Partners in Time by Jade F. Callan
(For Bill, my own Nasty Pastie!)
Callie took a break from her endless official paperwork to look out over the city from her office window high in City Hall. She rubbed her sore neck, wishing she could afford to take the afternoon off to enjoy the beautiful weather. Looking out again, however, she noted that it did look a bit like rain. Sighing, Callie returned to her paperwork. The clouds grew more ominous as the day wore on.
“Hey, Chance,” Jake called to his partner from out front of the garage, “The weather’s getting nasty out here.”
“I thought it looked a little darker,” Chance answered from under a car. He was just finishing up a brake job.
“Maybe we had better close up the windows,” Jake cautioned, heading inside.
“OK, buddy, you start. I’ll finish this and be there in a minute,” Chance told him.
Jake moved around the house / garage, closing all the windows. As he closed that last one in the kitchen, Chance strolled in.
“I closed up the doors on the garage,” Chance mentioned, “It really looks bad.”
“Just as well. We can work on the Turbokat today,” Jake said, turning to the fridge and opening the door.
“Sounds good to me,” Chance took the can of milk Jake offered, opened it, and took a long drink, “We need to stock up on missiles, that last run in with Dark Kat really used up a lot of fire power.”
“Not to mention the dings he put in the jet,” Jake added.
The two finished their milk, tossed the cans in the recycle bin, and headed down to the hanger.
Callie wondered if she was going to have to turn on more lights. It was really getting dark outside. She again walked over to the windows and looked out.
“Something odd about this weather,” Callie said to herself, pushing a window open to see if the temperature had dropped. It was still very warm out, she discovered. There was something very odd about that cloud – it was turning green. Perhaps there was something about it on TV, Callie thought. She returned to her desk and got out the small portable TV she kept in her office to keep her company on those late nights – which were all too frequent lately. Callie flipped through the channels, but there was no word on the weather. Very strange, Callie thought as she switched off the TV and put it away. Shaking her head, she tried to return to her work, but she just couldn’t concentrate. Throwing her pen aside, Callie returned to the window, studying the cloud.
“I don’t like this,” Callie announced to the cloud, which did not reply. Deciding she might as well go home since not work was getting done, Callie turned from the window to gather her purse and pile up her paperwork. Before she made it back to her desk, a loud clap of thunder and a flash of lightning sent her back to the window, where things were now looking even uglier.
“I have a bad feeling about this,” Callie declared. The cloud, now various shades of green and violet along with black, began to spin.
Felina glanced sideways at her uncle, who was leaning forward in the co-pilot’s seat of her chopper. He sure loves his job, she thought, returning her eyes to the front windscreen. Then again, so do I, she added. They were heading for City Hall to check on the strange cloud hovering in the area. Weather phenomenon aside, it had been a boring week so far, so any type of excitement was welcome to Felina. As she brought the chopper around the clock tower on the top of City Hall, the cloud came into view.
“There it is, Uncle,” Felina announced, pointing out the front windscreen.
“I see it, Felina,” Commander Feral told her, “and I don’t like it. Circle around, I want to look at this thing from all sides.”
“Right,” Felina expertly flew her chopper around the perimeter of the cloud, giving her uncle at good view of it.
“Now, I like it even less,” Feral informed her, “I think we had better call for backup, and also place a call to Megakat Weather Bureau to see what they make of this,” He was reaching for the radio when a loud clap of thunder stopped him, “What the……”
The cloud seemed to take on a life of its own, twisting and growing, lashing out with lightening. A bolt hit the chopper, knocking out the radio and spinning the craft around several times until Felina managed to regain control. When she swung them around to face the cloud again, both Feral and Felina saw what looked like a deep hole in the middle of it.
“Exactly what I was afraid of,” Feral said, “And with no radio, we can’t call for backup.”
“What is it, Uncle?” Felina asked him.
“The Pastmaster,” Feral answered her.
Callie watched with interest as the Enforcer chopper approached the cloud. From her window, she had a front row seat. When lightening struck the helicopter, she jumped, but the pilot seemed to have things under control. Callie was wondering why the pilot didn’t call for backup when she noticed a large black hole forming in the center of the cloud.
“Oh, no, not that little troll again!” Callie fumbled in her purse, not wanting to take her eyes off the cloud. Finally locating her communicator, she pulled it out and pressed the button.
