Club Cat

Valefor, Tokkastria, Skypad Gladad

Toma: You're not going out looking like that, are you?

Jaze: Wuh?

Jaze held his arms out and looked down at himself. While it was true that he didn't make a habit of frequenting nightclubs, but he thought he looked fine. He was dressed a bit more colorfully than usual, with a red, low-cut V-neck t-shirt with burnt orange hems around the neck and the ends of the sleeves. To accent this, he sported a light, silver vest with a few unused buckles dangling from the lapels. His jeans, at first glance, appeared black, but were actually deep purple and while they were skin-tight, they weren't overly so, making them comfortable. For accessories, he had a small, blue stone on a silver chain around his neck, a wristband, and three colorful bands adorning the end of his tail.

Toma approached him, unhooking one of the chains from his clothes as he came.

Toma: You need at least one chain attached to your clothes if you're going out.

Toma felt around for a good place to attach the chain he just removed from his own clothes. Finally he hooked one end to a belt loop on Jaze's jeans and the other to one of the buckles dangling from his vest.

Jaze: Is that it?

Toma: Not quite.

Toma ran his fingers around Jaze's shirt as though he was looking for something. Finally, without warning, he yanked on one of the sleeves, ripping it off of his arm.

Jaze: Hey! I like this shirt!

Toma: You can't go out without at least something ripped. Now, about those jeans...

Jaze took a step back and glared at Toma, his ears twisting menacingly on the top of his head.

Jaze: Touch my favorite jeans and I'm going to tie your ears in a knot and hang you from the ceiling.

Toma's eyes widened in surprise. He wasn't expecting a response like that.

Toma: Um... okay. Then instead, how about...


Toma: Okay, okay. What you have is fine then. It'll be dark soon, so we should go.

With the issue of clothing settled, both of them walked outside together to the garage. Toma opened it and they were immediately accosted by a very musty smell that told Jaze that nobody had been in there for a very long time. Mostly, it seemed like a normal garage with shelves full of junk and other assorted items piled everywhere. There was one large object in the middle hidden by a large cover. Jaze bent down and looked underneath. There was nothing. It was floating about a foot from the garage floor.

Toma pulled the cover to reveal what looked like old-fashioned, oversize black bumpercar. Jaze recognized it immediately as the typical mode of transportation for most tokki. He'd seen many clogging the streets of Valefor and for lack of a better word to describe them, he called them "hovercars."

Jaze: Wow! I didn't know you had one of these! I thought we were going to take a bus or something.

Jaze hopped into one of the seats and looked around, this being his first opportunity to see one up close. The interior was quite different than the cars of Carpathia, most glaringly in its lack of a steering wheel. He was clearly sitting in the driver's seat though, for the instrument panel was directly ahead of him. Flanking both sides of the seat were a pair of pistol-grip handles and it appeared that most of the major controls were situated on the center console between the two front seats.

Jaze: How does it work?

Toma leaned in and touched one of the handles.

Toma: It's pretty simple. These handles each control a thruster. Pull back to accelerate. Push forward to stop or go in reverse. Move them side to side to turn. If you want to make a sharp turn, you can use forward thrust on one side and reverse thrust on the other. It kinda hurts if you are going too fast when you do it though. Sit tight. I'm going to release the parking field and push it outside.

Toma pulled a small keyring out of his pocket and pushed a button. Jaze felt the car waver a little as the parking field was released. Toma then gave the front a gentle push and the car drifted smoothly out of the garage and into the driveway.

Toma: I'm going to need that seat eventually, Jaze.

Jaze: Hmm?

Jaze looked around and realized he was still sitting in the driver's seat. He hastily hopped to the left to the passenger side.

Jaze: Sorry!

Toma climbed into the drivers seat and inserted his keyring in a slot in the console.

Toma: It's alright. I know the feeling of being in a new place.

Toma gently nudged the car from the driveway onto the road that circled around the outside of the skypad.

Toma: At this time of day, we'll probably have to wait awhile for the elevator to ground level. The streets will probably be crowded too, so I hope you don't mind that it'll be after dark by the time we get there.

Jaze: Oh, I don't mind. I'll enjoy looking around and it'll be easier to do that if we're going slow! Say... Can I drive sometime?

Toma: Bad idea.

Jaze:Aw, you're probably right. I don't even know the rules of the road here.

Toma turned and looked at Jaze with his eyebrow raised.

Toma: What rules?

Jaze: Huh?

Jaze never got a response to his expression of confusion. At that moment, Toma yanked hard on the pistol-grip handles and the car and they both took off like a gunshot down the street.


Ranma, Tokkastria, Club District

Toma was right that traffic would be heavy on the way to the club. Jaze enjoyed seeing the sites of the city slowly move by in the gridlock and staying focused on sightseeing also helped him keep his sanity. Toma wasn't kidding when he explained that Tokkastrian roads have few rules. The only way he could keep himself from having a heart attack was to keep his seatbelt on and not pay any attention to what direction Toma was going. The tokki strolling down the sidewalk stared and a couple surreptitiously took pictures, even though they weren't supposed to.

