Warnings: Violence, some disturbing imagery, some profanity.
Author’s Notes: SURPRISE!! Just a small chapter, folks, but I’m still kicking and determined to finish this sucker no matter what! Without a doubt I have to thank each and every one of you for not giving up!
I really hope you enjoy this update and please consider leaving a review!
Thanks again to everyone!
Fortress Maximus June 5th 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own Swat Kats, but if I did, oh yea… we’d have box sets – with tons of interviews with the voice actors.. and creator.. and.. well, you get the idea.
Silver colored paws fell upon the hard blacktop as Tobias’s stomach emptied onto the parking lot, guts heaving their contents all the way back to lunch the day before. (Goddess, I forgot how bad I reacted to teleportation spells…) thought the young warrior as he tried to regain his composure.
“You were right, Callista; ‘course you always were…” he whispered as the churning in his stomach eased.
The Kat’s mind slowly drifted back to the days when he was still a page in the Royal Court and had come up with the bright idea to learn magic – teleportation magic to be exact. Callista had not forbade the learning of magic /as such/, but it was law that all teachings had to be done by a qualified mage or sorceress and with Her written permission.
Tobias, with youthful certainty that he could teach himself – and make it a wondrous surprise for Callista -decided to ignore both rules. Night after night while the Queen was engaged in court affairs, he snuck into her personal library and copied down the ingredients and incantations needed to learn his spell of choice.
Weeks passed as Tobias practiced on various objects; often having to come up with rather inventive excuses why his sliver fur was singed midnight black in places. After much study, the youth was prepared to try the spell on himself. In the shadow of a moonless night, he combined the ingredients and spoke aloud the words needed to activate the spell.
It was only by his own panicked screams that his life wasn’t forfeit.
Callista arrived in the nick of time to save the boy from being literally shredded at the molecular level as the spell inverted on itself. Casting a quick counter-incantation, the She-Kat collapsed the teleport bubble and watched the boy land with a sickening thud.
Sobbing in her arms, Tobias clutched onto the Queen, duly upset by the horror he had experienced. Despite his gratitude for her help, he couldn’t look her in the eye for he knew she was furious beyond measure. Upon her demand to know why he tried such a foolish act, the boy could only reply with the truth; he wanted to be a better page. Knowing he wasn’t as strong or as fast as the other boys who served in the Royal Court, Tobias felt if he could do something none one else could he would finally be seen as a worthy addition to her staff.
Stunned by the young Kat’s desire to help even with such risk to overcome, Callista thanked him for his thinking of others. However, her anger at being blatantly disobeyed was not easily forsaken nor was he totally forgiven. For the next fortnight, Tobias was grounded after sundown to his room with no visitors or knight training allowed at all. Only his studies kept him entertained until bed, and the Queen made sure his work was done and done properly. And, in perhaps the most ironic of punishments, Tobias found out he couldn’t physically tolerate teleportation spells without ‘blowing chunks’ as his Father called it.
Her final words on the matter — “doing the wrong thing, even for the right reason, is an evil unto itself; as dark and costly as any outright villainy’ — stayed with him to this day, 400 years in the future.
Staggering to his feet, Tobias turned and blanched again, only this time as the full horrors of the battlefield came into view. Dark Kat’s ship floated there, akin to a carrion predator, waiting to scavenge the land below after the battle was over. Craters and small fires littered the parking lot and woods surrounding MegaTron Labs as the firefight knew no containment or boundary. A ragged mix of Enforcer and Security personnel continued the struggle against the Dark Lord; various energy beams and shells impacting against the hull of the flying warship.
A gleam of sunlight off metal caught the young knight’s eye, and he gasped in astonishment as a large metal suit – roughly in the shape of a Kat – circled around the aircraft. Looking as it had both given and taken shot for shot, Tobias could tell from even here the damage was taking its toll. Wisps of smoke exited cracks in the suit’s armor, and he could only guess the hell the pilot was facing from temperatures inside. Whoever that Kat was, Tobias hoped to meet him face-to-face once the battle was over.
