Anya carefully opened the door to James’ room. She looked in onthe handsome young kat, and saw him slumped over the blueprints tosome weapons. She thought about the argument they’d had earlier,about whether or not he was being too obsessive regarding Dark Kat’srecent return. She smiled as he slept on the very designs he’d beenworking on for a couple weeks now. He was still holding the pencilhe’d been sketching with. She walked in with the stealth that hadsaved her life several times in the past, and quietly pulled thepencil from his paw. She rolled up the blueprints and placed them inthe container he always kept his things in. She carefully lifted himinto his bed, and pulled the covers up over him. Through all of this,he stayed asleep. Two weeks without any decent sleep. It’s not thatbig a surprise, really. She walked out of his room quietly, andlooked back at him one last time. Then she closed the door and walkedback out.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Felina Feral was changingout of her uniform and into a more comfortable outfit, jeans and anold workout shirt. She collapsed into the chair and looked around ather apartment before picking up an old photograph. She ran herfingers along the profile of Mark Dawnlight and sighed. Mark doesn’teven have a clue. She smiled as she remembered that night. He’dhelped her take down a group of bandits in the woods1, and afterwardshad come up to her place. They’d had some good laughs, and the nextday she took the security camera down to get a couple of the pictures.Only one had developed well, a picture of she and Mark laughing aboutthe look in the bandits’ faces when he had decked the one closest tohim. She put the picture back on the cabinet, and went back to hervault, looking for the old video tapes she had, tapes of when she,Jessica, Tabby, and Abby had gone down to Vegas for a girl’s nightout, only to find Mark, Jonathan, and Jer down there already. Thathad been quite a night. She smiled while the old tape rolled, andfinally fell asleep in her chair.
Chapter 1: The next morning…
James Jonathan awoke to find himself in his own bed, despite thefact that he was sure he’d fallen asleep at his work table. He got upand stretched out, and walked out into the main room at the Scrapyard.Anya was sitting down, reading a magazine, and Scott was in thekitchen, working on breakfast for the rest of the gang. James walkeddown the stairs, and checked on Kitty and Doc in the infirmary.Kitty’s leg was healing nicely, especially since she managed to changeback into Starstrider. He walked back out, finding Anya waiting forhim
So, how was your nap?”
“Strange. I could have sworn I fell asleep at the bench, but Iwoke up in my bed.”
“I know. I put you there.”
“Thanks. Any idea what Scott’s putting together for breakfast? Ihope it’s not anything like his other cooking projects.”
“No, just oatmeal.”
“Hey, for Scott, oatmeal is as hard to put together right as oneof Jonathan’s souffles. He never could cook.”
“I guess your right. How’s your latest project doing?”
“Okay. I finished the schematics last night. I think I’m goingto take a break before I put together a working model though.” Anyalooked shocked
What?! James Jonathan, actually being sensible? This is a realfirst! What happened to knock some sense into you?”
“I think it was you finally getting me to realize that I was goingto kill myself if I didn’t relax a bit more.”
“Where’d you go? Burke and Murray cleared out your apartment inthe city, after all.”
“I still have my place out by the beach. I’ve been renting outthe second apartment lately, but the main part of the house is stillfree.”
“Great! You’ll finally be able to get away from the Swat Kats forawhile.” Scott walked into the room with a set of bowls filled withoatmeal. He sat them down and went out for the milk with a smile onhis face. James looked at one and grimaced. Somehow, Scott hadmanaged to burn the oatmeal he’d put together. Instant oatmeal too
The main reason today is so that I can get away from Scott’scooking.” He and Anya laughed while Scott was still out of the room,and tried to eat it when he returned. About a half-hour later, Anyaand James managed to convince him to let them cook for the others andthey went into the kitchen. James looked slightly embarrassed whilethe pancakes they started were cooking. Anya noticed
What’s on your mind?” James’ face turned a shade of crimsonvisible even under his fur
Well, it gets kind of lonely up at the old house when nobody elseis there, and the tenants are off on their own vacation this week. Istart thinking about Anne and things like that. I was wondering ifyou’d like to come up there with me. It’s right on the beach, and Idon’t think that it’s that badly polluted yet…” He trailed off asAnya turned away from the stove and hugged him
I’d be thrilled. When were you planning on leaving?”
“If you don’t mind, as soon as I’ve gotten a chance to pack up.And as soon as those pancakes that are starting to singe have beentaken care of.” They saved the pancakes and served them up just asthe others were waking up. After breakfast, they explained what theywere planning and started packing. A half-hour later, they left inAnya’s car, figuring they’d be there by evening if they hurried.
At noon, Felina Feral woke up at her apartment in KatsylyanTowers. She looked at the clock and dropped her mouth when she sawthe time. Good thing today’s my day off. She got dressed and hurriedthrough her breakfast, then picked up the phone and her picture ofMark. She dialed the number of one of her best friends, Julia Marek.The phone rang and she heard a yawn as someone picked it up.
“Hi there Julia. Did I wake you up?”
“Felina! You’d better have one heckuva good reason for calling meat this time of the day.”
“Julia, it’s 12:30.”
“And we didn’t finish filing reports until 1 AM.”
“Your watch is off. It was midnight. At any rate, you’ve hadenough time to sleep. You crash at headquarters when it gets thatlate! I, on the other hand, have a twenty minute commute to get backhome. Then I wind up spending the better part of the night getting tosleep. I’ve had enough time, and so have you.”
“Alright, alright already. I’m up now. What do you want?”
“Well, I was thinking I could pick you up, then I could pay youback for that night last month. Remember? The Parthenon, followed bya mall crawl? I thought you’d be up by now, or I wouldn’t havecalled.” She could picture Julia smiling as she brushed her longblond hair out
Okay partner. Let me guess, you thinking of picking up Jeff andMark afterwards?”
“Guilty! When should I pick you up?”
“Give me an hour to get back to my place and change. I don’tthink I’d look that good in a day old uniform. See you then.”
