As Callie Briggs and District Attorney Mills got off the elevator, they found the lobby deserted. Outside, they could see Manx’s limousine parked at the curb. Some Enforcer cruisers flew past, sirens wailing. They ran outside and down the steps towards the limo. There was no sign of the chauffeur, and the front passenger door hung open. Dark Kat’s Fear Ship filled the sky ominously.
“What do we do?” whimpered Mills.
“We can take my car!” Callie said.
She led the way into the City Hall parking garage. Her green sedan was the only car left, apart from two others, one of which was Mills’ own luxury sports car. Mills started for it, but then stopped, and came over to Callie’s car. Callie figured the District Attorney didn’t want to ride alone. She and Mills got inside and, sticking her key in, she fired up the engine and floored it, smashing through the front gate and careening out onto the street.
“What about Mayor Manx?” Mills asked, concerned, glancing back at the limousine still sitting at the curb.
“He’s just going to have to fend for himself,” Callie said angrily and swung the corner, headed in the direction of Enforcer Headquarters several blocks away. “He deserves no less for abandoning both Megakat City and the SWAT Kats the way he did.”
Mills found he couldn’t argue with that and said nothing for the remainder of their drive.
A few minutes after they were gone, Mayor Manx came staggering out of the front entrance of City Hall, his toupee askew, panting, out of breath from lugging the weight of his golf bag down all those flights of stairs. Managing to make it to the bottom of the steps, he paused for a breather, taking the golf bag off and setting it down. He noticed his chauffeur was gone and grumbled in irritation.
Taking his hairpiece off, he wiped his bald spot with a handkerchief, before looking up and noticing the Fear Ship. With a squeal, he put the toupee back on backwards and bolted for the limo, then stopped, remembered the golf bag, and went back for it. He shoved it into the open front passenger door, buckling its seatbelt. Then, slamming the door, he went and got behind the wheel.
There were no keys, and he pounded the steering wheel in frustration. Suddenly, he heard scuffling feet, and his chauffeur appeared, out of uniform, headed for the parking garage. Manx beeped the horn and rolled the window down.
“Hey, you!” he yelled, having never remembered his driver’s name. “Get over here! You’ve got to get me out of here!”
The chauffeur stopped, looked at him, then elected to keep running.
“Wait! Come back!” Manx wailed.
At that, the chauffeur stopped and ran back over. Manx grinned and started to get out so he could go and get in the backseat, but, instead, the chauffeur just fished the limo keys out of his pocket and threw them to him. Manx caught them.
“Get yourself outta here!” the chauffeur said. “I quit!”
With that, he whirled and took off again, and this time, he kept going.
“You ungrateful little-!” Manx yelled impotently.
Growling, he got back in and started the limo up and threw it into reverse. He didn’t intend to follow Callie. Instead, he swung the limo around and drove in the opposite direction, towards the city limits. He was getting out of Megakat City!
Traffic was light getting to Enforcer Headquarters. The Enforcers were keeping people off of the streets. There was a barricade being manned by Sergeant Brady when they arrived, and Callie slid her car to a stop at it, and she and District Attorney Mills got out. Brady seemed surprised but glad to see them. Callie especially.
“Deputy Mayor, District Attorney,” he said, “You’d better come quick. Don’t tell him I told you this, but Commander Feral is about to do something quite foolish.”
“More foolish than sending the SWAT Kats to do the Enforcers’ job?” Mills grumbled and crossed his arms.
Callie shot him a fierce look, and he grinned sheepishly and shrugged. Shaking her head, she turned back to the Sergeant, who gestured for them to come with him. He left a subordinate officer in charge and the three of them ran inside. There were a number of civilians in the lobby, mostly consisting of the crowd who had gathered outside from before, huddling in here from the shadow of the Fear Ship outside. District Attorney Mills elected to stay in the lobby with the other people, and Callie accompanied Sergeant Brady upstairs to the central operations room herself.
“He’s going to attack Dark Kat head on again!” said Brady. “And, this time, it’s not going to be just a distraction, but the real deal.”
Callie frowned. “Why are you telling me?”
“Well, you being the Deputy Mayor and all, I sort of was hoping you could get the Mayor to see clear to-”
Callie coldly cut him off. “Manx isn’t the mayor anymore.”
“Huh?” Brady gulped.
“He pretty much resigned about ten minutes ago. The last time I saw him, he and his precious golf bag were running off into the horizon.”
She put her hands on her hips as it seemed to fully sink in for her that with Manx gone, officially or unofficially, this left her solely in charge of Megakat City. The second Manx had taken his golf bag and ran, Callie had gone from being deputy mayor to acting mayor. The Sergeant seemed to realize this, too.
“I see,” he said. “Then I guess that makes you…”
“Acting mayor,” Callie said. “Until Manx comes back, anyway.”
She wasn’t smug or proud about it and, in fact, would’ve preferred to avoid it. But, it was either take on the responsibility or leave Megakat City at Dark Kat’s mercy.
