It was a quiet day in Megakat City. A light rain was falling. That it would be the last day for one of the Swat Kats wasunthinkable. Nate and Rory were in town, practicing a few songs withRory’s cousin, James Jonathan. Jake and Callie were out of town fortheir third anniversary. It was about one year after the events inWar, and Dark Kat was still thought dead. His daughter and his wife,Mind Kat and Darkkon respectively, weren’t all that upset over hisapparent death (not surprising).
Coincidentally, Judge Kincaid haddisappeared at about the same time (Razor 2 had decided to keep thesecret just that). His wife and daughter had grieved for a reasonableamount of time, and moved on into better times, especially forKinCorp, his daughter’s company, whose stock tripled in two weeks. She maintained controlling interest, of course. AJ managed to figureout a way that she could “age” so that things looked a little lessconspicuous for she and her husband. All in all, peaceful.
Theusual disturbances were happening of course, Hard Drive attacking thebanks, that sort of thing. Everyone commented on how it seemed thatthings were much quieter after Dark Kat had disappeared. Not thatanyone complained. Freedan had decided to continue boxing after thelast Kincaid (who could reasonably be blamed for his past) was gone,and he’d won enough to keep him in a comfortable financial status forthe rest of his life (or so most people thought) before moving in withJosie. A new vigilante showed up in the absence of Night Strike andNight Bird, called Krakatoa (it was believed that she had been trainedby Night Strike since he knew he was retiring). And, most surprisingof all, the Enforcers had actually captured and arrested a supercriminal! Granted, it turned out later that he was trying to becaught. He actually had to cuff himself because the ones who caughthim hadn’t ever had to use the cuffs on a super-kat before. They wererookies though.
He finally confessed that he had intended all along on getting ashot at Commander Feral. He didn’t know that Internal Security (IS)was more efficient than the patrolling officers. I should probablyget back to the main story. Ah yes, I’m the one known as Madame Kat,the one who granted Zarathustra his power. Now, the day that we’retalking about was a day when the clouds were pleasantly grey, andanyone who could sense danger probably had a tingling sense up anddown their neck all day. But things were calm enough. Until theevening. That evening, an old enemy would make himself apparent. Afoe thought gone returned with avengeance. Not Dark Kat, he could behandled easily enough. No, a terrible foe known as Dreadnought. . .
Chapter 1: A Hero Falls. . .
The Swat Kats were all out handling there own business. BobTanner was just arriving back from his new job at Enforcer R&D. Hewas looking forward to the next day. Besides getting a chance to showhis new Stun Blaster to the Commander, AJ was supposed to be gettingback from her seminar. She was filling in for a friend up at MegakatUniversity, teaching the seminar since her friend had discovered thathis wife had gone into labor while on vacation. Ah well, it’s good tosee her up and about again. For awhile after Ariel was injured, shewas down too. All because of that stinkin’ linking spell. He was upin his apartment listening to James, Rory, and Nate play through a fewold tunes. He spent a few minutes thinking over his life. Heremembered his job back at Faroe Lake, at the Organization. Hewondered how the old members of Black Squad were doing after parole. At least Jim was still locked up. The judge had it right. Life,without parole. It should have been death though. That line of dutyclause can get a guy off anything. The phone rang. Bob picked it up.
“Jim! What do you want?”
“I want everything Bobby. Everything. We wouldn’t want yourlittle wife finding out about your little secret, would we?”
“She knows I was in jail. She knows why, too. ”
“Does she know about the murder charge though?”
“That was in the line of duty. You can’t blackmail me on thatJim. I’ve started over since the Faroe Lake incident. ”
“Yeah, but would anyone else believe that?”
It was the question which had plagued Robert Tanner since he leftthe Organization for the Enforcers. And Dreadnought knew it. “Whathave you done since you escaped?”
“I just hijacked the only shipment of Ephedril from PumadynePharmaceuticals to Megakat City. It’s a rare chemical you know, and Iwon’t be needing it for a long time. I also paid a visit to HQ. Ileft Magma and Twister in pieces on the floor. They are the ones whoturned me in. You’re the only one left Bobby, the only one whowouldn’t go along with me. You’re next. ”
Bob tried to stay calm. “Pity you turned out the way you did Jim. I could use the old Dreadnought’s help sometimes. What brought you toMegakat City?”
“You Bobby. If I get caught after my escape anywhere near you, atleast I won’t be the only member of the old Black squad going down,isn’t that right `Geist? Or is that Phantom Kat? Like I said, you’rethe only person left on my grudge list. Meet me at Megakat City Hallin one hour, or your little secret will be all over Kat’s Eye Newsbefore they can get Ann Gora up to report it. ”
“I’m not Poltergeist anymore Jim. I see that you know who I am. I’ll meet you. ”
” It’ll be just like old times again Bobby. I’ll see you at cityhall. Remember to come in costume. ” He hung up. Robert Tanner didthe same.
“That’s what I’m afraid of Jim. That’s what I’m afraid of. ” Bobdressed up as Phantom Kat. I wonder how he knew my identity. I don’tremember telling him. It must have been someone up at Faroe Lake. Wait a minute. . . Bob Tanner looked through the old messages for hiswife’s invitation. I was right. The scumbag Professor betrayed me tohis brother. The message was signed by Professor Ron Kielmann, Jim’sbrother.
“Hey Bob! Heard you moving around in here. . . Why’re you suitedup?” Bob turned towards James Jonathan.
