Original SWAT Kats Story

Ashes to Ashes

By Fortress Maximus

  • 8 Chapters
  • 65,386 Words

(Unfinished) After a brutal attack by Dark Kat, Megakat City tries to return to normal despite crippling losses. But, destiny & fate have something else in mind — something that will change the lives of Callie, Felina and Ulysses forever! The stage is set for the fate of the Swat Kats and perhaps all creation as they know it!

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Author's Notes:

Summary: After a brutal attack by Dark Kat, Megakat city learns to cope with several crucial losses and two she-kats try to pick up the pieces with interesting results…

Disclaimer: I don’t own the Swat Kats. Hanna-B does, as does Ted Turner. I’m not making a dime off this project. It is for personal enjoyment only by fans of Swat Kats. Besides, I work in retail management so I don’t have any money you could get anyway. Flames will be sent to my flame officer, Unicron for personal discussion. If you DON’T know who he is, rent TransFormers: the movie and find out. ?

Important notes for the fine readers out there!

The story starts close to the middle. I know some don’t like that, but it will all be made clear in following chapters. Any questions please feel free to Email me and I’ll try to answer your questions w/o tossing in too many spoilers.

You’ll notice a lack of descriptions on main characters and settings. I believe that most everyone reading this has seen at least one episode of the cartoon and has their own mental image of Jake, Chance, the salvage yard, and the like so a desc (unless they’re in a strange/unique situation) from the show is used.

Big vote of thanks to Don Redmond and Jade Callan for their help and support on my first SK fanfic and my first fanfic in general in 2+years. Thanks guys. Take a bow. ?

That’s it. Sit back and enjoy. ?

Chapter 1

Ashes to Ashes

“Friends, we are gathered here today to honor two Kats who gave their lives in the service of the Goddess above to protect others from evils so vast….”

Calico Briggs sat in the front row of the service, the chilly fall day no longer a bother as she lost herself in her misery filled thoughts. The pastors’ kind words faintly echoed in her mind as the grief in her heart would not be ignored. Unbidden thoughts flooded her memory as she recalled each time both she and the city had been saved by those receiving their final respects today.

*Now what would they do? Who would protect those who could not protect themselves??* Questions like this attacked her conscience over and over as she felt the tears beginning to swell. She tried to be strong since.. that day, not just for herself but for all of MegaKat city as well. Faced now with the ultimate farewell, her tears broke free and drenched her fur in sadness.

Felina put a comforting hand on Callie’s paw, trying to let the kat draw strength from her, but to no avail. Misery almost tangible seemed to set in over Callie as the pastor kept lauding those they were here to release from the mortal coil. Felina felt the same as Callie looked; like part of her soul was gone. Her enforcer training was of little use at times like this; how do you keep memories from tearing apart mental defenses already ravaged by guilt for not doing more and despair when you saw the results of your failure? Felina had no answers so she did all she could and held Callie’s paw and provided what support she could.

‘A-men….” echoed the gathered Kats. It was amazing how various the gathered mourners were; so-different lifestyles that only an event this terrible could bind them together in a common sorrow. Homeless kats stood next to some of the most wealthy kats in the city. Enforcers stood next to several gang members a week before they might have taken in for questioning; now they stood like brothers sharing a common grief.

Felina looked up as the pastor glanced at Callie and quietly stepped off to the side, smoothing her robes. Felina leaned over and whispered into Callie’s ear… “It’s time..”

Callie nodded and with the last of her will forced her tears.. her sorrow.. her anger down into the pit of her being and with the grace of a warrior-born she walked up to the small podium to address the assembled Kats.

“They say that.. death is not an end.. but the beginning of a new life. That what we leave behind is more important than than how we leave. If this is true, then these two gentlekats have left a legacy that will never be forgotten by MegaKat city nor by the world. No matter how much time passes or what transpires, I vow that the memory of the Swat Kats will live forever in our hearts and our history.”

Callie and the assembled Kats looked at the two beautiful rosewood coffins as they were slowly lowered into the ground. Callie began to feel her resolve crumble at the sight and shakily walked off stage to be met by Felina.The acting mayor sat down as Felina glanced over at her Uncle Ulysses, who nodded slightly at his niece.

