Commander Feral paced back and forth behind his desk.
“So,” he said, “it was the Secret.”
Jason nodded. He and the commander were alone in Feral’s office.
It wasn’t going to be easy to say, the commander knew. And then, to explain it would be even harder. But the decision had to be made, and he had to make it then and there.
“And he’s after you.”
“Yes,” said Jason, “that’s what D- …Of- …*it* told me.”
“Then I have no choice. For your sake, Felina’s sake, …the sake of the city…”
“I’m placing you on foreign assignment.”
“F- foreign a…”
Jason could feel the beginnings of a lump in his throat.
The commander looked down at his feet.
“And just when I was starting to like you, too.”
Jason smiled. Now he HAD the lump.
“We pin the old kat’s home on that ex-sergeant’s organization, the Ghetto Computers thing on a gang, Cole’s murder on the waiter…” said Feral.
“But how do we explain THIS?” asked Jason.
Feral tossed a little baggie on the desk.
“‘Nip?” said Jason. “But…”
“We put Whitepaws in the rehab center. Best place for him. And we never talk about any of this again. We keep the details minimal to Kats’ Eye,” said Feral darkly.
Jason nodded, he understood. But foreign assignment? That could last years! He’d be gone for so much.
“You leave this afternoon,” said Feral, as though reading Jason’s mind. “And it’s not that bad. You’ll be back, once the threat is neutralized, or if we need you.”
“This afternoon? But that barely gives me any time to-”
“Goodbyes won’t be necessary. Besides, she won’t understand.”
“You will tell her, won’t you?!”
“No, the reason why.”
“When she asks.”
Jason looked down at his bloodstained uniform.
“I suppose I should be going,” he said.
“Your plane will leave at four – the information waiting at the airport.”
“I’ll go home and pack.”
Feral reached out his paw and put it on the younger tom’s shoulder. There was a sorrowful look on his face. Then he hugged him.
Jason was, needless to say, surprised.
“Sir,” was all he could manage.
Feral reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a package.
“Something to do on the flight.”
Jason looked inside.
The feeling: a mixture of pride, joy, and misery.
“It’s a record. Dismissed.”
“Thank you, Sir,” said Jason, and he walked out of the office, into the elevator, and out of the building.
Sergeant Whiskers was gone.
Feral stayed in his office for most of the day, mainly to avoid his niece, who spent hours down in the medical facility for the second day in a row, as she was in need of burn treatment on her shoulder, and she had a number of other injuries, too, that she simply hadn’t noticed.
For most of the time that she was in the hospital, she sat alone by herself, thinking.
She’d done a good job of tail-kicking, that was certain.
She’d cooperated with another she-kat – the horror!
She’d helped to rescue her partner – always a plus.
She’d won the respect and admiration of her colleagues.
She wondered what would happen next.
The burn treatment stung, and she reflexively slashed the medic who applied it. For that reason none of the others would go near her, and she was discharged, ordered to apply the burn treatment at regular intervals and she was to keep the area covered with a bandage, not get it wet, and she was to avoid use of that arm in strenuous activity.
She laughed at them and pressed the stinging, gooey pad to her shoulder, her uniform sleeve having been cut away. Then she walked out the door to see her uncle.
Scotty Angora stood on the helicopter deck, alone, thinking. Of course no one had told him the truth of what had happened, and he was confused. He watched the traffic go by, looking like ants from his high vantage point. He wondered what had happened that had caused him to be suddenly all alone.
He’d seen the commander. It was quite a shock to his senses, as it was the first time he and Ulysses Feral had stood face to face in a meeting. Being yelled at on the rooftop hadn’t quite been like this.
No, instead, when he was called in, it had had all of the rigid, disconcerting formality that made the fur on the back of his neck bristle.
And Feral had his record out, and he was writing him a commendation.
Scotty had felt proud.
He asked about Officer Whiskers.
“Sergeant Whiskers has been reassigned,” was all he was told.
It had been a double shock.
And now he was standing out on the deck, with the wind in his fur, mourning the departure of his two best friends.
He missed them, despite the circumstances.
He would have stood there for hours, but he was handed an order: repair a chopper that had been damaged that morning. He took it with a grin. And he went off on his assignment, too.
Tommorow would be another day.
The other officer asked him his name.
“Scotty,” he replied. “And you are?”
The rehab doctors strapped the patient down to the stretcher, his arms tied in two straightjackets. His eyes were furtive and wild, and he hissed at them as they wheeled him away. A small trickle of blood oozed down the side of his head where Feral’s doctor had removed the implant and attempted to patch the hole. The operation had been partially successful.
“This one’s really disgusting,” said one nurse.
“Yeah. Doesn’t look like a ‘nip head, either, does he?”
“No,” the first admitted, and they pushed him down the hall.
Then they left him, in a little grey room with padded walls and one tiny window, and there, alone, he began to cry.
He didn’t know why.
He just was.
Felina walked through the doors to Ulysses Feral’s office.
“Uncle,” she said. “I’m looking for Officer Whiskers.”
Feral shook his head.
“Sergeant,” he said to her. “Sergeant Feral, the kat you are looking for, Sergeant Whiskers, has been… reassigned.”
Felina’s exremities went numb.
“I know you will miss him,” the commander began, “but-”
Then the greeting hit her. Sergeant Feral. Promoted.
Sergeants could not be weak.
She stiffened and tossed her head.
“There will be no problems,” she said flatly. “Understood.”
Feral watched her for a moment, but she didn’t waver.
“Then you are dismissed,” he said, and she turned, and walked out.
The first few steps were the easiest, but by the time she reached the elevator, it had become nearly impossible to move. She bit her lip, and she cursed silently.
‘Oh, what’s a heart good for, anyway!’ she thought to herself.
She banished thoughts of him to the back of her mind, and completely released, she became her old self again.
The troublesome kitten was back in its cage.
And she was Sergeant Felina Feral.
*Sergeant* Felina Feral.
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Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.