Puddles and Whiskers, WDB Later That Evening…

The only tweaks, to the dialog. I may, on the last run through, tighten up the dialog, however at the moment their voices shine through.

Previously.

Later that evening…

DB’s Bar, a three-story bar across the street from Puddles and Whiskers office. Local watering hole on the lower floor, trendy afterhours club on the middle floor, and hopping nightclub on the top floor and after short drive, two long showers, and a change of clothes later where Puddles and Whiskers regrouped.

“This really rubs my fur the wrong way,” Puddles mumbled, slamming an empty glass on the bar top.

“Hey!” the human bar tender exclaimed.

Puddles shot him her best “do not mess with me, but please serve me another drink look.” Returning from the bathroom, Whiskers sat next to her, waving the bar tender over.

“All I can say about the bathroom, is there is some interesting reading on the walls,” Whiskers said.

“Yeah?”

“A variation on a herg warmarch where every instance of birds above was replaced with various slang for male genitalia. Pretty funny and clever, if you are familiar with the warmarch.”

“Sounds fun,” she responded sarcastically.

Setting two new drinks in front of them, the bar tender eyeing Puddles for an extra second before moving to other customers. Lifting the drinks Puddles and Whiskers toasted themselves.

“What a mess,” Puddles began. “A bunch more dead people. No clues. No pay. No nothing.”

“I will agree that there is not a lot to go on,” Whiskers replied taking a sip and making a face at his drink. “What is this?”

“Something local.”

“Oh,” Whiskers replied, taking another sip and making another face.

“Think we will get anything off of the recordings?”

“We know a few people who should be able to tell us what the rooms were set up for. The daughters,” Whiskers made air quotes around daughters, “bothers me.”

“I thought I saw one woman matching the vague description the Doc, gave us,” Puddles jumped in.

“I watched the one you are talking about run out, not a daughter.”

“There were no daughters. We were set up.”

“You are probably correct about the daughters, but I would like to make sure before moving onto the clean room.”

“We need to set up another meeting with Doctor Dan. What is his real name?”

“You still do not know his name?” Whiskers snorted, “A meeting is a good idea. We can ask him about his missing daughters, the clean room, and the gang protecting the room.”

Downing the last of her drink and slamming the glass on the counter again, Puddles said, “Those are some valid points. Morning call?”

“Why not now?”

Shrugging, Puddles gestured at the bar tender again, giving the universal sign for tab, “I’ll pay. You get the car.”

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Puddles and Whiskers, WBD Back To The Present

Never fails to amuse me when I find after two or three edits something simple overlooked, such as hear instead of here. This section was more of that kind of edit and some cutting down and clearing up of details. I am still not geeked about this section, so you may see it again soon before I finish up the remaining chapters.

Previously.

Back to the Present…

“I wish these alarms would shut off,” Whiskers said louder than he would have liked. “They know we are here.”

Shrugging Puddles stepped around piles of garbage, constantly on the lookout for dangers or messes on the uneven floor. Alarms blaring, they moved cautiously through several tunnels and rooms, other than garbage, debris, and graffiti all empty. Standing in the middle of the third graffiti covered room; Whiskers looked at his skin watch two hours since they started this search. Puddles kicked over a table, scattering empty cans and vape inhalers. Her physical expression of frustration mirroring his internal frustration.

Walking over to Puddles he shouted, “They are not here. If they ever were. Looks like whomever was here left in a hurry.”

“I know. I want to know for sure,” gesturing at lopsided doorway, “let’s finish this up. Maybe we will get some answers.”

“If nothing else find the alarm controls.”

Puddles smirked before heading out the doorway. Whiskers nearly stumbled over Puddles peeking around a corner paw held up, something ahead. Stepping aside, Puddles gave Whiskers room to look around the corner. A white metal reinforced metal door, ajar bright light shining through the gap.

“No need to be quiet,” Puddles said.

Hefting her frying pan, she strode to the door and waited for Whiskers to catch up.

“Ready?”

“Yes,” he said drawing his katana stepping through the door into the bright room.

