Chance stared off into space while Felina gently wrapped his shoulder. Feral picked up the severed pieces of the blood stained grappling hook and threw it away before turning back to Chance, seeing that Felina had finished.
“Can you move your arm?” Feral asked.
Chance looked back at the Commander and nodded. His face twisted in pain as he slowly lifted his whole arm from his shoulder and then lowered it back down to rest on his lap.
Feral shook his head. “You’re lucky you can still move your arm. I’m surprised, actually.”
“He just wanted to hurt me as much as possible without hurting my ability to fly,” Chance growled.
“Ah yes ‘he’.” Feral grabbed a stool from underneath the work table and pulled it in front of where Chance and Jake were sitting so that he could see both of their faces at the same time. “You two owe me one believable explanation.”
Jake took the cold rag Callie handed him and put it against his bandaged head wound. “I think it’s a good thing you’re sitting down, Commander.”
“Alright.” Feral sighed as he settled on his seat and crossed his arms. “You have my undivided attention.”
“…The origin of this fire is still unknown to authorities. Fire Chief Andrew Stripeson says that at this point it is too premature to differentiate between whether it was an unfortunate accident or foul play. Word on the whereabouts and condition of Enforcers Christian Furlong and Jacob Clawson has not yet been released, but we’ve been assured by Enforcer Commander Ulysses Feral that more detailed information will be released tomorrow. Tune in to the morning edition for the complete story. This is Ann Gora, Kat’s Eye News, wishing you all a good nig…” The TV screen faded to black at the command of the remote Dark Callie held in her paw.
“So, in other words, their whereabouts are unknown,” Dark Razor stated as he leaned against the worktable to the right of the TV.
“That is of no significance,” The Pastmaster sniffed dismissively. “The next stage of the plan will be executed as planned.”
“Wait, I thought that that stage included us beating the stuffing out of them again,” Dark T-Bone protested.
“Trust me, you’ll get your chance. We’ll draw them out; they won’t be hiding for long once we’ve put our next piece into play…”
For the first time, the other three were doing the same thing as they listened intently while the Pastmaster explained what they were to do next. Razor couldn’t help but feel his throat tighten as he laid it all out in his head. It seemed too cruel, even for him. He only heard the deep tremor of T-Bone’s voice as he gave his approval to the plan, not the actual words being spoken.
T-Bone, Callie, and the Pastmaster looked over at him to catch the glazed look briefly evident in his eyes.
“What’s the matter, Razor? Having second thoughts?” Callie purred.
Razor shot her a look. “Never.”
T-Bone narrowed his eyes. Razor’s words could easily dismiss the doubts of the other two, but he wasn’t convinced.
Callie observed Feral’s unreadable expression. The silence that engulfed them had remained unbroken since Jake and Felina helped Chance to a cot in the back of the hangar. The pressure from everything that had occurred was becoming an unbearable weight on her mind and the silence wasn’t helping.
“Commander,” her voice gently intruded, snapping Feral out of his trance. Callie noticed that although Feral’s eyes where steadied upon her face, they still maintained a faraway look, his pupils foggy with the thoughts stirred up from the depths of his disturbed conscience.
She blinked and attempted to swallow the lump that had formed in her throat before speaking. “We have to come up with a cover about the salvage yard fire for the press tomorrow before we can proceed with anything else.”
Feral nodded, the defined muscle of his clenched jaw twitching as his eyes fell upon the damaged TurboKat parked a few feet away from them. “Yes. Of course. I’ll work on that as soon as we return to the city.”
Callie frowned at his brisk reply. “Are you alright?” she asked quietly.
Feral looked down at her with his troubled eyes, but before he could answer, Felina and Jake returned.
Callie dropped her previous inquiry and turned her attention to Jake. “How is he?”
“He’s good. He’ll be even better once he gets some rest.” Jake sighed as he and Felina stopped in front of her and Feral.
“You need to rest as well,” she replied with a concerned tone.
Jake nodded as he placed his paws in his pants pockets with unspoken resignation. “I will.”
“It would be best if we left now for the city so we can figure out how to sort through this mess before the press and the public won’t be suspicious about the fire,” Feral spoke gruffly, “and once I’ve come up with a believable alibi for you two, we’ll try to figure out what do to about the other Swat Kats.”
Felina looked at her uncle. “But, how can we be sure that they won’t do anything?”
“Then, we should also be prepared for the worse case scenario,” Jake stated simply
“Which would be?” Felina looked at him expectantly.
“Well, for starters, they could take City Hall hostage, terrorize the blind and the lame, steal candy from innocent kittens… or destroy Enforcer HQ… again. Take your pick, I got more.”
