Original SWAT Kats Story

The Guard Kats

By AJ Siytangco

  • 1 Chapter
  • 11,578 Words

Megakat City has some new defenders — Klaw and Fang,the Guard Kats — who think the SWAT Kats aren’t doing their job. Unfortunately, the two teams don’t mesh well, and as egos swell, the katizens are forced to take sides. To top it off, the foursome are so busy arguing, the villains are getting away with everything!

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Author's Notes:

If anyone reading this has any comments, violent reactions or the like, i’m at sonnyvanbc@vasia.com

“Get the little sucker, ace!” T-Bone yelled.

“I’m trying!” Razor clung tightly to the banister of the grand staircase.  They were in MegaKat Museum.  Again.  The Pastmaster had tried to break in about two weeks earlier, looking for something Dr. Sinian’s team found in some ruins.

“You pathetic SwatKats!!” The little gnome said, firing beams of light from his watch.

From behind a tall pillar, a trio of Kats watched, one of which happened to be an ex-Enforcer turned security guard for the Museum.  “Stay here.” he told his companions.

“Wait.” Called the largest of the trio, “You can’t just jump into a fire-fight like that.  Stay down and  let them fight it out.”

“No can do, little brother.” The first one answered, drawing his pistol.  “It’s my job the guard this museum , and I won’t be doing much of a job if I stay back here.”  He peeked out and saw the fight continue.  He would have to time his entrance properly to knock the Pastmaster down as quickly as possible.  He began to crawl out.

“Frank…” The smaller of his companions held him back.

“Look, bro. . . ” He began but  yelling cut him off.

“Razor! Lookout!” T-Bone warned.

A beam hit the ceiling above Razor and it caved in bringing the rest of the ceiling down, burying the SwatKats under the rubble.

“I’ll be back to finish this, SwatKats.” Pastmaster said as he called a portal into some other time.

Frank rushed out from his hiding place and trained his pistol. “Freeze! It’s over now!” he yelled.  The Pastmaster fired a beam which struck the his gun.  Undaunted he charged the Pastmaster, burying his shoulder into his opponents bonny chest, causing him to drop the artifact he was holding.  They struggled briefly, the security officer gaining the upper hand.   In a surprise move, the Pastmaster tripped him, making the Kat fall into the portal as it closed.

The Pastmaster opened another as Chance and Jake emerged from the rubble.  With no time to recover the artifact, the Pastmaster  hopped in the portal to the future.

In the shadows, the two Kats watched everything.  They saw how their companion was lost and how the SwatKats failed in apprehending the culprit.

There would be hell to pay.  End Prologue

“Hand me that ratchet, will ya, Jake?” Chance requested, opening his paw to receive the tool.  Jake placed the ratchet in his buddy’s paw.  He sat down again and continued to read the daily newspaper.  The circus was in town.  Mayor Manx was inaugurating a new wing at the MegaKat Museum.

“You ever get the feeling that we do our job too well?” Jake asked.

“Say what?”

“Do you ever get the feeling we do our job too well?” Jake repeated.  “I mean, there hasn’t been any sign of DarkKat or  Turmoil or anyone for weeks now. Or the Pastmaster even.  He hasn’t tried to make it into MegaKat Museum for six months.”

Chance sighed at the mention of Turmoil.  After all this time he still thought he could make an honest She-Kat out of her. “Better that than stinking at it.”

“Guess you’re right.  Maybe we can have just a few more days off so we can finish these babies,” He gestured to the three cars that were just brought in yesterday.  Chance peeked out from under the hood of the truck he was working on.  “What’s the deal?”

“Tune ups mostly.  The red one needs a new fan belt, and a new owner.” Jake quipped.  “That’s the third time it’s been brought in  this month.  I ought to…”  The blaring alarm cut Jake off in mid-sentence.

“So much for those few extra days, kiddo.” Chance said as he dropped the ratchet and sped to the hanger.  Jake was a step behind.  Once there they discarded their overalls and donned their flight suits.  A minute later they were in the air.  “Enforcer frequency puts Mac and Molly at the mint again, buddy.”

“Again?”

“Hey, go figure.  They never made a clean break whenever it came to that building.”  T-Bone fulled the throttle.  T-Bone glanced at his radar.  “Hey Razor, I’m picking up a blip.  Moving fast too.”

“I see it, T-Bone. Can’t identify it though.  Aw, crud! It’s headed right for us!”  Before they could do anything a red blur streaked past them, narrowly missing the TurboKat and sending shock-waves that rocked the jet.  Then speeding away, leaving them in it’s jetwash which sent the Turbokat in a spin.

T-Bone struggled to regain control. “Come on, come on…”  He was moving the stick left and right and every which way..  He finally got the Jet out of the downward spiral it was in and leveled off at cruising altitude and speed.

“What the heck was that?!” Razor asked, nervous.

“Don’t know buddy.”  T-Bone said.  “But whoever was in it is gonna get a good spanking.”

“It’s not even on radar anymore.”

“I’d have to be moving at the speed of heat to do that, Ace.”  T-Bone commented.   Then he realized, “Aren’t we the only ones who’re supposed to have that kind of stuff?”

“Last time I checked, anyway.” Razor said.

“Whatever it was, it’ll have to wait.” T-Bone maxed out the throttle again.

When T-Bone landed the TurboKat just outside the city mint, the commotion wasn’t unusual.   There were  reporters everywhere, and they seemed to be clustering in a certain area.  What seemed strange to Razor was that no one seemed the least bit intent on stopping the MatalliKats.  Also, they spied a red jet  sitting further away from the crowd.  They hopped out of the Jet and were greeted by Lt. Felina Feral.

“Hi, guys.  What kept you?” she asked.

“We got here as soon as we could.” Chance explained.  He looked over Felina’s shoulder at the mob behind her.  “Little too much for a robbery, isn’t it Lieutenant?”

“Hey, the robbery isn’t the scoop here, guys.”

“What do you mean?” Razor sounded confused and curious.  Felina gestured them forward.  The closer they got, the more of the voices of the reporters drowned each other out.  Felina caught sight on Ann Gora and guided the Swat Kats to her.

“Ann Gora, Katseye news.” The reporter announced, “Here with two of MegaKat city’s newest defenders.”

“Newest defenders?” T-Bone whispered Razor. “Something’s screwy.”  Just then two Kats in green jumpsuits came walking up.  One was lean and the other was burly, well built.  They had their helmets on with their visors down.  Pockets adorned their suits and a holster which contained a gun was around their waists.

“I have with me the two Kats who put a stop to the MetalliKats in record time.” she moved the microphone to the smaller of the pair.  “And you are?”

“Fang, Ann. Just call me Fang.” He thumbed his partner, the larger, burly Kat about a full head taller than he was.  “And my partner here is Klaw.  You can call us the GuardKats.”  Ann drew the mike back, “Fang, why are you doing this? Why take up this crusade to defend MegaKat city?”

“Because the SwatKats ain’t doing such a great job of it.  That’s why.” Fang turned slightly and spotted T-Bone.  The CameraKat did as well and trained his camera on the approaching SwatKats. “Here comes  one of them now.” Fang continued sarcastically.

