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.
Dawn was just peeking through the huge stained glass windows of the church when Feral slipped out of its huge doors the next morning. He felt rested and ready to take on another stressful day. He quickly made his way down the quiet, empty street for an alley a few blocks from the church. His hummer was still parked where he’d left it. Sighing in relief, he climbed in and started it up. He drove quickly to his apartment to take a shower and dress for work.
It was well that he’d managed to recoup his energy because the day went downhill not too long after he’d stepped into his office. He’d barely touched the pile of reports waiting for him when his Sergeant burst in.
“Sir, a report of a major altercation between rival gangs down at the docks just came in,” the Sergeant said quickly.
Feral jumped up from his desk, grabbed his coat and made for the elevator. “Give me the details,” he barked at his Sergeant as he buttoned his coat on their way to the flight line.
“Apparently, there was a disagreement on a shipment of weapons down at Dock 31 at the shipping port. The ‘Steel Claws’ and the ‘Blood Fangs’ are the gangs involved,” the Sergeant reported.
“Great! The top gangs in town mixing it up… Has the area been evacuated?” he asked as the doors of the elevator snapped open and they stepped out into the controlled chaos of a busy flight deck. His chopper was already being warmed up for him.
“That’s in progress, sir!” He hurried to keep up with his Commander as they reached his chopper.
Feral stopped before getting in. “Alert the alpha tank squadron and have them get to the docks on the double,” he ordered, not waiting for an acknowledgment as he climbed aboard his chopper
Within minutes, he was airborne and guiding his chopper toward the docks. He could see weapons fire as he swooped down on the scene. A small squadron of enforcer cruisers were blocking both ends of the dock, trying to contain the scene.
“This is Feral! Have all noncombatants been evacuated?” he barked into his radio.
“Yes sir!” came the quick answer from the officer in charge below.
Feral flew as close as he dared to get a better idea of how many players were involved. Nearly getting his chopper perforated, he pulled back up to a higher level. “This is Feral. Where are my tanks?” he called.
“We are two minutes from you, sir!” his Sergeant answered.
He angled his chopper so that he could see behind him and found the line of tanks advancing on the scene. “Sergeant, there are at least thirty combatants, maybe more. One group is in Dock 31’s warehouse entryway, the other group are hidden along the wharf in whatever cover they could find. Split your forces and try to gas both sides,” he ordered.
“Yes, sir,” the Sergeant acknowledged.
“Feral here. Officer Tangle, pull your cruisers away for the tanks to get through,” he snapped, though he could see they were already starting to do so.
The tanks rumbled into place and tear gas was fired near the combatants. The ones on the wharf jumped into the water, and a coast guard ship standing by began to collect them.
Soon, the guns were silenced, only the gas filled the air. Officers with gas masks rushed in and began rounding up the miscreants. Feral was pleased with the quickness of the operation. He was about to land and see about speaking to the the gang leaders when he caught sight of something streaking toward him. Eyes widening, he yanked back on the yoke hard, causing the chopper to whine in protest as a missile barreled toward his chopper. He almost made it, but the missile still managed to clip his tail rotor.
Struggling to control his crippled chopper, Feral managed to divert it toward the water. As he lost complete control of it, he jumped out the open door, praying that the chopper wouldn’t land on him when he hit the water. As he plunged into the cold bay and sank below the water, he was horrified to see the shadow of the chopper heading straight for him. In a panic, he let himself drop deeper, but the chopper was gaining on him. His hellion side shrieked and burst free. It frantically blasted the chopper with hellfire.
The water roiled and steam shot up. The watching enforcers were horrified, thinking their Commander was being boiled alive or had been crushed by the falling chopper. The coast guard ship tried to get closer, but the water was too rough for them. They all watched helplessly as the water finally calmed, but there was no sign of the Commander, alive or dead.
Not far away, hidden by a stack of shipping containers, a spitting, furious, and frightened hellkat crawled from the water, surprising a small clutch of gangers hiding from the enforcers. Terrified, they wildly opened fire on the horrific creature. They only succeeded in making it angrier. It spat flames at them, singeing one or two before they all tore away, screaming in terror right into the waiting arms of some confused enforcers.
Wanting to get away from there, the hellkat attempted to take off, but its wings were soaked. As it muttered angrily to itself and scrambled further away from the scene, Feral used its distraction to pull it back inside. He coughed and shook himself. He was badly shakened and still nude. He just didn’t have enough strength to completely dress himself so settled for looking torn and tattered which made sense anyway considering what just happened.
He stepped out from the shipping containers and into a squad of enforcers who had been looking for what had frightened the gangers. They were shocked to find their Commander intact and alive. The Sergeant was quickly notified. He ran to the scene and shouted orders for a blanket and medics on his radio to get to his location on the double. Feral wanted to protest, but his troops had received a bad scare on his account so he let them take care of him.
