My thanks to Rick Coona and his alter ego, Joe Martelle, for their kind permission to write this story in their universe. Their comments and encouragement have been instrumental in bringing this story to life.
George Woodrow 4 – 2009 -2010
Kassir Ujinkhan, Joe Fenris, Carol Fenris, Jeff Salters, Michelle Musteline, George MacInnes, Tim Johansen, Bill Richards, George Leonis, Phil Leonis, Leona Felis Leonis, Lynne Smyth, Michael Pardis, Christine Uncia, Karl Ursiris, Richard Kassir Charles Procyon, Kelso Gwenwyfar Procyon, Janice Lynne Ujinkhan, Alexander Kassir Ujinkhan, Harold Hendrikson, Susan Blackstone © Chuck Percy
Rick Coona, Gwen Smith Coona, Kacy "KC" Coona, Kirk Otterman, Mike Ferretti, Cassy Bhunny Ferretti, Max Badger, Kath Badger, Bill Badger, Ted Badger, Bruno, Lupé Carlotta, Panda Phil, Jo-Ann Procyon, Charles Procyon, Marcus Procyon, Jack Canus, Esmerelda Smyth, Richard Coona, Helen Coona, Max Coona, Sally Coona, Kacey Kelso Coona, Richard Randolph Coona, . © Joe Martelle
Vince Panthris, Veronica Dae Wynne, Kessira "Ghost" Tigris, Valerie Vulpes, FursList, FurMail, Dwight "Scratcher" Daniels, Molly Daniels, Clyve "Spots" Asher, Purity Spices, Janice Wyld, Albert Wyld, Petty Officer 3 Fenrir, Claire Kurisawa, Petty Officer 3 Dwight Lupin, Petty Officer 3 William 'Wild Bill' Strynger, Petty Officer 3 Tymoth Edwards, Petty Officer 2 Annalisa Snowpaws, Lieutenant Mykhail Friedrich, Geoffry Oceanis, Annette Oceanis, Sylvia Oceanis, Stevie, Cliff, Malachi, Zeke, Deke, The Children of the Pure Moon, Wylde Longstride, Reginald Blackfeather, Blake Paguma, Miz Swenson, Sylvia Paguma, Julio Vulpes, Francine Woolmyra, Zarius Zoaster Wylfgar the Third, Quinn Tallman, Lancir Concolor Pantheris, Anisu Christie, Simon Whyte, Kodi Adams, Klauss Greunig, Rusty McCloud, Kumiko Tigris, Cassidy Panthris, Jazmyn Panthris, CandicePanthris, Deidre Panthris © George Woodrow 4
Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is unintentional and accidental.
Chapter 1: Dawning of a New Day
As Vince gets up, he rubs his head, trying to clear his mind of the dream he just had, muttering to himself, "What an odd dream, wish I remembered more of it." He then swings his large frame off his bed, his bare paws touching the floor, then he stands up to his full height, stretching and limbering up, "Time to get myself back to work." He then heads to the shower in his apartment, briefly stopping to turn on the radio, which he had tuned to the area's classic rock station KZOK, catching the last few minutes of the morning crew as he listens in.
Today he starts in a new division, in a new precinct, and he is looking forward to meeting the new policefurs he will be working with, and hoping that he fits in well. And hoped that there wouldn't be any hidden trouble due to his hybrid nature. He purred as he left the shower, briefly stopping at the fur dryer, then back to the bedroom to get dressed for his first day in the Evidence division, making sure to put on his body armor, a habit he'd kept from his days as a street cop. One new addition to his routine is the knee brace which he wears now, due to the injuries he sustained at his old precinct.
Leaving his apartment, he heads down to the garage and gets into the '88 Jeep he drives, gently putting it into gear and heading out, making sure that he's left enough time to get to the precinct with time to spare. After dodging his way through a typical morning commute, he pulls into an unmarked spot, then gathers his effects and heads in to check in, nodding in a friendly fashion to those who seem friendly enough. Stopping at the desk, he checks in, "Sergeant Panthris reporting in, where should I head first?"
The vixen at the desk checks her list and nods, "Well, the captain's busy right now, but he should be free shortly. Perhaps you'd like to get started on the paperwork that needs done to finalize your transfer over here."
Vince nods, and offers a paw for the paperwork, "Might as well get this done asap, so I can get out there and do some good." Sitting carefully, he extends his right leg, taking the strain from the knee as he does so.
The fur behind the desk raises a brow, then murmurs an apologetic, "Sorry, didn't mean to stare."
Vince chuckles and smiles, "Dislocated the kneecap and tore the meniscus chasing down a suspect. Got my current duty 'cause I didn't want to give up the job I love and someone thought I could do some good working the evidence room 'til I'm good to go back on the beat." He grins a bit self consciously as he keeps filling out the paperwork, "Sorry, didn't mean to vent like that."
The policefemme smiles and nods, "M'name's Valerie Vulpes, and I think you've the right attitude to work here."
Coming up on the last moments of the conversation, Jo-Ann Procyon comes from the back, smiling at Valerie, "Got some new blood here?" She smiles at Vince, one policefur to another, taking in what she sees.
Vince is almost too large to believe, appearing at first glimpse to be a mountain lion, but she catches hints of what appear to be raccoon stripes. She also gets a vibe from the new fur that tells her that she should bring this fur to Kass' attention. After these few thoughts, Jo-Ann reaches out an offers her paw, "Welcome to the precinct, I'm Detective Procyon, hope you find yourself at home quickly, Sergeant ..."