“Nice speech.” T-Bone said, “Nice jet too.  Maybe you should learn to pilot it first.”

“T-Bone”, Ann jabbed him with her microphone. “what can you say about these accusations? How  do you react to Fang’s statement that you don’t do so well in defending MegaKat city?”

Razor stepped in before T-Bone could answer.  He knew things could heat up and just wanted to end this and think things over.  “We always appreciate all the help we can get.” He told Ann.  T-Bone was visibly annoyed by these GuardKats, one for accusing them, two for almost ramming their jet and sending them into a nose-dive like they did.

“You need it.” Fang blurt out.

Razor gripped T-Bone to hold him back while Klaw did the same with Fang.  T-Bone and Fang looked at each other through Fang’s visor,  as if communicating.   Then, almost simultaneously,  they relaxed their muscles.  T-Bone broke out of Razor’s arm lock and  turned away and left followed by Razor.  Fang waited for the TurboKat to lift off then he and Klaw left as well.    *

*

*

*

Being Deputy Mayor is hard, Calico Briggs thought as she woke up.  And it isn’t  even fun anymore.  None of her “perks of being Deputy Mayor” seemed to make up for all the work she had being doing lately.  There was the mayor’s speech at the museum opening, the investors  coming in, the new golf course… She glanced at the papers.  Then there were these two new mystery Kats  It had been a week now since they made their debut. The press was making them out as heroes but of course Feral branded them as a threat

She looked at all the newspapers.  The MegaKat Tribune’s headline said: “Move over SwatKats.”; the MegaKat Inquirer sported the headline: “GuardKats On the Rise”; still the Daily Source  said: SwatKats to be Replaced.”

This was serious.  She got out of bed and began changing for work. No time for breakfast, just a bagel on the way to the office.   Callie wasn’t sure what to make of these two, these  GuardKats.  They seemed sincere in their fight for MegaKat City, yet seemed a bit too eager to get the SwatKats out of the way. She took out her usual suit and dropped her robe.  What if they were evil and for some reason were only pretending?  Or maybe worse, Callie thought, What if they’re  for real?

She buttoned the last button and straightened  her tie. Worry about that later.  Time for work.

“Yep, them GuardKats are gonna clean up this city but good.” Pop said as Chance picked up the paper with Fang and Klaw on the front page.  “Between them and the SwatKats, no one’s gonna mess with MegaKat city again.”

Chance paid for the paper.  He wasn’t in the mood for conversation. And besides, he and Jake had to go pick up a guy who wrecked his car.  “Take care, pops.”  He said as he climbed in the tow truck.

“Don’t worry about me, Chance ol’ boy.” Pops yelled back. “Take care of yourself.  And that buddy of yours.  He don’t seem to be eating enough.” Jake and Chance laughed and waved.  Chance floored to accelerator and away they went.

“Aw, crud, Jake.”  Chance turned left on 122nd .  “As if the Kats in this city have never seen a couple o’ Kats in costume before.”  He made another turn.

“‘The amazing GuardKats once again beat the SwatKats to the site of a hijacking of stolen gun parts yesterday.  The GuardKats, individually known as Fang and Klaw, were halfway done with the hijackers when the SwatKats arrived, leaving them to take out only the last two of the nine hijackers.’” Jake read from the Daily Herald, “‘Can the SwatKats stay on top or will the GuardKats be number one?’”

“What’s the address of that guy who wanted his car towed?” Chance asked looking at the street signs to figure out where they were.

“243rd and Fursonback.” Jake replied. He continued, “‘The multi-purpose hand-held guns of the GuardKats made short work of the hijackers, with the assortment of non-lethal projectiles and devices it had.”‘  He put the paper down. He didn’t want to even consider the possibilities just now.

“These are the portfolios of the three companies, Mayor.” Callie flashed them  in front of Mayor Manx who was winding up for a putt. The Mayor said, “Yes, yes, yes, Callie. Now would you mind explaining it  from over there?  I need this shot.”

“But Mayor…” Callie pleaded but to no avail.  He was lost in his stroke. She crossed her arms and tapped her foot. The mayor missed the putt, then lined another one up again.  Callie sighed and left the documents   on Mayor Manx’s table.  She looked out the window then gasped and pulled back.  Outside, hovering was the red jet of the GuardKats, it’s canopy slid back and its occupant  climbing out.

“Good morning, Miss Briggs.”  The pilot said.  “I’m Klaw.  That’s my partner, Fang over there.”  He pointed to the Kat sitting in the Jet’s copilot seat.  The Kat waved and greeted Callie.  She waved back and called the  mayor.

“You are registered, aren’t you?” Manx asked after introductions were repeated.  “Yes.” Klaw assured him, “We’re registered voters and you can count on us come election day.”

“Splendid.” Mayor Manx smiled.  He turned and picked up his golf bag, “You take care of this, Callie.  I’m due on the course in half an hour and I simply must be going.”  With that he left.   Callie was furious at the mayor but not the least bit surprised.  She motioned Fang to come in but he declined.

“I’m just here to give you this.” Klaw handed Callie a small rectangular device.  He handed it slowly, almost awkwardly, as if he were giving Callie flowers. Had his visor been up, Callie might’ve detected a sparkle in his eyes. “We noticed you were almost always around when there was trouble.” He explained. “Whenever there’s a problem you can contact us through this.  Anytime, anywhere.  We’ll be there.”  His last sentence was  like a  promise.

Callie was speechless.  She didn’t know what to say or do.  Now all of a sudden she had two groups of defenders to call on.  She felt as if she were betraying the SwatKats by accepting the signaler.  “I…” she began.  She saw Klaw’s expression and that made her pause.  There was more in it than she expected.  Something any high school she-kat hoped to get…

“Come on, Klaw.” Fang called from the jet.  “We have to adjust Red’s turbochargers.”

“Red?” Callie inquired.

“Red Lightning.  That’s what we call our jet.”  Klaw answered as  he climbed out the window and  prepared to jump when he turned and hesitated, as if he had something important to tell Callie.  He changed his mind and just smiled before hopping into the pilot’s seat.  “Good-bye for now, Miss Briggs.   Hope to see you soon.”

Callie  was surprised to find herself waving as they left.  She looked over the signaler and placed it in her purse.  She had a sinking feeling that  her life was going to get more complicated.

“What was that all about?” Fang asked as he removed his helmet.

“What was what all about?” Klaw asked back, feigning ignorance. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, bro.”

Fang chuckled. “Of course you do.” He leaned over, removed Klaw’s helmet and ruffled his hair.   “My little brother is love struck!  With the Deputy Mayor yet!”  Klaw  tried to hide a smile  but it escaped his face.  He scrambled to get Fang to cut it out.

“OK, I admit it.” He said. “You happy now, Dan?”

“Of course I’m happy, Mike!  My little brother’s in love.”  He giggled a bit. “You should’ve seen yourself.  You looked as if a whole army of Cupids hit you all at once.” Dan giggled some more.   Mike put the plane in a dive.  They were now over their headquarters.  Beneath them was the lush estate of  the late Maxwell Pawter, tuna fish tycoon and billionaire.  Mike flicked a switch and the tennis court behind the mansion opened up and he guided the plane down into it.  They came to a full stop then they dismounted.