“Sorry buddy, but this one’s all mine. ”
“Not a problem. What’re you so worried about? You look likeyou’ve just seen a ghost!”
“An old acquaintance of mine from a few years back is in town. Somebody told him who I was. I guess that it’s my responsibility tosee that he doesn’t cause any trouble. No matter the cost. ” Withthat message, he ran from the Scrapyard into his car, and drove off.
Razor walked into his room. Nate and Rory were packing up theirinstruments. Slice and Lady Midnight were heading out towards theroof to see if either one of them could convince the other that “Iknow jazz better than you do. ” He walked up after them and got Jess’attention. The two left after him. Then a message came in throughall the Swat Kat radio systems.
“Swat Kats! Bomb threat at Megakat City Hall. The perp’ callshimself `Dreadnought’. Civilians and Enforcers evacuated. Says he’llonly deal with Phantom Kat. ”
In a car downtown, Phantom Kat listened to the transmission withdisbelief. “Crud. Well Jimmy, you always said that I’d go out with abang. I guess this means I’ll have to stop you from killing me afterI defuse the bomb. You always had a flare for the dramatic. And yourbombs are very dramatic. ” He sped up further and blew through adeserted alley, on his way to a confrontation he had known was comingfor years.
In another car, the one tailing him, they matched his speed. Razor shook his head slowly. “I wonder if that Dreadnought guy is theone who he’s going after. ” Jess Palazzo thought it over.
“Could be. Could be. ”
Back at the Scrapyard, Rory Jonathan heard the message too. “WellNate, I guess it’s time for Turbo to get going. I’ll probably befinishing my mission sooner than I thought. Might even get a littleextra R&R for this. Could you get me my Ephedril before I go? Idon’t want Mik giving me any trouble while I handle Dreadnought. ”
“Not a problem Rory. ” Nate went out and found his friends pills. Only three Ephedril left after this one. I’d better see if the placein town here can refill the prescription. He took the pill in forRory, who drank it down quickly and left.
Near City Hall. . .
Dreadnought stood on top of the building and looked out over thecity. Those fools actually thought he was at City Hall. Oh, brother. I thought that Phantom Kat would present more of a challenge than theothers. Let’s see how well he does. . . He focused his binoculars onCity Hall. Bobby’s there. Right on schedule. . .
Robert Tanner crouched and looked at the bomb. Enough power hereto blow Manx’s rear halfway to action. No sweat. All I have to do isclip the red wire. He opened the panel, noticing that all the wireswere red.
“Dreadnought you miserable psychopath!!!” He went back to tryingto figure out which wire to clip. Careful Bob, don’t want to set thisthing off. Only thirty seconds left. I’ve got to warn the others!
“I can’t stop it! It’s going to blow!” Seconds later, the topsix stories of city hall went up in smoke.
On the ground, the Swat Kats watched in disbelief as the buildingwent up. Turbo had just arrived, and he picked up a flaming cloth. Lady Midnight broke down when she saw it. All Razor could do was ask, “Who’ll tell AJ”. It was the fieryremains of Phantom Kat’s mask. Through it all, Dreadnought laughedwith evil glee. . .
Chapter 2: Sorrow now Arriving on Runway 13. . .
The Swat Kats who were out arrived back at the base at midnight todiscover that Kats Eye news had interrupted their other programmingfor a special announcement. . .
“At 11:15 P. M. , last night. . . the Swat Kat known as Phantom Katwas killed in a bomb blast which decimated the top six floors ofMegakat City Hall. . . Even Commander Feral seemed affected by thecity’s loss, and was quoted as having said `I only hope that whoeverwas responsible for this isn’t caught by me. . . ‘ How many others feelthis way is uncertain, but it can be told with conviction that theentire law-abiding population of Megakat City extends their sorrow tothe Swat Kats, and their gratitude for Phantom Kat’s convictiontowards justice. . . This isis truly the darkest day this reporter hasseen. . . Ann Gora. . . signing off. ” Ann had run off camera. It wasobvious from the way she had talked that she was on the verge ofcrying herself. Towards the end of the broadcast, a person couldalmost see tears.
Fortunately, AJ wouldn’t be able to hear the news on the plane. While they waited for her, they decided that they’d wait until she washome to tell her about it. They chose T-Bone for the sorry task, andall went to try and handle their own grief. Rory and Nate lostthemselves in their music. Razor, always trying to seem the calm one,went to try and help Scott with AJ when she got back. Catspaw andBruno silently started up a game of pool, and the rest went up withLady Midnight and Slice to listen to some decent blues on top of theroof. Their minds were all different, but they all held one basicthought. Of all of us, why did it have to be Bob. He had so much tolook forward to. . . There were a couple other thoughts, like: Justwait until I get my hands on the crud who did this. . . or, ThatDreadnought’s a dead kat. If I ever catch the SOB, he’s dead meat. Lieutenant Sami Higgins had come by to tell her friends at theScrapyard more bad news (she thought). She told them that CommanderFeral had identified the body of Robert Tanner, found three buildingsaway from City Hall. According to the attending physician, it lookedlike he’d been caught in the blast. Jeff O’Hara met her at the gate.
“Jeff, I’m sorry that I have to bring you news like this. ”
“Don’t feel sorry for me Sami. Feel sorry for AJ. At least she’snot here right now. ”
“I have to leave. Feral’s put almost everybody on the assignmentof catching that Dreadnought crud. ”
“Be careful Sami. Remember what happened to Phantom Kat. ”
“I’ll remember. ” She looked at him for a few moments longer, thenleft. AJ’s plane was arriving in about thirty minutes. Scott andJames tried to compose themselves enough that they could keep fromtelling her when she got into the car. They drove off to the airport. When the plane arrived, she got off looking happy. She got throughthe various stations as fast as she could, and met them at the gate.
