TITLE: THE SWAT KATS’ FINAL RESISTANCE – PART ONE
AUTHOR: C. L. Furlong
DATE: December 08, 2000
FINISHED: December 30, 2000
E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
RATING: G for normal people, R for the most sensitive ones
SUMMARY: One of the SWAT Kats is claimed to be dead in a jet crash. Dark Kat takes advantage of it and creates the most dreadful evil alliance ever witnessed by katkind.
DISCLAIMER: SWAT Kats and anything related to the series are property of Hanna-Barbara. No infringement is intended and no profit is gained with this fiction.
COMMENTS (long and boring): Don’t think I’m a kat assassin! I’m only murdering one of the SWAT Kats – my favorite character, as a matter of fact – for the fic’s sake. This fiction takes place a few years after the serie’s last episode “Unlikely Alloys”. All Megakat City’s villains never rested in that meantime but my fic starts with Dark Kat attempting to steal something at M. C. B. Labs after the SWAT Kats had raided his hideout somewhere in Megakat Island. I’m not having time to continue the fiction – tests, study, you know, that kind of stuff – but as you can see, I completed this part in just 23 days, so I believe Part Two to be out by the end of February. This fiction should have been an ode to brotherhood and true love but as it continued, I inserted a few dark – or should I say red – scenes. And by the looks of my ideas for Part Two, it may get even darker. This fiction contains some excerpts and characters from the episodes “Katastrophe”, “Mutation City”, “When Strikes Mutilor”. Caverns of Horror” and “Cry, Turmoil”. This is my first SK fiction although I’ve already written 19 fics and have ideas for another 28 on other subjects, all of them in Portuguese, my mother language. So, if you find any grammar or spelling errors in this fiction, please try to remind that I’m writing in a foreign language. If you tend to find some parts of this fiction like a lecture, never mind that: it’s just my training as a Biology/Geology teacher claiming it’s place. And please *do* let me know about your comments on this fic so I could do something better next time. One final word: *please*, do not let the SWAT Kats die away! I’ve just ventured myself in this world of SK fanfic writing because of the superb fanfics I’ve read from the Internet. The Radical Squadron deserves our best efforts to keep them alive and kicking…
“You shall not defeat me again, SWAT Kats!” – Dark Kat bellowed at the black jet plummeting down on him. In the rear seat of the jet, Razor announced…
One red and blue missile fired away from the TurboKat locked on Dark Kat’s figure. While in the air, the missile opened up into eight “tentacles.” Dark Kat turned on his paws and darted across the cement parking lot of Megakat City Biochemical Labs. Seconds after, the missile was pinning his huge bulk to the ground.
“BINGO” – Razor shouted.
“Nice shooting, buddy!” – T-Bone said, peering from his seat back at Razor – “Now we’ve got Dark Crud right where we want him!” – he said with a grin on his muzzle.
“Wait, T-Bone! I’m picking up something on the radar…”
“Yeah, and I got visual!” – T-Bone said, leaning forward – “Drones! Ten’s of ’em!”
“Dark Kat must’ve call ’em!” – Razor replied, already running his fingers over the keyboard.
“Well, Razor? Think you can handle ’em?
“No sweat, buddy! Banshee missiles… locked…”
“Tell me you’re not planning to use those screwy missiles of yours…” – T-Bone moaned.
“Don’t worry, T-Bone! I’ve tripled their power since last time. Trust me!”
“Do I have another choice?” – T-Bone muttered.
“Actually… no! DEPLOY!” – Razor shouted, with a smile in his snout. Two missiles were fired at the drones, emitting high-pitched sonic waves that scrambled the electronic circuits of the nearest drones, causing them to blow up in the air. However, it took only a laser blast from one drone to destroy both missiles.
“Told you before and I’m telling you now: those screamin’ demons of yours should have done less yellin’ and more squirmin’!” – said T-Bone, maneuvering the jet around the laser blows of the little machines that were already circling them.
“There’s too many of ’em! Gotta put ’em out of commission right now! CRUD!”
“What’s up, Razor?”
“I’m outta missiles! We spent to many of ’em in Dark Kat’s hideout!”
“There’s always the cement launcher!” – T-Bone remembered.
“I know. I’m already locking on ’em.” – Razor said. The sights were chasing the drones in the LCD screen of Razor’s visor in his helmet. – “I got a lock on! Firing… now!
Cement rained from the machine gun at the incoming drones. To heavy to continue to fly, the drones plummeted down like rocks, exploding all around the parking lot.
“Aha! BINGO!” – Razor congratulated himself.
“I gotta hand it to you, buddy… Fast thinking…” – T-Bone said, settling back in his seat.
“Couldn’t have done it without you, pal! Nice flying!” – Razor said, patting T-Bone’s shoulder.
“OK! Let’s just dump Dark Crud into the Enforcers’ paws and get outta here.”
“Hold on, T-Bone! We still got company!” – said an alarmed Razor, peering down at the radar – “I’m picking up something else on the radar!”
“More drones…” – a bored T-Bone growled softly.
“No, wait! They’re bigger than before!” – Razor noted. T-Bone leaned from his seat and peered down at the parking lot, searching for the octopus missile that pinned Dark Kat to the ground. He found it more to his left. The missile shimmered a little in the sun but he caught a good glimpse of it. He couldn’t believe in his eyes! He was gone! Dark Kat was gone!
“Where’s Dark Kat?” – T-Bone asked to nobody in particular. Even so, Razor answered him.
“He’s caught in an octopus missile, remember?”
“Not any more! He’s gone!”
“WHAT? How…” – an alarm cut off Razor’s sentence. He backed his attention to the radar again. The glowing dots in the screen were bigger and the size of them worried Razor. They were the size of a car! The other drones they were used to fighting were only the size of a TV set! – “T-Bone, do you have visual?”
“How come? They’re as big as cars! You should have visual contact of ’em!”
“Wait! I see somethin’ there! You’re right! Kats alive! Those things *are* big! And they’re closing in *fast*! We gotta do somethin’ *now*, Razor!”
“What do you want me to do? I’ll try to cement ’em, that’s all I *can* do!”
Gusts of bullets passed just inches away from both sides of the canopy.
“T-BONE!” – Razor shouted.
“We’re outta here, buddy! I’ll try to outrun ’em!” – T-Bone said, gritting his teeth. Easier said than done! Whatever those things were, they were made to have it neck to neck with the TurboKat. – “Crud! Can’t shake ’em! Engaging Speed of Heat thrusters!” – T-Bone said. Four auxiliary thrusters slide down and up the rear of the jet as its wings swung backward. The TurboKat jumped forward when the four thrusters roared to life, joining the three that were already in motion.
“If this can’t shake those things outta our tails, nothing can!” – T-Bone said, grabbing the control handle with both paws. Razor was crushed against his seat. He didn’t have time to prepare himself for the boost. However, he could see the dots starting to move to the top of his radar’s screen. Slowly, they started to disappear. Seconds later, the last dot vanished from the screen. Razor knew that meant nothing. T-Bone just managed to outrun them, but if they stopped, they would be caught in a question of minutes.
“CRUD!” – T-Bone gasped as if he could hear Razor’s thoughts.
“What is it, T-Bone?”
“We’re nearly outta fuel! Great! What else can go wrong!” – T-Bone muttered. – Exiting Speed of Heat mode.” As he said it, the thrusters fainted their roar and slid back into the rear of the jet.
“What do we do now, buddy?” – T-Bone asked, looking back at Razor. He could see they hadn’t many options. They could fly to the hangar to refill and reload or they could stand there and face the incoming machines. The indecision was, in a way, a decision. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a huge drone flew over the canopy, followed by two more.
“Whatever we do, buddy, we better do it fast!” – Razor said, checking for any last hour resort. He still had the cement machine gun. And he had one more thing…Razor couldn’t believe in his eyes! They had one more missile…
“Holy Kats!” – he muttered in bewilderment – “This may be our way out! We got one more missile, T-Bone!”
A gust of bullets pinpointed the left side hull of the TurboKat, penetrating in it.
“Whoa! Those bullets damaged the hull!” – T-Bone said – “Thought you told me this agrecite alloy could resist any bullet, Razor!”
“It should! If those bullets can penetrate our hull, then we’re really in big trouble, T-Bone!”
“Better take your best shot, buddy!”
“Just keep the jet steady… We’ll end this game with a plain old missile! Loaded… Locked… DEPLOY!”
A yellow missile darted from the TurboKat. On its side one could read ‘From Razor with love’… The shot was a hit. The blast from the explosion caused another drone to crash down in a crazy spiral of fire and smoke.
“BINGO! TWO FOR ONE!” – Razor congratulated himself – “Now to take care of the last one! I’ll just give it a cement coffin!” – He started looking for the last big drone but he couldn’t find it. – “Do you see it, T-Bone?”
“Negative! And that’s not good!” – T-Bone said. He knew perfectly what that meant – they were being hunted down and the drone could strike whenever and wherever it wanted. – “Can’t you pick it on the radar?”
“Crud! It must be using a cloaking system.”
“Switching to infrared visor” – Razor announced. Even so, he couldn’t see the drone. His voice sounded tense – “This is not looking good to me, buddy! Where the heck is that drone?”
They were circling above Megakat City’s Municipal Park. To the left, were the twin skyscrapers of Megakat Trade Towers and far to the right, near Megakat Springs were the remains of Megakat Tower, destroyed by the giant ci-kat-a. A few yards ahead, they could see the building of Megakat’s City Hall. From that point, a shower of bullets hurtled into the TurboKat’s canopy, shattering it to a million pieces. The blast caught both kats off guard.
“It was behind City Hall!” – T-Bone cried out. Even before T-Bone had said that, Razor was already aiming the cement launcher and firing some cement slugs. The slugs caught the drone, making it visible but were not enough to stop it.
“T-Bone, it’s coming from your left!” – Razor warned T-bone, but to no avail. The drone was already firing another blast of bullets at the jet. One of them found its target, punching the left side of T-Bone’s chest. The bullet broke a rib and perforated through part of T-Bone’s left lung, stopping just inches from his heart.
The pain was intense, like a sword ripping through his lungs. His eyes widened in surprise and then narrowed to thin slits in pain. With a grimace of pain on his face, he felt a shiver and sighed on the sly, never growling, moaning, or screaming… and he never told Razor what just happened.
Another blast… and another… and another yet. They were sitting ducks with T-Bone out of commission. – “Gotta… put… myself… together… Razor… must have… the jet steady…” – T-Bone thought. Shivering with pain, teeth gritted, he tried to level the jet.
