TITLE: SHADOW IN THE WIND
AUTHOR: C. L. Furlong
DATE: October 05, 2001
FINISHED: October 14, 2001
LAST REVISION: October 14, 2001
SUMMARY: The struggle to regain his memory is long and painful, but, with the help of a friend, a kat recalls his duty towards his fellow-creatures.
DISCLAIMER: SWAT Kats and anything related to the series is the property of Hanna-Barbera. No infringement is intended and no profit is gained with this fiction.
COMMENTS: *Finally* a PG-rated story! This is just a short story that just popped out of the blue when I was sleeping (yeah, you can say I have SWAT Kats on my head 24:7…). This story is written in a slightly different style when compared to my other fics. I tried to write the events through the eyes of one of the SWAT Kats as they were occurring. I think I didn’t make it for I had to insert the figure of the narrator, however, here is the result of that experiment. I hope you SWAT Kats fans out there enjoy it. As usual, my mail is open for you to let me know about your comments on this fiction. This fic is, thus, unrelated to my regular “Final Resistance” series. Note that everything written in italic refers to Chance’s or T-Bone’s thoughts. Selena is the name I’m giving to their moon in this fic.
How the heck did I get here? Ugh. Can’t… move!
Oh, great! I’m all tied up!
Crud, it’s cold in here! No wonder! What the heck am I doing with my wrists and my ankles bound to a metallic table?
And, what’s this sound? It sounds like… electricity…
Huh? What’s that? Ah… So it’s you!
“What’s the matter? Afraid I might punch your beautiful face?”
Whoa! I guess that hurt him! He’s fuming. Ouch! That piece of crud has some heavy paw… Holy Kats, my face is burning as though I had a blazing iron on it…
“Your cockiness will end soon enough, SWAT Kat. That much I can assure you!”
“Ah, come on! You’re my enemy for so long now and you still don’t know my name? Look, it’s easy! You just have to open your mouth and say ‘T-Bone.’ Why don’t you give it a try? Read my lips: T-Bone. You just have to flex your lips to pronounce it. Oops! I forgot! You don’t really have lips… Oof!”
Good going Chance! You just managed to get yerself hit again. Enough foolin’ around, buddy. You gotta think of a way to get yer tail outta here… alive, preferably… Think Chancy… Think! He’s busy fiddling with that huge transformer unit. Whatever he has ready for ya, it’s not a good thing!
Let’s see… Wrists… Bound… Ankles… Bound… The shackles seem made of steel. What if I try to force them… Ah! I can’t… I knew I shouldn’t have skipped workout last week… Chance, Chance! Focus! Enough foolin’ around! Yer partner’s not here to help you!
I wonder if Jake’s alright… When I left him he was bleeding a bit… Well, he managed to get his tail out of worse situations than that… I hope he’s okay, though…
You’re trailing off, Chance! Look for an exit! Look for anything you can use to free yerself! Anything at all!
Crud. Too late! He’s coming back! What’s that in his paws? It seems like…
“Hey! HEY! WHAT ARE YOU DOIN’? STOP THAT! STOP! AAGH! THAT HURTS, YOU PIECE OF CRUD! AAAHH!”
“Soon enough you’ll learn why no one ever fools around with me.”
“Hey! Come back here! Get these things outta my head! YOU HEAR ME?”
Crud, these things are hurting! What’s this warmth I’m feeling running down from my temples?
Holy Kats! I’m bleeding! He pierced my flesh with these things! Calm down! Calm down! It’s just blood! Damn… This hurts… But, I think the pain is fading away… Slowly but fading away… Think, Chance… You still got time…
These things seem like electrodes… I wonder what that son of a gun is planning…
“Now you’ll tell me what I want to know, SWAT Kat.”
“Don’t count on that!”
I gotta be more careful with what I say to this guy… I don’t like that smile…
“You will tell me what I want to know, SWAT Kat… I guarantee it…”
What’s he planning? I don’t like this… I… AAAAAHHHHH! Pain! Pain! Don’t scream! Resist! Resist! Ahhhh… What a relief… It’s over… But, my head’s hurting… Damn you!
“Are you ready to tell me the access codes to the TurboKat?”
“In your dreams, you crazy sicko!”
NOOOOOOOO! AAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHH! This pain… Too strong! Focus, Chance! You can resist this pain! Focus your mind! You can ignore it! I can ignore it! I can ignore this pain! I *am* ignoring this pain!
“Give me the access codes to the TurboKat…”
“Buzz… off… Access… denied…”
“I think you’re getting addicted to this juice, SWAT Kat…”
No… Please don’t turn that key again… The pain’s so intense… It’s like a thousand suns crossing my brain… Don’t… AAAAAAAAARRRRRGH Try to ignore it… Try to ignore it, Chance! Try to ignore it!
“You surprise me, SWAT Kat… Most kats would have spilled the beans a long time ago… Yet, you resist and you haven’t screamed!”
Yes, I’ve resisted… But for how long can I take this torture? My head’s throbbing… I can barely open my eyes because of the pain… I don’t know… if I can take much more of this…
“Why don’t you give me the access codes to the TurboKat? Your suffering would end the same minute you spit them out!”