6:00 a.m on the Steps of Enforcer HQ.
“Commander Feral, do you know how the fire that destroyed half of MegaKat City Salvage Yard was started?” Ann Gora had her microphone right in Feral’s face, much to his annoyance.
Feral cleared his throat as he gently pushed the microphone off to the side. “The cause of the incident is unknown at this time. However, faulty wiring is suspected to be the cause.”
“And, what is the condition of Enforcers Christian Furlong and Jacob Clawson?”
“They are currently being treated for their injuries at a medical facility,” came the nonspecific reply.
“Are they suspected in any way to have a part in the salvage yard fire?”
“No, they are not. There has been no evidence of foul play. Like I said before, faulty wiring is suspected.”
Ann narrowed her eyes slightly before asking her last question. “It’s been said that the Swat Kats were spotted at the scene of the fire before the fire officials arrived. What do you have to say about this allegation, Commander Feral?”
Feral blinked, taken aback. No doubt this ‘alleged rumor’ was a result of Burke and Murray unable to contain themselves. A muscle twitched in Feral’s jaw as he quickly came up with a probable reply. “I don’t know where you heard this rumor, Miss Gora, but it is the first time I’ve heard of it. They were probably looking for another chance to make another glorified presence on the news. However, if they had something to do with this fire, then they will pay the consequences and be brought to justice.”
Ann regarded Feral’s response carefully. “Thank you, Commander Feral, for your time. We all look forward into hearing more about the Salvage Yard fire.” Turning to the camera, she finished her report, “This has been Ann Gora, Kat’s Eye News.”
Feral waited for Johnny to lower his camera, “If you’d excuse me, Miss Gora, I have some business that needs to be attended to.”
“Of course, Commander. We’ll be talking to you later.” Ann smiled a little too understandingly Feral thought as he walked off towards his sedan.
Ann watched Feral walk away towards his squad car with a suspicious look lurking in her eyes.
“What’s wrong, Ann?” Johnny asked, noticing that all too familiar look.
“Something’s up, Johnny. Commander Feral isn’t telling us the entire story.”
“Oh.” Johnny followed Ann’s gaze as she watched Feral drive off.
“But, that won’t be the case for long.” Ann smirked, “I always find out what’s happening in Megakat City, and there is something about that fire he doesn’t want anyone to know.”
Johnny rolled his eyes as soon as Ann turned and walked off towards the news van. “Here we go again.”
Chance woke up to the soft sound of the TV echoing throughout the hanger along with the sound of metal brushing against metal. Catching a peek at the clock, he shifted uncomfortably onto his back and lay there, staring up at the ceiling for a moment. His shoulder hurt like heck, and it made him nervous that he had this kind of injury while their evil alternates were wreaking havoc. Using his good arm, he slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position. ‘If I know Jake,’ he thought to himself ‘he’s been working on the jet all night by himself.’ Chance swung his legs off the side of the bed and slowly stood up, waiting for his vision to clear.
When he walked out, he looked over at the TV to see Commander Feral being interviewed about the fire and the fact that the rumor of the Swat Kats being at the scene. Chance scowled at Ann’s question. No doubt this was what their alternates wanted, was for the ‘Swat Kats’ to be doubted by the city.
“Well, that’s one point for them.” Chance looked over at the jet, where the voice came from, to see Jake standing there in a pair of coveralls while taking off his gloves. “You should be resting,” he added.
Chance shrugged mostly with his good shoulder. “I’ve rested enough. You don’t need to be working on the jet by yourself.”
“I’ve almost fixed the gashes on the wing and side. All I need to do is replace the heat shielding then re-paint it.”
“Don’t you mean ‘we’?”
“It’s not that bad!”
“’Not that bad’? Right, because having your shoulder torn up by a grappling hook is no big deal, of course. I mean, it’s just that you can’t raise your arm past your shoulder in order to use a wrench to fix the Turbokat.”
“Meanie-head,” Chance mumbled and he skulked off with his arms crossed, sort of.
Jake merely shook his head as he returned to work.
Several Hours Later…
Downtown Megakat City was alive and bustling with its usual late morning traffic. A trench coat-clad brunette stepped out of a yellow cab onto the concrete sidewalk. She lowered her Dolce & Gabanna shades to survey the stately building before her. Pressing them back into place, she ascended the steps towards the revolving doors. As she entered the lobby, she gave an enigmatic smile to the security guard standing at his post, instantly winning him over. It was only until the doors were closing on the elevator that the guard realized he had forgotten to check her ID.
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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.