As she had the first time, Rowena slipped into Feral’s room in the wee hours of the morning. She didn’t know about the battle with Madkat since she had only gotten back to town near midnight. She’d caught a short nap at her grandfather’s and decided to see her ‘angel’ in the morning.
She smiled in warm affection at the sight of the big tom sprawled on the too small bed in only his boxers. Moving to his side, she reached down and caressed his back in gentle strokes. He groaned in sleep and twitched but otherwise didn’t wake.
‘Perhaps he had a too eventful night,’ she thought, then shrugged, undressed and squeezed in between the wall and his warm body. ‘Might as well catch up on my sleep then,’ she sighed to herself, drifting to sleep to the sound of his heart beat.
Feral woke slowly. The first thing he noted was a familiar scent filling his nose, the second was the warm body pressed against his own. Smiling lazily, he rolled to his side, causing her body to roll down against his chest in the hole he’d left. She grumbled in her sleep. Grinning, he leaned over and nuzzled her face.
She gasped, startled, but relaxed as her nose picked up his scent. Sighing, she opened her eyes and smiled up at the grinning male looking down at her.
“Good morning, love. I came in early this morning but couldn’t wake you so decided to join you,” she smirked at him.
“I’m glad you did and good morning to you too,” he said warmly, leaning down again to kiss her. They made out for several long minutes which led to more intense activity. An hour later, they lay wrapped together. Feral told her of his night and she told of her fruitless search.
“Well, at least your night was successful. I am getting truly frustrated with our inability to find just one crystal. It isn’t even that rare but, thanks to you father, it is now,” she grumbled.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly, kissing her cheek. “I hope Dr. Sinian has better luck.”
“I sincerely hope so. I have a strong feeling time is against us,” she said with a shiver.
He had no answer to that.
Megakat Natural History Museum…
Dr. Sinian was tired and frustrated. She had been on the phone until well after the museum closed. All her contacts so far didn’t have what she wanted. She wasn’t quite tapped out yet, but she was becoming concerned. She wouldn’t have thought Lord Nightstalker would have concerned himself with any place outside of Megakat City, but she shouldn’t take that for granted. She was in her office early to try some more of her contacts.
As she headed down the hall to her office, she was hailed by one of her fellow colleagues.
“Hey, Abby, you’re in early,” Dr. Wilson called out to her.
“Oh, good morning, Andy. Yes, I’ve got some calls to make.” She smiled wanly at him.
“Anything I can help you with? You seem a bit stressed,” he asked solicitously.
“Ah… well… I’m having some difficulties locating something that used to be rather easy to find, but, so far, I haven’t found a one and it’s rather urgent that I do,” she said, reluctant to reveal too much about what and why.
He smiled. “Well, if you tell me what it is, there might be a slight chance I might be able to help.”
She studied him for a long minute. She had worked with Dr. Wilson a long time; he was responsible for maintaining the museum when she was away on digs and was a very efficient and excellent manager. She decided to take a chance.
“Well, I need to find a Mandara Crystal about the size of a ping pong ball,” she finally told him.
“A Mandara Crystal, heh?… hmmm… you know I saw one about that size in a friend’s collection about a year ago. Want me to check with him and see if he’ll part with it?” he asked.
Her eyes widened in pleased surprise. “Oh yes, I’d be grateful if you would. We’ll pay him whatever he asks within reason,” she said excitedly.
“Alright. I take it there is some urgency on it?” he asked, heading toward his office.
Dr. Sinian followed him.
“Yes, we need it as soon as possible,” she answered.
He nodded his understanding and went to his address book and looked up a number. Picking up the phone, he dialed the number and waited. He seemed to have been fortunate and caught his friend in. After several long minutes of bringing each other up to date on each others lives, Dr. Wilson got to the point of the call. His face lit up when he received a positive answer. For the next twenty minutes, Dr. Wilson cajoled and pressed his friend to part with the crystal. Finally, a price was agreed to. Now, all that was left was the transfer and payment. He put his friend on hold a moment and turned to Dr. Sinian.
“Okay, you’ve got your deal. So, how do you want to make the trade and payment?” he asked.
