Chapter 1

It was a dark and stormy night, well, that's what the weatherman had predicted. This afternoon, however, it was a balmy 72 under clear skies. Birds were singing, children were laughing, and I snuck another quick look at my diploma.

Bob Malevolent
is hereby granted the rights and privileges
of a Bachelors of Science graduate of
the DeVry School for Evil Geniuses.

A few more years of undergraduate, and I'll have my Masters, then, my Doctorate and finally, the world! Mwah-ha-ha-hee.

Dang, gotta work on that if I want to get past my Masters. Of course, the review board might just be inclined to skip that when the read about me, Bob Malevolent and the terror I will unleash upon this sleepy burg. People will speak my name in terror. They will fear me and give me the respect I so rightly deserve, they will cower from my...

HEY BUDDY! THAT WAS MY PARKING SPOT!!

I had my freakin' turn signal on! Are you freakin' BLIND!!

Yeah, well same to you buddy!


Robert Malevolent exited his 1993 Saturn of Malevolence and made his way to the store to pick up the groceries that Mrs. Malevolent had asked him to. The fact that he had to park significantly further from the store than he wished only added to his foul mood. As he walked toward the store, three parking spots opened up in front of him and he could feel his blood pressure rise higher.

He couldn't have been happier.

He passed the cherry mustang that had taken, no, stolen his parking spot. Obviously, whoever owned this car took an inordinate amount of pride polishing it. The sun glared blindingly off of the "Haulin' Ass" chrome decals alone.

Bob hesitated in front of the car. He was a trained specialist in the ways of evil and torment, and he certainly wasn't going to pass up a golden opportunity such as this. Carefully, he looked around the vehicle.

He feigned great interest in the gaudy muscle car as he carefully scanned for what he needed. An elderly couple passed by. The old geezer gave an appreciative smile as well. Bob smiled broadly back at the old coot, and bent down to retrieve a small slip of metal that was lying next to the vehicle.

Bob smiled again, but this time, he meant it.

He stood again, quickly checked to see if the coast was clear and walked to the parking meter. He turned the handle and quickly jammed the metal beneath it. The meter read "Violation". Again, Bob checked to see that his actions went unobserved and again headed toward the store, with slightly more spring in his step.


Bob sat in the Den of Evil, faintly illuminated by the glow of his monitor, a near trance like expression fixed on his face. His fingers flew over the keys as he typed.

"Bob, did you take out the trash yet?" his wife called.
"Give me ten minutes, hun, I'm busy."
"Well, don't forget about it again, it's got raw meat in it."
"Uh, huh"
The lights suddenly glared around him and Bob worried that he had been found out.
"Cripes, Bob, turn a light on, you'll ruin your eyes."
Things had been going reasonably well. Getting the codes to control the satellite had been a bit tricky at first, but patience and careful prodding had finally gotten the majority of the ones he needed, and in moves that would have made Processor M proud, he didn't have to lift a finger to do any of it.
BM_BSev_682:
So, how goes the battle?
L0rD_H/\X:
U wir right, d00d!! All thayr codez are belong to us!!!1!1!!
BM_BSev_682:
Well done, you are elite among your peers.
L0rD_H/\X:
??
BM_BSev_682:
Sorry, U ~L33T X!
L0rD_H/\X:
I M W/\Y L337!!!
BM_BSev_682:
Did you replace the papers with the ones I asked you to print out?
L0rD_H/\X:
BOW 2 MY M/\D HA><0R SK1LLZ!!
BM_BSev_682:
Yes, yes, Reginald. Did you replace the papers?
L0rD_H/\X:
I tol u dont call me Reginald! Waht paprez?
BM_BSev_682:
Do you want me to send you that topless Britney Spears movie?
L0rD_H/\X:
Chill D00D!! they b n Dad's case lik u ax
BM_BSev_682:
And you scanned all of the pages.
L0rD_H/\X:
Yeah, that cost $$ at kinkos!! u o me $15
BM_BSev_682:
I assure you, the check is in the mail.
L0rD_H/\X:
Give me B-S (.)(.)!!
Bob sent the lad a link to a site that featured the poorly faked video, and hoped Mom and Dad "H/\X" didn't need the restroom for a while.

Now, on to the next phase of the plan...


Boise, Idaho
Mayor's Office

OK, Anne Marie, what are you laughing about?

