Don Redmond (firstname.lastname@example.org) (edited by Jade F. Callan)
As usual the kats belong to the folks at HB, etc. and I’m just borrowing them for awhile. The following story is an imaginary tale and may never happen.
When the alarm went off in the morning Felina was asleep on her back, with Callie lying on her stomach with her head on Felina’s stomach. Since Felina was the closest to the alarm she got to turn it off and in so doing woke Callie. The two kats begrudgingly got up and headed to the shower. After finishing their shower they somehow managed to avoid the bed that was calling to them, for various reasons, and got dressed for the day’s work. Callie was dressed in one of her standard purple business suits and Felina was likewise dressed in her Enforcer issue uniform.
After the two fixed and ate breakfast it was out to their cars to go to their appropriate ways: Callie to City Hall and Felina to Enforcer Headquarters. Before entering her car Callie gave Felina a last kiss that almost threatened to drag the two kats back to bed, but duty, in the end, called more forcefully.
At her desk Callie was trying to translate a page of Manx scrawls into a unified speech. Van Gora, her secretary, ducked his head in to tell her that Dark Kat was back. She joined him in the outer office and the two kats watched the news on TV.
Ann Gora was providing a running commentary of the action as the Enforcers and the SWAT Kats tried to take out another of Dark Kat’s flying vessels. Callie off-handedly wondered why any super-villain ever thought they could take over MegaKat City with both the Enforcers and the SWAT Kats to fight them off. Of course, Dark Kat had very seldom been captured and always seemed to think up new plans, none of which ever worked out.
This time it seemed to be a standoff. Even though the Enforcers were separately outnumbered, they and the SWAT Kats were able to keep Dark Kat at bay so that he could not get into Pumadyne to steal whatever he wanted this time.
The camera zoomed in on the SWAT Kats as they made a missile run at Dark Kat’s ship. The ship reeled and looked like it was going down, but as it lurched toward the ground it turned its fire on the nearest Enforcer jet since the Turbokat was now out of range. The jet was hit and its crew didn’t seemed to be able to jettison from the plane. The Turbokat turned away from its next attack on Dark Kat’s plummeting ship to attempt to grab the jet with grappling hooks before it hit the ground.
The Kats were able to grab the jet before it crashed, but the added weight skewed the Turbokat’s flight path. Just before hitting the ground himself Dark Kat was able to fire one more broadside that caught the now vulnerable Turbokat. Both jets plummeted the rest of the way to the ground. Not far away Dark Kat’s ship too hit the ground with a violent explosion. When the smoke cleared Ann Gora was reporting on the wreckage and those injured in the wreck.
First the Kats were removed from the Turbokat and then from the Enforcer jet came Commander Feral and then, to Callie’s dismay, Feral’s niece, Major Felina Feral, was removed from the wreckage. As soon as Callie saw Felina loaded into an ambulance she ran to her office to grab her purse. As she was coming back through the outer office she saw that Van was just getting off the phone.
Van took one look at Callie’s anxious face and held his hand out for the keys. “I’ll drive. Ann said that they were going to MegaKat Memorial.”
Everyone was in surgery when the two kats got to the hospital. Callie sat in the waiting room trying not to cry, but not succeeding very well. Comforting his boss was not something Van was very experienced at. He always regarded her as a pillar of strength and it was not easy to see her like this. Van was guiltily relieved when his sister and her camerakat entered the waiting room.
Van got up and gave his sister a hug, partly as a greeting and partly as comfort. He didn’t know the Ferals or the SWAT Kats as well as Callie, but having all of them injured at once was a great blow no matter who you were.
“How is she, Van?”
“Not good, sis. She is really broken up.” He looked at Johnny Birman. “Could you send him away, I doubt Ms. Briggs is ready to say anything.”
Ann nodded and told Johnny to put the camera down. He told her he was going to get some coffee and would be in the cafe. Ann went over to sit next to Callie and she had much the same reaction as her brother. She had seen Callie in pressure situations before and had seen behind her business-like facade more than once, but this time she was threatened with losing too much.
