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.
“All systems are go, T-Bone, takeoff when you’re ready,” Razor told his partner.
“Roger, lifting off,” T-Bone grunted, carefully raising the Turbokat from the ground. There was a disconcerting noise as they completely cleared the ground.
“Aw nuts, sounds like the landing gear is barely holding on,” T-Bone said worriedly.
“Naw, just the parts that were damaged grinding together, buddy. To be on the safe side though just take it slow and easy getting to the castle,” Razor reassured him.
“Heck, that’s not hard, by jet we’re barely five minutes away.” The tabby snorted as he switched from VTOL to forward motion.
As T-Bone predicted, they were back at the castle in less than five minutes. He switched back to VTOL and lowered the jet till it was at least twenty feet in the air. Razor left his seat and went into the cargo hold. Opening the bombay doors, he used his glovatrix to rappel the rest of the way to the ground.
Already, a large crowd of curious castle dwellers were watching cautiously from the castle ramparts. None felt brave enough to get any closer to the strange flying creature. The Queen and her knights, though, were just outside the castle gates, watching the metal craft hover effortlessly.
As soon as Razor was on the ground, he called up to his partner to close the bombay door.
“Okay, buddy, nice and easy. Drop down very slowly,” Razor directed.
As slow as the jet was capable, T-Bone began to descend carefully, listening for Razor’s instructions.
“Hold it! You need to move forward about ten feet,” Razor warned and waited for T-Bone to perform that maneuver. “Okay, hold it there for a moment,” he called, then walked underneath the hovering jet and eyeballed the placement of the landing gear on the hay. “Nudge it forward again, T-Bone… not too much… right there… okay, start lowering again…” Razor continued to give orders. He’d moved out from under when it looked like a good match. “Keep coming … that’s it… almost there…”
T-Bone could feel sweat running down his face, but he never lost his concentration. Moments later, he felt the jet settle, but he didn’t shut down until Razor gave him the okay.
“Perfect, as always, buddy. You can shut down now,” Razor said with relief.
The Queen strolled up to Razor’s side and waited as T-Bone jumped down from the cockpit and joined them.
“Thee are very skilled, Sir T-Bone, and thy construction of the landing area for thy machine was truly a masterpiece, Sir Razor,” she said, smiling admiringly at the now landed device.
“Thank you, my Queen. Now all we have to do is take apart the landing gear and see if we can make the repairs we need with what we have on board and your blacksmith’s forge,” Razor said, blushing a bit at her compliment.
“Then I will not keep thee from thy appointed tasks, good sirs. I suspect Commander Feral will have returned err thee get too far with thy repairs. Mayhap his assistance will aid thee in finishing sooner. I hope so because my people would dearly love to hold a festival in thy honor since thee are here for a few more days,” the Queen said warmly.
“Don’t really know until we take it apart, my Queen, but we will do our best,” Razor said.
“A party sounds like a great idea and, yeah, Feral has some mechanical skills, surprisingly, so he’ll be able to help. Just send him over when he shows up,” T-Bone said good-naturedly as he and Razor went to the rear of the jet to retrieve their tools.
“I will certainly have someone do so once he arrives, until later, good sirs,” Callista said, smiling as she returned inside the castle walls.
A mile or two from the castle…
Feral was truly enjoying the peaceful ride back to Queen Callista’s castle. Though their arrival in the past had not been their choice, he had to admit it was turning into a fascinating one. He felt relaxed and at ease, something his present life had very little of. He knew, of course, that life here was very harsh and unforgiving, but for the little while that he was here it felt like a wonderful vacation.
Which, unfortunately, was about to end as they reached a rise and came in sight of the castle. The Turbokat was neatly planted on top of the hay bales just as Razor had planned it. Sighing to himself, he knew he would be assisting them with the repairs. They needed to return very soon.
He kicked his mount into a faster trot, Lord Ferlin doing the same, and very quickly he arrived in the courtyard, dismounting and handing the reins over to a stable serf. A page ran up to him, breathless.
“Sir Feral, thee has been requested by Sir Razor and Sir T-Bone to join them at their strange craft,” he said quickly.
Feral nodded his acknowledgment, and the page scampered off. Feral, with Lord Ferlin following curiously, headed out the gates again and walked up to where Razor and T-Bone were wrestling with the twisted metal of their landing gear. It didn’t look promising.
“That’s a mess. Do you really think you can fix it with what’s on hand here?” Feral asked skeptically.
“Yeah, I should be able to jury rig it enough for it to work once at least. Probably cannibalize your chopper for spare parts,” Razor grunted distractedly.
“Humph… if you say so!” Feral snorted. “What can I do to help?” he asked.
“Uh… well… the landing rails looked like they were still intact. Might be able to use those,” Razor said briefly.
Raising his eyebrows at that suggestion, Feral didn’t comment, though he really didn’t think the chopper rails were going to be able to handle the weight of the jet. But, he knew Razor was a brilliant inventor; if anyone could make it work, he could. So, without further questions, he moved to the rear of the now open cargo hold and walked up the ramp.
He studied his chopper with a critical eye. The landing rails were still in one piece. Sighing, he removed his coat and tie and laid them out of the way. He was startled when he realized Lord Ferlin was standing behind him.
“Forgive me, Commander. I’m simply caught up in all this. So much so I find I can’t seem to pull myself away. May I offer my assistance?” he asked.
Smiling to himself in amusement, Feral said, “Certainly, I’d appreciate your help.” He moved to the open tool box the SWAT Kats were using and removed several items and returned to the chopper. “Let’s get to it,” he grunted.
He spent the next few minutes giving simple instructions to Ferlin on how to remove the bolts and brackets that held the landing rails. Nodding his understanding and handling the wrench and screwdriver with a little trepidation, Ferlin went to the opposite rail from Feral and began to work.