“Sure it would! You’d kill me right after it!”
“What makes you think I won’t kill you before?”
What? Oh! Oh, no! He’s wearing that smile again! That maniacal smile! I don’t want more of this! I don’t want more of this torture! NOOOOOOOOO! THE PAIN! AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGH! Resist, Chance! Resist! Just a little bit more, Chance! Just a little bit more! Just a little bit more!
“What do you know? The SWAT Kat feels pain after all! I think he isn’t that perfect after all! What a glorious sound! Oh, the kitten is crying!”
I’m crying? Yes, I am! I’m crying because of the pain… And, I can’t control my tears…
“The access codes, if you don’t mind… Oh, you just turn your head to the other side, huh? What’s the matter? Don’t have enough strength to reply already?
You know what, SWAT Kat? I found out that I don’t really care for the TurboKat. Without you, the other SWAT Kat will fall to his knees so easily!”
“Leave Razor out of this!”
“You think you can protect him forever? Well, let me tell you something, SWAT Kat: you can’t! Right now, I found out how delightful it is to hear your screams of pain! And, I want to hear them again!”
“YES! YES! SCREAM! SCREAM, SWAT KAT! YOUR DESPERATE SHOUTS OF PAIN ARE THE SWEETEST MELODY I’VE EVER HEARD!”
Stop it… Please, stop it… I can’t take it anymore…
“You’re panting? But, I’ve just started, SWAT Kat! Oh, you must be wondering how much voltage is passing through your brain, aren’t you? Well, I’m currently using only 660 volts, the triple of household voltage. But, don’t worry! I’ll double that right now!”
No… I don’t want more… I don’t want more…
“Why don’t you beg me to stop this torture? What’s holding you back, SWAT Kat? Pride? So, now you don’t answer me, huh? You’re pathetic… After I’m through with you, I’m going after your partner!”
“I already… told you… to leave him… alone… or I…”
“Or you’ll do what? Sizzle to death? Yes, because that is exactly what will happen to you! This is the last time we’ll ever meet, SWAT Kat! Goodbye!”
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Not again! Please… somebody… someone stop him… I… can’t… take it… anymore…
Jake… help me… Please, Jake… I’m dying… Please help me…
Holy Kats… I know… we were… never… much close… but please…
One… tiny… miracle… is all… I…
“Know thyself” – Socrates
“Before knowing who I am I must previously know whom I was…” – Tunisian saying
SHADOW IN THE WIND
The day was extremely hot, and the sun mercilessly punished the sandy ground of the desert outside Megakat City. Heat waves rising from the ground generated the distorted sightings Razor was experiencing aboard the TurboKat.
He was sitting in the unfamiliar pilot seat, flying the black jet fighter. Despite the heat, his senses were in full alert. It had been the third day he’d searched the desert sands. Searching for one of the most precious things he had in his life.
Searching for T-Bone.
They had seen each other for the last time three days ago, during one of their sorties. It had been him again, their archenemy. Dark Kat was attempting to reduce their city to rubble. Again, they managed to stop him. They had chased him down to the desert and Razor was about to fire two missiles with conventional warheads when a turret slid from the rear of Dark Kat’s craft and fired a shower of small missiles towards them. T-Bone did the best he could to avoid the missiles, but still the TurboKat was hit.
And, Razor had been hit along with the jet.
Shivering with rage, T-Bone had switched to auxiliary weapons panel and had shot the missiles Razor had never fired, hitting Dark Kat’s ship. The ship crashed down, and T-Bone shot one Octopus missile that impaled the purple kat against a red sandstone outcrop.
He, then, quickly flew the TurboKat back to the hangar and left Razor there to take care of his wounds. T-Bone headed for the Thundertruck and stormed out of the hangar.
That was the last time Razor saw his friend.
He had returned later that day to the desert, his wounds being still open, searching for his friend. He found the wreckage of Dark Kat’s ship. He also found the Thundertruck beside the wreckage.
But, both T-Bone and Dark Kat were missing. The Octopus missile was lying in the sand in a thousand pieces. The Thundertruck was in perfect condition. He had looked for tracks in the sand, but the late afternoon wind had erased them all.
All that was left of T-Bone was his helmet.
Razor had returned to the desert the day after and the day after that, finding not a single clue of the whereabouts of either kat. His anguish had grown since the very moment when T-Bone had exited their base in the Thundertruck.
“That wasn’t like you, Chance…,” – he thought to himself – “We always captured the bad guys and left them for the Enforcers to pick ’em up. Why did you return to get Dark Kat? We could’ve just called the Enforcers…
Now you’re gone and I haven’t got the slightest clue of where you are, buddy… C’mon, show yourself, Chance! I’m worried sick about you! Where are you, Chance?
Where are you?”
Razor scrutinized the sand below and in front of him. The rounded and etched grains of quartz that made up the desert sand reflected some of the light coming from the sun, but essentially the heat was almost unbearable. He was having visions already, mirages of undulating water puddles in the sand, reflecting the bright yellow and green colors of the skies.