“Ever wonder what  mom or dad would think about what we’re doing, Dan?” Mike asked as he unzipped his flight suit.  He tossed it aside and donned civilian clothes.  “I mean all this.  The jet, the gadgets, saving the city?”

“Yeah, I wonder.” Dan replied.  “I came to the conclusion that they would agree with this and would probably be proud of us too.”

“Maybe it would’ve been  a lot more significant to them if Frank were here.”  The mention of their lost brother brought a noticeable change in Dan and the mood of the conversation. “I’m sorry… I know you two were close…”

“It’s no problem, Mike.” Dan said, straightening his cap. Then he paused. “We were the closer ones, weren’t we?  We never thought you’d fit in with our crowd, being three years younger than me, you know? Four years younger  than Frank.”

“Lighten up.” Mike patted his older, yet smaller brother on the back.  “I’m sure somewhere Frank’s cheering us on.” Dan smiled and made his way to the lift which led to their private study.  “How about a snack? Tuna  or Salmon?” Mike asked him.

“Salmon definitely.”

Once there Mike opened the fridge and took out some salmon strips, mayo, mustard and some tuna for himself.  He set them down on the table where Dan was sitting.  They set to work on the fish.    A silence filled the room as they ate.  Dan noticed that his brother was lost in his thoughts.  He observed  his younger sibling stare off into space and spoke his name in a loud voice.  That seemed to snap him out of whatever it was he was in.

“What was all that? ” Mike said, shaking his head.

Dan was laughing.  “Nothing, kiddo.” He said as he got up to put his dish aside.  “It’s just that I’ve never seen you this way.  I mean infatuated.  Not since Nina.” He placed his dishes down and washed his hands.  Mike swallowed the last piece of his sandwich.

“Har, har.” Mike joked.

“Come on,” Dan said, smiling, “Let’s see if our stocks went up.  Mom or dad wouldn’t be too proud if we let their business fall while defending MegaKat City now would they?  Pass me the paper.  Let’s see how the media reacted to Pawter Technologies’ receiving the new contract to build new Enforcer strike jets. ”

The next week passed like the previous one, the GuardKats and the SwatKats fighting it out, racing each other to  stopping crimes, competing with one another.  The press was having a field day.  Ann Gora’s ratings had never been higher, and there was talk of making her editor of Katseye News.   Time and again, the two defenders came to a head but so far nothing had actually happened between them.

That was what Callie was afraid of.  That these two groups would be so busy wringing each others necks that they would leave the city defenseless.  Klaw passed by again, asking why she wasn’t calling them.  She said it must’ve been a slow week for her.  All this amidst her work.  The investors were happy, that was good.  But the museum opening had been postponed and the Golf Course shares weren’t moving up.

As usual she tucked those thoughts away and focused on the task at hand, which at present was the visit of the world’s most renowned Biochemist at MegaKat University. And so she found herself at the University’s new west wing, overlooking the park.  “Good day, Deputy Mayor.” The guest said. “A pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure’s all mine, Dr. Hallenhopper.” Callie replied.  “I’m very interested in your theory that Tuna will help a Kat live over a hundred.”

“As is everybody.” He picked up a jar of tuna and showed  it to Callie. “You see, once the…”

A large explosion and a rumbling shook the building.  They all ran to the window to see what had happened.  Outside was a lizard creature, almost as big as the building itself, tramping around the park.  “This is terrible!” Dr. Hallenhopper  said.

But Callie was already in a corner thumbing the communicator for the SwatKats.

“Aw, crud!” Jake said as he bounced so high he hit the truck’s ceiling.  “Would you cut it out with these shortcuts of yours, Chance?”

“Hey, they get us there quicker. “Chance made a sharp right.

“But we’re all banged up when we do.” Jake retorted.  Right now he’d rather go up against Dr. Viper than take another one of Chance’s never ending shortcuts.  The alarm woke him from his musings.  Chance hit the button and spoke: “We’re here, Miss Briggs.”

“Get over to the park behind MegaKat University right now guys.”  Callie’s voice came over the radio, “There’s some  creature tearing the place apart.”

“We’re on our way, Miss Brigs.” Chance promised.  He flicked a lever and the Truck converted.  Jets came out of the back and numerous dials lit up in front of T-Bone.  One of which the speed dial, was to it’s limit.  They sped by so fast they didn’t even see the guy who called them run after the truck, yelling.

Another rumbling sent them all to the floor.  Callie shielded herself with her arms from falling jars of tuna and other glass containers which seemed to rain down on them all of a sudden.  She got up and looked around.  The lab they  were in was in shambles and the scientists and technicians were either knocked out or stunned.  Dr. Hallenhopper crawled next to her and got up.  “Is it always like this here?” He joked  as they moved toward the window.

“Not really.” Callie said. “Most of these things happen on the other side of town.”  Then she looked down and spotted a green thing moving into the building they were in.  The technician’s ramblings attracted her attention.  They were looking at the arrival of the enforcers.  In the lead tank was Commander Feral, his megaphone in  hand.  Felina was right behind him, on foot.  Callie looked at the monster then at the tanks.  Not a chance, she though, but maybe enough to hold it  off till the SwatKats arrive.

Down below, Felina was consulting her uncle.  “What do we do now, uncle?” she yelled over the roar of the monster.

“Take your troops and help evacuate the park!” Feral commanded “We’ll handle this abomination.” He was stern as usual.  And determined.  Something Steele was never going to be, Felina thought when she saw the cowardly enforcer shake behind a tank.  She looked back up at her uncle and heard him speak into the phone.  “Everyone! Evacuate the park! The enforcers will help you out!”

Felina had her work cut out for her today.  She began issuing orders and giving hand signals to those under her.  They were going to get everyone out if she had carry each and every Kat out herself.  Commander Feral dropped his megaphone and picked up the radio.  “Enforcers!  Move in!” came the command.

The tanks opened fire to no avail.  The missiles only forced the monster back a bit, but even then it was because of shock and not because they were hurting the thing.

Out of nowhere the TurboKat came bursting on the scene, cement gun firing.  They caught the monster in the eyes as they passed it.  Razor looked over his shoulder at the lizard-like creature.. “OK,  buddy.  One more pass.  I’ll try to take it out with a banshee missile.”

“You know those things never worked right, ace.”  T-Bone said as he brought the TurboKat around for another run..  “What do you hope it’ll do?”

“We might find out a bit later.” Razor said, “Those GuardKats are coming into my line of fire.  Their launching missiles of their own.”

Callie looked on as the two duos scrambled to contain the monster.  A tech came running in screaming for them to get out.   But Dr. Hallenhopper said no.  “I know a way to put that thing to sleep.” He declared.  “Does this lab have any catalyst 101 and slumbernite?”

A nervous lab assistant managed to answer, “Y-Yes.  In the l-lab two floors down.”  A slight rumble sent him scampering under a table.

“Let’s go doc.” Calico Briggs said, headed for the door.  “If you can put that thing to sleep, then you’d be big help.”