“Hold her still, buddy! I got that darn drone right in my sights!” – Razor asked, ignoring his partner’s condition. T-Bone did so. The cement launcher was in motion. The gust of cement slugs was simultaneous with another blast of bullets. Both gusts met their targets. The drone was literally covered by cement, plummeting down to the ground. However, its bullets destroyed the TurboKat’s stabilizers and the jet was completely out of control.
“CRUD!” – T-Bone said, trying to ignore the pain that was overcoming him. – “That thing must have hit the stabilizer cables. I… can’t… control… her…”
The jet was hurtling toward Megakat’s City Hall, losing altitude as it raced forward.
“C ‘mon, buddy! – Razor yelled. – “We gotta bail or we’re all goners!”
“I may be dead anyway, Jake” – T-Bone muttered, not to his partner but to his friend. – “I can’t let Dark Kat get both of us killed! GET OUTTA HERE, BUDDY!” – T-Bone said, punching a button. The next second, Razor’s seat was ejected from the TurboKat, along with him.
“T-BONE! WHAT’RE YOU DOIN’?” – Razor shouted to his partner but he was already to far away, racing toward the building in front of him.
“I’m sorry, Jake, but you’re more needed than me, buddy. I’m just your pilot and you can get more from where I came.” – T-Bone thought to himself. He groped his chest – it hurt – and then peered at his fingers. They were streaked with a red and thick fluid. He then produced a photo from an inner pocket in his G-suit – “I just feel sorry for her… She’s getting out tomorrow… She really kept her whiskers clean… I’m sorry, beautiful… I won’t be waiting for you…”
The explosion was tremendous, lighting the entire city. Fragments of the jet flew in every direction. One of them met Razor’s mask, cutting it and his face. It hurt a bit when the teardrop contacted the blood in the wound but Razor didn’t pay attention. The pain inside him was far more intense than that, more intense then any other pain he had ever felt in his life.
“CHAAAAAAAAANCE!” – He wasn’t calling for his partner. He wasn’t calling for T-Bone. He was calling for his friend, for his best friend… almost his brother…
“Chance… Why?” – Tears dropped from his eyes. – “WHY?” – He wiped his eyes with the back of his left paw and activated the seat’s thrusters. That couldn’t be true! T-Bone had to eject himself before the jet crashed! He just didn’t see him. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t! He arrived at the ruined building. He only saw the immense hole the jet made in the wall, which was on fire. He tried to catch a glimpse of the interior but couldn’t see much. He then landed his seat and swiftly inspected the wreckage of the jet. There was nothing there and the remains of the jet were partially melted. Even if T-Bone survived the crash he couldn’t have survived the flames. Razor felt a wave of agony overwhelming him. He couldn’t find his friend! He was nowhere to be found!
“Chance…” – he said softly. Tears started rolling from his eyes again. The sound of a siren threw him back to reality. The Enforcers were coming, and so were the firekats with their red cranes. Razor activated the jets in his backpack and sadly flew towards the salvage yard and the underground hangar…
“This is Ann Gora, Kat’s Eye News, reporting live from Megakat’s City Hall, where the SWAT Kats’ jet just crashed minutes ago. We’ll try to speak with Comdr. Feral. Commander, are there any survivors?”
“So far we haven’t found any corpses but there are reasons to presume that at least one of those outlawed vigilantes has survived. Searches are continuing. Thank you.”
“But, Comdr. Feral…”
“No further comments, please.”
Razor reached the perimeter of the salvage yard. Pressing a button in his glovatrix, he opened the hangar’s tunnel door, flying inside. When he reached the vast room, his heart felt just like the hangar: empty. Razor was used to losing the TurboKat – it happened all the time! And, all the time he had to rebuild it. But this time he had lost something far more important than a jet… He had lost his best friend. Taking off his G-suit and quickly putting on his mechanics overalls, Jake raced up to their living room. He had a crazy idea! Maybe Chance *did* bail out of the jet in time to save his tail! Maybe he was already upstairs, sitting on the couch with a can of milk, watching ‘Scaredy Kat.’
“Chance…” – Jake stopped at the door. The room was deserted. – “Crud! Who am I foolin’? Chance is *dead*! He *didn’t* eject from the TurboKat! He *died* in that crash! And it’s all *my* fault!”
Jake sank onto the sofa and covered his eyes with his paws. He remained that way the entire night…
“Finally I’m getting out of here!” – a female voice with a strong accent said – “I can’t wait until tomorrow! He will be here… waiting for me… And then, no more crime… ever…”
“DINNER” – bellowed a guard. The cells’ doors opened and the imprisoned she-kats stepped out.
“I can already taste the sweet taste of freedom! And it shall taste even better when I share it with my ‘treacherous tom-kat’…”
The dinner was a sour paste but, even so, it felt good to her. The thought of freedom made her feel like a kitten. She nearly sang as she returned to her cell for her last night in jail. She couldn’t know it was going to be the worst night of all…
“You know what happened?” – a guard asked another.
“Yeah! Impressive, ain’t it? Such a good pilot!”
“I wonder why he didn’t eject?”
“Beats me! But I think Comdr. Feral must be happy now! He wanted so much to get his paws on those vigilantes.”
That comment straightened her ears. She jumped to the cell’s bars.
“What are you talking about?” – she asked tensely, not really wanting to know the answer.
“Whoa! Easy, beauty!”
“Please! Answer me!”
“And just what do *I* get in return, sweetie?”
“You won’t be shredded apart by me!”- She hissed, showing her claws.
“Whoa! Easy, I said, beautiful! OK, we’re talking about the SWAT Kats, honey! Satisfied?”
“What about them?”
“Oh, I forgot – *you*, prisoners, don’t know what’s happening outside…” – the guard teased her.
“You’re making me loose my temper!”
“Cut that out, will you?” – the other guard intervened. – “She just wants to know what happened! It’s the SWAT Kats. They had an accident. Their jet crashed and apparently only one survived.”
“WHO?” – she cried.
“Heck, I think they called him… What was that name again?”
“T-Bone.” – The other guard said. – “His partner used to call him T-Bone.”
She felt like she had been stabbed in her back. She backed away from the bars and sank onto the filthy mattress.
“Are you okay?” – one of the guards asked.
“Ah, leave her alone!” – the other guard said. – “You’re too gentle with these creeps, ya know? Hope she chokes on a hairball!”
She lay there in shock for a few minutes. First, she didn’t believe the guard. He was just teasing her, she thought. But then again, he couldn’t do that once only *she* knew that T-Bone and Chance Furlong were the same kat. Then the guard *must* have told her the truth! Chance was *dead*! And even if he wasn’t, knowing nothing of his whereabouts felt just the same! As the truth slowly started to strike her, heavy tears rolled off her eyes.
“T-BONE, YOU TREACHEROUS TOM-KAT!” – she bellowed in fury. – “How could you do this to me? How could you die on me? What about our love? What about our vows? What about *me*?”
She cried all night until she fell asleep, exhausted.
The first morning rays of sunlight began to invade the living room of the garage in the salvage yard. Jake was still in the same position as the day before. And, he didn’t intend to move so soon. The psychological pain was still severe. A sound made his hears straighten up. It was a truck’s brakes. Burke and Murray. Of all kats, he had to deal with them now, in this time of pain for him. He lifted himself from the sofa and headed for the garage entrance. The truck was unloading a pile of military wreckage. In it, he recognized pieces of the TurboKat, including his seat. That made his blood boil.
“Hey, ‘pilot’! Forget to shave this morning?” – Jake ignored that comment. – “Recognize this wreckage here?” – Burke asked him, in a clear attempt to make Jake loose his temper. Jake held on.
“I do! It’s the SWAT Kats’ jet” – he answered, fists clenched.
“WROOOOONG!” – Murray teased – “It’s the SWAT Kats’ jet wreckage!” – And started laughing at Jake’s face. Jake clamped his fists tighter, his claws piercing through his fur and skin.
“Sign here!” – Jake did so. – “Here’s your copy.” – Burke handed a paper to Jake. He grabbed the paper, streaking it with his blood. Both kats jumped onto their truck. Once inside, Murray asked Jake where the ‘hotshot’ was. This took Jake to the brink of his control. Still, he answered Murray.
“Chance is… sick… with a cold… A bad one…”
“Too bad for him! Well, he’d better get well soon! Feral doesn’t want any lazy kats in the salvage yard!” – he said, starting his truck. Seconds later, they were gone.
“Crud, that was tough…” – Jake said, releasing the grip on his own fists. His paws were nearly covered with his blood. – “Gotta control myself.”
He returned to the living room and sank once more in the couch, staring at his paws. The wounds weren’t severe. – “This is nothing compared to what happened to Chance…” – Then, he just covered his eyes with his paws again, trying to set his thoughts in order.
“Jake?” – a female voice with a strong accent called a few hours later. He looked at the garage’s entrance. There was a slim female figure in there, although her details were obscured because of the light from outside. Even so, he recognized her voice. His mind flew back a few years before, inside a flying aircraft carrier, when T-Bone seemed to have passed to their enemy’s side. He hadn’t forgotten what she said to him when he asked T-Bone what was going on: “You’re a clever kat… You’ll figure it out!” She was the commander of the ship. She terrorized Megakat City with that vertigo beam of hers, almost forcing a commercial jet to crash. He remembered her, alright.
“Turmoil!” – he muttered. His muscles tensed. He was prepared for the fight.
“So, you still remember me. Should I be flattered?” – she said, walking into the garage. Only then, the facts struck Jake.
“How do you know who I am? We’ve never been introduced before?” – he said. She seemed to be upset with that question.
“Cut that out, Jake ‘Razor’ Clawson!” – she said, catching Jake off guard. She knew he and Razor were the same kat! Jake couldn’t help wondering how.
“Yes, I know you and Chance are the SWAT Kats, Jake!”
“Were…” – Jake clamped his mouth with his paws. Seeing he could no longer deny the truth, he sighed. – “OK, Turmoil, you win. Yes, we were the SWAT Kats…” – Jake’s eyes turned to the ground, his shoulders lowered, his muscles relaxed.
She gave Jake a warm smile and caressed his chin.
“I am not your enemy anymore, Jake…” – she said softly. – In fact, I was going to be Chance’s wife.”
That comment had the taste of a punch in Jake’s stomach. – “Chance’s wife? What the hell are you talking about?” – He managed to ask Turmoil. She looked amused at Jake’s reaction.
“Didn’t Chance tell you? We were planning to get married in a few months.” – Another ‘blow’ to Jake’s stomach.