“Enforcers.. ten-hut!” the Enforcer commander crisply ordered.

All the Enforcers assembled went to immediate attention, ramrod straight, eyes focused like a hawks’ on the descending caskets. Seven enforcers in particular watched both the grave site and their commander, who after a few moment turned and addressed the honor guard.

“Weapons ready!”

The seven Enforcers raised their laser rifles towards the heavens and unlocked the safeties. The other raised their right paw and saluted the two Kats who had saved MegaKat city at the ultimate cost.

“Fire!”

Seven bright red shots lanced into the early evening sky, dispersing after about 30ft. The seven stood ready again.

“Fire!”

Again, the lances of light escaped into the sky.

“Fire!”

As the last barrage faded, the seven stood down as Feral turned back to face the two caskets that symbolized his former foes. Felina tried to read her uncle but even on her best day she could only get surface impressions; and this was far from her best day. She watched him walk over to the plot and did something she never would have expected.

He saluted.

After a few moments Feral ended the salute and nodded slightly to the two caskets – perhaps as a final gesture of respect – and turned and walked back to his line of Enforcers.

“Dismissed.”

The honor guard marched back to the rear of the crowd and Feral noticed that most of his troops were still saluting the two heroes.

Slowly, the pastor took to the podium, her soft red hair waiving in the cool evening breeze. As she looked out over the crowd, she could almost see the sadness that permeated those assembled. “My friends..,” she began..”Never forget the lessons that Razor and T-Bone have passed on to us. Each of us has a duty to protect those who can not defend themselves. To ignore that duty is to ignore everything they sacrificed their lives for. But, if those lessons are remembered in our hearts, then their spirit will live on in each of us, and for that we are all a little better person.” She paused slightly. “This service is concluded.”

The universe seemed to stop for as each assembled were still lost in their own thoughts. Then.. slowly.. the mourners scattered – some went by the caskets to pay their respects one final time while others left, unable to cope any further.

Ulysses Feral walked over to a distraught Calico Briggs. Felina was helping her into the limo waiting to take her home. Feral glanced at his niece, wanting to say some words of comfort but he had none to give.

Many thought (according to rumor anyway) that Feral wouldn’t be here today due to his hatred of the Swat Kats. Other rumors spoke of him actually celebrating when he found out about the crash of the Turbokat. Commander Feral sighed, wishing to be free of all the lies and half-truths about him but decided that today was not the day to press the matter. His formal announcement that the Enforcers were taking drastic steps to protect MegaKat city at this time of mourning was enough to keep his nay-sayers at bay for a little while. In the meantime, he had other important duties to perform. Turning to go to his own car, Feral glanced back at the grave site as two helpkats started filling in the plots.

**Ashes to Ashes.. dust to dust** echoed the old saying in Feral’s mind. He stepped into the car and waited for Felina and Calico to get in. A few moments later the limo took off for Calico’s condo as Feral’s car took up point behind the limo to provide protection for the acting Mayor. Feral made a mental note to call the hospital to check on Mayor Manx’s condition. It would be several days, possibly a week, before the doctors said he should come out his coma.

Most of the mourners let Callie’s limo go first, then Feral’s car. As they left the cemetery, Felina saw hundreds of katizens lined up along the main route holding flowers, crosses, pictures of the two departed heroes. Callie just stared out the window, not seeing any of it as her thoughts were on the future, and how bleak it would be without her friends in it.

Miles from the cemetery, several other kats gathered to watch Ann Gora’s live feed of the funeral. As the TV signal flickered off and on from being pulled a mile underground, there was a stunned silence as the image of the caskets came onto the screen. Then.. all of a sudden…

“Yea!!” yelled one voice.

“Interessssting!!” commented another.

“All Right.. ventilated Swat Kat! Best show on TV!”

“SILENCE!” bellowed the final voice.