“Where’s Bob? I thought he’d be meeting me here?”
“Wait until we get home. Then we’ll tell you. ” Her face fell.
“I knew something had happened. ” She didn’t press them fordetails. They drove back in silence and waited until after she hadsat down.
“So, what happened?”
Scott just couldn’t say anything. James decided he shouldexplain. “He went out late at night to meet with someone. LadyMidnight and I followed him to Megakat City Hall. On the way, a guycalled Dreadnought called in a bomb threat and said that he’d onlydeal with Phantom Kat. Bob went up there, but no one was around. Then it just, went off. The Enforcers found his body this morning. “AJ collapsed into tears as the others gathered around her. For thenext several minutes, James stood back and watched as everyone ventedtheir grief in their own ways again. Even Catspaw was crying. Haven’t seen her cry since Bruce was killed by the Prophet. Thosewere the days. The dead would return and life moved on. Look at usnow. The mighty Swat Kats. This is enough! He slammed his pawagainst the wall, and wound up hitting the alarm button. Wheneveryone looked up he spoke again.
“Look at us! We’re crying like we can’t do anything about this. I don’t know about anything else, but I’m going out after thisDreadnought. ” The others stood up, even AJ.
“You’re right James. Let’s get that jerk. Let’s pay him back forwhat he did to Bob!” They all ran to their ready rooms and got suitedup. They took their vehicles and started out. Ariel had to come andpick AJ up on the Dragontron, but she had stirred herself up into avengeful fury too. The only ones left behind were Nate and Rory.
Chapter 3: Seeking Vengeance. . . And sanity. . .
Nate stood up and started packing. “Rory, are we headed back?”
“I need to talk to Feral first. I’ll let him report to theCaptain for me. ”
“I have to tell you something. ”
“What is it, Nate?”
“You’ve only got three Ephedril left. I checked out thepharmacies. Pumadyne Pharmacy’s shipment was hijacked. And theirtotally out in Faroe Lake, for at least a week. ”
“Oh crud. I guess that means I’ll have to stretch it out. ”
“Yeah, but it’ll still only last four days. You still have todose up for tonight. ” Nate finished packing as Rory suited up asTurbo and left to talk with Commander Feral.
At Enforcer HQ, Megakat City. . .
Commander Feral stood on the roof. He looked at the damage doneto City Hall and laughed grimly when he remembered the Mayor’s typicalfirst concern. The money to rebuild the building. I can’t believeit. Robert Tanner, gone. He was the only Swat Kat I could ever getalong with too, besides his wife. I hope Turbo gets here soon. Ihave to tell him about the plan. He turned around to see the shadowyoutline of Turbo standing along the edge of the building. CommanderFeral decided to start things. “Is it Mik, or a friend?”
“A friend, Commander. I’m going back to Faroe Lake. I’ll lose mycommission to hunt down Dreadnought, unless he turns up again, but Idon’t care about losing him. What burns me up is that I lost acivilian in the process. He was a good friend of mine. ”
“Yeah. Bob got along with pretty much everyone. Did he tell youabout his plan?”
“No. Too bad he’ll never finish it. ”
“Let me describe it to you. You might be able to help, now thathe can’t. ” Feral started talking quietly with Turbo. Turbo’seyebrows raised, but he didn’t give anymore reaction than that.
“Thanks for telling me Feral. I’ll see what I can do about it. I’ve got a train to catch now. Good bye. ” He handed Feral a packetof papers.
“Good bye. ” Feral stepped back into the building. I’ll faxTurbo’s report to the Captain in the morning. Now’s time to get somesleep. He heard something at the door. What’s that? He walkedtowards it carefully, reaching for the Cougar he kept in his pocket. He saw the outlines of the Swat Kats, and let out his breath.
“Could you let us in Feral?”
“I should probably arrest all of you for vigilantism. However,I’m in a forgiving mood towards you tonight. I take it you want tosee the body?” He opened the door and watched them pile in. AJanswered first.
“Yes. I think that I, at least, have a right to. ”
“You do. Follow me. ” Feral led them along, past the second shiftEnforcers filing their reports and the third shift Enforcers signingin. He led them into the morgue, and opened the third chamber down. “Here he is. ”
The Swat Kats looked at Bob’s body. He looked like he had beencaught in the middle of several kilograms of C4. Feral refused toturn him around so that they could see his back.
“Bob was a good friend of mine. I can’t stand to see that again. “He turned away and sighed. “We’re doing everything we can to trackdown that Dreadnought person, but we don’t have any jurisdictionoutside Megakat City. And only an idiot would stay here after doingthis. ” He motioned to Bob’s body. “According to our files, this guyisn’t an idiot. If you’re looking for information, I have a lead thatwould take me up to Faroe Lake. And my rank wouldn’t mean anything upthere. ” James stepped forward.
“We understand. What’s the lead?”
