Tit for Tat

          Kenneth Brand pulled his pickup truck next to 33 Green Drive and gave a tap on the horn.  A few seconds passed before a stunningly graceful cat-woman stepped outside and walked straight towards the truck.  Kenny grinned, leaned over, and pushed the passenger door open.

          "Nice costume Jen."

          Jenny Tilson licked her fingers and lightly massaged her glued on whiskers before answering.  "Yours isn't half-bad either, Long John."

          "I'm going as Ahab, precious."

          Jen flashed a none-too-pleasant grin and pulled her tail inside the truck before slamming the door shut.  "If you didn't sleep through all your classes you'd know Ahab wasn't a pirate!"

          "You aren't exactly an 'A' student yourself sweet cheeks."

          Jen crossed her arms across her ample chest, pouted her lips, and stared straight ahead.  Kenny, not liking how this date was going, gave a yawn and stretch to "subtly" put his arm around his girl.  She immediately shrugged it off.

          "Look," Ken started, in his most apologetic voice, "I'm sorry.  Who cares whether I'm going as Ahab, Long John, or Columbus.  Can we forget this and go have some fun at the dance?"

          Jenny turned her head to glance at Ken and immediately her expression softened.

          "You really sorry?"

          "Sure I am," he chanced his prize winning grin.

          She moved her hand over to his leg and gave him a little rub.  "I forgive you."  Ken eagerly moved his head closer and ignored the wiry whiskers as they French-kissed.  Finally the apology was accepted and Kenny zoomed off to Menner Fields 1955 Halloween Dance.

35 minutes later

          Jenny stormed out of the high school, her costume being ruffled and slightly stained by fruit punch.  She turned and glared at the doorway while Kenny was none-too-gently escorted through it a second later.

          "I can't believe you acted like that.  Just look at this costume, it's ruined!"

          Ken didn't seem to notice his prime date was unhappy, he was busy glaring at the front doors to Menner High.  "Buttheads," he muttered.  Finally, he turned toward Jen, to find a very unhappy kitty.

          "What was going on with you and Stutter."

          "He asked to get me some punch."

          "And…?", Ken tightened his tone up a notch.

          "What?  He got me some punch, you didn't have to dump it on him."

          "He was hitting on you.  No one tries to steal my girl," he emphasized his point with a punch into his palm.

          Jen threw up her hands and turned away.  "He wasn't hitting on me Ken, he was getting me some punch; like a gentleman."

          "No geek hits on my girl."

          Jen twisted her head towards him.  "And I'm so sure you had to punch out the chaperone, Mr. Tungsten, or are you jealous of him too?"

          "He…"

"Just take me home."  Jen had an amazing talent of mingling nagging and whining tones into a single sentence.

          The drive back to Jenny's house was made in silence.  Ken obediently kept his eyes forward until they reached the usually deserted part of I94, where he put his truck in park.

          "Look hon…" his sentence was cut short by a bright light that forced the two of them to shield their eyes.  When they opened them…

          …They were staring at a two-headed bird standing as tall as Ken's waist, wearing what looked like a green tuxedo.

          "Greetings", one of its heads chimed in singsong english.

          "Son of a bitch!" exclaimed Ken, slapping his hand to forehead.  Jen stared opened mouthed at the creature, unable to speak.

          "Don't be alarmed," continued the other head, "all can be exclaimed if you sit tight."

          Ken turned towards Jen, "I think we bought the farm."

          Jen snapped out of her reverie and gave Ken an angry look, "Don't be a goof! Of course we're not dead." She seemed to lose her confidence for a moment, "There's got to be a reason for all this." 

          Ken brightened, "I got it, hon, we're dreaming."

          Whether annoyed that he thought of such an explanation first or because the punch was still soaked into her tight fitting costume, Jen did not seem ecstatic at his explanation.

          "I can assure you that 'you did not buy the farm' and this is not a sub-conscious REM interpretation of external information."  Both human heads snapped back towards the birds' attention. "My name is Ro'Lex and you are on board a space-ship."