Following him in, frying pan and pistol ready, “Shit these lights are bright,” she exclaimed.

“The room is clear,” Whiskers announced.

They stood in white room, three white sealed suits hanging on pegs next to the door. Every surface in the room was white. Without warning the alarms shut off.

“Found the alarm controls,” Puddles announced from the other side of the room, “Everything else on this terminal has been wiped. Same with whatever they were working on at the tables.”

“Record what you find,” Whiskers ordered as he pulled out his phone, “hopefully someone can tell us what all of this was for.”

A half-hour recording holo-vid of the room and an adjacent room; the only visible clue small piles of white ash on tabletops and in cabinets. Whiskers found an exit. Following the exit tunnel to a hidden landing pad took another half-hour.

“This was unexpected,” Whiskers said.

“Feels like a set-up to me,” Puddles replied.

“Who and why?”

“Good questions. Let’s get out of here before someone comes back.”

“I need a shower,” Whiskers said looking at his gore-covered body.

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB Two Days Ago…

Previously.

Thank you readers looking for Puddles and Whiskers for wading through all of the Motor City Comic Con posts. This is an expanded first half of Two Days Ago. There is a second half, but that will be next week…because the weirdness I wrote about expecting has a little while longer to go. At least Wil Wheaton and a high-five happened. 🙂

Two days ago…

“You’re positive you can get the information?” Puddles said.

“Trust me,” came the reply from Chuck’s image in the upper corner of the windshield.

Whiskers right ear leaned to the side emphasizing the doubt on his face. Puddles shrugged.

“We’re counting on you Chuck,” Puddles stated as she ended the call with the push of a button on the steering wheel.

Line disconnected, Puddles shook her head at Chuck and the traffic. She glanced over at Whiskers who continued working on his tablet oblivious to the traffic around the Bullet Magnet. The Stroud City Police Center for one half of Stroud, a three hundred story white tower, illuminated day and night, large holographic letters and images over the surfaces of the building announcing alerts, awards, and other news. Called by the Bullet Magnet because of the round entrances for traffic dotting the sides of the building, like someone sprayed gunfire at the building. Traffic around the Bullet Magnet, thick with flying vehicles entering and exiting the multiple flight lanes, made navigation a pain. Lining up her approach for the 40th-floor landing pad, Puddles turned on the autopilot and turned to Whiskers.

“What has you working hard?”

Looking up from his tablet, “Research.”

“Oh,” shaking her head. “What are you hoping to get from Detective Orte?”

“Current information on the gangs.”

“That could be useful. Anything about the doc’s daughters?”

“No. Chuck will get their CIS data.”

“If he remembers,” Puddles said sarcastically.

Two Stroud City black and yellow police vehicles fly past their car, lights flashing and sirens blaring. At the same time the landing chime sounded, Puddles turned to take control if necessary. Through the rounded entry to the 40th-floor landing pad, she watched non-stop motion police and civilian vehicles flying in, out, taking off, and landing. Police Officers in their black and yellow uniforms and citizens in all sorts of uniforms moving all over the place. Puddles briefly wondered where their car would land without hitting another vehicle or crushing someone underneath. As quickly as the thought flashed through her head, the car landed without incident.

Whiskers put away his tablet and checked his skin watch, “Five minutes to our appointment.”

“Lead the way,” she responded as a blast of air nearly knocked her back into her seat.

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB Three Days Ago

Previously.

Three days ago…

As soon as he shuffled through front door looking pathetic and desperate in his disheveled tan wage slave outfit, messy short white hair, and unshaven face Puddles mentally nicknamed him Doctor Dan. No idea why, but nicknames for new people was a habit of hers.

“I need your help to find my daughters,” Doctor Dan mumbled.

“Please, have a seat and tell us more,” Whiskers said gesturing towards his side of their shared desk.

Puddles could not make up her mind what bothered her more his voice, his appearance, or his scent. After listening to him mumble and whine for five minutes, she felt her spine ache with each word. After hearing his story, she understood why Doctor Dan looked disheveled; still have some self-respect, especially when seeking out help. Doctor Dan reeked of desperation, a very sharp tang in the air. Yep, that was what bothered her more.

