Arriving at Megakat Park a few short minutes later, they encountered a circle of choppers outfitted with huge spotlights guarding the site. They were quickly identified and allowed to land. T-Bone parked the Turbokat outside the protective rings Feral had set up.
The pair leaped from the cockpit and walked toward the first of the rings which were Enforcers wearing Kevlar vests, armed with large flashlights and large bore weapons that would fire iron fillings and standing some thirty feet from the portal area. Passing through this ring, the two reached the second ring some twenty feet further on, consisting of Professor Hackle’s robots that wore a thin layer of iron over their hard metal bodies.
Though of mixed blood, T-Bone still hissed when he came within ten feet of that much iron. The city did not use true iron in its technology or buildings, choosing a mixture of steel and Agracite instead, which was why T-Bone could live there without a problem.
However, the robots wore enough raw iron that he could feel it burning his skin for the first time, and it wasn’t pleasant. He halted in his tracks and frowned. On the one hand it proved Feral’s defenses would work against the Fae, but, on the other hand, it made it hard for him to function.
Guessing immediately what his partner’s problem was, Razor pushed forward at a run, squeezing between the robots, who didn’t stop him, as he made for Feral and Briggs standing not far from the portal’s probable location.
While he waited, T-Bone heard a rustling noise overhead. Glancing upward, he gaped at all the Enforcers hanging in the trees above him like some kind of weird looking fruit. Each one had on vests and were armed with the same special flashlights like the ground troops, but they also had slingshots and a belt laden with plastic baggies filled with iron fillings and dust. He shook his head in amazement. Feral had really outdone himself, which made the tabby feel relieved about his adopted people’s chances of surviving anything coming through the portal.
Meanwhile, Razor had reached Feral. “Make them move, Commander. T-Bone can’t get close to that much iron.”
Feral grimaced a bit in embarrassment. How could he have forgotten that? Quickly, he barked an order, “You four…” he pointed at the robots standing before him, “…move to make an opening.”
Instantly, four robots stepped backward and took up a temporary position behind their fellow robots forming the ring, leaving a wide hole in their perimeter.
Through this, T-Bone ran up to them, staying firmly in the center, arriving at his partner’s side moment’s later. “Seems you’ve covered all the bases you could, Feral. Great job. It should work well repelling whatever comes through. So, are you and Ms. Briggs ready?” he asked, eyeing their new getups.
Feral and Briggs had opted to dress in Enforcer combat suits and were also wearing Kevlar vests. It seemed strange to see Callie in anything but her usual pink power suit though he had to admit she really looked good in it.
“Yes, we are,” Feral responded, pulling him away from ogling Callie. “You ready for your leap into a war zone?”
“As much as you are, I think. Razor invented some nifty stuff to ensure we’re not blown away the second we go through, and we’re going in at light speed to keep the bad guys from stopping us before we find my mother,” T-Bone answered. “However, you’ll have to put up a magical protective wall to keep your Enforcers safe until we’ve passed through.”
Feral blinked at that then frowned and glanced over at Callie. “Better give us a moment to come up with the right spell and parameters for that…” he began to say before T-Bone interrupted.
“Since it will take us some minutes to get far enough to reach the speed we need that should be enough time for you.”
Feral nodded that this was true then something the tom said before made him frown again. “Wait… I thought Razor was staying here?”
“Sorry, Commander, but I felt it important I go with T-Bone. After all, I’m the gunner, and it will be up to me to insure he survives to do what he has to. You two can handle what happens here. I have confidence in you,” the slim tom answered for his friend.
Feral rolled his eyes but sighed rather than lose his temper. The SWAT Kat was right after all. “I can’t argue with that though I would have appreciated getting a heads up. Anyway, for all our sakes, I hope you’re right about Briggs and I,” Feral grunted. “If you’re ready to do this, she and I will get a second spell ready and in place.” The Commander shifted the same weapon his Enforcers were armed with from one to the other paw, the only outward sign of nerves.
T-Bone couldn’t blame him. Here he was leaving the big tom to defend his city against an unknown magical foe with only himself, a she-kat and his tech army behind him. It proved, not that it was necessary, just how brave, intelligent, and resourceful the tom was.