          The bird gave them a moment for the revelation to sink in and then continued, "At this moment we are heading towards a temporary outpost set on the light side of your moon.  My species, the KacAws; a highly advanced and enlightened race, are holding an informal gathering of less technologically advanced species."  Ro'Lex glanced at his audience, not knowing how to interpret the rolling eyes on the male or the hushed noises escaping the females' malleable lips.  He continued, "We have gathered approximately two dozen species who have either achieved rudimentary space flight or are close to doing so."   He started to pace, "Naturally we needed a place to gather all these creatures so we decided to use Earth's moon-since you yourselves are on the path towards space travel.  I…"

Ken pointed his thumb at Ro'Lex and turned his head to Jen.  "Now I know we're dreaming.  This crap is straight out of Astounding."

Jen managed to stop laughing just long enough to ask, "So why would such an advanced species pick up two people at random?"

One of the heads stared straight into Jens eyes for several seconds.  Jen faltered a little but continued. 

"You didn't just pick people at random for your guest list, did you?  I mean, we don't know anything about spaceships or aliens-we don't know anything that could be useful to you."

The bird looked back towards Ken, ignoring Jenny's question.  "You are not dreaming."

Ken reached out to rub Jen's shoulder but she swatted him away.  "Whether or not you're the dream Ken or the real Ken, I don't want anything to do with you."

Ken raised his index finger and was just about to make a sharp reply when he felt a stab in his other wrist.  The stupid bird had bit him!  "Why you little…"

Ro'Lex backed off, "There!  That proves it you see.  If you were dreaming you wouldn't have felt that pain."  He nervously backed up some more as the human still approached, a very annoyed look on its face.

Jen pinched herself and then gave a disgusted look.  She slapped the back of Ken's head.

"Hey!"

"Oh shut up.  That thing is right, this isn't a dream."

Ro'Lex gave a curt nod.  "I'm glad you finally see the truth." 

Just then a whistle sounded from unseen speakers.  Ro'Lex bobbed both heads and then spoke, "We have finally arrived at the base."  He turned and headed for a wall that moved out of his way.

"This way."

After extensive walking the three of them arrived to a much more decorated doorway.  Ro'Lex turned around, a little nervously.

"Beyond this door we have set up a huge gathering that you might find startling…"

"Really?"  Jen moved to pass the annoying bird but was quickly cut off.

"As you will notice, I have attached translators to both of your garments."  Both humans predictably looked at their costumes to spy the tiny metallic devices attached to them. 

"I must warn you that many of these species are very different from you in appearance, but don't do anything rash," one of the heads glanced nervously at Ken, "I will introduce you to as many as you wish and be ready for any questions you may have.  Now…," he seemed to stand a little straighter, "let's enter."

The bird pressed a button and the doors obediently opened, revealing nothing either teenager had seen or imagined before.  The sights, the smells, the sounds-what kind of music could that be called?  In a way it reminded both teens of the party they had left not too long ago, except for everything having a totally bizarre alien twist.

Their avian tour guide motioned them to follow and they did so.  They wove past several groups of aliens-some mixed, some just the same species (reminded Jen of her schools' own little cliques).  Finally the bird stopped short at a triangular table and turned around.

"Well?  Why are we stopping here?  When do we get to talk to some of these aliens?" Jen snapped.

One beaked face stared at her again, this time though she stared straight back, the other face gave short nervous looks at Ken  "Stay here.  I'll bring you appropriate companionship."  And the strange little alien darted off.

Jenny watched Ro'Lex run off, a frustrated frown blemished her face.  She turned to find Ken examining the bowls full of food and drink, or rather what she thought might be food and drink, on the table.

"Babe, check this out."

Jen had other things on her mind.  She folded her arms over he chest and started to pout.  "What a waste of time."  She threw up her hands into the air, "And just look at this!  The stain has set, my costume is ruined!"

Ken came up behind her and rested his hands on her shoulders, "Hey babe, it's all right.  Let me make it all better."

Jenny shook off his hands and turned around jabbing a finger into his chest.  "If you think I'm going to let you touch ME after all I've gone through you've got another thing coming mister!"  She started to step forward, finger still jabbing into his chest.  "I've had about enough of you."  Ken had been backing up until his back rested against the table.

"Babe…"

It was too late; Jen turned around and marched off towards one of the alien groups at the other end of the room.  Ken was just about to contemplate why his girl had gotten so pissy when a raspy voice spoke right behind his ear.

