Chapter 44

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Greg and I cannot holdthe car full of lizardmenany longer; I'm concernedwe may have to let Hooman #Afistfight to maintain spacebetween Proxima Centauri B'sreptilian forces, and the innocenthoomans aboard this train,until the sky flashes brightwith...

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Greg and I cannot hold
the car full of lizardmen
any longer; I'm concerned
we may have to let Hooman #A
fistfight to maintain space
between Proxima Centauri B's
reptilian forces, and the innocent
hoomans aboard this train,
until the sky flashes bright
with lasers, purple and white.

The lasers ricochet off tiny,
flying mirrors
in the distant desert;
they approach quick,
like a magenta thunderstorm.

As Major of Cat Society #337,
I am qualified to explain
the weapons system
installed in our space craft.
I assure you, our Space Force
is more convincing
than anything established
by Orange Man...

First, we send
nanotechnology-powered drones
that look quite similar
to the flying cameras
hoomans gift for Christmas,
except sleeker and uglier,
like Tesla's Cybertruck.

Our drones are also small:
about the size of a paw,
with billions of electrons
simulating a larger computer
through ultraviolet lithography
and holographic dimensions.

One drone is easily worth
more than an iPhone,
though we never bothered
to develop touch technology;
no reason when
we have the GalaNet
and we have to pretend thumbs
with our thumb-gloves.

So once these drones position
themselves, they move
in a choreographed dance,
generating heat that amplifies
into either a purple or white glow,
depending on the health
of each drone's battery.

Nothing,
and I mean nothing,
is as frustrating as
a small computer
with a drained battery.

That's why the drones dock
at our secret base,
with our space ship.

Unfortunately, we've been here
on Earth for too long,
which means many of our drones,
even fully charged,
produce the inferior white light.

The choreographed dance
doesn't end until all drones glow.
Then they strike
by flipping their bodies
inside out
to reveal delicate mirrors
that can ricochet
from their tiny surfaces
across any distance
a catseye can see,
which is exceptional
given the breadth of GalaNet.

In our universe,
light can travel
for billions of years.

In the Feline Militia,
they told us a story
of a cloud of drones
radiating lasers
from our planet
all the way
to Proxima Centauri B,
yet I never truly believed it.

I find planetary warfare
a harder catnip to swallow
than the beautiful array
of violet-white light
roiling towards the train.

Lasers slip through the windows
of the lizardmen's car,
and though they dilute
in power through glass,
they still turn half the invaders
to ash, vaporizing them
into a phoenix corpse
that will not rise again.

Greg rolls back,
hissing next to me.
I bat a paw on his face.
Further aggressive delays
are obviously unnecessary.

He will be frustrated with me
for contacting the brave women
at our home node,
given we agreed they would
focus on Hooman #1
and Philosopher Jones,
but we aren't the spritely cats
we were two years ago.
Four-year-old bodies
are not as reliable on Earth,
and Greg's panting shows it.

As a second barrage
of violet-white light
shifts through the room
in a fractal pattern,
Greg no-claw thwaps me in the face.

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