“We better sit down! You got a lot of explaining to do, Turmoil!” – Jake said, stepping into the kitchen. – “Want something to drink?”
“A milk cream liqueur would be divine!”
“Sorry. Only got canned milk!”
“I suppose it’ll have to do, then!” – Turmoil said, releasing a brief and soft sigh. – “Oh, by the way, Jake, you should wash your face! It’s covered with dry blood! And perhaps shave yourself!”
With a can of milk in her paws, Turmoil started talking. – “Chance and I have been meeting for quite a long time, now. Actually, we started our romance aboard my ship. At first, he only wrote letters to me. I tore them all apart after reading them. Until I found myself really in love with him. I started answering his letters. I knew he couldn’t visit me, at least as a SWAT Kat! He would be arrested the moment he put claws in that prison. As I had a lot of spare time there, I began studying the Enforcers, their organization, their purposes, their personnel. Until one day I came across a picture of you and Chance while you still were in the Enforcers. Something grabbed my attention the same second I looked at that picture. Chance’s arms. They had the same pattern as T-Bone’s. That was the first clue. The color of Chance’s fur was the same. The stature of his body was the same. And, above all, the mocking grin on his muzzle was the same. I thought that couldn’t be just coincidence. When I answered his last letter, I called him Chance ‘T-Bone’ Furlong. The next day he came to visit me. I was right. T-Bone was Chance Furlong. And then I realized that I loved Chance, not his alter ego T-Bone. We started meeting on a regular basis. Sometimes our meetings got quite close and personal, if you know what I mean. So, a few months ago, we made our vows and we were planning to get married at the end of the year. But now…” – A tear rolled down her face.
Jake swept it off with his thumb.
“And now he’s gone…” – Jake said mournfully. – “And it’s all my fault!”
“Why do you say that, Jake?”
“Because if I didn’t had that stupid idea…” – he couldn’t go on. He was fighting to control his emotions. Turmoil gave him time to put himself together and then asked what was that stupid idea of Jake’s. – “When we were dumped out of the Enforcers, we came to work here to pay for the damages in the new Enforcers’ building. Chance was mad with Feral. He said we were pilots, not junk kats. Then I saw all that military salvage and had the idea of building our own jet so we could get back in the air and fight Dark Kat and all the criminal scum of Megakat City. He was still hot with Feral and accepted it without ever questioning me. If I hadn’t had that stupid idea, Chance would be here now…” – A new wave of commotion overwhelmed Jake.
“That’s not your fault, Jake!” – Turmoil said. – “I know nobody knew Chance like you, but believe me! If Chance couldn’t fly, then he would give no value to his life! He would prefer to die than be stuck on the ground. And, you know that!”
“Yeah, I know that! He would never want to eject when something would go wrong with the TurboKat. He somehow managed to always defy the laws of gravity and keep the fighter flying long enough to save our tails… But he *could* have ejected from the jet… He *had* time… – Jake sighed loudly – But he didn’t want to leave the TurboKat…”
“He must love that jet…” – Turmoil said, putting the verb in the present tense. Jake noted her efforts to cheer him up, but it was hopeless.
“Chance is dead, Turmoil. Nothing you or I may say will bring him back. I’ll just have to accept it, but, for now… I just want to ‘enjoy’ my pain… That’s just how I am…”
“Fine with me! I’ve lost my partner too, once!” – she said, looking into the infinite.
“You did?” – Jake turned his gaze to her. That she-kat never ceased to surprise him.
“Yes. I was a good she-kat in my days, when I was involved in a paramilitary squad, just like the Megakat City Enforcers. We were called ‘Gurkats’. I was a fighter pilot, just like Chance. I was chasing Dark Kat…”
“Whoa! Are you talking about the same Dark Kat? I mean, the Dark Kat I know?” – Jake interrupted her.
“The very same one. He’s not from Megakat City. And this isn’t the first city he has terrorized, either! However, he *has* concentrated all his efforts on destroying Megakat City! Anyway, I was chasing him. My partner already had his missiles locked on Dark Kat’s aircraft.”
“Tell me no more.” – Jake interrupted her again – “Let me guess. He fired his rear blaster guns at you, hitting your wing and sending you down in a spiral.”
“He did just that! How did you Know?” – she asked, her eyes intensely focusing on Jake’s.
“Easy, Turmoil. He just did the same thing to us, a few months ago. Luckily, Chance managed to level the jet but I was out like a blown engine…”
“His flying was magnificent! I have never seen any pilot who could outfly him. He had a feeling for that.” – Turmoil said, her eyes sparkling as she spoke. Then, her gaze shifted, acquiring a dull and sour expression – “But he managed to save both of you. I couldn’t. The plane crashed in a rocky desert. My partner couldn’t resist his injuries and bled to death…” – a tear danced in her left eye but never did slid down – Well, that’s the story. I was blamed both for destroying the fighter *and* allowing my partner to die. I was dumped out of the Gurkats after spending some time in solitary confinement. Then, I gathered some she-kats, trained them, and built my ship. I decided to test my strength on Megakat City before attacking the Gurkats’ Headquarters but I ended up defeated and in another prison…” – she gave a final sigh, releasing all the air in her lungs.
A few heavy seconds passed before Jake replied to her.
“So…You never told me why you came here, anyway…”
“I thought we could join our grief… After all, we must be the two kats that cared the most about Chance…”
“Aaaand…” – Jake added, prolonging the word as if he expected something else from Turmoil.
“I can already see that Chance couldn’t hide anything from you, could he?” – she asked rhetorically. She drew a deep breath and let all the air out before starting. – “Well, I’m out of jail and I guessed nobody would want to give me a paw, so…”
“You want to work here?” – Jake asked, staring at her with a surprised gaze on his face.
“That crossed my mind…” – she said looking to the ground, her voice no louder than a whisper.
Jake’s surprise shifted quickly into sympathy for her. Besides, he was a little confused how Turmoil could be so strong and confident and yet so feminine. He couldn’t refuse her unspoken request. However, before he could say something, Turmoil raised herself from the couch and took two steps toward the garage door before being stopped by Jake’s hand tugging her right arm softly.
“Let me go, Jake. That was a stupid idea!” – teardrops danced in her eyes but refused to obey gravity. – “I guess I just wanted Chance back… at least as a memory…” – She closed her eyelids and the tears dropped freely, racing down her cheeks.
Jake looked directly at her. Even with her eyes closed, she could feel Jake’s intense gaze. She opened her humid eyes and her mouth to say something but Jake’s forefinger gently pressed immediately her lips, silencing her.
“You’re hired.” – Jake purred. – “Where do you think you’re going? We gotta lotta salvage to set in order out there!” –
Turmoil’s eyes widened in surprise. She embraced Jake in a tight hug, his cheeks turning red under his orange fur.
“Thank you, Jake! Well, you’re right!” – she said, wiping her tears away with her sleeves. – “We got a lot to do!”
“What a collision… Nobody could’ve survived that!” – said an Enforcer, still searching in the blocks around City Hall for any signs of the corpses of the two SWAT Kats. – “Maybe we should give up the searches!”
“*No one* is giving up *anything*, Sergeant!” – a harsh female voice rasped through the alley. – “We’ll keep lookin’ till we find something!”
“Yes, Lieutenant Feral!” – responded the other enforcer, noticing that Felina’s will was unshakable. She too believed that at least one, if not both, SWAT Kats survived the crash. However, not finding any clue on either Razor’s or T-Bone’s whereabouts was beginning to seep fear in her mind… fear that maybe… just maybe… they hadn’t survived the collision… She swept that thought away with a jerk of her head, her dark hair swinging briefly against her cheeks.
“C’mon, guys!” – she thought – “Where *are* you two?”
She moved out of the alley where she and the other Enforcer stood, walking to another alley a few blocks away, in a search that was on for nearly twenty-four hours. Still, despite all the Enforcers’ efforts, the SWAT Kats just seemed to have vanished into thin air.
The night was approaching, spreading her dark cloak over the salvage yard. Turmoil and Jake worked all the afternoon and had managed to set the pile of debris Burke and Murray left at their ‘front step’ in order. They even managed to get out most of the wreckage Jake recognized as that of the TurboKat and place it in a separate pile. Jake’s eyes saddened as he saw what was left of the powerful fighter jet.
“It doesn’t even look like a jet…” – he sighed. Although he was accustomed to repairing and even rebuilding the TurboKat, it didn’t mean it wasn’t painful to see such a mighty jet torn apart.
Turmoil patted Jake’s right shoulder softly. As a pilot, she too felt her heart shrink at the sight of the partially melted twisted black monstrosity in front of her. Her next question was the only one a pilot could ask a mechanic.
“Can you fix it?”
“Sure… But what for? With Chance dead, the SWAT Kats are history… Soon, we’ll be no more than campfire stories until we sink into oblivion…” – Jake said, his eyes boring holes in the ground.
That statement caught Turmoil a bit off guard.
“You don’t mean…” – Turmoil started, half recovered from the shock.
“What did you expect? I can fly the TurboKat, of course. But I don’t have Chance’s skills. I wouldn’t even dream of those daredevil flights that he did all the time! I’m a weapons officer, not a fighter pilot!”
“So, you need a pilot. What’s the big deal?” – she asked, only half-innocently.
“What’s the big deal?” – Jake replied in disbelief. – “What’s the big deal? Pilots like Chance don’t pour down from the sky, you know, Turmoil?”
“I know that! But you have a pilot right in front of you, don’t you?” – she said, pointing to herself.
Jake looked to her, his eyes narrowing as he felt betrayed by Turmoil.
“So that’s what you wanted!” – he hissed in fury – “You wanted the TurboKat for your own evil purposes! That’s your miserable scheme! You don’t give a crud about Chance! Maybe you’re even joyful that he’s dead!”
Turmoil lifted her right paw and smacked it against Jake’s right cheek. The tomkat’s face turned bright red under his orange fur and warmed as the blood vessels under his skin filled with the vital fluid. His expression held no anger, just surprise. Turmoil’s face, however, had an angry, insulted expression. Gradually, she lowered her paw and began to whimper. Then, she turned her face away from Jake’s, sinking it in her paws and crying loud.
Jake touched his cheek. Crud, that *was* a blow! Then he looked at her, crying desperately in front of him. – “She was telling the truth…” – he thought – “She really *was* telling the truth! She *did* love Chance! And I insulted her feelings for him… CRUD… Won’t I *ever* do something right with she-kats?” – Jake walked to her and softly laid a paw on her left shoulder – “Turmoil, I… I’m… I’m sorry! I… I…” – Words couldn’t come out. – “I was a fool… was blind because of the TurboKat… Just hope you can forgive me…”
“You… insulted… my purest feelings… about Chance…” – she spoke, her voice ragged – “You can insult me… You can say whatever you want about me…” – her voice’s tone rising with each word, ending in almost a roar – “…BUT DON’T QUESTION MY FEELINGS FOR CHANCE!”
