A pounding noise roused the rodent from his slumber, the grey furred officer jolting awake and wiping at the drool that had matted the fur around his muzzle. A paw was on his holster before he realized the noise was someone knocking at his door.
Grinning to himself, the officer stood up, wiping sleep from his eyes and brushing a paw down the front of his dress uniform to straighten out the worst of the creases. He pressed a button on his console and the desks and chairs lined around the side of the room smoothly slid into the floor and walls, which closed up neatly behind them. Cricking his neck from side to side and performing a few quick stretches, the rodent stepped down from his dias, coming to a stop in the middle of the large, now very open room before calling out.
Smoothly the door slid open and the rat watched as two lieutenants marched in, pulling between them one of the conquered locals. The alien had strong metal manacles locked around its wrists and ankles, each pair chained together, hobbling its movement. It looked battered but clean. Although captured fresh from the battlefield, the Lord General had ordered the captive washed before being brought to him. It had been stripped of its military uniform to do so, and its captors hadn't bothered to redress it before dragging it over towards their Lord General.
Indeed, looking over it, the rodent was able to quickly determine that this alien was, in fact, a 'he'. Their species seemed to have followed one of the more common routes of evolution seen in the galaxy, a very rodent-like shape that many of the aliens they had encountered so far seemed to share, the same shape that his own species had evolved into.
As well as the shape, this alien shared other features, such as the furred sheath and balls between his legs which had allowed the rat to so easily sex the captive standing in front of him. There were some differences though. Rather than their own rounded ears the aliens' extended upwards into a pointed, triangular shape. Their tail was long and slim, just like his own, but covered completely in a layer of fur. When the alien glared directly at him, Caryl could see that his irises were slitted vertically.
Of course, the Lord General was already well aware of the characteristics of the creature in front of him, having been briefed extensively of their physiology and technology. But this was the first chance he had gotten to examine one up close without it actively trying to kill him.
The rodent met that glare with a cocksure grin as he stalked forwards towards the alien, openly looking him up and down, his pelt of fur was black from head to toe, save at the very tip of his tail, where a splotch of white showed. He looked surprisingly scrawny for a soldier at first glance, but a second, more thorough study told a different story.
The alien held himself with poise, even despite the shackles around his arms and legs, his back straight, his arms resting relaxed in front of him. His eyes had scanned around the room once, taking in his surroundings, then focused directly on the uniformed officer in front of him, looking him up and down, sizing him up. His body wasn't weak, it was lithe, the alien was toned rather than bulked, muscles where it mattered and a fine pack of abs, all of which were quite well camouflaged by the felines jet black fur.
The grin on the rodent’s face widened, a thrill of pleasure running down his back, this one was a warrior. Too often for his tastes, the captive that was marched into his quarters was overweight, clumsy, slow, weak, the position of command away from the front lines lulling them into complacency with their body and skills, not so with this one.
"Let him out."
The soldiers holding the alien moved quickly to obey, smoothly releasing the prisoner of war from his manacles, saluting, then turning and leaving the room without another word spoken. The rat enjoyed the brief flash of surprise on the alien's face before it settled once more into its steely mask.
“I’m Caryl.” The rodent introduced himself. “Well, Lord General Caryl, usually. But you can just use Caryl if you wish.”
Silence. Caryl only seemed to grow more amused.
"I know what you're thinking." He said. "This is still hardly fair, I'm dressed, you're naked, I could have any kind of weapon on me." He inclined his head once towards the smaller male. "Well, fair enough."
Stopping many paces away from the captured enemy, Caryl reached for his dress uniform and started to strip, his motions slow and careful, keeping an eye on the feline in case he got any ideas about taking advantage of the situation, but the cat seemed to realize the same thing as him, the rodent was too far away for him to reach quickly, definitely not quickly enough to attack before Caryl could react, so he stayed where he was, watching with impassive eyes.
The rodent himself had a pelt of pure grey fur, darker over his back, but lightening to a more creamy colour around his belly and sheath. His own pelt of fur was quite thick, hiding the muscle underneath, at least until the rat fell into a fighting stance, letting the occasional glimpse of firmness peek through. The rat's stance was wide, and not just to help him keep balance.
Compared to their body size, his species had the largest balls of any they had encountered so far, and even for a rodent, Caryl was especially gifted in that department. Not to mention all of the feedings that pair of orbs had been getting, it left the Lord General with a heavy, dangling sac that wouldn't have been out of place on a modest statue of a god of virility. A chuckle slid out of the rodent's throat as he noticed the feline's eyes dart down towards them for a second, then right back up to him.
"Not bad, eh?" The rodent said as he started to slowly walk towards the cat, his arms spread cockily. "Don't worry, you'll get a much closer view of them soon enough. Then you'll get to rejoin your people. All back together again in one big sticky mess." As he talked, the rodent noticed a downturn in the captive's mouth, one of the very few signs of emotion from him since he had been marched into the room. The rat grinned and kept pushing.
"Heard a lot of background gurgling noises over the coms. Wonder what it looks like down there." He mused, he affected a contemplative look as he continued to pad forwards towards the alien before he shook his head and snapped his fingers. "Oh, of course, it looks just like all your other fortresses. Covered in white goop and occupied by a lot of satisfied looking rats."
Aside from the frown, his captive had been as still as a statue, but the moment Caryl was within striking distance of the feline, the alien lashed out with a fist. Even from an entirely neutral position, the strike came in a fast black blur, the cat's entire body thrown forward into the attack to lend it weight. Caryl had been expecting it though and managed to twist back into a stance, turning his body at an angle, the strike hit him in the stomach, but it glanced forwards, most of the force deflected past the rodent.