The slim SWAT Kat shook his head, and the image disappeared. He jetted over a huge draas, a composite dune some 120 meters in height. He peered rapidly to his right, inspecting the sizzling desert extending for miles in front of him. He was about to turn the jet around when he thought he saw something.
Banking the jet to his right, Razor approached a dark spot in the middle of the yellowish sand. His heart was in his mouth. He couldn’t really discern what the spot was, but his heart was telling him his search was over. He didn’t want to listen to it. He didn’t want to be frustrated if it turned out to be just a dark rock. But, as he got closer to the object, he saw a heat wave-distorted blue form lying in the middle of the scorching sand. His heart pounded stronger in his chest. It was him! It *had* to be him!
Razor landed the black jet fighter a tenth of meters away from the blue form. Opening the canopy, the slim kat jumped to the blazing sands, burning his feet. However, he didn’t care. Walking through that sand was like walking through coals on fire, but he didn’t care. All that was in his mind was his partner, his friend… His brother…
“Holy Kats!” – Razor whispered as he knelt on the sand beside the apparently lifeless form of T-Bone.
The tabby was a mess. His G-suit was ripped open in many places and almost did not cover the big tom’s body. In each of the rips, Razor saw one, two or three brownish claw marks aligned. The fur around the wounds was glued together with clotted blood and had hardened. His face, arms and chest were red with some bad sunburns. Even his fur hadn’t prevented the sun from burning his skin. Thick brown lines were marked on each side of his head, coming out from holes in the tabby’s temples.
Razor tried to get a pulse on T-Bone’s wrist. He found none. The slim kat’s heart dropped to his feet. He tried again in the tabby’s other wrist. Nothing. Razor was despairing. With his paws trembling, saying a prayer, he tried the carotids. There he found a pulse. Very, very weak, but a pulse nonetheless…
The slim kat lowered his visor and took off the helmet, resting it near T-Bone’s snout. He saw that the glass of the visor was getting slightly foggy. T-Bone was breathing still. He saw T-Bone’s lips were white and retracted, with a wrinkled look. He was severely dehydrated.
“T-Bone! T-Bone, wake up, buddy! C’mon, wake up!” – Razor called his partner, shaking him slightly – “It’s no use! He’s out like a fused light bulb!”
Ignoring the sizzling sand burning his feet, Razor picked up T-Bone’s bulk from the ground and carried him to the TurboKat. He left the tabby near the jet and jumped aboard, lowering the ramp to the cargo bay. He then carried the tabby aboard and strapped him tightly with the cargo holding straps.
“Don’t worry, buddy!” – he said as he passed a paw over T-Bone’s masked head – “I’ll get you home in no time and take care of you! I promise!”
The slim SWAT Kat hurried back to the cockpit, strapped himself in the pilot seat and closing the canopy and the access ramp. Engaging the VTOL engines simultaneously with the rear ones, he took off and headed for the Salvage Yard.
And, that’s how they got reunited again. However, the worst shock was yet to come…
Why does my mouth feel so dry? I need to get something to drink… Feels like I had uncooked codfish for lunch!
Wait… Where am I? Why am I lying in this bed? What am I doing in this room? Oh! My head hurts…
“Easy, buddy! You shouldn’t move too much! Thank the Holy Kats, you’re okay now! Wait, don’t try to talk, pal! Your throat is very dry. Here. Suck on this wet cloth and the feeling will fade away.”
Wet cloth? What is this guy doing? Why am I here?
“Listen… pal… I… dunno… what… yer game… is… but I’m…”
“Stay calm, Chance! Everything’s okay now!”
Chance? Who is Chance? Who is this guy, anyway?
“Who… are… you?”
“What? It’s me, Jake Clawson, your pal! Don’t you recognize me?”
“Jake… Clawson? I’ve… never… heard… of you… before… In fact… I’ve… never… seen… you… in my… entire… life…”
“Oh, my good Holy Kats… Huh… Tell me… What’s your name?”
My name? That’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard! My name is… My name is…
My name… I… I can’t remember my name… Who am I? Who the heck am I? WHO AM I?
“You don’t know your name, do you?”
“No… I don’t…”
“Crud… Listen, buddy, it’s okay! You’re just exhausted, that’s it… Relax a bit while I get you something to eat, okay?”
Jake got out of their bedroom and closed the door, leaning his back against it and dropping his head to his chest.
“I can’t believe this is happening… This can’t be true… Chance doesn’t remember who I am… Doesn’t remember who he is…”
He straightened himself up, jumping from the door.
“It’s not true… He’s just teasing me, that’s it… Oh, Chance, you almost got me… You must be chuckling to yourself now… Okay. Let’s get ya somethin’ to eat…
Who am I? Why can’t I remember anything about my past? I’m looking in the mirror and I don’t recognize the kat I see in the reflection!
How did I get these muscles? Why am I all bandaged up like a mummy? What happened to me to be like this?
