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You Cant Fight The Lies
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Smell a Rat update #68
Floyd never actually been to a funeral before, or at least not one like this.
Back in the sleepy little community he’d grown up in, there had only been one christian family, and as far as he could remember, none of them ever seemed to die.
It wasn’t that such faiths were shunned, more that the reliance on human society had brought about a sudden desire for religion amongst the very first rodent colonies, and with that came the inescapable notion that the benevolent god they should all worship was actually a human.
Naturally, this hadn’t sat well with fledgeling rodent society, and having never had a use for gods before, christianity in its default form never really caught on despite the efforts of the various sects to attract followers with more palatable rat gods.
As such, the British Isles had never found a dominant religion, and in the modern day, the act of disposing of the dead was a far more complicated affair than it otherwise might be; with burial instructions
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #67
“Good morning, mister Colby. How’re the wounds?”
Mister Bradley’s tone was as measured and inscrutable as always, but Floyd was rather of the impression that if he had something really bad to say to him, then he would be far more direct about it, and so he relaxed a little as he sat down opposite him and nodded to indicate that he was ready for the debriefing to begin.
“Fur’s covering them up pretty well and they don’t hurt much at all now; I’ll be ready for full duties again by next week.”
Bradley nodded to him, then held out a paw, and Floyd obediently placed a briefcase on the table, followed by his sword.
“Thankyou” Bradley said, then opened the briefcase to look at the large stack of papers within, which he had organised as neatly as he could without the aid of a binder.
“That should be satisfactory, Colby” he said, quietly, before picking his sword up slowly and inspecting it, “If only this was in
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #66
Today the bandages came off.
Milo looked at himself in the mirror as he took hold of the bandages on his right arm and began pulling at them systematically to remove them.
It had been about two months since he’d got back from New York, but thankfully, MI6 had a very generous sick leave policy, and so he’d spent those months in just about as much comfort as he possibly could, having been sent to the hospital just about the moment he got back to the UK.
Floyd had needed a spell in hospital too, but he got away with slightly less severe injuries.
Since getting back, he’d been more or less unable to write his usual paperwork, and so once Floyd was well enough to take public transport, he’d come over to help him fill out the veritable mountain of papers associated with their exploits, though recovering from serious injuries had somewhat put a damper on any other such activities they might have otherwise got up to.
That said though, having so much time away from his d
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #65
A familiar figure clambered into view from the end of the shipping container, and as soon as the figure stood up, Floyd could no longer feel secure in the knowledge that there were truly no supernatural forces at work within the world.
Because beyond sorcery, he could think of no way that Maynard could possibly still be alive.
He watched in complete awe, as the huge rat marched towards them, gripping the mace he’d come to associate with despair and death like the scythe of the grim reaper, and merely babbled incoherently as he held the mace aloft, just inches away from the plane’s nose engine.
Finally, he managed to speak, though his tone of voice was more of a terrified shriek than the strong and authoritative effect he hoped for.
“Get us out of here now! Please! Get us out!”
But Harry was just as stunned as he and Milo were, and before she managed to kick one of the rudder pedals, Maynard had raised the mace into position, and heaved it like a spear into the f
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #64
It was about a minute after Milo finally passed out that Floyd noticed a strange buzzing from behind him.
Almost drowned out by the airport’s incessant din, he turned round to see an entirely different kind of plane coming down to land: one far more suited to his size and which he remembered from the last time he’d been in New York.
A rather ugly-looking plane with three motors came down just over to the side of him, and stopped abruptly, spinning around on its left wheel so that it faced the way it had come by the time it finally stopped.
The motors stopped and the door burst open to reveal Harry - still dressed in her bar staff uniform - who leapt from the cockpit and opened the cargo loading door with a heave, before running over to him.
“Get in, now!” She ordered, and Floyd didn’t even think to argue, as she picked Milo up and hoisted him over her back, then turned and headed back to the plane.
Within a minute, they had loaded Milo onto the back and la
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #63
“You’re bleeding” Floyd breathed.
Milo nodded and moved himself towards the end of the bag, before another suitcase came down behind him and reduced the amount of space that he and Floyd had to themselves to less than either of them was comfortable with.
He laughed weakly at Floyd’s concern and opened the zip just a tiny bit, so that some amount of fresh air could come in.
“You too, sweetie.”
The tiny sliver of light exposed Floyd’s concern, as well as the amount of pain he was in.
Floyd was grimacing, sucking air in through his teeth to cope with the presumably agonising pain, but ultimately he was just a sorry sight to behold.
His suit was absolutely covered in blood from the fight, and a worrying amount of it was his, while his sword hung visibly from his waist and his fur had clumped into ugly little knots from all the sweat, blood and effort.
Even his whiskers were limp, and the look of determination on his face was startling.
Though, his
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #62
Getting back to the Grand Interchange proved tougher than either of them had initially expected.
It didn’t take very long at all for the water pouring out of the wall to cause enough commotion for the humans to shut the entire line down, meaning that the train they’d hopped onto had needed to stop only one station down the line, instead of the two or three that they had hoped for.
From there, it had taken a significant amount of walking to get to a rodent station and then a long time riding the rodent train network all the way to the Grand Interchange.