“Will he speak to me?” she asked.
He turned back to the phone and spoke a moment then handed the phone to her. “Go ahead! He understands that it is you making the purchase.”
She smiled gratefully then took the phone from him. “Hello, yes. Thank you so much for being willing to sell the crystal… yes, it is very important… no, I don’t want it shipped. Because of the urgency and for security reasons, I have someone who will be picking it up from you directly. I need your address and when you and the crystal will be ready for the transfer… no, it’s not necessary to wait that long… my pickup guys can get there within hours… yes, they are fast… you’ll know why when you see them… they will be coming by jet right to you… no, I’m not pulling your leg. Yes, that will be fine. They will have the payment on them. What form do you want it in? Yes, that will be fine. Again, thank you so very much for your help… You too. Good bye,” Dr. Sinian told the caller then hung up. She grinned in relief at Dr. Wilson.
“Thank you very much. You don’t know how important this is. You’ve done me a very great favor, and I won’t forget it,” she told him warmly.
“That’s quite alright, Abby. I’m just glad I could be of service,” he said warmly, waving off her thanks.
She left his office in a happy mood. She couldn’t wait to tell Callie.
Callie hung her phone up excitedly. Abby had come through, and now it was time for the SWAT Kats to do their part. She fished the signaler out of her purse and activated it.
Megakat Salvage Yard…
Chance jerked his head up when the alarm went off near him. He reached out and snatched the special phone from the wall.
“Yes, Ms. Briggs?”
“T-Bone! I need you and Razor to go to Dr. Sinian’s office in two hours. She has an address for you to pick up a precious cargo,” Callie said, careful to not give too much away.
Chance frowned a moment, trying to understand what Callie was alluding to, then he remembered. “Right, two hours, the museum. We’ll take care of it, Ms. Briggs.” He hung up the phone. Jake had arrived at his side and was waiting to be filled in. T-Bone did so with a grin.
“They found a crystal! I was beginning to worry they wouldn’t,” Jake said in relief.
“Yeah! Well, we still got a couple of hours yet, so let’s see if we can clear these cars out of here in that time,” Chance said.
Jake nodded and went back to work.
Smiling to herself, Callie closed the communicator and dropped it back into her purse. She took out her cell phone next and speed dialed a number she had programmed in recently.
“Katzmer’s Curios, how may I help you?” came the voice of Rowena.
“It’s Callie. It’s been found. Our delivery boys will be on their way to get it in two hours. Where do you want it delivered?” she asked.
Keeping her voice calm and ordinary, Rowena told her, “Let me check with my grandfather, hold just a minute.” She rushed into the back room of the shop and said excitedly, “Grandfather! Ms. Briggs has found a crystal. She’s sending the SWAT Kats out for it in two hours. She wants to know where you want it delivered?”
“That is good news! Have them take it to St. Michaels,” he told her.
She blinked in surprise but did as he asked. She could hear the surprise in Callie’s voice, but she acknowledged the order and hung up.
“Why the church, grandfather?” she asked, puzzled.
“I need to check the crystal and insure it is what we need then work on it there. I do not want anymore problems with keeping it while I work on it by having minions of hell interfering with me preparing the crystal,” he explained.
“Oh, of course, anywhere but holy ground and Lord Nightstalker would be harassing us and trying to steal it. I should have remembered that,” she said, kicking herself for forgetting.
Katzmer just smiled and patted her on the back and sent her out to man the shop.
Two hours later…
“Well, time to go, buddy,” T-Bone said as he finished dressing and headed for the Turbokat.
“Roger that, T-Bone,” Razor said, already on his way to the jet.
Within minutes they were in the air and heading for the museum. Landing in the rear of the huge building, they jumped out and ran to an entrance at the rear. Dr. Sinian was waiting for them just inside the door.
“Hello, guys. Here is the address of the seller. Here is the check for payment,” she said, handing the paper and check to Razor, who reached for it.
Razor’s eyebrows lifted in surprise. “The Katmandu Empire? You’re joking?”
“That is the only one we have been able to find that our enemy hasn’t yet made off with,” she said tartly.