A second strike flashed out, a hard hook from the cat’s other paw towards the rodent's face, Caryl managed to dance backwards in time enough to dodge it entirely, taking several quick steps to keep out of range in case the feline attempted to follow up. Immediately, automatically, he fell into his fighting stance. The rat's legs were positioned just slightly wider than his shoulders, his left foot further back than his right to keep his body turned at an angle to his opponent, his fists were raised close to his face, his forearms kept in close to his chest.
And it was a good thing too, as the alien did indeed press the attack, throwing another jab at Caryl while the rat was assuming his stance, the rat managed to deflect the blow entirely with one of his arms. The feline fell back, his eyes sharp as he circled around the rodent, watching him carefully, studying his stance. The Lord General pivoted to keep facing his attacker, he kept his legs slightly bent so he was able to straighten either of them quickly to push either forwards or backwards with ease, and with the weight on the front of his paws he could spin and pivot at a moment's notice.
Again the alien pushed in, his probing getting more aggressive, he launched a fast two-strike combo on the rat, Caryl managed to deflect them both, then countered with a hard jab of his own. This showed the rodent that the feline was also quite skilled in defence, though his technique was different, remarkably light on his feet he twisted out of the way, avoiding the attack entirely rather than blocking.
Caryl chuckled, his tail lashing back and forth behind him as he watched his opponent, a glint of pleasure in his eyes as they broke apart once more. In contrast to his own pleased, slightly wild expression, the alien circling him could have been carved from granite, his expression giving nothing away, naught but focus in his eyes.
They closed with each other several times and Caryl slowly got a feel of the fight. The alien was fast. Caryl wasn't exactly slow himself when it came to throwing a punch, nonetheless every time he did the feline smoothly moved out of the way, flowing like water. Not only that, the black furred creature also managed to land the occasional hit on Caryl, but the rat's defensive posture was excellent and each hit glanced off of him, leaving no real lasting damage.
When the next strike flashed out towards him, Caryl lunged forwards, moving into the attack and keeping both his arms up and close to block at the same time. The extra momentum lent more force to the blow and sent a throbbing up the rodent's arms, but as they were so close, not even the feline's exceptional speed could stop Caryl from establishing a grapple. He hooked an arm under the alien's own extended one, pulling it upwards into an arm lock. Quickly, the Lord General slid behind the cat to get out of range of retaliation, and gripped the back of the alien's head with his other paw. With a burst of motion and effort, Caryl pulled down hard on the feline's head and upper body, letting both of them fly out of his grasp as he spun his opponent almost upside down, sending all of his momentum directly towards the floor.
Rather than the decisive, disabling impact he was expecting to see, though, Caryl's expression momentarily widened in surprise as the cat pulled off a perfect forwards roll, tucking his head in to keep it protected as he tumbled across the ground, regained his feet and quickly spun to face the rodent again. As he watched the cat carefully move back up to striking distance Caryl felt a strange tinge of something he hadn't gotten to enjoy for a while. Excitement, uncertainty. This alien was good, very good, and he hadn't even displayed any signs of strain yet. Caryl wasn't certain he could win this fight.
"Oh, fuck yes."
Lunging forwards, the rat took the offensive in a sudden spurt of energy, pressing into the cat in a constant advance as his opponent dodged and weaved away from his strikes. Several times the rodent attempted to get in close to establish a grapple again, hoping to turn it into a pin, but having seen the rodent's technique once, his black furred opponent seemed determined not to be caught by it again. He was moving constantly, circling around Caryl, trying to get behind his guard. The rat kept his stance, pivoting every time his opponent dodged around his attack, but the feline kept it up so much that the rodent started to get a bit dizzy.
Then the rodent’s guard slipped. His face was open for just for a second, but that was all the time that his opponent needed, a black blur turned into a searing burst of pain in his head, and the Lord General stumbled backwards in full retreat, frantically lifting his arms back up defensively as he did so. He snarled as he shook his head, gritting his teeth through the pain and lunged back into the fray, but the cat remained as evasive as ever and Caryl’s frustration grew as he wasn’t able to repay the strike.
A second hit to the head caused the rodent to reel once more and this time the enemy general followed up, launching a barrage of fast but hard strikes before Caryl lashed out with a blind elbow to force the alien backwards and regained his footing. Now, when Caryl focused once more on the feline he could see it, just for a second, the ghost of a smile around his opponents face. When the black feline moved now it was with a new grace, a prowling confidence in his step as he continued to circle and circle. One last idea came to the rodent’s mind.
Caryl took a deep breath as he closed in again, and engaged in the usual skirmish, fists jabbed and feet jostled for position as the two of them probed for the opening that would let them past the other’s guard. The rat took his time, he danced to this old familiar tune for a while, he didn’t want it to be obvious. His heart hammered, he was in a room with a creature that wanted him dead, he was one mistake away from oblivion. Help was just a yell away, but that thought hadn’t even crossed the rodent’s mind, this was what he woke up for, this was what he lived for, and, he was certain, would die for one day. The pain in his head, the aches where the feline had followed up were a distant, barely present ache, all attention was on his partner as the rodent made his move.
His guard slipped.
The cat lunged in for the kill, his fist lashing out, Caryl took it to the skull once more, but he was moving even at the same time as the blow landed, his paws grabbed his opponent's neck and squeezed. And they squeezed hard.
He must have done it right, because when the stars cleared from his vision he was prone on the floor in front of the equally recumbent feline, who was also just starting to move, the only thought in the rodent’s dazed mind was that he couldn’t let his enemy get to his feet, and he pounced.