With a quick shake of her head to snap herself out of her current headspace, Puddles joined the meeting. Doctor Dan was a potential client and her feelings about the client, as Whiskers was fond of saying, was not important…or something like that. Whiskers elbowed Puddles in the ribs. She did her best to look attentive.

“…and where did you say your daughters are?” Whiskers asked.

“With their boyfriends,” Doctor Dan mumbled at Whiskers clean desktop, “somewhere in Tumbledown.”

“What?” Puddles asked a bit too loud; she was losing her patience with him.

“What my associate meant to say, was could you repeat that,” Whiskers coached Doctor Dan.

Puddles let out an exasperated hiss, “Yeah that.”

Doctor Dan looked at both of them, desperation obvious, “Their boyfriends live in Tumbledown. Near the corner of 5th and East Kira. My girls,” his voice caught as he tried to contain his emotions, “left a week ago. I haven’t heard from them. The police…”

“Won’t do a thing,” Puddles interrupted eager to get him out of the office. “Familiar story. Okay, we’ll take your case.”

Doctor Dan blurted out, “You will?”

“Yeah. So let’s talk fees,” Puddles irritation pushing her past his surprise.

Whiskers put a paw on her arm, a sign to slow down or stop.

“Perhaps we should look into his case first,” Whiskers said in his calm, “I know something you don’t” tone that irritated the hell out her. Puddles cocked her right ear at him while flattening the left.

“Fine, we’ll talk bill later,” Puddles hissed at Whiskers.

“But…” Doctor Dan started.

“Yeah, we got this Doc,” Puddles interrupted.

“Some preliminary work and we will have a better idea what we can do for you,” Whiskers said in his business tone, “Is there any additional information you can provide? The more we know the better job we can do for you.”

Puddles loved listening to Whiskers in business mode. Doctor Dan shook his head no. Whiskers stood up gesturing towards the door.

“Allow me to walk you to your car,” Whiskers said.

A few minutes later, watching Doctor Dan’s tan flyer merge into traffic from their office window, Puddles looked at Whiskers, the end of her tail snapping back and forth, she was irritated. “Look into his case? What the hell?”

Leaning against their desk, one-half immaculate, the other half distressed, Whiskers calmly replied, “Did you even pay attention to the location he gave?”

“Yeah I heard, Doctor Dan said something about Tumbledown..”

“Doctor Dan? Another of your pirate nicknames?” Whiskers asked amused.

Puddles turned from the window waving off Whisker’s questions with a wave of her paw. Grabbing her favorite “Mother’s Favorite Kitty” coffee mug, Puddles began to make coffee, “Okay, so he said something about Tumbledown. Want some coffee?”

“A cup sounds great,” Whiskers followed Puddles to the coffee machine, “Name a part of Tumbledown not home to a gang, criminal organization, unregistered, ghouls, or about to collapse at a moment’s notice?”

“Oh that,” Puddles began trying to sound like she knew that all along, “we should look into his case first. I’ll call Chuck to pull data.”

Puddles and Whiskers, WDB The Present

Welcome to my continuing series and evolution on writing. Puddles and Whiskers began as a rough draft, which was turned into a draft, then I continued their story with more rough drafts. Now, I resume the editing process. WDB stands for Wash and Dry Brush, two phases in painting where details are added, mistakes are corrected, expansions are made, all to set up the end run the “final” edit. I also uses WDBs to ensure the story flows and if necessary make course corrections. Enjoy watching the evolution of Puddles and Whiskers.

For comparison, see here.

The Present…

BONG!

At the sound of a well-loved and used frying pan bouncing off a skull, everyone in the ramshackle room stopped fighting, for a brief second. Pouncing back from her fallen foe, golden furred Puddles tufted ears flat against her skull, tail stiff, and teeth bared brandished her frying pan above her head, drawing her Maxwell Arms Manstopper pistol from a shoulder holster at the same time and shooting a charging black and red clad mook.

“Give up will ya!” Puddles shouted at the room full of mooks.