Feral watched him a few minutes, and, when he felt Ferlin was getting the hang of it, began to work on his own rail. They worked silently except for an occasional oath now and then when one of them lost their grip on a tool and banged knuckles and elbows.
Below them, they could hear a lot of grinding and swearing noises. The SWAT Kats were not having a very easy time of it. Banging was heard next then a heavy thud, one of the wheels, Feral assumed as he finally detached the front part of the rail and moved to the rear.
He wiped the sweat from his forehead and was preparing to remove some bolts when a sweet voice spoke hesitantly near them. Both Ferlin and he looked up in surprise and saw a very young she-kat standing nervously on the ramp below them. She held a large urn and some mugs in her paws.
“Excuse me, good sirs, but the Queen has bidden me to bring thee some water,” she said shyly.
“Aye, that would be welcome, little one. Be not afraid, nothing here will harm thee,” Lord Ferlin reassured her.
She daintily walked up the metal ramp to their side. Her eyes wide and nervous like a young doe. Still smiling encouragingly at her, Lord Ferlin took one of the mugs from her paw while Feral took the other. She carefully poured them both cold, clear water.
Feral was grateful. He hadn’t realized just how thirsty he was from the long ride and working in the hot interior of the jet. He smiled and thanked the young she-kat. She smiled and ducked her head. Lord Ferlin thanked her as well as he returned the mug to her. Feral asked for more, and she obliged. Once he was through he handed the mug back, and she quickly scurried back out of the jet as if her tail was on fire. Chuckling at each other, the pair returned to work.
Under the jet, Razor swore softly as he examined the nose gear more closely. There was no way it was going to handle a landing. He was thankful that the main landing gear had survived whatever had happened to the jet. Except for being locked down with no way to retract them up, they would hold for a one time landing.
The nose gear, however, was a different problem altogether. T-Bone was attempting to pull what was left of its struts from its housing, but it was a mess.
“T-Bone, I’m afraid we are going to have to shear it off then bore new holes,” he said grimly.
“But, that will make it far too short, and it will still be too weak to hold the jet’s weight on landing,” T-Bone objected.
“Yeah, I know, but that is where the landing rails from the chopper will help. We’ll weld and bolt the rails on either side of the nose gear to give it more support. You will have to land on the mains and only drop the nose when we are just about to put down completely. It should work,” Razor said. “Anyway, that’s all I can do under the circumstances.”
“Alright, if you say so. Stand back, and I’ll shear it off. How far do you want me to go?” he asked as he set his laser to maximum.
“As close to the bolted area as you can get without destroying the connector,” Razor told him, stepping back out of the way.
It only took a few minutes for T-Bone to burn the metal apart, allowing the wheel and what was left of the strut to land with a heavy thud to the ground.
“Now we need to have the blacksmith hammer this section…” Razor pointed to a twisted section of metal, “straight and flat again.”
“Okay, I’ll take it to him and watch to make sure it’s done right. What are you going to do?” T-Bone said as he lifted the strut section so he could just roll the tire rather than carry the heavy nose gear.
“I’m going to chisel out the rest of the strut from the connector, I hope.” Razor sighed as he studied the section in question.
T-Bone grimaced. “Have fun!” He left for the blacksmith’s shop.
“Yeah, thanks,” his partner muttered sarcastically.
T-Bone had a small group of curious peasants follow him to the blacksmith’s. They kept a respectful distance, but it still felt strange to the tabby. The blacksmith was working on a wagon wheel as T-Bone approached. He tossed the metal stripping he was working on into the water trough, and a cloud of steam blew up.
“Sir T-Bone, how can I help thee?” Arn asked.
“Well, we need this section straightened out again, and, if you don’t mind, I’ll assist you,” T-Bone said politely.
“As you wish, Sir T-Bone, thee are more familiar with this strange metal than I,” Arn agreed amiably and gestured toward his anvil and forge.
Over the next hour, T-Bone sweated as he helped Arn beat the metal into some semblance of its normal shape.
Meanwhile, back at the jet, Razor was very carefully using his laser on its thinnest setting to carve away the damaged metal strut section; it was slow going.
In the cargo area, Feral had just finished removing the last bolt holding the rail on. He carefully laid it down on the floor and went over to help Ferlin finish as well. The rails were heavy, so they could only carry one at a time. Ferlin and Feral hefted the first one down the ramp.
“Razor, where do you want this?” Feral shouted.
Razor looked up from his work and saw the pair straining to hold the heavy rail. “Put one on either side of me, Commander, thanks,” he told them, then returned to his lasering.
They grunted as they carefully lowered the rail to one side of Razor on the ground then walked back up the ramp for the other. Lowering the last one on the other side of Razor, they stood panting and catching their breath, then they went for all the parts they had taken off. Using a box Feral found inside, they placed the bolts and other parts into it and carried it outside, setting it near one of the rails for Razor.
“Anything else we can help you with?” Feral asked when Razor had stopped for a moment in his work.
Looking around and thinking for a moment, his face scrunching up in concentration, Razor finally shook his head. “No, that’s it for now. We have to wait until T-Bone gets the strut fixed before we put these rails on, and that might not be until tomorrow. Thanks for the help.”
“Okay! Well, I’m going to go back into the castle. Holler if you need me,” Feral said agreeably and turned to walk back to the castle with Lord Ferlin.
“If you’d like, I could give thee a tour of the castle?” Lord Ferlin offered.
“I’d like that. I’ve already had a look around the shops in the courtyard but not the castle environs itself yet.” Feral grinned.
“Excellent, then I will be thy guide, and at the end of our tour, we can stop at my quarters for a drink of mead,” Lord Ferlin said, pleased to spend more time with Feral.
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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.