Dark Kat advanced towards the SWAT Kats, a trio of Stalkers armed with laser rifles looming menacingly behind him, salivating in eager anticipation of ripping into their prey, fingers twitching anxiously against the triggers of their weapons. T-Bone backed up, but found himself bumping against something. He turned. Enormous doors. Through the crack between where they met in the center, he could see daylight. The outside!
“Although I’d love to prolong your deaths with as much pain as possible, I have a schedule to keep,” Dark Kat was saying, although T-Bone wasn’t paying much attention. “Even in your deaths I won’t let you hold me up a single moment longer than is absolutely necessary.”
Yeah, yeah, thought T-Bone. Typical villain speak. He was more focused on getting himself and his buddy out of there. The doors, he thought, these doors are the key. But, how could he open them? He turned and saw a lever on the wall. Aha! T-Bone lunged, swinging his arm up and over in a downward arc, hitting the handle of the lever with his open palm, smacking it downwards. There was a click and then a massive rumble as the doors opened, Razor giving a cry of surprise. The wind whipped everyones’ clothing around. Turning, T-Bone and Razor looked down from the edge, watching the countryside moving beneath them.
Dark Kat narrowed his eyes, realizing what T-Bone was about to do. “Kill them!” he bellowed.
“Not today!” said T-Bone, grabbing Razor’s wrist.
The Stalkers raised their weapons. T-Bone turned and leapt into open air and pulled Razor with him even as the Stalkers opened fire. Razor screamed as he and his friend tumbled through the air, flailing, lasers flying past them. As they fell, T-Bone, one arm around Razor’s waist, took aim with his Glovatrix and fired. He shot out a grappling line which anchored itself into the exterior of the ship several yards above them. The cable retracted, and the SWAT Kats were yanked upwards, Razor shrieking all the way They grabbed a hold of a piece of equipment jutting outwards and pulled themselves up onto a ledge, where they sat a few feet below what must have been the windows of the control room.
The two sat, panting. Razor’s tail was all poofed up, and he shook for a moment before recovering and punched his partner in the bicep angrily. “Warn me next time!” he said. After a moment, his expression softened and he sighed. “I… Sorry, buddy, but you terrified me there!”
“Don’t sweat it,” T-Bone said with a chuckle. He looked up. “Now what?”
“If my guesswork is right, then we’re right below where the control room ought to be. So, we go up!”
Felina Feral went to a weapons locker mounted on the wall of the control room and opened it, revealing a neatly arranged line of laser rifles. She smiled and selected one, examining it. Nearby, Zeckis stood rubbing his arm uneasily. It was clear he wanted to get out of there, and so did she. But, Felina knew they couldn’t simply leave Dark Kat’s flying monument to his own ego intact. And, even with the main controls destroyed, she knew there was the danger that Dark Kat could repair it. She’d have to damage it even more if she wanted it to fall.
She pulled a lever on the side of the rifle, and it clicked into place with a hum, indicating that the weapon was charged and ready to fire. Turning to Zeckis, she asked, “Where’s the engine room?”
Just as the technician was about to reply, the front viewing window of the room shattered inwards. The two spun, with Felina dropping to one knee and bringing the rifle up, taking aim. In climbed the SWAT Kats! She was overjoyed. Rising, she ran over to greet them.
“Lieutenant?” cried T-Bone, surprised to see her.
“Little late to the party, aren’t you, boys?” Felina said, smirking.
“You’re okay?” asked Razor.
“None the worse for wear,” Felina replied.
T-Bone scoffed. “Man,” he said, “all this work, and this crazy she-kat goes and rescues HERSELF!”
Felina pretended to be offended, affecting a pout. “Aw,” she teased, “and you sound so disappointed. Still glad to see you two.” It suddenly occurred to her, though, that the two vigilantes being here was unusual considering they should’ve been in the Enforcer holding cells back at Headquarters! “How did my uncle ever-”
“It’s a long story,” Razor said, cutting her off.
“Well, it’s a long way to the engine room,” Zeckis cut in, clearly eager to get moving.
They turned and looked at him. T-Bone raised one eyebrow, noticing the “D” insignia on the technician’s uniform. “Who’s this guy?”
“That’s also a long story,” Felina said.
Beneath them, they felt the floor lurch a little. Felina realized that without the controls, the ship was veering off course and heading in some completely random direction. Razor frowned, realizing that the vessel would crash soon, but, like Felina, he was eager to help it on its way!
“Yeah, well, like he said, it’s a long walk to the engine room,” he said urgently, “and I can already figure out what you wanna do. We can yak each other’s ears off on the way, come on!”
The four of them turned and ran out.
In Feral’s office at Enforcer Headquarters, General Boggs was pacing back and forth, threatening to wear the carpet thin. His peaked cap and bamboo stick were sitting on Feral’s desk nearby. He occasionally paused to examine his wristwatch, growling. Commander Feral stood at the window, staring out over the city, watching the Fear Ship hovering over the city. Suddenly, though, the massive vessel turned and began veering away from them, out towards the countryside.