“I hope we have enough.” Hallenhopper said as they hurried down the flight of stairs.  Soon they were two floors below and in the lab. They saw a green form slithering from the lab downward.  Callie recognized it as Dr. Viper, but she couldn’t do anything just then. The lab looked just as bad as the one above, but at least the canisters of catalyst 101 and slumbernite were metallic and intact.  “I think this will be enough.  Slumbernite may be an effective fertilizer for certain forms of plants, but it’s also an excellent sleeping agent for reptiles.”

“And you need catalyst 101 to speed up the process.”

“Very good, Deputy mayor.”  Hallenhopper commended Callie.  “Catalyst 101 speeds up metabolism.  The only problem is that it needs to be ingested.”

“No problem.” Callie began to pull out her communicator for the SwatKats when the monsters tail suddenly rammed against the lab wall, shattering glass and sending debris their direction.  The Doctor and Deputy Mayor were sent reeling.  They got up and dusted themselves off.   The canisters were intact but the  communicator was totaled.  Callie looked stunned.  She had refrained from calling in the GaurdKats for feeling like a traitor to the SwatKats.  But what choice was there now?  She took out the signaler Klaw’s gave her and pressed the button.

Up in Red Lightning, a beeping sound  distracted Klaw for a split second.  “It’s Callie” he said. “She needs us!”  He sounded a bit worried for  Callie and slightly thrilled that she called them.

“It’s coming from that building over there.” Fang said. “What could she want? We’re in the middle of a fight here.”

“Whatever it is, it’s probably important.”

“T-Bone! Look!” Razor was surprised, “The GuardKats are breaking off!”

“I knew it.” T-Bone muttered, “Those Kats couldn’t cut it.  Just a little trouble and they scram.”

“T-Bone!”

“Wha…”

Too late.  The creature swiped the wing of the TurboKat and left three deep gashes.  The plane went into a spin which T-Bone recovered from easily.  But he was in a bad position.   He spun and banked and dodged the monsters waving arms and tail until he got to a safe distance away.

“SwatKats.” the radio came to life. “Come in SwatKats.  This is the GuardKats.”

“What do you want?” T-Bone said nastily, “Couldn’t handle the heat?”

“We have a plan.  Listen up.”  It irritated T-Bone how commanding they sounded.  “We have something that may put that thing to sleep.  Miss Briggs says…”

“Say What?!” T-Bone and Razor said simultaneously.  The mention of Callie took them both by complete surprise.

“Miss Briggs says a Dr. Hallenhopper cooked up some sort of giant sleeping pill.” Klaw continued, “Then the guys at MegaKat Biochemical can find a way to bring it back to normal size.  The Enforcers are after Dr. Viper now.  We already have the sleeping pill, but we need a diversion.”

“Sure.” T-Bone forced.  He didn’t like the idea of taking orders from a Guardkat, but if the plan might work, then he had to at least try.  “Get ready, sureshot.” He warned Razor as he did a  one-eighty.  He headed straight for the creature’s head.  Razor flicked a switch and thumbed the trigger.  They plastered cement on the things eyes again.

“Take out his legs, buddy.” Razor suggested.

“Right you are.” T-Bone dove and did a close fly-by of the creatures lower legs.  Razor deployed the grappling hook which caught on a scale of the monster.   T-Bone flew circles until the cable was taut and he maxed out the throttle.  The giant reptile toppled into the lake with  an intensity four rumble, it’s arms waving wildly in the air.

Razor detached the grappling hook so they could go free.  They turned in time to see Red Lightning drop a giant canister into the reptile’s open mouth.  For a few seconds nothing happened, then suddenly the arms fell motionless to the water and the creature stopped  moving, save for it’s regular breathing.

Later, the TurboKat and Red Lightning set down near the all but decimated University building.   Callie came running out to greet  the four of them.  “Feral’s men found Viper.” She reported, “He was trying to steal Catalysts 102 and 107.  But the enforcers actually handled it.”

“Are you Ok, Miss Briggs?” T-Bone asked.  Klaw was obviously taken aback.  He moved in quickly and asked the same question.

“I’m fine.” Callie said, addressing both of them.  “You both did great.” She figured she should  do her part to keep the peace between the two groups by appearing impartial.

“They weren’t so bad.” Fang blurt out, drawing stares from T-Bone and Razor, and a surprised glance from Callie. “But we could’ve done it alone all the same.”

“Hey” T-Bone came up to him and jabbed his pointer finger into Fang’s jumpsuit. “You called us, remember?  You radioed in.”

“On my partner’s say so.  If it were up to me, I’d have shot you down first before going after that over grown lizard.”

Razor moved to  stop his partner but it was too late.  T-Bone had punched Fang right smack on the nose and the GuardKat now lay on the ground.  Klaw rushed and tackled T-Bone, his momentum forcing them to the ground as well.  They rolled around until Klaw got the proper position and flipped T-Bone over.  The larger SwatKat landed on his feet and immediately put up a defensive stance as Klaw charged him.  Callie was screaming for them to stop.

Fang had gotten up now and was squaring off with Razor.  Jake took a relaxed-ready, defensive position.  He blocked Fang’s flurry of punches but wasn’t able to avoid the sweep.  Razor flipped with the momentum and landed on his feet, giving Fang just enough time to get in half a dozen punches in quick succession.   Razor took them all in the chest and face, stunning him momentarily.  He was able to mount a counter attack by doing a feint then striking with  several jabs and an elbow to Fang’s ribs.

Klaw was fast for his size, T-Bone gave him that.  But he was also much younger.  And a lot less experienced.  Less than half of Klaw’s punches connected while most of T-bone’s kicks and jabs found their marks.  Mike was a lucky fellow, though.  He sucker punched T-Bone  and the Swatkat staggered backward.  Klaw followed with a jumping kick to the stomach.  He tried to follow up but T-Bone was already standing.  T-Bone  successfully  landed two solid kicks in  the shins, bringing Klaw to his knees.

“STOP IT!!” Callie yelled at the top of her lungs.

Fang froze, which was lucky for Razor whom he was choking.  T-Bone let go of Klaw who he had by the jumpsuit.

“You’re all acting like little kittens fighting over a toy!” T-Bone and  Razor had never seen her this angry before.  “You’re all here to defend MegaKat city.  Why can’t you all just get along?”

“It’s no use, Miss Briggs.” Commander Feral said, walking up.  “These four are hardened vigilantes.  No good can ever come out of them.”  He looked the four of them over.  He would’ve placed them all under arrest had they not helped bring the monster down,

“Some other time, Feral.”  Fang said,  as he let Razor drop and walked back to Red Lightning. Then  he faced T-Bone.  His eyes narrowed and he sounded menacing. “Next time…”

“Anytime.” T-Bone shot back, clenching his fist.  “Anytime”

Red lifted off leaving the SwatKats and Callie alone.

“What happened, Miss Briggs?”  T-Bone asked.

“The communicator you gave me was busted.” Callie answered, holding up the remains of the communicator.  “They gave me one too.   I had to call them in to get the canister.”

“I’ll get you a new one.” Razor said.  He put his paw on T-Bone’s shoulder.  “Come on, buddy. Let’s go home.”  He boarded the TurboKat and T-Bone followed.  They waved at Callie as they lifted off.

“Don’t let these guys get to you, buddy.” Razor advised T-Boone when they had reached cruising altitude.   Razor adjusted his straps and sank in his seat.  “That way, they’ll win.”