Hard Drive, Dr. Viper, and the Metallikats froze in place as Dark Kat fixed them all with a glare that could melt an iceberg. “You fools! While we are celebrating, the Enforcers are making plans to strengthen their defenses. They *know* we will be coming sooner or later now that their precious Swat Kats are gone!. ”

“Ah, relax, DK,” grinned Hard Drive. “There’s nothing the Enforcers can do to the four of us.. and besides, we’ve all been waiting for a LONG time to get them Swat Kats outta our hair. So, if you wanna sit there and worry about Feral and the rest of his lackeys, go ahead. We’re,” he nodded to the other gathered villains, “gonna enjoy the victory.” Hard Drive turned away from Dark Kat and begin to talk to the Metallikats on a plan they had stitched together to go after the MegaKat gold reserve.

“Sssssooo, Hard Drive…” Viper grinned. “You think the Ssssswat Katssss are gone for good?” His tone implied that he found it hard to believe that his hated foes were so easily finished “They never found the bodiessss, remember? Just the ssshattered remains of their accursssed jet. And, for all we know thissss could be a trap ssset by them and Feral!” Viper’s plantammals hissed and growled in agreement with their creator’s observation.

Before the techno-villain could reply, Mac Mange piped up. “You know, Viper.. you could get that speech impediment fixed.. maybe some fertilizer would help!” Mac and Mollie both laughed as Viper’s face contorted into a mask of hate.

“Get them, my pretties!!” snarled Viper to his assorted mutates.

“No way!” shouted the metallic Bonnie and Clyde. Leveling their built-in arm lasers, they aimed for Vipers’ killer flytraps as they approached, drool oozing out of their mouths.

“ENOUGH!” yelled Dark Kat as a torrent of energy escaped from his cane, enveloping the (literally) stunned villains. Viper’s plantammals screamed in agony as Mac, Molly and Viper too withered in the electric field before it stopped. “Now.. do I have your /complete/ cooperation, or do I need to give you another reminder of my power?!” the super-villain looked around the room, eyes glowing a fearful crimson red. There was no dissension this time. “Excellent ..now come to my war room and we will plan the destruction of Feral and the Enforcers. They won’t know what hit them!”

The other villains carefully followed Dark Kat into the adjoining cavern as the evil overlord’s laugh echoed through the air.

Fire. Smoke. Falling. Falling. Laughter ringing in your ears as you plummet to the earth in a ball of fire. No weapons. Eject.. Eject.. Eject. No.. no good. Falling.. falling.. ground.. coming
up.. too fast.. too..

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Callie sat up, screaming into the room as her nightmare shook her awake for the 5th time in a row this week. She was drenched in sweat and her fur was matted together, tangled beyond belief. For the longest time she sat in bed, gasping to catch her breath. Soon, her breathing approached normal and with it being almost 4 am sleep would not be an option any further this morning. Shakily, she got out of bed and made her way down the hall, the floor creaking as she staggered along in the dim moonlight.

Reaching the kitchen, Callie flicked on the coffee pot and leaned against the smooth white Formica top, still shivering at the images that refused to let her sleep. It was getting to the point her job was beginning to suffer, and that just couldn’t continue. She was snapping at people, ordering them around like she was Ahab from Moby Kat. Yesterday was the worse when David Steele came into her office and wanted to create a special Enforcer division to take the place of the Swat Kats. Callie had rallied against the idea, and it took her secretary and Felina (who had been visiting on unrelated Enforcer business) to hold her back from ripping Steele’s throat out. Callie was protected by Felina’s threat of telling her uncle about Steele’s little end-run around standard Enforcer procedure and not telling Commander Feral first.

Callie poured her coffee and stared at it for the longest time before finally taking a sip. The black liquid rushed down her throat, sighing softly as it hit her stomach. Feeling marginally better, she sat down at the table and stared out the bay window as the pale moon slowly sank below the horizon. She wondered what this day would bring and would she be able to handle it all one more time.

It was later that same morning when Felina Feral stepped into her Uncle’s office to report for a new duty assignment. She assumed it would be working on updating the computerized defense link between Pumadyne and Enforcer HQ. What she got however…

“Uncle.. with all due respect.. are you sure about this? I should be here with you and the others helping take up the slack..”