“Yes, ma’am!” Brady said, snapping immediately to attention. “Then allow me to rephrase. You being the acting mayor and all, perhaps you, then, can see clear to call the Commander off of this suicide mission of his.”
She nodded. “Where is he?”
“On the runway,” Brady said. “If you hurry, you can catch him!”
Callie turned and ran through the building, taking the elevator to the elevated runway of the building, but she was seconds too late. She watched a large squadron of Enforcer jets, likely including Feral’s, in the midst of taking off. They left the runway and soared into the sky. She sighed. Feral was going to get himself and his niece killed, and Dark Kat’s retaliation would cost hundreds more innocent lives!
She returned to the operations room. Her frown told Sergeant Brady all he needed to know. Approaching a female technician, she said, “Get me Commander Feral.”
In his jet at the head of his squadron, Commander Feral gritted his teeth resolutely as he watched the Fear Ship growing steadily in size the closer they got to it. He switched on his radio to all frequencies, addressing his men.
“Commander Feral to all squadron members. I will attempt to contact Dark Kat and elicit a surrender and the safe return of Lieutenant Feral. If negotiations fail, engage and destroy. I repeat, engage and destroy.”
In the alchemical laboratory aboard the Fear Ship, Dark Kat divided his time between preparing to grow a new batch of Stalkers and keeping an eye on the captured Felina Feral. She was putting up quite a magnificent fight against the mind-draining machine, struggling and moaning. She was far stronger than he’d anticipated, and it was going to be some time before he had fully retrieved all of the information he wanted from her.
Suddenly, there was a muffled but powerful explosion which rocked the ship. It sounded like it came from somewhere down below. Zeckis came running down the stairs, waving his arms frantically.
“Dark Kat!” he cried, and Dark Kat fully expected a report on the SWAT Kats’ survival. Instead, Zeckis had different news to deliver. “The Enforcers!”
“What about them?” Dark Kat asked.
“They’re approaching our position again!” Zeckis said.
“They mean to attack us?”
Zeckis shrugged. “No, master, Commander Feral is just demanding the return of his niece. They’ve made no hostile moves against us, yet.”
“Unbelievable!” roared Dark Kat. “But, wait, what caused that explosion I just felt?”
In his jet, Feral said into his radio, “Attention, Dark Kat! This is Commander Feral of the Enforcers! Release your prisoner at once or suffer the consequences!”
There was no response. His worst fears were being confirmed. “Feral to all pilots, engage!”
Suddenly, a female voice cut in. “Commander Feral, stand down!” Callie Briggs. “This is Acting Mayor Callie Briggs!”
“Back off, Briggs,” Feral snarled. Then he realized how she had identified herself. “Wait, what? Where is Manx?”
Callie filled him in. Feral allowed himself a guffaw despite the situation. After he was finished, he turned serious again. “Briggs, let me blast Dark Kat and his ship out of existence! I just know he’s murdered Felina already!”
“No, Feral,” Callie said, “not while there’s a chance the SWAT Kats are still aboard and alive! And, if they’re still alive, then so is Felina!”
Feral wrestled with himself. He wanted to believe, to hope, Felina was still alive and that the SWAT Kats, as much as he hated them, could save her, or that she could free herself one. But, the realist in him was certain the SWAT Kats had failed and that his niece was dead.
Hope won out.
“Understood,” Feral said, and then, hurriedly, to his pilots, added, “Abort the attack, men. Remain in a holding pattern around the ship until further instructions. Agreed, Mayor?”
Callie seemed to mull it over. “Agreed, Commander.”
On the Fear Ship, Dark Kat seethed with rage. It seemed his initial impression, that the SWAT Kats had been responsible for that latest tremor, had been correct. A quick look at the computer terminal in the laboratory showed critical power failings and lava overflow on decks eleven and twelve.
The lava had, so far, been contained, but there was no telling how much more damage those meddling SWAT Kats were going to cause. He turned to Felina Feral and deactivated the memory-stealing device.
“I’m afraid we must postpone our little session for the time being, Lieutenant. I’m having to reroute the power needed for the memory-drain to other, more important systems.”
Curses! He used the computer to send the needed power to the engines to keep the Fear Ship operational and, when he was done, punched a random control panel, crunching it. Felina sighed with relief and visibly relaxed. He sneered at her.
“Don’t get too cocky, Lieutenant!” he growled. “Once I’m done with the SWAT Kats, I’ll be back to finish sucking your pretty little mind dry!”
“I look forward to seeing you try!” Felina hissed, straining at her bonds. “And, to ripping out your eyes!”
Dark Kat chuckled. He looked over at Zeckis, who still stood expectantly at the bottom of the steps. Dark Kat grabbed him by the scruff and dragged him over.
“Watch her,” he commanded. “Your performance lately has been unsatisfactory. If she escapes, I’ll do worse than kill you!”
Zeckis nodded fearfully. “Yes, master!”
Then, whirling, his cloak swishing, Dark Kat bounded powerfully up the stairs, roaring at the top of his lungs, “SWAT Kats! Prepare yourselves! I am coming for you!”
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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.