. It doesn't surprise me. What DOES surprise me is that anyone would take the trouble to come all the way to Earth looking for me. I don't want to have to be always looking over my shoulder."
The Manimals looked at each other unsure of what to do

"We can't let Falco go back to Ava." Matoaka said quietly "He'll tell his Uncle about what we did to him and..."

"I don't think Falco WANTS to go back in his state." Zander said chuckling "He's been plucked clean of feathers, and if he's anything like his Uncle was at this age I don't think he want any other Aves to see him."

"But what do we do with him than?" Jordan asked "Do we just...Try to make a good bird out of him?"

Everyone considered what the she said
At this, James said something. "Wingman Sampson."

"Who?" Bill asked, looking at the old wold.

"Wingman Roy Sampson," James said. "Formally of the Air Force. Guy was fused with a Bald Eagle. He's the overall commander of those who can fly in the air. We met up before we were 'selected' and due to what he did, he said that I could call him my wingman any day."

"And what does wingman mean?" Bill asked.

"It's a rank just less than Flight Leader, and a Flight Leader is in charge of those flying with him," James said. "With him though, Wingman's an honorific, as he feels that I'm the overall Flight Leader. Anyways, all that we have to do is send Falco to him, and give him my best reguards, and he'll take care of the naked jaybird."

"And he'll care for Falco?" Zander asked.

"Yep, that he will," James said. "Of course Falco might end up wishing that he was dead. Wingman Sampson hates slackers, unless they have a very good excuse for being in bed or something. He's constantly having those under his command going through drills, training, and more, getting ready for when they are needed."

Arrangements were made for shipping Falco off to Wingman Sampson.

For a few days there was actually peace and quiet around the cabin and the manimals could relax a bit.

"It's been quite a summer so far," Jordan said.

Jim had just finished slicing an ice cold watermelon into hand-sized pieces. "Yep. Feels good to just sit around for a change."

Bob was flat on his back under a shade tree, snoring. Bill was sitting in a lawn chair, lazily fanning away the gnats who were attracted to his piece of watermelon. There was a slight haze in the heavy air. You could feel the heat pressing down on you.
Suddenly Matoaka felt a wetness her water had broken

"Oh God." She said "It's happening."
"Oh by the Egg," Zander said. "What do I do?"

"Get a tub of warm water and a lot of towels," came James's voice. "Also, get her inside and close the screens and blinds."

Bill and the others looked towards the woods and saw the wolf coming out into the open, carring another person, who had their hands and feet tied up, and blindfolded and gagged, muffeling their screams of protest.

"Don't tell me that you kidnapped someone," Matoaka said, moaning in pain.

"And I won't tell you," the wolf said. "However I felt it best that we had a professional doctor who specialized in birthing techniques and the whole thing. I picked her up this morning on her way to work."

"How did you know we'd need one today?" Zander asked.

At this, James tapped his nose and said, "This bad boy is never wrong. It told me that today is the day. Now let's get inside. I don't want this doctor to recognize where we are if she comes around here in the future."

"What the hippocratic hell!" said the doctor when her gag was removed.

"Easy, doc," James said. "We just want you to help deliver a child."

"You've got a very rude way of requesting my services."

"Sorry, ma'am, but there was no time to go through procedures and I heard that doctors don't make house calls anymore."

The doctor looked around at them. "You're a strange lot. Is this the back lot of a movie set?"

"These aren't costumes. I picked you because you were a veternarian before you decided to specialize in humans only. You are uniquely qualified for this."

"Quit yakking," Jordan said, "and bring her in to the patient."

The doctor's eyes grew big when she saw Matoaka. "A pregnant unicorn!?"

Matoaka was lying on her bed, Zander was behind her, Her head in his lap...

The Doctor got in postion "This is crazy!" She said "I don't know anything about Unicorns!"

Matoaka, with her head in Zander's lap was sweating and panting, Zander caressed her cheek to help her feel better.

Meanwhile, Falco was having something of a difficult time with the wingman, his diet consisted only of raw fruits vegtables and fish, because he explained to the wingman that he could not digest dairy, and he could not eat anything made with bird eggs.
However, the Wingman, as Air Marshal Roy Sampson called himself, would broke no excuses. He didn't care that Falco was of nobility, he didn't care that Falco was missing his feathers, though he did make sure that the naked bird had some warm clothes.

On this day, Falco was in the Mess Hall, and complaining about how wretched the place was.

