“As I clamber over the hill, the smell of fire increases, and, as I look down on my clan, I see cats setting fire to everything and killing any arctic fox they see. That’s when my brain goes into shock and I faint. It’s like I’m dreaming but I can still hear things around me.”
Ah, another day waking up in my igloo. For some reason my clan hasn’t gone full tech, but it’s kinda nice without a screen every five inches.
“Paws!” That’s my dad calling me for a hunting mission.
Oh well, I think… better grab my spear.
A few hours later, I’m dragging a ton of fish to my clan. My dad will be so proud!
Wait a minute, what’s that smell…? Smoke, fire! My clan! The fish can wait. As I clamber over the hill, the smell of fire increases, and, as I look down on my clan, I see cats setting fire to everything and killing any arctic fox they see. That’s when my brain goes into shock and I faint. It’s like I’m dreaming but I can still hear things around me.
“An arctic fox,” says a voice, “He’s the last one,” says another. “Let’s bring him in.”
I wake up in a hospital bed with my head throbbing, and as hold my head I feel something strange behind my ear. Suddenly, a voice says, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” When I look up I see a grey and black cat.
The next thing I know, I have the cat in a headlock. “What have you done to my family!” I scream at the top of my lungs.
“I don’t know,” says the cat. All of a sudden, his suit lights up with green electricity and I fly back. “And I’ll have you know that not all cats are bad, and my name is Scout,” he says. “And, the thing behind your ear –– it’s the one thing keeping you from going bonkers. Anyway, I’ll see you in the training room.”
“Wait, what?” I call after Scout, but he does not answer.
I eventually find my way to the training room. There is a polar bear, another cat, Scout, and an owl. I look up and there are three owls in a window. The polar bear is the only other animal that looks as confused as I do. I am about to walk up to him, but then Scout sees me and signals to the owls to start the training. That’s when I notice that all the other animals have similar devices to the one behind my ear, but they are all different colors.
Weird, I think. I don’t think it matters, but hey, you never know. That’s when training begins, and a voice on the loudspeakers says, “Press your Winged Paw.”
“Wait, what?” I say for the second time today.
“The thing behind your ear,” explained Scout. His Winged Paw is in his chest, and it formed the green chestplate like the one he had in the hospital room.
So, I press mine, and a visor goes over my right eye and a blue tube goes down my back, the latter forming into a backpack of sorts. Then, two tubes of blue energy go down my arms and form bracelets, each emitting two prongs of electricity. That’s when I notice that everyone’s suit is different. Full body armor with white plasma tipped parts for the owl. Chestplate and helmet with pink plasma tipped swords and pistols with pink plasma bullets for the other cat. Chestplate filled with green electricity and nanobots that can form into katanas and plasma rifle for Scout. A visor that completely covers his eyes and an orange electricity chestplate with earthquake gloves for the polar bear.
If this is a team against the cats, then defeating them will be easy, I think.
Soon, I learn that the other cat’s name is Gothy, the polar bear’s name is Polar, and the owl’s name is Snowy. Scout explains what’s going on to Polar and me (we are apparently the new guys).
“This organization is called the Winged Paw Alliance, and was formed to defend against the Cat Empire. The thing behind your ear was made by Snowy the owl, our technician and hacker. Gothy is our assassin, Paws is our demolition expert, Polar is our tank, and I’m your comman––”
“Wait, wait… what? Demolition expert?” I stammer.
“Yes,” responds Scout, “and your backpack is full of explosives.”
I pull one out and chuck it, and Gothy nimbly does a front flip and catches it. “Those are sticky bombs, not grenades,” says Snowy.
“Sweet, better to stick to my enemies,” I respond.
“I like this kid,” says Gothy through her helmet, which has roboticized her voice
“Gah, I give up,” responds Snowy.
“Stop messing around, guys! We have a lot to cover –– keep in mind that we are still outnumbered by a thousand to one. So, let’s get started,” says Scout,
“Wait, what?” responds Polar, “You’re sending us on what’s basically a suicide mission and on something I didn’t even sign up for!”
“But, Polar, we need you!” responds Scout.
“Yeah, Polar –– I too was brought here against my will, but these guys are fighting for what’s right,” I say, agreeing with Scout.
”I don’t care!” screams Polar. “I didn’t sign up for this war, so I don’t intend on fighting in it!” before storming off. I try to comfort him, but Scout holds me back and slowly shakes his head. I look back at him but he’s out of sight.
I’m starting to get used to this new gear, even if it’s taken two days… But hey, that’s what happens when you’ve lived in a no-tech environment for your entire life! It helps to incorporate my clan’s form of martial arts because it gets the moves flowing together. But, I miss Polar. I know I wasn’t really friends with him, but it feels weird without the giant white furry mass in the room.
I am practicing a backflip and electricity strategies to evade shots when Scout finally breaks it to me: “Um, Paws?” Scout asks, his voice wavering.
“Yes?” I respond.
“Well, you know that in your clan, there were no survivors?”
“I already put that through my head,” I say.
“That was the last arctic fox clan,” he tells me, and I look at him, surprised. He continues, “You’re the last arctic fox in the world, Paws.”
“No, it can’t be true!” I yell.
“Paws…” he says, trying to comfort me.
“I need someti–time alone… “ I mutter.
I reflect upon my fate in my room. I want to avenge my clan, but then I remember that it’s much bigger than that: my clan is gone and there’s nothing I can do. But, here, I’ve made new friends. I can’t sit here forever wishing my family were alive; I have to look at what I have now. I know that revenge won’t bring my family back. Revenge won’t bring my clan back. Revenge won’t bring any arctic foxes back. But, I will fight in this war, and not for the sake of revenge –– I will fight for the sake of all the animals that will die if don’t fight in this war.
“Cat Empire?” I say to myself. “Hit me with your best shot.”
To be continued…