And finally, once there, they’d had to wait about an hour.
Nonetheless, once the train that went to JFK airport finally did roll in, both of them practically fainted with relief at being able to finally get out of New York.
That late in the day, the only people aboard the train were mostly tourists heading back to their home countries or businessfolk on their way to catch a flight to somewhere far-flung and exotic, and
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #61
Milo blinked his eyes in disbelief, but quickly came back to reality as another explosion ripped the other end of the hangar apart, and the tank emerged, trailing burning bits of drone behind it and causing the other rats and mice around it to scatter every which way.
He was even fairly certain he saw a few Cerberus agents in the rout.
“Oh, the paperwork for this is going to be a nightmare” he said, with an exasperated sigh
Slowly, it began to turn round, rotating its gun as it did so and forcing him to take flight once again, even going so far as picking Floyd up entirely, so as to ensure that his shorter legs didn’t slow them down.
Behind him, he heard the sound of the tank advancing, but just as he expected it would let loose another shell and surely obliterate he and Floyd, he heard it rotating, and he looked back to catch a brief glimpse of one brave fighter running up to it and placing his paw on the side of the tank, before going rigid and dropping to the groun
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #60
The rat swung his axe at him, but Floyd was quicker than he’d expected, and by the time the axe head had reached where he was, Floyd had dived to the ground between his legs, and with a rough grab at the rat’s tail, he pulled himself up from the ground in a flash, before leaping up onto his back and driving his sword through the back of his head.
Still holding onto the back of his neck as he fell, Floyd allowed the man’s body to hit the ground before he jumped up and headed straight for the now fleeing Crowe, drawing another two guards to him.
And away from Milo.
He ran as hard as he could toward the running Crowe, but by the time he’d closed anything like the kind of gap he needed to land a successful strike, one of the guards barred his way, forcing him to sprint to the left, and leap headlong into the crowd.
“Run, Milo!” He shouted as he sailed through the air towards the rapidly emptying front row.
He caught sight of all four of the guards he
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #59
He couldn’t believe his eyes.
Frankly, he was impressed that in the time they had spent on the case, the value of their lives had increased exponentially, but while he felt vindicated seeing a monetary value attached to their exploits, the far more prominent response was fear, of the kind that grips the body in icy clutches and threatens to stop the heart.
For a second or so, Floyd was completely paralysed by the prospect of Milo being hunted down by Cerberus’ agents and the lengths they might go to to kill him.
He was tough, but even Milo wasn’t invincible, and with the wounds he’d sustained so far, he dreaded to think of how a potential attacker might use them against him.
Little flashes of Milo’s lifeless body lying in a heap in his own home clouded his mind and no matter how hard he tried to get them out of his head, the mental image of his face set in a mask of desperation as an indication of his last conscious thoughts, haunted him.
And without so mu
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #58
Once inside, two much larger and more imposing guards escorted them down the last stretch of tunnel to the main complex, and Floyd made sure to pay special attention to the activity going on around him as they were led to their destination.
There was an entirely different atmosphere here now: the amount of guards standing around with their weapons visible was far greater than it had been the last time, and now individuals in red uniforms could be seen walking around among the other workers, and he caught sight of one of them coming out of the hangar where he’d sabotaged a drone, which he recognised instantly as officer Higgins.
A feeling of betrayal stung at him as he watched him going about his duties here like he had when he was at MI6 headquarters.
Higgins had always seemed like a good man, for the little time they spent together in the canteen, in fact, he’d been one of the first people to actually work out that he and Milo were a couple, and had been rather supportive
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #57
The advice Harry had given regarding the navigation of the sewers was thankfully accurate, and so Milo found that the walk through the sewers was at least as short as he could have hoped for.
Though it was unfortunately just as foul an experience as he expected it to be.
Floyd led the way and he followed dutifully, but even through the painkillers he’d taken before they left, he could feel his wounds nagging at him, and he feared what heinous infections might lurk in the rancid water and filthy walls.
And without his armour he felt more vulnerable than ever.
He was completely unprotected against the swords and knives and polearms that awaited him in the Cerberus complex, and without a weapon of his own, his odds in a fight ran down next to zero, making him a nice, big, easy target.
He would also make an exceptionally good bargaining chip if somebody were to hold him down and use him against Floyd.
In fact, as they went through the sewers towards the noise and light that heralded
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #56
Harry hadn’t been best pleased to be summoned to the FBI building at such short notice, but she had at least been patient with them when he explained what he wanted of her.
Unfortunately, as the second plane they had ridden in that day took off, leaving he and Milo to fend for themselves, he rather wished that Harry could have accompanied them at least as far as here.
The building that they’d been placed on top of was quite tall - though not taller than any of the monstrous skyscrapers that blotted out the sun downtown and certainly nowhere near as grand - and built with the art deco stylings he associated with the city, but from the very top of the building, he couldn’t much appreciate the architecture.
It had got dark hours ago, and now the weather had hardened again, reminding him of the incredible cold that he’d almost succumbed to a few nights ago.