Vince takes Jo-Ann's hand in a comradely fashion, taking in the vision the is before him, "Vince Panthris, heading for the Evidence room once the paperwork's done."
When they touch, there is a slight spark that Jo-Ann notices and files it away for further inspection once her shift's over and she's safe at Casa Coona North. She nods then smiles, "I'll let the chief know you're here," and then walks back to the ops center, swishing her tail behind her.
Vince's thoughts roam for a moment before returning to his paperwork. "My, isn't that a lovely sight."
# # #
Later that day, Jo-Ann enters Casa Coona North and, after getting into the garb typical for that establishment, seeks out her teacher, calling out, "Gwen?"
Gwen answers, "Out in the garden, a couple of these herbs are due for a trimming."
As Jo-Ann enters the garden she smiles upon seeing the statuesque skunkette, then murmurs, "Is Kass going to be around? I need to talk to you both."
Gwen shakes her head no, "He'll be here this weekend, the new batch of trainees will be done by then."
Jo-Ann nods, then smiles, "I met an interesting fur today, new transfer to the Evidence room."
Gwen nodded, "What was so interesting, hon?," knowing that with her training, Jo-Ann would not bring this fur up unless there was something special about them.
Jo-Ann smirks, "You know me too well," she then closes her eyes briefly to remember, "Well, first off he's a mountain of a fur, seems to be a cougar, but from some subtle hints he's a hybrid of some degree. But that's not why he's interesting."
Gwen nods as she waits for the juicy bits, "Go on."
The raccoon femme smiles as she says, "Well, I got a bit of a vibe from him that said to me that I should bring him to Kass' attention the next time I could. Then, when we shook hands, there was something special about him that sparked something within myself, almost as if something within myself was recognizing this fur as something it needed."
Gwen nods, then smiles, "Sounds like an interesting fur." She then chuckles, "I'm sure that you'll find out more about him in your own way. Just make sure you remember to tell Kass about your feelings."
Jo-Ann nods, then grins, "On another subject, how were the twin terrors today?"
Gwen grinned, "Mine, yours, or Kel's? Mine are excited about school, and all the fun they're having learning things. Yours are playing with their toys. And Kel's are sleeping right now."
Jo-Ann grins happily, "Must be something in the air, here, at CCN, that causes so many twins. Right Gwen?"
Gwen just smiled and shook her head, "I wouldn't say that, hon, but none of the kids are lacking for love, and I don't mind watching them when I'm here."
Jo-Ann smiles, "So, how's the business doing? Any new developments that stand out for you?"
Gwen smiles, "I'm just glad Veronica was willing to move with the company, she's such a godsend. She knows the furs that came out here pretty well, and can help me deal with the damn meetings," she then smiles, "Might invite her over here soon, I think you'd like her. Very feisty gal, and it seems she comes from a family of cops, but she knew that lifestyle wasn't for her."
Jo-Ann nods and chuckles, "Aye, it does take a certain mindset to do my kind of job."
At the same time Jo-Ann is having her discussion, Vince is entering his apartment, smiling as he lets the day go, picking up his guitar. After stretching his fingers, he runs through the first set of his warm up exercises on the guitar. When he feels he's warmed up enough, he starts practicing the music he enjoys, starting with the simpler pieces and gradually moving onto the harder ones, not plugging into the amplifier for this portion of his workout. He closes his eyes as he performs a sad piece which reminds him of his grandparents, gone for so many years. He begins singing, his purring voice strong yet mellow, a deep rumble in his chest suggesting a wider range than most might suspect.
Once his practice is over, he logs into his home computer, checking his private email and perusing a few sites for news and entertainment. Lastly he logs into FursList, where he places an ad for other folks to form a band with.
Seeking Others to Start Band
Guitarist seeks at least two furs to start a band. Must provide own instrument, and be available to practice several times a week. Bass / Drums preferred, but second vocals not unwelcome.
Contact Vince Panthris either through here or via cell (xyz)555-4321
Checking his wording he presses 'send' and then logs off, smiling, "I hope I'm doing the right thing, this is going to eat a lot into my private time." He then gets himself ready for bed, leaving just enough on that if there is an emergency, he won't have to worry about finding clothing. Once in bed, he remembers meeting Jo-Ann and smiles, "It was nice meeting her, and I hope I get the chance to talk more with her." Once he's asleep, his dreams feature Jo-Ann rather explicitly and prominently.
Halfway across town, Veronica is getting home, entering the renovated warehouse that she calls home. Smiling once she locks the door behind her, she checks her answering machine, and seeing no messages waiting for her, she moves into the kitchen and fixes herself a quick meal of london broil, potatoes, and salad. Quickly doing the prep, she smiles, grateful that she has thought ahead and made several meals for herself for days when she arrives home late like this.
Once her dishes are in the washer, she sits down at her home computer and wakes it up, checking her email and seeing if there's any news that she might need to know. One email points her to the new listing on FursList, a search wizard she made alerting her to the posting of a fur looking for folks to form a band. Smiling as she reads the entry, she quickly clicks on the return email link, placing her response to it carefully.
To : Vince Panthris
This is in response to your ad on FursList. My name's Veronica Dae Wynne, and I play both regular and bass guitar, and I've been told my voice isn't half bad. Where would you like to meet, so as to see whether or not I'll be a good fit for what style music you're looking to perform. You can contact me via this email or my cell (xyz)555-4231.