“Professor Kielmann. ” Danger gasped and Commander Feral lookedslightly confused about it. “I have a contact who says thatKielmann’s related to Dreadnought. According to prison records,Dreadnought’s real name is Jimmy Kielmann. ”
“Thank you Commander. You know, if you keep acting like this, youmight actually make people think that you don’t hate us. ”
“Get out of here. ” The Swat Kats walked out, but AJ stayed behindfor a few more moments. She turned away from Bob, towards theCommander. “Commander Feral. I’ve told you before that Bob had said heforgave you for what you did. I want to thank you for your helpcatching his murderer. I think that you might actually be workingyour way towards having me forgive you. ” She turned briskly, andwalked after her friends. They arrived back at the Scrapyard to finda message saying that Rory and Nate had gone back to Faroe Lake bytrain. Then they took off again.
On route to Faroe Lake. . .
Rory sat up in the dining car at 8:00 in the morning. Nate wasprobably asleep by now. He heard jets rushing past. Who’d be flyingat this hour? Rory took out his bottle of Ephedril and looked at thelast three pills. He took one out and asked for a Bloody Mary,without the Vodka. When the drink arrived, he drank down the pill. Two left. Even stretching it, that means that I’ll be out in fourdays. And then a long wait. On a hunch, he checked his supply of Xtablets. Good. Still have five months worth. Even if I lose thetablets, I should be okay. He checked a calendar. It was the first. He drank down an X tablet and went back to his car. He lay awake foran hour, but fell asleep soon after. . . At Faroe Lake. . .
The Swat Kats arrived after about an hour of flight. They checkedout rooms in their normal identities and slept until 9:00 A. M. , Julysecond. Then they headed out to meet Professor Ronald Kielmann whilethey were in civvies. They arrived at his house just as he after hegot home from work. He turned towards them and smiled at AJ.
“Hello Anakata! What brings you back to Faroe Lake so soon?”
“What do you think Ron? My friends have come to back me up here. Jimmy brought me. ” Kielmann paled. He knew what that meant.
“I’m sorry AJ. I didn’t have a choice in the matter. Bob toldyou what dealing with him was like. ”
“Yeah. He said that it was like dealing with the devil. Jimmygets your tail caught in the door, and doesn’t open it until he getswhat he wants. What did he hold over your head Ron? What did it taketo convince you to lure an me up here so that Dreadnought could killmy husband?”
“He has my wife. He kidnapped her while she was on vacation inMegakat City. All he told me was that if I didn’t tell him everythingI knew about Bob, and get you out of Megakat City, he’d kill her. ”
“So you lied to me to save your wife? That I could understand. But why’d you set up Bob?”
“I didn’t know he’d kill Bob. I’m so sorry AJ, but I didn’t stopto think about what might happen. ”
“You’re dang right you didn’t stop to think. Bob’s dead becauseof you. I thought I should tell you something. Your wife called meon the phone the day before I left for Megakat City. She told me thatshe’d be getting back to Faroe Lake early. She should be arriving onthe next train. She wanted to surprise you, but wanted to tellsomebody. That’s why I knew something was wrong. Jimmy wasn’tanywhere near her the whole time. ” Ronald Kielmann paled even more.
“By the Fates. . . I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. ”
“Go. Meet your wife. And tell her I said hello. ”
Professor Kielmann left for the train station. He said somethingabout sleeping at the station, so he wouldn’t miss her. On his wayout, he apologized again. Mina turned towards AJ.
“I don’t know how you could be so calm towards him. If someonehad done something like that to Bruce, I don’t think they’d be alivenow. ”
“I couldn’t hurt him Mina. He has a young, pregnant, wife. Hedidn’t set that bomb, just set Bob up for a meeting with an oldfriend. Anyway, I know something you guys don’t. Bob told me thathe’d left a tape here, above the ram’s head. ” She stuck her paw upabove the trophy and pulled out a cassette tape. It was labeled”Safety”, and was still in an old case. It looked like it hadn’t beentouched in years. The Swat Kats returned to Megakat City. They wereout of leads unless something was on that tape.
At the station. . .
At the train station, Rory and Nate got off alongside Mrs. Kielmann. She said that her husband had some old Ephedril around fromwhen his brother was loose. However, Jimmy’s in jail now, and doesn’tneed it. If it could help, she was willing to see if her husbandwould give some up. Rory wasn’t listening that carefully. He couldhear them again. Mik, in the back of his mind, telling him to goafter “that blasted Dreadnought bloke”. Cass, feeding him thoughtsand memories of his months on the streets. Jonathan, talking aboutthe times as Turbonator. And his tiny voice of sanity, Nathaniel. Nathaniel was always with him when the Ephedril wore off. If itwasn’t for Nathaniel being there, inside him, the others could takecontrol easily. It’s not that `ard to take over anyway, Wimpy Rory.
“Thank you Mrs. Kielmann, but I still have a few pills. Theyshould keep me until Faroe Lake Pharmaceuticals gets some more. Ionly need to take it every two days. ” Yeah. Try to act as tough asme if you want. It’s a lost cause Rory. Let me `andle things! I’llget that Dreadnought. You’ll get your pay then.
“Alright. Sorry if I bothered you. ”
“Not at all, ma’am. Good bye. ” I’ll see you and your `usbandsoon nuff, Sheila.
“Good bye. ”
Nate turned towards Rory with a puzzled look on his face. “Why’dyou tell her you only took it every two days? You know that you needto take it every twelve hours. ”
“Yes Nate. But I can handle it until they get some more up at thepharmacy. I’ll just try to live calmly until then. After all, whatif Jimmy Kielmann got out of jail. I doubt that the prison would givehim some Ephedril as a parole gift. ” Anyway, if Jimmy Kielmanndoesn’t show up, it’ll prove that `e’s Dreadnought. OnlyDreadnought’d `ave the Ephedril needed to `andle the time `til morearrives, judgin’ by wot Feral said. If I’m right, like I certainlyam, then we’ll nail `im.