“See you.” Felina hung up and stretched out again. She pickedout the best outfit she had for the occasion, and called her cousin upto make the reservation. Then she set up the date with Mark. Turnedout that Jeff was out of town, visiting the famous actress KatrinaAppleby. Felina smiled as she thought of what Julia would say if shefound out about the specifics. Felina called up Harry Storm instead,and found out that Julia already had set up a date with him for thenext day, but he’d call her and see if she’d be willing to move it upa day. He also promised not to put in the details of why Jeff wasn’tavailable. An couple of hours later, Julia and Felina were out havinga good time with Harry and Mark, wearing some of the new outfitsthey’d bought at the mall that day. By that evening, the day wasover, for most.
Chapter 2: That Evening
That evening, James was pulling Anya’s car into his beach house,400 miles away from Megakat City. It’ll be worth the eight hours ofdriving to get out here though. Anya was asleep in the passengerseat, and James had spent the last half-hour trying not to wake herwhile her head rested on his shoulder. He smiled to himself. I guessit’s my turn to tuck her in. She must not have slept last night. Hecarefully managed to get her head aside and carry her into the mainapartment without waking her up. He looked around the place as hewalked into the bedroom. Everything’s the way I remember it. Thetenants have remembered to dust the stuff.
He tucked her into the bed he had, making a mental note to pick upa larger couch as he brought in their luggage. He packed his stuffhaphazardly in a corner, and left her two cases off in a corner of thebedroom. He looked in on her, sleeping peacefully. A slight smilecame to her lips, and he wondered just what she was dreaming about.He turned around and got the couch ready to sleep on. He heard asound from Anya’s room and he looked in. She was tossing and turningabout, and grabbed at her left hand. It came off, showing the bioniccircuitry where Doc had fixed it up after somebody had shot heroriginal hand off2. She calmed down, and James took a look at thebionic hand laying on the bed.
It wasn’t that heavy, something Doc had made sure of. It wasdefinetly some of his better work, made out of a titanium alloy theygot from Enforcer scrap-ships. If it was up to specs, there was asmall compartment… A panel popped open along the wrist, and a smallscrap of paper floated out. He took a quick look at it. It lookedlike a picture of Anya, and three other kats he didn’t know. He wasjust closing the panel after replacing the photo when Anya spoke
I don’t suppose you’d be able to tell me what you’re doing withmy hand?”
“You tore it off. I was making sure it hadn’t been damaged.”
“I usually take it off at night. I found out that I take it offat night while I’m asleep, dreaming about the night my family waskilled if I forget. I guess I fell asleep in the car and forgot to.I take it we’re at the beach house?”
“Yeah. I brought you up here from the car.” Anya put the handback on her arm, and propped herself up
I take it you decided I should use the bed? I thought we’ddecided that I’d take the couch or the floor on the trip.” Jamessmiled
I changed my mind. Owner’s prerogative.”
“I guess.” She smiled
You mind if I talk to you aboutsomething?”
“Well, you’ve told me about your history. I suppose it’s onlyfair if I tell you mine.”
“I s’pose. Maybe this should wait until morning, when we’re bothmore awake.”
“Yeah. Good night James.”
“Good night Anya.” He walked out while Anya shook her head slowlylayed back down. She reached down to her arm and clicked the releaseswitch that held her hand on. She looked at the bionic limb forseveral minutes, remembering those nights. She’d told Doc and Scottexactly how she felt about James that night, while she was stilldelirious with the anaesthetic. They’d promised never to reveal whatshe said, unless she asked them to. She had hoped that she’d get thechance first, and she decided that tomorrow was the best shot she’dget. She placed the hand on the table next to the bed, and driftedoff to sleep.
Meanwhile, in Megakat City, Felina and Mark had just gotten backto her apartment from the restaurant they’d stopped at. She openedthe door to the main room, and Mark remarked about the lack of a lock
Do you honestly think that anyone would be stupid enough to tryburglarizing a place filled entirely with Ferals, Briggs, andClawsons? My parents owned the place awhile back, after they boughtit from Freedan Katsylyan’s parents, and let Uncle Ulysses and I livehere rent free. When they died in a car crash, the place transferredover to a few other relatives. They moved in shortly afterwards, andmake the commute to the Enforcer headquarters in whatever city theywork at about every other day. I don’t think anyone’s crazy enough topull a B&E job on this place.”
“So that explains the statues in the lobby.”
“Yup. The Fates, Furies, and Muses. Most apartments have a setof the statues built into a wall. My Aunt, no relation to CommanderFeral, sculpts them in the copious amounts of free time she has. Shedoesn’t work as an Enforcer, instead choosing to spend her days takingcare of this place. Hey, you want to visit the Vault in my apartment?I usually keep the stronger stuff in there.”
“I came over here for a nightcap, not a shot of the stuff youstrip varnish with. I saw that stuff work once. It stripped it downto the board!”
“Imported from elsewhere in the world. Actually, I was thinking Icould serve up some of the stuff my cousins brew. It strips paint offthe walls, but only if you pour it straight on them.” Mark smiled
Sounds like some of the stuff Jess serves after a hard case. Ifyou pour I’ll drink. Just make sure I stay sober enough to find myway back home. Jess still hasn’t forgiven me for that night.” Felinalaughed as she lead her guest in
Yeah, I heard about that one from Linna. She used all the choicephrases she knew, and made up new ones after that.” Mark confirmedit. Felina pressed a few buttons on the control panel inside thedoor, and a huge Feral family crest parted down the middle. Shewalked in ahead of Mark, who followed into the massive chamber.
It had spotlights on certain areas of interest, and lights showingwhere the preferred path was, but that was it. Mark looked around atthe walls, and nearly jumped through one when he saw what wassurrounding him. Pale kats, white all over, seemed frozen in time inthe glass cases. Taking a second look, he realized that they werestatues of the Fates, Furies, and the Muses. They were all beautifuland graceful, but one in particular was terrifying. It was a young,savage looking kat digging in her claws, muscles tensed for a leap, awild expression in her eyes and teeth bared for the attack. Felinacame back with a bottle, and noticed the amazed look on his face
That’s Mileea, the Fury of Hate.”