Veronica Dae Wynne
When she reads what she wrote, she smiles and hits 'send', noticing that the fur she's sending to seems to have an interesting email address, VincePanthrisPD , she muses aloud to herself, "I wonder if the PD means he's a policefur." Logging off and setting her computer to sleep, she sets about her nightly ritual of practicing on her guitar, a present from her parents when she graduated college and got her job at Harcourt-Smyth Enterprises. She didn't know how they managed to get it done in secret, but it suits her so well. She had named it 'Duality' .. though she describes it to others as a hybrid. Looking at the guitar, the double necks catching the ambient light, she picks it up and places the strap over her shoulder. Plugging it in to her amplifier, she warms up on both necks, the normal guitar tuning first, then the bass guitar, the odd harmonics bringing a smile to her muzzle.
Working through her own routine of songs, she lets go of the day's tensions, gradually moving from one genre to another, finally finishing up with a sprightly rendition of Greig's 'Hall of the Mountain King' which she leaves to last each time, simply because of the switching between registers she forces herself to do.
Placing the guitar back on its stand, she then slips out of her clothing, extinguishing the lights as she moves to her bed, and checking on her plants as she goes, reminding herself that they'll need water before she leaves for work in the morning.
With a smile she turns out the last light, reflecting on her day, and then grinning at the one spot that stood out to her, meeting the head of security that Gwen hired. She had met Kessira the day that she came in for the interview and had immediately liked the femme, admiring how in shape she appeared to be.
Once Kessira was hired, she had quickly proven her worth to the company by catching a few furs trying to short HSE and their shipping concerns. It seemed that someone had tried to inflate measurements to pad pricing.
She shook her head, muttering, "Some folks will always believe that they can pull the wool over other fur's eyes." She then made sure her alarm was set and closed her eyes. Once asleep, her dreams feature the other femme quite prominently and with serious overtones of desire.
Kessira logs out of her terminal, yawning a bit at the end of a long day. She does smile when she sees the fur who covers the night shift for her, "Dwight, you rascal, what kept you so long?"
Dwight Daniels, a lanky Great Dane smiles and says, "Kids were giving Molly a hard time, and I had a bit of a time getting my beater running. Might be time to see if I can afford something newer." He then gives a barking laugh, "And you, Ghost, why did you feel it necessary to wait for me to come in?"
Kessira smiles at the nickname that she'd earned in her youth, "Just a feeling, Scratcher, been a bit too quiet as of late, and something has my hackles up. Keep your eyes open, and tell the rest to do so as well, might be something brewing that's aimed at us."
Dwight nods, "Aye, especially since we've been pretty immune to the locals trying to get involved in our business."
Kessira nods, wryly, "The local goons don't like being left out of the profits," she then gives a salute and clocks out, "Have a safe night, Scratcher."
Arriving swiftly at home, she tosses her keys into the bowl near the door, sloughing off the stresses of the day while slipping free of her clothes. Checking the time she sighs, "Too late to do any practicing tonight. Damn." She then fixes herself a quick microwave dinner and slides into her bed, the last thing going through her mind was the meeting she'd had with Veronica, before going into Gwen's office.
She liked the spunky hybrid and definitely admired her for working despite not needing to. A smile creased her muzzle, "Doesn't hurt that she's got curves in all the right places. I do admire a woman who isn't afraid to have a little extra padding, as long as it's not too much." She then snickers as she turns off the last light, "Would be just my luck that she prefers males.." And when her dreams start, they feature Veronica in many roles, each getting more explicit and steamy, reflecting Kessira's desires.
Groaning as he gets up, Vince smiles, remembering something of his dreams, "Well, this will make things interesting."
Padding to the shower, he turns on his computer, letting it warm boot up while he washes himself, grateful that his apartment seems to always have a plentiful amount of hot water. After drying himself off as best he can, the coarse hair inherited from his mother's side of the family helping immensely, he checks his email and is pleasantly surprised by a response to his ad, "DaeWynne . Sounds Irish, might be promising. Plays both Bass and Guitar, and isn't afraid to sing, sounds good. I'll program her number into my phone and call her on the way into work."
He does so, then shuts his computer down, getting dressed for work, remembering his knee brace, as he's been told he'll be on his feet a bit, learning the layout of the rooms where Evidence is stored. He also makes sure to put a pad in his back pocket for questions or notes to be taken. With one last look at himself in the mirror, he heads out, getting into his Jeep and heading into work, listening to the radio for anything that might make him late.
Arriving a few minutes early, he parks his car in a convenient spot, he gets out his cell and calls the new number he's programmed into it. When it's answered, he introduces himself, "Miss Wynne, this is Vince Panthris, you responded to my FursList ad last night?" Upon receiving an affirmative, he asks, "What time's good for you to meet up? I just got into work and I should be getting off around 6:30 pm."
Veronica's curiosity is increased by the politeness of this male, "Well, I'll be leaving work at 6, myself, perhaps we can meet someplace neutral where we can see if we'll be a good fit for each other?"
Vince nods then remembers she couldn't see it, "Fair enough miss, do you have a suggestion?"
She answers, "Well, I've heard good things about a bar near where I work, by the name of 'Open Season'."
He chuckles, "I've heard of it. Now, when would you like to meet, and how will I know you?"
She grins, "How does 8:00 PM strike you? Gives us both time to change out of work clothes. As for recognizing me, well, that shouldn't be too hard."
He blinks, then asks, "Why's that?"
She responds, "First, tell me your feeling towards hybrids.."
He blinks again, "No problems, as I happen to be one myself."
She gives a happy laugh, "Fair enough, good sir. I'm a Skunk Wolverine cross, though the only evidence of my wolverine mother is in my claws and teeth. My stripes loosely follow the pattern of a double-helix."