The big SWAT Kat made a solemn vow that, if he returned home safely, he wouldn’t be such a dickhead to Feral. Stiff-necked and stubborn the tom may be, but he had more than earned the tabby’s respect for being a great leader and protector to the city they both loved.
Of course, working on the wrong side of the law was still thumbing his nose at the Enforcer Commander and what he stood for, but he couldn’t stop being a SWAT Kat. He snorted at himself. Here I am, Prince of my people, and I’m still an outlaw here. Conflicted much? Shaking his head mentally, he refocused on the mission at paw, saving the introspection for when they were all safe again. Now it was time to make history.
“Roger! We’re off then. Good luck to you all!” T-Bone shouted for all to hear, receiving a ragged cheer in response.
“Same to you, SWAT Kat, or should I say Prince Lorcan?” Feral said archly, trying for a little wry humor between them.
T-Bone paused to give Feral one of his patented smirking grins, “It’s T-Bone to you, Commander.”
Feral snorted at that and hid a smile.
Before the tabby could head out, Callie stopped him. “T-Bone!” She hugged him hard, released him then gave Razor a hug as well but whispered something in his ear. “I’m glad you’re not staying behind, but I’ll be worried about you both.” She stepped back before he could respond and said to both, “Make sure you come back alive and in one piece.”
“Don’t you worry, Ms. Briggs. We’ll be back!” T-Bone assured her, smiling warmly, before heading off at a run for their jet, Razor a swift moving shadow beside him.
They jumped aboard the Turbokat, and, in minutes, T-Bone had VTOL’d skyward then flew off to gain altitude and reach the speed they needed.
Feral and Callie quickly discussed the spell needed then ran off, splitting from each other as they headed to opposite sides of the warzone and outside the ring of Enforcers then turning about and facing each other. Once there, they raised their paws and invoked the protection wall T-Bone had wanted. Moments later, a wall of what looked like shimmery gauze settled in place before the ring of robots. Feral called his leaders on the radio to tell them what was happening so they wouldn’t be disturbed by the wall and wonder what was going on. Once they understood, the troops stood their ground and waited alertly for the next phase to begin, praying the magical wall was strong enough to keep the Turbokat from blowing them all over in its passing.
A scream that assaulted the ears and a sudden blast of magic hitting the ground were the only warnings they got the SWAT Kats were making their run. The portal appeared suddenly, looking like a huge jet hangar. This allowed the Turbokat to pass through but, of course, it also meant the danger from the enemy was increased, but that couldn’t be helped. They had to hope the surprise of something so huge and metallic passing through would prevent much of the enemy from daring to leap through the huge opening in the first place.
Aboard the jet, Razor turned on the huge spotlight he’d affixed to the jet’s nosecone and set in his mind the order of weapons he intended to use once they passed through.
“Passing through now!” T-Bone warned just as the jet hurtled into darkness so black only the spotlight helped him see anything at all. Not even a moon helped dispel the gloom.
“Crud! The ground is covered with something’s! Firing sleep gas now!” Razor shouted, firing a brace of missiles immediately.
Multiple explosions lit the pitch black sky. Because of their speed, Razor couldn’t tell if his efforts were working or not, but the good news was they hadn’t been stopped. The surprise of such a strange and unknown thing charging into their sky had worked to the SWAT Kats advantage, allowing them to move past the portal entrance and toward the mountains unimpeded.
Using the coordinates T-Bone had given him before they left, Razor directed his partner to fly north by northwest.
“We’ll have to fly by instruments, buddy, as the spotlight really can’t keep up with our speed to show me much,” T-Bone called back to his partner.
“Yeah, I expected that, but at least we made it through without interference…” Razor started to say when the jet suddenly shuddered from an unseen blow that rocked them hard. “What the hell?”
“I can’t see it, but it could be a dragon or gryphon or both. The fact they’re only doing hit and runs rather than grab at us tells me your iron covering is working somewhat,” T-Bone said, grimly keeping control of the yoke against the occasional battering from their unseen enemies in the air.