Jake dropped his head to his chest, his eyes staring at the ground. After a few seconds in aching silence, he murmured sheepishly to Turmoil – “I’m sorry, Turmoil… I… Crud…”
“Let’s just eat something and then we hit the bed. It’s been a draining day for both of us… Maybe tomorrow we can see things a little clearer.” – she said, almost an order.
Jake nodded. Maybe tomorrow things would look brighter.
The bulky kat was staring at the bubbling lava of the pit in front of him. Well hidden inside the volcano in Megakat National Park, Dark Kat was trying to set his thoughts in order. Those *blasted* SWAT Kats nearly got him… However, his drones had managed to get one of them killed. Such joy! He swore he would finish the remaining SWAT Kat. But he would have a little fun first. He would give the other SWAT Kat part of the pain they had given *him* all those years… He also managed to steal what he needed from the Neurology section of Megakat Biochemical Labs. The flask of pale blue-gray serum he was now holding in his huge paws was the key… *His* key to complete global domination… His devilish grin widened with the thought… Dark Kat lifted from his shiny dark obsidian ‘throne’ and crossed the bridge of basalt over the lava pit. He entered into another room – another lava tube.
The characteristic whirring of machinery filled the air in the room. Seated in front of a computer console stood a figure dressed in a blue coat. He didn’t run his fingers over the keyboard, rather allowing the blue electricity bolts flickering off his fingertips to do that job.
“Hard Drive!” – Dark Kat’s deep voice echoed in the lava walls.
The tan-furred tomkat spun in his chair, facing the purple visage that was calling him. His dark yellow eyes remained unexpressive as the huge bulk of the devilish kat approached him.
Dark Kat laid a paw on Hard Drive’s shoulder. His expression remained meaningless. – “Your drones proved worthy, after all! I can say I owe my freedom to them. Of course, this means nothing to you, once you’re not Hard Drive anymore!” – Dark Kat allowed himself a slight chuckle as he backed away from Hard Drive. He spun again on his seat and resumed whatever he was doing previously.
– “As a matter of fact, you’re not even a *kat* anymore! You’re a puppet… A puppet that *I* control! But don’t worry, Hard Drive… Soon, there’ll be more like you… All katkind will join you… as my obedient slaves!” – The purple kat broke into a devilish laughter that reverberated in the humid walls of the lava tubes inside the entire volcano.
Jake slipped himself out of the couch as the first morning light invaded the garage’s living room. He and Turmoil hadn’t spoke to each other since last night.
He had silently offered their bedroom to her by settling on the couch. She had understood his silent offer and after a few seconds of hesitation decided to accept it.
After taking a quick cold shower and brushing his fangs, he decided to go check on her. Sliding the door just a bit open, he saw her lying on Chance’s bed. – “She’s desperately trying to bring him back… even just as a memory…” – Jake thought sadly. He closed the door as quietly as he could.
He made some coffee and sat on a chair in their tiny kitchen, reading the morning paper. Jake threw it aside a few minutes after, noticing that he couldn’t focus on his reading. He was thinking about Turmoil’s words last evening. – “‘So you need a pilot!’ she said… She’s right about one thing! The SWAT Kats swore to protect Megakat City. With Chance dead, there are no SWAT Kats… But she’s a pilot… And Megakat City needs the SWAT Kats… If I had died and Chance knew a good weapons officer, he’d certainly accept him… For Megakat City needs the SWAT Kats… Then, why do I feel like I’m betraying Chance? Crud, she’s even Chance’s fiancée. He chose her, he trusted her… Crud, but this feeling… ‘We’re separated for only one minute and you already have a new partner?’ he said once… But Dark Kat… Dr. Viper… The PastMaster… The Metallikats… Hard Drive… The Enforcers would never be able to stop them…”
Jake continued, sunk in his thoughts, for a couple of hours until Turmoil joined him at the table.
– “Good morning, Jake. Slept well?” – she said, grinning at him. She seemed to have forgiven him.
“‘Morning! Yeah, it wasn’t too bad.” –
Neither of them spoke while Turmoil finished her breakfast.
Then, Jake started. – “I have a proposition for you, Turmoil.” – he said, giving her his earnest face.
“What you said last night. That I needed a pilot. You’re right. You’re skilled enough to match Chance. So, here’s my proposition: do you want to be a SWAT Kat?”
Jake’s words rendered her stunned. She never thought of it that way. Becoming a SWAT Kat. She thought about substituting Chance as the TurboKat’s pilot but never about becoming a SWAT Kat. Obviously, replacing Chance meant exactly that.
“Well, what do you say?” – Jake asked her, noticing her stunned face.
“I… I’ll…” – she gasped. Regaining the strength of her voice, she stated out loud, so there would be no room for doubt – “I’ll do it! I’ll become a SWAT Kat!”
“Good. Now let’s get going.” – Jake said, leaving the table.
“Just follow me.” – Jake responded.
They headed down to the underground hangar. Instead of the TurboKat, just a pile of wreckage stood amidst the vast room. Lined against the walls, were all kind of electronic machinery, many of them unrecognizable to Turmoil, who was staring at the room in astonishment. A few minutes had passed before she was able to speak again.
“You have an underground hangar? I thought you had the TurboKat camouflaged among the dump outside. Did you built it yourselves?”
“Actually, I don’t know the story of this place! We just found it that way! It must’ve been used as an underground military base sometime back in history. Apparently, this place was converted to a salvage yard and everybody forgot what was underneath it! Think, even Feral doesn’t know about it either! Well, we couldn’t be more thankful to the Holy Kats… We had the means to build our own jet and the means to hide it safely. What more could we ask for?” – Jake said, his eyes sparkling.
Turmoil seemed impressed.
“That fool… Commander Feral didn’t dump you two out of the Enforcers… He gave you and the city a tremendous gift!” – she chuckled, trying to imagine Feral’s face if he knew what he had done.
“Yeah, well… I think he’d cough up a hairball if he ever knew!” –
Both kats started laughing out loud after Jake’s comment, the first time they laughed in nearly two days.
– “Well, let’s get down to more… trivial matters. You’ll need a G-suit… and I don’t think any of ours will fit you!”
“That is not a problem. I’ll just tear some of them apart and then mend them. Helmet is not a problem either – I still have my old Gurkat helmet.” – she answered, waving a paw as she talked.
“With some modifications, it may serve you well. I see you have an answer for everything, Turmoil. Let’s see if you have one for this request.” – Jake said, giving her a shade of a mocking grin.
“I’m listening.” – she stated, proudly.
“I can’t call you Turmoil while we’re on a mission! Everybody knows you by your nickname so you have to come out with another one.”
“No problem. As you said, Turmoil is just a nickname. My real name is Katanya Harebrown. My partner used to joke about my first name. He was constantly calling me Katana.”
“Katana” – Jake replied, thoughtfully – “I like it! It matches my nickname, Razor!”
“Then, Katana shall be! Put it here, partner!” – she extended her paw to Jake, which he grabbed, shaking paws as if to settle the deal.
“The Radical Squadron is up again and ready to kick some gruesome tails!” – Jake said, not without a slight feeling that he was betraying Chance.
Comdr. Feral sat in the huge chair behind his immense desk in his office, tossing the papers he just received. His head was swirling. Why did Felina do that? He felt betrayed by his own niece! She could never have done what she did, disobeying his personal orders. And *him*! Why had it had to be *him*? What was *he* doing there, with her? The pencil in his left paw became two as he clamped it tighter with a light cracking sound. He raised himself from his chair and walked to the window at his left, where he could see part of Megakat City, the part where the salvage yard was located. He groped inside his heavy coat and took his official enforcer blaster off its shoulder holster. He observed the gun. It would be so easy. Just one shot and it would all be over. Yes. Homicide was beginning to be a very attractive idea to Comdr. Feral.
Midnight. In the ruins of his tower, near the graveyard, the PastMaster surveyed Megakat City with his eye. “So shiny!” – he grumbled – “Even at night, with no moon, this tasteless city shimmers in the dark! How I long for my Dark Ages… And my beloved Callista…” – the sorcerer sighed loudly, closing his eye.
His mind flew back in time, back to the Dark Ages. He saw Callista, splendid in the moonlight, her golden hair reflecting the pale light as it spread over each thin, blond string.
He was so sunken in his memories he didn’t notice the chit-chattering of Dark Kat’s creeplings. In less than a minute, they had the PastMaster surrounded. He finally opened his eye when a creepling dislocated a loose brick. Blinking in surprise, the old sorcerer stood rapidly on his feet, brandishing his magic watch at the incoming gargoyle-like little creatures.
“What is this? Dark Kat is attacking *me*? Did he go crazy? Well, this outrage will be over very soon!” – the PastMaster aimed his watch at the nearest creepling and shot a bright purple beam. The creature was sent backward trough the air till it contacted with the rough stony wall behind. Purple blood dripped from its snout as he lied on the floor, limply. Another five creeplings had the same fate before two of them finally reached the PastMaster, crawling up his cloak onto his hood. – “What the…” – he started but a sting in the back of his neck clipped the words off his mouth. The hooded figure shivered a bit, falling to his knees as he dropped his watch. Moments after, his vision became black in the corners of his eye. In a few minutes, the skeletal sorcerer’s world turned jet-black as he collapsed. The creeplings grabbed him by his cape, watch hanging freely from the clip of his belt, and took him off his tower, towards Megakat National Park.
“If *any* kat’s gonna ace our little obstacle course, it’s gonna be *me*!” – Jake said, climbing up a pile of metallic junk.
“We’ll see ’bout that, pal!” – Chance answered him, starting to climb up the same pile.
Jake reached the top and launched himself to grab a rope hanging from a crane. Swinging above the deep pit filled with water below, Jake released the rope and landed neatly on the other side, darting for the next pile of metallic litter.
Chance was just behind him, swinging his powerfully built body over the water pit. But, something happened. The rope snapped and Chance dropped into the pit. He flailed the water in order to get back to the surface, gasping for air. – “Jake… Gi… Gimme a paw… Jake… Pal…”
“Nice try, buddy, but *that* old trick’s not goin’ to slow *me* down!” – Jake grabbed a pole and thrust himself over the last pile of metallic dump.
Chance was still thrashing in the water, fighting to keep his head above the liquid.