Vince murmurs, "Fair enough, and I'm a Cougar Raccoon cross, you could say I look like a bleach blonde cougar with sandy brown 'coon stripes, although I am just a bit taller than most. I look forward to meeting you, miss, and I hope that we can work well together."
She responds, "I, too, look forward to our meeting, sir, and I hope your day goes smoothly."
He responds, "As do I, fine lady." He then waits for her to hang up before heading into work, a smile on his muzzle.
Valerie notices and says, "Something good happen?," to which Vince nods.
"Hope so, Valerie, I hope so." He then clocks in and heads for the Evidence room and the fur who's going to be training him. As he rounds the corner, he's stunned to see Jo-Ann there. "Detective Procyon, is there something I can help you with?"
Turning around, she smiles, "No, I'm just harassing your boss here."
He returns the smile as she turns back to the dalmatian behind the partition, "All right, Spots, I'll see you the next time I have something for you to add to your collection." She then smiles at Vince, "Sergeant, do your best to learn from Detective Asher here, he's a good fur and knows his stuff."
Vince nods, "I'll do my best, Detective, and may your day go smoothly."
Jo-Ann smiles, mischievously, "And what fun would that be?" Taking her leave, and swishing her tail enticingly as she passes Vince, she adds "Oh, and Sergeant Panthris, welcome to the Precinct, I hope you stay with us for a while."
Seeing this, Detective Asher simply shakes his head and then looks at Vince, "All right, Sergeant, enough fun for now, got to get you started on learning this system right fast."
Vince, shaking his head after watching Jo-Ann leave, turns to the other fur and says, "And why's that, Detective?"
Clyve Asher responds, "Because the sooner I get you trained in this, the sooner I can take the vacation I've been meaning to take."
Vince laughs at this, nodding his head in agreement, "Fair enough, sir, where shall we start?"
As she arrives for work, Veronica has a smile on her muzzle, "Looks like tonight might get interesting," is her thought as she parks her car in her spot. Locking up her car, she waves to other co-workers heading in for work, joining the waiting crowd by the elevator and listening to the general atmosphere of those around her.
This, plus a few of her other habits, are things she picked up from listening to her brother and sister, both of which were policefurs. Her father had just recently retired from that line of work, and was enjoying spending more time with the family. She smiles to herself remembering the last chat she'd had with her mother, "Seems as if dad's entered something of a second childhood, not that mom is complaining, except the fact that she's having a hard time keeping up with his enthusiasm."
When she arrives at her desk, she deposits her purse down by her feet, turns on her computer and checks the mailbox for any new things that her boss should be alerted to. Seating herself, she opens up the mail program and checks there for anything new.
Once all this is done, she then checks on the meeting schedule for the day, nodding when she sees a note put in by Gwen: Don't forget that I'm dropping off the kids today, so I might be a few moments late. Veronica smiles, remembering being introduced to the Coona kids, "I love how precocious those two are, and from what I've heard there're more family members to meet."
Hearing someone walking down the hall, she looks up and greets Gwen as she comes into the office, "Good morning, Mrs. Coona, how are you today?"
Gwen smiles, "Pleasant enough, just got the munchkins settled in their classes and now ready for whatever this place decides to throw at me."
Veronica nods, "Don't forget you've got that ten am meeting with the new business who wants to hire us for shipping."
Gwen nods, smiling wryly, " I know, these meetings are needed, but, damn can they be a pain." She then enters her office, checking her plants before seating herself and warming booting up her own computer. She notes her schedule and then gets out her notes for the day, "Great, another day of putting out fires and dealing with folks who couldn't buy a clue even if you gave them the opportunity to do so." She sighs and then presses the intercom, "Veronica, let me know when the furs for my first meeting are here."
She hears in reply, "Gotcha, can do."
Gwen then reviews the changes she had made to the companies she'd inherited she had made. First noticeable change was the fact they now resided in Seattle rather than Boston.
Second change was a marked increase in mixed breed employees. When she had first come into the role of CEO less than five percent of the work force had been hybrids or mixed breed furs, just barely enough to keep the EOE and other agencies out of her mother's hair. Gwen had remedied that, while also making sure that competency was rewarded, no matter the fur's ancestry.
Third change was more subtle, yet seemed the most rewarding for her, the furs working under her now seemed to actually enjoy the job and more often than not seemed happy with the work they were doing.
The last change, and the most important to Gwen, was that she felt that she now had a group of furs who trusted her judgment in running the business, and would come to her when issues arose.
Hearing a knock on her doorframe, she looks up and sees Veronica, "Yes?"
Veronica enters and, smiling, says, "This has nothing to do with work, but do you mind answering me something?"
Gwen tilts her head, then shakes it no, "Go right ahead, you've piqued my interest."
Veronica chuckles softly, "I'm meeting a fur later today, after work, and I wondered if you could tell me anything about the bar, 'Open Season'?"
Gwen nods, "I definitely can, Veronica. My husband tends bar there."
Veronica's ears perk, "Good place to meet furs?"
Gwen nods, "It's pretty safe to meet furs you don't know there. The bouncer's a big grizzly who doesn't take well to folks making trouble."
Veronica sighs with relief, "Good to know. The fur I'm meeting wants to start up a band, is he's looking for a bassist and a drummer."
Now it's Gwen's turn to look interested, "You play an instrument?"
Veronica nods, "Got a guitar, custom made."
Gwen nods, "Cool. Now do you have a name for this fur you're going to meet?"
Veronica nods, "Says his name's Vince Panthris, and from what I heard when he called me, he sounds a decent sort. I just wanted to double check on the place we're going to meet, so I know I'm covered if he's not all he seems to be."