Spotted gray and white furred Whiskers knee-slid underneath the sloppy punch of a mook, gutting the mook with his katana. Popping up from the slide, Whiskers flicked his katana clean of blood, and sought another challenger. Whiskers did not have to wait long; knocking smaller mooks aside with swings of a large pipe, a towering over-muscled mook lumbered straight towards Whiskers. Adjusting his grip to a low-position, Whiskers waited for the moment to strike the perfect blow.

BLAM!

BLAM! BLAM!

Three large bloody holes appeared on the over-muscled mook’s chest. For a brief second, the mook looked surprised before falling over. Curved knives drawn, three more mooks lept over his body to take his place.

“You’re welcome!” Puddles shouted at Whiskers.

Whiskers quickly shot Puddles an irritated glare before returning his attention to the mooks. The perfect moment gone, Whiskers charged the mooks. Sidestepping to the right at the last second, Whiskers swung his katana upwards, a blue holo-etching the length of the blade flared casting a blue light trail upwards, gutting the mook on the right as they passed each other. A half step forward, a downward stroke, followed by a quick slice to the right and the other two mooks fell clutching their wounds as the blue trail faded.

Silence

…other than their labored breathing, the room was silent. Puddles strolled over trash and dead mooks to Whiskers. Wiping his blade clean on a dead mook, Whiskers faced Puddles, his short pointed ears back while his tail slashed thru the air giving extra body English to his irritation with his longtime partner.

Pointing at the over-muscled mook’s body, “What was that about?”

Puddles shrugged. Her spotted tail waving lazily in an S-pattern that Whisker’s knew so well; her “Oops, did I do that,” when she knew what she had done shrug.

“I couldn’t let you have all the fun,” Puddles said over her shoulder, holstering her pistol while stepping over dead mooks on her way to the doorway, tail swishing away as if she did not have a care in the world.

Tail lashing, Whiskers stood for a moment, gripping his katana tightly holo-etching flaring bright, before sheathing in one smooth motion. He gave the over-muscled mook one last look before following Puddles out of the room into a refuse and graffiti covered hallway. The hallway floor cocked downward, ceiling tiles hung ready to fall at any moment. Halfway down the hallway, alarms began to sound and the few working hallway lights went from white to emergency red.

Ears upright, alert, Puddles looked at the ceiling, “Seems like an odd security system for a gang.”

“Took them long enough,” Whiskers mused.

“I thought we made more than enough noise,” Puddles replied.

“We?”

“Yes you,” Puddles made her infamous “Who me” gesture; ears forward, eyes wide, and arms held out.

“If you weren’t such a push over we wouldn’t be here,” Puddles said while peeking around a corner.

Menagerie, On Automatic

Previously.

Watching her ship break slowly break apart, the brief flare of fire and electricity, the smaller pieces flaking off and floating away, before the larger pieces cracked and finally snapped separating from the remains was frustratingly beautiful. As she drifted farther away, beauty became simply frustrating.

An hour earlier, another day on patrol over Ison VII. Her job, ensure traffic flowed smoothly, any distress calls were answered quickly, and keep an eye out for raiders. Not that traffic did not flow smoothly due to the automatic navigation controls. Not that anyone ever found themselves in distress on the way in or out of Ison VII. Not that raiders had attacked in over three years. Nothing ever happened and Amiri was fine with that.

Everyday, wedge herself into the cockpit built for a bov, not a rhino, push a key for the same old patrol route she was always assigned and sit back for her shift. Boring. Boring was predictable. If the cockpit had room for anything other than her she would have brought something to occupy herself. She knew most of her fellow pilots took hobbies on patrol with them. Just thinking of WhiteTip reading her books on her back in her spacious cockpit made Amiri jealous.

Reaching into a cargo pocket she pulled out her latest attempt to counter the long boredom, a portable hologame console. Gingerly setting the unit on the top of the dash, Amiri gently pushed the power button with a large toe. Immediately the cockpit lit up as the company logo accompanied by the three note jingle filled the cabin. Amiri smiled as the console successfully connected with the datastream her home screen appearing in front of her.

