Title: A MEDIEVAL NIGHTMARE
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
“Hast thou been on horses before?” Lord Ferlin asked as he led them down rows of powerful looking war horses.
“Uhh… I’ve never been on a horse,” T-Bone said, staring nervously at the big animals.
“I’ve ridden before!” Feral said confidently, admiring the creatures who stared at them in curiosity.
“Yeah, I rode on them when I was younger but nothing this large,” Razor said, looking the animals over.
“These be known as Shire horses. Strongest, fastest, and most gentle of the horses bred in these times,” Lord Ferlin said, proudly caressing the back of a great black stallion with white socks. “Now, let me think. For Sir T-Bone, I believe a sturdy pony mayhap be something a novice can safely handle. For Sir Razor perhaps a pony as well since thy experience was with a smaller breed. What are thee used to, Commander?” Lord Ferlin asked as he had a serf bring out the horses he’d selected as well as his own.
“Hmm. It has been a while since I’ve ridden. I can ride one of these but would like one with a moderate temper perhaps?” he said musingly.
“I have just the one for you. Bring out the grey spotted stallion,” he ordered another serf.
Two brown shaggy ponies, the black stallion and a grey spotted stallion were brought into the yard outside the stables. The serfs put on saddles and bridles while the three watched.
Lord Ferlin approached one of the ponies. “Here, Sir T-Bone, this is a very gentle pony. Thee should have no problems riding him.
T-Bone eyed the creature dubiously.
“Here, allow me to assist thee,” Lord Ferlin said in mild amusement. He held the pony’s head reins and waited for T-Bone to mount up.
“T-Bone, just grab the cantle, put your foot in the stirrup and push upward, swinging your leg over the rump. Here, watch me,” Razor said as he gracefully mounted the other pony with ease.
Taking a breath, the tabby kat tried to copy his friend. He managed to push himself up onto the pony only to slide off the other side.
Feral, who had already mounted his stallion, laughed uproariously.
His face burning with embarrassment, T-Bone tried again. This time, he made it onto the saddle and got his feet firmly into the stirrups. Lord Ferlin handed him the reins and gave him a quick lesson on how to control and steer the pony. Swallowing hard and nodding his understanding, T-Bone sat nervously on the animal. It sensed his uneasiness and began to act up. It pulled on the reins hard and cantered off toward a patch of tasty new grass. Poor T-Bone was left helplessly going along for the ride.
Razor rode up beside him. “T-Bone, you have to show him who’s boss. Hold the reins firmly and pull back when he does something you don’t want him to do,” he instructed his partner to the accompaniment of Feral’s continuing gales of laughter.
Riding up to their side, Feral smirked. “Not so hot when you’re on the ground, are you?”
T-Bone gritted his teeth. “Not my fault I was born a city kat. Only horse I ever saw was on TV.”
“If we are ready, let us depart,” Lord Ferlin said, coming up beside them. He kicked his horse into a light canter.
The others followed. Razor stayed close to T-Bone.
They had just passed through the castle gates when T-Bone’s pony whinnied in excitement at being out and took off. T-Bone held on grimly and tried pulling on the reins, but the pony had other things in mind. It galloped off into the nearby forest with the others galloping hard in his wake.
Lord Ferlin and Feral finally caught up to the pony and blocked its escape with the bodies of the larger horses. T-Bone sat trembling.
“I think it best if thy friend holds the reins and leads this rather rambunctious mount. It has obviously not been ridden in some time and is anxious for a run,” Lord Ferlin said thoughtfully and handed the reins to Razor, who had finally caught up to them.
Hugely embarrassed, T-Bone could only sit and let Razor lead the pony as they followed Lord Ferlin in a westerly direction from the castle. On the way, they saw small farms with peasants working their fields.
They finally reached the small farm where their jet and chopper had landed. T-Bone was grateful to climb off the pony. His rear was sore from the jouncing ride. Razor tethered both their mounts to a nearby tree. Feral and Lord Ferlin did the same.
