"Nigel, get your ass up here!" Ran called over his shoulder. He sat in the pilot's chair, steadily maneuvering the controls as the plane tossed in the storm. Paws clinked against the metal rungs of the ladder as Nigel climbed into the cockpit.

"Yessir?" the orange tabby snapped to attention, his tail rigid along his spine as he stood on his hindpaws.

"Prepare to bomb the designated targets. We're coming up on Canine City soon .." His sentence was interrupted by a rumble and the cats held on to keep their feet. Ran grabbed the controls and yanked them back, then side to side, but the nose of the plane continued to drop.

Nigel clung to the netting along the fuselage tenaciously, his eyes wide. "Umm... Ran?" He pointed at a gaping hole in the plane's body with his tail.

"C'mon, you dolt, let's get the bloody 'ell out of here!" Ran shouted as he slung a parachute over his shoulders, pressed a button on the dashboard, and leapt through the opening and the deck, plummeting towards the earth below. Nigel carefully skirted the open hole in the floor and put on the last parachute. He zipped up his jacket, closed his eyes, and threw himself out of the plane. Silently, he counted to ten as the air whipped through his fur. He hooked one claw in the ripcord and pulled...

As Ran drifted back to consciousness, through the throbbing in his head he heard a gruff, old voice bark, "... no, not dogs.. they're cats. Fell out of the sky they did.. in leather jackets. 42nd Bomber Brigade, Blue Devils. Yep. Yep. Over and out," a speaker crackled as what must have been a walkie-talkie switched off. Ran felt something grab his ankle and his head slid through the mud until a tree root caught the base of his skull and he slid back into unconsciousness.

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