They finally reached their destination, a huge complex that appeared to once have been an industrial center but was now covered with green lights. The music was so loud, it could be heard from the street.

Toma: You should remove your universal translator. It won't function properly in a place like that.

Jaze reached into his ear and pulled out the tiny translator device. It was the first time he'd removed it in public and it was very strange to hear all the voices around him suddenly shift into a different language.

Jaze: Well, at least I will be able to understand you in there.

There was a long line waiting to get into the club and Jaze was surprised as he followed Toma that he was bypassing the line altogether and heading straight for the front door. Once there, Toma started talking to the security bunny guarding the entrance. Jaze found it particularly striking that no matter where you are in the universe, there's always a goon in sunglasses guarding the entrance to a club somewhere and Tokkastria was no different.

Jaze watched as Toma exchanged words with the goon and tried to ignore everyone else in the line leaning over trying to get a better look at him. Once or twice, Toma pointed at Jaze until finally, the good unhooked the rope and motioned them to go in.

Jaze: Wow. I've never cut to the front of the line before.

Toma: Me neither. On the other hand, I've never been in the line in the first place.

Jaze: Neither have I, actually.

For all the silver towers and glistening modernity of Tokkastria, the club itself was surprisingly gothic in design, though it was not dark. Neon lights of every color wrapped and tangled their way around the stone arches and up to the ceiling providing a multicolored radiance to the entire dance floor, which was clogged with tokki. The floor itself appeared to be transparent and filled with colored lights that twinkled as energetically as the dancers themselves. The tokki were all dancing their own way to the music, which was loud and lively.

It took time for everyone to notice Jaze there through all the chaos, but as the night continued, gradually everyone noticed that there was a nekohuman in their midst. The longer Jaze danced, the more often someone tried to grab his tail, which, as far as he could tell, was the most interesting part of him to them. It bothered Jaze, but not too much. He was always able to break away from their grip easily and was enjoying his time on the dance floor immensely. Again, with the weaker gravity, he found that he was able to perform moves that he'd only dreamed of back on Carpathia. However, after a couple of hours, he was exhausted decided it was finally time to put forward the scheme that he and Toma had been planning since before they arrived on Tokkastria.

Jaze: I'm exhausted!

Toma leaned in closer. As loud as the club was, he had to put his ear within a hair of Jaze's mouth just to hear him.

Toma: What?

Jaze could barely hear Toma say even that one word. He repeated himself, this time shouting with all his might.

Jaze: I said, I'm exhausted!

Toma: Oh! Should we have one last dance then!

Jaze nodded. Toma took out his phone, tapped the music button, and showed Jaze the screen.

Toma: Which song do you want?

Jaze pointed to an old dance song from Earth's early 21st century, "Evacuate the Dance Floor."

Jaze: That one!

Toma stood up and went to the DJ. Jaze watched as he conversed with him, occasionally pointing back to Jaze once again. Finally, it seemed that the DJ agreed to play the song and almost immediately thereafter, it started. Toma turned to Jaze and smiled and right away, he ran to the middle of the dance floor as dozens of onlookers, confused by the strange new music, watched.

Toma and Jaze locked hands and danced together. Once again, the light gravity and Natalya's excellent teaching made everything easier. It didn't take long for a circle to form around the dance floor as curious tokki watched Jaze and Toma swing around, effortlessly pitching and throwing each other in moves that would be considered spectacularly acrobatic on Carpathia.

When the song finished, they retreated quickly off the dance floor Toma pointed to a small alcove with a table in an out-of-the-way place which was unused. They made their way over to it and sat down to await the chaos they were sure would occur.

Jaze: Nothing yet!

Toma: Patience! It'll happen any minute!

Sure enough, no sooner than Toma said that, the other tokki still on the dance floor joined as couples with anyone they could find and attempted to replicate what they had just seen.

It was an utter catastrophe right from the start. Tokki went flying in every direction as they were pitched unwittingly by their partners into the crowd. It only made them try harder and as they did, it only made the situation worse.

Jaze: You weren't kidding when you said they'd all try it!

Toma: I told you that they're ridiculously trendy! If they see anything new, they'll try it, no matter...


Jaze pushed Toma's head down and ducked himself just as a tokki went flying over them.

Tokki: YAAAAAAA!!!

He crashed into the wall behind them and flopped to the floor.

Tokki: Ne jonen!

Jaze looked over his seat behind him at the tokki that just went over his head.

Jaze: What did he say?

Toma: He said he's okay!

Jaze: We should go before anything else happens!

Toma: Agreed!

Toma and Jaze hastily emerged from their alcove and left the club.

Commissioned art in this episode from:

All city images from SimCity 4.

Support New Carpathia!

Support New Carpathia and future stories by becoming a Patreon!

If you'd like to make a one-time donation, here's PayPal.

comments powered by Disqus