Team Tiger Trouble (+1)
(Note: Kiva is not driving, using tools, or doing anything other than taking up space in the car.)
“WAKE THE FUCK UP!”
Kayden startled awake, then glared at the closed door, silently cursing Kiva for his crude way of getting their attention. Most people would have called, or left a message, or put in a wake-up call, but no, Kiva kicked the door in his boots and yelled.
Kaylie, however, wasn’t so silent. “Twin Suns, Kiva, I was enjoying that dream! Go sit on your tail and twist.”
Jaden grinned, then said, “Someone’s moody this morning. Got a bit of a headache, do you?”
Kaylie growled, while Nova spoke up, “This is your requested wake up time. Oh. I see that I am too late. Next time, I will set my sleep mode to wake me five minutes before your requested time.”
“No shit, Nova. Kiva blew something up in the hallway.” Kaylie grumbled.
“No, I kicked the door. But I’m sure I could make an explosion using the stuff we find at breakfast.” Kiva said.
“Ugh. Nova, can you scan the food this time so we don’t have another day of weird side effects?” Jaden asked.
“I can. I assume that you will then continue to ignore my advice and consume it anyway.”
While Kaylie got dressed in a neon green shirt and a pair of running shorts, Jaden tried out a black t-shirt combined with cargo shorts. Kayden, however, took a bit longer to get ready. He started with his pale gray flight suit, taking Nova’s chassis off of his arm long enough to get the suit on, then started putting his armor on. The thin black panels went on easily, and seemed almost to mesh together so well that they appeared seamless. He clamped Nova over his right arm again, then pulled on his traditional black Warrior’s robe.
“Something we need to know about, Kayden?” Jaden asked.
“No. I just felt like wearing it. This robe is a bit loose otherwise.”
At the breakfast buffet, Nova started by listing safe items they could have. “I had time to analyze why the beer and the cola affected both Kayden and Kaylie much stronger than expected from the amounts of compounds in those beverages. The bubbles are the culprit. We have no such method of serving a drink full of carbon dioxide gas, and your bodies aren’t able to deal with the micro-droplets cast off by the expanding gas in the liquid. The compound responsible for the intense sensory overload is known locally as ‘caffeine’ and is in a lot of drinks. At the same time, some humans have a sensitivity to caffeine, so they have produced ‘caffeine free’ versions of these popular drinks. The decaffeinated coffee should be safe to drink, as will be the orange juice. The milk should be avoided, only because it is one of the primary ingredients in cheese, which has already proven to be unpleasant. I would advise sticking to the meats, they seem the least likely to disagree with you in the transport.”
Kayden, Kaylie, and Jaden all went straight to the decaffeinated coffee, loading it full of creamer and sugar, before piling their plates with bacon, sausages, and ham. Kayden added a few slices of toast, and noticed Jaden’s half smirk at seeing the burnt bread.
At the same time, Kiva was loading up his plate with bacon and eggs, cheese, sausages, and toast. While he was wearing the same outfit as he was the night before, consisting of his black cowboy boots, dark blue jeans, a simple shirt, his black duster, and carrying his black cowboy hat, Kayden noticed the bag Kiva was carrying, mostly because he opened it to retrieve a heat-discolored stainless steel cup from it.
Kiva filled it with fully-caffeinated coffee, then brought it over to the table, along with a spare coffee mug. He dropped two teabags into the mug, then balanced his stainless cup on the tips of his fingers, his claws resting against the metal. With barely a glance at it, he ignited a fireball under the cup, rapidly bringing the coffee to a boil. Once it was bubbling, Kiva dumped the boiling coffee into the coffee mug containing the teabag, and waited for it to steep.
After five minutes, Kiva removed the teabags, setting them on the table without anything to keep them from making a mess, then took a sip of his concoction. He set the mug down, then started eating his breakfast along with Kayden, Kaylie, and Jaden.
Once the plates were all empty, and the Tigrilans had gone back for more decaf coffee without ill effects, Kiva finished most of his mixed mess of a drink. With barely enough to darken the ceramic bottom, he stared deeply into the mug. After a few minutes, he grabbed his smartphone, entered Fuzz’s number, and sent two messages. The first was simple, designed to taunt about his prank.
I hope you like the present I left you. I’m sure it’s worth the time and effort needed to open it.
The second one, he waited a few more minutes, before typing it out and sending it as well.
Tell Her not to run the red light.
Kiva then stuffed his phone back into his pocket, finished the last of his mixed coffee and tea, then said to Jaden, “No, I didn’t See anything related to you guys. I can’t control it.”
Jaden shrugged, then said, “I’m still a little skeptical about that whole fortune-telling dung, but I believe that you have magic of some sort. I saw the fire, felt the heat, smelled the hot metal and coffee.”
Kayden was about to respond, but stopped short when he heard a coffee mug shatter on the floor.
“Told ya I saw a demon, mommy. Whoa, totally wicked, those are tiger-men! Are you guys, like, from outer space? Do you have a spaceship? Why’s he so big? Is the demon one of your friends?”
Kiva groaned, then turned to answer the child before any more questions spilled out. “Yes, they are from outer space, and they do have a starship. The big one is a warrior, he fights the bad guys who want to take over Earth, and he’s big because he ate all of his fruits and vegetables when he was little.”
As Nova went to speak, Kayden hit the mute switch. As a response, Nova fired up the holographic projector, produced an avatar of herself, a golden-and-black striped tiger-woman in a flowing white robe, and reached out in hard-light mode to unmute the volume. “That was incredibly rude. I was merely going to introduce myself, because I came to the logical conclusion that this human child would probably like to meet a real artificial intelligence.”
“Whoa! She came out of that screen on his armor.” When the child waved his hand through Nova’s avatar several times, she seemed perplexed. After a few more times, she waited until his hand was well outside the safety range, and enabled the hard-light mode again. This time, the child’s hand smacked straight into Nova’s arm. “Among our people, it is considered rude to phase through another’s AI. Please do not do that again.”
Kiva noticed the mother looking rather pale, and helped her to a chair. “For the record, I’m not a demon. Nor am I a Hellhound. My job is to keep the American public safe, and my form was specifically designed for that purpose.”
“But, you’re a demon.”
Kiva sighed, then replied with, “No, I’m the fire-proof guy who runs into burning buildings to save people or pets that got left behind. I throw fireballs at people who harm others. I can shoot the trigger fingers off of a sniper at a thousand yards. If I am indeed a demon, then I’m doing everything wrong.”