We just got this catalog from some goofball outfit.
Did Hizonor's PVC Playthings catalog show up early?
No, worse, check this out, "The DeVry Catalog of Evil". Listen to this, "We at DeVry pride ourselves on creating the best of the worst, and we want to tell you about our recent graduates, even if we weren't legally compelled to do so by Federal Law." Hee, hee. "Look for the following graduates in your respective areas" These guys can't be serious.
So, what do they have?
"Well, there's 'The Black Spark who specializes in casting megavolt discharges and wants to rule supreme over Municipal Transit schedules in Baltimore', and 'The Red Claw who hopes to seek revenge against the Louisiana Crayfish Industry with his minions of cybernetically enhanced crustacean", this is a hoot! Heh, heh. Tom? What's the matter?
Read this. It's out of USA Today. I was going to add it to the Mayor's speech about how the press has become less and less believable.
"Baton Rouge, LA - Fisherman in the Mississippi Delta have reported a recent rash of attacks by hordes of well organized crayfish. Witnesses report that at least one boat has been destroyed and five of the fishermen received thousands of pinches and welts from the encounter. 'It's getting scary out there. Those little s bite!'" Tom, you don't think...
And then there's this....
"Towsend, MD - Two witnesses to yesterday's strange trolley incident reported seeing a man dressed in black with what looked like a large spark..." These guys are FOR REAL!?
Looks like it. So are we in for any surprises?
I... I don't know. I didn't really bother looking, I thought.. I thought it was just a prank..
Here, in the undergraduate listings. Robert Malevolent.
What does it say about him!?
"Mr. Malevolent plans to continue his studies this fall and enjoys his homework assignments."
Is that it?? Is that all?? Oh my God.
What? What's the matter?
We got an email from him yesterday. I.. I thought he was just a crackpot.. I didn't know.. I ..
Did you keep it?
No, I didn't.. Nobody told me, and I was feeling silly so I...
Anne Marie, what did you do?
I sent him a form letter response.

1983
Washington, DC

Somewhere there's a nondescript building with a large number of security cameras outside of it. One set of cameras instantly swing and focus on a long dark limo as it quickly enters a garage area. Within it there are several guard stations, each one requiring more and more authorization.

No one is allowed past without proper identification, without exception.

It's something that the guards have been ordered to do. Everyone is checked for proper identification badges. Even him.

The small entourage makes it's way down the final corridor to a simple door. One of the group, a man dressed in a dark blue suit with a white shirt enters the code for the cypherlock, and with a loud clack the door opens. They enter.

It takes a few minutes to adjust to the general darkness and the low murmur of constant activity. A call is made and the room suddenly snaps to attention.

The oldest man of the group returns the collected salute. "Oh, At ease men, carry-on, carry-on." The room returns to the general state of ordered chaos as if nothing had happened.

The man in the blue suit whispers to the older gentleman and indicates a small workstation near one of the back corners of the room. The group makes it's way toward the consoles lit by a myriad of computer screens.

"Hello Martin, Jose here has told me much about what you've been working on."

Martin wheels around in near total surprise. He sputters, "Muh, Mister President! You're early!" he looks at his watch, "No, strike that, you're ten minutes late! How are you doing sir? Can I offer you some coffee?"

"Please, Martin, just relax. I'm just here to see what you've got so far."

"Oh, well, we've made amazing progress sir!", Martin chirps. "Just this morning I finished my latest tests and the bird is doing great! Here, watch this monitor." Martin waves his hand at a bank of small screens as one of them flickers.

On the screen there's a fuzzy black and white image that drops out on occasion. An odd, splotchy pattern slowly scrolls by. Suddenly the pattern jumps as the satellite's onboard camera tracks away from Earth and focuses on a tiny speck in the distance.

"What am I looking at, Martin?"

"It's toward the center of the screen, here let me adjust the image slightly."

The screen pulses as the tiny camera tries to adjust to the light levels. The camera begins to zoom and the shallow curve of the Earth drops from the image. Soon, the speck reveals that it has twin panels sprouting from it's cylindrical sides.

"That's SR-9071a. It's the Soviet's latest Coms sniffer. They launched it a week ago. Now, watch this!"

With a slight flourish, Martin presses a button on the console. The center of the distant satellite begins to glow brightly.

The President suddenly became rather worried. "Martin! You're not actually targeting that bird, are you!?"

"No, sir, relax. The laser on the SDI-902 is 350 femtowatt laser with pulses of 15 gigaseconds, but we're only using a quarter of that right now. We've just been testing. There aren't any optics on that satellite. Moscow has no idea we're doing anything to it."

The President laughs, "You sure know how to give an old man a heart attack. This is great! I can hardly wait to tell Mommie about this. Excellent, carry on!"