“Jake…Help… Please… Jake… Help me…” – Chance gasped.
Jake was running at full speed towards the finish line.
“Ha! Looks like the *best* kat’s gonna win!” – he stopped when he broke the ribbon marking the finish line. He then heard Chance’s pleas for help fading away. – “CRUD! I don’t think he’s foolin’ around! CHANCE! HOLD ON! –
Jake made his way over the pile of metallic waste. From its top he could see the pit he had dug a few weeks before. The water was still now, except for a few ring-like waves rolling towards the margin. He couldn’t see Chance anymore. – “CHANCE! WHERE ARE YOU? Oh, *crud*!” –
He hurried down the pile, a tight knot forming in his stomach. Approaching the water-filled pit, he plunged into it. He felt embraced by coldness as he entered the water. He opened his eyes, but the muddy liquid was burning them. He hadn’t taken much air, so he propelled himself to the surface to get a deep breath. He dove again, forcing his eyes to open despite the burning feeling. He saw something! Chance! He was sinking limply! He swam desperately toward his friend, grabbing him under his shoulder.
Swimming with only one arm, Jake dragged Chance to ‘shore’. He laid his friend’s limp body on the ground and applied CPR for several minutes. – “C’mon, buddy! Speak to me! Chance! Buddy! Say something! Crud! This ain’t workin’.” – he leaned over his friend’s mouth and blew some air into him.
Something was wrong. Chance’s chest wasn’t lifting! He tried it again but Chance’s chest still refused to lift. Jake knew that was a bad sign… A very bad one… It meant his airways were blocked… Maybe clogged with water.
Fifteen minutes had passed. Despite CPR and mouth to mouth respiration, Chance was losing his colors. He was now cyanotic and getting cold already. Jake knew too much time had passed since Chance’s brain had received oxygen for the last time. His brain was dead. His heart long since stopped.
Jake couldn’t believe it! Chance died in his paws! He let Chance die! No! No! Not again! NOT AGAIN!
“NO!” – Jake sat up in the couch. His body was shivering and covered in sweat, his eyes unfocused.
Turmoil came from their bedroom, startled by Jake’s scream.
“Are you okay, Jake?” – she asked him softly, passing her right arm over both his shoulders. – “Nightmare? About Chance? Don’t think of it anymore, Jake. It’s not good for you!” – She gave him a light kiss in his forehead, reassuring him.
“I… I’m okay now.” – he muttered, lying back again.
Turmoil headed for her bed, yawning as she walked.
– Turmoil!” – Jake called her, softly, lifting his torso a bit.
She turned around to see him from the living room door.
“Thanks…” – he smiled slightly.
She shrugged – “Sleep well.” – she said softly and left.
Jake leaned again in the couch but didn’t fell asleep. His mind was racing. How many times had he let T-Bone or even Chance nearly die on his paws? He couldn’t remember but just that one was already unbearable for him. – Crud, Chance!” – he thought – “*I* tempted fate most times we went on a mission. The odds for dying were all *mine*! Why did it have to be you, buddy? I just can’t understand that!” – A heavy teardrop rushed down his facial fur.
Thinking about it, Jake didn’t fell asleep that night.
“Uncle! UNCLE, STOP THIS AT ONCE!” – Felina bellowed.
Feral was trying to shoot.
– “Forgive me, uncle!” – she said as she threw the huge kat over her shoulder.
Feral knocked against the wall with tremendous force, falling to his knees. He had dropped his blaster and Felina dove for it, rolling on herself as she grabbed it tightly in her paws. – “FREEZE! Don’t make me use it against you, uncle!” –
Feral attempted to move toward her.
– “I *mean* it, uncle!” –
Seeing her cold eyes, Feral knew she *really* meant it. He dropped to his knees again, shaking his head.
“What was I doing? He is helpless before me… Do I hate him so much that I’d kill him when he couldn’t defend himself?” – Feral said, staring at the ground.
Felina approached him and put her right arm over his shoulders.
“It’s all right now, uncle!” – she whispered.
Feral got to his feet and stared at the limp body lying in a deep coma on the bed of his private infirmary.
– “Can you tell me what’s got into you, uncle?” –
Feral didn’t answer her question. He got closer to the bed and touched the brawny right arm of the unconscious kat. Behind scars he saw it, a small mark, barely identifiable, just above the kat’s elbow. The mark was similar in shape to a rounded claw.
Feral took off his coat and rolled up his right sleeve, revealing a similar mark. He showed it to Felina and then pointed to the mark on the kat’s limp arm. She raised her paw to her mouth, gasping.
– “Are you…” – she couldn’t say the word, so she replaced it for another – “…relatives?” –
Feral looked at her niece, his eyes revealing grief and shame for what he intended to do minutes ago.
“He’s my son, Felina!” – he said.
It felt like a punch in her stomach.
– “And I tried to kill him…” –
A few heavy minutes passed by. Felina was trying to digest that information. She finally asked her uncle how had he found out.
– “It’s a long, long story, Felina… Let’s go. We should let him rest. I’ll tell you everything in my office.”
Inside Megakat National Park’s volcano, Dark Kat watched as the PastMaster slowly returned to consciousness. He sat up on the basalt floor of the cave, blinking several times to adapt his eye to the light conditions.
– “Welcome back, PastMaster.” – Dark Kat’s deep voice boomed across the room.
The PastMaster stood in his feet as Dark Kat approached him, his expression meaningless.
– “I have a few tasks for you, sorcerer. I think you will fulfill them all successfully!”
“I will do as I am commanded.” – the PastMaster answered.
Dark Kat’s chuckle became a roar of laughter that reverberated all around the volcano.
“Three down, several others to go! Very well, sorcerer, I want you to create a time vortex and travel in it back in time, exactly four years ago, when the planet was nearly drained of its water. The location is the space just outside the planet, inside a small battleship. I want you to bring me the creature that is inside that ship. PastMaster, I want you to bring me the space pirate called Mutilor!”
“It shall be done as you order” – the PastMaster responded. Raising his watch he started chanting a spell. A few minutes after, a time vortex opened on top of the volcano. His small figure vanished and reappeared inside the vortex.
“Nice try, SWAT Kats, but you *missed*!” – an orange spotted four-armed alien said as he was preparing his next shot. – “Now watch as I destroy the ship *and your world*!” – Mutilor prepared himself to push the fire button when his ship was suddenly enveloped in a vortex.
“What the…” – Razor gasped – “Isn’t that one of the PastMaster’s time portals?”
“It is! But, what the heck’s he doin’ here?” – T-Bone asked.
Inside Mutilor’s ship, a skeletal paw grabbed him and pushed him for the vortex. In his attempts to free himself, he pressed the fire button. Seconds later, an explosion lit the jet-black sky, obfuscating the departure of the time vortex. Pieces of Mutilor’s ship blasted in all directions, carving the TurboKat.
“Great shot, buddy!” – T-Bone congratulated his partner.
“Lousy shot! I’ll be buffing out the dings for weeks!”
“Where’s the time portal?”
“Maybe it wasn’t a time portal at all! Maybe it was part of the explosion! Who knows?”
The time vortex faded as the PastMaster laid down the unconscious form of Mutilor. “What happened? Why is he unconscious?” – Dark Kat asked.
“He fought back! I had to quiet him with one shot of my watch! But, he will regain his senses soon enough!” – the PastMaster responded.
Dark Kat approached the huge orange-spotted form at his feet. In his paws was a syringe filled with a blue-gray serum.
“Maybe it’s better, anyway! This way I can inject the neurological serum in his system without altercations.” – He stuck the needle in the back of Mutilor’s neck, pressing the embolus till the end.
Just as he withdrew the needle, Mutilor’s body began to shiver. He jumped to his feet and roared a deafening loud sound. His mouth was salivating, his eyes glowed like torches. Then, he slumped to the ground, unconscious again.
Dark Kat’s eyes were wide open as he was crushed against the solidified lava wall of the room like his creeplings and the PastMaster. His heart was thumping in his chest. Hard Drive came running to see if everything was in order. The Metallikats came too.
“Is everything okay, boss?” – Molly asked, aiming her cannon at Mutilor.
“Yes, yes, my guards!” – Dark Kat reassured them – “Everything’s alright now. Return to your posts.” – he looked as Mac and Molly spun on their heels and left the room. – “It’s incredible what a computer virus can do to machines… Hard Drive has *really* worked well!” – Dark Kat thought. He then turned his gaze to Mutilor, still lying on the basalt floor.
The PastMaster hurried to him. “What was that all about, sire?”
“He is an alien, PastMaster. His system may differ from ours in a variety of ways. What gives us lack of strength and causes us to swoon obviously gave him a rush of strength. Nothing but that. Let’s wait for him to wake up. Meanwhile, I have other tasks for you.”
Another sunny day in Megakat City. Jake was already having his breakfast when Turmoil stepped out of the bathroom.
– “Like to wake up early, sureshot?”
“Hey! Only Chance called me that! How do you know about it?”
She shrugged. – “He told me. We were engaged, remember?” – she said, knocking softly on Jake’s head.
“Oh… Guess I’ll never get used to *that* idea… I mean, I thought he liked Callie, he was always swooning about her…”
“Funny. He told me *you* liked the Deputy Mayor. And, he could see she liked you too, so he stepped away.” – she said as she poured some coffee in her cup. She peered at Jake and, even under his orange fur, she could see him blushing.
“Was it *that* obvious?” – he muttered to himself.
Even so, Turmoil heard it loud and clear. She smiled. They were *so* different! Chance was resolute and self-confident. Jake was cool-tempered and shy. Maybe that was the reason why they made such a good team, besides their own skills.
– “Shall we work out a bit?” –
His request caught her in the middle of her thoughts.
“I’m sorry, I was in another world! What was that again, Jake?” –
He asked her again.
– “Why not? Maybe now I can show that I am as good as Chance.”
“We’ll see about that! Chance has never beaten me on our obstacle course!” – His mind flew back to last night’s dream. He swept it away with a shake of his head. Even so, it wouldn’t hurt if he just asked. – “Turmoil, you know how to swim, don’t you? And *please*, tell me the truth!” –
She found the question dumb! *Of course* she could swim! She was a Gurkat and all Gurkats were required to be outstanding swimmers. And, that was just what she told Jake.
Clearly relieved, he challenged her – “Last kat outside’s a rotten tuna! You can have some of Chance’s workout clothes.”
A few minutes later, they both stood under a hot sunny sky.
Turmoil teased Jake, her sleeveless shirt hanging off the edges – “So, where do we start, ‘rotten tuna’?”