Ulysses Feral looked up at his niece and saw the shocked look on her face. Truth be told, he expected as much and wasn’t surprised when Felina started to object, but he held up his left paw and stood up smoothly. “Felina.. this is as necessary right now as you being on the front lines. Ms. Bri.. sorry.. Mayor Briggs is under a lot of pressure, and she doesn’t need another kidnapping anytime soon. I want you to be her personal bodyguard. You go where she goes, and it will stay that way until Mayor Manx is able to assume his duties or an emergency forces me to pull you off that assignment.”

Felina opened her mouth to try to change his mind and saw that it would be pointless to argue further. She went back to full attention. “Understood, Commander.”

“Dismissed, Lieutenant.”

Felina turned and walked out of the office. Feral sat down and went back to his paperwork, but his mind was now a million miles away.

Calico Briggs stood at the window of her new office, staring at the damaged city. Dark Kat’s rampage before the end had been brutal, even by his standards. Buildings were sheared off at horrible angles; skyscrapers that had withstood powerful earthquakes were now full of holes from laser blasts that obliterated anything they came in contact with. MegaKat Bridge had been cleaved in half so completely that ferries were being used to cross Megakat Sound so commuters could travel to work and home. Yet, despite all this damage, all the loss of life that had accompanied it, her heart still ached for two Kats now gone forever from her life.

Forcing her grief back down, she looked away from the desolation and looked at the desk. Paperwork was strewn all over; everything from requests for emergency funds to the more normal petitions for council meetings lay in wait for her. There seemed to be no end of tasks that crossed her desk and each day they seemed to multiply. All morning she fought her way through the various piles until she finally had to take a break. But, looking out the window couldn’t help her, not this time. It could only remind her of the agony she and her city was in. She needed to talk to someone who could help her see things she might be missing. Someone who would tell her what she had to hear, not what she /wanted/ to hear. She needed…

“Jake and Chance,” she said out loud, not realizing it. They would help her sort through it all. Quickly, she called the garage, having had enough repair work done there to memorize the number by heart. It was still right before lunch, and normally the guys should be in outside in the bay.

“No answer? That’s strange.” Callie re-dialed and let the phone ring 10 times, and still there was no answer. Not liking that at all, she hung up and grabbed her purse, heading out the door.

“Marylin, I’m taking an early lunch,” she told the young Siamese Kat who was filling in for Manx’s’ normal secretary. “I’ll be back by 1:00, but if an emergency comes up, you’ve got my cell number, right?”

Marylin smiled, her narrow eyes twinking. “Of course. Can I assume that an emergency would be nothing less than the moon falling out of the sky?”

Callie nodded… “That’s a pretty good definition. Just let me know if…”

Marylin grinned. “Go to lunch, ma’am. If the moon falls out of the sky or I see a flying pig, I’ll call you at once!” The lithe she-kat laughed, making Callie smile for the first time in over a week.

“Thanks. See you soon..” and she left for the elevator as Marylin picked up the phone.

“Mayors’ office. No, Mayor Briggs is in a crucial meeting and can not be disturbed. May I take a message…?” Marylin smiled as Calico disappeared into the elevator.

Felina hung up the phone and sighed. “Crucial meeting my furry tail. How can I protect her if I can’t find..” Wait… if she was using the limo from the funeral, Felina had had left a homing tracer in the car purposely in case something happened on the way from the service. “Dumb luck strikes again..,” muttered the Enforcer and switched on her car’s autotracker, blinking as the signal was coming in loud and clear, but from the opposite side of town. The only thing out that way was the salvage yard. “Maybe her car’s busted again..” Felina wondered to herself and decided that there was only one way to find out. Doing a quick U-turn, she ignored the horns and glares of surrounding drivers and hit Highway 29 to get to the yard as fast as she could.

Meanwhile, as Felina was heading to the salvage yard, Dark Kat and his assembled peers stared at the holo-projection being emitted from the center computer console as they finalized their plans. Shown was Puma-dyne, Megakat Biochemical and a new company called MegaTron Labs.