Gwen nods, "That's the name Jo-Ann mentioned, interesting. I'll call Rick and have him get a feeling for this fur also." "Open Season's a good place, lots of good folks there. Plus it's a good venue to try if you're going to be playing in a band."
Veronica smiles, "Thanks, Gwen, you've set my mind at ease." She then heads out the door, "The furs for the ten o'clock meeting are on their way up."
Gwen nods, "Glad I could help, Veronica, and thanks."
Kessira, waking up after a restful night, stretches and then looks at the clock, "Ten am, good enough for me, as I've the day off. Time to work out and practice while the neighbors are out and can't complain about the noise I make." With a smile she gets out of bed and pads over to her work out area and seats herself on the BowFlex™, setting the machine for the first set of exercises that she has planned.
Starting by limbering up, she puts herself through the motions of a very thorough work out, working herself up to her max weight limit for each exercise, pushing her limits to their max. She then does another set of flexibility exercises, this time working on making sure she's as flexible as possible, some of the positions looking painful to the uninitiated.
After that's done she wanders over to her drum kit, which takes up about a quarter of the available floorspace and seats herself, getting out a set of drumsticks. Starting her regular practice session, she gradually builds up the complexity and tone of her drumming, her tail hitting the custom bank of drums set up behind her as she adds layers within her drumming.
Once done she then pads into her bathroom, starting the shower as she ponders what to do that day, "Do I feel like just staying at home, or going out and having fun?" Once the shower's adjusted correctly she goes about cleaning up after her workout, ridding her fur of the built up sweat and dirt. Stepping free of the shower she towels herself off;, grateful to her polar bear mother for the fact water doesn't stay in her fur long.
She then moves over to her dresser, intent on picking out something both comfortable and attractive, her mind set to having a good day of fun before heading over to go see her old friend Bruno at the bar he now works at, wondering how the big guy was doing.
Sitting on her bed, she puts on a little number she knows will garner her a lot of attention. The fabric of both top and mini skirt is a nice red which stands out nicely against her fur;, she has also picked out underthings of a similar color so as not to advertise too flagrantly. Slipping the top on over the bra, she settles it comfortably then works on the skirt, which has a special fastener that makes sure her tail helps keep the thing from slipping down and revealing too much.
Reviewing herself in the mirror, she smiles, "Now to go enjoy myself." She then gathers up the matching purse for the outfit, making sure she's got the essentials she'll need for the day. Assured that she has everything she needs, she heads out, hitting the lights and locking the door.
Leaving the precinct, Vince feels as if his head's stuffed full of all the details that Detective Asher gave him that day, "At least you now know how things are organized down there." Getting into his car he reviews the rest of the day and decides to head home for a quick change of clothes, not thinking that there's enough time to do more than that before he has to leave to meet Veronica. "I have to remember to keep a set of civvies in my car from now on, just in case something like this happens again, and for days when I need to practice with the band."
After a quick change, brushing out his head fur to make sure it's behaving, he heads to the bar where Veronica said to meet, dodging around traffic while listening to the GPS that he put into his Jeep for this purpose. /Turn Left in 200 Yards/ announces the mechanical voice, letting Vince know to get into the correct lane to make the course adjustment, "Shouldn't be too far now."
A few more turns and Vince pulls into the parking lot, finding a spot not too far from Rick's Prowler. He then locks his car and makes his way into the bar. Checking the time and seeing he's arrived a good five minutes early for his meeting, he finds himself a table within easy view of the door, despite the busy throng of customers.
Cassy steps up, asking, "May I take your order?"
He nods at the strikingly pretty bunny, "Certainly, miss, I'd like a club soda, with ice, please?"
Cassy nods, "Won't be too long."
He nods, then goes about fur watching, trying to get a feel for the crowd at Open Season. "Good crowd here for a Thursday night, and it seems they've got the place set up for furs to do Karaoke tonight. Very promising." His eyes are then drawn to the entrance, where Veronica enters. Seeing her, he stands up and makes himself visible, smiling as he takes in the other hybrid, "Definitely keeps herself in good shape." Once he sees her heading his way he moves to one of the other chairs by the table and pulls it out for her.
Arriving a few minutes late, Veronica is a bit flustered, "I hope he's not mad." She then gives her head a shake, "It's not that kind of meeting, I'm sure he'll understand that work comes first." Once she enters she smiles as she notices Vince standing up so she can see him, "Well, he's right, he is a tall drink of water. Quite fit looking too." She then makes her way over to the table he is at, smiling at his manners, and seating herself in the offered chair, "Sorry I'm a bit late, had a last minute problem at work and didn't want to leave until it was solved."
Vince shakes his head, "I don't mind, I've had times when I've had to work past shift end."
Veronica smiles, "Sounds a lot like my family. "
He says, "How so?"
Right then Cassy brings Vince his drink, "And what would you like miss?"
Veronica thinks, "Could I have a Vernor's on the rocks?"
Cassy nods, "Be back soon."
Veronica turns back to Vince, "My folks are all policefurs, just knew that it wasn't for me."
He chuckles, "Yes, I'm a policefur, I'm just getting back to the job right now, after an injury."
Veronica nods, then smiles, "Now, to the topic which we came here to discuss. What sort of music were you thinking of playing?"
He smiles, then pauses as Cassy brings Veronica her drink, "I like mostly classic rock, though I have played jazz and country." He then takes a sip of his drink, "How about yourself?"
Veronica places a hand by her muzzle as she thinks, "Classic rock's a good choice, I've played that, blues, and a bit of folk music from Ireland."