“Anyone see where that missile came from that took out my chopper?” Feral asked while they fussed over him, and he began coughing up water.
“Take it easy, sir! No, we saw where it launched from, but when we checked it out there was no one there, only an empty launch tube. It’s been taken to the lab, but I don’t hold out much hope of getting any prints,” the Sergeant told him.
An officer handed the Sergeant a blanket which he wrapped around the Commander’s now shivering form. An ambulance, sirens blaring, arrived on the scene. They took the Commander aboard and checked him out. They were amazed that, except for some water in his lungs and mild shock, the Chief Enforcer was remarkably unharmed. He was ordered to get horizontal for the rest of the day and have his physician check his lungs tomorrow since he adamantly refused to go to the hospital.
As the Sergeant borrowed a cruiser to take the Commander home, Feral was giving him orders.
“Find out what went on here! Something had to have stirred up these two gangs causing them to squabble over weapons in such an open area. Wring the leaders until they squeal. I want answers!” he growled hoarsely.
“Yes sir,” the Sergeant responded. Some fifteen minutes later, he was dropping Feral off at his apartment building. “Get some rest, sir, I’ll see you in the morning,” he said.
Feral nodded and headed for the doors.
In his apartment, he stripped his torn clothing off and tossed them on the floor and headed for his shower. The hot water washed away the scent of fear still coating his fur. Someone was determined to get him, but he was too exhausted to figure it out. The answer was niggling at the back of his mind but refused to come forward.
He was soo tired but knew he wouldn’t get any sleep in his apartment, so, wearing the same disguise as before, he went to St. Michaels. A different priest let him in, and, soon, he was sleeping peacefully in one of their small rooms.
The next morning at Enforcer Headquarters, there was depressingly little new information. None of the leaders would tell them anything and, as the Sergeant feared, there were no prints on the launch tube. He sat in his chair, grinding his teeth. None of this made any sense, and it was becoming increasingly frustrating to him. His phone rang as he sifted through the reports again, hoping he could find something he might have missed.
“Feral here,” he snapped, distracted.
“This is Ms. Briggs, Commander. The Mayor wishes you to come to his office immediately and bring any data you have on what’s been going on in the city of late,” she told him.
“I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes, Ms. Briggs,” Feral said tightly. He slammed down the phone. “That’s all I need now! Trying to justify myself yet again!” he snarled as he grabbed reports and shoved them into a briefcase.
Grabbing his coat, he headed out of his office for the elevator, grumbling the whole time. His officers avoided him as he steamed out of the elevator and through the lobby for his car. He was soon speeding his way to city hall.
Striding into Manx’s office, he launched into a sharp rant before the Mayor could draw breath.
“I and my enforcers have been busting our tails to try and find out what is causing this wave of criminal violence, but nothing we’ve uncovered makes any sense. Something or someone is stirring up the gangs. The leaders of the two gangs we just arrested yesterday clammed up. I’m willing to admit that I have no clue what is causing all this. Riding my tail isn’t going to get you any answers, so I’d appreciate it if you would leave me alone to try and do my job,” Feral hissed, waving the useless reports at Manx.
“And, I don’t think you’re doing enough,” Manx snapped, his face red with anger.
“If you think you can do better, be my guest. My enforcers are exhausted and depressed. They are working round the clock trying to stem the tide of violence. Your yelling at me isn’t going to change that,” Feral snarled, getting hot himself.
“I expect results, Feral, and if I can’t get them, then we’ll see if someone else can,” Mayor Manx threatened.
Feral felt his fury rising and with it the hellion. Panic filled him as he felt himself losing the battle. Not wanting anyone to see him change, he fled the Mayor’s office as if his tail were on fire and raced up the stairs to the clock tower where no one would see him. On the balcony of the tower he halted and dropped to his knees, fighting to keep the hellion under.
Ms. Briggs was shocked when Feral took off. Concerned, she followed him, surprised he went up to the tower instead of leaving. She arrived just as Feral lost the battle and his hellion side burst free. She screamed in terror, causing the hellkat to halt, startled, giving Feral the chance to yank it back inside.
He stayed on his knees, heaving for breath. That was the fastest switch he’d ever made and it left him feeling raw. The hellion screamed inside of him and he moaned, “No, you aren’t getting free again.” His face tightened, his arms wrapped around his chest, revealing the effort it was taking him to keep the hellkat bottled.
Callie had no idea what was going on, but it seemed to her that Feral was fighting some kind of battle within himself and he was losing. Not wanting to see that awful creature again, she knelt down next to the Commander and hugged him.
“Hang on, Ulysses; don’t give in to it!” she begged urgently.
Startled, Feral looked into her concerned face. That was all it took to send the hellion packing. Shocked, he continued to stare at her. She began to feel a little uncomfortable under his intense stare. He realized it a moment later and quickly looked away. His breathing eased and he huddled into himself, just realizing she was hugging his nude body. He needed to rest a moment before he could materialize some clothes.