"I just hate this place," he muttered, which earned him an elbow in the ribs.

"I wouldn't complain too loudly young one," said the man next to him, with a strange accent. "I've served with the Marshal for ten years, ever since he and a squad saved me from Them. He may be a damn British Royal Air Force officer, but I owe him my life, dispite the fact that I dislike what he is."

"You don't like him?" Falco asked puzzled.

"He's R.A.F. I'm I.R.A. We are mortal enimies," the man said, with a growl of sorts, coming from a golden hawk's throat.

"And what does that mean?"

"I'm of the Irish Rebublican Army," the hawk said. "We fight the British military forces, as they are ouccuping our homeland. However, they are decent compared to Them. To me, the damned British are the lesser evil, because you can see them for what they are. The same can't be said for Them. They could be anywhere and be anyone. They could be your comrade, the person you buy weapons from, some guy on the street, anyone."

"And you'd prefer him over this Them?"

"I'd soon serve with a damn Brit who treats you with some respect as opposed to being forced to serve with someone who looks at you as a living weapon."

"And I'd sooner have an IRA operative who goes after military targets as opposed to someone who kidnaps children off of the streets," the Marshal said, sitting down next to the hawk. The two predatory bird manimals looked at each other, with hatered in their eyes, and the whole place became deathly silent.

As Falco watched the two, a hand was placed on his shoulder. Turning ao face the person who dared lay their hands on him, his eyes encountered those of a young female blue heron.

You might want to get your food and move to another table," she said quietly. "Those two are about to get into yet another fight."

Falco then looked back and saw that the hawk and the eagle were standing up and circling each other, with murder in each of their eyes.

"I guess so," he said, grabbing his plate, and started to follow the heron just as the two predatory birds started exchanging blows and scratching each other.

When they sat down at a table on the other side of the room, Falco looked at the heron and asked, "How often do they fight?"

"A couple of times a week," she said. "Ralph there lost a brother or two to the British military and the Marshal lost a son to the IRA. Thankfully the fights don't last too long, and the injuries rarely amount to more than a few scratched and a few missing feathers. Just be glad that they rarely have eyes for the same woman, because those fights can be serious."

Suddenly, a crash is heard, causing Falco to look up to see the hawk laying down on a busted table, with the Marshal's talons at his throat.

"What's going to happen now?" Falco asked.

"The Marshal will let him up and the two of them will each seek out a medic," the heron said. "They may hate each other, but they respect the other. I doubt that one of them will kill the other. Then again, it gives the others a chance to see the techniques they've learned in actual combat. I wouldn't be too surprised if he quizzes everyone as to what happened between them."

"And what are you here for?" Falco asked.

"Well I was working on a Medical degree before I got kidnapped and turned a year back," the heron said. "Commander James and his squade freed me soon after. Ever since then I've been here, trying to contenue it as best as I can, when I'm not learning military things. It's not easy."

"Do you have anything that can help regrow feathers?"

"I do," the heron said. "But it will take a while to fully work."

****

Meanwhile, over at Matoaka's place, the doctor was keeping track of the unicon's stats.

"Push! Push!" the doctor said.

"I am pushing!" Matoaka grunted. Zander wiped her head with a damp cloth. Jordan held Matoaka's hand.

Bill and Bob sat out in the yard. "Anything we can do to help?" Bill asked when Jim came out to join them.

"No, just stay out of the way, I guess. I think everything is going normally, although no one is exactly sure what normal is for a unicorn."
"Here it comes!" The Doctor cried "It's a girl!"

It was a tiny green and white unicorn creature with jet black mane and tail tassel..

"Amalthia." Matoaka said in a gasp

"I beg your pardon?" The Doctor asked

"Amalthia." She said "That is her name...Ama for short."

A damp bundle was placed in her arms, she saw a tiny green and white furred face.

So Matoaka looked at her daughter through blearly eyes...She kissed the damp forehead

Bill and Jim looked out the window and saw Ichabod walking toward the cabin..

"Hey Ichabod!" Bill exclaimed "Matoaka had a daughter!"

"That's great!" Ichabod called "I brought a basket of fruit!"

"Everyone is bringing fruit." Bill said to Jim "Well it figures, Ichabod's mom is a botonist."

Meanwhile, Falco was alone in his room, enjoying some peace and quiet.