“That’s good to know, but we can’t take too much of this battering, so let’s see if they like a shower of iron dust…” Razor said grimly, firing a spray of deadly metal out of some side ports he’d installed on the jet’s upper left and right sides and tail section.
Roars of pain were heard very close to the cockpit then vanished as their enemies peeled away.
“Bingo!” Razor crowed.
“Way to go, buddy. I think I’ll dare to engage all engines to get us out of here faster,” T-Bone said, feeling the g’s pressing him against his seat after he’d turned on the upper two engines. A fiery comet’s tail marked their passing through the pitch black sky.
Back on the Megakat City side of the portal, everyone’s ears were still ringing from the jet passing, but they were more relieved to find the magical wall had held and kept them safe. Now they waited those few precious minutes after the jet disappeared and the portal closed for any enemy.
Despite the shock of the jet roaring at them, the smaller dark Fae had enough courage to keep close to the ground and make the run through the portal. What the king would have done to them if they hadn’t attacked was too horrifying to contemplate.
So it was that fremlins, trolls, pukas, gryphons, dragons, and Hoblins poured out the portal, but, because it was daylight, the pukas and Hoblins howled with pain as their skin burned, forcing them to retreat the way they’d come while their companions, unaffected by the sun, continued forward toward the first line of defenders unafraid. Behind them, the portal snapped shut and vanished.
At least they didn’t have more to add to the army that had managed to get on their side, but there were enough enemies to cause them significant trouble.
Huge trolls, ugly hairless things that stood more than ten feet tall and looking like orange walking rocks, stalked toward the robots until they towered over them, but there they were halted by metal dust fired on them by the robots and the sling shot wielding Enforcers in the trees. The creatures roared in pain but seemed to ignore it enough to try and grab the robots, screaming again at the searing pain of touching so much iron. Infuriated, the trolls picked up the robots and hurled them toward the Enforcer line, forcing them to break rank. But, it didn’t stop the brave Kats from firing back with their own brand of bazooka driven missiles filled with iron. Many of the hulking things were knocked off their feet while others took direct hits that turned them into dust.
Above the battle, the choppers found themselves engaging dragons and gryphons. The creatures were very agile. The Enforcer pilots had a hard time keeping themselves from being knocked from the sky and failing, but the ones that succeeded caused showers of golden dust to fall whenever they managed to tag one of the flying beasts with their iron-filled missiles.
A mass of fremlins raced at that swift, eye-blurring speed, that made them nearly invisible toward the robot line of defenders. They had managed to duck under and around the robots engaging the trolls, but more than half of them fell to the onslaught of dust from the rest of the robots who closed in to engage the enemy and prevent them from passing through to the Enforcers and the city beyond that.
Those fremlins that did manage to get past were caught in a magical sticky net Feral and Briggs had created behind the robot line the instant the jet had vanished. It was exhausting work to maintain such a thing for long, and both were already feeling the strain just minutes after casting the spell. Prince Conall had suggested this as their first line of defense, believing it should be all that was necessary during those first moments of the portal’s opening.
So far, it seemed his gamble was right. The Fremlins screamed at the feel of strange magic holding them like flies in a spider’s web. Not strong enough to withstand this foreign spell, they burst into golden dust.
Meanwhile, the Enforcer line backed up the robots with rocket launchers filled with iron fillings and were succeeding somewhat at keeping the enemy at bay. However, several of the bigger enemy (trolls and dragons particularly) managed to avoid or ignore the pain caused by the iron weapons and charged down the Enforcers, making them scatter.
Feral and Briggs had one more trick up their sleeves to stop these bigger and more powerful enemies from getting out of the park. He shouted into his radio, “Choppers, plan delta!”
Immediately, his chopper flight broke off their fight and backed away for their superior’s last ditch plan. As soon as his forces were safe, he called Callie on his radio.
“Ms. Briggs, plan delta now!”
Callie raised her paws and, joining her energy with Feral’s, the two extended their sticky net from the ground to as high as they could into the airspace above them, then Feral roared another command into his radio.
Choppers and ground forces turned their weapons toward the spot they knew the invisible net was hanging and fired their weapons, covering the net with iron dust and filings, then retreated out of reach of the enemy.