"You seem to be having some troubles with your mate."

Ken turned around, saying as he did so, "And what business is that of yours?"  Before him he saw a small furred creature, standing about a head shorter than Ken.  Lots of straps, pouches, and gear covered its body-though slick fur peaked out wherever there was space.  A large sword, almost as big as the creature itself, was strapped to its back.

Ken almost laughed, the thing looked like a giant otter.  "Bug off, twerp.  I'm not interested in talking."

The creature narrowed its gaze for a split second, then let it go.  "On my world a females' show of such aggression would be seen as a challenge-a very profitable one, if you happen to succeed."

Ken faced the creature, sarcastically giving as best a skeptical look as he could manage, he fingered his chin, "Really?"

The otter was about to say something more when they were both interrupted as a huge snake approached the refreshment table.  Ken stared at the thing, it's neck arched almost twice his height above him, a huge bony skull-which hardly appeared to be natural, covered its head-only its all black eyes could be seen through two holes.  Its skin looked like incredibly smooth leather, almost a pale blue color with a mane of stringy black hair running down its entire length.

"Excuse me, if you please."  The voice boomed inside Ken's head, not like the slightly offset translation that sounded in his ear like with bird or the otter.

The otter moved off to the side, and Ken followed his lead.  The otter spoke into Ken's ear as the snake began to settle itself in front of the table.  "That's a Marrowak.  I can't tell whether it's the male or the female, but I met them earlier."

Ken was transfixed on the head of the thing, it was huge!  He found his voice, "Friendly?"

The otter gave a toothy grin, "Aye, but you'll want to give them a wide area-they're both telepathic and telekinetic."

Ken snapped out of daze, "What?"

The otter stared at the table, "Watch how it eats."

Ken turned to look at the snake, which did nothing more than stare at the table.  He turned his gaze to the table and couldn't believe what he saw.  A large bowl of red punch started to turn transparent, from red to pink to perfectly clear.  Ken gawked, unable to believe what he just saw, "Hey, how did he…?", he turned his head, the otter was gone.  He looked back to the snake, which was on its way to another table.

Ken stood, pondering what he just saw.  He finally came to a conclusion that suited him, "What a stupid party."  He was about to look for Jenny when Ro'Lex returned with a large furry creature.  The thing had a bony tube/snout attached to its head, from which a large tongue flicked out, Ken had never seen anything that fat before, well, except maybe for his uncle. 

Ro'Lex seemed pleased to find Ken where he had left him, but then its heads started to go in all directions as it realized only one of the two humans it left was still here.  "Where is your companion, uh, Ken?"

Ken rolled his eyes, then a thought grabbed him.  "Hey, where can I get a huge sword like that otter?"

"Otter?" Ro'Lex started to preen its feathers, trying to figure out what the human was talking about.  It's heads shot up, "The Tavi!  No, no…do not associate with that creature.  It is very dangerous," in a side note to itself it whispered, "And I have enough trouble with you alone."

It's last train of thought popped back into its skulls, "Please human, tell me where your companion went!"

"She felt like wandering around.  I think I'm going to go look for her."

Both heads shot straight at Ken, its wings flapped a bit nervously, "NO!  That won't be necessary.  You stay here, talk with Rheseepa while I go look for your companion."

Ken gave a tight shrug as he watched the bird shoot off in a hurry.  A short burst of flutey music filled his ears before the translator took over.  "Are all of your kind as ugly as yourself?"

Ken shot the thing an angry look, it didn't seem impressed.  He came very close to ripping the things beak out but then calmed himself, let himself ignore the comment.  He poured himself a glass of blue juice, gave a sniff, and then finally decided to add a bit of the good stuff from his lucky flask-which he never leaves home when going to parties.  He took a small sip, the stuff almost made him vomit as soon as it hit his tongue.  In disgust he spit it back in the glass, then started to look for a place to dump it.  The flutey alien stared awkwardly at him, if only he could dump it down that things throat!  In no time he spotted a potted plant next to a wall, just a few feet away.  Nonchalantly he moseyed on over to it and dumped the contents of his drink into its soil-the thing immediately started to shake violently, he stared at it for a second then went back to the table.

