The hazy salmon sun permeates the dense smog on a cold Detroit morning. A tiny mew cries out into the damp basement air and the new mother pulls her newborn kitten into the snug security of her fur, urging the baby boy to suckle her warm milk. The weeks that follow are idyllic and carefree; packed with endless rumble-tumble with siblings and hours of nurse-n-nap with Mama. Then, one afternoon, while the others are sleeping, Mama pulls the kitten aside.
"Son, you're six weeks old now and it's time for us to have a talk."
"Am I in trouble, Mama?"
Mama gently places her loving paw on his shoulder and brings him closer. "No, baby, you're not in trouble."
"Then what is it?"
"Well, I wish your father was around to have this talk with you, but we both know..."
Kitten drops his head and nods. Mama continues, "You're the cutest one of the litter - you know that."
Kitten rolls his eyes and shakes his head. "Mama...."
"Just listen - there is a future for those like you. Not all kittens are lucky enough to go and even fewer are lucky enough to survive, but the honor to be won... oh, the untold glory and honor..." Mama closes her eyes and a tiny tear rolls down her butterscotch cheek. Kitten reaches up and wipes the tear with his petite paw.
"What are you trying to say, Mama?"
"Kitten, you're going to war."