Jake and Chance had finished loading the missiles, and were working on buffing out dings when the alarm sounded.
“Hope you don’t mind getting a little wet, buddy,” Chance said to Jake as he picked up the receiver, “Yes, Ms. Briggs?”
“T-Bone? I need you guys. I think The Pastmaster is back. One of his time vortexes is hovering over City Hall!” Callie told him.
“We’ll be right there!” Chance hung up the receiver and turned to Jake, “The Pastmaster is back in town. Let’s show him a little SWAT Kat hospitality, shall we?”
“You got it, partner!” Jake responded with a wide grin.
“Felina, return to base. That’s an order!” Feral yelled, his eyes on the cloud.
“Negative, Uncle. That jolt affected the radio, so we can’t call for backup. If we leave, no one will be around to watch the cloud,” Felina argued.
“Fly over by City Hall, then. I’ll ask Deputy Mayor Briggs to call. I saw her standing by the window when we first arrived,” Feral said, too worried about The Pastmaster to argue with his stubborn niece at the moment. Felina brought the chopper around to the front of City Hall where, indeed, Deputy Mayor Briggs was standing at an open window.
“Deputy Mayor Briggs,” Feral used the loudspeaker, “Our radio is out. Please call Enforcer Headquarters and tell them to send backup.”
Callie waved to show she had heard him, then went to place the call, hoping the SWAT Kats showed up soon.
Another clap of thunder shook the chopper, and Felina and Feral turned to look at the cloud. Out of the center of the cloud dropped a rather horrible looking creature, the likes of which Felina had only seen in horror movies.
“What’s that?!?!?” Felina demanded, her eyes huge.
“Something nasty from the past. Think of it as a present from The Pastmaster,” Feral told her.
Felina, recovering her senses, brought her guns to bear on the beast, who was busy trying to decide what to destroy first. It was ten stories high easily, maybe bigger, and sort of reminded her of Viper in a way.
“Take this, ugly!” Felina told it, firing on the creature. Her rounds had no effect, “Crud!”
“Need someone to watch your back, Lieutenant?” A familiar voice cam from a loudspeaker to Felina’s left.
“T-Bone!” She cried, craning her neck to catch sight of the Turbokat.
“Oh, no, not them!” Feral groaned, “Felina, turn this chopper around…”
“Oh, no, Uncle, I’m not leaving now. The party’s just starting,” She interrupted, “Besides, the backup’s here,” She fired at the creature again.
“About time,” Feral snapped as three Enforcer helicopters came into view.
“Now what, T-Bone?” Razor asked after they watched Lieutenant Feral empty her machine-guns into the creature with no effect.
“We need to get that thing in position, where no one will get hurt when we take it out. Has Feral cleared the area yet?” T-Bone circled the creature, giving Razor a full view so he could decide what to throw at it.
“Dunno, he’s with Lieutenant Feral, and Ms. Briggs told us their radio’s out,” Razor, replied, studying the creature.
“I got an idea. Is that spare helmet still under your seat?” T-Bone wondered.
“Yeah, still here.” Razor answered.
“Can we get it to Lieutenant Feral?” T-Bone added.
“If you fly under her chopper, I’ll climb up and deliver it personally,” Razor volunteered.
“Here we go,” T-Bone maneuvered the jet until he was under Felina’s chopper, then popped the canopy. Razor unbuckled his seat harness and leaped up, hooking an arm around the landing gear of the chopper. Quick as a wink, he hauled himself up to the door of the chopper and pulled it open.
“What the…..,” Felina drew her side arm, as did Feral, when the door to the left slid open.
“Wait, it’s me!” Razor protested, “I brought you something,” With that, he tossed the helmet into Felina’s lap.
“What’s that for?” Feral demanded, slowly putting away his gun.
“To keep in touch,” Razor said as he let go of the chopper and dropped back into the gunner’s seat of the Turbokat.
Felina quickly put away her side arm and removed her Enforcer helmet, replacing it with the one Razor had given her.
“This is Lieutenant Felina Feral, can anyone hear me?” Felina spoke into the radio mike.
“Loud and clear, Lieutenant,” T-Bone informed her, “Listen, we need to know if the area has been cleared. We can’t risk hurting anybody down there.”
Just then, the creature turned its attention to the clock tower.
“Crud! Where’d he come from?” Razor asked no one in particular.