Angry musical notes filled his ears, followed by a translation, "Ill-bred savage!  Have you no consideration for other guests?  You belong in a zoo, barbarian!"

Ken turned to face the huge furball, which sat on its back legs glaring up at him.  Ken's hand shot out and grabbed the things' flabby neck, which was almost non-existent.  "Listen fatty, I've had a pretty shitty night.  I don't need any more crap from something as stupid looking as you!"

The thing squeezed out some strangled notes, "I was merely stating an opinion.", it's eyes rolled, "I saw your companion earlier," Ken started to lift the thing up to eye level, for something this huge it weighed next to nothing.

"Where?"

"Kaa…", it couldn't seem to breath so Ken dropped it on its ass.  It shook its head a couple times and a constant, low-pitched note, which the translator couldn't understand, escaped it.  Finally it caught its breath and then glared at him, "She was talking with the Kaahn," Ken could swear it was smirking, "They seemed very interested in her choice of garments."

Kenny scratched his head, "Garments?  Oh, you mean her costu…," he looked at the furball, "Why were they interested in her costume?"

The thing pointed a long, thin claw out towards one of the groups and Ken squinted at the few aliens in it.  Yeah!  There was Jen, talking to a bunch of tiger people, they stood maybe a foot taller than her.  He saw her whisper into one their ears and then they all started laughing.

The anger swept over Ken like a tidal wave.  He started marching right towards that group of aliens, most of them saw him coming and parted before him.  One thought repeated itself in his mind, I'm gonna kill them, I'm gonna kill them, I'm gonna…

Jenny laughed at the colonel's joke, she couldn't believe her luck in actually finding someone as interesting and important as him at this party.  At first she felt a little strange when they approached her, but later on they explained their interest in her clothing.  They actually seemed very interested in her as a person, well maybe not completely, but it was much better from what she got from Ken. 

The three aliens were all about a head taller than Ken, wore very formal attire-military uniform they explained.  The high collars came up to their cheeks, and looked a bit uncomfortable to her, but it seems that men of any species had to play their little games and look important.  They had a very feline appearance, smooth fur covered their faces except for their muzzles which were a darker skin color but furless except for their whiskers-which tickled her the last time Gregorik leaned in to talk to her.  The colonel did most of the talking, which he seemed fairly good at, the other two, who he said were his subordinates, mostly just kept an eye on the crowd around them.

"That's so true colonel, I…"

Squawks, hisses, and other protests alerted Jen's attention.  She turned her head to find Ken pushing past a lot of aliens and coming straight for her.  The two Kaahn subordinates immediately positioned themselves in front of Jen and the colonel, preparing themselves for conflict.

Ken finally stopped in front of the two cats.  "Outta the way buttheads."

One of the cats hissed, the translator did its job and Ken heard, "Turn around and leave before we are forced to hurt you."

Ken tried to smirk, but his anger was still too hot, "Is that a fact."

"Ye…", the aliens' words were cut short as Ken punched him in the gut, the Kaahn immediately fell to the floor gripping itself in pain.

The other Kaahn couldn't believe what it just saw, unable to react he just stared at his comrade.  Ken slugged him in the chin, knocking him out almost immediately.  He looked down at the two Kaahn, "Punks."

The colonel stared at Ken, finally he regained his composure.  "The lady is with me," he stepped to face Ken, only to be forcibly pushed into the table behind him.  He fell on his backside and gripped his side in pain.  Ken grabbed Jenny's arm and started to pull her away from the big cat.

"What do you think you're doing you big jerk!", Jen freed herself from Ken's grasp.

"What do you think I'm doing Jen."

Jenny ran over to the colonels' side, he gave her a flash of his fangs.  "Away from me, bitch!"

Jenny looked at him as if she had been slapped, she backed away from him.  "Why you ungrateful bag of hair!  I'm gonna…", she heard a grunt and turned her face just in time to see Ken chuck one of the larger punchbowls in the incapacitated cats' direction, unfortunately, he threw a little too hard and it hit some of those in the crowd behind the Kaahn.