And, who’s that orange-furred guy? He seemed to be a nice person to me… He sure acted as though he knew me… He called me Chance. Is that my name? Chance? Chance what? What’s my surname? Chance… Chance…
AH, I CAN’T REMEMBER! I CAN’T REMEMBER A DAMN THING ABOUT ME! WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO ME? WHAT?
Why does this room have two beds? Do I sleep in here? Does he sleep in here too, with me? And, where am I? Kats alive! Outside looks just like a dump! What the heck is this place? And, if I live here, *why* do I live here?
My past is completely pitch-black to me! I can’t remember even the most basic things about me! I don’t know my name, my age, if I’m married or not, if I have friends, if I have a job… I remember nothing…
“Here you go, buddy! Lunch of the champions! Hey! You’re supposed to be resting! Come back to bed this instant!”
“Your voice sounds better. How’s your throat?”
“Okay, I made you a nice bowl of hot soup. It’ll give you strength to keep up your job!”
“Yeah. Now eat it all, will you?”
“You’re not much of a talker today, buddy.”
“Yeah? With what?”
“Well… You look like a nice person… I think I can trust you… I… I can’t remember who I am…”
“C’mon, Chance, stop it. It was funny the first time, but it’s lost it now, okay?”
“Yeah. Stop pretending you’re amnesic, will you?”
“But I *am* amnesic! I can’t remember anything about my past! I dunno who I am, or who you are or what place is this!”
“You’re serious about this, aren’t you?”
“How I wish I were fooling around…”
Jake rose from the bed and walked to the window of the bedroom, staring at the sunny morning outside. His mind was a swirl. He didn’t want to believe what Chance was telling him.
“He really lost his memory…” – he thought – “He really lost it… This can’t be happening! Not to my friend! Not to him! Why did it have to be him? Oh, why, Holy Kats? Why did it have to be him?”
Jake turned around and leaned against the window, looking down desperately on his friend. He was doing like he was told, eating the soup.
“He seems as lost as a lamb that had walked away from its herd… And as susceptible of being influenced as a newborn kitten!”
Jake dropped his head to his chest. Chance noticed it and looked at the orange-furred kat with the spoon still in his mouth.
What’s with this guy? He seems to be crushed! But why? I’ve never seen him before!
Suddenly, Jake looked to Chance again and found the tabby staring at him with the spoon in his mouth. The burly tom took it out and dipped it in the bowl again, retrieving another spoonful of soup.
“Tell me something, Chance… ”
“Is my name Chance?”
“Huh? Yeah, it is. Chance Furlong. Tell me, do you remember anything that happened to you lately?”
“Hm, I wanted to ask you the same thing. What the heck happened to me? Why am I all bandaged up?”
“Do you know who T-Bone is?”
“It’s a steak! *That* I can remember!” – Chance retorted with a grimace.
“Right… Okay, so not *all* his memory has been affected… I think that’s a start, right?” – he mumbled before addressing the burly tom again – “Do you know who the SWAT Kats are, Chance?”
“SWAT Kats? Never heard of ’em! What are those? A rock band?”
“Damn… Do you still know how to fly a jet, buddy?”
“Yeah, sure! And I went to Selena too, haven’t I?”
What the heck is this guy asking? First he asks me about a steak, then about some weird rock band I’ve never heard of and now he’s implying I knew how to fly a jet! I’m not sure who has lost the memory here, if it’s me or him…
“Okay, listen here! I want to know what happened to me, okay? Right now, that’s the only thing that matters to me.” – the tabby stated out, pointing to Jake with the spoon.
“Alright. I’ll tell you what I know. I just found you wounded in the desert. You were banged up pretty bad and I doubt you’d have lasted much more if I hadn’t gone out there looking for you in the TurboKat.”
“Wait. What’s that… TurboKat… Whatever it is called?”
“The TurboKat is our jet fighter. We’re the SWAT Kats, a couple of vigilantes that keep Megakat City free from crime.
My name’s Jake Clawson. I answer by my call sign Razor when I dress up in the G-suit and put on the mask. I’m the TurboKat’s weapon systems officer. My alias to you is Sureshot. You’re Chance Furlong, pilot of the TurboKat. You respond by your call sign T-Bone when you put the mask on and your alias to me is Hotshot.
Does any of this ring any bells to you?”
Chance didn’t answer immediately. He has his eyes opened wide. Finally, he broke out in laughter.
“What’s so funny?”
“Oh, my abs… Guy, you tell the weirdest stories, you know? Imagine… Me, flying a jet… That *has* to be the anecdote of the month! You still haven’t explained to me why am I all bandaged up.”
“We were after a criminal that calls himself Dark Kat…”
The spoon fell to the ground. Chance’s mind flashed, and he saw a skeletal face grinning and laughing demonically. Then, the flash was gone as suddenly as it had appeared. An overwhelming headache accompanied the flashes, and the big tabby knelt on the floor with his paws clutching his head and screaming in pain.
Jake rushed to him.
“Chance! What’s happening? Chance! Talk to me, buddy!”
“My head… It seems it’s going to burst… AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”
“Easy… Easy, partner! Here, lie back on the bed…”
Still clutching his head, jaws tightly clenched, the tabby let Jake guide him back to the bed, where he laid down.