They walked through the high grass, stopping at the chopper first. It lay on its side; the canopy was shattered, the landing gear collapsed and the main rotor bent. It was damaged beyond repair. Feral gave a groan of disgust at the sight.
“Hmm, guess we’ll have to dismantle it and load it aboard the Turbokat,” Razor said musingly, shaking his head at the damage.
“Why? It’s worthless,” Feral said in surprise.
“We can’t leave anything made in the future behind, Commander. It could contaminate our timeline,” Razor told him seriously.
“Oh! You have a point. Alright, I’ll get started taking it apart. There are tools aboard.” Feral sighed in agreement.
“You?!!” T-Bone snorted in surprise.
“I wasn’t always a Commander, SWAT Kat. I had to start at the bottom like everyone else, and I was mechanically inclined so I did a lot of my own repairs,” Feral snapped.
“Huh, will wonders never cease.” Taking a dig at Feral for the laughter earlier. Feral just growled at him. Smirking, T-Bone turned to his partner. “Right, you got it then, Commander. Come on, Razor, let’s see if the Turbokat came through unscathed.”
They left the Commander to begin his work and walked to where the jet was parked. Walking around examining it, the only external damage seemed to be to the landing gear and some scratches and dings all over the body.
They signaled the canopy to open then hopped into it to do a systems check. Lord Ferlin watched the activity with avid interest. Since he would be in the way in the jet, he wandered back over to where Feral, coat, tie removed and sleeves rolled up, was already working on the main rotor blade, trying to unbolt it.
“May I offer my assistance, Commander?” he asked.
Looking down, Feral thought a moment then nodded. “Yes, if you would climb up here, I’ll have you hold this thing up a little more so that I can free the bolts.”
“Happy to be of assistance,” Lord Ferlin said and proceeded to carefully climb the tail section then inched his way using whatever hand hold he could find until he was up onto the main body of the chopper where the Commander was perched.
“Make sure you’re stable before grabbing onto this,” Feral warned as he pointed to the bent blade he wanted raised a bit.
Lord Ferlin made sure his feet were firmly planted before stretching up and pushing at the blade.
“Perfect, hold it there while I get this bolt undone.” Feral grunted as he worked quickly. “Okay, it’s loose; ease off a bit then grab hold of one of the blades,” the Commander said, pointing to the flat metal pieces, making sure Ferlin understood. When he was sure Lord Ferlin was holding the blade correctly, Feral removed the last of the bolts.
Standing up carefully, he reached for the rotor and, with Ferlin’s aid, pulled it off its spindle and dropped it to the ground.
“That’s great! With that off, it can now be stowed in the Turbokat,” the big tom said with satisfaction as he and Ferlin climbed down to the ground. Putting the tools away, Feral wiped his paws off on a rag.
“Okay, let’s go see how the SWAT Kats are doing,” he said, leading the way to the jet.
Reaching the Turbokat, Feral hopped onto the wing easily and leaned in the cockpit. “So, how’s it coming?” he asked the occupied pair.
“All systems seem okay despite it obviously having dropped a distance. I’m really surprised there wasn’t any more damage. Wish I knew how it ended up on the ground intact,” Razor said, puzzled.
“Hmm, yes, that does seem odd when my chopper obviously smashed down, but yours looks as if it was landed, albeit by someone who isn’t really a flyer if the landing gear is any indication,” Feral mused.
“Yeah, you may be right! Anyway, that’s a mystery we probably will never get an answer to,” T-Bone said, shrugging. “Better back away, Feral. I want to start the engines.”
Feral nodded and jumped back down and gestured Lord Ferlin to move with him.
A deep roar filled the area, frightening the animals and the nearby farm family. The pilot only ran the engines for a few minutes before shutting them down. Lord Ferlin had jumped in his fur when the machine had roared to life.
‘Such an incredible noise this thing makes,’ he thought in wonder.