Periodically, the snow on the ground was bathed blood red by the light from the aircraft warning beacon, and i
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #55
“Don’t let him get to you, cupcake” he soothed, but Floyd was having less than none of it.
Floyd fidgeted in his seat as the doctor looked him over, poking and prodding at his wounds as she examined him, even going as far as to pull his tail much harder than was necessary, while checking to see if he’d sustained any damage to it in the fight.
His armour lay on the ground, along with his now ruined jacket and the contents of his pockets, and as much as he expected Floyd enjoyed seeing his bare chest, he also expected that he didn’t much care to see him in pain.
The doctor gave the wound on his hip a cursory poke, then mumbled to herself a little as he sucked in air sharply.
“He got to me the moment I saw him; all he had to do was tell us and we’d have been able to handle that.”
The doctor walked off towards a cabinet and got a bandage out, which she prepared carefully and soaked in antiseptic, before wrapping it over his wounded paw.
He sn
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #54
Floyd felt himself shaking as he pulled the sword out from the pile and clumsily wiped the blood that dripped from it on the clothes of the agents, before he returned it to its scabbard.
“Are you okay, Milo? Are you hurt?” He asked, his voice wavering as he spoke, but to his surprise, it wasn’t Milo who answered.
“Damn you turned those guys into a kebab. It’s a good thing I don’t sell swords and stuff to people like you or else you’d just get rid of the rest of the clientele. You’re bad for business!”
He turned round to see Wilson hauling himself up from the floor and gave him the hardest glare he could possibly muster, but then turned his attention towards Milo, who was now walking towards him, grimacing and seething against pain he could only imagine.
He nursed his own arm a little, out of sympathy more than anything else, but then he saw his wounds for the first time and felt like he could cry.
“Oh, what did she do to you?&
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #53
It would take her less than a second to draw her sword from where she was, and then probably only a fraction of a second more to swing it into the back of Milo’s leg.
He twitched his whiskers again with the hopes of warning Milo, but caught sight of a slight movement from agent Porter: a subtle swing of his tail and a tiny nod.
They were waiting to see what Wilson was going to do.
“Could you please leave us alone with mister Rigby please, Porter.” Milo asked, and Floyd caught just a hint of apprehension in his voice as he said that, which was quickly followed up by three slow, deliberate taps on his chair.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that” he replied, “you’re guests here, official policy says I’m not to let you out of my sight.”
Floyd planted his paws on the table now, and took one last, long look at Wilson as he considered his actions, before he stood up, laid on the table, shuffled himself into a strange position and slowly
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so yeah, this is the newest stuff, there's plenty of old stuff to look through too

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This is very well written; the flow and the imagery is especially nice, with the little rhetorical questions and whatnot, that said, I ...

Journal History

Here's a thought, DA.

I'm writing a spy thriller about rodents who go round stabbing each other and hiding from humans and whatnot. Perhaps it might be more prudent to recommend, say, James Bond fanfiction or gay romance or maybe a drama about a family of rats trying to live in a postapocalypse or something like that.

I'm really not here to bash "Blank X Reader" stories - seems they're popular on here and all, but I'd very much like it if DA could put some more suitable material in the "more from DA" section, because I'm pretty sure somebody interested in Smell a Rat wouldn't be interested in "Fem!LokiXSad!Reader" stories and vice-versa.

Or maybe it's just that there's so much of all that kind of stuff that it's the overwhelming result in any literature search? I don't know. I'm definitely not about to bash on fanfiction because I've written a load of it myself, but damn, there has to be more to the writing side of this site than "XReader" stories.

Anyhoo, rant over. Go about your business.

Activity


Floyd never actually been to a funeral before, or at least not one like this.
Back in the sleepy little community he’d grown up in, there had only been one christian family, and as far as he could remember, none of them ever seemed to die.
It wasn’t that such faiths were shunned, more that the reliance on human society had brought about a sudden desire for religion amongst the very first rodent colonies, and with that came the inescapable notion that the benevolent god they should all worship was actually a human.
Naturally, this hadn’t sat well with fledgeling rodent society, and having never had a use for gods before, christianity in its default form never really caught on despite the efforts of the various sects to attract followers with more palatable rat gods.
As such, the British Isles had never found a dominant religion, and in the modern day, the act of disposing of the dead was a far more complicated affair than it otherwise might be; with burial instructions ranging from simply tossing the body into the thames to elaborate, week-long ceremonies, favoured by the wealthy and followers of the numerous tiny cult groups that tended to pop up overnight and then and fade into obscurity just as quickly.
Thankfully though, Milo’s father had followed the same variety of christianity as Petersen, and so as uncomfortable as it was for Milo to be there with him right now, at least he could guide him through the process.
Though he was certain that it was substantially less uncomfortable for him, having finally told his father exactly what he thought of him not more than an hour prior.
“Frederick was a gentle soul, and his wisdom inspired many that knew him...” the priest droned on, but he caught a sly little glance from Milo to tell him that he was probably wrapping things up now, and that if he was patient for just a little longer, a fancy dinner would surely await him.
Which was just as well, because hearing the priest speak lies about Petersen was starting to bother him.