“I recognize her. Oh, yeah! It’s Jess after a hard night!That’s where I saw her before!” Felina laughed
Actually, you’re not that far off. Aunt Kareena used your sisteras her model for that one.” Mark looked impressed as they left thevault and re-entered the main room. He pulled a couple of chairs upto the table while Felina worked on opening the bottle. She filled uptwo glasses, and explained that she couldn’t find the bottle she waslooking for, so she grabbed the nearest wine bottle she could find.Mark looked at the glass, and then took a better look at Felina thanhe could get with Julia and Harry around, comparing notes on somecase.
She was wearing a new blue dress, looked like something straightout of a fashion magazine. He’d seen it once before, on Tabby whileshe was flirting with Jonathan out at Vegas. It looks good on her.Wonder what the blazes she’s thinking about right now. She lookedvery thoughtful, almost like she did that night about a month ago.She’d heard a scream then, and that led to the two of them finding aden of bandits. He hoped nothing like that happened tonight. He tooka sip of the wine she’d poured, and waited for her to start theconversation. While he waited, he glanced around the room. Henoticed a new photo on the cabinet, but couldn’t quite make out thepicture from that distance. He heard Felina start talking, andstarted paying attention
You know, it seems almost like a month ago all of a sudden.”Mark smiled. He’d noticed
Yeah. Except this time you’re wearing what looks like one ofTabby’s dresses instead of your casual outfit.”
“Do you like it?” A few, interesting, phrases he’d heard as aguard in Vegas came to mind, but he decided to discard them
It looks good on you. Better than it looked on Tabby, for thatmatter.” Felina blushed. Oh boy, now I’ve gone and done it. Lasttime she was blushing like that… Oh well, what’s done is done
Apenny for your thoughts?” Felina sighed
It’s just some stuff about what’s going on between my Uncle andthe Swat Kats. He has some good friends on their team, but he stillthinks that they’re as big a threat as when the Original Two wereflying the skies. I wonder whatever happened to them… She trailedoff into thought for a few seconds.
“The main reason I supported Project Blade was because I thoughtthat a vig’ on the Enforcer payroll might convince him that the SwatKats weren’t a bunch of bad apples with a couple good ones in thebarrel. So much for that thought, right? Yolanda Briggs was a badchoice, all things considered. She does things Commander Feral can’tstand. Smokes on duty, refuses to wear a uniform, and won’t botherpracticing with her piece. Just uses that blasted sword of hers.Then there was a fiasco when she and Firebird had a fight in Enforcerheadquarters. Blade lost. Finally, she’s got a rivalry going withevery major vig’ in the city, trying to prove that having theEnforcers on their side would be a good thing. All in all, she’s agood gal, just one that Ulysses S. Feral can’t stand while she’s onduty. Weird thing is, I think she has a bit of a crush on him. Hardto imagine, eh?” Mark nodded
Yeah, but everybody has some quirks. Look at James and Anya!They left for his beach house on a whim this morning.” He looked athis watch. It was reading about 10:00. Time for patrol. Crud
I’ve got to get back home. Work at the `Yard and that sort ofthing. Thanks for a great evening.” Felina told him to call if hewas ever interested in having another one, and he left in his fancycar. She slammed her head into the table
Oh, great move Felina.” Yolanda Briggs was at the door to herapartment
First you invite the guy into a nice romantic situation,”she took a drag on her cigarette, “and then you start pointing outevery problem I have.” Felina looked up
You heard the whole thing? Why didn’t you speak up?” Yolandacrushed her cigarette out in the ashtray
Because with you painting such a nice picture of my career, Ididn’t want to stop you.” She turned around on the heel of her oldboot
Oh and, uh, by the way? I wouldn’t criticize my love life ifI were you, considering how the guy you’re interested in just walkedoff without the slightest idea just how interested you are in him.”She walked off towards the stairs, and left for her apartment. Felinacursed herself for not making sure Yolanda wasn’t in the building. Ishould have known she’d be around here somewhere. She always is atthe worst time. Sometimes I wonder if our being friends is going towork out. Hope she’s okay. She followed Yolanda into the hallway,and found her walking off. She ran after her, and caught up on thenext floor down
Yolanda! I’m sorry about what I said back there. I didn’t knowyou were around.” Yolanda had just reached her apartment’s door, andshe was standing in the frame, looking back at Felina. Her haggardeyes seemed to be brimming
Oh, I suppose you would have preferred to list the problems youand your uncle have with me to who- whoever that guy was without mearound. So sorry for being on my way down from my patrol while youand he were discussing me.”
“Yolanda, I am sorry. That was one of the biggest mistakes I’vemade in a long time.”
“Yeah, well, not as big as the mistakes I’ve made lately. Not theleast of which was refusing to listen to my real friends out on thestreets. The mistake that had me thinking that any vig’ could trustan Enforcer, especially a Feral. Now, if you don’t mind, I have somethinking to do. Good night, sir!” She slammed the door in Felina’sface, and Felina thought she heard something from her friend she neverthought she’d hear. Crying.
Felina went back up to her place slowly, trying to sort outeverything that’d happened. What is it that got Yolanda so worked up?I didn’t think that having someone mention what her problems werewould get her to the point of crying. And her eyes… Like shehasn’t had any sleep in days… Her thoughts drifted off to ones ofthe past as she reached her room again, and took down another photo.This one showed Molly Furlong and Yolanda, just after Project Bladehad become reality. Yolanda had her arm draped casually around herpartner’s neck, and they were both waving to Felina, who was takingthe picture of her two roomies from Academy. Felina had graduated afew years ahead of them, thanks to taking the classes year round.She’d become Lieutenant-Commander after Steele’d gotten himself fired.Her two pals had continued in their classes for two more years, untilProject Blade came up.