“Hah, hah! Funny. There’s the starting line. It’s really easy to follow – you can’t miss. The finish line is marked by a ribbon. First kat to break it without cheating wins. Simple, ain’t it?”
“Okay. Then, we’ve already started. See you, ‘rotten tuna’!” – She darted forward, leaving Jake behind.
“HEY! You treacherous she-kat!” – Jake mumbled as he ran after her.
“How is he?” – Comdr. Feral asked Felina, who was sitting in a chair next to the bed.
She got up and saluted her uncle, which he responded. She answered his question then. “He’s still in coma. Deeply.” – she sighed – “His vital signs are good but the electrical activity of his brain seems to be erratic.”
“Yeah, like something switching on and off inside his brain. I think the thump must have been too great. If he survives this, we must consider it a miracle.”
“But, he’s in good physical condition! Doesn’t *that* count?” – Feral asked, assuming a worried scowl.
“The doctors say that must be the only reason why he’s not already dead.” – Felina caressed her cousin’s face, taking care not to touch the wounds. – “You two are *so* different! I mean he’s… and you’re… I could *never* tell he was your son…”
“Neither did I, Felina. He’s just like his mother. Amazing what the gene pool can do… But, since I saw the mark a few weeks ago, I had his life thoroughly investigated. I hung around with his mother before joining the Enforcers. When I became an Enforcer, we began fighting. She didn’t want me here. It was too dangerous, she said. Every day for two years we had our daily arguments. I couldn’t stand it anymore. And, those fights were ruining my career as an Enforcer. I left her. She must have been pregnant by then. I never knew, and she never told me. We never spoke to each other again. And now, I come to find out that *he* is my son.” – Feral sighed, looking at the brawny kat in the bed – “I treated him so bad… If only I had known before…”-
Suddenly, the electrocardiograph’s screen showed a green line and emitted a continuous high-pitched beep.
“CRUD!” – Felina gasped, running to the intercom near the bed. Smacking the button with her fist, she screamed. – “CODE BLUE! CARDIAC ARREST! ROOM ONE-OH-NINE! I REPEAT: CODE BLUE! CARDIAC ARREST! ROOM ONE-OH-NINE!” – she turned to her cousin and jumped on top of the bed. Positioning her paws in his chest, she began administrating CPR. – “C’mon, bud! Don’t wimp out on me now!” –
The doctors came within seconds. Felina continued the CPR as the doctors prepared the defibrillator. One of them shouted ‘Clear’. Felina jumped out of the bed as the doctor pressed the electrodes against the big kat’s chest. The huge body rose spasmodically from the bed for a split second. The line and the continuous beep remained. Feral was crushed against the room’s window, trying not to disturb the personnel. The doctor shouted ‘Clear’ again, and again he pressed the electrodes against the brawny kat’s chest. Nothing. The line remained.
“BRING ME SOME EPI!” – one of the doctors bellowed. He was delivered a big syringe with a long wicked-looking needle. Feral didn’t look as the needle perforated the kat’s chest with an audible sound. The embolus was pressed and the epinephrine was injected into the kat’s heart. The doctor holding the electrodes shouted ‘Clear’ and once again pressed them against the kat’s chest. The huge bulk jumped higher into the air. But this time, *something* happened. First, just a blip. Then another, and another again. In a few seconds, the rhythm was normal again.
– “He’s stable now.” – one of the doctors said, sweeping the sweat out of his forehead with the back of his paw.
“Can you tell me why did his heart stopped?” – Feral inquired.
“We can’t tell unless we run a few tests. But, he’s in a deep coma. I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for him…”
“He’ll get out of this, uncle!” – Felina said after the departure of the medical staff, patting her uncle’s shoulder. – “He always does!”
“I sure hope you’re right, Felina! Now that I know he’s my son, I couldn’t bear to loose him… again…”
Jake managed to surpass Turmoil thanks to her fall in the tires track. He was now climbing up a pile of metallic litter – the one before the water-filled pit where Chance nearly drowned a few years earlier. When he reached the top of it, he threw himself across the open air, grabbing the hanging cable (he replaced the rope for a steel cable after the incident with Chance). When he was in the middle of his swing, he felt something. His heart was burning as if a dagger was riveted in it! The pain came abruptly. He wasn’t prepared for it. He let go of the cable and grabbed his chest, plunging into the water.
The coldness gave him other subjects to think on, but the pain rapidly claimed its place in Jake’s mind. It was oppressive now. In a corner of his mind he remembered what it was – he was having a heart attack!
Something dove into the water but the pain and the lack of air were obstructing his thoughts. He felt hands grabbing him under his shoulders and pushing him up. In a few seconds, he was out of the pit and lying on the ground, his paws still attached to his middle-left chest, eyes tightly shut, his face a mask of pain. Then, as suddenly as it started, the pain was gone. He was all right again, like nothing had passed.
– “What’s the big idea?” – an angry soaked wet Turmoil faced him. – “Pretending to drown just so I’ll slow down?”-
Jake looked curiously at his chest. He had never had a heart attack before. He knew he didn’t have any heart diseases and he was in a pretty good shape as well.
– “Well, if you’re not going to say anything, I’ll just resume the game… See you at the finish line!”
“Oh, no you won’t!” – he said, getting up onto his feet and racing behind her, trying to forget whatever occurred with his heart. Whatever it was, it was over now. Besides, if his heart could support the strain of an obstacle course after a heart attack, it could bear anything.
“PASTMASTER!” – the resonant voice of Dark Kat reverberated down the maze of passages inside the volcano. – “Did you already locate it or not?”
“I must beg for your patience, sire. It took me years to find the headdress of Katchu Pichu. Searching for the Dark Pyramid could take the same time or just a few months. Unfortunately, we’re in the paws of Fortune now.” – the hooded sorcerer replied hesitantly.
The answer didn’t please Dark Kat. A rush of fury lit his orange eyes. The huge purple kat spun in his heels and left the PastMaster alone. He headed for the room where Hard Drive was, still letting the blue bolts of electricity run through the keyboard of his computer console. This time, however, he was not alone.
“Mutilor.” – Dark Kat called.
The orange spotted alien turned his bulk, capable of rivaling Dark Kat’s stature. He bowed to the purple kat, setting one knee on the basalt floor.
“Milord Dark Kat, everything is going according to your plans. I have already assimilated your technology and I think I can perfect it.” – The alien hesitated for a few moments before speaking again. – “There are, however, a few things I need to accomplish my task, but I don’t think that Milord Dark Kat can get them…” –
Dark Kat’s eyes blazed. He clenched the alien against the basalt wall with his left forearm, pressing it against the alien’s throat.
“There is NOTHING Dark Kat cannot have! What do you want?” – the purple kat relaxed the grip on the alien’s throat.
“F-four things, Milord… I’ll need alpha-prasium and gold for the blasters and beryllium and agrecite for the drone’s alloys” – Mutilor gasped.
“Don’t forget the aluminum… Lot’s of it… The remaining components are available right here, from the volcano.” – Hard Drive added from his seat. – “Of course, if we could have some tank armor from used Enforcer tanks and some compasses, gyroscopes and stabilizers from used jets, the work would be accomplished much more swiftly. Even so, it would take months do get the job done. And, wiring your Dark Pyramid would take some extra weeks too.” – Hard Drive threw to Dark Kat, almost defying the big kat.
Another burst of light blazed in his eyes. “My creeplings will take care of that. Meanwhile, I suggest you two keep working.” – He turned to leave, but stopped at the entrance of the room. – “And Hard Drive… I don’t like your attitude!” – The purple kat threw a little dart towards Hard Drive, striking him right in the center of the back of his neck.
The tan-furred kat immediately fell over his console, shivered a bit and then passed out.
– “Maybe when you wake up you’ll be a little more respectful towards your master…” –
Dark Kat left the room and Mutilor resumed his modifications on Hard Drive’s drones.
The devilish kat went to his ‘throne room’ and sat in his big obsidian ‘throne,’ assuming a thoughtful scowl. – “I’ve already got the Metallikats, the PastMaster, Hard Drive and Mutilor… Even hating him I need him to complete my evil alliance… But, getting Viper won’t be easy… His scaly skin is a pain in my tail. It would repel any attempt at injecting him and the serum is effective only if injected in the spinal nerve cord… Something I want him to develop… Despite being insane, he’s a biochemistry genius nevertheless… Maybe a goodwill gift would bring him to my side… And then…”
“C’mon, Jake, can’t you move any faster than that?” – Turmoil teased as she dodged Jake’s foot. – “I’m getting bored here! We began this fight five minutes ago and you still haven’t even scratched me!”-
She jumped and flipped back as Jake tried another reverse kick. Although Turmoil was uninjured, Jake’s shirt already had two rips in his chest.
Jake was impressed. She could *really* move fast, even for him! There she was, preparing another swipe at him. She was a dreadful opponent! The attack came swiftly and powerfully from his left. He just averted it at the last second but then he realized he wasn’t her target. She was aiming for the sandbag just behind him. When he looked at it, the sand was spattered all over the ground. Jake swallowed uneasily. If she had hit him, his bones would be in pieces now!
“Not bad, Turmoil… Not bad at all! I must say I’m impressed!”
“Save your breath, Jake, ’cause you’ll need it to escape from me!” – Turmoil ran towards Jake, her bare feet not making a sound on the ground.
Jake narrowed his eyes. He spotted a weakness in her defenses. She was preparing a fly kick. It would be simple to disarm her. She jumped, her right leg stretched in front of her body. Jake squatted when Turmoil’s foot was just a few inches from his face, grabbing her from below. Benefitting from her impetus, Jake threw her against the wall behind him.
She gasped had Jake completely frustrated her attack. She was hurtling toward the wall. But then, an instinct guided her acts. She took advantage of her extra impulse and squatted on the wall, boosting herself from it and towards Jake again. The tomkat was clearly caught off guard by that stunt. She stretched her right leg in front of her again.
Jake didn’t stop to think. Mechanically, he leapt into the air and kicked her hard in the face when she passed underneath him. Turmoil fell instantly to the ground, her snout bleeding. Jake landed on one leg, keeping the other retracted.
Just then he realized he *really* had struck Turmoil. He ran to her. She was on all fours, shaking her head.
“Turmoil! ‘Re you okay?” – he knelt beside her.
As he did it, she delivered a blow to Jake’s chin with the lower part of her right paw. Jake was thrown back by with the blow.
“I am now…” – she said, getting up and cleaning the blood off her nose with the back of her paw. – “At least my pride is avenged!” – She smiled and handed a paw to help Jake to his feet.