“Okay, okay… gotcha… let’s go, T-Bone,” Razor said quickly, not wanting Dr. Sinian to be annoyed with him. The stress was getting to them all.
Back in the jet and winging their way east, T-Bone poured on the power. It would take them at least an hour and a half to get there. The flight was uneventful, if boring, and they arrived at the address, which was a huge estate in the mountains.
They landed in a field nearby and walked toward the gates to the home. The guards at the gate gaped at their visitors as they called their employer. The seller was stunned to see who was picking up the crystal but was very cooperative and offered them food and refreshments before their departure.
They accepted with relief, not in too big a hurry to take the boring flight back too soon, but they didn’t want to delay too long, so after only twenty minutes and an excellent meal, they were once more airborne with the crystal safely packed in a cushioned box stored between Razor’s feet.
The trip back was not so easy. They had only gotten within two hundred miles of Megakat City when they were set upon. In minutes, the Turbokat was surrounded by gremlins and two hellkats.
“Crud! He wants this thing bad! You got enough ammo to handle these things, Razor?” T-Bone shouted as he put the jet through some elaborate maneuvers to try and shake their attackers.
“I made sure to reload last night,” Razor said tightly as he shot missiles of holy water a short distance and had them detonate really close to the Turbokat so that they would pass through the spray. Many gremlins screamed and turned to dust when the water hit them. As for the hellkats, he raised the cross from the upper turret again.
The hellkats screamed and backed off but didn’t leave the scene.
“Those two hellkats are going to be a problem, T-Bone. The cross only keeps them away, but nothing we have will get rid of them though the holy water does cause them a lot of pain,” Razor said grimly.
“Well, at least you rid us of the gremlins. There’s only one way we’re going to get rid of those two and that’s land at the church, so hold on; I’m pushing the g’s as much as I can handle to get us there quickly,” T-Bone warned his partner.
“Don’t go over three g’s, T-Bone. The crystal won’t handle any higher,” Razor cautioned.
“Roger,” T-Bone acknowledged as he pushed the throttles forward on the jet, and it shot through the sky like a rocket. The hellkats were caught by surprise but quickly flew hard and just barely caught up to the streaking jet, but they could only fly just below and behind because of the cross still gleaming above the canopy.
They reached the city in ten minutes and the church two minutes later. T-Bone cut their speed rather abruptly, causing the hellkats to pass them. Screaming furiously, the creatures tried one more time to bring down the jet before it could reach the church grounds but were unsuccessful and screamed in pain as they got too close to holy ground. Then, they popped out of existence.
“We did it!” T-Bone crowed as the landed the jet in the tight open space just behind the church.
“Great flying, T-Bone,” Razor said, pleased at their success.
Grabbing the precious box from between his feet, Razor and T-Bone jumped to the ground and made for the back entrance to the church. Father Sebastian answered their knock. He had been waiting nervously for their return and was relieved to see them. He led them to the room he had set aside for Katzmer to work.
Katzmer came up to them as Razor held out the box. “Well, here it is, guys. Hope it was worth it. Nightstalker sent a bunch of hellions after us,” Razor told them.
Katzmer took the box carefully from Razor and set it on the work bench he had set up. Opening the box, he gently took out the crystal. Using his jeweler’s eye piece, he studied the crystal for several minutes. Everyone kept still, waiting for his verdict on the crystal’s suitability.
Finally, Katzmer sighed in pleased relief. “It’s perfect! I’ll start my preparations immediately. As soon as I’m ready, I’ll summon all of you.”
“How long will it take?” Razor asked tensely.
“I can’t hurry the work, but I will try to have it ready in twenty-four hours,” he said.
“Crud! You can bet Nightstalker is going to step up his efforts during this time. It’s his last chance,” Razor said worriedly.
“Maybe it would be wise for Commander Feral to stay in the church until then,” Father Sebastian suggested hesitantly.
“That isn’t a bad idea though I’m certain he’ll hate it,” T-Bone said in agreement. “We’ll we better be off.” Waving bye to everyone, the SWAT Kats left the church for home.
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