There was a knock on the door, Falco opened it...It was Rose the Dragon

Falco was not happy to see her again

"Hi." She said shyly "I brought some fresh fish...James told me your kind really likes fish."

"Er..." Thanks" Falco said

But the fish did look good so he let her in

Rose gingerly stepped in his room
"Its been a while since I was last here," she said, sitting on the bed next to him.

"And when was the last time that you were here?" Falco asked, trying the fish, which tasted quite good.

"About two years ago," Rose said. "I was captured four years ago by Them when I was eighteen. I was heading home from a late party when something stung my neck. Next thing I knew I was in this brightly lighted room, and these guys in lab coats and medical masks were injecting me with something. I also saw a man in a black suit and dark sunglasses talking on a cellphone. Then I was stripped and placed in this tube-like chamber. I can't really remember much after that, except pain beyond pain. The next thing that I can remember is hearing an order, that of 'Kill the wolf. Kill the wolf.' and I was fighting this group of mutants, one that was led by this wolf. Somehow he beat me and knocked me out. When I woke up I was in a room like this one, with the wolf standing next to me. He asked me a few questions, like who I was, where I was from, and a few others. After that, he showed me a mirror. I couldn't believe what had happened to me.I more or less tore the place up, and broke down in shock after that. I didn't leave the room for a couple of days until my stomach got the better of me. I opened the door and saw him with a plate of meat. he sat down next to me and as I ate my fill he told me what happened. After that I was given a choice, to give up and do nothing, or do something and fight. I chose to fight, especially after he told me what happened to him. Since then I've been fighting. or training to fight, and a couple of other things."

"So what about the cabin you took me to?"

"We provide therapy there for those who need it, as well as a bit of espianoge when needed."

"And the situation with me?"

"I was just out for a walk when you showed up by the brook. Figured that you weren't from the area so I invited you to my place. Thought that it might be a good idea to keep you hidden, as the Zookeepers are out and about at that time of the day."

"Zookeepers?"

"Husband and wife team. They're always trying to capture Manimals or aliens to sell on the black market. They're just an annoyance for the most part, but the guys that they sell to can be a real threat. In fact, you were almost sold to Them. If that had happened, there would go your homeworld, along with everything that they have, as well as the things that you care for."

"Well, who is this They?"

"The Commander knows for sure, but They are highly trained, and powerful. I had my hands full trying to rescue someone that was held by two of them, though fighting in cramped spaces, like a helicopter, is always difficult."

"So, do you know what they have planned for me?" Falco asked, as he was getting tired of this line of conversation.

"They're waiting until your feathers grow back and then they'll let you go," Rose said.

"And how long will that take?" Falco asked as he looked at the clothes he was wearing.

"Well two to three months would be the average time it takes for a bird manimal to regrow their feathers back," Rose said. "The reason that I know this is because sometimes we have to shave or pluck the area around an injury to get a clear picture of it. Of course, I never heard of someone being fully plucked before. You must have really angered James to make him want to do that."

Bill and Bob were sitting in folding chairs outside the cabin.

Bob sighed. "I guess we won't be doing much adventuring now that Matoaka's got a baby to take care of."

Bill looked at him. "You may be right. I don't know how long I can sit around here doing nothing but watching a baby unicorn grow up. Not that Amalthia is not cute. I love her, but spend all day with her every day? I don't know..."

Bob nodded. "I'm thinking the same thing. Maybe it's time for you and me to go off on our own."

"Um, just the two of us?"

Bob laughed. "I didn't mean it that way. The more the merrier."

"We can't just leave Matoaka here unprotected."

"Oh, I'm sure Jordan and Jim would stay here."
Zander looked at the basket of fruit Ichabod bought as a presant

"Matoaka." He said to his wife as she nursed their Child "You want Ama to be a vegtarian like you right?"

"I I have a feeling she's going to have to be." She said "Due to the fact she is a Unicorn."

With that Zander took an apple and bit into it, he chewed the fruit a while and swallowed it

"Is it OK if I horld her a second?" Zander asked, Matoaka let him hold Ama

Zander raised the Filly up to his beak,
"Oh I don't think that you have to feed her that way," James said, as he knew what Zander was about to do, which was to bring up some of the chewed apple and put it into the baby's mouth.

"What makes you sure of that?" Zander asked, looking at the wolf.

"I've helped raise both bird and equine manimal babies," the wolf said. "And I know how to feed both of them."

"And what would you recamend?" Zander asked.