Standing on the top of City Hall, in front of the huge clock tower, was none other than The Pastmaster himself.
“Well, well, Pastmaster, we meet again,” growled T-Bone, a fierce smile plastered across his face.
The creature, who had been toying with the three Enforcer helicopters, struck out with what it had that passed for arms. One of the choppers went down, and another was badly damaged.
“Damn!” Felina watched as the pilot of the downed chopper floated to the ground under his parachute.
“Such language, Lieutenant,” Admonished T-Bone, “I think Razor and I can handle ugly here, if you can keep The Pastmaster busy.”
“Roger. Watch your tail….not mine!” Felina flew the chopper up towards the clock tower, her uncle giving her a sharp look.
“So, how do we take out old ugly down there, Razor?” T-Bone wanted to know.
“Simple. We toss him back into the time vortex,” came Razor’s answer.
“Oh, I see, just pick it up? The Turbokat’s not that powerful, Razor!” T-Bone dodged past the creature’s attempts to hit the jet.
“But these new jet-propelled missiles we loaded today should do the trick, with minimal danger to any by-standers,” Razor informed T-Bone smugly, punching up the missiles on his control panel.
Callie could no longer see what was going on. Ferals’ chopper had gone up the side of the building, and the SWAT Kats were on the other side of that creature The Pastmaster had set on the city. Callie decided to head up to the roof, to see what was going on. She dashed down the hall and into the stairwell, climbing up the two flights to the roof. She opened the door and stepped out, looking around.
“Ah, just the guest I was hoping for!” A voice on her right said.
Callie turned and found herself facing The Pastmaster. She tried to make a run for the stairs, but he lifted his watch, and she discovered she was unable to move.
“Now my plan is perfect! You, my dear, are just what I need,” The Pastmaster came over to Callie, and circled her, stopping in front of her, “A perfect Callista! Come along now, my dear.”
Razor had the creature in his sights, and fired the missiles. The missiles caught the creature in four places and, as the mini-jets kicked in, lifted the creature into the air. Razor steered the jets via a remote control, and sent the creature back through the time vortex still churning over City Hall.
“Bingo!” Razor shouted triumphantly.
“Nice going, partner!” T-Bone congratulated Razor.
“Nice work!” Felina chimed in. Feral growled in the background.
“I’m just glad those missiles worked,” Razor answered, “Now, lets get The Pastmaster.”
“He’s got a hostage, I’m afraid,” Felina told them, “He’s nabbed Deputy Mayor Briggs and……..Hey! Where’s he going?”
As the four of them watched, The Pastmaster held up his watch and rose into the air, dragging Callie behind him.
“We gotta get Ms. Briggs out of there!” Razor shouted.
T-Bone brought the jet around, coming behind The Pastmaster. Felina jerked at her controls, the chopper rising in front of him. Suddenly, both chopper and jet shuddered violently.
“What’s happening?” Razor asked.
“The time vortex,” Felina answered, wrestling with her controls, “He activated it, and it’s pulling us in!”
Slowly, The Pastmaster, Callie, the Turbokat, and the Enforcer chopper all entered the time vortex, Felina and T-Bone fighting for control of their crafts all the way.
“Crud!” Someone said as they were finally sucked in.
Callie’s head was still spinning for quite some time after she and The Pastmaster came out of the vortex. She slowly opened her eyes, and found herself lying on some sort of cot – in a cell. Carefully sitting up, she glanced around. She seemed to be in a cage of some kind, in some sort of stone tower. She saw that one end of the room contained what seemed to be possessions of The Pastmaster, a cauldron, a fire pit, and a pedestal with some sort of spell book on it. Callie was starting to wonder where The Pastmaster was, when he strolled into the room.
“Ah, my dear, you’re awake,” The Pastmaster said, walking over to her cage, “How nice. Welcome to The Dark Ages, Deputy Mayor Briggs. Or should I say, Your Highness?” The Pastmaster laughed at his own joke.
Callie could only stare at him through the bars, hoping this was all some crazy nightmare, and that she would soon wake up.
Felina somehow managed to regain control of her chopper once the time vortex spit them out. Stabilizing the craft, she glanced over at her uncle, who has a bit rattled, but quickly regaining his bearings.
“We’re still in one piece, Uncle,” she told him, “Whenever we are.”
The two looked out the viewscreen, trying to figure out where, not to mention when, they were.