Eight regular Enforcers had been chosen out of the hundreds who’dapplied. They, and the two best recruits for the job from theAcademy, had entered the training. Despite rumors that Yolanda Briggsand Molly Furlong (Yolanda’s partner, and Chance’s other sister, forthose keeping score) had been chosen because they were the friends ofthe Commander’s niece (who had plenty of rumors to deal with herself,having risen from the position of Sergeant to Lieutenant-Commander onthe day of Steele’s firing), they were the only two who got throughthe training in one piece (the eight others having been weeded outthrough the combat training). They explained that they’d been streetfighters during their Academy years, trying to pay off their bills.Anyone who saw them fight (especially together) believed it.
Blade, as Yolanda was called, was trained in Kenjutsu, and wasvery good at it. Nomad, as Molly was called, proved to excel atrunning, and was almost as fast as that Turbo vig’. But not fastenough it turned out. The two were out fighting some of Sheba’sgoons, when Sheba did something totally unprecedented. She managed tohit something alive (besides her own foot) with one of her laser guns.Unfortunately, she’d been aiming at Blade. Nomad was the only personabout ten yards away, and she was hit. The thugs had scatteredafterwards (their mainly unidentifiable remains were found in the baylater, riddled with shuriken). Despite Blade’s desperate attempts tosave her partner’s life, Nomad died before she could reach a hospital.
That photo had been taken about a month before that happened.After Molly Furlong died, Yolanda was a different person. She startedsmoking because she knew she’d probably be an alcoholic if she drank.She needed to find something to calm herself down, and she thoughtthat was all she could find. Now she was a chain smoker. She’d beentotally shattered inside, as the staff psychologist said after hermandatory psychological check up (before she got herself made exempt).She had customized her hat, slashing the word “NOMAD” on it in redchalk letters. She said that she couldn’t let Molly be forgotten.Not likely, as the statue of the two of them proves, but she wasobsessed with “seeing Molly get the recognition she deserved”. Thestatue had been commissioned by a local business to prove that theEnforcers were caring about other people, and the sculptor had decidedto use the tragic rainy day scene. On the bright side, if it was thebright side, it looked almost like it could be happening again when itstarted raining. On those days, Yolanda Briggs could usually be foundstanding in the corner of some alley, looking at the statue with onlythe light of her cigarettes.
Yolanda had indeed shattered inside that day, and that was whather problem was, Felina realized, having it spelled out to anyone thatBlade, the Enforcers’ best officer, had cracked just because herpartner’d been killed in action. Felina understood, knowing how she’dfeel if Julia was killed on patrol. She thought that the worst partwas probably that only a statue of tragedy served as Molly’s memory tomost people, except Felina, Yolanda, and Chance. Felina resolved toapologize to Yolanda in the morning, and slowly drifted off to sleep.
In a room on the next floor down, Yolanda Briggs stopped cryingand picked up the phone while she lit another cigarette. She dialedher sister’s number, and waited as the phone rang. She got theanswering machine, running the voice of that stinkin’ brother-in-lawof hers. She slammed the phone down without leaving a message.Nobody around here to talk to. Nobody at all. God, I wish you werestill around Molly. Then I’d have somebody besides that little jerkFelina and her uncle to talk to. The nerve of her, pretending to bemy friend and laughing about me behind my back. I only wish there wassomebody around here I could talk to. Thoughts like that ran throughher mind while she rhythmically ran the whetstone along her katana,until she put out her cigarette and finally cried herself to sleep.
Chapter 3: The next morning…
Anya was sitting on the deck attached to the old beach house thatmorning, sitting out in an old tank top and pair of jean shorts. Hertail twitched while she sat and watched the sun rise as she sipped acup of coffee. A flock of gulls were circling above, crying out intheir gently harsh voices. The waves were gentle upon the beach, anda mild breeze was blowing the salty ocean air up towards the house. Adoor opened quietly and the tall form of James Jonathan, the house’sowner, came out. Anya stood up and looked down towards the beach,about 400 miles away from Megakat City. She knew that the beach ranfor hundreds of miles, and bordered Megakat City on the east edge.She started at the feel of two strong arms slipping under her slenderones, but leaned back once she realized it was James behind her. Thetwo swayed side to side, watching as the scenery about them unfolded
You know James, you seem to have calmed down a lot since we gothere. I guess that all you really needed was a trip home.”
“Maybe. Or maybe,” he turned her around and looked into her eyes.”Maybe I just found someone to fill the hole that gunman put into methose years back.” The waves crashed upon the shore as the Anyaturned to look back on the ocean
James, it took me more than a year to get on friendly terms withyou. Then we had a huge argument. The very next day you invited meout to this beautiful place. Why?”
“I didn’t want to come back to the very spot where Anne diedalone. I wanted to have someone with me. Someone who I knew could betrusted with a family secret. And Scott suggested you when I askedhim about people like that. You were my first choice, of course, Ijust wanted to know if Scott agreed with me.”
“Why didn’t you take Scott?” James laughed
Because I knew that trusting Scott with something like this wouldbe risky. And a total break of family tradition. I knew that I couldtrust you more. And I wanted to get to know you a bit better, awayfrom the others. Linna and Yolanda never did get along too well withFirebird, and those two do know who you really are. Yolanda drops byevery day, trying to prove who the Swat Kats are, and I don’t thinkshe’d be overly receptive to discovering that Firebird worked withthem rather frequently. Do you think she would?”
“You’re right. What is it that Linna has against me? I know thatYolanda had a broken jaw, but I don’t think I’ve done anything toLinna.”
“You’re the only other person on the face of the Kearth who canhandle Francois for more than a couple days, besides that Sorenfellow. Linna’s really interested in him since he kept going afterher, despite a few scars on his face, but isn’t sure if she can riskher image by actually showing it. That would risk making her seemsomewhat more normal.”
“I don’t think she has to worry about her image. Or me andFrancois getting involved with each other.”