Ann put her arm over Callie’s shoulder and Callie turned a tear-stained face to her. Ann almost broke down, but knew that somebody had to pretend like they were the strong one. Ann tried to thing of something to say, but no words seemed adequate.
Ann remembered when she had found out about Callie and Felina’s relationship. For some time previous she had been suspicious, but it never seemed to be anything of importance. Then one night, sitting in a restaurant and wondering why she couldn’t find a tom-kat to take her out to dinner for a change, her beeper got her attention. It was from the only tom-kat that was in her life: her camerakat, Johnny. She sighed and left her dinner half eaten.
A bank robbery had fallen apart and turned into a hostage situation. When she arrived she learned that one of the hostages was the Deputy Mayor. Much to Commander Feral’s disgust the SWAT Kats had helped free the hostages and, as usual, were gone before she could interview them. However, the Deputy Mayor probably wasn’t going to leave quite as fast.
When she finally caught up with Callie she was the second kat to get to her. First had been Lieutenant Feral. As Ann and Johnny walked up to the, and there was no other word, couple, Felina was hugging Callie in obvious relief. While Ann interviewed the Deputy Mayor neither of the two she-kats even pretended that there was nothing between them. She remembered Felina keeping a protective arm around Callie’s waist and hoping Johnny got her signal to keep the camera up.
After the interview Ann sent Johnny off and just asked the two kats the question. To her amazement they told her. Callie asked that Ann keep quiet about it if she could, but neither kat seemed like she was trying to be very secretive.
Now she sat her next to Callie who not only had her lover to worry about but several other kats that she was close to. She looked up to see that her brother had left, probably to join Johnny, but that another kat was coming to join them. She recognized the tom-kat as one of the Feral clan, but she could never put names to any of them. He was one of Felina’s brothers, but that was about all she could say at the moment.
She stood up and the new kat introduced himself as Ajax Feral. Once she had the name she was able to fill in the biography and she knew this was one of the rebels in the Feral clan. He was a businesskat like most of them, but he always went his own way. He was not the rebel that his uncle or sister were, but rebellious enough. When he sat down next to Callie she put her arms around his neck and buried her head in his chest. Ann felt it was time to join the crowd in the cafe.
Two hours later she returned to find that nothing was known. However, the waiting room was beginning to fill up. Johnny had returned with her and Van had gone back to City Hall to close things down for the day, but the newspaper and the other TV reporters had finally arrived. Ajax was being very protective of Callie, who was sitting next to him.
Another thirty minutes later a hospital spokeskat emerged from somewhere with some information. Apparently Razor was out of surgery and stable. He had fared the best because of his position in the Turbokat. T-Bone was still in surgery, though was expected to be out within the hour. Both of the Ferals had extensive internal injuries and might be in surgery for quite some time unless the doctors thought that they couldn’t take that much.
After the press briefing many of the reporters left to file their reports. Ann told Johnny to take the film in and then return. She wished Van had stayed so she could use him as a film courier while Johnny stayed if needed. She was surprised when Johnny returned in a few minutes.
“I called in. They’re going to send someone out to pick it up and then be on call. Hopefully we won’t miss anything that way.”
During the next hour the fates of the remaining kats became known. The first announcement surprised everyone. Apparently Dark Kat had survived the crash and was also in surgery in the hospital. He was going to remain under heavy Enforcer guard until he could be taken to Alkat- Traz. Apparently his surgery had gone well and he would be recover enough in three or four days to be moved. T-Bone was out of surgery and was stable. Both SWAT Kats prognoses were good and the doctors assumed they would be able to leave the hospital a few days after Dark Kat.
The two Enforcers were not in such good shape. Commander Feral was out of surgery, at least for the time being, and was in critical condition. If he lived he probably would have to take an extended leave from the Enforcers to recover completely. Major Feral still had more surgery to go, but the doctors had decided she probably couldn’t take any more for now. She would be back in surgery tomorrow. Her prognosis was poor. Since she was the pilot everything had landed on her and it was a miracle she lived through the crash at all.