          "Ken!  Stay out of this!  I'm sick and tired of you butting…"

          "Shut your mouth!" Jen turned to face the speaker, the large furry flute snout alien was speaking to her, "I've had enough of your tuneless babble!  You uncivili…" the rest of the exchange was cut short as Ken grabbed the creatures' snout.  He gave a short nod to Jen, who looked at him for a second before giving a short indifferent shrug.  He turned to face the alien, whose eyes were wide open, gave it his prize winning smile and then started to spin around and around with the beak still in his grasp.  When he picked up enough momentum he released and watched the thing sail across the room, emitting a very beautiful, but piercing scream.

          Ken looked at Jen, "Look hon, I'm real sorry I…"

          "Prepare to die whelp!"

          Both teenagers turned to see the very angry and very drenched Tavi brandish his huge sword at Ken.  Jen stepped in front of the alien, "What do you think you're…" The alien bared its teeth and then grabbed Jen's shoulder, pushing her out of his way.

          "Out of the way female!"  it growled.

          Ken bared his own teeth as the thing started to swing its sword in a slow arc in front of it.  "Now you die"

          It raised the sword above its head and Ken stood still, waiting for the strike.  A loud thud resounded from the creature.  The Tavi opened its maw all the way, a low strangled noise escaped from its mouth, Ken looked a bit closer at the creature.  A foot was sticking out from between its legs, Jen had kicked him in the nads from behind!  The thing fell over sideways and let go of its sword so it could fold itself into a fetal position, it choked out low mewling noises.

          A smile flashed across Ken's face, "Babe."  He opened his arms to embrace his woman.  Ro'Lex suddenly appeared out of nowhere, he took in the carnage with quick nervous looks with both heads, he then looked up at Ken and Jenny who were in each others arms.

          "PROTECTION SQUAD!!!" it screeched at the top of its longs. 

          An immediate silence filled the room full of aliens, then shouts and protests filled the room from farther down-but coming closer.  Finally a small force of aliens pushed their way into the clearing Ken had made a few seconds earlier.  Both the humans laughed at the sight of them.  They looked like four-foot tall bunnies in military form.  The only thing that seemed to distinguish them from earth bunnies was the fact that they stood on their two feet, had long tails, and weird ultra-blue coloring to their fur.

          Whatever their appearance, the things immediately saw the humans and walked straight towards them, an unmistakable look of anger across their faces.  Ken let go of Jen to face these 'security' guards.  He casually walked straight towards the group, which waited for his approach.  He leaned over in front of the lead bunny and reached out to pet it.

          "Awww, aren't you a cute fe…" almost immediately he was lying on his back.  Before he could figure out how he got that way, and more importantly, get up, one of the rabbits did a flying backflip while screaming some strange high-pitched cry.  It landed right on Ken's stomach, forcing the breath out of him and making him jerk in pain-and then a sharp pain to his face came out of nowhere as another rabbit struck him.  In a second he was surrounded by most of the squad, who started to hit, kick, and bite him.

          With a rush of anger and adrenaline Ken managed to throw the little things off of him, leaving only one directly in front of him.  He managed to get his fists up, "Okay, you wanna fight?  Let's fight."

          The sidekick to his stomach brought him to a bent position, gasping for air.  He turned his face up towards the dangerous alien.  It took a second to ready itself, then bounded at him.  One of its feet pushed off Kens' knee to give it some lift, the other one did a spin that Ken only saw as a blur.  The spinning kick hit him square in the jaw, and he fell onto his face, unconscious.

          A blinding light woke him out of his daze and the first thing he noticed was the pain in the back of his head, he grabbed it without thinking.

          "Ooooh" Jen was waking up next to him, they both looked around.  Somehow they ended up back in his truck on I94.

          Ken gave a look to Jen, she looked a little confused also.  "Was that a drea…?"  Jenny touched her finger to his lips. 

          "Shhhh, forget about that baby.  You got pretty beat up back there."  She rubbed the back of his head.

          Ken shrugged and gave a smile, "Well, I couldn't let them insult you, could I?"

          Jen gave Kenny a full smile, which he returned-but ended up being interrupted by Jen's lips pressing against his.  He decided to wait until later to see if Jen had gotten past that little problem they had back there.  'Hey,' he thought, 'if she's not going to bring it up, why should I?'

          He returned his full attention to Jen, snuggling takes a lot of attention to do it just right you know.