The SWAT Kats watched their monitors in the TurboKat, bored. Nothing had happened at all for the past three weeks. That in and of itself was suspicious, but they couldn’t even begin to find out just what *was* going on.
The Enforcer radio ban squawked to life. “Shit! They knocked me out! She’s in there! And now it’s on fire!” The voice was young, male, and obviously only half-aware of what was happening.
“Crud!” T-Bone and Razor growled, waiting anxiously to be informed as to where this fire and trapped she-kat was.
“Easy, Patrolkat. Identify yourself and where the fire is,” the calmer dispatcher said.
“Patrolkat Alex Strings, I’m at….uh….” A pause as if the Enforcer were reading a faded street sign in the dark. “It’s at the dock yards, the old lamp factory warehouse! Detective McFurr is in there, I think….she’s not here…..” The young he-kat lapsed into confusion and panic.
“Get that, T-Bone?” Razor asked, knowing the answer, but needing his own confirmation. The dispatcher tried to calm down the patrolkat.
“Yeah…” T-Bone pushed the throttle and they flew towards the dockyards, a bright flame growing stronger as they neared the area. “Razor, get that scanner thing out…” T-Bone asked, as they drew even closer to the flaming warehouse.
Razor didn’t correct his partner as to the name of his equipment, there wasn’t time, he just pushed a few buttons and lowered said electronic scanner from under the TurboKat.
“Getting any readings yet, Razor?” T-Bone asked, guiding the TurboKat to a better spot over the flaming building.
“Yes, one. That must be our Detective McFurr… Foam bomb – away!” Razor jabbed at a button and a foam bomb dropped, spun, and put out the flames. “Bingo!”
Natalie McFurr had given up trying to release herself from her bonds. She now had more important things to do, like breathe. Smoke clouded the warehouse and she couldn’t even see the flames. She could feel their heat, though. All around her. Earlier she was cold, now she was hot. Too hot. She couldn’t breathe. She was suffocating.
<Calm down…you’re only making it worse,> her calmer, more rational self said. <Take a deep breath, there is no time to choke on it, just do it.> Natalie took the deep breath, her lungs filling with the scent of burning wood and various other burning things. She coughed violently. <Okay….now concentrate on getting one wrist free.>
The detective did, her eyes burning and tears streaming down her hot face. She almost had her left wrist free… Almost….not quite….
Something near her collapsed, the loud rumble suggesting that a stack of wooden crates had disintegrated. Bits of the charred wood tumbled into the previously flame-free ten foot radius of herself. Terrified, she yanked hard on her wrist and freed herself.
There was a low groan from above and she looked up. <No longer…burning….> she thought for an instant. The ceiling was dipping down and straining against the metal beams that held it up. A loud snap that Natalie felt straight to the marrow of her bones announced the fact that the metal beams were not enough to continue supporting the weight of the roof.
After a satisfying screech of horror, she reached to her ankles and, with her free paw, quickly untied herself, then wrenched her other wrist from the ropes. The only thing she could think about was getting to the archway of the office and protecting herself.
But that goal wasn’t reached. Something hit her from behind as the roof came tumbling down. Again she blacked out.
Razor had no idea how it had happened. One moment they were in the TurboKat and in the air, the next they were on the pavement in front of the no longer burning warehouse. All he’d said was, “The roof’s collapsing.” He supposed that spoke of how well they’d trained themselves, but he couldn’t dwell on the thought long.
T-Bone rammed one of his shoulders into the nearest door and just barely stopped himself from falling. Razor ran though the doorway and did a quick once over of what was going on. The warehouse was no longer on fire, but thick, dark smoke hung low over everything. The roof began leaking as it groaned with the weight of itself.
A feminine cry of fright sounded somewhere to his left and he looked over. A soot-stained, red-headed she-kat was tied to a chair. The moment he spotted her, she freed a wrist from its bonds. She untied her ankles and her other wrist. Her eyes were huge as she watched the ceiling. Razor looked up too.
Without even having to prompt himself, he found that he’d started running towards her, then he had her in his arms and, from the momentum he’d built up, flung them both into the office. The ceiling collapsed behind them, sending debris, smoke, ash, and heat over them. He barely held on to consciousness from it all.