Several other Enforcers that had been injured in the fight with Dark Kat, but most had fared fairly well. A few had required minor surgery and most of them would be released in the next day or so.
After that day’s final announcements Ajax suggested that Callie come home with him, but she refused until Ann Gora said she would be staying through the night and she would call Callie right away if anything happened. Ajax thanked Ann, and gave her his phone number before leading Callie away.
Callie had been to Ajax’ house a few times, but this night she wasn’t paying much attention to it. She was able to greet Mara, who was pregnant once more, in a friendly, but distracted, manner and was thankful that their two kittens were already in bed. Callie just asked to go to bed where she spent the rest of the night tossing and turning.
In the morning Callie got up in time to see the kittens off to school. The youngest was the six year old Felina, named after her aunt, and of whom she was the spitting image. The boy was eight and named Agamemnon for his deceased great-uncle.
Callie had a hard time explaining why she was there and their aunt wasn’t, but when finished the kittens were quite understanding for their age. The adults tried to be truthful and hoped that the kittens understood enough.
The next day at the hospital called for more waiting. Felina was taken back for more surgery in the afternoon and in the early evening was back in ICU. Razor was in isolation because of an infection he had picked up. One bright spot for Callie was learning that the SWAT Kats had had their identities preserved. Apparently this was due to the action of Lieutenant Tom Harlan. Callie was told that she could probably see T-Bone the next day.
It was late afternoon the next day when Callie walked into the SWAT Kats’ hospital room. Only T-Bone was there now since Razor was still isolation. T-Bone looked a little odd wearing his SWAT Kat mask with his hospital gown. He was hooked up to a couple of machines and had bandages here and there on his body.
As Callie talked with him she asked about the battle with Dark Kat and thanked him and Razor for trying to save the Ferals. When T-Bone off-handedly mentioned that he did not know how the Kats were going to pay for all of this, Callie reassured him that they would not have to worry. “You have a lot of friends in the city.”
They were discussing the future prospects of the Kats when Ajax came into the room and asked if he could talk with Callie for a moment. Callie nodded and said good-by to T-Bone. “I’ll come back later. Maybe Razor will be here then.” The two kats went out into the hallway and Callie looked expectantly at Ajax.
“What is it?”
“Felina is out of surgery. The doctor is not hopeful. I think you should come with me.”
They hurried through the hospital and met Felina’s doctor in front of her room. “She came through this surgery, but I am not hopeful. She had severe internal injuries and I don’t know. We have done what we can to keep her alive for now, but she’ll need more surgery.”
Callie and Ajax went into the room and saw a kat that was mostly in bandages and hooked up to several machines. There was a little of her face that wasn’t covered in bandages and when Callie went up to the bed she brushed a few strands of black hair out of Felina’s closed eye. Ajax pulled up some chairs and the two kats stayed with Felina wishing they could will her to health. Both Callie and Ajax spent part of their time talking to Felina in hopes that she heard some of what they said, telling her they loved her and she wasn’t alone, touching her hands and stroking her hair.
Suddenly an alarm went off in the room and first a nurse ran in to clear Callie and Ajax from the room so doctors and nurses with equipment carts could take their place. The two kats stood in the hallway knowing in their hearts that Felina was dying but not wanting to admit it to themselves. Finally, Felina’s doctor came out and just shook her head.
Ajax put his arm around Callie who was the one to speak. “Thank you, Doctor Cheetara. I know you did all you could to save her life. Can I go in and be with her for a little while longer?”
The doctor nodded and as Callie went to say good-bye Felina for the last time, Ajax went with the doctor to take care of the paperwork. Callie waited until all the hospital staff were gone and then pulled one of the chairs back to the side of the bed. She took Felina’s hand in hers and looked at her lover. “My beloved, my true kat.” It was there Ajax found her when he was finished.
Two days later Callie visited Ulysses Feral. He was being watched carefully by his doctor, but the prognosis for him was good. However, the full extent of his injuries was still not known, partly because it was not known how much his spinal cord had been damaged.