“Well I hope she doesn’t have to worry about that!” Anya smiled.I never thought I’d make him jealous. Maybe I’m getting to him. Sheworked her way out of his arms and walked back into the house. Hefollowed her in, and she turned around to face him
Don’t worry. She doesn’t. And neither do you.” She suddenlywrapped her arms around his neck and raised herself up to kiss him onthe cheek. Then she turned back around and walked briskly off towardsthe kitchen, leaving him standing there, looking slightly embarrassedwith his hand to his blushing face. When he caught up with her, shewas pouring him a cup of coffee
Now, do you want to hear my historyfirst? Or give me your secret?” James managed to stop blushing
Your history. My secret can wait.” Anya sighed and refilled hercup
Okay. I wasn’t that much involved with Megakat City untilrecently. Had more to do with Russia and Moskat. Then my parentswere killed. The other person in my picture was my brother. Hestarted working for Kin-Corp after he and I travelled to this country.The two of us became citizens in short order. He fell in love withMs. Laura Kincaid. I found out something though, something I couldn’ttell him. Now, you know that I fell in love with, and almost married,Jack Kincaid before he married Josie Amese and snapped, forcing her tokill him in self-defense. I found out that his sister was Mind Kat,and that it was she, not Dark Kat, who’d ordered my family killedbecause my parents discovered her secret. I was going to go andsettle my debt with her when my hand was shot off by one of her spiesin the Enforcers. Gregor, my brother, was nearly destroyed when hehad to choose between the two women he loved. His boss, or hissister. He chose both. He gave me a head start, and then sounded thealarm. He didn’t have a choice. Later, when he found out the spy’splans for Gregor and KinCorp, he killed the SOB in self-defense, afterhe tried shooting Gregor.”
“I understand. You hate Mind Kat the same way I hate Dark Kat.”
“No, I don’t. Sometimes I think you’d give anything to kill DarkKat. Me, Scott, anything. I know that I would never sacrificeGregor, or any other innocent life, to settle with Mind Kat.”
“I suppose that’s the only difference between our hates.”
“I suppose it is. What was the secret you’d like to show me?”James smiled
Follow me.” He led her into a group of underground tunnels, anda set of Zoom Tubes, the same RTS (rapid-transit-system) used by Manxto get his butt out of trouble as a last resort. 1200 MPH, thanks toa newer technology that allowed it to slip into another dimension. Heexplained that he had a place about 400 miles away, 20 minute ride,that he wanted to show her. They got in the cramped compartment, andtook off. The system made it feel like they were moving at only 12MPH.
The trip stopped abruptly, and James led her into a damp tunnel.He explained that it was carved out of the rock under the ocean, wherethey now were. It led to a huge hall
I introduce you to the Hall of Jonathans. Long ago, my ancestorsbuilt this place using sorcery. They had a manor house attached viapermanent teleportation nexus, but I covered it years ago. In thishall, there’s a portrait and souvenir from every member of theJonathan family. Including, today, the last member who died.” Hewalked to a single portrait. Anya recognized it immediately.
It was Anne, James’ dead wife, killed by Dark Kat’s men in anattempt to kill James himself. She’d leapt in front of the gunkat atthe last second, and sacrificed not only her own life, but the life oftheir unborn child in that last moment, to save the life of herhusband. James placed a small box on the pedestal beneath herportrait. He looked up at the portrait, taking in her features again,as he hoped he wouldn’t be coming down here alive at any time in thefuture.
He looked at her soft face, her long raven tresses, her fine, highcheekbones, and, at last, at her eyes, intense and gentle at the sametime. He sighed and opened the box, a gold ring with a singlestar-sapphire on the crown was shining almost as if it had its ownlight. He backed off, and made a slight bow towards the portraits inthe hall, then collapsed into tears as he looked upon the coffin underthe portrait of his wife. Anya helped him back into the compartment,and started it back towards the beach-house. After the arrived thereagain, he stopped crying and returned to the salty seashore. He thenrealized that he would never be truly at home here again. He walkedinto the beach house, and got ready to enjoy the rest of his vacation.
Anya was walking along behind him, thinking of how she had beenabout him before. She realized just what it was she was up againstfor a rival: His wife’s ghost. She sighed and resolved herself tothe task ahead. She caught up with him and turned him around
James, I know how much Anne meant to you.”
“Yeah, I guess you might. Don’t worry, I don’t think I’ll bekilling myself over her any more.” Anya’s jaw dropped. That’s allyou have to say?! I hauled myself out here, went with you while youdid that, and all you have to say is that you won’t be killingyourself over her anymore?!
“James, you’re unbelievable.” He smiled
I know. And you won’t believe this either.” He suddenly lungedtowards her, lifted her up in his arms, and kissed her. He put herback to the ground about a minute later, and was right.
She hugged him and leaned her head into his fur
I take it thismeans you won’t be expecting me to have to be a ghost’s rival, James?”He smiled, and replied
You’re right about that Anya. And call me Jim.” She laughed,and suddenly he tensed up. She turned to see what he’d noticed, andsaw what he saw. A group of kats in wet suits, with creeplingsalongside them. They were carrying blast rifles. James yelled outsome choice phrases as they fired a shot and caught Anya’s left side.His guns were out of their holsters before he’d finished his firstyell, and the gunkats started dropping as the gunshots rang throughthe crisp sea air. The creeplings, along with the last of the kats,retreated. Anya was laughing, while she cradled her shot up lefthand. James saw what had been damaged, and almost laughed while DarkKat’s goons were running like their tails were on fire.
Afterwards, James and Anya were sitting in the kitchen, talkingover what had happened. Anya was somewhat impatient
I still don’t see why you’re so worried about what happened todayJames!” James sighed and tried explaining it again
Anya, it’s obvious that Dark Kat has it in for one of us, if notboth. He doesn’t know who we are, but he managed to find out thatRazor 2 and Firebird would be out here today, and get his men outafter us. I don’t know if it’s simply because we’ve been undersurveillance, or if there’s a mole inside the Swat Kats! For whateverreason, it’s too dangerous for you to stick around the Scrapyard asmuch anymore. I still have an apartment in town you could have. IfDark Kat was to find out where the Swat Kats are based… I don’twant to risk losing you to Dark Kat’s men.”