As the Entourage turns and begins to leave, the man in the Blue Suit stays behind with his employee. He leans toward Martin and whispers out of the side of his mouth. "Well done, m'boy. That'll be worth another coupl'a billion."

"Uhm, sir? Do you think he'll remember seeing this test again? Eventually he may want to see more."

The man in the blue suit looked at Martin and started laughing. He didn't stop until he was past the second guard station.


"Wel-come!"
Finally, cripes, I've been waiting for hours to get online.
"You've got mail!"
Yeah, yeah, let's see what I've got....
*click* tap-tap-tap-tap *click*
No, I'm not interested in penis enlargement.
*click*
Or breast enlargement, even if it is all natural.
*click*
No, it really doesn't work
*click*
Yeah, sure, Like I ever sent you mail asking for that.
*click*
Hello? What's this?

TO: [email protected]
FROM: [email protected]
SUBJ: RE: FYI

> Hi there, it's me, Bob.
>
> Listen, I just wanted to let you know that if
>
you don't give in to my demands, I will wreak
> havoc upon your tiny community.
>
> You have two days to respond.
>
> Have a nice remainder of your days.
>
>

Hi Bob.

The Mayor wishes to let you know that he only receives threats from major financial contributors. If you wish to make additional threats, please feel free to contact the Mayor's Special Office on Terrorism and Campaign Funding, M-F, 9-3 at (415) 555-9482.

Thanks, and Remember to Vote!

A form letter?! They emailed a FORM LETTER!?

This simply will not due!

Time to introduce myself.


"Mail's here Chris", JB stated as he walked into the living room they shared. Chris sat in his usual position, directly in front of the television, fruitlessly searching for something featuring someone naked, preferably, someone worth seeing that way.

JB started going through the pile. "Bill, bill, junkmail, bill, bill..."

JB stopped and just stared at the official looking envelope in his hands. "What the heck is this? It's our address, but who the heck is 'The Grayhound', and why did they spell it way wrong?"

Chris stopped flipping channels, his eyes widened a little.

JB tore the envelope open and started reading.

"From: The Honorable William Brown Jr., Mayor of Boise ID
To: The Grayhound

Dear Sir,
As stated in your contract, we hereby request your services. Please
report to our offices at your earliest opportunity. "

JB chuckled a bit, "That's it. Heh, wonder why they sent it here. So, when'd you start watching Spanish cooking shows, Chris? ...... uhm...... Chris? "

"How the hell did they find me?"


In the near vacuum of geosynchronous orbit, there is no sound. There is no click and whir as a twenty year old satellite came to life. There were no beeps and blips as it acknowledged the targeting commands. No rising hum accompanied the primary array as it came to life. A cloud of dust and condensation were the only indications that the satellite was pivoting to new coordinates.

"Chris, you've *got* to take me."

Chris stopped packing his overnight bag to look at his younger brother, "Why?"

"Whaddya mean, 'Why?'! You mean to tell me that I've been related to a famous superhero who's been suddenly called back into action and I'm supposed to just throw your crap into the back of the car and wave 'bye-bye'? No way, brah, we're in this together!"

"Let's get a few things straight. First off, like I told you, I'm not a famous superhero. I only signed up so I could get a good parking spot next to my old girlfriend's place. I mean, the contract I signed just said that they could call on me at some point in the future. All I'm going to do is show up, explain the situation. Heck, I'll even give them the $20 back if they want."

"But Chris", JB protested, "this is so cool! Think about it, this is your chance to right wrongs, and fight for justice! What else are you gonna do? Come back here and channel surf?"

"Maybe..."

"C'mon, you said yourself that you've gotta go up there. Let me tag along. I've got time between projects, and it's not like you've gotta tell anyone anything."

Chris sighed, "Ok, it'll be good to split the driving anyway. Why don't you go pack and help me haul this stuff downstairs." Chris started going through the list of items he thought he'd need; underwear, razor, toothbrush, floss, socks, jeans,...

"Don't worry about that, I'll grab this suitcase and head on down. My costume is already in the car." JB said as he quickly left the room.

"Oh, ok. Costume? JB! What Costume!?"


Boise, Idaho
Shortly after Dusk

Sylvia Thornquest made her way into the kitchen.

"Din-din time, Mr. Tiddles"

*meow*

"Yes, I know you're hungry. Well, Mommy will get you're dinner for you."

*prrr-woowrrr*

"I know sweetheart, now let Mommy into the fridge to get you're num-nums. That's it, go wait in the dining room."

Sylvia opened the refrigerator door to get the cat food. She doesn't quite remember the what happened, she's old, and her hearing is just not as good as it was before, but she thinks she heard something like a low hum and then Mr. Tiddles wasn't anywhere in the apartment.