He looked at her as Callie entered his private room and neither kat had to ask the other if they knew the fate of Felina. Feral was hooked up to enough machinery himself, but it did not seem as ominous as it had with Felina. Though he was covered by bandages Feral flashed Callie a tenuous smile nonetheless.
Callie leaned forward to kiss Feral’s forehead and he responded as best he could by taking one of her hands in his. There was only one thing for them to talk about and neither one of them wanted to start. Callie noted the redness of his eyes and knew, even though the big kat would never admit it, that the death of his niece was the hardest thing he’d ever had to face.
“How are you feeling, Ulysses? Are you in much pain?”
“No, they let me medicate myself, so the pain is minimal. How are you holding up?”
“Okay. I go back to work next week.”
At this point Ajax walked in. “Uncle.” The two kats acknowledged each other. The conversation between the three was as general as they could get it for awhile before Ajax brought up a new subject.
“Uncle, the doctors tell me it will be some time before you are able to leave the hospital and unfortunately we cannot delay Felina’s cremation that long.”
“I know. It is perhaps for the best as we don’t need two kats doing double duty.” He squeezed Callie’s hand. “Can you get the Mayor to speak?”
Callie smiled sadly. “He’s about as likely to show up as Steel is. Lieutenant Harlan has agreed to speak.”
“He’s a good officer and will do a fine job.” There was silence for a moment before Feral spoke again. “We have gone through too many of these things together, Callie. Maybe this time it’s a sign for me to take a break and think things through.”
The body of Felina Feral lay atop the pyre ready for her cremation. As requested in her will she was attired in her dress uniform. In attendance where manyEnforcers, the Deputy Mayor and Felina’s brother Ajax and his wife, Mara. The priestess in charge of the ceremony said a few words about the occasion and then introduced the two kats who were to give short speeches of remembrance.
The first to speak was Lieutenant Tom Harlan, who had stood in for Commander Feral a few times in running the Enforcers and was now standing in for him in that part of their duty that all Enforcers dread. He talked about Major Felina Feral’s time in the Enforcers from her time as a cadet in the Academy to her time as an Enforcer in the field. He had entered the Academy a little behind her and watched her as she progressed. “It was like watching someone storm a fort. She wasn’t going to stop for anything.”
“When she graduated and became an Enforcer she quickly rose to Lieutenant. She had courage and savvy. When she dove into danger it was usually with a knowledge of how to get out on the other side. Sometimes this meant bending the rules, but one had to see an assignment through to its end. We will all miss her. She was an Enforcer we could all look up to and a very caring friend.”
The Deputy Mayor spoke next. She spoke of Felina’s willingness to be accessible and, because of that, she became a valuable liaison between the Enforcers and the city government. In light of Lieutenant Harlan’s mention of bending the rules, she mentioned Felina’s acceptance of the SWAT Kats as a force to help the city. “Her concern was for the safety of MegaKat City and she did all in her power to preserve this city against its enemies. Her dedication will be missed as will her presence.”
When the Deputy Mayor finished her speech instead of joining the mourners seated in front of the pyre she joined Ajax Feral behind the pyre as one of Felina’s family. This caused some confusion amongst those who did not know about Callie’s relationship with Felina, but most of those there did know and were saddened that of all the Ferals in MegaKat City only Ajax was there.
Callie and Ajax were more than saddened by the lack of attendance of any others of Felina’s immediate family. Even in death Felina’s mother, Hecuba Feral, the present matriarch of the Feral Clan, was going to exile her daughter. The others were too timid to put in an appearance, even though Felina had loved them dearly.
The priestess came forward to thank all of those who had come to pay their respects to the kat that lay before them. Then she began a prayer. “In this hour of our grief we ask the Goddess to take back the soul of our sister, Felina Feral, who was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.”
The priestess approached the torch standing in the ground. She lit it and held it in the air. As the flames caught and flickered she spoke again. “Mother of all Kats we ask that you allow the cleansing flame to take away the body that weighs down Felina’s great soul and allow her to rejoin you once again.”
