Title: BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL
Warnings: Language, eventual implied sex.
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
“You miserable excuse for a demon!” a dark and forbidding voice boomed in fury as it fired flaming bursts of heat at its minion.
“Ahhh… master… don’t… I did as you asked… caused trouble to get the halfling’s attention and it worked,” Shrader whimpered, trying to avoid its dark master’s blasts of fire that singed his skin whenever he managed to hit him.
“But, he is not here!!!” the voice snarled.
“Nnnno… two mortals interfered, giving Feral a chance to cast a banishment spell,” Shrader quickly explained, huddling in a ball to present a smaller target.
“Hmmm… I wasn’t aware he knew that particular spell. His cursed mother would not have taught it to him. No matter, that just makes him even more valuable to me,” the voice muttered musingly to himself. He strode out of the shadows so that the waterfall of flames that illuminated the room lit his stark form.
The figure was tall, nearly eight feet, broad shouldered with powerful black wings folded at his back, dark fur tipped with red and long ebony hair that fell down his back. There were a set of short curved horns between his ears, long glistening fangs that extended past his mouth and glowing red, pupilless eyes. He wore a loose robe of blood red material that swirled around him as he moved.
Lord Nightstalker strode across the black marbled floor, making no sound as he headed for a basin supported by a pedestal of bones. He breathed on the clear surface until an image appeared. His quarry was standing on his apartment balcony in the late night air, obviously unable to sleep. ‘So, you slipped my carefully laid trap, young Ulysses… and it’s disturbed you enough to make you alert. I’m going have to pull back and wait. Patience is on my side, my dear halfling. I will have you eventually,’ the Lord said to himself. ‘My fellow lords are blind to the power held in that pitiful shape, but I know! The halfling’s power added to mine will make me ruler of all hell.’ The thought made him smile.
“Shrader!!” he snapped, his mind already forging ahead with new plans.
“Yes Lord Nightstalker!” Shrader prostrated himself at his dark lord’s feet.
“Another plan is necessary. One with more stealth involved! Feral’s hellion side is making demands, and I intend to give it more opportunities to break free. I will make the halfling’s life a living nightmare.” Nightstalker chuckled darkly. “Follow me! We have work to do!” he barked as he strode from the room closely followed by Shrader, scuttling quickly to keep up.
Very soon, the dark lord’s influence was being felt by the katizens of Megakat City. For reasons the enforcers couldn’t determine, criminal activity increased, keeping the city at a near constant state of alert. After several months of this, the defenders of the city were becoming dangerously short tempered, exhausted and depressed.
Standing gazing out his office window, Commander Feral rubbed his aching temples from the throbbing headache he’d not been able to get rid of. His desk was strewn with reports, far more than normal.
‘What is going on?’ he mused frustratingly. ‘The city seems to be under siege, but there is no one enemy to direct our forces against. It doesn’t help that my hellion side has been pressing me hard to be released. Yesterday was frightening enough; I really don’t want a repeat of it,’ he thought in deep concern as his mind went back to yesterday’s altercation.
“I want this building surrounded now!” he’d shouted to his enforcers as they arrived at the suspected hideout of Hard Drive.
“Everyone is in place, sir, but the advance scouts haven’t spotted anyone inside yet,” his Sergeant reported to him minutes later.
“He was seen entering, and that’s good enough for me!” he snapped and lead the way through the huge doors. The building was large and full of earth moving machinery and crates.
He and his small force moved in cautiously then spread out to cover more area and present a smaller target.
“Hard Drive! Come out! You are surrounded; there is no escape… surrender!” Feral boomed through a megaphone.
There was no response, and he signaled his troops to continue on into the building and that is when all hell broke out. Suddenly, the machines around them started up and moved toward the officers. There was no one at the controls… no one to fire on. His officers scattered to the relative safety of the walls. Heeding their Commander’s commands, they still tried to move forward, but the machines began to head for the officers.
“Pull back… retreat…” Feral shouted.
One of the machines rammed some barrels of fuel and set them ablaze. The building threatened to become an inferno. Everyone ran for the exit, but before Feral could follow as well, a machine cut off his escape and the flames reached for him. His hellion side clamored frantically to be released as Feral ran from the rampaging machine, but others were closing in on him. Distracted, his hellion side took advantage and burst free of him.
It immediately flung open its wings and soared above the chaos on the floor for the high windows near the ceiling. Crashing through the glass, it was flying free above the growing inferno. Looking back, it could see the fire department had arrived. A roar above made him jerk his attention skyward to the arrival of the SWAT Kats.
“T-Bone, look, it’s a hellkat!” Razor shouted in shock.
“Do you think it’s Feral?” T-Bone asked anxiously as he brought the Turbokat close to the building to let Razor drop a foam bomb.
“God! I hope it is!” Razor said nervously as he fired the missile.
The hellkat watched as the missile released the odd device that spread foam and smothered the fire. Fiery eyes narrowed, the hellkat flew toward the hovering jet and halted a short distance from them and glared.
“Woah! Think should we stay or go, Razor? That thing gives me the creeps!” T-Bone said with a shudder.
“Uhh… I think we should go and fast. Since it hasn’t attacked us, I’m certain it’s Feral, and he won’t be very happy when he returns to normal!” Razor said tightly.
“That’s an understatement, buddy. We’re out of here!” T-Bone agreed and quickly put the jet into forward motion and sped away.