“Then it’s agreed! Hard Drive and the MetalliKats will launch a diversionary attack on Pumadyne while Dr. Viper uses his creations to do the same to Megakat Biochemical. This will split the Enforcers up so they won’t be able to stop me from raiding MegaTron for the experimental antimatter.” Dark Kat looked around the room and waited for someone to disagree. No one did, each remembering the earlier display of force and not wanting a repeat.

“We ssstill keep whatever we obtain during our attackssss.. correct, Dark Kat?? I will not loossse Katalyst 69 again. With it, my plantammalsss will be resssistant to temperature extremes. Nothing will ssstand in my way!” Viper glared at Dark Kat, fully expecting a double-cross but needing to put up with him and the others until he had his necessary chemical safe in his swamp hideout.

“Of course, my dear doctor! Just like Hard Drive and the Metallikats can keep whatever they take from Pumadyne. The main objective of our attacks is to allow me time to get the antimatter and return here to finish my Nega-Bomb. Then.. and only then.. will we dissolve our partnership, and I will finish off the Enforcers once and for all!”

The Metallikats didn’t believe a word of it, nor did Hard Drive. But, Dark Kat’s plan made sound tactical sense. So, all nodded in agreement and each planned the best time to overthrow Dark Kat and rule MegaKat City for themselves.

“Then, let us prepare. We shall have a little more than three weeks before my new airship is complete, and the best projections show Feral two weeks behind that in preparing for such a multi-pronged attack.” Dark Kat turned around and looked out the mouth of the cave towards Megakat City.. “Your time is running out, Feral.. use it wisely!!” And, the madman’s’ echoing laugh filled the air once more.

Callie was out of the limo before the driver could even open his door. Grabbing her purse, she started to walk into the lobby when the driver ..some guy named Harry.. started to walk in behind her.

“No.. this is something I’ll take care of. Head on back to city hall and I’ll take a cab later…” Callie said with enough authority that he knew objecting would be pointless unless he wanted to enjoy possible unemployment in his near future.

“Of course Mayor,” was the simple reply, and he got back into the luxurious white automobile and backed out the driveway far enough to do a 180* and swerve around the dump truck pulling into the lot. Reaching the highway, he had to dodge some crazy she-kat in a gray sedan that looked a lot like…

Harry took a double take and realized who the ‘crazy’ she-kat was and smiled as she turned into the salvage yard. Picking up the phone nestled in the console before him, Harry dialed a number and listened for a moment.

“Feral here.”

“Commander, it’s Harry Snow. The Mayor just had me drop her off at the salvage yard, and Felina just pulled in a few moments ago.”

“Understood. Continue to pose as her chauffeur until you hear otherwise and be sure Felina doesn’t spot you.”

“No problem, sir. Returning to city hall. Snow out.” Setting the phone back in its cradle, Harry veered around potholes and construction barricades as he quietly wished for the simple life of a beat kat.

Callie wondered into the repair bay and looked around for a few moments. Neither Jake or Chance were in the garage. She half expected to find one or both of them buried under a hood, but there was no sign of them. Several cars looked like they were in the process of being repaired, but they appeared far from finished. Walking over, Callie saw tools laying on the engine blocks, as if the boys had been whisked away by magic right in the middle of fixing the automobiles.

Ignoring the ball of uneasiness in her stomach, Callie moved to the office and tried the door. It was unlocked, and she decided to go in…”Chance.. Jake? Anyone home??”

Dead silence was the reply.

Walking a bit further, she noticed the door leading from the office to their… well, house was too kind and shack was a bit too rude.. dwelling (*close enough* she thought) ajar, she peeked into the living room and called again..”Jake.. Chance.. are you home??”

Perking up her ears, Callie felt her heart lighten when she heard voices in the other room, but it quickly turned into false hope as she realized it was only the TV. Turning to go back to the living room, she noticed the blinking VCR clock. Moving over, she saw the power had surged recently, knocking out the settings. Curious as to why they hadn’t fixed the programming, Callie loaded the tape into the player and hit the rewind button. Seconds later, she hit play and watched.

‘Scardy Kat’s 24 hour marathon will continue after these short messages from our sponsors!’ came the over-caffeinated voice of the announcer.

