Ann Gora’s cameraman attempted to get in close but was shooed away by a glowering Commander Feral.
“Commander Feral, please, the press has a right to-” Ann’s voice cried out in protest.
“All right, fine,” Feral said. “I suppose you and everyone else in Megakat City deserves to know the truth!”
Feral motioned for his men to halt and approached the cuffed vigilantes, Ann’s cameraman following closely, getting a good shot over the Commander’s left bicep. One of Feral’s large hands reached for T-Bone’s head. The yellow furred cat flinched away and was held in place by the escorting commandos as Feral seized the top of the black mask.
The crowd waited with bated breath. Then, with a tug, Feral tore the mask off, revealing a handsome but unremarkable yellow-furred male feline. Feral threw the mask aside and repeated the motion with Razor, who struggled fiercely.
Feral said, “Citizens of Megakat City I give you the SWAT Kats! Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson, formerly of the Enforcers!”
T-Bone and Razor, or rather, Chance and Jake now that they’d been officially unmasked, growled at Feral as the crowd reacted with a mixture of emotions. Shock, anger, delight and in some cases, awe. There were even a few kittens waving autograph books and pens. It was all the Enforcers could do to keep them back.
“There is pandemonium here at Enforcer Headquarters as this stunning revelation is shown to the world!” Ann Gora said.
Lieutenant Felina Feral stood at the top of the steps of Enforcer Headquarters, watching with disgust at the display her usually sensible uncle was putting on. This wasn’t right. If he had to arrest the SWAT Kats, he could’ve at least let them keep their dignity! She gave the SWAT Kats a sympathetic look as the commandos led them up the steps, past her and into the building. In the instant that their faces met, T-Bone scowled, but Felina could tell by his eyes that he appreciated her sympathy, and Razor managed a weak smile.
Felina was struck by how much different they were unmasked. It was clear they were the same two cats she’d fought alongside dozens of times, but now that she could see their eyes, they were far more expressive. It moved her and made her annoyance, no, her anger at what her uncle had just done all the more intense. And then, the moment was over and the commandos had ushered the handcuffed SWAT Kats.
Hearing her uncle’s bootsteps coming up, Felina whirled to him and glared with a ferocity that made Feral step back and almost fall down the steps. He looked startled, but not unsurprised, by his niece’s anger.
“Not here, Felina,” he grumbled, anticipating her words.
“Why?” she demanded to know.
He didn’t answer. He simply stormed past her and into the main lobby of the building. Felina followed, matching his pace. The doors swung shut, drowning the noise of the crowds outside to a dull muffle. As Feral headed for the elevator, Felina got in front of him, blocking his path. He stopped and stared down at her.
“Felina, get out of my way!”
“Why?” she asked again. “Why, when you didn’t give T-Bone and Razor the same courtesy!”
“Furlong and Clawson,” Feral corrected her. “They’re not the SWAT Kats anymore. The media may still call them that, but now that I know who they really are, they’re just two screwup ex-Enforcers that I-”
Felina angrily cut him off. “That doesn’t give you the right to humiliate them the way you did!”
Feral blinked and looked hurt, as if he had only just that moment realized the enormity of what he’d done. He recovered quickly, though, and straightened his shoulders, jutting his large chin forward, looking authoritative
“I don’t like your attitude, Lieutenant,” he said smartly. “Now, I want you to take over this cloud business for me while I assist District Attorney Mills in presenting an airtight case against Clawson and Furlong.”
“I won’t help you bring down the-” Felina began.
Feral held a hand up to silence her and said, “Which is why I’m assigning you the task of handling the Anakata business. I know you too well. I can’t bring myself to make you choose between your loyalty to the Enforcers and your loyalty to your friends.”
Felina stepped back, surprised. She was still fiercely angry with her uncle, but grateful that he was thinking of her feelings on the matter and, in his own blustery way, trying to help her cope. She nodded and got out of his way. He continued and took the elevator to his office.
Upstairs in his office, Feral stood at the window overlooking the runway. There stood the Turbokat. He’d flown it here himself. Quite an impressive jet. At the moment, several Enforcer technicians were examining it. Feral hoped to reverse-engineer its technology to replace the obsolete Enforcer jets.