"Cut up some fruits and vegetables, put the pieces in a blender and turn it on," James said. "You'll get a nice sauce that is very easy to feed to the child, and you won't have to worry about her chomping onto your beak."

"And you know all of this how?"

"Know of a hawk and a zebra who had a similar situation. Of course, I could be wrong."

"No, you're almost right," Matoaka said, "except I think I'll keep nursing her for a while."

"Well, there's that, too, but she can't live on milk forever."

"I'll never get used to mammals," Zander said.

Matoaka put her arm around him. "You're used to me, aren't you?"

He grinned. "Maybe. I'm not sure."

Bill walked in and snagged an apple from the fruit basket. "Bob and I are thinking about going hiking in the hills. Be gone maybe 4 or 5 days."

"Hiking?" Jordan said. "You mean just walking around for no reason?"

"You make it sound stupid, Jordan. How about sightseeing? Is that a good enough reason?"

Jordan rolled her eyes. "I'd think you had already seen everything around here."

"Well, we want to see it again."
Bill had a differnt reason for this little idea, a few nights ago he saw Agent Bishop scanning the land in the far reaches of the forest

Bill did not remember what role Bishop had in his mutation, but he had heard stories from the turtles about what he had done to them and their friend Leatherhead...Bill knew he was dangerous

Bill was planning on meeting up with the turtles and having 'some fun' as he called it

Meanwhile Belladonna and her Boyfriend Donatello were studying the Beastial's Blood in hopes of finding what their sickness was

"Seems to me." Donny said "That when High Elder Hyper Evolved his animal subjects he put a Radioactive Spore in there bodies that maintains a humanoid form.

"Do I have a spore in me too?" Bell asked

"No, you were made differnt, you were a human spliced with animal DNA not an Animal hyper elvoved with radiation...However one thing concerns me...If we remove the spore it may cure their sickness but they may lose the capacity for speech, they would still be intelligent as a human being but would lose the ability to speak...This is only a theory though so I can't be sure."
"So, what are we going to do to help them out?" Bell asked.

"I'm not sure," Donny said. "If I do nothing they'll die, but if I do they wrong thing they could still die. Very problematic."

"I'm sure that you'll figure something out," Bell said, giving the turtle a kiss on the cheek.

****

Meanwhile James had left Matoaka's cabin and was in the woods, heading to his place. However, he soon smelled a familiar scent, one that broght to mind a certain man in a black suit and dark sunglasses.

"Bishop," he growled, turning his head towards the scent. "I know you're there. Come out of hiding you spineless coward."

"You always were observant of your suroundings," the suited man said, stepping out into the open. "It took me a while to track you down, Experiment Number 25 Series B Animal-Human Hybrid, Type Grey Wolf."

"My name is James Jefferson the Third," James said, with a growl. "I thought that I made it clear the last time that we met twenty years ago when I almost killed you."

"So I'm reminded every time that I look in the mirror and look at the claw marks on the left side of my chest," Bishop said. "Perhaps you'd care for Round Two?"

"Oh I'm tempted to take you up on that offer, but I know your type," James said. "You have a pack of buddies encircling us to make sure that I don't try to escape should things go wrong for you."

"Actually, I'm alone," Bishop said. "And I'm here to tell you that the Earth is under the threat of invasion. The organization needs men like you and your friends to fight them."

"Tell me something that I don't know," James said. "I know that the Earth is in threat of invasion and me and my men have stopped many of them, and we were able to convince many of them that Earth is just some patch of dirt that isn't worth invading. As for those who still tried to invade the planet, we've been able to beat them. As for you and your men, you purposly go out of your way to pick fights, and me and my men have to clean up your mess."

"That's because I won't let anyone take this world over," Bishop said. "You can't even understand the magnitude of the threat posed by the alien races out there."

"Maybe I don't but that doesn't give you the right to kidnap people, mutate them, and use them to murder others," James growled. "Because of what you did to me I haven't had a decent night's sleep in over twenty years."

"Had to find a way to work the bugs out," Bishop said. "My only surprise was the time traveler who managed to free you and the others. I'b like to meet up with her."

"That's highly unlikely," James said. "She comes and she goes when and where she wants to."

"In anycase, it's time for me to go," Bishop said, walking away. "I trust that we'll meet again in the future, hopefully before that cancer kills you."

"Well here's a parting gift!" James growled, pulling out his Clot Peacemaker and fired a shot, which the agent caught with relative ease.