MI6 had incredibly stringent rules on what its officers were allowed to disclose, which boiled down to an almost literal ‘take it to your grave’ approach, meaning that not even the people putting him in the dirt could ever know what he’d gotten up to.
As far as the priest and almost everybody else in the room was concerned, Petersen was a member of Webster and Walker Chartered Accountants, and that made him just the right kind of boring that nobody would ever ask him more about what he did for a living when he told them the stock lie.
For just a moment, he felt positively outraged that MI6 itself hadn’t at least held a service for him where people could talk about what he actually did for a living.
Then he saw his weeping family in the front row, and he realised how selfish the notion was.
“His warm sense of humour was matched only by the warm welcome he gave, and his well documented love of travel took him to the furthest reaches of the globe.”
Were he not trying to blend in, Floyd would have laughed hard at that: the bleak irony was almost too much to bear.
It was true he went around the world, but he spent most of that time snapping necks.
He carefully looked around to see if the three other officers that had come to the funeral had reacted at all to that, but as he expected, they just remained stoic, leaving him to try to focus on the speech as much as he could.
Eventually, after a little while, the priest finally finished his piece, and individuals were encouraged to go up to the closed casket to say their goodbyes.
Milo tapped his foot and subtly nodded towards the casket.
Quietly, Floyd got up from his seat and traversed the hall, and waited patiently behind a couple of mice that had known him in life, but whom he’d never seen before.
As he waited for them to finish up, he suddenly felt himself gripped by an internal conflict: the people crying by the cheap wooden box clearly knew him as a person better than he did, and he envied the love they had for him, but knowing a side to him that they didn’t made him feel a little better about the whole deal.
Petersen made a point of separating his colleagues from the civilians he spent his time with when he wasn’t on assignment, and he lamented the fact, because from the amount of weeping friends he saw, he wished he’d have been able to know him better.
As it stood, it was like appearing for the funeral of his teacher.
The queue moved fairly quickly, but as it did so, he found himself at a loss for what to say, or even if he should say anything at all.
Eventually, it came to his turn, and he felt as if the entire room had gone completely silent as he stood there, looking at the box, almost willing it to speak to him so that he might be able to say something coherent infront of all the onlookers.
Then he took a deep breath and softly whispered.
“We got the bastards.”
And with that, he resumed his place next to Milo, feeling worse than he did when he came in, having now lied to a dead person.
“Good morning, mister Colby. How’re the wounds?”
Mister Bradley’s tone was as measured and inscrutable as always, but Floyd was rather of the impression that if he had something really bad to say to him, then he would be far more direct about it, and so he relaxed a little as he sat down opposite him and nodded to indicate that he was ready for the debriefing to begin.
“Fur’s covering them up pretty well and they don’t hurt much at all now; I’ll be ready for full duties again by next week.”
Bradley nodded to him, then held out a paw, and Floyd obediently placed a briefcase on the table, followed by his sword.
“Thankyou” Bradley said, then opened the briefcase to look at the large stack of papers within, which he had organised as neatly as he could without the aid of a binder.
“That should be satisfactory, Colby” he said, quietly, before picking his sword up slowly and inspecting it, “If only this was in as good condition as your paperwork, Floyd.”
“I’m sorry, sir. I must not have been paying too much attention while fighting guys three times my size, I’ll try to do better next time.”
Bradley gave him a cold stare that told him all he needed to know about his thoughts on the matter, then handed his sword back to him, which he carefully replaced in its scabbard.
“Hand that in to the armoury before you leave” he instructed.
Bradley took another look at the paperwork he’d handed in and lifted a bulk of it up to inspect a piece of paper around the middle, then chose another piece of paper towards the bottom of the stack and closed the case, “looks to be in order and well written, too. I’ll admit it’s been a pleasant change to see you handling Pitman’s documentation for the assignment; he lacks your eloquence when it comes to these matters.”
He wasn’t all that sure how to take the comment, but he decided to interpret it as a compliment of his diction, rather than a slight against Milo’s capabilities.
“Thankyou, sir.”
With that out of the way, Bradley sat back in his chair and produced a stamp from below his desk, then took out a piece of paper from the other side and pushed it towards him to sign.
Floyd felt pride welling up inside him as he quickly but carefully signed his name at the bottom of the document.
It wasn’t every day he got to sign an official assignment closing form and definitely not one for Delta.
He wondered if he could frame it on the wall in his office.
Once he’d finished, Bradley stamped it and gave it to him to add to his collection, “hardly textbook, Colby. I’m sure you’re aware of the mark you left on New York and the cleanup that the CIA’s had to do in your wake, but I’ll spare you the details and just give you the same speech I gave to Pitman.”
Floyd winced slightly at hearing that - he’d been dreading the debrief since he got back to the UK.
“Delta means change, and that means that sometimes the rules have to change too. Believe it or believe it not, you’re not the first of our officers to completely trash a far-off city, and you certainly won’t be the last, so understand that I’ve had to deliver this speech many times before. When you moved up to fill Petersen’s shoes, it wasn’t just sheer dumb luck that got you there; I saw potential in you and mister Pitman, and that potential was the ability to think quickly and the tenacity to carry on in spite of the odds - beyond that, you showed the kind of initiative and willingness to act that I’d expect from the best.”