Sighing, he turned and walked over to his desk, checking the clock. He was expecting Mills in a few minutes. Suddenly, the elevator door out in the waiting room dinged open. Was that Mills already? He was early. Feral heard his secretary tell whoever-it-was they couldn’t go in and then the door swung open with a bang. Feral actually jumped back, wide-eyed, as Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs stood framed in the doorway, her eyes narrowed to slits and her mouth twisted into a hateful scowl.
“Commander Feral!” she hissed. “How dare you arrest the SWAT Kats?”
Oh, great, thought Feral. What was she going to do? Claw out his eyes? She sure looked ready to spring at him.
“Very easily, Deputy Mayor,” Feral answered. “I’m well aware that it doesn’t quite gel with your whitewashed opinion of those two, but vigilantism happens to be against the law.”
Composing himself and adjusting his uniform, Feral cleared his throat, overcoming his shock. For once, Briggs was going to be the one on the defensive. Now that Feral finally had those two troublemakers down in lockup, with the law on his side, he had nothing to fear from Briggs. Or from Manx. Feral knew Manx did not in any way endorse the SWAT Kats officially, no matter how many parades he offered to throw them, so he would in no way move to impede Mills’ efforts to bring the vigilantes to trial.
Which left Briggs totally without any allies. All she could do was argue with her emotions and her idealistic worship of the SWAT Kats. Which she did.
“But, how could you do this after everything they’ve done for Megakat City?” Callie said, storming up to the much taller male and glaring up at him.
“I’m quite certain the judge will take their many services to the city into consideration when sentencing them,” Feral said. “Anyway, their heroism isn’t on trial, Deputy Mayor, but their flagrant disregard for the law is!”
“Am I interrupting something…?” a voice said.
Feral turned to see District Attorney Mills standing there.
“No,” said Feral, “Deputy Mayor Briggs was just leaving. Now, Miss Briggs, I suggest you do so of your own free will. Because I don’t care if you are Manx’s mouthpiece, I’ll have you thrown out of here if I have to.”
“You backstabbing snake!” Callie spat, completely ignoring Mills. “They’ve saved your worthless carcass dozens of times, and this is how you repay them?”
Feral groaned. It was like arguing with a brick wall. Briggs may have been an effective politician – although Feral dreaded the day when she became the new mayor – but whenever the SWAT Kats were involved, they could clearly do no wrong in her eyes, and the intelligent career she-kat was reduced to a starry-eyed fangirl as far as Feral was concerned. And, he didn’t have time to argue with her.
Fortunately, she left then. She turned in a huff and shoved past the confused-looking Mills, leaving the office.
Meanwhile, Chance and Jake were taken to the holding cells. Awaiting them were a grim-looking Jablonsky and a sneering Lyman. Crud, thought Chance, these guys again. He’d forgotten all about them. They were like Burke and Murray but with badges.
“Welcome to your new accommodations, Furlong, ” Lyman said.
Chance remembered putting numerous perps in here himself, back when he and Jake were still just walking the beat. He never thought in this universe that they’d see the inside of one themselves. Jablonsky and Lyman took them from the escorting commandos and brought them to a cell with another occupant sitting on the bench with his head down, and Jablonsky opened the door.
Chance briefly entertained the insane notion that he and Jake were back in the dark universe again as, with a shove, Lyman sent him stumbling forward so hard he ended up sprawling on his stomach. Jablonsky just pushed Jake in without any real malice, and then the door slid shut with a metallic clang that sounded as loud as the trumpets of armageddon.
Jake helped Chance up, but Chance shoved him away angrily. Jake stepped back, holding his hands up in an effort to placate his partner.
“Enjoy your stay, fellas! And, feel free to socialize with yer cellmate!” Lyman cackled shrilly.
“You might say he’s eager for some payback!” added Jablonsky.
Laughing, the two turned and walked off with the commandos. Chance and Jake turned and looked at their cellmate, who very slowly lifted his moppy-haired head and blinked in surprise at them. Then a cruel, evil smirk spread across his lips.
“Well, well, well,” Hard Drive said, “If it isn’t my two favorite vigilantes!”
“Aw, great…” grumbled Chance.
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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.