Bewildered with his head still aching, the group went to Father Sebastian’s office where they could speak more privately. They had been fortunate that no one had intruded when they were trying to call for help.
Once behind closed doors, they began to discuss what needed to be done next.
“Grandfather, I think we should make Commander Feral a jade crystal for him to wear,” Rowena suggested.
“I’m afraid that would be a bad idea, granddaughter. The hellkat is a part of his soul. The jade crystal sends him further away, but that has the bad effect of splintering the Commander’s soul. Whether we like it or not, the hellkat is why Commander Feral is alive at all. He would have been killed many times over by now,” Katzmer said, shaking his head.
“It was suggested that I be baptized to provide me with protection, but I’m not certain that is safe either. I intended to ask my mother about it,” Feral said, shrugging helplessly since that option was now closed to him.
“Nightstalker will hammer you constantly every time you step out of this church. It is obvious from our aborted service that he’s already beginning to succeed in wrenching your hellkat from your control,” Father Sebastian said worriedly.
“There must be some way we can aid him, Grandfather,” Rowena said urgently.
“Perhaps I can aid thee,” a voice echoed ethereally around them.
They all froze when a glowing figure appeared near the window. After a long moment, it solidified into a beautiful kat wearing a simple sweater and skirt with bare feet. Her dark hair swirled around her head as if a wind were constantly disturbing it even though the room was still and the window closed.
“Mother!” Feral said in relief.
“My son!” she said in a perfectly ordinary voice. “My apologizes for just dropping in like this. I felt your call, my son, then the darkness that ripped you away. It took a great deal of effort to break through Nightstalker’s dark shield. He should not be able to intrude in this holy place but, unfortunately, there is one reason why he can.” She sighed and looked at her son unhappily. “Lord Nightstalker is your father. His genetic tie to you is strong enough to overcome our divine leader’s protections to interfere.”
Feral gaped at her in horror. “He’s my father!!! But, why is he doing this to me?”
Her face tightened into a frown of anger. “You are powerful, my son. More powerful than any half breed that has ever been born. He wishes you to be by his side as his heir. Unlike the other benighted half breeds, he does not intend to use you as a ‘battery’ as Ms. Briggs so aptly described it. Instead, he intends to have you use your considerable power on his behalf. As you’ve already seen, he will stop at nothing to obtain your hellish side and force your angelic one to submit to his control,” she finished grimly.
“Not that I’m not glad to see you, mother, why have you come?” Feral asked tensely. “We needed an angelic defender. Why did you not send one?”
“Because your father has them all involved in a bloody scourge he set in motion with the other lords. It is now obvious that he did it deliberately to distract them from the mortal world,” she said bitterly. “I came to tell you of another way your protectors may aid you. Mr. Katzmer?” she said, turning to the old kat.
“Yes, divine one!” he said, bowing to her.
She acknowledged his reverence to her with a gracious nod then spoke, “You are very skilled at making specialized jewels for your war on the demons. I wish you to find a Mandara crystal as large as your jade crystal. I want you to have each of Ulysses’ protectors touch it while you invoke your protection spell. When you have completed this, bring it and all his protectors here for the final step. Have them gather in a circle holding each others paws. My son will stand in the center of the circle with Father Sebastian, who will hold the jewel. You will invoke your protection spell one final time that will seal all their energies within the jewel. When the invocation is complete then give my son the jewel to wear. It will protect him always from his father for as long as he wears it. Beware! Your father will do anything to prevent you from completing this protection. Be on your guard at all times. Now I must go; I have tarried as long as I dare,” his mother said quietly. She moved to Feral’s side.
Feral quickly jumped from his seat and willingly went into her arms for a tight hug then reluctantly released her as she began to fade away.
“My blessings on you all. Be careful, my son!” her voice said as she faded completely from view.
There was a moment of awed silence from the mortals before they were able to digest the mission they had been given.
“My duty is clear. We shall take our leave now and do your heavenly mother’s bidding, Commander. When I have found the jewel, I will notify you. As your mother said, be on guard,” Katzmer said softly as he and his granddaughter got up and left.
“I will take my leave now as well, Father Sebastian. Until my protection has been made, I will spend every night here,” Feral told the priest as he got up to leave.
“And, how will you protect yourself during the day, my son?” he asked in concern.
“I will do my best to stay close to my protectors, Father. It’s all I can do,” Feral sighed.
As soon as Feral stepped out of the church’s protection, he immediately felt his hellkat side surge forward in anger. He grit his teeth and forcibly made it stay put. It fumed in the back of his mind.
Sighing in frustration, he climbed into his vehicle and made his way to city hall. He was lucky; Ms. Briggs was in her office when he walked in.
“Commander Feral, something I can do for you?” she asked.
“Yes, I’d like you and Dr. Sinian to meet me at my church later tonight. I have something important to tell you both,” he told her.
Her face frowned. “I have a function tonight with the Mayor. What time did you want to do this?” she asked unhappily.
“What time will you be done?” he asked in return.
“These things can go on for hours,” she said, sighing in frustration.
“Since I will be sleeping there, it doesn’t matter how late it will be. You could inform Dr. Sinian to come by herself around seven p.m. I’ll just tell you when I see you. It’s very important that this be done as soon as possible,” Feral said firmly.
“Alright. I’ll call Dr. Sinian. I’ll see you probably around eleven though I really hope it will be earlier,” she said.
“That will be alright,” he said, preparing to leave when the hellkat took his inattention to make a bid to leap free. Feral growled painfully and curled up suddenly.
Callie jumped up from her desk and went to his side immediately, wrapping her arms around his torso. In Feral’s mind, the hellkat screamed in frustration and retreated.
Feral panted and his head throbbed as he regained control. He straightened slowly. “Crud, he is very determined,” he said bitterly.