For a moment, Floyd thought his ears had failed him.
“I’ll be blunt: your performance in New York reminded me of Golding’s style of work and it reminded me all too much of the collateral damage numbers she used to rack up. But with the kind of network you found and helped dismantle, I’m frankly amazed there isn’t more. Make no mistake, Colby; as far as an operation against an organisation this large goes, your work was nothing short of surgical, and about half of Interpol’s most wanted list got wiped out all at once, too, so you and Pitman can count yourselves among the higher echelons of the global intelligence community.”
He shrugged, “In fairness, there was a melee, and they mostly all got caught in that. You can thank Cerberus snipers for most of those.”
Bradley didn’t seem to be having any of his humility, “You got out alive. That makes you the victor by default, from what I hear.”
Then he fixed him with a hard stare, “just next time you go out into the field, try to be a bit more careful.”
Floyd nodded solemnly, and Bradley just motioned towards the door, which opened slowly, to reveal Milo standing there in one of his finest suits, smiling at him.
“We’re done here, Colby. Now get on out of here, I’m told you two have a funeral to attend to.”
Today the bandages came off.
Milo looked at himself in the mirror as he took hold of the bandages on his right arm and began pulling at them systematically to remove them.
It had been about two months since he’d got back from New York, but thankfully, MI6 had a very generous sick leave policy, and so he’d spent those months in just about as much comfort as he possibly could, having been sent to the hospital just about the moment he got back to the UK.
Floyd had needed a spell in hospital too, but he got away with slightly less severe injuries.
Since getting back, he’d been more or less unable to write his usual paperwork, and so once Floyd was well enough to take public transport, he’d come over to help him fill out the veritable mountain of papers associated with their exploits, though recovering from serious injuries had somewhat put a damper on any other such activities they might have otherwise got up to.
That said though, having so much time away from his desk had allowed him time to catch up with numerous radio serials he’d missed, and even to explore new ones.
At the moment he was eagerly awaiting the next episode of a Japanese serial, whose title roughly translated to ‘the boys of the stars’ and which featured a group of young rats who set off on a journey to space in spite of adversity.
Sure, some amount of nuance had been lost in the hasty translation, but the characters were quite charming.
At the moment, his radio was playing an episode of a particularly cheesy old science fiction serial that he remembered listening to a lot when he was a child, and he spoke the lines aloud as he began unravelling the bandages.
“Defeat Zoogar? You fool! You cannot defeat Zoogar, for the great and powerful emperor possesses the Rax Maballio, and no mouse has ever survived its terrible powers!”
He pulled them off as quickly as he dared, and then looked at his paw in the light, turning it round and flexing it as if it were brand new.
The doctor had warned him that some of his nerves might not reconnect properly and occasionally it would tingle as it continued its healing process, but the pain had mostly stopped and he was just happy that it worked at all.
“Then I shall have to be the first such mouse, my dear Perella.”
His paw now bore a quite pronounced scar on the palm, and he sighed at the prospect of having to hide or lie his way around it in future.
But then again, he was trained for that sort of thing.
With a little nod of satisfaction to himself, Milo gave himself one last quick look over in his shabby old dressing gown, then turned round and grabbed the considerable stack of paperwork on his bedside table, before carefully placing it into a folder that Floyd had provided for him a few days ago.
He much preferred to do the associated admin while he was at his desk at work, but given his situation, any amount of help from Floyd was appreciated - he dreaded to think just how much of it would have built up if he’d put it all off until he got back to work.
Though that said, he would be working today, in some capacity, at least.
He placed the folder into a satchel, which he fastened about as tightly as it could go, then he took it downstairs with him.
Down here, the light from the streets came in through his old windows and met the warm glow of the lighter in his fireplace, which he carefully put the satchel down by, then he reached underneath his sofa and felt around for the stick of bright red wax that he hid beneath it.
It felt so good to be able to use his right paw again that he didn’t mind fumbling around for a good little while before finally finding it.
Carefully, he held the little stick of wax out to the flame and waited for it to start melting, then rammed the molten wax onto the bag’s fastenings, so that it couldn’t be opened without breaking the seal.
Taking the bag away from the fire, he decided that the room was warm enough now and turned the flame down, then headed back upstairs to get changed for the day ahead.
Like any good spy, his wardrobe was well curated and neatly organised, with shirts and jackets kept separate from the socks, shoes and trousers, and little drawers for ties and cufflinks.
Of course, if anybody looked closely, they would find that the garments were actually fairly cheaply made, but his tailor was good at hiding all the little ways he cut corners in the designs and used better materials on all the things that a casual onlooker would see first.
He wondered for a moment if he could get away with paying just that bit more when he next visited, seeing as Bradley had been true to his word and actually doubled his salary.
Slowly and deliberately, he reached over to the darker end of his wardrobe and selected his darkest suit - or rather, his darkest surviving suit, seeing as he’d been wearing his darkest suit on the night they escaped from New York - then matched it with a rather sombre dark blue shirt.
It wasn’t the traditional all-black look that was expected, but he felt confident that he could attend a funeral in it, at least.