---

Across town Suzy Baker was getting the scolding of her short life. Fluffy had once again managed to somehow get out of the house. She knew that Fluffy was an indoor cat and that she was her responsibility, but Susy knew she would never unlock the door to let Fluffy out. She really didn't know where Fluffy was. She was just sad.

---

Norton, on the other hand, was usually outside. Still, he never managed to miss dinner at six with Nick. Nick had even made pasta with just a hint more garlic in it because it was the two year anniversary that Norton had started visiting. Nick wasn't particularly worried that Norton hadn't made it for dinner. 'Probably found himself a lady', thought Nick. 'Yep, he's probably out showing her the town.'. Nick was sure that Norton was fine. The dishtowel that was now twisted harder than it had ever been, probably would disagree with that opinion.

---

"Live, from Boise, This is the Channel 2 10 O'clock report. I'm Hank Griffith."

"And I'm Sarah James"

"In our top stories tonight... Hundreds of Bosie residents have reported that their cats have disappeared tonight. Local authorities have not yet responded to questions, but are overwhelmed by concerned citizens who are wondering where their feline friends are. Live on the scene is our reporter, Tiffany Vu. Tiffany?"

"Thank you Hank. Local residents are stunned as to why thousands of cats have suddenly been reported missing. It would seem that almost none of them have been spared. The first reports came in earlier tonight. We talked to this man who reported his cat missing..."

---

Somewhere in the silent orbit, the satellite responded to more commands and the main array charged again.


"Where the hell did you get that anyway?"

JB, who had been sulking after his brother's initial reaction to his costume, perked up at the question. "Oh, I was planning on wearing it to the upcoming ComicCon. It's made out of bits from costumes I found at Salvation Army. They had some wicked cool stuff."

"Couldn't you have found something a little less bright though? I bet I could read a newspaper in a dark room standing next to you."

"You, sir, never read the comic books I did."

"Off hand, I'd say Thank God for small miracles, and what's the deal with all of the "P"s all over your outfit?"

"Oh, I was supposed to be the Phosphorus Avenger from the original Hydrogen Guy series, before he got cut."

"You're telling me that anyone knows that?"

"You, sir, have never been to the same Cons as I have."

"I'll take your word for it, look, just promise me you'll change out of that before anyone else sees you."

"I like it, and I think it'll make quite an impression on the good citizens of Boise."

"I refuse to stand next to someone who has 'P' all over them!"

*VWooooop-vwooooop*

Chris saw the blinking red and blue lights of the black and white car following them. He knew it was a cop, but wondered a bit about the large white sticker with the crudely written "Idaho" above the professionally painted "State Police"

JB was apparently oblivious to it. "Crap, better pull over. Were you speeding, Chris?"

"What? Uhm, no, I don't think so..."

They pulled to the side of the road. The two officers quickly exited their patrol car and briskly strode up beside the "heros".

Chris responded with the traditional "Can I help you, offic..."

"Are you the Grayhound?" the officer snapped to JB, not angrily, but with a great deal of concern.

"No officer, I'm Puppyboy. He's the Grayhound. We're here to help."

"Puppyboy?", Chris looked at his brother who was apparently getting into his character. "Puppyboy??" he giggled.

This time, it was the officer who was oblivious. "Sir, we have been ordered by the Mayor to escort you into town. Please stay here for your entourage." The officers turned and jogged back to the patrol car.

"PUPPYBOY!?" Chris could barely contain himself.

"Ok, so it was the first thing I could think of that began with the letter 'P'. Give it a rest."

"Righty-o, Puppyboy!" Chris chortled.

Within seconds Chris' silver Maxima was surrounded by patrol cars all with lights flashing.

A patrolman approached and said, "Sir, do you have a radio set to police frequencies?"

"Uhm, no." replied Chris.

"Here, take this one. It's already set. Please fall in line behind the first set of patrol cars. We'll be in Confederation Square in about ten minutes."

The officers apparently wished to waste no time. Soon the convoy was racing toward the heart of the city at nearly breakneak speeds. Along the sides of the overpass cars were lined up out of the way of the hurtling heros. Some folks waved others flashed their lights. JB waved back enthusiastically. Even Chris broke down and waved a few times before he suddenly regripped the wheel and narrowly avoided colliding with one of Idaho's finest.

Thankfully, they slowed as they exited the Fourth Street ramp and entered the city heart. Chris again looked curiously at the signs for "Outdoor Mall Street" and he could swear that there were other words behind the placard for the Enocsom Pavillion.