“Alright. I just don’t like it. How you holding up?”
“Don’t worry. It’s only been thirteen hours since the last pill. The voices aren’t giving me any trouble yet. ” At least, not muchtrouble. Jonny’s gettin’ to be a bloody nuisance, that’s all. Justwait until I `ave the proof I need.
“Maybe you should take some of my Coradril?”
“Nate, the doctor said that it wouldn’t help me out that much. The Coradril would only help the schizophrenia. It’s the DID thatreally gives me trouble. ” Not that the other two `elp either of usout any. Rivals for your body. Just take the Coradril, Rory. Getrid of Nathaniel and Cass and I’ll be more than `appy to get rid ofDreadnought.
“I still wonder why they let you out sometimes. You know the sortof things Mik and Jon do. ”
“They only kill people who’re legitimate enemies. I can handlethem well enough. ” As long as we stay under. Don’t worry Rory, Iwon’t let the others `urt little ol’ you. Doesn’t mean that I won’tlet them at Nathaniel though. The bloody jerk thinks `e can keep youon the straight and narrow. Well `e’s wrong! You just wait Rory. I’ll be the one `elpin’ you, not Nathaniel. I’ll be `elpin’ you. Let’s go `ome. “Let’s go home. ”
“Okay. ” The two took a taxi back to their house. Nate startedunpacking as soon as he could, and heard Rory gulping down water inthe next room. Well, so much for stretching it. I can’t blame himthough. I’d better take my Coradril pretty soon too. After heunpacked, he took one of his pills and waited for Rory to finish. “Hey, Rory. What are you planning on doing about Dreadnought next?”
“Waiting Nate. Waiting. I can’t handle too much more of this youknow? It’s bad enough losing a target, but to lose a civilian too. . . ”
“Rory, you can’t kill yourself over this. It wasn’t your fault. And, if you’ve forgotten, you are a civilian. ”
“Yeah, I’m not about to kill myself over it. Any idea where Ipacked my bass?”
“In with the guitar. ”
“Thanks. ” Rory went out after his bass, and started tuning it forthe concert that night. . .
Back at Megakat City. . .
AJ sat in her room. He’s not even buried yet. Maybe I shouldgive it a break until after the funeral. No, I have to do this now. If I let it stew, I might not get back on the right trail. She putthe tape in the player, and turned it on. She fought to hold backtears when her husband started speaking.
“January third, 1979. Ex-agent Robert Tanner recording. Ifanyone but Ron Kielmann is listening to this tape, it probably meansthat something went horribly wrong and I’m dead. In light of myrecent resignation from Faroe Lake law enforcement, I’ve decided toput together a tape detailing all I know about Black Squad, a groupwhich formed a major threat to Faroe Lake during the last part of mycareer. This tape is my security. If anything happens to me whichcan be connected to Black Squad, this tape gets sent to the nearestgroup which can do anything about it. All I have is information onmembers Magma, Twister, and Dreadnought. The majority of myinformation is on Dreadnought. All I have on Magma and Twister wasthat they turned Dreadnought in before escaping. Now, forDreadnought.
“Dreadnought is a lunatic. Besides his megalomanic andsociopathic tendencies, he suffers from DID, and takes Ephedril torelieve himself of the symptoms. Unlike some patients who takeEphedril, he doesn’t suffer from schizophrenia. Speaking fromknowledge of the subject, he does suffer from his alternatepersonality trying to take over when he misses his dose of Ephedril. The main personality of Dreadnought is Jimmy Kielmann. It should benoted that he IS NOT the twin brother of Ronald Kielmann. Instead,Ronald Kielmann is the dominant personality, the one which exhibitsitself when Ephedril is taken. Jimmy Kielmann doesn’t suffer the”voice in my head” symptom of having his alternate personality tryingto take over, instead being the voice in Ronald Kielmann’s head. Ronald Kielmann is relatively harmless, except for his terror at thepossibility that someone will learn his secret, and the possibilitythat Jimmy will take over and not be affected by a later dose ofEphedril. Unlikely event, but one that must be remembered. Jimmy andRonald Kielmann are two entirely different people, right down tohandwriting. Only physical aspects will hint that they are the same(like fingerprints).
“Dreadnought’s abilities make him rather like a tank. His armor,provided by the ones who trained him, grant him the ability to takemassive damage, as exhibited in my first case involving him. He wasstruck by an Enforcer missile square in the chest, and was still ableto fight afterwards. His offensive abilities include herculeanstrength, and a heightened skill in demolitions. His MO generallyinvolves either bombs or use of his strength, sometimes together. Hispsychological instability would seem to have made him an outcast inhis group. The only ones who can tolerate him are Salamander, Undine,and, to an extent, Poltergeist. Even Poltergeist seems to think hegoes overboard sometimes. As such, it seems that he could easily becaught without the aid of his allies. The only problem is placing himunder arrest with a reasonable expectation of losses (currentestimates are around 160 Enforcers minimum, and countless innocents,in a capture situation). As such, he is to be handled with extremecare. Poltergeist is probably the only obvious weak link in theSquad, and should be targeted for a possible side-change. Be warnedagain: Dreadnought is a casual killer. He doesn’t care aboutinnocent or not! He will kill any who get in his way, or any whocross him. The information in these old files may be old, but it isaccurate. Dreadnought was captured with the aid of Poltergeist,Magma, and Twister, at the cost of 16 Enforcers and 6 innocents(Salamander and Undine were working with Dreadnought as well, forcingall involved to focus more on fighting each other than theEnforcers). ”
The tape ran silent for several minutes more, and *clicked* as itturned off. The only clues are links to those others. I wonder ifKrakatoa might know something about them. . . AJ picked up the phone. She dialed Josie’s number and waited. It rang three times before itwas picked up.