Today was Petersen’s funeral.
He lifted out a black satin tie and put it round his neck, then checked himself in the mirror again as he fastened it and thought about the circumstances of the funeral.
Only he and Floyd would know the real reason that his body had been kept at the coroner’s office for so long, and for the whole time they’d have to play along like they had no idea what happened to him.
He’d also have to endure an entire Christian funeral service, which was a prospect that made him resoundingly uncomfortable.
Though, hopefully it wouldn’t be so uncomfortable after he’d gone to rub it in his father’s face.
He was looking forward to that.
In fact, in spite of the melancholy nature of his day ahead, he would be more busy today than he had been in months, and that gave him a spring in his step that he’d begun to worry might not ever properly come back.
Yes, he decided as he selected his favourite shoes, today he was going to be busy.
Today was - on balance - going to be a good day.
A familiar figure clambered into view from the end of the shipping container, and as soon as the figure stood up, Floyd could no longer feel secure in the knowledge that there were truly no supernatural forces at work within the world.
Because beyond sorcery, he could think of no way that Maynard could possibly still be alive.
He watched in complete awe, as the huge rat marched towards them, gripping the mace he’d come to associate with despair and death like the scythe of the grim reaper, and merely babbled incoherently as he held the mace aloft, just inches away from the plane’s nose engine.
Finally, he managed to speak, though his tone of voice was more of a terrified shriek than the strong and authoritative effect he hoped for.
“Get us out of here now! Please! Get us out!”
But Harry was just as stunned as he and Milo were, and before she managed to kick one of the rudder pedals, Maynard had raised the mace into position, and heaved it like a spear into the front motor.
The propellor instantly shattered as its brittle plastic was defeated by the steel, and the motor proceeded to cut out almost immediately after, having had its insides thoroughly trashed by the incoming strike, leaving the plane stricken, and with a third of its power gone in an instant, there was nothing that Harry could do quickly enough to stop it from simply dropping the last couple of inches into the top of the container.
Without the gear down, there was nothing to save the plane from a belly-landing, and duly, they came down hard to the sound of crunching plastic.
The two remaining engines died instantly as the propellers hit the deck and scattered their debris asunder, while the battery in the back of the plane came loose and smacked into the back of the seat, jolting Milo out of the seat and onto the wing, where Floyd quickly followed.
Naturally, Harry followed them, letting out a string of profanity that put Floyd’s vocabulary to shame.
As Maynard ripped the mace out from the wrecked plane, the three of them all tumbled out and got up, preparing themselves to fight.
Drawing his sword as fast as he could, Floyd stepped in front of Milo and braced himself against the rushing wind, then looked back quickly to see Milo pulling out a single glove and pulling it onto his left paw with his teeth.
From two little sheaths hidden beneath her coat, Harry pulled out her knives and readied herself.
And yet, in spite of there being three of them, Maynard attacked first.
He went for Harry first, swinging the mace down and forcing her to move back, and when Floyd tried to attack while he recovered from the swing, Maynard responded with a hard and fast kick to his gut, before turning round and swinging the mace at him as he staggered back.
Weakened from the fighting earlier, Floyd barely managed to step out of range and managed only a feeble jab in return, which just glanced off his armour, before Milo crashed into him and landed a hard punch to his face.
But maynard just shrugged it off and punched Milo in his wound, instantly stopping him, before grabbing him by the throat, lifting him from the ground with a single arm and using him to defend against an incoming, hurried attack by Harry.
Floyd rushed over to help him, but before he could get close to him, Maynard turned to him and hurled Milo at him.
Without any time to effectively dodge, Floyd had no choice but to throw his sword down before Milo’s body landed on him and amply crushed the wind out of his body.
Before either of them could get up, Maynard had put his foot on Milo’s chest and raised his mace to strike, and it was only a frenzied and reckless attack from Harry that saved them.
Leaping at him from the side, Harry managed to stop him before the killing blow came, but as Milo got up from on top of him, he saw her actions punished with a brutal punch to her face.
She screamed in pain as he laid another blow to her body, then he watched as Milo tried to stop the mace coming down on her by grabbing hold of it, but Milo’s grip was weak, and his strength failed him as Maynard yanked the weapon from Milo’s grip and swung it at Harry, who only had the time to block it with her arm.
The noise she made was something he never wanted to hear again in his life.
He heard Milo howling in pain alongside her as he picked his sword up and ran into the melee, where he could see Milo staggering backwards to escape another vicious swing from the mace, and Harry swinging hard at him with just one arm.
Maynard kicked Harry in her bad leg to stop her in her tracks and continued his aggression towards Milo, but before he managed to harm him, Floyd got close enough to make another attack.
That time he managed to jab his sword into Maynard’s leg, but he didn’t seem to register the pain at all, neither did he seem to notice when Harry dug her smaller dagger right into his side.
Between the two of them, any reasonable adversary would have gone down, but Maynard kept going, and swung hard for Milo, who had stopped retreating momentarily to gasp at how he was still moving.
Milo reached up to defend himself and Floyd winced as he took the full force of Maynard’s swing to his good paw.