While Vince and Veronica are talking, Rick is busy at the bar filling folks orders, but he does notice Vince, mostly because he's bigger than the average fur. During a brief respite he focuses his other senses towards the pair, "Hmm, there is a feeling there, sort of like what Kass gives off, from the male. But the femme also has something about her as well. I'll have to ask Gwen if she's noticed anything."
He waits for Kel to come by and gets her attention, "Kel, you noticed anything from that big fur over there?" He nods in Vince's direction.
Kel shakes her head no, "Cassy's been serving that area, and I don't know if I should unshield enough to see if there's anything special about him, why?"
Rick smiles, "Gwen called earlier, seems the Cougar over there's a new fur in Jo-Ann's precinct and he's caught her attention. Seemed he gave her two distinct impressions."
Kel nods, looking in Vince's direction, "And they'd be?"
Rick smiles, "First that she should bring him to Kass' attention, and the other being that he was something special to her."
Kel's eyes brighten, "He might be to her what Gwen was to you?"
Rick shrugs, "Possibly, but I would like to get a better feel for him before I go that far." He then gets out a new glass, cleaning it, "I'd like to get your feeling for him as well, if you can swing it."
Kel nods, "I'll see what I can do, hon."
Meanwhile Kessira has just stepped out of her car and is entering the bar, sashaying her hips as she sees Bruno.
Bruno, seeing Kessira, shakes his head, "Ho boy, she's dressed for trouble." He gives her a one-armed hug, "Hey Ghost, been too long. What'cha been up ta?"
Kessira smiles at the nickname, "Nothin' special, Honeybear. Got a job with a good group of furs, and been settlin' down, lookin' to find a group of furs to play music with."
Bruno nods, grinning at her nickname for him, "I'll keep my ears open, happens a lot here, dis is a good place ta start."
Kessira nods, "Thanks, my friend. I'll owe you one." She then wanders into the crowd, swishing her tail behind her. As she passes Vince's table she recognizes Veronica's voice and listens in. "Hmm, talking about a band. Didn't know she played, but this has a glimmer of working out in my favor." She pauses and says, "Hey Veronica, didn't expect to see you here."
Veronica starts when she hears Kessira's voice, since she's been concentrating on listening to Vince's plan, "Hey there Kessira, this is Vince."
Vince looks at Kessira and stands up, offering her his chair, getting another for himself, "Why don't you have a seat, Kessira?"
Kessira smiles at the gallantry, seating herself, "Sure. What'cha two talking about?"
Veronica grins, "Vince here put an ad on FursList, he's looking to start a rock band, but needed a bassist and a drummer." She takes a sip of her drink, "I play both guitar and bass, so I answered the ad. Earlier today he called me up and set up this meeting, I picked here because I had heard it was a good safe public place to meet furs."
Kessira nods at all this, "Very safe." She points over at Bruno, "My friend Bruno's the bouncer here. He and I grew up in the same neighborhood, so I know he's a capable fur." She then turns to Vince, "You may just have lucked out, you know?"
Vince tilts his head, "How so?"
Kessira smiles, "I play the drums, got my own kit at home." She then looks at both Vince and Veronica, "You said rock? Which variety?"
Veronica chuckles, "We were just hashing that out. We both think there's lots of opportunities with classic rock, good wide range to pick appropriate songs from."
Vince nods, then chuckles, "If this wasn't happening to me, I'd not believe it. Yes, classic rock is the genre, with a smattering of Irish Folk and livelier jazz pieces that we can manage." He then looks at the two femmes, "We've got a pretty distinctive looking group here. What do you think we should call ourselves?"
Kessira blinks, then hrms, "Well, we're all hybrids of one degree or another."
Veronica nods, "How does 'Twisted Pair' feel to you?"
Vince smiles, "It suits me. Pays tribute to the different species that came together to bring us into the world, plus it references the double helix of life." He then grins, "Plus Veronica here has it in her fur as well."
Kessira chuckles, "Has a good punch to it, I like it."
At this time Kel swings by, having asked Cassy if she minds if she gets a feel for the furs at the table, she asks "May I get you a drink?"
Kessira smiles, "Got any really gingery ginger ale?"
Kel nods, "On the rocks?"
Kessira nods, "Please?"
Kel smiles, "Cassy'll bring it by in a moment."
Kessira nods, "Thanks."
Kel then wends her way back to Rick, gathering several orders on the way.
Rick, seeing Kel come back from the 'special' table moves over to take her orders, "Well?"
Kel, after rattling off her orders, gathering them onto her tray, "The male's knee is hurting something fierce, but otherwise seems to be a good fur, the two femmes seem to be a match, I 'see' them being an item."
Rick nods, "Fair enough. I'll let Gwen know when we get home. Perhaps we can manufacture a way to get them all to CCN when Kass gets back ..."
Kel nods, "Don't the two femmes work for Gwen?"
Rick tilts his head, "I think so. I'll mention it to her tonight."
Kel nods, then gives Cassy Kessira's drink order, "For the ice white tigress over there."
Cassy brings Kessira her drink, smiling at the group, "Looks like an interesting bunch, perhaps we'll see them again."
Kessira thanks Cassy and then turns back to Vince and Veronica, "I think Sundays will be best for all of us to practice on, though I think the first couple of sessions will be us hashing out the playlist and getting a feel for each others' styles."
Vince nods, "Sunday is my usual day off, and it shouldn't be too hard to get to wherever we decide to practice for me." He then smiles at the mention of styles, "I'm not sure if I have a musical style, per se, since I'm pretty much self taught, but one thing I have learned is to work well with a team."