Now Callie was really confused. That marathon was on over a week ago! Stopping the tape, she turned the TV off and went back to the living room. Callie looked around the room and shook her head.

*Something isn’t right.. this doesn’t make any sense* Callie mused as the pieces didn’t fit together. She fumbled in her purse and tried to find a sheet of paper and a pen to leave the guys a note. Finding both, she began to pull them out when something caught her eye: her Swat Kat communicator. It was only now, after seeing it buried in the depths of her purse, did she realize it was still in her possession. Feeling that bit of uneasiness grow, she again ignored it and went to put the now useless device back. Suddenly, a truck horn sounded in the distance, the shrill noise startling her enough to where she accidentally pressed the button.

A few seconds later, Callie’s world fragmented as all hell broke loose around her.

A few minutes before Callie’s world finally collapsed, Lieutenant Felina Feral was having a few choice words (none of them very ladylike) with two dump-truck junkkats that had blocked the entire driveway leading into the salvage yard.

Slamming the door upon her departure from the squad car, Felina stalked up to the two kats who were smiling at her predicament. “Listen..I’m on Enforcer business, so move this truck /right now/ or I’ll have it towed and you tossed into the deepest hole I can find for obstruction of a city officer in her duties!” Felina poked Burke’s chest for emphasis on the final couple of words, but the kat looked far from impressed.

“Ah, lower the volume, sister! We gotta dump this scrap, and we were told by Commander Feral himself that we stay on schedule and get the mess Dark Kat left cleaned up by the end of the week or we’ll both have our tails in a sling! So, nothing you can do can get me to stop in the middle of .. what.. are you doing??” Burke started to pale slightly as he saw Felina pull her blaster and aim it at his left shoulder. Both he and his partner Murry started to raise their hands and sputter almost in synch “Oh.. okay, you .. you’ve made you point….”

Felina fired twice, the shots ringing through the yard. For the longest time the echo bounced around the front half of the yard, but muffled from the back half by the car compactor that was ending the life of a badly mistreated Kugo. The blaster shot was no match for the mechanical crusher and the main house and garage was spared the echo of the weapons fire. Burke and Murry weren’t so lucky; at least, their milk cans weren’t. The two containers sitting on the bumper of the truck became metal Swiss cheese as their refreshing liquid sputtered to the ground.

“I hope I have.. ‘gentlemen..’ . Drinking in public is a jail able offense, guys. If you move this heap.. /NOW/.. I just might forget I saw all this.” Felina smiled ever so slightly and waited for the guys to decide.

“Of course we’ll move, Lieutenant, right away!” The pair couldn’t get to their truck fast enough and seconds after the bed had locked into the down position, the two rumbled out of the lot as quickly as possible. In anger, Murry jerked the horn at the she-kat as they rounded the corner. This time, the car crusher wasn’t running, and the horn filled the entire lot with its shrill call.

Smiling as the two sped off, Felina coughed as their exhaust rumbled past her in the breeze. Shaking off the fumes, Felina got in her car and pulled up to the garage. Mentally, she /knew/ she wasted too much time with those sorry excuses for tom-kats. For an Enforcer, every moment could be the one each never wanted to face: that one second where life turned to death, where hope turned to tragedy. Felina silently vowed that this would not be the case, not this time.

Exiting her car as quickly as possible, she jogged up to the repair bay. She called into the garage, “Mayor Briggs? Are you here.. it’s Lieutenant Feral.”

The only reply was the soft wail of a not-too-distant alarm, very similar to the emergency siren at the Enforcer barracks.

Felina walked over to the door to the lobby and eased in, her weapon at the ready. Using what cover there was, she slipped to the inner door frame and stood still. After a minute of visually checking the situation, the lithe she-kat tumbled into the room and came out of her crouch aiming at the darkened figure sitting on the floor. The alarm was louder in here than outside, but still deeply muffled. The figure didn’t seem to notice – or sense – Felina’s presence at all.

“Freeze! Enforcers!” came the order as Felina kept her weapon aimed at the figure on the floor.

Whoever it was, words had no effect. Slowly, Felina heard another sound mixed with the background noise: soft, sobbing whimpers.