“Hello? This is the Amese residence. ”
“Josie? This is AJ. I was wondering if Night Strike might beable to contact Krakatoa for me? I don’t have a clue as to where hemight be, but you and Freedan seem to have some chance of finding himmost of the time. ”
“I’ll see what I can do. Any particular reason why you want tofind Krakatoa?”
“I think she might know someone who was involved with thisDreadnought guy. Some of the people up at the Scrapyard want to tryand take him out. ”
“I’ll talk to Freedan. ”
“Thanks. ” AJ hung up and sat back in her chair. She startedthinking about how things might have been until she fell asleep.
Back in Faroe Lake, six days later. . .
Nate opened up the door to Rory’s house. He stuck his head intoRory’s apartment, expecting to see him. He didn’t. Nate paled. Could he be at Mik’s place? Nate stuck his head into Mik’s apartmentto see Rory, if it was still Rory, clutching the side of the door. Hewas cracking. “Rory? How are you?”
“Not good Nate. Thirty-six hours since the last Ephedril. Anynews from the pharmacy?” `ope not Rory. You want to end all my funalready? And `ere I am, thinkin’ you might be startin’ to crack.
“None. Do you want me to get you some Coradril?”
“No! The Coradril would only shut up the other two. Mik andJonny would be able to concentrate on me alone. He has to deal withthe others as long as Nathaniel and Cass are around. ” Bloody right. Blasted annoyin’ `tis. I just `ope you come to your senses `fore thepharm’cy gets more Ephedril. Let me `andle Dreadnought Rory! I’ll do`im quick. Quick an’ painless. YES! You’re startin’ ta crack Rory. Just a little further. . . Nate reached into his pocket.
“I need you to calm down Rory. If you don’t calm down, I’ll haveto hurt you. I don’t want to do that. ”
“You won’t do anything Nate. I know you too well. Get your handout of that pocket. ” Nate noticed Rory’s hand hovering over his hipholster. Nate brought his hand out with the dart gun in it and fired. Rory was hit in the shoulder and falling before he could get his gunout. Nate walked out of the room.
Chapter 4: Reputation Ruined. . .
The Swat Kats awoke to a horrible sight in the morning paper. Theheadlines read “Phantom Kat. . . Former Member of Black Squad!”Everyone in Megakat City knew about Black Squad. A group of criminalsnotorious for what was known as the “Faroe Lake Incident”, where sixinnocents and sixteen Enforcers died during a botched bank robbery. Only one person was convicted and sent to jail, though the trial wassecret and nobody knew who it was. The newspaper article said this,and much more. . .
“. . . Rumors from an anonymous source have linked Megakat City’sbeloved Phantom Kat to the super villains of Black Squad. While thereporters of this newspaper were at first incredibly skeptical, ourown independent investigations have found evidence linking Phantom Katto the Squad member Poltergeist. As can be expected, we were shockedto discover this apparent breach of trust between a Swat Kat and thepublic. (story continued on page six)”
AJ flung the paper onto the table and screamed. She ran out ofthe room and could be heard taking off in the Dragontron. The othersread the full article over again. The first thoughts that came tomind were obvious: This can’t be true. . . or: How could he do this tous. . . Meanwhile, at the Amese residence. . .
Freedan Katsylyan read the paper again, and started thinking aboutit. I suppose that Phantom Kat could have done that. It wasn’t hewho killed those innocents though, it was that bomber. I wonder ifKrakatoa is in. He picked up the phone and dialed a number he knewwell. Ring. . . Ring. . . Ring. . . The phone was picked up. Anincredibly perky voice answered.
“Melissa’s Place, video and cassette rentals, hair styling, books,and herbal remedies!” The voice lost it’s perkiness. “Andspeculation on libel charges against certain Mega Kat City newspapers,but that’s my own business. Who’s this?”
“Hello Melissa. How are things at the store?”
She squealed. “Uncle Freedan! I haven’t heard from you since youtried to get me to close up the shop so that I could focus onKrakatoa! Things are great up here, except for the recent news. Haveyou read that article?! Slandering the dead!”
“I’ve read it. I have a favor to ask of you. ”
“Anything! Especially if it’ll help clear Phantom Kat’s name. ”
“I need you to find out anything you can about former Organizationagents Salamander, Undine, and Poltergeist. It’s for a friend huntingdown Dreadnought. ”
“No problem! I still have some, embarrassing, information aboutthe Captain from when I was there. Tell your friend that I’d love tohelp, too. ”
“I will. I still think that you should drop either the store, orKrakatoa. Both are reminders of your past. ”
“If I forget about my past, I’ll only have the future to lookforward to. Anyway, both of them help me work off a little steam. Bye Uncle Freedan. Tell Aunt Josie I said hi!”
“Goodbye Melissa. ” He hung up the phone and rubbed his temples. He was just leaning back in his chair as Josie came into the room.