His arm went down as fast as it went up, and with only the ceramic plate in the glove to absorb the blow, he dreaded to think of the damage the impact could have caused.
But in spite of the attack, Milo now went straight for him, and in that split second, Maynard seemed to realise his wounds.
Quickly, Harry followed up with another fast attack to his leg as Milo punched him in the jaw, then pushed him back against the wreckage of the plane, which was now threatening to lift off due to the speed of the wind on top of the train.
Maynard gnashed and snarled at Milo as he tried to swat Harry away and swung his mace to keep him at bay, but knowing he was injured now, Floyd had the confidence to keep going.
Milo hit him hard again before he managed to kick Milo back and quickly grabbed Harry by the arm he’d surely broken seconds earlier, swinging her round with one arm and attacking Floyd with his mace with the other.
Deftly, Floyd managed to duck beneath the attack, and with one last quick look at Milo, he took the opportunity and lunged hard with his sword, driving it up through Maynard’s loins.
Instantly, Maynard stopped.
He staggered back and let go of Harry, who then quickly jabbed the knife into the side of his neck, and finally, Milo came over to lay the finishing blow, smashing a fist into the side of his face so hard his head swung round and he finally fell to the ground.
The plane finally lifted off the ground behind them and fell off the train, leaving them with just Maynard’s limp body.
Floyd stabbed him a couple of times just to be sure, then between them, they hauled his body over to the edge of the container and heaved it off.
Then Floyd just sat down and looked out over New York as they left.
He ached all over, his wounds stung, his own blood had stained his clothes and he felt as if he couldn’t face the concept of moving a single muscle, but Milo sat down next to him and put an arm over him, then Harry did the same from the other side.
“It’s over now.” Harry soothed, but he didn’t respond.
He didn’t want to interrupt the relative peace of the moment.
Though the train had by now cleared the city limits, he could see the lights of New York twinkling like stars behind them, while the snow continued to fall, whipping around them and coating the landscape in a thick layer of soft, white powder that sat on the barren trees.
Out here, light from the streetlights was scarce, and the only real light was the occasional dark red glow from an overhead light as the train continued its way on towards its destination.
In spite of his wounds, Floyd felt more peaceful right then than he had for the whole trip.
“I suppose it is” he replied.
It was about a minute after Milo finally passed out that Floyd noticed a strange buzzing from behind him.
Almost drowned out by the airport’s incessant din, he turned round to see an entirely different kind of plane coming down to land: one far more suited to his size and which he remembered from the last time he’d been in New York.
A rather ugly-looking plane with three motors came down just over to the side of him, and stopped abruptly, spinning around on its left wheel so that it faced the way it had come by the time it finally stopped.
The motors stopped and the door burst open to reveal Harry - still dressed in her bar staff uniform - who leapt from the cockpit and opened the cargo loading door with a heave, before running over to him.
“Get in, now!” She ordered, and Floyd didn’t even think to argue, as she picked Milo up and hoisted him over her back, then turned and headed back to the plane.
Within a minute, they had loaded Milo onto the back and laid him across the passenger seats, closed all the doors and got themselves airborne.
In the night, the snow pelted the screen and reduced the visibility from the window to nearly nothing, but Harry flew onwards, climbing at an aggressive rate in spite of the snow and the wind, until she finally levelled out and pulled the throttles back and turned to face him.
“You know, I think I might have to explain what stealth means to you two, seeing as you don’t seem to get it.”
He laughed nervously, then looked down to see new York moving gently below him, “You think?” He replied.
If she didn’t need to have her paws on the controls to fight the wind, he was sure that Harry would have crossed her arms at him in disapproval.
“Stealth involves going about things as subtly as you can: it involves getting in and getting out without anybody noticing, it can basically be measured in decibels, and if done right, the only person who knows anything went on is the person who did the deed.”
Floyd nodded his agreement, “Okay, I get that.”
“Good. Because I’ll have you know that I’ve been able to track your movements by listening to the news.”
“Well, sometimes spying’s more art than science” he replied, but Harry hadn’t quite finished scolding him, “a fine art, Floyd - not a loud and obnoxious one.”
She turned her head round for a second to look at Milo passed out on the back seats, before focusing on flying the plane again, “I’m going to tell you the headlines that popped up in the last hour verbatim, because you’ve probably not had time to listen to the radio: ‘flooded sanctuary shuts down subway’ yes, Floyd, the whole subway, ‘police scramble to arrest dozens of terrorists’, ‘fighting breaks out at airport for the second time in twenty-four hours.”
“We had to improvise” He rebuked.
Harry looked stern for another few seconds, but then just burst into laughter and smiled at him, “Clearly. Insofar as it’s possible for a spy to do so, you’ve absolutely trashed New York. I couldn’t dream of doing as much damage as you pair have done, I’m proud of you.”
He heard a slight grunting noise from behind him, and he turned round to see Milo slowly opening his eyes and groaning in pain.
Not that he wasn’t in agony himself, but he could only imagine how bad Milo must feel.
“You hear that? Harry’s proud of us!”
Milo looked confused and moaned again, then looked at Harry, and then back to him before dropping his head back down on the seat and making another groan of discomfort.