The hellkat watched them leave in annoyance then looked back down at the ordered chaos below it. Already, it could feel its alter ego struggling hard to regain control. Growling angrily, it fought back and tried to leave the scene, but its angelic side grabbed hold of its wings and dragged it back to the ground out of sight of his enforcers. After a ten minute fight, the good side finally won and returned his form to its mortal kat one.
Feral panted in exhaustion on his paws and knees. He finally was able to get to his feet though he was still a bit rocky. He barely had enough strength to materialize clothes on his nude body. He returned to his troops who were relieved to see him alive.
He snapped back to the present and sighed. It turned out that the report of Hard Drive’s presence was a hoax and no one could explain the rampaging machines, though Feral suspected demonic interference. Of course, he couldn’t tell anyone else that.
His hellion side had been rumbling frequently and loudly. It was becoming a daily battle to keep it bottled up, and he was becoming exhausted from the constant struggle. He tried to increase his angelic strength with his healing skills but it didn’t seem to be enough to silence his bad side.
He needed rest soon, but sleeping gave the hellkat an easy opportunity to break free. He couldn’t keep this up without a long period of uninterrupted sleep. He thought urgently about his options, and suddenly one presented itself. Smiling grimly to himself, he made plans for the evening.
Quitting time… salvage yard…
Chance was locking the gate after accepting the pizza they’d ordered from the delivery kat. He walked back inside the garage and locked the door and made his way upstairs.
“Dinner’s here, buddy!” he called to his partner who was upstairs in his bedroom.
“Be right there!” Jake called down.
Chance grabbed some milk for them and carried it to the living room and flicked on the TV. Jake walked into the room just as the news came on. Chance was about to change the channel when something caught his attention. Grabbing some pizza, he sat back and listened. Jake joined him, a frown on his face at what he was hearing.
“This Ann Gora, Kats Eye News, at the scene of yet another violent encounter between enforcers and a gang. This time, it was a robbery with lots of fire power at the Megakat Jewelry Exchange. The enforcers did finally win but at a terrible cost. Two civilians and four enforcers were injured by gun fire and one enforcer was killed. The escalating violence in Megakat City has the city council and Mayor’s office deeply worried.
Despite the best efforts of Commander Feral and the SWAT Kats, there seems to be no stopping this wave of crime. No one in authority seems to know why it is happening. The only thing they can tell the public is to be on constant vigilance. Always look around you, never go places known to be haunts of gangs, lock your cars while you are driving, lock your homes and garages and try not to be out at night until this problem can be contained.
It is a dark time in the city. We here at Kats Eye News will keep you informed as things develop. This Ann Gora bidding you good evening.”
Chance and Jake sat there in anguished silence, each wrapped in their own thoughts, dinner forgotten.
“Crud, Jake, it’s much worse than we thought,” Chance groaned, finally breaking the silence.
“Yeah, I know, Chance, and I’m afraid of what it means,” Jake said quietly.
Chance stared at his partner in puzzled confusion. “And, that is what exactly?”
Jake looked at his partner with deep concern. “Do you remember when Feral told us a demon lord was after him?”
“Yeah… hold it…” the tabby said in wide-eyed shock. “You don’t mean… you think the violence is being caused by this demon lord?”
“Doesn’t it make sense? For no apparent reason, Megakat City is suddenly under siege, and it isn’t the omegas causing it. Gangs were a problem before but never to this degree. It would be just like hell to use the less intelligent of the criminal element by slipping into their dreams and convincing them they could make the biggest score of their lives if they just follow instructions, even though it’s a lie. It doesn’t matter to this demon lord how many katizens are harmed or criminals killed as long as he can cause as much chaos as he can. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s all a plan to make Feral lose control of his demonic side. But, for what purpose, I can’t figure out,” Jake said seriously.
“Crud, Jake, maybe you have something there,” Chance said thoughtfully. “I wonder if Feral is aware of how well he’s being played by this Nightstalker guy?”
“He’s too close to the problem, and his hellion side may be keeping him from thinking too well, so, no, I don’t think Feral’s had a chance to guess at that yet.” Jake sighed as he returned to his dinner.
“I hate to say it, but I guess we should clue him in?” Chance asked hesitantly as he returned to his dinner as well.
“Unfortunately, yeah,” Jake said heavily.
Feral stood before the huge ornate doors of St. Michael’s Church in mid town. He looked around; it was late and there was no one else around. He knew the church did not lock its doors. For this venture he was dressed in an old, faded pair of jeans, torn shirt, thin raincoat and floppy hat. He smelled a bit like alcohol from the bottle he’d sprinkled on himself.
He walked up the stairs and rang the bell. A priest answered the door and looked at him expectantly.
“Need a place to flop for the night, please,” Feral said in a husky voice, making it slur slightly.
“Of course, my son, all are welcome here,” the priest said quietly. “Please follow me.”
The priest led Feral down the center of the church, then turned when they reached the pulpit and made for a small door. Through the door was a short hallway with many doors. The priest walked down to the fourth door on the left and opened it. Feral moved up to the doorway and looked in to a small room that held a cot with clean bedding, a small table with a lamp, a wooden chair and nothing else.
“You may sleep here, my son. The bathroom is just down the hall a little ways further. Be assured you will be safe here,” the priest said quietly.
“I’m counting on it!” Feral whispered softly.
The priest eyed him in puzzlement but merely nodded and left him, closing the door quietly behind him.
Feral sighed in relief. Already he felt at peace; his hellion side had been forced to retreat. Now, at last, he would get a night’s sleep as he sat down on the bed and removed all his clothes and laid them on the chair.
Navigate This Author's Stories
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.