T-Bone landed the Turbokat a good distance away from the smoking wreck. He was the first one at the crash site, but the distant sirens told him that Feral and his enforcers were not far behind.
Not once did he take his eyes off the wreck as he slowly approached, clearly able to see his alternate moving around in his seat. Dark T-Bone looked up with a ferocious sneer on his face, his green eyes dark and burning with the realization that his good alternate had bested him at flying. T-Bone’s eyes were the same shade of emerald, yet his shown brighter with a triumphant gleam. That made Dark T-Bone’s blood boil. He couldn’t let himself be bested by this version of himself. He would not give him that satisfaction, not again. He wanted his alternate to be haunted by this moment for the rest of his life.
T-Bone was close enough now to see Dark T-Bone’s face distinctly through the smoke, and the twisted smirk that occupied that face. T-Bone felt his body tense. He had been expecting the other T-Bone to jump out, ready to take him on in a final fight. His eyes narrowed suspiciously as he watched Dark T-Bone raise his arm up, as if to show him what he was holding in his paw. T-Bone’s heart fluttered when the realization hit him hard; it was a detonator.
His eyes widened in horror. “NO DON’T!” he screamed.
Dark T-Bone grinned manically, yet that smile didn’t reach his eyes. They remained cold, distant and unflinching even when his thumb pressed down the detonator button, not once looking away from his alternate. A blinding white flash seared out from within the Turbokat, instantaneously engulfing him and the jet as a thunderous explosion rippled through the air.
T-Bone felt himself being tossed back like a rag doll as the scorching blast slammed into him. His lungs burned as if on fire while he gasped desperately for air. His eyes were closed tight, and his head felt as if it was splitting in two from the shrill ringing in his ears.
He slowly opened his eyes and focused on the grey and black flakes that drifted down on and around him.
Time seemed to have slowed as he lay there, hypnotized by the eerie flakes that seemed to appear out of nowhere from the bright blue sky above him. He barely heard or acknowledged the sound of feet running towards him while his name was shouted out repeatedly as he lay there unmoving. He felt the pressure of someone grabbing his arms and lifting him up onto his feet.
“T-Bone, answer me!” Felina pleaded as she and her uncle put the stunned tomkat’s arms over their shoulders.
T-Bone continued to look ahead at the fiery wreckage, not even acknowledging their presence.
“He’s in shock. Lets bring him over to cruiser.” Feral spoke urgently, partly dragging the stunned Swat Kat over to the cruiser and sitting him down on the hood. “Hold on to him while I grab him some water,” Feral instructed Felina as he rushed to the trunk and grabbed out several water bottles.
“T-Bone, please talk to me. What happened?” Felina tried coaxing him as she grabbed his face and made him look at her. “I’m right here, T-Bone. Look at me. It’s going to be ok.”
Feral opened a water and held it up to T-Bone’s parched lips. “Here, drink,” he instructed calmly as he tipped the bottle slightly.
The presence of water in his mouth snapped T-Bone out of his stupor and he began to drink gratefully. After consuming the entire water bottle, he breathed in shakily as all feeling started to return to his body. He gritted his teeth to stop them from chattering as he started to tremble, fighting to keep his body from betraying how shaken up he really was.
“What happened?” Feral pressed, “We thought he managed to land the jet.”
T-Bone clenched his paws into trembling fists as he shook his head. “H-he d-did,” he stammered. “H-he waited for me to show up before he did it.”
Felina and Feral looked at each other in alarm.
“Do what?” Felina gasped.
T-Bone gulped, trying to steady his voice. “He looked at me w-while he did it. He self detonated the jet. He killed himself, and he wanted me to watch.”
Dark Razor gasped for air desperately as he felt Razor’s paws enclose around his neck with a vise like grip. He was on his back on the sidewalk with Razor’s knee pushing down on his chest. His paws grabbed his alternate’s wrists as he fought to loosen the grip on his neck.
“I didn’t harm her,” he rasped as he tried to squirm under his alternate’s hold. “I released her before we left the hangar.”
“I don’t believe you,” Razor hissed menacingly, not letting up on his grip.
“I swear.” His gasps for air became more desperate as he fought to keep his eyes focused.
Razor felt his alternate struggle frantically underneath him as his breathing became more and more shallow. It was then that their eyes met, and Razor’s breathing hitched in his chest. They were no longer dark with revenge and hate; rather they were stormy with conflict. He recognized the regret and pain that was residing deep within him, and he also saw raw fear as the light representing his life began to dull.
“Please believe me,” he rasped weakly. “I let her go.”
As Razor’s grip began to loosen, he heard his partner’s voice break radio silence.
“Where are you, buddy?”
Razor growled irritably at the distraction. “I’m currently choking the life out of this lowlife.”