Now that the jet was quiet again, Feral moved back to its side just as the SWAT Kats jumped down. Razor was underneath, studying the landing gear up close.
“How’s it look, Razor?” T-Bone asked in concern.
“Well, it’s not too bad. I can fix it. The problem we’ll have is moving with the gear crumbled like that. The only choice is to fly it to the castle and put it down on a stack of hay. You are the only one I know who could even do that. So, we’ll leave it here for the moment until we can make a hay bale landing pad. First though, we’ve gotta load Feral’s chopper aboard.” He sighed, coming out from under the jet and standing next to them.
“I’ve removed the main rotor. How do you plan on getting it into the jet?” Feral asked, frowning.
“By using the sand cat and towing it on board,” Razor said confidently.
“Okay, let’s get to it then,” T-Bone said as he triggered the cargo doors open.
Lord Ferlin watched in awe as the back of the huge machine opened and revealed a large storage area.
T-Bone climbed up the ramp and off loaded the sand cat. He drove to the front of the crippled chopper. Everyone helped pass a cable through the shattered canopy and wrapped it around the metal framework. With great care, T-Bone pulled the chopper slowly across the, fortunately level, ground to the rear of the jet and, with metal screeching, dragged it into the cargo area. Feral and Lord Ferlin carried the main rotor into the jet and laid it against a wall. They spent the next twenty minutes going over the area to ensure no material from the future was left behind.
“Well, that’s that. Guess we better head on back to the castle; it’s getting late,” T-Bone said as he sealed the jet and set its alarms, not that he thought anyone in this century would touch it, but better safe than sorry.
“Thee are correct, Sir T-Bone. The hour does grow late, and the Queen wishes us to be back by evening meal,” Lord Ferlin reminded them.
They walked back to the nervous horses and were forced to spend a little time calming them before getting on. T-Bone grit his teeth as he climbed back aboard his pony.
“I’d take my jet over this nag any time,” he muttered to himself.
“It’s not that bad once you get the hang of it, buddy.” Razor grinned, having heard the comment.
“Say’s you!” the tabby grumbled unhappily.
Just to be on the safe side, Razor took the reins once more for T-Bone’s pony. They made it back to the castle without incident.
“How fared thy day, good sirs?” the Queen asked over their bowls of pepper pot stew.
“It went well, your majesty. We were able to load Commander Feral’s crippled chopper aboard the Turbokat and made sure the area was clear of any material from our world. Unfortunately, the part of our machine that allows us to land is badly damaged. Unlike the last time when we were able to tow it here, with the landing parts broken, that isn’t possible this time. What we need to do is build a hay bale landing area where T-Bone can put the jet so that we can work on it,” Razor quietly explained, reaching for his milk to cool the burn of the soup.
“I will ensure thee has what thee needs in the morning. Simply instruct my knights on what assistance thee requires to accomplish this task,” Queen Callista said easily.
“Thank you! We appreciate everything you’re doing for us,” T-Bone chimed in.
“I too am thankful for your assistance, but I have one more request that I hope you will be able to help us with. I do hope I’m not being too presumptuous in asking this, but since you are familiar with magic, I was wondering if you could help us take out the Pastmaster. While we are here, I fear the little creep is making a mess of Megakat City,” Feral requested, very concerned about what the omega could be doing while they were away.
“I understand thy concern, Commander. I will use my scrying bowl to see what the Pastmaster is up to and hopefully find a counter measure for thee to use when thee are returned home,” Callista agreed readily.
Feral nodded his thanks, relieved she was willing to aid them. Razor was stunned. He had planned to ask the Queen that very thing in a few days’ time. It was when the Commander did things like this that Razor was forcibly reminded that Feral wasn’t stupid, just narrow minded and too much by-the-book sometimes, but this wasn’t one of those times.
The meal ended on that hopeful note. They made for their rooms and bed. Tomorrow would be a busy day.
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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.