"Thanks," he said, pocketing the round. "Remind me to send it back to you some day."

James watched Bishop go. If it wasn't for his Code of Honor he would shoot Bishop in the back, but the tricky agent would probably whirl around and catch the bullet in his teeth just to make a fool out of James.

In a way James was glad to have Bishop for a nemesis because Bishop was the only one he had ever met who could give James a fight that really had him worried about losing. But he was sure Bishop felt the same way. If the two of them ever seriously tangled then the outcome would be in doubt and maybe even up to Fate to decide. Neither man liked to play that the game that way. They preferred to go in feeling confident of victory. Letting a roll of the dice decide your death was for the foolish gamblers of the world. The best players always bet on knowledge and skill.
Zander and put the Sleepy Ama in a crib that lay at the foot of there bad


Boy tired after a long day's work they fell into a deep sleep

Bill walked along the sidewalk of his neiborhood he saw a manhole...And he looked around twice to make sure no one was looking, removed the manhole cover and and desended into the sewer.

He knew he was close by to the Turtles' Homr
"Alright," Bill said. "Now to find out what there is to know about this Agent Bishop. The more I find out the better my chances are."

***

Meanwhile, at a military base in upstate New York, James the Forth was sighting in his sniper rifle, when a strange feeling showed up, that of being watched. Instead of turning and looking around for the watcher, he carefully aimed his rifle at a three foot target a hundred yards away and fired his shot, missing the bullseye by a few inches.

"Down and left of center," said his spotter. "One click up and three to the right ought to do the trick."

"Did better with my civilian rifle the other day," James said.

"How?" the spotter asked. "You left here with a surplus Jeep and a stripped down M-1 Grande and you came back on foot with nothing, not even a deer to show for your efforts."

"Took on a poacher, a kidnapper, and a couple of robbers," James said. "Lost my vehical and rifle during the fighting."

"Well I've heard of stranger things than that," the spotter said.

"Like what?" James asked.

"Things like UFOs, aliens, men in black suits, were-creatures, and a few other things," the spotter said.

"Sounds like campfire stories told by a couple of drunk hunters," James said, adjusting the sights on his rifle. "It's to make up a reason for missing a prime buck that's in those woods."

"And you've seen this buck?" the spotter asked.

"Saw a 14-point that I took a picture of," James said.

"Sounds nice," the spotter said. "Too bad that you didn't get it."

"Well I found something even better, a fifty point."

"Did you take a picture of it?"

"No, because that's when something else caught my attention."

"What was that?"

"A couple of guys trying to kidnap a 12 or 14 year old boy," James said. "Skinny kid too, with pail skin, freckels and a long pointy nose. The one pointed a tranqualizer gun at me so I aimed a little high and shot his hat off."

"Do you know who the kid was?"

"No, but I have a feeling that he knew his way around the area better than I did, as I got lost after that."

"And what about the robbers?"

"A conviniance store that I happened upon was in the process of being robbed. One of them got lucky and shot my rifle up, so I did the next best thing and used my knife and hands to do the deed."

"Anyone to verify that?"

"Not really, unless you count a crazy old man and a drunk deputy as witnesses."

"Well I heard that something happened this morning."

"And what would that be?" James asked, sighting the rifle on the target.

"I heard that a doctor was kidnapped on her way to work, and there's more to it."

"And what would that be?"

"I heard that she deals in birthing procedurs."

"Perhaps someone had a pregnant wife and needed her help?"

"Sounds reasonable except for one thing, she left her car on the side of the road, and the window was smashed in, and the engine was running."

"Maybe it was some of that UFO activity you were talking about," James said.

"Not unless the aliens wear size 12 military boots. By the way, what size are your boots?"

"Size 12. It's a pretty common size. Like 11. And 10."

"Yeah. I guess it's just a coincidence."

"If it wasn't would I be here shooting?"

"With you I never know."

"Maybe that's the secret of my success."

"What success?"

"Yeah," James said. "Maybe you've got a point there."

***

Bill traveled through the sewer until he reached an intersection. "Hmmm, which way to go? Oh. I guess I'll just follow the turtle tracks."
Bill found Leonardo walking by himself

"Oh Hi Leo" Bill said "Look I found something in the woods we should check out!"

"What kind of thing?" Leo asked Skepticly

"Oh just that guy Bishop."