They pulled into the underground parking lot beneath Confederation Square, and were quickly hustled up a flight of stairs.

They could hear someone speaking to a large crowd as they approached the surface.

"...ago when I realized that just like any other thriving metropolis, Our Fair City of Sa-BOISE, needed a superhero. And our needs were met by one brave soul, who was willing to defend our beautiful City by the Bay from whatever evil may come. Ladies, and Gentlemen, I present to you, The Grayhound and PuppyToy."

The Mayor stood on a platform addressing the assembled throng. There were countless news cameras, lights, microphones, and children holding up signs saying "Welcome Grayhound!". A cheer went up when the brothers emerged onto the stage.

"That's PuppyBOY! BOY!!, with a B!!", JB tried to shout over the cheering crowds, fortunately, he was drowned out and he did not fall into immediate disfavor with the African American Mayor.

The still smiling Mayor grabbed JB and thrust him to the microphone. JB stared at it for a second as if it were a cobra, ready to strike, then he looked out at the assembled masses cheering him and something sorta clicked.

"Good Citizens of Boise! PuppyBOY and the Grayhound have arrived!"

The crowd cheered wildly.

A few of the press started pressing for answers,

"Puppyboy! Puppyboy! How do you and the Grayhound plan on stopping Malevolent?"

"Puppyboy! What superpowers do you and the Grayhound have?"

"Puppyboy! Puppyboy! How do you plan on returning the missing cats?"

"Cats?" Chris asked no-one in particular. "Uhm, Mayor, what's this about cats?"

The Mayor looked at him in a bit of a surprise and responded "You don't know? Oh, well, we'll talk later."

JB raised up his hand to quiet the crowd. After they grew silent, he adjusted his mask and looked out across the assembled throng.

He drew in his breath and spoke.

"The Grayhound and I have been summoned. We stand here before you ready to do battle and right the wrongs you've suffered. Fear not, dear Boise, for we will strike at the heart of darkness that dares raise it's claw against this fair city.

"We.. are it's tireless Guardians. Protectors of the weak, stalward defenders of the strong, we WILL NOT REST until this plague of terror is ended."

Chris tried to interrupt, "Uhm, 'Puppyboy'?".

"For though the forces of evil may rise up against us, we will not tire! We will stand tall against the hail of fear and laugh at torture."

Chris tried a bit harder, "Hey 'Puppyboy'!?"

"For even though we face death, we laugh mightily and swing our fists in glory towar..rrfpphh"

JB tried to free himself from Chris' head hold, but it gave Chris the moment he needed.

"Uhm, my partner is just a little excitable. If you all don't mind, we'd like to be a bit low profile right now. I prefer not to draw attention to myself quite yet."

"It would seem, you already have."

The voice came from every speaker in the neighborhood. It echoed against the hotels and tall stores that lined the square. It wasn't deafening, but the crowd grew very quiet indeed.

"Ah, but where are my manners? I haven't introduced myself yet. My name is
Bob did you take the trash out yet?
No, I'm working on my assignment right now, I'll take it out in a couple of minutes.
You better, it's stinky and I don't want to smell it all night.
Yes Dear. Now, where was I? Oh yes, my name is Robert Malevolent, BS-ev. "

The crowd gasped.

"Ooh, that was nice. C major was it?"

Puppyboy, having finally broken Chris' headlock, yelled into the night, "What do you want, you madman?"

"Me, well, I'd like to get my Master's and then my Doctorship then, a nice little dictatorship on some South Pacific Fiefdom. Dr. Malevolent just sounds better, don't you think? But for now, I just want to show you that I'm not a cruel man. Rest assured that your beloved feline friends are quite safe while under my complete and utter control."

"You foul demon! Give these people back their pets!" JB yelled as he struck a heroic pose.

"Oh, that was perfect. I couldn't have written better myself. Very nice bold effects too. Very well, here you go."

The square was illuminated by a flash of blinding red light.

Then there was a slow rumbling that grew louder.

It was coming from behind the platform, up Sprokety Street.

"What the Hell is that!?" Chris yelled as the first wave broke the top of the hill. "Good Lord, it's a stampede!"

"No", said JB calmly studying the situation, "not a stampede. It's a cat-pede"

The street had filled with thousands and thousands of excited mewing cats racing at full speed down toward the platform and the crowd behind it.

 

Will this be a rather abrupt end of our story?

Will our intrepid heros go from Canine Commandoes to cat toys?

Will Boise drown in a Bay of Bengals?

Tune in two weeks from today for:

A Mouth Full of Manx
or
Cat's Got My Tongue