“By the Furies! James Jonathan, I thought we were over the pointwhere we’d have to argue over whether or not I could handle myself!If Dark Kat, or Mind Kat, ever were to attack the Scrapyard, you’d beneeding every gun you have there. Only two kats know how to use Bob’sStun Cannon, and I’m one of them! If you haven’t forgotten, I am theonly kat to have broken into and out of Mind Kat’s tower. I canhandle the idiots he has!” James thought this over
Anya, I’m not trying to say you can’t take care of yourself.What I’m trying to say is that I couldn’t handle losing you to DarkKat’s men. I almost put a bullet in my brain after Anne was killed.I don’t know if I’d do that if you were killed, but there’s a goodchance I might. And even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t want to be anywherenear me after something like that happened. I’ve lost too much in mylife to risk losing you.”
“James, try looking at it from my point of view, will you? You’resaying that I, Anya Fortunati, Firebird, should run and hide justbecause Dark Kat may want me, or you, dead. I think I can handlehaving a powerful enemy hunt me down. I’ve gotten along just fine foryears with that same threat looming over me. You’re starting to soundlike Gregor for kat’s sake!”
“Maybe I am being over-protective, but can you blame me?! Nobodyoutside of the Swat Kats knew where the two of us were going. DarkKat found out somehow. I don’t know how, but he managed to discoverwhere I am. Unless he has the Scrapyard bugged, I only see one waythat could have happened. A spy.”
“What are the odds we have a spy in the Swat Kats?! Most of themhate Dark Kat nearly as much as you do. Scott hates him more,actually. I don’t think any of them would work for Dark Kat if theirlives depended on it!”
“Then maybe they aren’t really them. Dark Kat’s had cloning androbotics technology for longer than we have! That’s several years tobuild a robot of any of us. Plenty of time. I can’t protect you fromanybody there if you’re that close to the danger!”
“Like I said. I can bloody well take care of myself.” Anya wasbristling with rage
Now, James Jonathan, I’d like to thank you fora lovely vacation. But I think I’d relax better going back to MegakatCity. I’m sure you won’t mind if I take my car. Goodbye!” Shewalked out, grabbed her (still packed) bags, and slammed the frontdoor. James was just running out and opening it as her car squealedit’s wheels and took off with her at the helm. James slammed his headagainst the door frame and walked back into the kitchen. He sat downand thought it through.
Maybe I am just being overprotective. But she doesn’t know justwhat I’ve seen Dark Kat do. She doesn’t know who he was. For kat’ssake, I don’t even know if it’s the same kat under those robes. MindKat seems to act as though he is though. I wonder who Dark Kat isnow. Judge Kincaid hasn’t shown up again since then. I only wishJake and Chance were still around to help us find out. Jake’s got hisown life, and Chance seems happy to live on his pension from his haulas an Enforcer and his girlfriend’s gifts. At least he still works atthe `Yard. I wonder how he’s doing. I wonder how Anya’s doing.
He packed up his things, and went down to the Zoom Tubes. Only afew minutes back to Megakat City. I’ll talk to her when she getsthere. I’ll tell her she was right, and I’ll fix this all up. Thenwe can get on with our lives again.
He took off for Megakat City, and explained what had happened tothe others. They said they’d watch for her, and he went up to hisapartment, just in case she’d show up there. Hours passed, and Anyadidn’t show.
That morning, Felina Feral was getting ready to apologize toYolanda. She walked down the stairs, and her friend’s apartment. Sheknocked on the door, and waited for an answer. When none came, shetried the knob. The door was unlocked, so she went in.
The place was a shambles. Yolanda wasn’t in the main room, butenough was to suggest a more serious problem than anyone had everthought she had. The walls were almost covered with black and whitepictures of Yolanda and Molly, a couple had Felina in them too.Felina looked around at the walls, and noticed that under each picturewas a caption about what the day had been like. On a poster on theback of the door was a picture of the statue, with the words “NeverForget!” scrawled across it in red marker. Felina walked into thenext room, and was totally shocked.
It looked like a shrine to the accomplishments of Blade. Thewalls were covered with newspaper clippings with side notes scrawledon them. Felina heard a voice behind her, and turned
How do you like my wallpaper?” Yolanda was in her Blade outfit,smoking another of her cigarettes. Felina noticed that she lookedhaggard, like she’d just gotten a very short night of sleep, and fewwith any sleep at all
It’s, uh, interesting.” Felina’s eyes took in the scene
Yeah, in the negative sense. This is the life of Yolanda Briggs.The only Enforcer Vig’, and the only psycho Enforcer. Those are thetwo names I’m called by on the streets. Only my contact calls meBlade. The vig’s call me the Enforcer Vig’, and the crooks call methe psycho Enforcer. Of course, I can’t blame `em. I’d call mepsycho too! The shrink did down at the station.”
“Listen, Yolanda? I came down here to try and apologize again forlast night.”
“Don’t worry about it. I was tired. If I’d gotten more sleep,I’m sure I wouldn’t have said a thing. I should be apologizing forsnapping at you like that.” Yolanda was acting stranger than usual.She’d never apologize for her attitude, something that never endearedher to her comrades in arms at headquarters
How’d you like to seethe rest of the place?” Felina wasn’t too sure she’d like to, but itwas probably best to go along with Yolanda at this point
Sure.” Yolanda led Felina through the huge apartment. Each roomwas wallpapered with some reminder of her job, Nomad’s, or the two ofthem together. One room was devoted entirely to pictures of thecriminals they’d brought down, and another to more clippings withvengeful remarks on them. Remarks about who had been hurt, and how”Justice” had been meted out. A couple rooms were totally bare,Yolanda explained that she was still working on them. One entire roomwas devoted to Sheba’s crimes. The last room showed the reason forBlade’s refusal to use a gun.
