Title: A TWILIGHT ZONE MOMENT
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
Author’s Note: A weird something that popped in my head while making dinner. Seems my best stories come from when I’m preoccupied with something else in my life. This is in first person and a short story.
I was warned this might be dangerous, but I pushed that possible threat away in my mind, justifying it as the need to push the boundaries of possibilities as far as I could.
Since none of my colleagues wanted anything to do with my project, I took to working on it in the wee hours of the morning. No one questioned me about my night owl hours as long as I worked on the legitimate projects I had already on my plate. This was strictly on my own time even though I was using company money to accomplish it.
Tonight, I just knew I was on the edge of a breakthrough. I stepped up to my accelerator and placed the helmet on my head. I had already checked the celestial heavens for the anomaly I’d mapped out more than a year ago. It was just coming into its optimum position at this very moment. If I wanted to succeed, it had to be now or it would be years before the anomaly would reappear.
The human brain is an amazing thing, but it is also extremely fragile. I hoped what I was attempting to do would not leave me a drooling idiot. Taking in a deep breath, I watched my computer screen that sat next to me for the right moment. As soon as the anomaly came into my triangulation matrix in my program, I pressed the entry key and prayed.
All around me my accelerator revved up. The room got brighter and brighter then an impossibly bright light went off, and my mind shot away like a race car. My body remained seated in its chair, but my mind was off through space at a phenomenal rate. I was terrified and excited at the same time as I literally witnessed the universe whiz by me. I was trying to prove it was possible to see beyond our world with only our minds. If we could see what’s out there, we could know if space travel was worth the expense. Also, we would become more aware of just what was out there in the first place.
I was so wrapped up in what my mind was being bombarded with that I nearly forgot why I was here. I had set my computer to bring me back after five minutes exposure. I sincerely hoped it did not fail or I would never be coming back.
I saw our solar system rush by and then I was out past the milky way when I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my brain. I screamed then everything went dark.
When I woke, I was shocked. Where was I? I was laying on my back in what looked like a bedroom somewhere. It certainly wasn’t mine. I slowly sat up and got another shock… I was covered in fur… wait a minute… this wasn’t my body at all… sheer panic rose up to try and strangle me when suddenly a voice growled.
“What the hell is going on? Who are you?” it asked in a mixture of fear and anger. The head I was looking out of turned this way and that in a frantic need to see who was there. “I don’t see you, but I feel you somehow? Explain now?” it barked even more stridently.
Still terrified myself, I realized I must be in the body of someone or something else and he was becoming panicky. I could hardly blame him.
“I… I.. I’m sorry! Please calm down. I’m as scared as you!” I stuttered, trying to soothe him. I needed some answers quickly.
“Who are you… where are you?” he demanded again, making an effort to rein in his own fear.
“I’m sorry, but I think I’m here inside your mind…” I tried to explain, but he exploded.
“You’re what??” came a deep growl.
It was weird but this guy sounded like a cat of some kind. A human couldn’t make those type of noises. This was just getting more strange by the moment. I tried again.
“I’m apparently sharing space in your mind. I was experimenting with sending my mind outside of my solar system when something went wrong. When I woke up, it was to see out of your eyes,” I explained.
The guy went silent. I was glad I couldn’t really read his mind despite taking space in it. His mind was really weird and made no sense to me.
Suddenly, I felt him getting up and moving toward what looked like an ordinary bathroom. He turned and looked into a mirror. I screamed. He shook his head and closed his eyes, groaning.
“Stop that! It hurts!” the cat-like creature growled in pain.
I did, but it was really hard. What I had seen was an upright talking cat creature. He had a rectangular face, heavy chin, long sharp fangs, gold eyes, black hair in a buzz cut, and was dark furred. I was on another world or dimension where cats were as intelligent as humans. I was definitely not in Kansas. Oh my god, how was I going to go home?
“I’m sorry! Your appearance was a shock to me. You look just like an intelligent cat. We have cats on our world, but they are not intelligent. They come in all different types, some more deadlier than others,” I babbled on, too shaken to be coherent.
“That’s interesting and all but that still doesn’t explain what you are doing here and in my head,” the cat said flatly.
How could he be so cool about this? I’d be going out of my mind by now. “You certainly are acting rather calm about this,” I commented cautiously.
He snorted. “Unfortunately, the strange is very common here. Though, I will admit this is even stranger than most things I deal with. I am Commander Ulysses Feral, Chief Enforcer for Megakat City on the planet called Aristal,” he told me.
I was surprised. Maybe I’ll find a way home after all, if the strange is common here. I was pleased that he was willing to tell me who he was and where I am.
“Thank you! My name is Jerome Sedler. I’m a scientist from a planet called Earth,” I told him.