The priestess then lowered the torch and passed it to Ajax, as the closest family, who lit several sections of the pyre. He then handed the torch to Callie who lit much of the rest of the pyre. She then returned the torch to the priestess to extinguish, when a new voice spoke.
The three kats at the pyre, now burning fiercely, looked at the newly arrived kat. Both Callie and Ajax were surprised to see Teucer, the eldest brother of Ajax and Felina. As Ajax nodded the priestess handed the torch to Teucer who set it to an unburned part of the pyre. He then handed the torch back to the priestess, who now extinguished it, as he took his place next to Ajax and Callie.
As the pyre burned down many of the others who were there, mostly Enforcers, drifted away. However, the four kats at the pyre stayed where they were and a number of the Enforcers remained as well out of respect for their fallen comrade. When there were but embers on the ground the priestess embraced Callie, Ajax and Teucer and told them that if they needed any help to not hesitate to come to the temple. Callie saw that Lieutenant Harlan was still there and went over to talk with him for a moment.
“Tom, I want to thank you for agreeing to talk in the Commander’s stead. It isn’t easy to say good-bye.”
“No, it’s not.” He embraced Callie for a moment. “If you need anything, please call me. A few months ago, Felina made me promise that I would look out for you, if anything ever happened to her.”
Callie nodded and then Harlan turned away to leave. She went back to where Teucer stood off by himself as Ajax was talking with the priestess. As Callie walked up to him he took one of her hands in his.
“Callie, I know that things have not gone well between most of the clan and you and Felina. I am ashamed that I acted that way. I doubt that mother will ever change her mind, but I came because, in the end, Felina was still my sister.”
Ajax, who had been joined by Mara, came up to them and stood next to Callie. Ajax spoke. “It doesn’t matter now, Teucer.”
Teucer turned to Ajax. “It does matter. It is shameful that it took the death of our sister for me to see my stupidity.” He looked back at Callie. “I want you to know that if I can do anything for you …,” He stopped talking seeing the impassive look on Callie’s face. He let go of her hand and looked once more at his brother. He left, leaving the three remaining kats to watch the last embers go black.
Ulysses Feral lay in his hospital bed feeling a little better than he had recently. On one of his random glances about the hospital room he noticed that it was 1:30 in the afternoon. Felina’s cremation would have started by now. Unless Harlan was feeling truly expansive he was probably done with what he had to say and Callie would be trying to give her words of thanks to an Enforcer. He didn’t envy either one of them their duty, especially Callie. Still, he regretted not being able to say good-bye to Felina in person. He hoped she would forgive him, but he wasn’t sure he could have faced seeing her motionless body, devoid of the lively spirit he had loved in her.
Felina had always been his favorite among his brother’s children and he had been happy when she had decided to go college. He still remembered the night she had come to him when she had realized she was in trouble. This was when his real problems with Felina’s family began. He had been so proud of her when she had straightened herself out and salvaged her year at college.
He was torn when she told him she wanted to become an Enforcer. He had seen her interest in the Enforcers increase as she had stayed with him over that summer and her enthusiasm when she got into the Academy was sometimes daunting. It had paid off as Felina raced through the Academy as if it were a minor obstacle course.
She graduated with honors and was such a good Enforcer that she was promoted to lieutenant very quickly. Unfortunately her dedication to the safety of MegaKat City had her stepping on too many toes and further promotion was delayed, not that she cared. Her job was seeing to the safety of the city. Still he was quite happy with her performance and could see, even in these early days, that she would make an excellent Commander of Enforcers in her own right. Felina seemed to have finally found something to make her happy.
Then she and the Deputy Mayor began their relationship. In the beginning he had been adamantly opposed to it, but when he realized that the two she-kats were serious about this relationship and that Felina was her happiest when she was with Callie he had little choice but to bow to the inevitable. The seriousness of their relationship was brought out when they had gone to his mother’s one hundredth birthday. They had stood up to Hecuba and never acted like they were doing something wrong. He had no choice at that point but to accept Callie.