“I’m dead, aren’t I? I’m dead and this is some kind of purgatory. My dad was right.”
Floyd laughed wearily and shook his head at him, “I’m sorry, you’re not dead I’m afraid, though on the upside, that does mean your dad’s probably wrong, so you get to use that against him too.”
“Cool.” Milo mumbled.
“How’re you holding up, cupcake?” He asked, if only to try to keep him talking and hopefully assess just how much danger he was in.
Milo took a look at himself and lifted the tattered remains of his jacket and shirt to see his wound, then turned his attention back to him.
“I guess I’m not dead, so that’s a start, and it looks like the glue’s still holding about as well as could be expected after being blasted with jet exhaust…” he stopped and tapped around his nose before continuing, “I think my whiskers are gone… a whole bunch of my fur too. Oh no, please tell me I don’t look like big ugly mace guy.”
Floyd pulled a face: as much as he loved milo, his current look was hardly his best.
Though ultimately, it was Harry who replied first.
“Wait, I’m sorry, did you say you got blasted with jet exhaust?”
Floyd and Milo both looked at her and nodded, then she sniffed Floyd’s shoulder and looked back to the path she was flying, “Shit, you actually went and did it.”
“We didn’t exactly plan to, but well, you know how it is with stubborn assassins lurking on a plane ready to kill you” Floyd explained, and Milo offered a weary nod of agreement, then Floyd finally got back to Milo’s question.
“And no, you don’t look like Maynard. You could do with a lot of TLC right now, I’ll tell you that much, but I reckon you’ll look just as handsome as you ever did in a couple of months.”
“Aww, thanks” Milo moaned, then sat himself up with a long and laboured groan and looked out the window.
“We’re still in New York” he sighed.
Harry chimed in quickly, “I’m working on that. There’s a train depot over on the Jersey side; there’s a couple of freight trains that head out all the way to LA over there. If you jump on one of those, then by the time it reaches its destination, we should have this whole Cerberus thing under control.”
He doubted that a little, but Harry’s conviction was quite profound.
“Thanks. You didn’t have to do that, we’d have been fine on our own” Floyd insisted, but Milo frowned at him and he hastily went back on his words, “I mean, I’m sure we’d have got home eventually, and maybe… okay, yeah, thanks.”
By now they were halfway over Manhattan, and Harry made a gentle turn to the right to get them on the right heading, before moving a lever and locking it into place and pulling back on the throttle.
Thus began their descent.
Milo continued to make little groans and whimpering noises, but Floyd could tell from his tone of voice that he would probably be alright, given ample rest and medical attention once they got back.
As for himself, the gashes on his back thankfully weren’t too deep - even if they were particularly long - and he reckoned that if he could only manage to sleep, then he could probably heal from them in due time.
Harry banked right fairly hard to get them flying over a street, then left a little later so that they could complete the final leg of their journey.
Sure enough, Floyd could see a collection of floodlights and a collection of trains in a large yard.
And one particularly long one had just started moving.
“Is that our ride?” He asked, and Harry nodded, then pushed the throttles in hard and put the lever back in its original position.
“It won’t be if we miss it. Get ready to jump.”
He and Milo both looked at her in disbelief, but any objections they had were cut short by the plane suddenly pitching down at an aggressive angle and picking up an astonishing rate.
They crossed the river in good time, and by the time they’d got down to rooftop altitude, they were already bearing down on the train as it moved off on the start of its journey.
Harry finally levelled the plane off about a metre above the tracks, where she tried to move them level with the centre of the train.
The overhead cables however, made it almost impossible to get down, and by now, the train was starting to gain speed.
If they kept flying like this for much longer, then they would have no chance of catching it.
Harry quickly looked up at a little display above her head and swore as she saw that it was showing the number fifteen, which he guessed was a battery power indicator.
With a snarl, Harry pushed the throttles forward as hard as she possibly could in an attempt to coax the last bit of speed from the motors as they entered a long turn in the tracks.
He watched as the number dropped down to fourteen.
With the train turning, Harry couldn’t risk the descent for fear of hitting the cables or the scaffolding that supported them, but by the time the track straightened out, the train had managed to pick up enough speed that they were now flying perfectly level with it.
She had no option now but to just dive regardless.
With a sudden and violent kick to one of the pedals, the plane swung to the right, followed by a sharp push of the yoke, which took them down past the cables and between the pylons, where they now flew level with a large orange shipping container, just a few inches above it.
Milo opened the cargo door and Floyd got up to clamber over the seats, but before he joined Milo, he stopped and gasped.
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me” he groaned.

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thefailmaster
Dirk Hoderin
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United Kingdom
I'm a writer with a head full of ideas, a love of tech and a movie collection that's threatening to get out of hand and overwhelm my living room.

As of now, I'm the author of "Smell a Rat" a spy thriller about a rat and a dormouse who are also a gay couple, (because why not) that updates weekly and can be read here or on tumblr, so why not stick around and enjoy yourself some silly spy goodness.

feel free to browse my page at your leisure and please do take the time to leave a comment if you like any of my work, I really appreciate it. and marvel at just how awful my stuff was back then.
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