“Perky. How else? She says `Hi’, and that she’ll find out whatshe can. I don’t know how she can be so cheerful, given her life. Ireally don’t. ”
“Give her some credit! After being kitnapped when she was six,she needs some cheerfulness. Leave her alone about the store. It’salmost her only source of pleasure. And I really don’t want to seeher if it she only had vigilantism as a hobby. ”
“You’re right. As usual. ” He stood up and kissed her on thecheek as he walked out of the room. She shivered slightly and stoodthere thoughtfully for a few minutes, almost feeling guilty atenjoying her life after these recent tragedies. I just hope that AJand her friends don’t go overboard. Two wrongs don’t make a right. That vampire half of me’s proof of that. . . She followed afterFreedan, and started a pot of coffee brewing.
At Faroe Lake. . .
Nate clenched his fists around the Mega Kat City paper as the painin his head returned. Blasted doctors. Said that the cancertreatments wouldn’t be hurting me any more. He downed a couple painkillers and wondered about Rory. If it weren’t for those idiots downat the Organization, he’d be fine now. Wouldn’t be needing thatblasted Ephedril every twelve hours. Wouldn’t be needing those Xtablets every month. Wouldn’t be dying every hour. If only he hadn’tbeen forced to work in that project. What’s that? Nate stood up andwalked towards Mik’s apartment. Crash. . . Rrrrip. . . Nate heard thesounds of grim laughter as somebody chambered two rounds in the 10gauge that Mik had up on his wall. Nate opened the door and cowered. It was Mik again.
“‘Lo there Nate! `Ow you doin’? Oh, don’t worry, Rory’s okay,he’ll just be under for awhile. It’s time for Vindicatah to get thatbloody Dreadnought gent’. `Ope you don’t mind me leavin’ now. An’ Iwouldn’t be tryin’ to get that trank gun o’ yours now. It’d only putJonathan in charge, an’ Turbonatah’s worse than me. ”
“I- I tranquilized you!”
“You tranked Rory. Remembah, trankin’ the body o’ somebody withMPD, or DID just might let one o’ the other minds out. Now, out o’ myway!” He shoved Nate’s cowering form through the door and stormed outof his room dressed as his alter-ego, Vindicator.
Back in Mega Kat City. . .
Danger was at the office of the newspaper that had published thestory about Bob. She hammered on the office of the reporter who hadwritten the story, a young she-kat named Tabbitha Bloomsdale. Tabbitha answered the door.
“Who’s-” She was interrupted mid-sentence by Danger shoving herback into her office and slamming the door. “What’s this all about?!What do you think you’re doing?!”
“I’m finding out who put you up to writing this article `bout myhusband. Now, who’s the “anonymous source”?”
“I can’t tell. I promised that I’d never reveal his name. ”
“Listen girl, you can either tell me what I want to know here, oryou can tell me while you’re in a hospital bed!”
“You won’t do that. You’re a Swat Kat. ”
“No. I’m not. I’m one of the Dangerous Duo. The only thing leftof my husband is his reputation, and your article ruined that!”
“Here. This file contains all my evidence about Black Squad. Idon’t need it anymore. It contains the known identities andaffiliations of several members. I don’t know Poltergeist’s identity,but I have a lot of evidence that he was Phantom Kat, including asigned confession from an `R. T. ‘ that was attached to a documentstating that `R. T. ‘ was Phantom Kat. Enjoy it. There’s the proofthat his reputation wasn’t deserved. I’m sorry about your husband. And I’m sorry that I had to kill a legend. If I hear anything aboutDreadnought, I’ll give it to somebody at Enforcer HQ so that they cangive it to you. ”
“Thank you. Good bye. ” Danger slammed the door behind her on herway out. Tabby Bloomsdale sat in her chair and thought about what shewas just done to Bob. Then a sadistic little smile crept across herface.
“That’ll teach Bob Tanner that he shouldn’t mess around with theOrganization. ” She let out a light, mirthless laugh and punched outfor the day. . .
Hours later. . .
AJ sat in her room at the scrapyard, devastated. It’s true. Allof it is true. My husband was a member of the worst criminal threatto hit Faroe Lake. At least he wasn’t one who had killed anyone. Shepicked up a bottle with her trembling paws, and poured herself a thirddrink. After she took the first sip, the phone rang. She stopped andpicked up. It was Josie.
“Hello? Is this AJ Tanner?”
“Yeah. It’s me. How are you Josie?”
“I’m okay. Night Strike gave me some information on those names. Said something about Krakatoa getting the information, but it turnsout that all the names were connected to Black Squad and a governmentBlack-Ops group. All I know is that there’s something going on that’smore than meets the eye. I also found out that Dreadnought issupposed to be hiding here, in Megakat City. Night Strike andKrakatoa have gone after him already. Do you think the Swat Kats willgo?”
“I’m sure of it. What’s the address?” Josie gave it to AJ. “Thanks Josie. I’ll see what can be done. ” But I’m sure as hell notsending the Enforcers out to be killed. I doubt that armor’s anyweaker now than before. She suited up and told the Swat Kats whatshe’d found out. Then she took off on her Hover-Board Ariel has to beleft out of this. She’s still injured. A half-hour later, they’d allarrived to find Night Strike and Krakatoa there, but nobody else. . .
Chapter 5: Surprises revealed. . .
In Faroe Lake. . . Ronald Kielmann lay awake in his bed. Molly’s still okay. Jimmy’s loose, but he can’t hurt us. Too bad about Bob. He was agood man. What’s that? He heard someone breaking down the door. “Jimmy?”
