Jake flipped open the can of milk. It hissed and popped, and he took a satisfied swig from it. Then he sighed, yawned and stretched, and propped his feet up on the arms of the couch.
They’d done it! The SWAT Kats were ready to fly! The jet was finally finished, and “T-Bone” had finished the costumes. He’d even come up with an idea Jake liked, something called the “glove-a-trix.” Jake picked up the half-finished prototype and tinkered with it a bit. Chance was trying out the very first one down in the reflex room. Jake turned on the television. It was just about time for Kats’ Eye News.
There was a commercial or two, then the Kats’ Eye logo appeared on the screen.
“Hey, Chance! You’re going to miss it!” Jake hollered, although the larger kat had no way of hearing him.
The image was supplanted by that of Ann Gora, whose new Kats’ Eye helicopter had been on the scene of the morning chaos, maintaining a safe distance for the first and only time in its history, and filming all of the action that it possibly could.
“Ann Gora, Kats’ Eye News, with a special report.”
Jake sat up, now interested. Besides, it was getting difficult to hear, now that Chance had left the reflex room and was coming up the ladder and shouting about the guidance systems being all screwy.
“Fine, fine, I’ll fix it!” Jake shouted, but his eyes were riveted to the screen, where Ann was announcing the new deputy mayor, and showing some “exclusive footage.”
“Wow,” said Jake. “Wow….”
“What?” demanded Chance, still in the garage, attempting to pull the newspaper from the bottom of his shoe. What HAD he stepped in? Tar?
“The new deputy mayor,” Jake replied, eyes still glued, watching as Ann showed some shots of Callie the hostage, take one, take two.
“Jake?” said Chance. “I thought that the new deputy mayor was a guy. You okay there?”
“Don’t you read the newspaper?” he called, eyes widening as Ann showed the part where Jason ambushed Derek.
Chance looked down at his shoe guiltily. He tried to make out the blackened, torn letters.
“Depu… deputy ma… mayor… mayorial…” he muttered.
“It says that that Cole guy was murdered, so there’s a different one.”
“Oh,” said Chance. “Is she pretty?”
“Only the prettiest she-kat you ever saw,” said Jake.
“Really?” said Chance, pulling his fingers out of the tar and sticking his head around the corner, looking to the TV.
But just then, the image changed, and it showed Ann Gora, interviewing Felina Feral. Chance stuck out his tongue.
“Nah,” he said.
“That’s not her,” said Jake.
It switched to a shot of Jason on the beams.
“Tell me that’s not her, either,” said Chance, laughing. “I’m going to go cook us some dinner.”
Jake stuck his tongue out as well.
“I’m sick of Hungry Kat frozen dinners,” he said.
Chance disappeared into the kitchen.
“Hey, if you don’t like my food, you cook,” he said, reaching into the fridge to grab a can of milk before taking down the TV dinners to thaw.
Jake rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to the set.
Ann was interviewing Commander Feral. Jake made faces at him.
“Commander Feral, what can you tell us about the not one but TWO berserk Enforcers who wreaked havoc just this morning?”
“Sergeant Gohickey was a member of an underground terrorist movement, which was responsible for the attack on the old kats’ home. The movement is currently under investigation.”
“And the Officer?”
“On catnip,” replied Feral.
“Amazing,” said Ann. “But what does this mean? Who committed the murders at Ghetto Computers?”
“That, Ann, was gang-related. It is also under investigation.”
Ann was suspicious but she didn’t want to scare Feral away on one of those rare moments when he was actually talking.
“And the detectives assigned to the case – both here, on the scene, and responsible for the apprehension of the criminal?”
“Ann, I’m afraid I don’t understand the question. Was there one?”
“Where are they now?”
“Feral and Whiskers are currently on new assignments,” he said. “That will be all.”
He turned and walked away.
“There you have it, ladies and gentlekats,” said Ann. “From the mouth of Commander Ulysses Feral himself.”
Jake had become bored, but then Ann began to talk about the Cole murder. She said the same things the paper had; however; after the incident at the MegaKat Towers site, she skipped the part about implicating Callie Briggs in the crime, and pinned it all on Charles du Seine. This was even more boring.
The mircowave beeped and Chance took the “Salisbury Steak” dinner out, walking it into the living room with potholdered paws.
Jake turned the TV off.
“I’m not hungry,” he said. “Besides, I still have to fix the guidance systems on the glove-a-trix.”
He jumped up off the couch and took the contraptions with him into the secret SK hangar.
Chance shrugged, sat down on the couch, flipped on Scaredy Kat, and began to eat. And to think Jake passed this up! He leaned back, completely oblivious, but a very happy SWAT Kat.
They were ready for a new adventure – their first, together, as the one and only SWAT Kats.
* * *
That evening, the mayor held a reception in the state room of City Hall, to which he had invited everyone he could think of – all five of them – and then had Callie invite whoever she wished. It was a grand reception, with wine, dancing, and fine italian food, french cuisine being something of a sore spot, and the invited Cole family all finding it “sadly uninspired.”
Feral attended, as did many of the other Enforcers present at the morning’s flubbed anouncement. They stood at the bottom of the steps, the state room itself a grand ballroom, with a staircase down to allow for grand entrances. Everyone who was anyone was there; with the exception of the newly formed SWAT Kats.
Callie adjusted her green gown, and shook out her hair. She walked out of the side room and took her place at the top of the stairs.
The mayor, having already entered, and having fallen the last five steps, announced her name.
Callie’s diamond earrings sparkled in the light of the thousands of candles, but her eyes were even brighter as she stepped down the stairs to the admiring applause. She could see the commander, and the mayor, the famous and the rich of MegaKat City, and even Cole’s mother and father, trying to mask their approval with contempt, but failing.
She would not cry.
She would not cry.
Oh, crud. She was.
“Thank you,” was all she could say. “I’ll do my best.”
* * *
Felina was the only Enforcer to have declined her invitation to the reception. Instead, she walked along an elevated train platform, kicking cigarette butts and bits of broken glass with the toe of her boot. The wound on her shoulder was healing well, but not the wound in her heart.
The black line rumbled past her, pulling to a stop, and she got on it. The doors swooshed shut behind her.
Someone asked her would she move, she was something or other in their way, or something, she wasn’t listening.
She got off at the stop for the MegaKat airport, O’Furr. She walked through, walking on the moving sidewalk, and meandering through the terminals. She knew the flight was already long gone.
Finally she made it to a gate, and walked through to the window past crowds of families with screaming kittens. She squinted to see out, looking to the bright lights of the runway, and watched a plane take off.
A she-kat standing beside her was sobbing.
“I can’t believe he left me!” she wailed.
Felina put a paw on her shoulder.
“Neither can I,” she said. “But be strong. Come on, I’ll buy you a drink.”
The she-kat dabbed at her eyes with a worn handkerchief.
“Thanks, Sarge,” she said.
Felina smiled, and the two walked from the airport together, talking about days gone by, and hopeful of the future.
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Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.