UNITED STATES—“Laurel, how’re you doing?” He walked up to the car, leaned on the door, and then saw the cats. “Is this the one you’ve told me so much about?” “Yes, this is Samantha, and a couple of her friends.”

He reached over Laurel. Samantha sniffed his hand, and licked it. Laurel’s expression changed. “Harlan, we need your help.” He got up and smiled. “Mi casa, su casa.” Laurel got out of the car and hugged him. “Harlan, you’re a real lifesaver.” He looked around and said. “Let’s get them inside before the neighbors have a cow.” Inside, Laurel explained to Harlan their predicament. After she finished, he shook his head. “I never did like Michael Potts.”

Samantha listened to the whole conversation, while Laurel scratched her head. Harlan said. “What we need is a plan.” Laurel perked up. “Any ideas?” Harlan smiled, looked at Samantha and said. “I’ll need you to help me, Samantha. Are you in?”

She nodded. Harlan smiled. “Unbelievable.” He took her through the house, and showed her things she’d need to know to pull this off.

Mike Potts’ office was a small building, about the size of Laurel’s house. Shortly after midnight, they parked in a lot next to Potts’ office, in Harlan’s SUV. He got out with his wire cutters, cut the fence and went through. A minute later he returned and motioned for her. Laurel opened the door, and Samantha jumped down. She went through the fence and followed him around back. He pointed at a small window that had been left open just far enough to climb in. She entered through the window, and ran to the back door, unchained, and unlocked it. Harlan walked in and looked around. The cubs weren’t there. He went through the drawers and found what he was looking for, receipts from a company called Tyleron Industries.

Back at Harlan’s house, he explained, “Tyleron Industries is a black eye on our little community. The only upside is that they employ hundreds of the local people.” “I’ve heard of it. What is it exactly that they do?” He motioned for Laurel to step outside, because he didn’t want Samantha to hear. He spoke softly,

“They test different drugs, cleaners, make-ups and any product that comes in contact with human skin.” Her head went down. “Let me guess. They test these products on animals.” He nodded. Laurel looked up at him with tears in her eyes. “We’ve got to do something. We’ve got to save them.” “Hold on a sec. This place has security like you wouldn’t believe.” She said in a weak voice. “Harlan, we can’t let them stay there. We’ve got to do something.” “I know, Laurel. Tomorrow, I’ll talk to some friends of mine. We’ll get them out, I promise.” She put her arms around him. “Thank you, Harlan. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Harlan left early the next morning. Samantha was lying on the sofa with her head on Laurel’s lap. Link watched while Laurel scratched her neck. Lok walked in and sat next to Link,

“This goes against everything I was brought up to believe.” Link got up. “I know, Lok, but that looks mighty good.” Slowly, Link approached Laurel. She patted the sofa.

“Come on up, fella.” He hesitated for a moment, and then jumped up. “That’s a good boy.” She lightly began scratching his head. Link closed his eyes while she scratched his head and his neck. He raised his head, purring, and finally collapsed in her lap. Lok couldn’t believe what he was seeing, and decided that he wasn’t going to be left out. He walked up to her and put his paw on her knee. She leaned forward.

“That’s a good baby.” And she scratched behind his ears. Link nudged her arm, and Laurel laughed. She wasn’t scratching both of them, so she fixed that. The three of them kept Laurel busy all day long.

Harlan came home about three that afternoon, with boxes of tools. He couldn’t help but laugh when he saw the three huge cats, sprawled all over Laurel. “Looks like you’ve made yourself some new friends.”

Samantha walked over to Harlan. He reached down, and petted her. “Laurel, we’ve got a problem.” Her head went down. “How bad?”

Harlan sat on the couch next to Laurel. Samantha sat on the floor opposite them, and listened.

“It’ll be more difficult than I thought. Tyleron has a state of the art security system. I’ve got a plan, but it’ll have to be executed by the cats, if they want to.” Samantha nodded enthusiastically. Laurel smiled.

“I think you just got your answer.” He stood up. “Okay, we’ve got a lot to do, and not much time to do it in.”

Laurel used Harlan’s sewing machine to make three tool holders for the cats. Harlan had gotten a floor plan of the compound, and went over the plan with Samantha, who relayed the plan to Lok and Link. Then Harlan and Samantha went into his garage/workshop, where he custom designed tools that the cats could use. The rest of the evening was spent training the cats to perform their phase of the operation.

That night they pulled up on a hill overlooking Tyleron. They got out of the SUV and gathered around Harlan. “Alright, you guys know what you’ve got to do, right?”

Samantha nodded. “Okay then, lets do this.”

Laurel helped put the vests and helmets on the cats. Harlan loaded them up with the special tools he’d made for them. He scratched Samantha’s head. “Are you ready, girl?” She nodded. “Alright then, go get your babies.”

The three cats ran down the hill toward the compound. Lok asked, “Are you sure you know what you are doing, Shail?” She answered,  “I am going to get my babies.”

They slowly walked up to the fence that surrounded the compound. It looked dark and deserted, but they knew better. Shail said. “Go, Link.”

He scrambled up a tree next to the fence. Shail followed him up the tree and pulled a line out of his vest with a spring-loaded clip attached. She wrapped the line around the tree and clasped it. Link went out on a branch that went over the fence. Shail jumped back to the ground. Lok’s vest had numerous metal bands sticking out of it. Each one was numbered. Shail put her paw through the band that was marked #1 and pulled out a pair of wire cutters. She pulled a white line that was connected to it, and the band tightened around her arm. She put the cutters on the bottom wire of the fence, and bit down. The wire snapped. She did that several more times, making a hole large enough for them to get through. Then she pulled a black line, and the band loosened, falling to the ground. Shail went through the hole; Link dropped the line down to her with another spring-loaded clip attached to it. Shail jerked her head forward, and dark glassed dropped down from her helmet. She looked across the lawn. The glasses illuminated the infrared laser beams that criss-crossed six inches above the grass. Link dropped down from the tree, leaving the spool of wire designed to deliver the line without touching the ground. The other two jerked their heads forward, and their glassed dropped down. Shail said, “Remember, you cannot break any of the light beams.”

Shail went first, taking the wire with her, and stepped over each light beam. She reached the building with no problem. The other two followed without mishap.

Written By S.F. Proctor