Veronica chuckles, "I doubt that any one of us is that much of a prima donna." She then gets a thoughtful look, "As for places to practice, I think my place would be best. I own a renovated warehouse that I turned into residential,; have plenty of space to set up a studio to practice in and no worries about neighbors complaining about the noise." She then smiles, "Been meaning to build more into the damn place anyway, though the roof's pretty much already been taken over by my garden and an area for meditation."
Both Kessira and Vince blink at this information, the tigress speaking first, "Damn, girl, how'd you pull that one off?"
Vince chuckles, "Oh, I think I know the area she's in now, and if I remember correctly the city was trying to rezone the area anyway, letting folks buy warehouses and putting through the variances needed to change the zoning with expediency, or that's what my dad told me." He smiles, "Helps to have a real estate fur in the family, sometimes."
Veronica nods, "Aye, that's what happened. I'm on the edge of the area that they were rezoning and none of the adjacent buildings were bought at the same time. In fact the three that are nearest me have been demolished to make playgrounds and other areas for families to enjoy themselves. Gives me the bonus of not having any neighbors that can look directly into my place."
Kessira nods, "Sounds delightful. Well worth the renovation headache."
Vince nods, "And I know through work that the area's pretty well patrolled." He then looks at Veronica, "You've set up the existing windows so folks can't look in?"
Veronica chuckles, "Wasn't too hard, though I used quite a bit of my personal savings to spruce the place up, including insulating the whole damn thing. I prefer my creature comforts, and I don't want to pay for heating the barn if I can't keep it warm."
Kessira nods, "Sounds perfect. Though for the practice studio, I'll want to take up my share of the cost of building it."
Vince smiles, "I agree, even if what I may end up doing is providing a lot of the sweat equity of building it."
Veronica looks from Vince to Kessira and then sighs, "Fair enough, and I can tell that you won't be talked out of this. I do appreciate the sentiment and I think it's a sign that we'll work well together."
The three furs smile and shake hands before turning their attention to the folks coming up to sing at the Karaoke set up, content that they've come to an agreement that will suit them all.
Rick watches the three furs reach their agreement, "Looks like whatever business was being discussed was settled. And seeing as that tigress knows Bruno, I'm assured that it wasn't anything shady."
Just then Cassy hops up to the bar, "Rick, I'm going to need another club soda, Vernor's, and that special ginger ale, please?"
He nods, getting the drinks together, "For the table with the skunk and tigress?"
The bunny nods, "From what I was able to hear, they're forming a band."
Rick smiles, then nods, "That's right, Gwen did mention that."
Cassy chuckles, "Mixmaster Mike is losing it already?"
Rick sticks his tongue out at the cheeky rabbit femme, "All I know is she wanted me to get a feeling for the fur. Seems he caught Jo-Ann's eye at work and Gwen wanted me to put in my two cents."
Cassy nods, "Well, from what I've seen, the fur's a gentlefur, got good manners, and I'm guessing he's driving, since he's not ordered anything alcoholic." She then thinks, "He's also made sure the femmes that are with him feel comfortable with him. He's not made any advances toward either of them that I noticed, nor has he tried to be overly familiar with me."
Rick nods, "Good points, and I'll include them in my report to Gwen." He then shoos the bunny on her way, smiling as he sees Vince being encouraged into taking a turn at the mike, "Looks like it's going to be a fun night."
Vince, getting up at the encouragement of the two ladies, smiles, "May as well, after all, this is also to assure you I can sing."
Both Veronica and Kessira blush a bit at this, their muzzle fur fluffing, then look at each other and laugh, "Serves us right for egging him on," the tigress grins.
Veronica nods, "I just hope he doesn't turn the tables on us. I can sing, but I've never done Karaoke."
Kessira giggles, "If they have something I can get away with purring through, I'm game."
Veronica is about to answer when Vince takes his turn, singing a very impressive adaptation of Roy Orbison's 'Pretty Woman,' the big fur's voice well suited to the embellishments that the original fur put into the song.
Kessira also smiles at the sound of Vince's voice, "Well, I'll give him this, he can sing well, and his voice is good enough for the style we're working in. Not many furs can copy Orbison and pull it off."
Vince finishes his 'debut' to thunderous applause, "Thanks folks," he says as he exits the stage, making his way back to the table that Kessira and Veronica are at, a far away look on his muzzle for a moment. "I wasn't singing it for those two, though they're quite beautiful. The fur that came to my mind when singing it was Jo-Ann. I wonder why."
Kessira and Veronica congratulate Vince when he sits down, Veronica saying, "It looked like you had a special femme on your mind when you sang that ..."
Vince blushes, lightly, his muzzle fur barely fluffing, "Perhaps ..." He then brings out the list of songs available, "And perhaps you two should be thinking more on what you might like to sing, before I consider going back up there."
The two femmes laugh and say, nearly in unison, "We knew you'd ask us!" They then look at the list that's been brought to them, studying it and each picking out a song they think will suit each of them.
Veronica smiles and stands up, "I think I'll go next, after all, if I'm expected to do vocals occasionally, I should show you what I've got." She then makes her way up to the stage and punches in her request, getting in the line for the Karaoke machine.
It isn't too long before Veronica's turn comes up and she belts out a rather husky rendition of Heart's 'Barracuda' to the enthusiastic appreciation of the audience. Smiling widely as she bows and escapes the stage, she looks to the other two and sees their approval, both Vince and Kessira having stood up to give their applause.
Kessira smiles as Veronica seats herself, "Girl, that was impressive." She then smiles, "My turn, eh?" She smiles as the other two furs nod, "Just a warning, I haven't sung in ages."