“There, Chance! It’s okay, now! There’s nothing to worry about!” – Jake said soothingly as he laid a paw on the tabby’s shoulder.
The burly tom powered down a bit and tried to open his eyes, which he had kept tightly shut so far. However, as he did it, he immediately closed them again, passing out.
Jake passed a paw over Chance’s head, caressing his hair.
“Hold on, big bro… I’ll find a way to make you remember… I swear I will…”
The next day, Chance woke up with the sunlight invading the room. He looked to the bed at his side. It was empty. The tabby got up and headed for the closet, where he picked up a shirt and a pair of jeans. He went to the window and saw Jake sitting in the lotus position on top of a pile of metallic scrap.
“Hey, Clawson! Good morning!” – he shouted.
Jake greeted him back.
For Chance, he was just being polite towards the unknown kat. For Jake, it had been another nail in his coffin.
“He’s addressing me by my surname, as though I was a perfect stranger to him… Crud… I never thought Chance calling me by my last name could be so painful… He’s not dead, but I’m feeling like I’ve lost Chance forever… No! I can’t… I can’t think like this! I must have hope!”
And, with that in mind, the slim kat climbed down the pile of metallic waste and entered the body shop. He found Chance heading down the stairs.
“You know, you have a complicated house, Clawson. Where’s the kitchen? I’m starving!”
“It’s right over there, Chance. And, *please* call me Jake, will you?”
“Whatever you want.”
“So, how are you feeling this morning?”
“Like a million bucks, to be honest. Where do you keep the coffee?”
“In the kitchen dresser, first door to your left. Listen, after you’re done with your breakfast, I wanna show you something.”
“Yeah? What is it?”
“Something that may help you remember your past.”
Remember my past… My past. My past is so dark I can’t even see up my snout… Why can’t I remember anything from my past? I want to! I’m trying to! But I can’t! It’s like something’s holding me back! It’s like something’s tugging at my shirt, telling me to let it all go away…
“Hey, Chance! Are you listening to me?”
“Huh? Yeah, yeah, I’m listening…”
“Then, what are you doing with the coffee jar in your paw for so long?”
“I was… looking for a mug, that’s it. Yeah, looking for a mug. Now I’ve found it.”
Minutes later, Chance was sitting at the table, drinking the coffee. Jake was sitting at the other end of the small table, looking at Chance.
“Why are you looking so intensely at me?”
“I’m trying to remember my old pal… You know, the feeling I have is that you’re someone else… You have the same looks as Chance but you’re somehow someone else…”
“Maybe I *am* someone else…”
“No, you’re not… We’ve been through so much together… I would recognize my partner even if he’d been away for centuries… You’re Chance, alright… All I have to do is make you remember your old self…”
“But, everything’s pitch-black for me… I can’t remember anything… I’m trying to place your face in my mind, trying to find you but I can’t! The fact is I don’t know you from anywhere!”
The slim kat just turned his face to the other side, as though he had received a slap to the face.
“Please, don’t say that…” – he whispered – “Don’t say you don’t recognize me… Please…” – he looked to the burly tom again – “Are you finished? Then, let’s go.”
Following Jake like an obedient sheep, Chance headed for the entrance to the underground hangar. Jake opened it up and motioned Chance to climb down the ladder. Both kats stood in the darkened room. Jake turned on the lights, and the impressive space of the hangar became visible to Chance’s astonished eyes.
The machinery aligned against the walls, the TurboKat standing in the platform, pointing to the entrance of the underground tunnel beneath it, the huge screen in a console near them stood there in the vast room.
“What… What place is this?” – Chance stuttered, astonished with the sight in front of him.
“This is our hangar. This is where we refuel and reload the TurboKat and train ourselves.” – the slim kat explained. His hopes of Chance remembering who he was vanished with Chance’s question. Even so, it wouldn’t hurt if he just asked. – “Do you remember anything?”
Chance didn’t answer that question. He was too dumbstruck to answer anything. He got closer to the jet and petted its frame. Images flashed through the tabby’s mind. Images of a control panel with lots of buttons and displays, a control handle. Then, the flashes disappeared and he shook his head.
What are these images? It seems I’ve known this jet from inside out! But how? I’ve never flown a jet before! I don’t know how to do it!
But, then again… Why do I have this feeling? Why do I feel this nostalgia every time I touch the jet? Why does my heartbeat accelerate when I touch it?
“Are you alright, Chance?” – Jake asked softly, placing a paw over Chance’s shoulder.
“Huh? Yeah, I’m alright… I was just…”
“What were you feeling?”
“I… I’m not sure…”
“Do you want to climb aboard?”
“Sure you can! This is *our* jet, remember? C’mon, I’ll give you a boost.”
Seconds later, Chance jumped aboard the TurboKat and sat in the pilot seat. He scanned the surroundings. He found the screen of the radar in front of him. His mind flashed back to when he had peered down onto the radar and his face was bathed in a red light. He remembered that it was a signal from the thermal sensor. Something had exploded at the Megakat Docks. Then, the flash faded away.