It had taken too many years, but Felina had finally gotten her promotion to Major. He had hoped that she would behave more decorously and he could groom her to replace him when the time came, but that was not to be. His sorrow at her loss was compounded by the fact Megakat City had lost not only a fine Enforcer, but a true champion.
Feral looked at the clock again and knew that by this time the pyre was completely burnt out and Felina was truly gone. He closed his eyes and asked the Goddess to keep Felina safe and happy, since she deserved no less. He also sent up his love for her, hoping somehow she knew how much she had meant to him.
Three weeks after the crash the SWAT Kats were released from the hospital. Calico Briggs arrived to pick them up to the amazement of the hospital staff. She hoped that these two kats would have the good sense to stay out of action for awhile longer. Two weeks later, however, the SWAT Kats were back in the air protecting MegaKat City.
Callie was worried whether they were really able to handle being back at work so soon. Concerned, she had gone to the salvage yard to check on them. There she found the Kats as their civilian selves. They seemed to be holding up well, but she gave then her stern mother talk even though she knew they would not pay it any mind. At least Jake and Chance were kind enough to pretend like they were paying attention.
A month later Commander Feral was able to return to Enforcer Headquarters. He wasn’t up to operating in the field as his left arm had lost some of its strength. It was going to take quite a bit of therapy, but he would return to full strength eventually. He was still able to give orders and, unfortunately to his mind, do paperwork. Now that he was unable to get away from time to time he was reminded how much he hated paperwork.
As a consequence of this, and the dull ache in his heart from Felina’s death, he requested a leave of absence from the Enforcers, and didn’t bother to specify the time frame. But his short time back had not been a complete loss. He had had the honor to demote David Steel back to Major again for incompetence. Steel had been in charge of a unit that was to take in the Metallikats. He had bungled it completely and was only saved by the timely arrival of the SWAT Kats. The rest of the time, to Feral, had been a complete bust.
Callie called Feral the next day with approval for his leave. She gracefully didn’t ask what prompted the request, nor did she push him for a return date. She asked who would be in charge in his absence, and Feral said Harlan would take over, though he himself would be available if needed in emergencies. Although Callie didn’t say it, she doubted any emergency could prompt her to call on a kat in deep mourning.
Ajax had talked Callie out of immediately getting rid of all of Felina’s things, but it had taken three months before Callie was able to go through any of Felina’s stuff. Both Ajax and Ulysses had agreed to help her and were planning to come over later in the day. It would not be an easy task for any of them, but one they would have to face some time.
She had decided to go through those boxes of Felina’s from the time they had separate apartments. She could at least organize the things a little to make it easier for the three of them to go through. These things had been in these boxes since she and Felina had moved into their present place. Near them were some boxes of Callie’s stuff from the move, likewise unpacked. The two she-kats had always been telling themselves that they were going to go through all of this stuff, someday.
Callie sat down on the floor in front of one of Felina’s boxes and opened it up not knowing what she would find. The first things she found were a few things from Felina’s Academy days. She set them aside for Ulysses to look through.
The next thing she came across was a t-shirt wrapped about a picture frame. Callie ignored the picture for a moment and looked at the t-shirt. It was one of hers. One that she thought she had lost long ago. With it she started pile of things of interest to her.
Then she looked at the picture. It was a duplicate of one that was in the bedroom. It was the first picture taken of Felina and Callie after they had become a couple. They had been walking on the beach in their bikinis when one of the many photographers that prowled the area snapped some photographs of them in hopes that they would buy some.
He’d said that since the two kats were so beautiful that he’d give them a second copy for free. He probably said something like that to everyone he photographed, but at that time the two kats were so high on their new relationship that they didn’t notice. When they picked up the photos they were surprised at what they got: the photographs were excellent. They’d even made an agreement to do a formal portrait, but that had not worked out for some reason that Callie could not now remember.
The photographer had been right, however. Felina was a beautiful kat, inside and outside. A beautiful and loving kat … Callie hugged the photograph to her chest and finally began to cry.
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