The bloodlust of battle blinded the enemy to the danger so only taking out their enemies mattered as the last of the dark Fae ran headlong into the deadly net. Contact immediately turned them all into dust, much to Feral and Briggs’ relief as holding that net was exhausting.
With twin sighs of relief, they both stared around the battlefield, checking for more enemy and finding none. Feral raised his radio again and said, “Stand down! Battle is over! Begin cleanup. Choppers return to headquarters.”
From outside the park, big magnets attached to special boom arms on Enforcer hummers collected the iron filings and dust while vacuum trucks followed them to store it in big canisters. Though they weren’t bothered by the iron themselves, they did need to reuse the iron for any future battles with the Fae, and it wasn’t good for the environment.
Feral trudged across the battlefield toward Briggs, who was doing the same. They met in the middle and looked around with relief and triumph.
“Yes, we kicked ass,” Callie cheered.
Feral smiled. “Yes, we did. You were great, Callie.”
She blushed and smiled at him then stared toward the spot where the portal had been. “I’m glad the portal closed so swiftly. I doubt we could have held back anything bigger than what came through already.”
“I agree. We were warned an army might crawl through that doorway, but it didn’t come close to describing just how many we ended up facing,” he said ruefully.
Callie grimaced. “I wonder how the guys are faring if this was only the tip of the iceberg they’re facing.”
Feral rubbed his face and felt exhaustion drag at every part of him. Doing magic was harder than fighting omegas. “Those two have always lived a charmed life. We have to pray that luck keeps them safe, alive, and winning that war. Anything else will only depress us.”
She turned and eyed him thoughtfully. “That’s a pretty optimistic thing to say, Ulysses, coming from you.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “What would being negative get me? I may not be able to stand them, but…” he paused to stare at the place where the two vigilantes had vanished. “…they do have good hearts and the bravery to match. They’ll come back. Let’s just keep our city safe until then, shall we?”
She smiled at him and nodded. “Yes… let’s”
He turned to walk toward their vehicles parked at the north entrance of the park. “Oh, by the way, have you set aside funds to manage the long term guarding of the park until we’re certain the danger is over?” he asked her. “You know it could be anywhere from weeks, to maybe a year due to the time difference between here and there.”
“Oh dear, I hope not that long but, yes, Commander. I’ve made sure funds were allocated to keep this force here. Let’s hope they won’t have anything to do except be bored,” Callie said.
“Amen to that,” Feral sighed, feeling a little let down that the action had been so brief after such a tense build up but equally glad he and Briggs were up to the task. The city was safe for now, and he couldn’t be happier.
Reaching his hummer, Feral began to climb in when Callie halted him. “I think I’ll see if I can return home instead of going to work. I don’t know about you, but I’m beyond tired.”
“So am I, and I plan on playing hooky too after I make sure fresh troops replace the ones who fought, then leave myself. You have enough to do this?” he asked, leaning against his open door and eyeing her.
“I think so. You have a good rest and don’t worry about the mayor, I’ll call and bring him up to date.” Smiling, she turned away then halted. Concentrating on exactly what she wanted, she cast her spell with eyes closed. She instantly felt a swooping sensation, which ended just as quickly as it had begun. Opening her eyes cautiously, she smiled in delight when she saw she was in her living room. “Yes!”
She went to her kitchen to get a glass of milk and to call the mayor.
Feral nodded his head as he watched Ms. Briggs flash out of sight. Hope she got home safely, he muttered to himself.
Looking around, he was pleased with what he saw. The ring of robots gleamed in the sun at station keeping. Despite some of them being tossed about like dolls, none had been so severely damaged they couldn’t continue their job. Hackle made them tough alright. Which reminded him he should give the professor a call to thank him and to give him a lowdown on what happened.
Giving the area one last look, Feral felt satisfied that his defenses were secure and in place before climbing into his vehicle. Now he needed to get back to his office, write up the report on this incident, hand out new orders, then go home. With not so many omegas around, he could finally relax enough to leave work on his desk until tomorrow and truly rest. Now, if only the Pastmaster will stay gone for a while longer, he thought. Sighing, he turned on his hummer’s engine, pulled out into traffic and drove back to headquarters.
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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.