“Everything’s okay with you, bud?” – Jake asked from the wing where he had jumped to.
Chance didn’t answer him. With a trembling paw, he softly clutched the control handle with his right paw. His mind flashed once more. He was grabbing the control handle with all his strength. He was pursuing another ship, which was red with some strange triangular plates on its dorsal side. He remembered that the ship was fast and that a glimmering force-field surrounded it.
The tabby lifted up the cap on top of the handle. Again, his mind flashed. He remembered a golden gloved paw pressing the button and firing a conventional missile. The missile had hit the red ship in front of him. Suddenly, the skeletal visage haunted him again. The tabby let go of the control handle and shrieked out loud in terror, raising his arms to his face, in order to protect it.
“CHANCE! What’s happening?”
“That face… It’s that face again… Get it away from me!”
“Chance! You’re safe, now! You’re in the hangar! You’re with me!”
“The face… the face…”
“It’s okay, Chance! You’re with me, now! You’re with your partner!”
Once outside of the TurboKat, Jake took Chance to their lockers. Chance saw the ‘TB’ marking on one of the doors and headed for it.
“Was this my locker?”
“Yup. Those are the initials of your call sign T-Bone. C’mon, open it up.”
“Does it have a blue flight suit inside? And a helmet? And a glove thing?” – Chance queried.
The tabby’s questions revived Jake’s hope.
“You remember? You remember our G-suits and helmets and glovatrixes?”
“Well, I remember a few things… I remember running to this locker, opening it up and dressing in a blue suit, putting on a helmet and sometimes putting on a long glove with some thingies in it… I know that, but I can’t remember who the heck I am! I still can’t remember!
WHY CAN’T I REMEMBER WHO I AM? TELL ME, WHY CAN’T I REMEMBER WHO I AM?”
“Calm down, Chance. You’ll remember… I promise you you’ll remember who you are or my name’s not Jake Clawson!”
A week had elapsed. Despite Jake’s efforts, Chance still remembered nothing. He had some flashes of recall but never managed to put the pieces of the puzzle together and that was driving Jake even more desperate as the time went by.
Chance was also crushed to see Jake trying so hard for him to recall his past and yet Chance was unable to remember anything. The tabby didn’t know why he felt so close to the orange-furred kat. He couldn’t remember who the kat was, but he felt very close to that tom anyway.
Seeing the hangar, the TurboKat and his locker had brought an overwhelming nostalgia to the tabby even though he couldn’t explain why. He knew he had seen those items before but couldn’t recall when or in what situation.
Jake had related their entire story since they were in the Enforcers, the pursuit of Dark Kat’s ship, their dismissal, the debt to Feral, why they were in the Salvage Yard, their vow to fight crime their way, the construction of the TurboKat and all of the other vehicles and gadgets and the most recent battle against Dark Kat. He told him about the villains and the friends that the SWAT Kats had. Nothing rang any bell on Chance’s mind. Nothing except the skeletal purple face of Dark Kat.
It was night and they were by the hangar now. Chance was staring at the black jet fighter. Again, the nostalgia overwhelmed him. He suddenly clutched his head, clenching his jaws and shutting his eyes so tightly tears came out of them.
Why do these things seem so familiar and yet I can’t remember anything? Why am I unable to recall my past?
Why am I so afraid of that purple face? Did he do something to me that made me feel afraid of him? Just repeating the name Jake told me gives me the creeps! Dark Kat… Why do I fear that kat so much?
Jake’s trying so hard to make me remember… I can’t fail him now! I have to remember who I am… Maybe if I remember who I really am instead of just believing his words I can recall the rest…
But, it’s so hard… Every time I think I’m going to remember some fact from my past, something holds me back and I let it escape back to that dark abyss of my mind… Maybe…
Maybe that’s a sign… Maybe that’s a sign telling me I shouldn’t remember my past… Maybe that’s a sign telling me I shouldn’t be looking back but rather looking forward towards my future…
However, my future seems as dark as my past… But, maybe this amnesia is a new chance… A chance of a new life… A chance to start it all over again… A chance to wipe the slate clean of the errors of my past… Whatever those might be…
Yes… Maybe that’s just it… Maybe my place isn’t here with Jake but somewhere else, with someone else… Someplace where I can start it all over again…
Suddenly, Chance’s thoughts were interrupted by the frantic blaring of the alarm. Jake responded to it, picking up the receiver. Chance noticed that he had instinctively straightened himself up and taken a step towards the receiver when Jake answered the call for him.
Why did I react like that? Was that something I used to do instinctively in the past? Running to the alarm as soon as I heard it?
“We’ve got problems, buddy. The SWAT Kats are needed.” – Jake said, passing by Chance and heading for the locker.
“Do… Do I have to go?” – Chance stuttered.
Jake turned back and headed for his friend. He gave him his earnest look and placed both paws on Chance’s shoulders.
“Chance, the city needs us… *Both* of us…”
“I-I… I don’t know… I don’t know what to do…”
“Chance… *I* need you by my side! The SWAT Kats are a team! If one of us is missing, then we might as well order our coffins! I *need* you in the TurboKat, Chance! Even if you don’t do anything, I *need* you there, buddy!”