“What’s he doing?” Feral cried suddenly.
Behind him, Callie got up from where she’d been sitting, and she and General Boggs joined him at the window. Callie cocked her head. That was it? Dark Kat was just leaving? But, something seemed wrong here, she realized. The Fear Ship was definitely moving away from Megakat City, but didn’t appear to be following any defined path. It was just… flying away. Was it damaged or something, she wondered?
“Has Dark Kat lost his mind?” Feral asked. Callie turned to look at him, blinking. Feral coughed. “More,” he clarified, “has he lost his mind more.”
Callie turned to look back out at the retreating ship. What was going on aboard that thing?
Moving away from the window, Boggs went to the desk and grabbed the telephone. “This is General Boggs,” he said evenly. “Please connect me to Governor Clawstone’s office immediately.”
Callie turned and looked at him. What was he doing? Why was he telephoning the Governor? She walked over towards him, but he glared at her over his shoulder, and she backed off. The phone call lasted only for a few minutes before Boggs hung up, and he didn’t speak loudly enough for her to hear what he was saying. Hanging up, he turned, grabbing his hat and stick off of the desk, a look of grim determination and resignation to the horrifyingly inevitable in his eyes. No, thought Callie, he’d just requested and been given the marching orders he wanted, and he was going to destroy the Fear Ship, with or without the SWAT Kats and Felina still aboard! She opened her mouth to say something, but Boggs turned and left the room.
“What was that about?” Feral asked from over by the window, glowering. Callie suspected he’d reached the same conclusion she had.
They hurried after him. He went out onto the runway, where he found the Army captain he’d arrived with earlier. Nearby, there sat a group of olive drab Army Air Corps fighter jets and their grim-faced pilots. The Turbokat sat under guard, the Enforcer technicians who’d been examining it having been told by the Army officers to leave earlier. Pointing at the Army jets, Boggs ordered, “Captain Pomeroy, get these men in the air. I want Dark Kat’s ship to be burning rubble within the hour!”
Callie was aghast. “Time isn’t up!” she protested.
The captain, Pomeroy, headed off to do as he was told.
“But, his ship is heading away from Megakat City!” Boggs insisted. “This means we can destroy it now without endangering any civilians!”
“But, what about the SWAT Kats and Lieutenant Feral?” asked Callie.
Boggs leaned back and fixed her with an icy stare. However, when he spoke, there was something almost compassionate in his voice, revealing to her that he did have feelings after all. “The Governor has given me permission to do what needs to be done. I’m sorry. I won’t throw away this opportunity to stop Dark Kat just to save three people, when so many have died already.”
It was then that Callie realized she couldn’t argue with him. His mind was made up. And, as much as she hated how he thought, she had to admit, he was right. This was probably the Army’s best chance to destroy Dark Kat’s ship. But, Callie knew she was right, too. As coldly pragmatic as General Boggs was, she knew better than anyone that there was more to life than simple pragmatism. After all, if the SWAT Kats had been as pragmatic as Boggs, she knew she would be dead because they would’ve decided her single solitary life wasn’t worth saving. But, they’d decided it was worth saving. And, she hadn’t been the only one; the SWAT Kats had, time and time again, gone out of their way to rescue individual people besides her when the more pragmatic thing to do would’ve been to write them off.
Boggs wasn’t evil; he was just grimly set in his ways, and any effort past this point to try and dissuade him was going to be useless, so Callie didn’t press the matter further. She watched him turn and walk away. She sighed and looked at Feral, who was scowling.
“He has a point,” Feral said, but something in his voice told her that he wasn’t entirely convinced.
“And, your niece?” Callie asked, staring at him.
He sighed. “As long as those two clowns are still alive and on that thing?” he said. Something like a smile appeared on his face. “If I know the SWAT Kats, then they’ll have her rescued and have Dark Kat destroyed before Boggs’ pilots even fire a shot.”
“Maybe we can give them an edge,” said Callie, turning and looking at the Turbokat.
“An edge?” Feral asked.
The wheels in Callie’s head were turning. She couldn’t stop Boggs or change his mind, but she could ensure that if nothing else, her friends were not aboard that ship when it got destroyed. She just hoped that Feral would cooperate. What if he told Boggs about her idea? It was a risk she was going to have to take. She couldn’t believe Feral would refuse to help her now, not with his own niece still trapped aboard Dark Kat’s ship. And, she couldn’t ask anyone else.
“Commander, how soon can you have the Turbokat prepped to fly?”
Feral stared at her. For a few terrible seconds, Callie was certain she’d misjudged him and made a terrible, terrible mistake. But then, the small smile that had been forming on Feral’s lips a minute ago grew a little wider, and the Commander replied, “Sooner than Boggs can get his men in the air!”
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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.