Topcat and crew decided to go to an international cat convention in Las Vegas. They let the non-cat members take vacations else where. Topcat decided that since he and most crew members were wanted fugitives in Las vegas circa 2003 they would go incognito sneaking in using false passports, without their ship the Catavenger. They left Shel the human butler in charge of the ship, which they left at Cat Cay. Since this a hidden forbidden isle they felt both would be safe there.
Topcat had rented the penthouse suite and the floor directly below that in the Bluecat hotel. Captain Topcat, Snowball and Panther were with Dr. Freddy Katz . They greatly wanted Dr. Katz (a cat) as the ship's surgeons. However they also had to hire a human doctor, named Dr. Nitzy This was do to contractual reasons; which Dr. Katz, not yet understanding the pirate way of breaking rules, felt compelled to honor. Even though he had very little knowledge of his fellow doctor.
"Well it's just us, the ship's officers are in the casino. Would you like another catnip-rum punch?" Topcat asked.
"Sure, replied Dr. Katz and furthermore I would be honored to be your new ship's surgeon." Doctor Nitzy the human doctor just nodded. Dr. Katz, Topcat and Panther were all shaking paws while Doctor Nitzy just smiled. Topcat and Panther congratulated them and toasted.
Just then there was a knock on the door they went out and found an envelope in it were photos of Shel the cat's human and a note.
" We have taken your ship and your butler. We will kill him and burn your ship if you do not pay us eighty-five billion dollars." It was signed, "Badguydas," this was a terrorist organization.
Snowball looked up in astonishment as Topcat read the note." That is George Bush kind of money we could never pay that. I think they must be mad because we helped catch that Saddam guy. There is no way we could pay that much money ."
"No but we can pay twenty million to get some help; that's their standard fee." Topcat said with a dangerous gleam in his one green eye. "We need some specialists - Ivy and Sparky." "Assassins," Panther and Snowball both shouted at the same time for they knew the deadly chihuahua duo by reputation.
"We need the best," Topcat said his word was a command and soon the dangerous duo arrived via Blackhawk helicopter.
Sparky marched in first with a military bearing and just a bit of swagger. Ivy followed with a gait that would have looked more at home on a modeling runway. Both were carrying violin cases that did not carry violins.Instead they contained sniper rifles.
Quickly Topcat made plans with the chihuahuas. He recalled all his crew. They bought an old Russian frigate. They also obtained a great number of motorized jet gondolas. These were provided by the Lady Lisa in Italy. They drilled and planned and. soon were ready.
Ivy and Sparky landed their gondola. Soon they saw two of the enemy Sparky shot one in the ankle severing his achilles tendon in his heel. The terrorist went down in pain. Ivy shot the other in the buttocks felling him they continued taking out more of the enemy.
Meanwhile the Catavenger crew landed all around the island in the other gondolas. One group of crew members crept silently to the cave containing much of the loot the Catavenger had obtained on previous adventures. On the way they only ran into two sentries. One of the guards was asleep so they just tied him up and left him. The other guard Tiberious Tiger the ships cook hit over the head with a frying pan.They continued on until they found what they were looking for.
Ivy and Sparky continued they now shot the terrorists with tranquilizer darts.

All of the boats had been fitted with machine guns. Topcat fired a burst over the heads of the terrorists. Topcat's gondola landed on the east side of the isle. He along with Snowball and Panther exited their gondola. They were followed by a few gondolas containing crew. They found the enemy still cowering from the gun fire and easily disabled them. They linked up with Ivy and Sparky. They found CatAvenger the ship in the bay where they had left it. Since it was in the water the ship was undamaged. The CatAvenger's magic having protected it from harm. If only Shel had stayed on the ship he would have not been harmed either, Snowball thought.
Just as everyone began congratulating themselves another threat appeared. Out of a thicket of trees appeared a black menacing War-Car. Although it's flame-throwers, rockets, cannons and machine guns, were hidden within its sleek exterior it still appeared menacing. This vehicle, more powerful than any mere tank, now roared down upon them, it's flame throwers spewing fire. Topcat and company looked in horror as the weapon of war advanced on them. Then it got smaller and smaller and froze in its tracks.

Tiberius and his group which contained engineer Spott came down from the hillside, outside of an entrance to the cave they had been in.
At Captain Topcat's inquiry Spott explained. "I am sure you remember the shrinking ray we had stored in the cave. I never told you I had modified it with a stasis field. It does not kill it only freezes them so to speak."

"Hit the rest of them with it then." Topcat said. Soon the terrorists were nothing more than helpless toy soldiers.
Panther said she thought the War-Car would make a good toy for Shel's nephew Christopher. There was still one problem: where was Shel?
A few of the crew had burnt whiskers so Dr. Katz treated them. Topcat with a small party set off for the caves to find Shel. Dr. Nitzy said he would go along with them to help Shel in case he had been hurt.
Since the isle had long been a base of operations for the Catavenger, Topcat knew the layout of the caves. The cat members of the group needed very little light to see as they advanced through the caves. Soon they found the cave containing Shel. It was guarded by a dozen terrorists. These Topcat's group overpowered and took prisoner.
They found the human known as Shel badly beaten laying on a stone slab. His whole left side was fractured from head to foot and he seemed half dead. "There are no more terrorists," Dr. Nitzy said. " I will need time to treat Shel and get him stable enough to move. Perhaps the crew should take the prisoners away and let me work in peace?"
Topcat was so saddened by Shel's condition he just nodded his order for the crew and captives to leave.
"I may need to operate on him." Dr.Nitzy said opening his surgical bag and removed a scalpel with a long knife like blade. "There is a flashlight on the box there," Nitzy said as he pointed at it with the scalpel. When Topcat turned his back to pick up the light Nitzy stabbed him in the back with the scalpel. "You can trust your enemies to be bad, but pick your human friends carefully; they you cannot always trust. There is a large reward for Topcat the pirate - dead or alive. I was only using Doctor Katz to get to you. He knows nothing of my plans. I hate him as I do all cats."
Although he was mortally wounded, Captain Topcat drew his sword and whirled around with it trying to cut off Nitzy's hand which still held the blade. However Topcat was so weak his grip released the sword which pitched up next to Shel on the slab. Nitzy was to busy looking with greed at Topcat's body to notice that Shel had roused up from the slab. Sword in hand Shel slashed cutting Nitzy's head clean off. It rolled down on the floor at Topcat's feet. Topcat's one green eye locked with Shel's in a look of mutual love and respect. Then the last spark of life faded from that eye and he died. Shel fell back unconscious half dead himself.

The crew lead by Panther found them. Dr. Katz cared for Shel. They buried Topcat at sea as engineer Spott played the bagpipes and the crew sang amazing grace. Even the hardened assassin dogs wept.

Shel laying on a hospital bed upon deck thought he saw a small sardine fish jump out of the water oddly enough there appeared to be tears in it's eyes. Then it went back into the waves unoticed by anyone else.

As Topcat's body went down into the watery depths his spirit rose higher and higher into the sky. A rainbow appeared in the cloudless sky and over the rainbow bridge into Heaven went Topcat, mourned by all of his friends left below on the hell which we call earth ...

I will miss you my dear friend:

Sail on to the next story - TEBA; A tale of a ship - a tail of a cat

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