“Easier said than done.  These guys are getting on my nerves so bad I can taste them in my tuna at night.”  T-Bone brought the plane higher.  Maybe a few high-speed turns will help clear his head.  He glanced over his shoulder  to Razor who had removed his glovatrix and was now massaging his bruises.

The voice over the radio was unmistakable, and irritating. “Hiya, SwatKats.”  Fang said sarcastically, “What’s the matter with that bird of yours?  Still running her on coal?”

“Shut up you little weasel.” T-Bone said angrily,  He glanced to his right and saw Red Lightning come alongside them.  Razor looked as well  and practically pleaded with T-Bone not to let the GuardKats get the better of him.  “I can fly circles around you any day.” T-Bone spoke into the radio regardless.

“Come and get me then.”

“Your on!”

“Um… T-Bone? I don’t think this is such a good idea.” Razor said.  “We have to get  back to the hanger to repair the TurboKat.  We’re in no condition to… hey!”  Razor clutched at the handlebars beside his seat as T-Bone suddenly  rolled and positioned himself behind Red Lightning.  It was perfect firing position.

“Come on, lock!” T-Bone demanded.

“I’m not firing on them” Razor argued as he heard the lock tone, “They may be a pain but that’s not enough reason to blow them away.”

“We’re just going to scare them, ace.”  T-Bone revealed, chuckling.  In one  sudden move,  Lightning climbed and banked left, going for a kill shot.  T-Bone  barrel-rolled and got out Red’s firing area.  Then both planes went ballistic, climbing higher and higher.   Razor gripped tighter as he struggled to maintain his breakfast.  T-Bonedecelerated suddenly, letting the red jet shoot by.

“Kat’s alive!” Klaw screamed as they missed the TurboKat.  “Where is he?”

“Right behind us.” Fang said.  “He’s trying to get a lock on us again.”

Klaw descended jarringly.  T-bone hung in close behind him.  “You really should have just stayed quiet, bro.” Klaw proclaimed as he went into a dive.  T-Bone kept on his tail but Klaw was able to prevent them from getting a lock on.  He zigged then zagged then banked sharply.  As the TurboKat sped past he executed another sharp bank which brought them directly behind the TurboKat.

But that didn’t last for T-Bone snuck behind a skyscraper.  Klaw was searching for any sign of the TurboKat as he rounded  the building.  T-Bone had gone to hover mode and was now once again the pursuer.  “I’ll get you yet.” He swore.

Red brought the chase in and around MegaKat city.   They  descended  into  MegaKat tunnels, and  T-Bone remembered when he and Razor had led Hard-drive through there.  The tunnel hand since been repaired and reopened, allowing traffic to flow through.  He was just relieved of the high headroom in the tunnel. Otherwise , they would see a lot of cars at the scrap yard by the next day.

They emerged and began to climb again.  Klaw accelerated then turned a hundred and eighty degrees, and zoomed in on the TurboKat.  It was a deadly game of chicken, and every citizen in MegaKat city was watching .   The two planes drew closer by the second.  To the delight of the crowd down below, neither banked away, the jets missing each other by inches.  Klaw had spun around immediately after the  near-collision and brought Red up behind the TurboKat again and the chase began anew.  This time, the GuardKats were in perfect firing position.  The tone sounded and Fang’s arms went up in triumph.

“Crud!” T-Bone clenched his fist.  He went into a dive then a reverse loop and popped up a bit below and to the right of the GuardKats. A split second before the lock-on tone went off, Red Lightning accelerated and all but vanished from sight.  Not to be left behind, T-Bone activated the speed-of-heat thrusters  and took off after them.  But despite his efforts, Chance couldn’t keep up.  The damaged wing was beginning to tear itself apart due to such high speeds.  He recalled the thrusters and turned away, dejected.  He turned to his partner who had been quiet all through out the dog-fight.  “Sorry buddy.”

Razor fought to get himself upright again.  He was breathing rapid, heavy breaths and his color had turned a sick blue-green.

“N-no… no p-p-problem…p-p-p–pal…”    His eyes we’re rolling up in their sockets as he finally blacked out.

Back at the Mansion,  Dan was ecstatic.  The flight back was a quiet one, with Mike not saying anything at all.  Dan didn’t know what was bugging his brother, but at the table during dinner, he decided to break the silence.  “Can you believe that T-Bone suggest we needed them?  The nerve.”

No response.

“Hey.  Mike.  What’s wrong?”

Mike seemed hesitant again.  He began to say something then paused, then went on with it.  “What you did was wrong, Dan.”

“What are you talking about, Mike?”

“What you said to T-Bone.  That was wrong.  They did help us out.”

Dan was surprised,  “What are you saying? We didn’t even need their help.”

“I know we could have done it on our own but we didn’t.” Mike said, dropping his spoon with a clang.  “They were there and they helped.  Telling him you’d shoot him down isn’t the best way to thank a guy, Dan.”

“I… Have you forgotten Frank?” Dan stammered.

“I agreed to do this because you said we could do a better job than the SwatKats.  Not because you want to get back at them for Frank.” Mike returned.

“I… I’m sorry.”

Three days later things got worse.  The fight had been blamed on the SwatKats since T-Bone had thrown the first punch.  Ann did her best to defend the SwatKats as she had always done, but the GuardKats simply drew in more ratings and the fight was prime news.  She was just about the only anchorkat who dared suggest the GuardKats had started the fight.

The mayor was oblivious, since the stocks in his golf course had risen some.  All he knew was what information Callie fed him. She also did what she could to defend the SwatKats, one since she was there when Fang had provoked T-Bone and two, she felt she needed to make up for calling the GuardKats.  She knew she had no choice, but still.

This was just about the only thing that cheered up Jake and Chance.  Things had gotten so bad that Chance actually missed an episode of Scardeykat.  Jake had thought of quitting the hero thing, but Callie and Ann’s support had kept both of them going.  Feral as usual slammed the GuardKats whenever he could.  That, too was strangely comforting.

“This new wing is dedicated to preserving and bringing to us all the artifacts  of KatKind’s greatest achievements in sports.” Mayor  Manx spoke into the microphone at the podium.  Callie was standing in the sidelines beside Dr. Sinian.  “This is going to be a crowd drawer, Dr. Sinian.” Callie said.

“Oh, I know.” The Dr. answered, “We’ve found sport-related items dating back to the time of Katchupichu, and even Fulius Ceasar.”  She clapped with everyone else when the Mayor paused.

“And so I dedicate this new wing…” The Mayor’s speech continued.  “to all the pioneers in sports.  Did I ever tell you that my great uncleeaaaaaaaaaa!”

Everyone faced to where the mayor was staring.  Up in the sky the clouds had turned black, and an eerie purple.

“Oh, no…” Dr. Sinian said recognizing the occurrence.

The clouds had moved and formed into a swirling vortex, going around and around.  The bystanders scrambled away and Callie took out her  new communicator and called the SwatKats.

“Great job, guys.” The Kat said.  “She’s never purred this well before.”