After everything had settled down and he could hear something other than rumbling, he picked out T-Bone yelling his name. Since it was so faint, he realized that most of the collapsed ceiling lay between him and his partner.
“HERE!” Razor shouted, wincing as his voice echoed off the small space he and the she-kat were trapped in. It was black as sin and about the size of a sports car’s interior.
“Be there in a second, Hot Shot!” he heard T-Bone say. He felt along his helmet for his light and switched it on to check on his ‘cell mate’.
The red-head was about as tall as Lt. Felina Feral, and built like her too. Razor moved closer to her to check for vitals. Her heartbeat was slow for a few beats, then it paused. For a single second, he had the very incorrect idea that she’d just died under his watch. She corrected him the very next second by springing to life and wrapping her paws around his neck, throwing him against the nearest wall of their temporary prison.
“Who are you?” she growled softly, her fingers relaxing slightly.
“Who….are…..you?” she repeated, her voice harsh from smoke inhalation.
“A SWAT Kat?” her voice was slightly suspicious through the surprise.
“Yes…can you….let me go now?” Razor heard the grunts of T-Bone removing debris getting nearer.
“How do you turn off that blasted light of yours? ‘S blindin’ me,” she answered him, not letting him go, but not hurting him anymore either.
“There’s a switch on the right side of my helmet, by my ear, that’d be your left.”
The female released one paw and switched off the light. “Got a smaller version of that light, SWAT Kat?”
“Not with me… You wouldn’t happen to be Detective McFurr, would you?”
“One and the same, no one else like me.” She seemed to be grimacing rather than smiling at this. “How long ’till that one-kat rescue team gets us outta here?”
“Shouldn’t be too long – he sounds close.”
“Hmm…” she returned, obviously thinking hard. Then she shifted. “Ow!”
“Banged my head on the top of our little prison…. What direction is this rescuer coming from?” More shifting, like she was feeling along the walls.
“Hmm…..stop moving a second…” She obeyed and they both sat and listened.
“There…” they said at the same time, and moved towards it.
“Razor?” T-Bone’s voice was very close now, possibly as little as two feet separated them.
“Right here,” he answered.
A big heave and a grunt later, the tawny face of T-Bone grinned down at the two. “Hullo, long time no see…..and long time never seen before!” He extended a paw and the detective took it. T-Bone pulled her out, then returned for Razor.
When all three of them were out of the fallen warehouse, they heard the sounds of approaching Enforcers. “Late…..as usual…” T-Bone grumbled.
Razor looked over at Detective McFurr to see her reaction. The only thing on her face was soot, no emotion at all. She stood with her arms crossed and her feet shoulder width apart. Slowly, she nodded once.
While the lights and soft thuds of Enforcer choppers came closer, she opened her mouth and asked a question, hoarsely. “About a year ago…you performed a similar rescue…didn’t you?”
T-Bone looked towards her and, with a faint frown, answered. “Yes, ma’am…” There was a silent question in his voice.
“They were too late then too.”
“Too late?” Razor asked, surprised. They’d saved her, didn’t they? Did it really matter who’d done the rescuing? The result was the same.
“Contract Kougur is dead. I couldn’t…he’s dead.”
The SWAT Kats nodded. “Not your fault. No one can rescue everyone….” Razor said as the first patrol car rolled up. Detective McFurr seemed not hear him and directed her attention to the two kats who jumped out of the sedan.
“MCFURR!” Feral yelled, anger written on every hard angle of his face as he clutched his walking staff and strode towards her. Lt. Steele followed at his superior’s heels, smiling smugly.
She straightened and her face seemed only to lose more emotion, though it wouldn’t have seemed possible to either of the SWAT Kats. “Sir?”
Feral obviously disliked this detective more than the vigilantes at her side – he ignored them and loomed over her, bellowing down on her head. “What in the WORLD possessed you to enter a potential crime scene without back-up….AGAIN?!?!?!?!?”
Her voice as emotionless as her face, she replied. “My back-up didn’t show on time, sir. Rather than blow this case, that we’ve all worked so hard on, I decided to proceed…sir.”
“We’ve warned you plenty of times not to do that, *Detective* McFurr!” Lt. Steele said, sneering up at her as Feral glowered down at her.