Vindicator, Faroe Lake’s murderous vigilante, stood in thedoorway, holding a 12 gauge shotgun. “No guvnah, it’s not Jimmy. It’s Vindicatah, an’ I was wonderin’ if you knew where thatDreadnought bloke is?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. ”
“Oh? Too bad guvnah, cause that means I’ll have to use ol’ Bessy`ere to jog your memory. Sure you don’t know where he is?”
“No, I don’t know where he is. Please, I have a pregnant wife inthe other room. Leave us alone. ”
“Oh yes, Mrs. Kielmann. I don’t s’pose she’d like to come outhere and join the fun, would she?”
“You leave her out of this you jerk!”
“Feisty, aren’t we. Now, you tell me where you brother is,” hefired his gun into the couch, “or that couch’ll be your `ead. Where’sDreadnought?”
“I’m telling you, I have no idea. I think he’s somewhere inMegakat City, but I’m not sure!” Thanks a lot bro. Double cross me,will you! I’ll get you for this bro. . . “He knows you’re coming. Iswear, he’s telepathic or something! He knows I just double crossedhim. ” Molly Kielmann stepped into the doorway.
“Ronald? What happened in here? I-” She spotted Vindicator andstopped.
“Sorry Sheila, I’m outta `ere!” He ran out of the room, leavingthe teacher and his wife to wonder what had happened. She went backto sleep, knowing that the Enforcers of Faroe Lake couldn’t hope tostop Vindicator. Ronald stayed up long enough to make a report to thepolice (leaving out the fact that he did know his brother’swhereabouts), and went into his closet. Then he pulled out the armor,and changed without knowing it. Jimmy Kielmann flew out to hisMegakat City hideout, and saw that all but Vindicator and Danger hadleft. He smiled. I won’t break a sweat killin’ those two idiots. Hecrashed through the window, and attacked. His first punch threwDanger up against the wall, and she staggered about until she got herbalance back enough to use her Hover-Board to get out of his reach. Then he turned his attention towards Vindicator.
“You SOB, you got my brother to betray me. I’ll deal with him inmy own sweet time, but you’re first!” He activated the gun in hisarmor and launched a Gel Shell at him. It hit and exploded, leavinghim unconscious. Dreadnought approached to finish it, but wasinterrupted when the Hover-Board crashed into him. He reached up andgrabbed Danger’s ankle, pulling her down. “You’re out of your leaguegirl. Now I’ll finish what I started with Bob!” He startedstrangling her, and was interrupted by the figure at the door.
“Dreadnought! Let her go. ” Dreadnought turned and removed hishelmet to see better. Then he paled.
Chapter 6: The End. . .
“That’s right Jimmy, it’s me. Rumors of my death are vastlyoverrated. Now I’ve come to stop you. ”
“Never! I won’t be put in that prison again! You’ll never takeme alive!” He charged at Phantom Kat, dropping AJ to the ground. Phantom Kat pulled out a dart gun, and fired the dart. It struckJimmy Kielmann in the neck, and he grabbed at his throat. “What didyou shoot me with?”
“Ephedril Jimmy. The supply in the back room was water soluble. Goodbye Jimmy. ” The battle for Dreadnought’s mind raged within. Ronald overcoming the mind of his “brother”. Then he came to thesurface, and saw that he was wearing the armor. Then he fainted. Phantom Kat picked up his old friend and locked him in the back of histruck. He walked into the room where his wife and Vindicator wereunconscious, and injected Vindicator with another Ephedril dart. Inminutes, Turbo was waking up and leaving to return to Faroe Lake,after ensuring that Phantom Kat would send him an explanation ASAP. Then Bob picked up his wife and drove back to the Scrapyard.
Hours Later. . .
A few hours later, Kat’s Eye News was broadcasting the news thatDreadnought had been arrested and turned over to Faroe Lake lawenforcement. An old tape of the “Faroe Lake Incident” proved thatPhantom Kat had not been involved with the killing of several people,and the dead kat had his reputation restored. Nobody but the SwatKats and a few Enforcers knew about Phantom Kats miraculous “returnfrom the dead”, which he was in the middle of explaining. . .
“I could see that the bomb was going to explode, so I startedrunning. I got far enough away to avoid being killed. Feral showedyou guys a dummy that had been mocked up. He knew that I was aliveand hunting Dreadnought. I didn’t know what would happen, but Ineeded to get Dreadnought off of my tail before I could try anythingagainst him. So I faked my death in Dreadnought’s bomb blast, like Isaid before, and carried on. I wanted more than anything to tell youguys, but I couldn’t risk Dreadnought finding out from the way youguys acted. So that’s what happened. Now I think I’ll retire frombeing a vigilante. ” That comment got almost as many gasps as hisreturn. “I’m getting older. I need to live as Robert Tanner. Phantom Kat will still show up sometimes, but much less frequently. Only when he’s needed. I need time to live my own life. ” AJ reachedaround her husband’s neck and crawled up onto his lap.
“I think we can arrange that honey. I always worried about youanyway. After all, it’s not like you’re immortal or anything. Doesthis mean you’ll still be working for Feral?”
“Yeah. The Enforcers need my designs. Razor,” he turned towardsJames, “I think you can take over here for me. I’ll let you guys havemy designs before the Enforcers, of course. Good night. ” He stood upcarrying his wife, and went on up to his room. “Dying once is enoughfor me. ” He laughed grimly and went into his room. The others stayedup for a couple hours longer and went to their own rooms. Things wereback to normal, and the dead had returned again.
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.