“O-okay… I’ll go then…” – he acquiesced reluctantly.
“Then, let’s suit up!” – Jake said, motioning Chance to the lockers.
Jake finished suiting up in no time. Chance, however, was having some trouble with the harnesses. Jake helped him and Chance climbed the ladder to the rear seat of the jet. Jake put the ladder aside and hopped aboard the TurboKat, sitting in the front seat. Seconds later, the TurboKat’s engines roared and the jet hurtled down the underground tunnel.
“Remember, Chance! While we’re wearing these masks, under no circumstances are you allowed to call me by my real name, you copy?”
“Copy from where?”
“Did you understand what I told you? While we’re using these masks, I’m Razor and you’re T-Bone. Understood?”
“Roger that…” – Razor thought – “He gives himself away some times… I think that some times the old Chance is struggling to emerge from that dark pit that is his mind… And, some times… Some times he manage to do it… Oh, Chance… I wholeheartedly hope you regain your memory soon… Otherwise, I’ll have to order some coffins for us… This piloting thing’s not my stuff…”
“Who are we gonna fight?” – T-Bone said, pulling Razor out of his reverie.
“Huh? Oh, you’ll see when the time comes, buddy…” – he said evasively – “I can’t let him know it’s Dark Kat again…” – Razor thought to himself – “Who knows what his reaction would be… Okay… Callie said he was attacking the power plant again… I wonder what that guy wants with juice…”
“Looks like the city’s having a power outage.” – T-Bone said, peering down from his seat.
Through the glass of the canopy he could see the lights dimming their intensity and going out gradually. The darkness radiated from one point, Megakat City Power Plant. Apparently, the Enforcers had surrounded the plant but were hesitating in penetrating it.
“Oh, look! Feral’s playing puss in the corner! Well, while he plays around, *we’ll* do his job… Like always…”
“Is that the same guy you told me about earlier, Razor?”
“The very same… Okay, I’ll set her down behind those trees over there.”
Once outside the TurboKat, both SWAT Kats jumped to the ground and headed for the fence. Razor activated his buzz saw and was about to touch the fence when T-Bone placed a paw over his shoulder.
“What’s up, buddy?” – Razor queried, looking to the tabby.
“What if it’s electrified? Don’t you hear that humming? Isn’t that electricity?”
“I don’t hear anything, T-Bone! But, you’re right. It could be electrified.” – Razor acknowledged. He retrieved a Mini Turbo-blade from his glovatrix and tossed to the fence. Just as soon as the blade contacted the fence, the air sizzled with electricity.
T-Bone knelt on the floor and grabbed his head in his paws tightly. Razor knelt by his side.
“What’s happening, T-Bone?”
“T-that sound… The sound of electricity… Make it stop… I can’t take it anymore…”
Razor acted quickly. He placed a set of dented tweezers between two sections of the fence and cut a specific wire. The humming and sparkling stopped immediately. He then activated his glovatrix’s buzzsaw and cut a gap on the fence.
T-Bone got up and went to Razor.
“I’m sorry, Razor… I don’t know what got into me…” – T-Bone apologized, but Razor promptly silenced him.
“It’s not your fault, buddy. I’m sure you’ve been through a lot with that purple crud… I don’t know what he did to you, buddy… But, I swear he’s gonna pay for it…”
They managed to penetrate the power plant. Razor guided T-Bone through the intricacy of paths, and they managed to reach the main power grid room. Inside, stood the main power generator and its humming filled the space. Near it stood a weird contraption with the shape of an Enforcer tank. Beside the tank, stood a huge dark figure.
T-Bone started gasping when he recognized the horrid form of Dark Kat a dozen feet ahead. Together with the humming sound, the vision of the purple crime overlord nearly made T-Bone hyperventilate.
Razor noticed it and tried to calm down the tabby.
“Easy, buddy! I’m here with you and, this time, I won’t let anything bad happen to you, okay?” – Razor said in a soothing tone.
T-Bone gulped and seemed to calm down a bit.
“You don’t have to come if you don’t want to, T-Bone! I won’t force you!”
“But *I* will!” – Dark Kat’s voice boomed over the room.
Coming out of the blue, a few creeplings rounded up both SWAT Kats and forced them to step inside the room and towards Dark Kat. Razor snarled to the huge kat while T-Bone shivered almost imperceptibly, trying not to denote just how scared he was of being so close to the purple kat.
“Well, well! What do we have here?” – Dark Kat boomed as he approached T-Bone – “I thought I had gotten rid of you permanently two weeks ago… You are a tough bone to chew, SWAT Kat… Looks like I’m going to have to get rid of you… again! By the looks of it, you liked the juice I gave you and want more! Just as I said, you became addicted to it, SWAT Kat! I think a few more volts will make you…”
“LEAVE HIM ALONE, YOU PURPLE PIECE OF CRUD! WHY DON’T YOU FIGHT ME INSTEAD?” – Razor shouted. His desperate plan had worked. Dark Kat had focused his attention on him now, leaving T-Bone aside.