At least somebody thinks so, Jake thought.   He wiped his paws with   a rag and threw it aside.  “Just take care of her and she’ll be purring  like that for a long time.”  He watched as the guy gunned the engine and roared off,  narrowly missing the other cars.  Jake had the sudden urge to go after the guy and strangle him.

Chance came out from the garage.  ” Jake!” He called. “We got trouble, Callie’s calling.”

Jake ran to Chance and they both descended to the hanger.

“Dan!  Come get a look at this!” Mike called out  “The Pastmaster’s back!”

Dan came running to the living room where Mike was watching television.  On the screen was the Pastmaster waving his watch wildly, his other fist clenched.    “Crud.” Dan looked at Mike and back at the monitor.  Ann had just come on and was speaking in the mike when the screen went fuzzy. “It’s payback time.” he said.

The brothers faced each other.  “Let’s go.”

“Get down!” Dr. Sinian yelled as a fireball came crashing down behind them.  The heat was intense and the smell nauseating.  Dr. Sinian looked at Calico who was shocked but awake.  She turned and saw the people fleeing.  “Deputy Mayor!” She grabbed Callie by the arm.  “Get up.  We have to get out of here!”

“Too late for that, Dr.” a voice said.  Coming up to them was the Pastmaster, behind him were two  seven foot tall robots.  They had just come out of the new wing.   All around more mechanoids were dropping from out of the portal and wreaking havoc around the museum.  The Pastmaster pointed his watch and struck Dr. Sinian with a beam which knocked her out cold.

“Take her to the Parthenon .” The Pastmaster commanded his robots and they moved in to apprehend Callie.  She resisted but there was no escaping their metallic grip. She turned to the skies searching for any sign of the SwatKats, or even the GuardKats.  There was none.

On the stage, Dr. Sinian was slowly regaining consciousness.

“What are you after, Pastmaster?” Callie demanded.

“What you ignorant fools perceive to be a discus from the time of Furlius Ceasar” He held up for them to see, “is actually much more than that.  But I’ll explain more when we return to my citadel.”  The PastMaster beckoned his mechanoids and they carried Callie away.

The explosion shook everyone.  In the distance they could see a damaged mechanoid stagger and fall then another went up in smoke.  The familiar engine roar perked up Callie’s spirits.  The SwatKats had arrived!

“O.K. Buddy.” T-Bone said lining up the shot.  “She’s all yours.”

“Launching Buzz-saw missiles!” Razor thumbed the trigger and away went the missiles, slicing off the robots heads.  “Bingo!”

Locating their target, all the mechanoids centered their weapons around the TurboKat.  They were a lot smarter than anyone would have given them credit for.  Instead of firing directly at the SwatKats they set a web of fire and that  was constructed in such a way as to force the jet into the laser beams.

T-Bone flew like the ace he was, narrowly avoiding the strands of laser fire that surrounded them.  Just then the radio came alive. “Getting a bit hot up there, huh?”  It was Fang.  Razor looked behind them and saw Red Lighting let loose a salvo of missiles at the robots below, destroying several.  The net broken, T-Bone banked hard and came up in the clear.

“Nice shooting,” T-Bone had to admit.

“Thank us later” Fang said, “and leave this to the pros.”

“Not a chance, furball.” T-Bone said.  “This is our fight.”

“Suit your self.  Just stay out of my way.”

They both let their missiles fly and together they destroyed a good part of the Pastmasters mechanoid army.  T-Bone then guided the jet to where Callie was.  He set the jet down and he and Razor dismounted, their glovatrixes at the ready.  “Let her go, Pastmaster!”  Razor commanded.

“Not a chance, SwatKat!” The Pastmaster yelled while being lifted by his mechanoid.  The other moved between the first and the SwatKats, opening fire.  Blocking the Pastmaster’s escape, the GuardKats set down Red and dismounted as well.  The robot carrying the Pastmaster and Callie fired, missing the GuardKats.  The second one was keeping the SwatKats at bay.

The robot carrying Callie and the Pastmaster swung around, firing wildly.  It’s lasers endangering  civilians who were either too afraid or were not able to run away.  T-Bone spotted  an elderly couple directly underneath a collapsing wall.  He bolted for them but didn’t have enough time to drag them away.  Instead he braced himself and held the wall up.  I hope mom really did put agrecite in my cereal , he thought as his muscles strained to uphold the wall.

The mechanoid had already gotten a bead on T-Bone  when Fang noticed its arm come up.  “No!” he yelled..  He fired a series of small coin sized explosives which proved to be magnetic,  and blew the robot away.   The commotion lasted just long enough to let the Pastmaster escape through a vortex with Callie.    By the time the couple had crawled out and T-Bone let the wall drop their quarry was nowhere to be seen.  “Where’d he go?”

Dr. Sinian coughed, “I think I can help you there. ”  Razor rushed to her side and helped her up. She dusted herself off and explained. “The Pastmaster came here to steal what we thought was a discus, from Furlius Caesar’s empire.”

The quartet listened intently.

“Apparently the relic is more than that.  What it is I can’t tell you, but I imagine it has great powers since the Pastmaster wanted it.  My guess is that he’s headed back toward the ruins, just beyond where we found the Jeweled Headdress of Katchupichu.  I suspect he’d be in the large structure in the middle of the ruins.  It used to be where the senate of Furlius’ time met to discuss politics.”

“Thanks Dr. Sinian.” Razor said then he offered a lift somewhere but she declined, saying that she’ll be fine and that they must hurry.  Fang agreed.

T-Bone called out to the smaller GuardKat as they ran to Red.

“What?”

“You saved my tail back there.”

“What of it?”

“Thanks.”

Fang somehow didn’t know how to respond to that.  They had been at odds with each other for so long that one neutral remark seemed like a dump in ice cold water.  He could feel his brothers eyes on his nape and could almost hear Klaw’s skin stretch as he smiled.    “Sure.” He said eventually. “Let’s just get the Pastmaster outta our fur.”

“OK” T-Bone replied, himself not sure what to say.

“Why do you not accept you fate?” Pastmaster asked Callie, whom he had tied to a Corinthian column in the center of the structure.  They were in the main building of the city, where the senators used to congregate and plan.  Here he was in the city of Kathens, his greatest dream about to be realized and his bride at his side.

“I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it now.” Callie said sternly, “I will never marry you!”

The Pastmaster got off from the throne he was sitting on and gestured to an elliptical indention at it’s base.   “We shall see, my dear.   We shall see.”  He then took the discus and placed it in the indention.  The throne began to throb and pulsate in an eerie green light and slowly, silently slid back.

Callie gazed from where she was tied at the short column which rose up.   It had a green jewel, about the size of the discus, and it bathed the room with it’s mysterious light.  Behind it also rose a large round  mirror   with intricate designs etched on the outer parts of the surface.

The Pastmaster gazed at it for a moment, basking in it’s light, as if already receiving the Jewel’s and mirror’s powers.   He turned toward Callie laughing.  His laugh chilled Callie to the bone, but she was determined not to show fear.

“These are the secrets to Furlius Caesar’s mighty army.” He gloated. “The all seeing oracle and the eye of the Gods.  Those mechanoids I acquired from the future may not have been enough but I am certain these will be.