The room had swords or other oriental weapons hung on three of thefour walls. The fourth wall showed her secret reason for nevertrusting to modern weapons. She had the statues of the Fates, Furiesand the Muses, but strangely twisted in appearance. The Furies,including Hate and Vengeance, were all armed with ancient ninjaweapons. The Fates were heavily armed with modern weapons, especiallyDeath, who carried what seemed to be exact an replica of Sheba’s laserpistol and was manning a mounted PBR3. The Muses seemed to bemoderating, carrying about Enforcer issue cuffs, memo pads, andbureaucratic tools. They were locked in a war, with the Furieswinning despite their inferior weaponry. In the middle were thecasualties, the only recognizable ones being Molly Furlong, CalicoBriggs, and… Felina Feral?!
“This is my monument to those who are going to die at the hands ofthe gun-toting maniacs who I’m struggling to beat down before it’s toolate.” Then Felina noted the figures for Death, Learning, andVengeance. While all the Fates were dressed as thugs, and all theFuries as vigilantes, and all the Muses as Enforcers, three wererecognizable. Death was Sheba, Learning was Commander Feral, andVengeance was Blade. Felina’s eyes widened as she realized just howdeep Yolanda’s obsessions ran
Yolanda, come with me.” Felina reached for her cuffs, whichshe’d grabbed while slipping into her uniform before coming down here
Why should I? I’ve committed no crime. I’m perfectly fine. I’dwonder about you though, getting ready to arrest me. Remember, onlyyou and dear Ulysses are higher than me in the Enforcers. Why don’tyou just do what you do best? Lose me in bureaucracy.” Her handslipped towards her hip, and her sword came out. She assumed a readystance
I’m not going into that office in cuffs Felina.”
“Yolanda, I’m asking you to come with me as a friend. For kat’ssake, please listen to me! I’m not ordering you to come along. But Iwill have to take you into custody if you won’t come along.”
“For what crime Felina. I haven’t done anything.”
“Assault and battery with a deadly weapon, Yolanda. There’salways that. You may think it’s your job, but we usually expectpeople to follow some of the rules.”
“Oh well. I don’t think Ulysses would be overly pleased to seeyou hauling me in there in cuffs, now would he? You’re already onpretty shaky grounds for getting a civ’ involved in your little banditescapade. This would pretty much end your career.”
“Yolanda, I won’t use the cuffs unless I have to. But you arecoming in to headquarters today. And I will make sure you see thatshrink.”
“Yeah, right. I’m not seeing any of those psycho-babble spoutin’idiots! All they do is plant their idiotic little notions of lettinggo, of forgetting the past! What did they always say when someoneasked about the Academy unit on the Three Forces, huh? If we don’tlearn from our past, we’re doomed to repeat it! Remember thatFelina?! If I let myself forget, that,” she motioned towards thestatues, “that is our future, Felina. That travesty. I can’t go inthere. They tried stopping me once before, and I stopped them. I’mnot going to let you ruin all my work!”
She lunged for Felina with her katana, who rolled back and letBlade fly over her. Blade somersaulted in mid-air, and landed on herfeet. She readied her blade again as Felina reached for her gun. Sheswung her blade in a flashing arc, cutting into Felina’s leg. Sheshifted it over to her left hand. Blood flowed freely while Felinaput her hand over the wound, and grabbed her gun with the other
Blade, if you don’t drop that sword right now, I’m going to haveto take it from you.” She levelled her sight on the handle of Blade’ssword. Blade’s face, once concerned, was now a mask of rage. Shepulled the blade back into both of her hands, and spun about. Shetwisted to the left just as Felina’s gun barked with a single shot.Felina heard Yolanda cry out as she was knocked back to the ground andher blade dropped from her hand. Felina threw her gun aside andrushed to help. She called for help on her two-way and, shortlyafterwards, an Enforcer EMS team was helping Yolanda and Felina into amedical chopper, and taking them off to a hospital.
Chapter 4: Two evenings from then…
James was just returning to the Scrapyard, two and a quarter daysafter he and Anya had the fight and she’d driven off. He arrived justin time to see Scott snapping off the evening news in the middle of astory
Scott, what was on the news? Burke and Murray’d moved all thefurniture out of my place, and I never got around to moving it back.I need something to take my mind off of Anya.” Scott looked a littlenervous
Well Jim, seems that Blade snapped and attacked Felina Feral.They’re in the hospital now. Not too many details. That’s about it.”
“You’re a lousy liar Scott. What was on the news? Somethingabout Anya?!” James charged forward and pinned Scott, who’d justgotten up to go to home, against the wall
What did they say? Why’dyou snap it off all of a sudden? Tell me Scott, or by the FatesI’ll-”
“Okay, okay Jim. I’ll tell you. Just put me down.” James backedoff. Scott took a couple deep breaths and continued
They found amaroon four-door in the river a couple miles from here. It looked forall the world like Anya’s car, and they did give the license platenumber. It had two bags of luggage in it. It was her car. I’m sorryabout this Jim. I was trying to-” James collapsed into the chair
You were trying to what? Protect me? You can’t keep me from thedeath that follows me around forever Scott. Anything else?”
“Yeah. There was no body in that car. They said that theEnforcers are looking at it as a kidnapping case, and it’s possiblethat the driver abandoned the car. She’s not dead Jim. At least, notfor sure. Mark called Harry before he went to see Felina. TheEnforcers know whose car it is, and they were going to question herbrother about it.” James calmed down a little. At least she might bealive. Scott poured his friend a glass of the tea he’d had brewing,and suggested he drink it
Listen. I know how Anya felt about you,and that you felt the same way. I don’t know where she is, or how sheis. But you can trust us. We’ll help you find her.” James smiled alittle. He knew he should turn in for the night. He said goodbye toScott as he went up to his room, and fell into the bed. Scott pulledout of the driveway as his friend fell fast asleep.