“Hey, lighten up, she’s only doing her job using her best judgement!” T-Bone protested.
“YOU!” Feral growled, whirling on the SWAT Kats. “I should have *known* you two’d have your paws in on this somehow…”
“Sir, they rescued me from the warehouse after it collapsed,” McFurr supplied, mildly.
Commander Feral shot a glance at her and frowned. “Do not attempt to tell me you have never met these two before…”
“No sir, I won’t then.”
Feral frowned. “Fine. You two vigilantes are free to go….didn’t break any laws….this time…”
The SWAT Kats exchanged glances, shrugged and moved off to their TurboKat. In minutes it was in the sky again, where it belonged. Feral and the rest of the Enforcers watched them leave, then the commander jabbed his walking stick towards Natalie and growled his next words.
“YOU, however, are suspended for two weeks, without pay!” Feral turned on one heel and walked away. Steele tossed a smug look at her and scampered after the commander.
“Fine….” she said, lowly, narrowing her eyes at their backs. All the other kats who’d worked with her before cleared out of her way, dragging those who hadn’t, out. She turned and walked off towards her apartment.
The walk wasn’t long, but it was cold, since she’d lost her trench coat to the burning warehouse. She kept her arms down at her sides and walked at a stance that suggested that if anykat were foolish enough to try and jump her for her wallet, she’d knock them flat with one paw and rip out their lungs with the other. It worked, she had no problems on the walk home.
Silently, she mounted the steps to her apartment. In the stairwell lingered the smells of that night’s dinner. All sounds had died away long before. It was a Tuesday, no parties tonight, especially from the set she housed with. It was a working neighborhood. Many families where one or both of the parents worked and the kittens were either too young to stay up long or old enough that they had to go to school the next morning.
Sometimes it was amazing how one could be surrounded by so many, and feel so alone. She was the only kat in the apartment complex that roomed alone. If the others weren’t married, or didn’t have children, they had flat-mates.
Sighing tiredly, she pulled her key ring from the pocket of her jeans and unlocked the door. Natalie greeted the mess she left her apartment in as some would greet a pet. “Hello Mess….” The door was quickly locked, bolted and chained behind her, and the keys hung up on the side of the door closest to the hinges.
Her eyes looked from the kitchen door, to the bathroom door, to the bedroom door, undecided. A glance at a mirror though the open bathroom door decided her. “ACK! I met the SWAT Kats looking like THIS??”
After her shower she was too tired to eat her missing dinner, so she tumbled directly into bed.
When she woke up, it was past noon. Not surprisingly, since she hadn’t crawled beneath the covers until four a.m. that morning. Natalie lay in bed, staring at the spider web of cracks on her ceiling. A year here and they still fascinated her.
She hadn’t begun her career as an Enforcer in Megakat City. She’d begun it far before Megakat City allowed females in their ranks. In fact, she was one of only seventeen thousand female Enforcers of the entire free world, compared to the two and a half million he-kat Enforcers.
Only recently did Megakat City begin training female Enforcers. Cities that had been allowing this for two decades shipped some of their ‘excess’ to Megakat City to help train their new female recruits. Always they’d had female trainers and mechanics, but actual Enforcers were non-existant until one determined Feral made it possible for all females.
Natalie supposed it was Lt. Felina Feral she had to thank for being uprooted with no say so from her home in New Ahniston City. She supposed she *was* a proper choice. And New Ahniston *did* have an excess of female citizens in the first place, whereas Megakat City seemed to have an excess of *male* citizens……but she didn’t have to like the choices her superiors had made for her….not one bit.
“Two weeks….eh?” She didn’t know how she’d survive not hunting down her sister for two weeks…she *did* owe ‘sister dear’….
To Be Continued….
To be continued at a MUCH later time. I’m in the process of a move and will not have much, if any, computer access for at least two months. I’m not sure of when, exactly, this will begin, and when this will end, either.
Though I welcome comments on my works, please note that (1) I will be gone for an extended period of time and will not be able to get back to you quickly, and (2) my hotmail e-mail address will automatically delete any e-mail after my folder fills up. Maybe you’d better hold off any comments until after I post again.
This story is dedicated to all the skrpg-ers. I’ll miss not being able to hear from them for so long. ?
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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.