“Let the Swatkats come.” The Pastmaster was electrified with anticipation, “Let those infernal GuardKats come as well.  I am ready for them.” He shook his fists in the air and laughed again.  When he recovered he placed the discus in another indention the pedestal that held up the jewel.  The mirror glowed again, this time revealing the image of Red Lightning and the TurboKat approaching.

Outside, the remaining robots spotted the approaching jets and trained their weapons on them.  Some robots took to the air and intercepted the jets.  The Kats met them head on.

“This is it, Razor.” T-Bone said. “good luck buddy.”

“Thanks, T-Bone.  Releasing Cyclotron in T-minus  ten, nine, eight…” Razor counted down as his seat descended to the cargo bay.

“T-Bone glanced to the red jet beside him.   Klaw gave him a thumbs up  and he nodded back.  Razor was already on five.  T-Bone brought the plane as low as he could and Klaw followed his lead.

“Two… one” Razor could see the bomb bay doors open, “OK, T-Bone, Rock and roll!!!!!!!!”  The cyclotron hit the ground running.  Razor gunned the engine and sped toward the Parthenon-like senate building.  Behind him, Fang was in their own ground vehicle.  It was similar to the hoverkat, except that it was smaller, good for only two occupants.  He would have to discuss design concepts with these guys sometime.

They zigged and zagged  their way between the robot’s laser fire and missiles.  Klaw and T-Bone were doing a pretty good job providing cover fire.  The sheer number of robots made landing the jets impractical.  They’d  have to take out the Pastmaster quickly.

“Whoah!” the Cyclotron flipped over and sent Razor flying.  He landed with a thud several meters away.    He recovered just as a spear was about to be thrust into his chest.   He rolled away and looked up.   Standing over him was a skeleton of a centurion ready for another blow.  Jake activated his shield and blocked the thrust.  He rolled some more and launched a mini-octopus missile which shattered the skull.

Fang suddenly showed up in his rover.  “Get in, Razor!” his voice had both haste and slight irritation.  Razor leaped in just as more robots and centurions moved in.  Fang floored the accelerator and rushed toward the building.

Inside the senate building, the Pastmaster was poised to accept his victory.   He  grabbed the jewel tightly and his little body began to convulse as energy flowed through it like a tidal wave.  The light shimmered and pulsated, making the shadows on the walls and pillars dance.

The concrete door opposite where the throne used to sit collapsed beneath Razor and Fang’s assault and the two defenders stepped in.  Their mouths widened in awe at what they saw.  The Pastmaster was now taller than T-Bone. He was dressed in centurion garb, but still he kept his cape and watch.  The jewel was in his chest, seemingly embedded,  and he was laughing loudly.  He was glowing  the eerie green of the jewel and  the energy emanating from him made all their fur stand on end.

“OK, hotshot,” Fang said, “What now?”

Razor really didn’t know. “I don’t know.” He confessed.  They began backing away, slowly as their nemesis approached.

“You’ll not survive this night, heroes” The villain spoke menacingly.  He braced himself and released green-colored beams from his eyes, striking the spot where Razor and Fang had been standing.  Both Kats scrambled out of the way.  The Pastmaster fired on them one at a time, missing them only slightly, and disintegrating whatever his beams touched.

“Go for the mirror!’ T-Bone said, running through what remained of the door.  Klaw was right behind him.  They had gotten rid of all the robots and centurions and had landed. “Tear it apart!”

As if a switch went of in all of their heads, they went from hesitation to certainty to action.  They charged  the Pastmaster, trying to get past him.  The beams coming from his eyes kept them from making it past him.  The SwatKats fired mini-turboblades, but these were disintegrated  by the beams.

“Crud!” they exclaimed.

Meanwhile, Klaw and Fang had made it past  and were headed for the mirror.  The Pastmaster turned to them.  “Look out!” Razor yelled.  Klaw heard it and pulled his brother out of the line of fire in the nick of  time.

“I’m going for it!” Razor yelled.

T-Bone fired his mini-cement cannon.  “Guard the runner!” he yelled over and over.

“No!” Pastmaster cried, firing his eye-beams.  Klaw fired his grappling hook and it locked around Pastmasters neck.  It didn’t hurt him at all but when Klaw pulled his beam went wild.  This gave Razor just enough time to launch his boomerang.  It shattered the mirror into hundreds of shards, and Razor leaped beside Callie, where T-Bone, Fang and Kalw had gathered.

Everyone gasped and held their breaths, waiting for whatever that was supposed to happen to happen.  The room was silent.  Seconds passed.

Nothing happened.

“Crud.” The foursome said in unison.

T-Bone cut Callie loose and carried her away a split-second before the Pastmaster let loose, bringing the ceiling down. “Outside, now!”   he yelled.  “We need more room!”

“What  we need are the jets!” Klaw commented.

“Here, here!” Razor said, shielding himself from the falling debris.  He led the way down the steps “Split up! Head for the jets!”

Everyone agreed unanimously and ran toward their respective planes.  The TurboKat was the first in the air, Red lifting off seconds later.  They hovered around the collapsing Parthenon, wondering if the Pastmaster survived.

“Do you think he could make it through that?” Razor asked.

“Did you think the little pest could grow five extra feet in less than a minute?” T-Bone answered sarcastically. “I’m betting he’s still in there somewhere.”

“I’m not gambling with you today, bud.   Look!”  Razor pointed toward the smoking mass of rubble.  Out of it came the Pastmaster, growing!

“Doesn’t this guy ever quit?” Klaw asked them over the com net.

“Nope.” Razor answered.

Their nemesis was now fifty feet tall, still glowing the eerie green.  He raised his fist up and blinding light escaped from it, forcing the Kats to move back.  “Now,” He declared, “I can reshape MegaKat City to my desires!  And I will have my beautiful Callista!” Light flashed again, and they all had to cover their eyes.

“Did you hear that?” Razor lowered his arm from his eyes.

“Of course I did.” T-Bone said, “Is Miss Briggs strapped in back there?”

“As best as can be hoped.  This seat wasn’t really built for two, you know.”

“Why?” Callie asked, then she realized the answer. “Oh noooo…”   T-Bone left hover mode and zoomed in, Red close behind.   They made a pass for the jewel but didn’t make it through.   They circled around and tried again, in perfect formation, like they had been wingmen for years. Razor let loose  several Buzz-saw missiles.  The Pastmaster intercepted them all.

T-Bone climbed, the beams narrowly missing the TurboKats fuselage.  Red was next.  Klaw held the plane as steady as he could.  Just as Fang launched their scalpel missiles, similar to the SwatKats’ slicers,  they took a direct hit in their stabilizers, sending them into a spin.  One missile proved to be true, finding it’s mark and cracking the emerald jewel.

“This is it, Fang…” Klaw said slowly, knowing there was no recovering from the spiral they were in.  The sudden stop in mid-fall proved to be a welcome surprise.  They looked out and glimpsed the TurboKat holding them up with it’s grappling hook. “Who needed who now, Fang?”  Came T-Bone’s voice over the com.net.  Fang just smiled with relief.