“Thank you, Ms. Briggs. Somehow your concern and compassion routed the hellkat, giving me back control,” he said quietly.
She slowly let go of him and sat back on her heels. “What’s going on, Commander? What was that creature I saw?”
Bowing his head, he just couldn’t believe a third mortal was going to know what he was. His life was just getting more and more complicated. “The SWAT Kats unfortunately have learned what I’m forced to tell you now but you cannot tell anyone else! No mortal is supposed to be aware of our kind. I’m even more unusual than the standard immortal in that I’m of two worlds. Heaven and hell.” He sighed and rested his head on his knees. “My mother is an angel, my father a hellkat who raped her.”
Callie gasped and stared at Feral with new eyes. “So, that creature is your other half… a hellkat?” she asked in horror.
“Yes!” he said simply. He finally felt strong enough to make clothes appear on himself. He flicked his fingers and heard Callie gasp as he was dressed once more in his uniform.
“Now that’s a handy trick!” she said, smiling weakly.
Feral just grunted. “The situation has become so stressful that I’m having more and more problems keeping my hellion side under wraps. I was nearly killed by my own chopper yesterday. Someone or something is doing this I’m sure of it… wait…” He stopped suddenly as the answer swam finally to the front of his mind. “Of course, Nightstalker! Kat’s Alive!… He’s kept me so occupied that I didn’t see his paw in this,” he shouted, leaping to his feet suddenly, his face suffused with fury. “Damn him to perdition! He’s trying to make me lose control enough times so that eventually I’ll not have the strength of will to keep it leashed,” he snarled.
“Who or what is Nightstalker?” Callie asked, confused by Feral’s outburst.
“He’s one of the demon lords of hell. I know he’s behind all this, but that’s the only thing that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is why he’s doing it,” Feral said, nearly pulling his fur out in his frustration.
As she watched him get worked up again, she caught signs of trouble as his fur seem to smoke a little. She quickly reached out and pulled Feral close to her. “Commander, calm yourself or you will have to fight to keep control again,” she warned quickly.
His eyes widened then he nodded his head and closed his eyes and just breathed in and out, keeping his mind a blank. His nose, however, drew in Callie’s scent and it gave him a warm feeling within himself, so he inhaled deeper to take more of her tantalizing odor in. She smelled of the soap and deodorant she’d used that morning laced with her favorite perfume. It was surprisingly calming to him and his body gradually relaxed.
After several minutes had gone by, he slowly raised his head up and gazed into Callie’s green eyes. “That’s the second time you’ve affected me, Ms. Briggs. It would appear you have a positive influence on me, keeping my hellkat leashed and strengthening my angelic side, giving me the peace I desperately need. It feels a little strange,” he said uncomfortably as he gently pulled away from her arms.
“I’m glad I could be of help, Commander. How have you managed to keep control up to now? I can’t imagine it’s been easy for you,” she asked in concern.
He grimaced. “I haven’t as you’ve already seen. At first I had enough strength and will power to control it easily, but as the city’s situation worsened and exhaustion and stress weakened me, so has my control. To get any rest at all, I’ve been going to a church just to get some sleep. My hellion side can’t abide holy ground. My healing abilities have helped my controls but not enough,” he answered quietly.
“You heal??” Callie said in surprise.
“That’s one of my angelic abilities. For obvious reasons, I don’t let anyone know what I’m doing. I always slip a paw in while the medics are working, do my thing, and slip away before anyone knows I’m there,” Feral said matter-of-factly.
“That is a wonderful talent to have, Commander, but I can understand the need to keep it to yourself, otherwise katkind would clamor for your services endlessly,” Callie said in admiration.
“Now that you know, I can’t stress enough how important it is that you never tell or let slip any of this,” Feral said gravely.
“I understand completely, Commander. I’ll soothe the Mayor’s anger and give some plausible reason for your sudden departure. You said you’d been nearly killed yesterday? Tell me what happened and how’s it possible for you to be killed if you are immortal?” she asked.
“Because in this body I’m mortal, though I’m tough to kill because my hellkat side comes out to save me first. Only my hellkat form is immortal. My angelic side simply insures I will go back to Sanctuary if my body dies,” he explained, then he told her what had happened at the docks.
She shook her head. “That was way too close. I’m glad you survived. I take it your hellion side is as dangerous as an omega if allowed to roam free?” she asked in some concern.
“Unfortunately, yes, Ms. Briggs. That’s why I fight so hard to keep it contained,” Feral said soberly.
Callie sighed and shook her head; nothing was ever easy around this city. “Alright, I’ll tell his honor what happened. If you need me, please don’t hesitate to seek me out since it’s obvious I can keep the hellion under wraps. Understood?” she said firmly.
“Understood and thank you, Ms. Briggs,” he said with some relief. At least he had another way to keep himself in control.
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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.