“Don’t do it, Sureshot; they are no longer a threat to us,” T-Bone pleaded, his voice filled with irrefutable sadness.
“Why shouldn’t I?” he spat, his anger reemerging amidst other raging emotions.
“His partner is dead. He self detonated the jet with him inside after I shot him down.” T-Bone’s reply was barely above that of a whisper, but it served as ice water for Razor.
He quickly released his paws from his alternate’s throat as if they had been on fire.
Dark Razor collapsed onto the sidewalk as he gasped desperately for air while Razor jumped to his feet, his mind reeling in shock.
“He killed himself?!”
T-Bone was silent for a moment before replying. His voice sounded choked. “Yes.”
Razor’s breathing quickened as he stared down at his alternate, who was holding his neck gingerly as he breathed in air greedily as he returned his stare.
“Your partner self detonated the jet…” Razor spoke without emotion as he stared down at the defeated kat before him. “… and he was inside when it detonated.”
Briefly, pain and remorse flashed across his face as he stopped rubbing his neck and looked up at Razor in shock before it darkened in anger. “That selfish bastard,” he hissed as he laid back on the ground and covered his face with trembling paws. He was done fighting.
“Tell Feral to come get my alternate. We are by headquarters.”
“Roger that,” came T-Bone’s resigned reply.
A moment passed as he watched Dark Razor silently grieve for the partner he lost for the second time, first to the darkness that enveloped them both, and finally in death. It was then that he heard her call out his alias.
His heart fluttered and ached at the glorious sound of her voice that he missed so much. He looked up to see her standing a couple feet away from him in the debris covered street.
Her eyes glistened with worry as she took in the scene before her. Was this her Razor? Her Jake? She shifted her gaze down to Dark Razor, who was definitely in worse shape than her vigilante lover. She looked back to Razor and held his stare, immediately sensing the change that had overcome him since she was captured. His eyes were now stormy and conflicted with anger, self-loathing, and fear. That realization scared her. If she didn’t know any better, the differences between the two Razors was diminishing.
She quickly approached him with renewed purpose. She was not going to let this darkness consume him. She heard him mutter, “You’re okay,” with an exhausted relief as she put a paw gently on his cheek.
She smiled up at him consolingly. “Yes. I’m okay. Your alternate let me go.”
Not caring who would see, Razor broke down and pulled her into his arms as if desperate to see that he wasn’t imagining her.
Dark Razor had to look away as he felt a heavy, emotional pressure weighing heavy on his chest at the sight of them holding each other. It was at this moment that he realized he was now truly all alone.
T-Bone was as still and rigid as a statue as he continued to stare at the now smoking and blackened remains of the jet. Feral and Felina had both tried their best to sidetrack him, but he couldn’t bring himself to tear himself away just yet. He was so transfixed replaying that haunting moment over and over in his mind that he didn’t hear the sound of the cyclotron pulling up behind him. It was only until Razor put a consoling paw on his good shoulder that he snapped back to reality.
“I’m sorry you had to see that, buddy.” Razor sighed as he looked at the morbid sight before him.
“Don’t be,” T-Bone managed to reply in a steady tone. “It’s a good wake up call for me, actually.”
Razor was taken aback. “Wake up call?”
“Yeah. I didn’t let myself lose sight of who I am, despite everything we’ve been through. He lost himself so completely he didn’t see another way out. That’s not who I want to be, no matter what happens.”
Razor felt his throat tighten at T-Bone’s words. “You’re right; you didn’t lose sight of who you are.”
Hearing the regret that had seeped into his friend’s words, he looked at Razor with a fierce look in his bloodshot eyes. “You didn’t either, Sureshot.”
Razor closed his eyes and shook his head in disagreement. “Yeah, I did. I was ready to take a life with my bare hands. I was so angry I couldn’t even see straight.”
“But, you stopped yourself.”
“Barely,” Razor corrected. “I barely stopped myself. If it hadn’t been for you radioing me, I would have. I feel no different from who he is. In so many ways I am way worse than he is.”
T-Bone sighed and looked back at the remaining dark Swat Kat that sat resigned in the back seat of Feral’s squad car. “Yeah sure, he got caught up with all that hate and revenge crud, but it didn’t consume him completely. He had the heart to know that this was all wrong, and he was willing to put himself in harm’s way to help us and Callie. He redeemed himself in the end.”
Razor sighed in reply, evidently still doubting himself.
“Don’t worry, buddy,” T-Bone growled playfully with a half smirk on his face, “I’ll tell you to check yourself if you start turning into an angry, revenge crazed psychopath on me.”
A ghost of a smile played on Razor’s lips, grateful at his friend’s attempt of humor.
“Yeah, me too, bud. Me too.”
Navigate This Author's Stories
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.