Tense seconds passed as Felina began to realize that her ‘burglar’ was none other than Calico Briggs herself! Blinking as if to believe her eyes, she walked over to the kneeling form of her charge as she holstered her pistol.

“Callie? It’s Felina Feral. Are you okay?”

*Of course she’s not okay* Felina chided herself for not having a more original question to start with. Leaning over, she gingerly put her hand on Callie’s left shoulder, shocking the distraught Mayor into attentiveness long enough to turn around.

Felina gasped as she saw Callie’s state – her fur was matted and knotted as her normally clear and focused eyes were puffy from the sobbing that had proved to be overwhelming. Her clothes were askew; as if she had lost all care about personal appearance. It was almost like something had shattered her will, and this battered husk was all that remained of the young lady that Felina (among many others) had come to admire and respect for her courage and bravery under fire.

Felina would be the first one to admit she didn’t know Callie as well as she wanted, but her duties as an Enforcer came before any personal relationships. Felina silently vowed once they got past this time of grief, that would change. Her thoughts snapped back to the current situation as Callie fixed her eyes onto the Enforcer.

Clutching the communicator, Callie jerked away from the reassuring hand Felina tried to give. Finding her voice, she spat at her friend…”Don’t you see.. don’t you understand?! It’s my fault! It’s all my fault!! I killed them.. I killed them all!!” Callie almost shrieked as she attempted to stagger to her feet, trying to run from both Felina and the guilt of what she caused was now doubled against her broken heart.

“Who Callie.. who did you.. kill??” Felina asked softly. She knew Callie could never kill anyone; her heart told her that much. But, to see Callie like this.. teetering on the brink of emotional shutdown.. was something she never expected to see in this life. Mentally, she braced herself for the answer.

“Don’t you see!? I killed the Swat Kats!”

“You have got to be joking!” startled Feral, looking up across to the kat sitting to his right.

“Not at all, Commander Feral, although I wish I was for all our sakes. The tests are far from perfect; that much I’ll admit. But, every logical course of reasoning suggests that Ms. Briggs might be heading for a nervous collapse.”

Feral looked at Dr. Katzenberg, shaking his head. “I know you’re the most respected neurologist in the city, Doctor, but I have known Mayor Briggs for several years and find it hard to believe that after little more than a week in office you’re ready to admit her to Megakat Memorial Hospital’s special care wing.” Feral silently fumed; this was the /LAST/ thing he wanted.. or needed.. to hear. In addition to beefing up security at Pumadyne and MegaKat Biochem, there was that new place called MegaTron that requested Enforcer presence to support its in-house security team. The Enforcers were stretched to their limit, and he had no time to worry about committing the acting Mayor.. no matter how brief a period.. to a ward at Megakat Memorial. **Besides, no matter how much I might have disagreed with her support of the Swat Kats in the past, she is the best person to keep this city together long enough for my Enforcers to be where they need to be.**

Thomas Katzenberg was a small Persian, nearly pure white with only a touch of gray tuff at his wrists. Pushing his horn rimmed glasses up on his nose, he quietly he studied Feral, letting the Enforcer study his options. The Doctor’s mind drifted to how this whole mess started. After Mayor Manx was brought to the hospital for a concussion sustained when the Turbokat collided with Dark Kat’s flying fortress, he did a complete physical on Calico Briggs – as procedure dictated – when a new mayor was put into office. Those first batch of tests were to be used as baseline comparisons against any later tests to see if the pressures of office were adversely affecting the health of the acting Mayor.

“Are you sure about this, Doctor?” Feral’s voice cut into Katzenberg’s mental review.

“As sure as I can be with this most recent test. The one week follow-up, again as required by city law, shows a 43% increase in several brain chemicals.” He chose to forgo the more clinical details of Calico’s tests as he knew Feral’s penchant for obtaining needed information without unnecessary tangents. “The chemicals in question were expected to rise; that much we knew. But, 43%? Before now, anything above 29% was unheard of. In addition, her white blood cell count is down – an expected sign of intense stress – but again, the downward turn was much greater than expected.”