At the hospital…
At the hospital, Felina was anxious to get out. For once, Markand Commander Feral agreed on something, that she was going to stay inthere until her leg healed. It turned out that Blade’s sword cutdeeper than anyone had thought, possibly causing permanent damage tothe muscles. Ulysses Feral was furious
To think I trusted that woman. I can’t believe I let thatproject through. I could have stopped all of this if I hadn’t beensuch a fool.” Felina was getting even worse listening to him rant
Uncle, I’m okay! Why won’t you realize that?! Yolanda has someproblems because her partner died. She’ll be okay after thetherapists get done with her. I hate to think of what could havehappened if I hadn’t been there!”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“Did anyone call Speedy? I thought he’d be here with the kids bynow if someone had.”4
“Yes, I called him. He should be here any minute now.” AsCommander Feral spoke those words, three kittens stuck their headsaround the corner of the door and were ushered in by Speedy Cerviche.He greeted Mark and Commander Feral warily, and turned towards hisex-wife. He kissed her on the forehead and lifted the kittens up withthe help of Mark and Commander Feral. After they had been reassuredthat their mother was fine, they were sent out to the car. Speedylingered a couple minutes while Commander Feral left discreetly5.Felina introduced him to Mark, and the two started talking
I’ve heard a lot about you from Felina.” Mark blushed slightly
I hope it’s not that bad.” Speedy grinned
Nah, she says you’re a great guy! And believe me,” Speedy winkedat him, “she usually has pretty good taste. I’d say you’re a luckyguy. See ya `round sometime.” He walked out to the car after hischildren. Mark was turning a beautiful shade of red, usually onlyseen on color patterns, under his fur. Felina was too. Mark turnedtowards her
Any idea what he meant by me being a lucky guy?”
“That’s just Speedy. Never could keep a secret.”
“And what would that mean? I don’t mean to upset you while you’restill mending, but, to use the words of Mik Jonathan, what in bloody`ell are you talkin’ `bout Sheila?” Felina laughed at Mark’impression of James’ cousin (whose personal psychosis is covered in Hewho Looks Death in the Eye: Editors…), and sighed
Well, I think you’re about the only person in Megakat City whoknows me and doesn’t realize it. As Yolanda put it: You have no ideajust how interested in you I am.” His red face found a way to getbrighter, and Felina laughed some more
I’m glad I amuse you. I suppose you think it’s funny that theonly kat up at the Scrapyard who blushes easier is James?”
“Actually, I don’t think that’s what’s so funny. What’s funny isthat you used to be a guard down in Vegas! You’d imagine you wouldn’tbe blushing that easily yet.” Ulysses Feral walked back down thehalls towards her room
Tell Jess and the others that I’ll be fineas soon as you guys let me out of here. Bye!” Mark gave her a quickkiss on the cheek as he left, and Commander Feral soon followed suit,returning to headquarters.
The End… For now…
Author’s Note (Okay, it’s a chapter all its own. So sue me (no,please don’t, not until it’s published, which it can’t be):
I realize that there are plenty of loose ends to tie up here.That’s not very uncommon for my stories, but it’s something that a fewEnglish teachers I’ve had hate.
What happened to Anya? Will Blade’s therapy work, or perhapsdrive her even further into insanity? What will happen between Markand Felina now that they realize just how much they really love eachother? Do they really realize it? What about the on-goingrelationship between James and Anya? Who is Dark Kat, after JudgeKincaid moved out of the picture? If it’s not him, then why is MindKat getting along with him so well? What about the possiblerelationship between Linna Scratchlin and Francois MontgomeryKattenburg (yeah, right)? How will Mark’s discovery that Felina hasthree loving children affect any relationship they get into? WillTyler marry Rhonda?!!! (Sorry, lapse into soap opera questions. Mymistake. At this point, Tyler and Rhonda do not exist in my SKuniverse, nor are they engaged or planning to be.)
You may also be wondering why this is so different from my normalstories. I am too. If you figure it out, please tell me. (Sorry,just kidding again.) I was getting sick of writing all sorts ofstories that were strictly tragedy, war, vengeance, and that sort ofstuff. It fills my grim moments, but I was a bit more cheerful thistime. I was trying to get into the heads of my characters, includingthe psychosis of Blade (a touch that was, to me, reminiscent of toomany people on TV, but it worked out and the Swat Kats were on TV atone point), and the hidden past of Chance Furlong (which came intoplay in my game (ouch), but not any other stories, yet). I alsowanted to get some quality time alone for Anya and James, andintroduce Speedy and his kids back into the setting (once again, theywere more in my game than the stories). I basically needed the samething Bob did. A break from death and crime. I hope you liked it! 1 As detailed in the story: A Friend Well Met (if I rememberright), found (once again, if I remember right) on the fan-ficaccessed from the archive run by DJClawson, just consider Marcus to beMark in this case (parallel dimensions work wonders, don’t they?) 2 As detailed in Family Ties. 3 PBR: Particle-Beam-Rifle 4 Long story. The short version: Felina Feral had a shortromance with one Speedy Cerviche (in other words, I used the characterfrom Strike’s game and from another one). She married him, had onechild and adopted two others, and managed to get divorced from him.The two of them are still involved with each other as friends, andtheir children (who are under their father’s custody, in light oftheir mother’s occupation) still see a lot of both sides of theirfamily. Felina waited a few days to have someone call him because shewanted to hear how Yolanda was. 5 Another part I forgot to mention. Speedy and Commander Feralmanaged to develop a distinct dislike for each other. They never wereable to handle the other’s attitude (Feral’s no-nonsense Enforcertraining chafed with the laid-back Speedy, and vice-versa). In caseyou’re wondering what he did here, there were rumors of a couple newholes being punched in the walls of the waiting room. The maintenanceman plastered over them quickly.
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.