“You think you stand any chance against me, SWAT Kat?” – Dark Kat gloated.
“‘S only one way ta find out! HA-YAAAHHH!”
With a portentous roundhouse kick, the SWAT Kat swept the crime overlord off his feet. Dark Kat groped his aching chin and got up. The creeplings prepared to attack the slim SWAT Kat, but Dark Kat’s shout held them back.
“Get back! The fight is only between me and the SWAT Kat.”
The little pink critters did as they were told, stepping back and flocking in a corner of the room. Dark Kat assumed a fighting stand and defied Razor.
“You were lucky to hit me the first time, SWAT Kat. But, I’m prepared now. C’mon! Give me your best shot!” – he taunted.
Razor ran to him and jumped in the air, attempting a flying-kick. The maneuver was perfect. T-Bone was astonished with the grace of the slim kat. The impact would have been outstanding if it weren’t for the fact that Dark Kat had stepped aside in the last instant and punched the slim kat in the gut when he passed by, making him fall to the ground.
Once Razor hit the ground, Dark Kat didn’t allow him enough time to recover, kicking the SWAT Kat’s head with all his might. The SWAT Kat was sent rolling over to the generator. Dark Kat went to him and grabbed the slim SWAT Kat by the collar, punching him on the face.
No! Dark Kat is killing him! I have to do something! But, why am I unable to even move a single foot? I’m so damn scared I can’t even move!
And, even if I could move, how could I face that mountain? I don’t even know how to land a decent punch!
I’m sorry, Jake! I can’t do anything to help you! I’m too scared!
Dark Kat kept pounding Razor’s face. The slim kat was rapidly losing his senses. Each punch of the huge kat was like being hit in the face by a rock. Razor wouldn’t stand under those blows for much longer.
With a final punch, Dark Kat threw Razor to ground, where he laid down. The slim kat still tried to crawl away from the huge purple kat but only received a huge blow to the stomach. Razor looked to T-Bone, his eyes veiled in pain and tears.
“T-T… Bone…” – Razor whispered in a voice not louder than his breathing – “C-Chance…”
After receiving another kick to his head, the slim kat passed out and laid limply on the floor. T-Bone widened his eyes when he saw the slim kat unmoving.
“AH! You weren’t even a worthy opponent, SWAT Kat! Finally! FINALLY, THE SWAT KATS ARE DEFEATED!” – Dark Kat gloated as he placed a foot over the limp form of Razor and burst out in a roar of laughter, his back turned to T-Bone.
“Dark Kat!” – T-Bone called the purple crime overlord.
“SILENCE, you buffoon jerk in a flight suit!”
“The era of silence is over.” – T-Bone said as he stepped to Dark Kat.
“Alright! What *do* you want, you imbecilic fop?” – Dark Kat asked, turning around to face T-Bone.
“I want… *YOU*!” – T-Bone said as he drew back his right arm and punched the huge purple kat.
Dark Kat was so surprised with T-Bone’s blow he staggered five steps back, groping his aching face. T-Bone had, in the meantime, lunged to him again and punched the huge kat in his gut, making him double over. In the same motion, T-Bone rammed his knee against the purple kat’s face, making him jerk his head back and fall on the ground over his tail. The burly SWAT Kat aimed his glovatrix to the purple kat and fired a Spider Missile, which wrapped its threads around the purple kat’s bulk, tying him up.
After arresting Dark Kat, T-Bone went over to Razor and checked on him. The slim SWAT Kat was still out cold, but his pulse was strong. T-Bone breathed out in relief.
“Wait until I’m free of these strings, SWAT Kat! I’ll reduce you to protoplasmic pulp with my bare paws!” – Dark Kat barked as his creeplings stepped towards him.
T-Bone walked over to the purple kat, aiming his glovatrix at the incoming pink critters and fired a net at them, which covered and rendered the little creatures helpless.
“Yes, you hear me, SWAT Kat! You’re gonna die as soon as I free myself of these strings! I’m gonna…”
“AW, SHUT UP!” – he shouted and punched the purple kat’s face with all his strength.
The huge kat passed out instantly.
Setting the huge bulk of the villain over his back, he carried the dead weight of Dark Kat outside the plant and headed directly to the Enforcers. The kat who received him was an old acquaintance of T-Bone’s.
“What are you hotshots doing here? The Enforcers were handling this!” – Feral barked to T-Bone.
The burly SWAT Kat just threw Dark Kat to him, making Feral fall over his tail.
“Handle this, Feral. And, try to hold him for more than five hours in a cell for once, will you?” – T-Bone taunted and headed back to the power plant.
“Where do you think you’re going?” – Feral demanded.
T-Bone looked askew over his shoulder to Feral.
“Back to the plant. My little brother needs me.”
Yes… My little brother needs me, Feral…
Thank you, Jake! I owe you more than my life! I owe you my freedom… You struggled alongside me to regain my memory… Now, it’s my turn to take care of you, Jake… I’m back and I owe it all to you, li’l bro…
I owe it all to you…
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