Disclaimer: This story's characters are what are commonly referred to as 'Furries'. These are commonly seen as different animals, but with human physiology. So, think Zootopia, or something like the Egyptian god, Anubis. Enjoy!
A black car darted through abandoned midnight streets, reflecting dimly lit street lights.
The knot of anxiety in James' belly wasn't lessened by the heated seat of his friend's car. He shifted his tail, adjusting to his seat. His gray fur ruffled under his shirt. Being a cat in a seat designed for dogs wasn't as much of a struggle as some others would have had, though. He tried to reflect on that. James had been raised to be grateful for the things God has given him, so whenever he came across an inconvenient situation, he would think of someone that would love to have an opportunity like his, and it calmed him down.
"You feelin' it yet, James?"
The cat looked to the front passenger seat. A set of teeth that glinted with every passing street light greeted him.
"Huh? Huh? We're doing it!"
James felt the knot tighten a bit more. He figured he should be used to Rob trying to psyche him out. The wolf snickered.
"Just remember, we're the stealth team! No room for error…"
"Cut it out, Rob. We're nervous enough already…"
James looked at the driver, glad that Sam was on his side. The knot eased a bit.
"Agreed." James piped up. He felt the need to reinforce Sam's point.
Sam's black fur glistened as another street light passed, her ears draped on her shoulders. He thought he caught a smile in the dim light. If he had, it immediately turned to a frown as the car slowed. She looked back at James.
James tried to think back to the sermon he and the others listened to before the start of the drive. He tried to remember the songs they sang before that. Nothing helped his stomach feel any better. He understood the cause he was fighting for, but it still didn't help. He closed his eyes for a brief second as the others opened their doors, inviting a brisk wind in. He gave his cares to God, prayed that everyone would be safe, and then opened his door. Knowing the situation was in God's hands made it much easier to let go of some of the stress he was holding onto.
James stepped out into the dark and joined Rob and Sam in front of the car. They began to traverse the broad concrete mesa before them. To the left, the ocean reflected the moon's eerie light about a mile away. Behind them was a receding cityscape. James could see his house on the 7th floor of a bustling apartment building from here. His church was only about a block from there. He didn't own his own car, so he walked or biked to church on Thursday nights. Those scenes were not what gave him anxiety.
The knot in his stomach was from what was happening in front of him and to his right. A large complex was looming about half a mile away, a pillar of black smoke billowing from orange flames. In the distance he could hear gunfire, yelling and screeching tires. Rob shuddered.
"They're not gonna wait for us…" the wolf said quietly, his nerve leaving him.
Sam and James both nodded. Taking one final chance to steel themselves for what was ahead, they pulled their black hoods over their heads, and charged forward. Time was short.
After running for about a minute, the group reached the building and pressed against the warm wall of the structure. The fight was no more than 100 feet away from them now. But that wasn't what they were here for.
The fight was just their distraction.
James thought he heard Sam yelling until Rob started drilling away at the wall. James hoped that the Intel was right. There was only one weakness in the wall of this complex, and this was supposed to be it. He prayed, hand on the dagger attached to his calf, hoping nobody would detect them so he didn't have to use it. The trio sighed in relief as the wall gave way to Rob's persistent drilling after what was probably only a few minutes. The length of time was lost to them as pressure mounted. Dropping the drill where it was, Rob squeezed through first, followed by Sam, then James.
The interior of the building was dark, lit only by a flashing emergency light. The strobing light's rays momentarily hit a marines insignia on the wall, reminding the team that they were likely going to be on every military most wanted list if this plan didn't work. This, however, also meant was that their objective was only a short distance away.
Leading the way, Rob darted quietly to the right, Sam and James close behind. The trio passed two entryways, then ducked quietly into a corridor on their left. After following the hall for less than a minute, one more left turn led them into a room darker than they had yet traversed. If the reconnaissance was to be trusted, this was the armory. As Rob dashed into the room, he ran into a locker. With a heavy "Oomph!", the wolf fell backwards, the padlocked container rattling from the impact. The rest of the team quickly dove into the dark room. Rob composed himself, and refocused on his task, which was crucially important at this stage in the operation. Not focusing on the many rows of lockers beyond the first, he began feeling for the container he hit. He ran his hand across its surface, silently counting as he glided it to the next locker, and the one after that. After a few more feet, he stopped in front of one of the metal doors.
"This one…" He muttered.
Sam nodded. She pulled a small cone out of her pocket, and placed it gingerly on top of the padlock guarding the contents of the container. The team ducked behind a row of lockers as Sam reached into her other pocket, pulling out what appeared to be the keys to her car. Rob and James watched as she pressed the panic button. A large booming explosion made the trio jump. The concussion was followed by the metal door falling to the ground. Rob snarled.
"They said that thing was supposed to be quiet!" He hissed.
James ducked back around the corner to see the result of their bomb. He figured there was no time to lose if things just took a turn from the original plan as Rob implied. Turning the corner, he saw the aftermath. The locker door was lying on the floor just in front of the container it was guarding. James raced silently to the container. Inside were three items. The first was a pistol. This was tucked into the back of the top shelf. The second item was a small card labeled 'master', carelessly tossed into the bottom of the container. The last item in the locker, located on a shelf at about shoulder level, was a sphere, glowing an electric blue across its circumference. Small creases ran along its metallic surface from top to bottom. The humming coming from the object gave it the appearance of importance.
James immediately grabbed the pistol and tucked it into a pocket as the others followed him around the corner. Turning to them, he nodded toward the door.
"Okay, we got what we came for…"
Rob smirked, and the group headed back for the door. The sound of gunfire was still echoing outside. The wolf piped up.
"Maybe it's too early to say, but-"
As Rob stepped into the doorway, a series of loud bangs came from down the corridor. Rob yelped and fell to the floor. James backpedaled as Sam rushed out to help the wolf up. An unfamiliar voice started yelling at the two of them in the hallway. James dashed around and hid behind the lines of cabinets, praying that he wasn't seen. A blast shook the ground under his feet. The firefight outside had escalated. Explosives were being employed by one or both sides. More shouting was followed by another blast. James crouched, trying to cope with what was happening around him. The shouting was interrupted by a final ear shattering detonation. The room around him filled with dust, and the floor shook. James covered his ears, but the damage had been done. He stayed on the floor, waiting for the shell shock to pass. He had begun to wish he hadn't.
His hearing returned. Sam was yelling at him, crawling toward him, tears in her eyes and a large cut across her muzzle.
"We have to go!"
James stared for a second longer as Sam stood and grabbed the collar of his shirt. The blur and clamor of action faded as the group retreated further and farther from the flaming building, their retreat illuminated by stray licks of fire. They reached the car, and James grabbed the rear door, clambering in. Sam pulled out her keys, and their extraction was complete.
After a long silence, Sam spoke up.
"You got what we were supposed to get?"
James' blurry vision focused.
"Y-yeah, I did."
The passenger seat was empty.
James heard Sam begin to cry.