“How much?” queried Feral.

“Nearly 63%. At this point, Commander, the common cold could put her out of commission for a month. If she got the flu, it could well be fatal under certain conditions.”

“Fatal!?” Feral looked stunned.

“Those are extreme cases, Commander, but they are entirely possible. The basic problem boils down to this: some type of external or internal stress is causing her body to react in adverse ways. Something about this whole affair is affecting her in ways we can’t begin to understand. All we have to go by is the final result – she either takes time off and defeats whatever this problem is, or we’re forced to get her professional help at MegaKat Memorial. Either way, a new acting Mayor will need to be appointed, as per city charter.”

“Doctor, what you’re telling me is that Ms. Briggs is heading for a nervous collapse, and that if we don’t help her, we will need to remove her from office??” Feral summed up the conservation, still unable to believe the route the Doctor was suggesting if worse came to worse.

“There is one other problem, Commander Feral.”

“Great! What’s that?” the exasperated Enforcer snapped.

Ignoring the tone of the reply, Katzenberg continued… “According to amendment N.C.C 1701 subsections ‘A-E’ of the Megakat City charter,” he paused, trying to remember the exact wording. He couldn’t, so he paraphrased: “In the event that both Mayor and Deputy-Mayor are unable to perform their duties, the city council shall appoint an interim Mayor until such time either the Mayor or Deputy Mayor can resume those duties…”

Feral frowned… “Let me guess: they’ve already chosen a replacement, and it’s up to me to inform him or her when we go ahead and remove Ms. Briggs.” It was a task Feral didn’t relish. He had too much going to play errand boy to a city council that already bound his paws enough. If they chose someone in-line with their past policies, then Feral would be in a lose-lose situation without Calico Briggs to back him up; a habit she had recently developed and one he would like for her to keep.

Suddenly, the intercom buzzed, and Feral leaned over slightly and flicked the ‘talk’ switch. “Feral here. What is it?”

“Call for Doctor Katzenberg on line two, sir. It’s Megakat Memorial.”

Thomas looked at Feral and picked up the receiver. “Katzenberg here. What’s the…” he stopped, apparently the party on the other end insistent on relaying the information with all due haste. After a few seconds, the doctor blanched. “We’ll be right there!” and was reaching for his briefcase before the phone hit the cradle.

Katzenberg looked over at Feral (who had apparently picked up on the ‘we’ part) as he secured his shoulder holster and the heavy blaster pistol it contained.

“What’s up, doctor?” Feral inquired as he slipped on his overcoat, buttoning it up to his neck.

“I’m afraid our previous conversation in possibilities just became fact, Commander. Your niece brought Calico into Megakat Memorial a few minutes ago unconscious. Both of them looked like there were in a serious fight.” Katzenberg was already out the office door as Feral took four strides and caught up.

“What’s their prognosis? Any signs of what occurred” Feral tried to hide his worry about his niece, but to anyone who was a parent – like Thomas – it was as clear on his face as the mid-afternoon sun in the sky.

“Nothing yet…” answered Katzenberg as both he and Feral bypassed the elevator in favor of the quicker stairs. “Callie’s in ICU, and Felina’s being treated on an outpatient basis.” The five stories to the parking deck flew by as the pair slammed open the doorway on the lowest level. “Come on, my car is over here,” pointed the doctor.

“I’ll get my cruiser. You’ll have an Enforcer escort all the way!” Feral shouted as each kat ran across the bay towards their respective autos. Seconds later, both cars tore out of the Enforcer parking deck bound for Megakat Memorial.

“Hang on, Felina,” muttered Feral as he bypassed a MegaTron tanker truck. As he sped down the interstate, his earlier concerns evaporated as Felina filled his thoughts. Flanking Katzenberg’s car all the way to the hospital, they made record time despite the early afternoon traffic.

But, even if Feral’s thoughts had not been focused entirely on his niece, he could not have known that his every action was being watched by a very familiar she-kat; one as crucial to the future of MegaKat city as Felina, Callie, or the Swat Kats themselves, despite the fact she was removed from his reality by over 400 years of time itself.

(To Be Continued…)

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