A loud explosion forced Tobias back to the ground, where a large crater had just formed about a hundred feet away. Gasping as he saw a form flying through the air, he took off at full speed as the body landed in some tall grass, off to one side of the parking lot. Reaching the spot, the knight immediately checked for a pulse, but pulled his paw away when he realized the Enforcer who lay before him was dead before he hit the ground.
The jagged piece of metal through the tan Kat’s skull saw to that.
“By the Goddess..” he whispered, frozen for a moment as it had been too long since he had seen death in battle. Soon, however, the old instincts kicked in and Tobias reached over to read the name tag of the fallen solider. The Kat’s name was… had been… Lieutenant Taylor. Reaching up, the youth gently closed the eyes of the fallen warrior and brought his paw up and did a small cross upon his chest, eyes then closing in a Warrior’s Prayer.
“Dear Goddess, whom we all owe our life and soul, please accept this solider into your Majestic Kingdom. Take from him his pain and suffering, and let him see those long gone anew. Welcome him as a warrior and let his spirit soar amongst his brethren who he joins with Honor. Comfort his family and loved ones in their time of grief, and let your bountiful grace heal their despair as the days pass. In the name of the You and Your Daughter, praise be given…”.
Pausing for a moment more, Tobias opened his eyes and gingerly began to take a few of the items from his fallen comrade’s ammo belt. “Forgive me, my brother, but I too have a duty that I must fulfill, and I can not do that without the means that you can provide…” he quieted for a moment, taking several flash and tear gas grenades. Another pouch yielded a collapsible baton while one more provided the time-lost knight a boon he had not considered: a black ski mask. He hesitated on putting the mask on but knew that he had no choice; he would need to tell the Princess of his mission at some point — of that he had no doubt.
But, for Jace and Kassie to find out his true identity after all this time was a revelation he never wanted to happen. He had been living a lie for nearly two decades, and he would need to maintain that subterfuge for the rest of his life.
Slipping on the garment, Tobias Jake Furlong, adopted son of Chance Furlong, stood ready. On one side, the dark foe that defined his existence; the reason that Callista and Jake had given up their only daughter to live in this day and age. One the other… somewhere in the chaos… was Princess Calico herself. Drawing the baton and expanding it to full, he locked the weapon into place.
“I am here, my Princess!” he called out to the air, eyes narrowing as he surveyed the battlefield. “In defense of all that is Just and in the name of Callista herself, let the battle be joined!”
The radio officer ran up, panting for breath as Steele stepped out of his car, blaster drawn. “Commander… Commander Steel!”
Looking around, the Enforcer blinked as he spotted the golden-hued Kat waving him down. “What!?” he called over the din as he, Kassie and the others that arrived with him sought refuge behind his car as a shell passed by overhead to impact in the woods behind them.
“Incoming message from Flight One, Sir!”
Steele blinked. Flight One was the main control hub for all Enforcer aircraft. Normally, any transmissions would go to an aircraft on scene and be relayed to the top officer involved. For a message to be sent directly to the field must be of major importance.
“What’s the message?!” he shouted back.
“Company’s coming, Sir! Mach 4 and closing. They just buzzed the base and radioed a warning to all Enforcer units!”
“Why would Dark Kat’s back-up radio a warning??”
“It… it wasn’t Dark Kat or any super-villain we know of, Sir..”
“Then who was it? What did they say?”
Any answer the communications office could give was lost as a massive explosion ripped through the air, the E.X.O-Kat was now reeling out of control and it spiraled down onto the ground, bouncing with enough force to send it along the asphalt like a rock skimming the surface of a lake.
“Feral!” shouted Steel, as he started to run over towards the fallen warrior but was stopped by Kassie.
“David, look out!” she yelled, plowing into her commander with enough force to knock him out of the way of the small caliber fire that erupted from the airship. A large holographic image of Dark Kat appeared as the battle paused.
“Foolish, Feral! Did you really think you were going to win against me??” The image flickered, and the Dark Lord glared down at the smoking hulk that had been the E.X.O-Kat. If he felt any surprise as the door was kicked off its hinges, it didn’t show on the holographic image.