Amiri laughed when her favorite game character, a little monkey appeared on the tip of her horn. She pulled the menu of games down and spent a few minutes deciding which to play. Off to her right, a large pachyderm tender floated by on automatic navigation; she paid the tender no mind, the automatic routes ensured near misses, but no collisions. Inspired by the “near miss,” Amiri touched the icon for her favorite platform game, Simon Simian.

Totally engaged, Amiri guided Simon the Simian with some success through various levels for the forty-five minutes. Nothing broke her concentration, not the blinking commlight. Not the insistent tone of an urgent call. Not the more insistent tone of non-standard traffic.

The bright flower of an explosion outside her window, caught her attention a second after Simon disappeared without warning when her console lost connection.

“What the hell,” Amiri shouted.

A knife edged ship flew through the explosion, blasters firing, impacts seconds later. Her patrol ship shook and rattled. Warning lights flashed. Her beloved console crashed to the floor. Confused and panicked comms from all over the system filled her cockpit along with the warning tones and emergency tones.

Stabbing manual, Amiri engaged the engines in time to accidentally maneuver out of another attack pass by the knife edged ship, unfortunately not fast or well enough to avoid the follow-up attack. Her ship, automatically ejected the cockpit lifepod, shooting her away from the impending destruction and combat.

On automatic, the cockpit lifepod rolled over obscuring her view of the remains of her ship and accelerated for Ison VII below.

 

Puddle and Whiskers, Dinner For Five

Previously.

Dinner For Five

“Nothing better than a bowl of noodles after a job,” Puddles said while running her tongue over her teeth.

“Eth, John join us,” Chuck greeted the new arrivals.

Smoothing his memware suit Eth strutted across NiHo’s to their table. John took off his wrap around smart glasses, put them into an interior pocket of his black jacket, and scanned the restaurant as he stalked towards the table. Eth sat down and immediately pulled the menu up. John sat down with a thud and a sigh.

“What’s wrong with him?” Puddles asked Eth.

“Long night,” John replied with a grunt.

“Him, he was hoping to take Red Twist down tonight,” Eth replied at the same time.

Facing the table, John pulled up the menu and placed his order before slumping back in his chair. Whiskers leaned with both elbows on the table, intent on the tablet in front of him. Eth flipped through a few holo-screens before settling on dinner.

“What’s so interesting?” John asked pointing at the tablet.

“Tracking information,” Whiskers replied without looking up.

“I wanted to ask how you fooled their signal tracker,” Eth said.

Chuck set his drink down, leaning towards Eth, “That was easy.”

“Easy?”

“Yes, easy. I told them what they wanted to hear.”

“And what was that,” John interjected, picking up his drink.

“I told them that each chip was collecting data, part of collecting data is sending out bits of data,” Chuck explained with a smile, “thus when they used their signal tracker it told them what they expected that some signal was broadcasting.”

Smiling with understanding, Eth slammed his drink down. A serv-O droid rushed over to refill his drink and top off the rest. John’s brow furrowed, he steepled his fingers in front of his mouth.

“You hope Red Twist believes that,” he said flat toned, “because if he doesn’t he will find you three.”

Whiskers looked up from the tablet, “That is assuming you do not fulfill your contract and arrest him,” Whiskers held up his right paw stalling John’s retort, “Of course if you cannot before the follow up meeting we can coordinate together to arrest him then.”

“I’ll get the job done,” John replied testitly.

“Okay Eth, we took care of our part, now you do yours,” Puddles shot at Eth.

John shot Eth a glare. Eth held up his hands in mock protest.

“Two gangers is all we need and the sooner the better,” Puddles pushed on.

“I’ll find you two,” Eth answered. “Won’t be hard at all.”

Whiskers pushed the tablet over to John who picked up the tablet studying the information intensely. Two serv-O droids rolled out to the table and served hot bowls of noodles.

“This is accurate?” John asked pointing at the tablet.

“Within a few feet,” Whiskers replied.

John sat back, eating and studying the tablet.

“When do you want the gangers?” Eth asked.

“A day or two,” Puddles replied.