“It certainly seems so. You weren’t even in danger and he’s determined to get out. You don’t seem to be holding him back as well either,” Callie said in concern.
“That’s what we’re discussing tonight. I can’t say anymore about it. I’ll see you tonight and thank you, Ms. Briggs,” Feral said tightly as he turned and left for his office.
Callie returned to her desk, a worried expression on her face. She reached for her phone to call Dr. Sinian.
He briefed Dr. Sinian at six forty-five and Briggs at eleven-thirty. Now he had to catch a certain elusive pair to brief them. The she-kats were wide-eyed at his mother’s visit and unhappy to know angelic assistance would not be coming. They assured him that they would be keeping alert for the call when Katzmer was ready and offered their assistance with his hellkat when needed.
It was days later that Feral was able to catch the SWAT Kats. They had been on hand again when a bank robbery went very bad and spilled out into the street. They used gas to put everyone in the area asleep. It was the safest way to stop the chaos from spreading.
They were on the ground helping sort out the criminals from the innocent while Feral was doing his bit of healing victims caught in the cross fire from the robbers. When everything had been cleared up, Feral stopped them before they could leave.
“I need to speak to you to urgently, but it must be on holy ground. Can you come by St. Michael’s Cathedral tonight?” he asked quickly before anyone came close enough to hear them.
The SWAT Kats eyed him in surprise, but Razor answered him easily, “Sure, if it’s that important, we’ll be there.”
Feral nodded in relief and left them for his own vehicle. They looked at each other and shrugged as they jumped into their jet and left as well.
That evening the church was host to two very unusual visitors. Feeling a little uncomfortable, T-Bone knocked on the door. A priest opened and stared at them a moment before gesturing them to enter. He raised his finger to his mouth to tell them to be silent and follow him. The SWAT Kats nodded solemnly and followed the priest as he led them down the aisle then through a door that led into a quiet hallway. Stopping at a door that said ‘Angel’ on it, he knocked and Feral’s face appeared through the open door. He nodded his thanks at the priest who turned quietly and left them alone.
Feral gestured them into his small room. The SWAT Kats stood uneasily as they waited to hear what the Commander needed to tell them. He wasted no time doing so. When he was done, Razor blurted out in shock.
“Nightstalker is your father???”
“Crud, Feral, that sucks!” T-Bone said unhappily.
“Yeah, I wasn’t too happy about it either. Anyway, Katzmer is going to make this amulet for me and you have to be available to charge it with your life energy when he’s ready for you. Is there some way he can get a hold of you?” Feral asked.
“Uh…” Razor hesitated and looked at his partner.
T-Bone shrugged uncomfortably.
“It’s not like we have much choice, buddy!”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Razor sighed as he reached into one of his pockets and drew forth a small device. “Have him use this to signal us,” he told the Commander.
“Perfect. To contact you for the meeting here, we’ll use Ms. Briggs’ communicator.” Feral grinned at their discomfort at learning he knew about that device.
“Okay! We’ll see you then,” T-Bone growled unhappily as he and Razor took their leave.
Meanwhile at Katzmer’s Curios, the hunt for the jewel was running into problems. In his own stock, he did not have a Mandara crystal. He now had to make a search through his contacts for it, and that would take time. He worried he might not have enough time to find it.
Two weeks had passed, Feral was having more and more difficulty containing his hellkat. On two different occasions it had nearly escaped. Once the SWAT Kats had prevented it and the second time was Rowena.
Rowena was aiding her Grandfather in his search for the needed crystal. She had been downtown at a stone cutters when the metallikats blitzed through, creating a swath of damage ending just a block from where she was. She saw Feral go rushing by in his cruiser. Concerned, she jumped into her car and followed.
The metallikats were cornered by the enforcers, but, during the battle, Feral had been blasted off his feet by a missile landing close to him. He was thrown into a nearby building. The hellkat used the opportunity to leap free. It was unfurling its wings just as Rowena reached it.
They were fortunately hidden in an alley, so no one saw the transformation except for Rowena. She quickly raised her jade amulet. It shrieked in fury and retreated, giving Feral the chance to yank it back in. He was heaving for breath, totally naked, huddled on the ground.
She sucked in her breath, ‘He is magnificent,’ she thought, blushing then looking quickly away but keeping her amulet pointed at Feral.
Groaning, Feral struggled to his feet and snapped clothes on himself. She dared to glance over her shoulder and found the tom dressed again.
“Handy and useful trick, Commander. Are you alright?” she asked in concern, putting the amulet away inside her blouse once more.
“Yes, thank you. Lucky you were here. By the way, why are you here?” he said in puzzlement as they walked back out of the alley.
“I was on an errand for my grandfather when I saw your enemies then you rush by. I was concerned that you might run into trouble.” Rowena said as they halted and looked around.
Fortunately, the SWAT Kats had the metallikats captured and the enforcers were taking the scrap away.
Feral sighed. “Another mess.. .another report. This is getting soo old.”
“Yes, everyone is becoming quite exhausted by the constant strife. Finding the item we need has been more difficult than we first had hoped. We’re having to search the city, and time is not on our side,” Rowena commiserated with him.
“I wish I could aid you in this but I must stay away or accidentally give that info to the wrong source,” Feral said in frustration.
“I know. Do not blame yourself. You do so much on the side of light already. We, your protectors, can only emulate your selflessness and do our best to aid you to the best of our abilities,” she said gently.
Feral smiled wanly at her. “Thank you for that vote of confidence. I’d better be going. There’s far too much work on my desk right now.” He nodded at her then walked up the street where his vehicle was parked.
Sighing to herself, she made her way back to the stone cutter’s shop. He was a handsome tom, and she found herself drawn to him. It wasn’t good for him to be soo alone.
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