“I’m.. still.. alive.. Dark Kat..” coughed the battered Mayor of Megakat City.
David winced, Kassie blanched, and those who arrived with Steele stood transfixed with shock as Feral shakily rose to his feet. A horrific gash in the Kat’s forehead leaked blood, the makeshift cloth bandage made from a tear of his jacket was already soaked and unable to hold more. His right arm wasn’t in much better shape; several sets of charred cable were bound into a makeshift sling.
“If… you… think I’m beaten, you sick psycho, then you’ve got another thing coming!” and with that Feral pulled his sidearm with his good paw and opened fire, causing the rest of the gathered Enforcers to follow suit.
The hologram laughed. “Foolish, Feral! You and your pathetic Enforcers are doomed! Enjoy oblivion!!” It was then two large mechanical arms unfolded from the sides of the ship, jagged claws emerging from the tips. With blinding speed the pair of robotic arms streaked towards the downed E.X.O-Kat, determined to crush any and all under their unforgiving grasp.
“NO!” shouted Callie, her eyes widening at the scene before her. “I can’t let him kill Feral… I can’t lose anyone else!” she cried out in a mix of fear and determination as Dark Kat had already taken so much – to lose Feral, even if he wasn’t a good friend, would have been more than the young Kat could take. Summoning her inner powers, a new spell-poem began to echo forth…
“Our hearts aligned pour fourth their light…”
But, Lighthope was unable to finish as from the sky two… somethings… streaked above her not a hundred feet in the air, forcing her to abandon her spell and duck for cover. It was then the Enforcer’s radios crackled into life, each one repeating the same phrase over the emergency broadcast channel..
“Hey, Dark Kat! We’re having a seafood special on octopus missiles – all you want shoved up your tail!!”
Scrambling to her paws, Callie looked on with shock as the two ‘something’s’ opened up to become multi-pronged missiles, each one looking much like the ocean-dweller of their namesake.
“Could it be…?” whispered the heroine as she realized just WHO used those particular missile configurations.
The gathered Enforcers looked on with shock and awe as the twin weapons grasped the mechanical arms mere yards away from Feral and proceeded to force them back at unnatural angles to their design. Sheering under the tension, both arms shredded off their housing and were shoved harmlessly into the woods outside the battlefield – a massive explosion some seconds later confirmed they would pose a threat no longer.
Inside the hover craft, Dark Kat’s closed fist pummeled the console. “BLAST IT! Who did that!?” he bellowed, turning around to grab the nearest Creepling and ended the creature’s existence with a violent snapping of its neck.
The answer to Dark Kat’s questions came not with words, but with a deep, thunderous roaring as the skies above the battlefield parted and a black jet erupted from the smoke-filled clouds; the ‘chu-chugs’ of a pair of cement machine guns blanked the flying fortress with globs of quick drying concrete.
Callie’s gaze drifted to the jet as it soared past, trying to gleam some manner of its design. A long, pointed fuselage was the most noticeable, the transparent aluminum cockpit only the tinniest bit brighter than the obsidian blackness of the main body. Widening as it drifted back, a single engine under each wing roared with power, pushing the jet to unheard of speeds. The same housing that covered each engine in back also served as a missile launching shroud in front. Under each wing tip one of two cement launchers spun into action, hitting their target with pinpoint accuracy. The back of the jet ended flush with the engines, two upwards-mounted fins on top slicing through the air with deadly ease.
But, it was there – on top the wings – that gave all present pause. Upon each wing was the symbol that could strike fear into the hearts of criminal masterminds and give a beleaguered population hope all at the same time.
A symbol loved by good and feared by evil…
From Dark Kat to Feral, Kassie to David, all muttered the same thing…
But, it could, and it was.
The Swat Kats were back!
(To be Continued)
Authors Notes 2: Not being an expert on planes, I based the new Swat Kat jet design (Yes, I’ve named it.. but that’s next chapter) on the SR-71 Blackbird stealth fighter. The source image has taken a few liberties with the original design, but it actually makes it more ‘Swat Kat-ish’ in my opinion.
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.