The beam shook the TurboKat.  They took a hit in the left wing, and T-Bone wrestled with the controls.  Callie buried her face in Razor’s flight suit. Jake looked out and saw the Pastmaster prepare to fire on them again.   “Keep her steady a few seconds more…” The smaller SwatKat requested.  T-Bone did, amidst more of the Pastmaster’s eye-beams.  Razor, concluding that this was as far as things should go, fired all the slicer missiles and octopus missiles they were carrying.

Most were destroyed, but it only took one slicer to permanently destroy the Jewel.  The Pastmaster writhed in pain and anger as he began to shrink. “BINGO!” Razor screamed into Callie’s ear.

They set Red down then landed themselves.  All save Callie ran to where the little pest was.   It was a crater made by his footsteps when he was still gigantic.  Klaw and Fang climbed the dune and aimed their multipurpose guns downward. A light burst later their guns were destroyed and they were all lying on the desert floor.

“My powers may have returned to normal,” Pastmaster said, angrily, “But I can still get rid of  you four.”  He summoned a vortex.  Clouds swirled and enflamed the sky behind him, as the winds picked up blowing sand and relics and stone into the vortex.

The Pastmaster seemed mysteriously rooted in his spot. The Kats groped around to hang on to something.  They  found nothing  that wouldn’t be uprooted eventually. All sorts of things were being vacuumed  into the vortex, papers, stones, sand, rocks, pillars and such.  The only thing Razor could find which might stay put were the jets.  He fired his grappling hook, more out of instinct than anything else, and it caught on the engine intake of the TurboKat.  He gabbed Klaw, who was hanging on to T-Bone, who now had Fang in his grip.  Slowly, they rose from the ground

“Can’t… get…a shot…” T-Bone grunted.  His glovatrix arm was the one that Fang had grabbed and he was holding on to Klaw.

“You’ll all be lost in an alternate future after I’m through with all of you!” Pastmaster yelled, back to his old stature, waving his clock.

“T-Bone…” Fang’s voice was barely audible amidst the howling of the wind and the volume of sand scrapping their faces.  “T-Bone listen to me…”

“Don’t… have…much of a…choice…”T-Bone’s muscles ached from the force of the wind and trying to hold on to Klaw and Fang.

“No…” Fang began. T-Bone had never seen Fang this serious.  “We both know…The only way to…Stop this creep…” A large clump of sand blinded him momentarily.

“No…” T-Bone realized what he was thinking.

“Yes…We have to… shove him into the portal too…”  He could see T-Bone’s face drop, then come back, all tense.  He hardly heard the “no.”  Fang braced himself and continued.  “And… we both know how… to .. do that… don’t we…?”

“No!” was all T-Bone could say.

From further down the line they heard Razor exclaim, “T-Bone!  The cable’s giving way!”  T-Bone heard his friend’s plea but didn’t answer.  He looked Fang in the eyes. “I’m sorry…”

“I’m sorry, too.”  With that he removed T-Bone’s glovatrix,  released his grip and was sucked towards the portal.  He flew past the little creep that caused all this trouble.  Dan took aim and fired the grappling hook.  It wrapped around the Pastmaster, and Fang reeled him in.

“Dan!” Klaw called out, ignoring his brother’s code-name.  “Dan!”

“Sorry, kiddo…” Fang said as he and the defiant Pastmaster entered the portal, “I may not have been perfect, bro…but I lo…” They went in, and an instant later the portal vanished.

The survivors picked themselves up from the sand, tired and weary, but alive.

“No! This can’t be!  CRUD!” T-Bone began kicking and throwing anything he could get his hands on and yelling at the sky, as  if proclaiming to the world his hate toward the Pastmaster. “I’ll get you someday!  And I’m bringing Fang back.  Do you hear me?!” he waved his fists in the air.  Soon he dropped to his knees, exhausted from their ordeal,  still mumbling swears and curses at the Pastmaster.

Callie  moved close to Klaw while Razor moved to his buddy’s side. Klaw stayed knelt in the sand, staring up in the sky, half-expecting  his brother to drop into his lap.  A blank expression could be seen even with his visor. He sat there, not moving, refusing to accept that he lost another brother this night.  Callie bent behind him, and put her arms around his neck in a comforting gesture.  Klaw bowed his head, and held Callie’s hand.  He allowed himself a slight kiss on her paw, then stood up and began removing his helmet.

He faced them with his real face, the face of Michael Pawter.  “It’s over.” He said softly, solemnly.  “The GuardKats are over.”  He tossed the helmet aside in a symbolic gesture. The still billowing sands quickly burying it.

He felt as if  part of his life had just been lost along with his brother as the portal closed.

He  felt he owed the SwatKats an explanation. “Remember a few months back? You fought the Pastmaster in The MegaKat Museum?  We were there.  Me, Dan and our older brother Frank.  We were all there.  Then…”  He came close to tears.  “then we lost Frank.  Frank had gotten sucked in  the Pastmasster’s portal and…” He had to pause.

“Well, Dan blamed you.” He continued.

T-Bone, Razor and Callie were speechless.  They never knew about this.  “I… we…” Razor tried to say something but nothing quite escaped his mouth.  Callie offered a prayer for the two lost Kats and Klaw who was now left all alone.

Razor stepped forward, finding his voice somehow. “If it’s worth anything… We’re sorry about your brothers.  They were good Kats, I’m sure.  We never knew…” he was becoming apologetic.

“Thanks.  I never blamed you, really   I just thought that you were a bit… obsolete..  Dan blamed you  once.  But after you saved that couple.”  He looked at the larger SwatKat.  “He woke up.”

T-Bone got up from his knees.

“He respected you both, deep down.  I don’t think he ever actually hated you.  He just felt that you could have done more, could have been better. Felt that he should have done more.  Though he’d never admit it.  I don’t think he even knew it himself.” Mike explained.  “It’s just that he never got over what happened to Frank.  Never faltered in his view of you till today.

“For anything, I suppose he didn’t want to die with a grudge hanging over him….”

“He’s still alive somewhere.” Callie said, “We can still find him.

“You know that would take forever.” He paused again, this time to get a hold of himself  “If you ever need anything. just call on the Pawter estate. I’ll be sticking to my family’s business for now… but if you need anything, I’ll help in any way I can.” He began walking toward his jet.

When he passed Callie he looked back, turned and then stared at her.  He didn’t say a word and neither did she.  Their communication was beyond words. Callie could read the expression on his face, the pain, the loss, the sorrow, the sense of waste.  And she realized not all were directed at the loss of his brother.  Only then did she realize how Mike really saw her.  It lasted only about two seconds, but seemed to last longer.  Mike turned away and moved on.

Calllie began to sob.

Razor bowed his head and clenched his paws.  What a loss!  He couldn’t help but wonder about all the good they might’ve done had the four of them not been bickering these past weeks.  It brought a pang of guilt to Razor, for he thought T-Bone and himself just as guilty of prolonging the rivalry as the GuardKats were.

T-Bone took in deep breaths.  He, too was guilty. What ate at him was that there was nothing he could do.  The person he came to hate turned out  to be the one who saved them all in the end.  Where does that leave me?,  he thought.  What does that say about me and Razor? Would we have done what Fang had done?

Yes, he tried to convince himself.  Fang’s sacrifice wouldn’t be for nothing.

They would have to be better, he thought.

Much better.

As good as Fang.

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