Meanwhile Skeksis was suspious, Falco was answering his phone Skeksis turned to the Council

"The New King and Queen are growing more suspious of us everyday." Skeksis said "And Falco has not answered me for over a month!"

"I have an Idea." Noir said "But it could get a little messy."
"And just what would this plan be?" Skeksis asked.

"A slow acting posion," Noir said. "If we use it just right, we could inject them today and in a couple of weeks they'd be dead. And due to how the posion works, the Royal Physisian will only be able to say that the King and Queen died of natural causes."

"That might work," Skeksis said. "The problem would be how to administer without causing suspicion. They already know that I don't like them and the majority opf the populus would sooner have an exiled King to come back to lead them as opposed to me if those two died for any reason."

"In that case my lord, try to get back into their good graces," Noir suggested. "Also, if you become a friend of their future child, in the advent of his parents' deaths, he'll need an adviser, and who would be better to do that than you."

"Now that's a cunning idea," Skeksis said, with an evil grin. "Might take a while, and some humiliation to myself, but my revenge would be very sweet indeed."

Leo and Bill decided they would hide in the woods until Bishop showed up.

"Are you sure this will work?" Leo said.

"He always shows up eventually. Did you bring plenty of sandwiches?"

"Yes. Half of them are pimento cheese and half chicken salad."

"I don't eat chicken. I wish you had made some cucumber sandwiches."

"That's a sandwich?" Leo said. "To me a cucumber is just a raw pickle."

"It doesn't matter," Bill said. "The grass here is lush. I can just graze. What about something to drink?"

"Iced tea."

"That's fine with me. Shhhh! I think I hear someone coming."
Meanwhile Falco was tossing and turing iin his sleep, he was having nightmares

"No..." He said in his sleep "Oh Gods No!"

He saw his Uncle slipping a poison to the new King and Queen and have them slowly die of it in an attempt to get closer to their soon to be child

Falco woke up in a cold sweat

"Oh GODS Uncle." He said to himself "Don't do it! It's one thing to kill a lower life form like a mammal but to kill anouther of our own blood that's like being a human!."

There was a knock on the door, the Blue Heron peeked in his window

"Falco?" She said "Is everything OK?"

"I..."Falco hesitated "I'm fine."

The Heron left and Falco sat alone in his bed to ponder his prophetic dream. He wondered if he should just go back home
As Falco pondered the meaning of his dream, the door opened. Looking up he saw the Marshal enter the room.

"I'm going to take a guess and say that you had a bad dream," he said.

"What are you talking about?" Falco asked.

"I've seen the same look in the eyes of many men," the Marshal said. "My own included, especially after a bad dream. Me and the others have seen many things, things that keep us up at night."

"What sort of things have you seen?" Falco asked.

"Imagine watching yourself crush the skull of a child, and be unable to stop yourself from doing it," the Marshal said. "Me and many of the first ones did things like that, and worse, before we managed to escape and start up the Resistance. For that we have James to thank, for without him we'd still be in captivity, along with the younger ones."

"Was it really like that?"

"Actually, it was often much worse. If James hadn't freed us, well you and me wouldn't be talking, now would we."

"I think I've been on the wrong track," Falco said, "and I think I know why."

"Really?" the Marshall said. "Unburden yourself. Do you mind if the Blue Heron hears this? He's our specialist."

"Bring him in," Falco said. "I've grown to like him."

The Marshall found the Blue Heron and they seated themselves in comfortable chairs and looked expectantly at Falco.

"My Uncle Skeksis is the problem," Falco began. "All my life I have looked up to him believing him to be a hero of sorts. I think even from the beginning I suspected he was not a true hero, but I hid that knowledge from myself."

"We call that denial," the Blue Heron said.

"Yes, I was in denial. But because of my hero worship of Uncle Skeksis I was willing to obey him unquestioningly. I see now that I forfeited my manhood by doing that. I became his moral slave. I had no thoughts of my own about what was right and what was wrong. I only believed what he believed. Thus he was able to manipulate me into doing evil."

The Marshall nodded. "I believe your analysis of yourself is sound. It gratifies me to hear you achieving this level of self-knowledge."

"I owe it the Blue Heron," Falco said. "He is an excellent listener."

"Please," said the Blue Heron, "there is no need to praise me. We all have our jobs to do and that is mine. I, too, am happy to hear this change of heart in you."
I think this is a good place to end the story...I really don't like stories that exceed 100 chapters

This story shall be divied into two parts

The End!

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