He accepted it as his left paw was groping his painful chin, hoping it wasn’t broken. They both headed for the upper level, to the garage’s living-room.
“Heck of a fighter, Turmoil… Was it part of the Gurkats’ training?” – Jake asked, his chin aching with every word he spoke.
“*Obviously*! What do you think? Only the Enforcers have a tough training?” – she seemed a little insulted by his comment so he just hushed. Besides, his chin was really aching now. – “Don’t you want to tell me what happened outside this morning?” – her question surprised him.
“Huh? What’re you talkin’ about now?” – he managed to say, trying to reduce his mouth’s movements to a minimum.
Turmoil didn’t seem in pain although her nose still bled. Either she wasn’t in pain or she could control it very well.
“I’m talking about your little ‘plunging contest’. You nearly drowned there and you had your paws pressed against your chest. What happened?” – she was referring to his heart attack early that morning.
Jake hadn’t thought about it since then. He shrugged.
“It was a heart attack, that’s all!”
She spun on her heel to face him, concern spread all over her face.
“Say that again, Jake? A heart attack? How can that be? You’re young and you’re in good physical condition!”
“I said the same thing to me, but the fact remains… Besides, it’s already over. Apart from this ache in my chin, I’ve never felt better in my life.” – Jake reassured her.
“It’s your life, Jake. You do whatever you want with it.” – She leaned her head back and pressed her nose to stop the hemorrhage. – “I’m all sweaty! I’ll take a cold shower as soon as my nose stops bleeding.”
“Then I guess I’ll take it first.”
Turmoil was running down the beach. The hot sand caressed her feet as she sprinted. Someone was right behind her.
– “C’mon, Chance, give it up! You know you’ll never catch me!”
“We’ll see ’bout that! You should know I *never* give up, beautiful!” – the brawny kat said as he increased the pace. Chance threw himself into the air attempting to grab her.
At the last minute, she dodged him and he fell on the sand, rolling over and getting up to his feet. He sprinted after her, starting to gain on her.
“Can’t catch me!” – she teased and ran towards the sea.
Chance was right behind her. With another increase of his pace, he caught her by her waist, knocking them both on the sand. They rolled over each other in the sand, laughing.
When Chance finally caught his breath, he teased her.
“Told you I’d catch you…” – he purred deeply.
“So I see! I’m your prisoner now! What’re you gonna do with me?” – she purred back.
Chance leaned over her mouth and kissed her deeply and hard as he caressed her body. She too cherished the big tabby’s unclothed torso, feeling his muscles under his fur. The kiss seemed to go on forever but something disturbed it. A shadow. Someone was there, blocking the sun.
Chance looked up to see who was there but only received a powerful kick in his face, making him roll off Turmoil.
“What the…” – he started, groping his face. Then he recognized the huge bulk in front of him and gasped – “Dark Kat!” – Turmoil was already beside Chance, looking at the huge purple kat. – “What do you want, Dark Crud?”
“Your head, SWAT Kat!” – The huge kat said. He positioned his walking stick in his right paw like it was a sword. Only then did Turmoil notice the twin razors protruding from each side of it.
“Chance, his cane…”
“I’ve seen it, beautiful…” – Chance stood to his feet – “If it’s a fight you want, Dark Kat, then it’s a fight you’ll get!” – Chance assumed a fighting stand and revealed his deadly claws, each muscle in his body tensed for battle. The first swoosh hit him square in his chest, leaving a red streak on it. Chance flung himself toward Dark Kat, knocking him to the sand. – “TURMOIL, RUN! GET RAZOR!”
“I won’t leave you, Chance!”
“GO! NOW!” – Chance roared. Even with all his strength, holding Dark Kat wasn’t an easy task.
Hesitantly, she ran toward the Cyclotron but stopped in the middle of the way when she heard Chance’s scream. She looked back to see Chance fighting Dark Kat only with his left arm, the other lying in a mound of red sand at his feet.
Dark Kat inflicted a few more slashes in Chance’s body before thrusting his cane through Chance’s abdomen. His eyes widened and he gulped in surprise. He grabbed Dark Kat’s cane with his left paw while his face became a tortured mask of pain. Dark Kat pulled his cane out of his body, a red gush dyeing the sand.
Chance fell to his knees, still grabbing his bleeding abdomen. Slowly, Dark Kat raised his cane above his head and, in one swift motion, swept it through Chance’s neck.
“*CHANCE*!” – Turmoil sat upright in her bed.
Jake blew the bedroom door open and hurried to her side.
Her eyes were still unfocused. She screamed to him. – “RAZOR! CHANCE IS IN TROUBLE! *YOU GOTTA SAVE HIM*! – She shook Jake as she said it.
“Turmoil! TURMOIL! It’s over now! It was a nightmare!” – he said, embracing her.
She calmed down a little but then pressed her face against Jake’s shoulder and cried.
Jake let her cry, caressing her hair. – “It’s okay, now! Everything’s gonna be just fine! Everything’s all right, now!” –
When she regained her composure, Jake asked her if she wanted to talk about it. She just shook her head no.
“I’m okay now, Jake… I’m sorry if I’ve awakened you.”
“Sure you’re all right?” – Jake insisted. She nodded and Jake left. However, he could sense this was going to be a long night.
The creeplings arrived at the salvage yard, their characteristic chit chattering cutting the darkness of the night. Following Dark Kat’s orders, they removed all the required materials. Compasses, radars, stabilizers and even engines were torn from the jets’ wreckage. In their rush they made a lot of noise, enough for Jake to go outside and check it out.
– “WHO’S THERE?” – he shouted into the night.
The noise reduced a bit but didn’t stop. The night was dark and warm, with little wind. Even his eyes needed some light in order to see in the dark and there wasn’t any. Jake felt a chill despite the warmth of the night. The noise stopped completely. His eyes were searching but couldn’t see much. Then, he caught a glimpse of something in the corner of his left eye.
Something colored in pink just flashed. What was that? Was he seeing things? No. He wasn’t. Four creeplings jumped down on him, slashing his bare torso with their claws. Jake yelped in surprise but then the years of training at the Enforcers took the best of him. He grabbed the nearest creepling by his neck and clenched his fist around it. The death was instantaneous.
– “You shouldn’t have messed with an ex-Enforcer, you little creeps!” – he said, teeth gritted, as he smashed another creepling in his powerful paws.
The remaining two slashed harder and took bites off Jake’s neck.
– “You miserable slime balls!” – Jake grabbed both creeplings by their wings and smacked them against the wall, breaking their spines. Purple blood dripped from their snouts as they lied in the ground limply.
Turmoil ran to his side as he was entering home.
“Oh! Jake! What happened?” –
His orange fur was streaked red in various spots and his neck showed some painful bite marks.
“I’m fine. Just a bunch of creeplings hanging around.” – he said as he rubbed his neck with an alcohol preparation he took from their first aid kit. – “Wonder what those little pests were doing here… Better: what does Dark Kat have up his sleeve…” –
Turmoil grimaced as she saw Jake pour some of the burning liquid on his wounds. He seemed used to it.
“Well, I better stand guard for the rest of the night… Just in case…” – Turmoil suggested. – “Go get some rest, Jake. It’s nearly dawn and you barely slept tonight, first because of my nightmare and now because of this. It’s the least I can do to thank you…”
“Don’t think I’ll be able to sleep after all this. Just thinking about Dark Kat drives my sleep away…” – he mumbled as he sank in the couch.
In a few minutes he was asleep, physically exhausted. Turmoil pushed the sheet over to Jake’s neck and caressed his forehead.
“It’s been a long day, Jake… Sleep well…”
“Go home, Felina. I’ll stay with him.” – Feral said to her niece, who was already slumping in her chair.
“I guess a few hours of sleep would come in handy right now… Never thought standing guard to someone unconscious could be so draining… both physically and psychologically…” – Felina said, yawning and stretching in the chair before standing in her feet. – “Are you sure you’ll be okay with him, uncle?” – she asked. After what she saw a few hours earlier, she couldn’t trust her uncle to guard his son. What if he attempted to murder him again? But the strain of the day overcame her. She desperately needed some sleep. Even if she stood in the room, she would probably fall asleep and then Feral could assassinate her cousin with the same ease.
“Dismiss, Lieutenant Feral.” – he said, his tone not leaving room for disagreement. She saluted her uncle and left the room.
“Good night, uncle. See you in a couple of hours.”
Feral sank in the chair beside the bed. He looked at the brawny kat lying there. His fur was burnt in some places. In other places it was streaked with brown dried blood. How could he have survived? And yet, he was not safe. His life was still in danger, maybe more than ever. Feral took the kat’s right paw in his own, just holding it.
“Don’t give up now, son! I’m counting on you!” – he said, no louder than a whisper. He leaned his head until his forehead touched the kat’s fist. Suddenly, the kat’s paw squeezed Feral’s a little bit. Almost nothing but Feral could feel it, anyway. The squeeze took only a few seconds. Then, the kat’s paw turned limp again. Despite his stony heart, Feral couldn’t help letting a tear drop from his left eye.
“I just hate being underground! If I had any fur, it’d…”
“Ah, stop ya yammerin’ and let’s get this done. Dark Kat’s countin’ on us, see?” – Mac Mange cut off his wife’s wailing. They were eight miles below the surface, right in the middle of the richest agrecite ore in Megakat City.
“So let’s not disappoin’ him or we’ll get our tails melted. Where *are* those things anyway? And what’s he gonna do with ’em?” – Molly Mange asked as she swept a scorpion off her.
“Beats me. But if the boss says he wants one, we give him one.” – The two Metallikats had been wandering in the caverns for hours now and they hadn’t seen anything yet. – “We better keep our sensors up. If these things are as strong as Dark Kat says, they could crush our armor in no time!”
“I hear you. This place gives me the creeps!” – Molly acknowledged. Suddenly, the ground beneath her feet gave way and she fell. – “MAC!”
“MOLLY!” – the tom-Metallikat plunged and managed to grab her by her paw. Underneath her was a pit of boiling lava. The heat was starting already to melt their most sensitive components. – “Hold on, Molly. I’m gettin’ you outta there.” – Mac pulled his wife easily from the pit. She greeted him with a thump on his head.
“What took you so long? I was melting there!”
“Let’s get going. If we don’t find that agrecite-plated scorpion *Dark Kat* will melt us.” – A crack opened in the rocky wall just above Mac and an orange arm with a pincer emerged, grabbing the short Metallikat and easily lifting him into the air. – “Molly! I think *he* just found *us*!” –
The agrecite scorpion jumped out from behind the rocky wall and tried to grab Molly. She dodged it, firing her blaster cannon at the scorpion. The beam hit the creature square in the face but it didn’t even blink.