“A scientist! Wonderful!” he said rather sarcastically. “I’ve had nothing but problems from scientists. Their inventions have caused nothing but problems for my enforcers whenever they run amok or are stolen by criminals and create havoc..”
I felt like I’d been insulted but when he said that runaway experiments were the reason, I kept silent. How could I feel angry by his attitude when I’d just done that same thing to him.
“Alright, you’ve had an accident with your experiment, and you need to find a way to undo or go back to where you came from… is that about the gist of it?” he asked in annoyance.
I might have blinked if I had my own eyes. He realized the problem immediately. He hadn’t been kidding when he said he was very familiar with this scenario. I’m glad one of us was because I didn’t have a clue how to undo what had happened, and I certainly didn’t know why it had happened in the first place.
“Uhm, I know you don’t want to hear this but… uh… I have no idea how I came to be here and certainly no idea how to leave. Sorry!” I said humbly.
“Perfect!” Feral growled in resigned disgust. “Well, I have to get to work. You will focus your attention on how to leave. Don’t interfere with me at any time. My work is dangerous, and you could very easily cause me to get killed. Understood?” he demanded bluntly.
“Yes, sir!” I said meekly. What else could I do? It was his body, after all.
‘Kat’s Alive! What a day this is going to be!’ Feral sighed mentally.
I tried to keep my mental eyes turned away while the huge male got on with the business of getting ready for work. Of course, I couldn’t shut my ears to what he was doing… talk about really embarrassing.
I didn’t work on my problem for a little while. How often do you get to see another world? I watched avidly through Feral’s eyes at the strange world I had dropped into.
I was amazed at how much his world resembled ours in certain ways. Everyday things were exactly like ours; furniture, apartment design, electronics (like his TV, razor, handheld radio and cell phone), appliances, even some of the food stuffs (like coffee, toast, eggs, bacon, milk). They certainly tasted the same. It felt truly weird tasting what he was eating. His taste buds were more sensitive than humans, so the food had more flavor. His sense of smell was also much better than mine. I was almost overwhelmed by the different odors, thankfully, he didn’t stink..
As we reached his vehicle, that’s when I started to see the differences. His car seemed a cross between an old ford of the 1930’s and a modern gullwing sports car. What shocked me the most was it ran on something other than gas because it made hardly any noise except a loud hum when he started it up.
“Excuse me! But, I just have to ask… what does this car run on?” I asked cautiously.
Feral snorted in annoyance but answered readily enough. “Nuclear power.”
I was speechless. If I could find out how they managed to harness that to run a car, I’d be a trillionaire back home. I knew better than to ask Feral though. I’d have to hope for a more relaxed moment to see if he’d be willing to let me see some schematics on their vehicles.
Except for no real noises but those made by the movement of the tires, machinery, and people talking it could have been in my own home town. The city was huge; their traffic resembled ours with traffic lights, pedestrians, trucks, and buses. There were the fairly normal looking stores, factories and businesses but with a cat-like motif to them.
I was so caught up in my sightseeing that I was surprised when we stopped. Feral parked his car at the base of what looked like a huge building. I couldn’t tell since he never looked up.
He swung the huge door open, and I was bombarded with the noises of what looked like a police station with a military bent to it.
Feral headed straight to a bank of elevators and pressed the button for the top floor. Decanting when the door opened again, he strode down a short hall to another large door. Just before he got there, a cat with long black hair with an eye-catching white strip through it called out to Feral.
“Good morning, Uncle,” came a surprisingly nice sounding female voice.
Feral continued on into his office followed by his niece. “Good morning, Felina. What can I do for you?” he asked over his shoulder as he took off his coat and hung it up.
“I may have a possible lead on that snatch and grab Chop Shop got away with yesterday,” Felina said grimly.
Feral raised an eyebrow at her as he paused in his motion to go to a pedestal desk. “Let’s hear it!” he demanded, tilting his head at her.
While she proceeded to give him a report, I took the opportunity to study Feral’s niece. She had less fur on her face than he did with a pert nose and brown eyes. I would venture to guess she would be considered beautiful by her kind. She wore some kind of tight uniform. I blinked when I realized she was wearing some kind of body armor and was carrying a weird kind of pistol.
When I returned my attention back to their conversation, Feral was giving her orders. Felina saluted smartly and about faced, leaving his office briskly. Feral moved to his desk and sat down. I winced when I saw the huge pile of reports there waiting for him.
He sighed, and I couldn’t blame him. I hate paperwork. As he dug into his work, I sighed mentally too. This would get very boring really quickly, so I turned my attention on trying to solve my problem.
After an hour or so of going over every step I’d taken and analyzing what I’d seen on the way here, I still couldn’t figure out how I got in this place. I kept a firm grip on my fear. It would be way too easy to give into panic. I didn’t want to think about the chance I may never be able to go home. That was just too terrible to contemplate, but just what was I going to do about my situation?
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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.