Vince smiles, "No worries, Kessira, I don't think you'll do too badly."
Kessira nods at this and makes her way up to the stage, the lights highlighting her ghostly stripes, she then puts in her selection, waiting her turn up on the stage, her tail swishing with nerves. Once she's up there, she quietly sings John Lennon's 'Imagine,' her purred voice adding an extra poignancy to the melody, her eyes closing as she finishes the melody.
As she gets down from the stage, she finally notices that the whole crowd has gotten to their feet, applauding her and her choice of songs, her muzzle fluffing with embarrassment as she realizes it's meant for her. As she gets back to the table with Vince and Veronica, she looks down at her hands for a moment, trying to regain her composure.
Vince gently places a hand on Kessira's shoulders, "That was well sung, dear lady. You may not think your voice is that good, but I think any fur here would agree that that was quite well sung." He then guides her to her chair, "May I ask why you chose that song?"
Veronica nods as she also does her best to help Kessira to her chair, "I'd like to know as well."
Kessira looks from Vince to Veronica, "Thanks, both of you. As for why I picked that song. Well, it's got a bit of a story behind it. The main reason being that that song reminds me of my folks when I grew up."
Vince nods, "If it's too difficult to talk about, I do understand."
Kessira shakes her head quickly, "No, it's not that. Just remembering things from when I was a cub. My parents emigrated here, my dad from China and my mother from Russia. Each was fleeing persecution because of their species. Somehow they met each other on the boat here and fell madly in love." She pauses and then smiles, "Seems they got the captain of the boat to marry them. Once they came ashore they did get it officially recorded and found some place to settle, once here." She points to Bruno, "I grew up in the same neighborhood as him, which is the 'tough' side of town, and he was like a big brother to me, protecting me when I needed it, scaring off those who didn't like me being a hybrid. Never seemed to matter much to Bruno, or any of my true friends."
Veronica nods, "Mind if I ask which species they are?"
Kessira smiles, "My dad's a White Tiger and my mom's a Polar Bear. It's how I came by these 'Ghost' stripes of mine," and she traces one of the ones on her arms, "And they also gained me a nickname, Bruno was the first to tag me with it, but it's stuck ever since. He called me 'Ghost,' partly because of my stripes, but I think it was mostly due to my uncanny ability to fade into the shadows, despite my fur coloration." She then smiles, "As for the song, it reminds me of my wish that all the furs of the world could get along, no fighting over 'purity' of species or any other nonsense."
Vince purrs, "Impressive combination, Kessira." He then traces one of his own 'stripes,' "My mother's a Cougar and my dad's a Raccoon .. I got mom's size and coloration, with a hint of dad's stripes."
Kessira nods, then looks to Veronica, "Seems like the name for our band is well chosen, eh?"
Veronica nods, "Never knew my birth parents, though I know my dad was a Wolverine and my mom was a Skunk. I got raised by foster parents, a couple who couldn't have kits because their species were too different." She looks sad, "Part of the reason I have the funds I do is 'cause my parents were killed by Purists when I was about five."
Both Vince and Kessira look horrified, Vince speaking up first, "That's awful."
Veronica smiles, "Thank you, Vince." She then looks to both of them, "My foster parents were policefurs, and quite a few of my 'siblings' went into the force as well. I knew it wasn't for me, so with their blessing, I studied business and got the job at HSE, moved out here when Gwen took over 'cause there really wasn't much holding me there. I still chat with my adoptive parents regularly, but I know they're glad I'm doing something that makes me happy."
Kessira nods, "Sounds like your family loved you, despite the reasons you came to it."
Vince smiles, "If you ever feel the need to talk about it, I think you just gained at least two more ears."
Kessira purrs, "At least two more ears. You can count on me, if you need a shoulder, Veronica."
Veronica looks from Vince to Kessira and back, "Thanks you two, I'm glad I met you two even more now." She then gets out a pair of cards, "Here's my address, so you can find it, along with contact information." Handing them to Vince and Kessira she smiles, "Now I have an early morning ahead of me, so I think I'll call it a night."
Vince nods, "Same here. Learning the ins and outs of my new job at the precinct, and the fur in charge did say he'd be wanting to start early."
Kessira chuckles, "Well, today was my other day off, so I need to be checking in with the folks that report to me." At Vince's expression she chuckles, "I'm head of security for the same company Veronica works for."
Vince nods, "Fair enough, Kessira." He then stands up and does his best to assist both femmes to their feet, "I hope you both have a good night and sweet dreams to you both."
Kessira laughs at the gallantry, "I shall wish the same to you, Vince."
Veronica smiles, "May your night be filled with pleasant dreams, and may your 'morrow be filled with happiness."
Bowing to both femmes he then says, "If I may lead you out to your vehicles?"
This earns him a chuckle and Kessira's saucy reply, "Only if you think your dancing is better than mine!"
Veronica laughs at Kessira's sally, "Why don't we just wend our ways to our vehicles and then make our way to our homes, this night has already had enough cheese, methinks."
Vince shakes his head, admitting defeat, "Fair enough, fair lady, and may the hours 'til we next meet be filled with happiness and good spirit." And saying this, he leads the way out of the bar, making his way to his trusty Jeep, noting idly the cars the two femmes had. Kessira getting into a well worn Crown Victoria and Veronica seating herself in one of the new Minis.
With a sigh of happiness he heads home, falling asleep soon after his head hits his pillows, unbeknownst to him, the two femmes having similar reactions, each of their dreams filled with music and images of happy furs.
End of Chapter 1. ^_^