“What? I just gave it my best shot and it didn’t even *feel* it!” – Molly said, surprised.
Suddenly, the orange scorpion’s neck extended to catch her. She jumped away at the last second and the wicked jaws bit a chunk of agrecite on the floor. The neck retracted and the big scorpion’s green eyes searched for Molly but couldn’t find her. She was hiding behind a rock.
“Use the gas!” – Mac said as the pincer around his waist tightened its grip. – “Dark Kat said it was the only thing that could stop it! Ugh! And hurry up! He’s crushing me!”
“Ah, don’t choke on a wireball!” – she threw a gas grenade, which landed neatly near the agrecite scorpion’s feet, exploding instantly and sending a burst of a purple gas into the air.
The scorpion blinked its eyes twice and fell to the ground. Mac was free but his armor bore the dents of the scorpion’s agrecite pincer.
“It was about time! Now let’s get this thing to Dark Kat!” –
Both Metallikats picked up the limp body and got out of the caves in a machine similar to the SWAT Kat’s TurboMole.
“Dark Kat? It’sss not posssible! How did you essscape from my plantimalsssssssss?” – Dr Viper hissed furiously when he saw the purple kat standing in the entrance of his laboratory in Megakat Swamps. – “And how did you find me?”
“Calm down, Viper. I come in peace.” – Dark Kat reassured the green kat.
Viper just gave a dry chuckle and hissed.
“In peassse? *You*? Ha! That’sss a new one! You ssstill haven’t anssswered me!” – Viper shot back, impatiently.
“Everybody knows you live in the swamps. Besides, your lab is easily identifiable!” – Dark Kat answered.
Dr. Viper’s eyes glowed in the semi-obscurity of his lab. He hissed furiously.
“Give me one good reassson for not killing you right now!” – he threatened.
“I want to propose a deal to you, Viper. If…” – Dark Kat started but was interrupted by Viper’s cry of disbelief.
“A deal? A *DEAL*? LIKE *LASSST TIME*, PERHAPSSSSSSSSSSSSS?” – His eyes acquired a brighter glow and he stretched his claws as he snapped his tail menacingly.
Dark Kat seemed unimpressed with Viper’s display. Instead, he gave him a devilish grin.
“You still remember? I didn’t forget it either. But this time it will be different, Viper. I really need you this time. And, as you might already know, the SWAT Kats are one member short.”
“What ensssures me that you don’t finish me off asss sssoon asss you have what you want?” – the glow in his eyes faded a bit but he still waved his tail threateningly.
Dark Kat was laughing inside his mind. “He’s falling for it.” – Dark Kat thought – “Time to present him my good-will gift!”
“And you ssstill haven’t told me how you essscaped from my petsss!”
“Oh, that!” – Dark Kat spoke almost casually – “I just used my good-will gift for you. Hope you don’t mind! Bet you’ve always lunged for one of these for your experiments.” – Dark Kat gave a light tug at the leash he was holding in his right paw.
From the shadows behind him, the agrecite scorpion stepped to Dark Kat’s side. Viper’s eyes widened in astonishment.
Dark Kat smiled to himself and thought. – “He’s mine! Incredible what this neurological serum can do! Even to an animal!”
“Where did you find thisss ssspesssimen? It’sss a full grown mature adult! It’sss in the peak of itsss power! And, how did you tame it?” – Viper asked, wanting to touch the beast.
“I wouldn’t touch it if I were you, Viper. It obeys only me. But, it shall be yours if we can come to an agreement.”
“I’d do *anything* to have that ssscorpion! Imagine what I could achieve with you, my beautiful beassst! Okay, Dark Kat. I’m in!” – Viper extended his paw to Dark Kat.
The hooded kat grabbed it in his huge paw and both villains shook hands to seal their deal.
“So, what did they take?” – Turmoil asked Jake as he surveyed the pile of military wreckage in a corner of the salvage yard.
He scratched his head, thoughtfully.
“Not much. A couple of compasses, maybe a few gyroscopes… Some engines… Kat’s Eye News reported some robberies around the city’s jewelry stores. Feral identified the robbers as Dark Kat’s creeplings. That’s strange! Creeplings stealing gold, agrecite and jewels…” – he shook his head and looked down at Turmoil – “I don’t get it! What would Dark Kat want with that stuff? Unless he’s building a new Doomsday Express or…” – His eyes narrowed to thin slits with that thought.
“Or what, Jake?” – Turmoil questioned, catching Jake’s grimace.
“Or he’s building more drones…” – The last word escaped together with a low growl. – “The same ones that killed Chance…” – he clamped his fist around the metallic barrel of the chopper’s gun he was holding, crushing it.
Turmoil felt the same wave of anger overthrowing her. She tossed the piece of metal she was holding against the windscreen of a nearby Enforcer car, shattering it even more. A few minutes passed before Turmoil asked Jake again.
“What are we going to do about that?” – she growled, trying to get a grip on herself.
Jake was calmer than she was. His answer was more than expected.
“I’ll start rebuilding the TurboKat… Maybe with a few modifications… And then, we’ll hunt down Dark Kat! I owe *that* much to Chance…” – he started looking for some components he would need for that monumental task of rebuilding the black jet.
Turmoil joined him a little bit later.
“Chance showed me the true meaning of love… I won’t let it all fall into a bottomless pit… The new Radical Squadron will kick Dark Kat’s miserable tail!” – Turmoil said as she helped Jake, her voice in a crescendo.
Jake peered quickly at her determined face and gritted his teeth, the fury against Dark Kat rising inside his heart.
The ride back to Megakat’s National Park and to Dark Kat’s volcano was swift. Dark Kat’s new Doomsday Express was as versatile as it was dreadful, being a sea-air-land vehicle. He used the ship’s force field to penetrate the lava cascade on one side of the cone-shaped mountain. Once inside, the Doomsday Express landed softly in a built-in hangar in the basalt.
– “Welcome to my temporary hideout, Viper. Impressed?” – Dark Kat said as he put one huge paw on Viper’s shoulder.
Viper seemed unimpressed. All he cared about was Biology. Rocks had no value to him as he couldn’t mutate them. He, however, seemed surprised to see the Metallikats there.
“What are they doing here?” – Viper asked, pointing to the robots. – “Don’t tell me they are into thisss too!”
“Actually, they are. They were one of my first acquisitions.” – Dark Kat conducted the agrecite scorpion to a cell near the ship and locked it inside.
Viper looked back at him, his eyes glowing in the semi-obscurity.
“With whom elssse did you deal with thisss time?” – he asked, both curiously and nervously. He wasn’t expecting any more members.
“You’ll see. Come, let me present you to my other… associates.” – Dark Kat guided Viper through a maze of lava tubes until they reached Dark Kat’s ‘throne room’.
“We’re getting usssed to the royalty, aren’t we?” – Viper chuckled dryly. From another room he could clearly hear the whirring of machinery. Dark Kat took Viper to that room and he was astonished to find Hard Drive and Mutilor in there, both occupied constructing the new drones. Dark Kat took Viper away and headed for another room. This room was enlightened by a purple glimmering glow. If Viper was surprised to see the techno-crook and the orange spotted alien, his chin nearly fell to the ground when he recognized the skeletal form of the PastMaster surrounded by a purple flare. Dark Kat didn’t interrupt the sorcerer in his search for the Dark Pyramid.
Returning to the ‘throne room’, Dark Kat sunk into his obsidian ‘throne’. He rested his elbows on the throne’s arms and interlaced his fingers in front of his face.
“So, Viper. What do you think of my allies this time?” – he gave the reptilian kat another of his devilish grins.
Viper was still recovering from his surprise.
“I can’t sssay I’m not impresssssed, Dark Kat. Now you *really* have an invinsssible allianssse of evil. I don’t ssse why do you need me!” – his tail snapped in the air, the sound cutting through the room and reverberating down the walls. Dark Kat reached inside his cloak and tossed Viper a little flask with a gray-blue liquid inside.
Viper caught the flask in his paws and examined it for a while.
“Neurological ssserum? How did you get thissssss?” – he asked, his tail waving in the air nervously.
“Let’s just say one SWAT Kat died when he tried to stop me while I was… acquiring the serum.” – the purple kat chuckled lightly and leaned back. – “I was hoping you could develop it.”
“I can’t imagine how you could penetrate the Neurology sssection of the Labsss, but I don’t care either. Sssince I wasss only Dr. Elrod Purvisss I have wanted to ssstudy thisss ssserum! What do you want me to develop in it? It’sss activity? It’sss applicationsss?”
“It’s administration mode. The serum only works when it is injected in the spinal nerve chord! That is not very efficient. I want it to be administrated orally or, preferably, by inhalation.” – Dark Kat shot out. He looked at Viper to see if he understood his request.
“You’re asking too much! It took the Lab’sss resssearchersss yearssss to come to thisss ssserum. Now you want me to develop it’sss adminissstration mode to the peak of difficulty – inhalation. I don’t think I can do it, Dark Kat. But, I’ll gladly ssstudy it for you.” – Viper said, his eyes narrowing as a grin appeared on his lips.
Dark Kat’s eyes lit and narrowed too. He roe from his ‘throne’ and walked to Viper.
The green kat felt what was coming and assumed a fighting stance, with his tail swinging crazily behind him. The Metallikats appeared from behind and grabbed Viper’s tail, his most fearsome weapon.
Dark Kat approached the reptilian scientist and delivered a hard blow to his head, making him fall to his knees.
“Now it’s *my* turn to ask you, Viper: what about our deal? Well, I think the deal’s off… *again*!” – He punched Viper’s head again and the green kat lost his senses, slumping to the ground. Dark Kat kneeled beside him and took a few scales from his neck. Green blood took the scales’ place. Reaching for a syringe inside his cloak, he removed the cap that protected the needle and sunk it in Viper’s neck. He pressed the embolus and all the pale blue-gray fluid went inside Viper’s spinal medulla. The reptilian kat shivered for a while and then his body lied limply again. Apparently, the serum was effective once more.
– “Take him away to the lab I prepared for him. In one way or another, you *will* help me, Dr. Viper.” – Dark Kat said as he headed for his ‘throne’ again. He sat and stared at the bubbling lava in the pit in front of him, thinking. – “My evil alliance is complete. With the Metallikats, the PastMaster, Hard Drive, Mutilor and Viper as my loyal slaves and without the SWAT Kats, nothing shall interpose between me and total world domination!
TO BE CONTINUED
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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.