“Awful lot of jungle and swampland out there,” Felina observed, “Where do you suppose we are?”
“Looks like pretty far back in time, Felina,” Feral answered her.
“Question is, how far?” she asked, scanning the sky ahead. As if in answer to her question, two creatures, who looked like a cross between a bird and a snake, swooped towards the chopper. Felina slammed the controls forward, causing the chopper to drop rapidly. After dodging the bird-things, she brought the chopper back up slowly, watching all around for another attack. She didn’t have long to wait.
“Felina! Behind you!” Feral warned.
Felina moved as fast as she could, again slamming the controls forward, but this time one of the creatures managed to take a swipe at and connect with the chopper, knocking it sideways.
“We’d better find a place to land, Uncle,” Felina said as she struggled to bring the listing chopper under control, “Two of them are just two too many. Besides, they’ve done some major damage, and we’d better check it out.”
Commander Feral leaned forward, checking the surrounding area for a likely landing spot, “Put it down there,” He told her, pointing to a recess in the side of a mountain to their left.
Finally gaining control, Felina guided the still wobbly chopper down to the lip of the recess, tucking it neatly inside, “Perfect fit.”
“Now,” Commander Feral unbuckled his seat belt and stood up, “Let’s have a look at the damage, and try to figure out how to get back to Megakat City,” He reached over and unlocked the storage locker, taking out the tool kit.
“Hopefully, we’re not grounded,” Felina took off her helmet and laid it aside, unbuckled her own seat belt, and rose to her feet. The two Enforcers exited the chopper and walked around to the damaged side.
“Dunno, Uncle,” Felina said, peering into the damaged section of the chopper, “Doesn’t look too bad, but I’m not sure we have the stuff here to fix it.”
Feral leaned over her shoulder to have a look, “Perhaps you should scout around the area, and let me try. I used to be pretty good at this.”
“You?” Felina turned to look at him.
“Yes, Felina, me. I wasn’t born Commander of the Enforcers, I had to earn it, you know,” Feral raised an eyebrow at her.
“OK, Commander,” Felina stepped aside, “It’s all yours,” She shivered in the cool evening air.
“Here, take this,” Feral told her, removing his uniform coat and handing it to her.
“No, you’ll get cold,” she protested, but he thrust the coat into her arms.
“Consider it an order, Lieutenant,” he growled, “From your uncle.”
Felina grinned and donned the coat, pushing the sleeves up on her arms to free her paws, “Yes, sir.”
“Now, get going!” Feral rolled up his shirt sleeves as he watched her walk down a sloping area to the right. When she ducked out of sight, he turned his attention back to the chopper, and became engrossed in his work.
Felina, meanwhile, was exploring the side of the mountain the chopper was perched on, and not finding much. Her uncle’s coat was a nuisance, but she had sensed it was important to him she take it, so she had. Felina was just about to return to the chopper when something off to the left caught her eye. There was some sort of recess under the one the chopper was in. She moved over to check it out, ducking under the outcropping, but it was too dark to see very far into the recess.
“Uncle!” Felina called, stepping back out, “I think I found something! Throw down a flashlight!”
A few moments later, Commander Feral climbed down to Felina, carrying two flashlights, “What did you find?” he asked.
“I don’t know yet,” she told him, taking a flashlight, “That’s why I wanted the light.”
Switching on the flashlights, Felina and Feral moved into the recess. As an afterthought, Feral drew his gun, covering Felina as she moved deeper into the cave. The lights didn’t reveal much more than damp walls, and Felina was just about to suggest they go back, when a loud cracking sound caught their attention.
“What was that?” wondered Felina.
“I think I know. Run for the entrance!” Feral shouted, moving fast himself.
Before they could escape, however, the shelf holding up the chopper collapsed, throwing the chopper down the hillside and sealing them in.
“Oh, no,” Felina groaned as she surveyed the pile of rubble.
“We’re going to have to dig out way out,” Feral observed, putting his gun away, “We can’t use firepower, it might bring the whole mountain down on us.”
“Wait, let me have a look through those chinks in the rocks,” Felina climbed up the rubble and placed her eye over one of the many chinks in the pile of rocks.
“Well?” Feral asked.
“The chopper was thrown clear. It’s about fifty yards away. Must’ve slid on its landing gear,” she reported.
“At least we got some good choppers out of that Enforcer’s Ball debacle,” Feral mumbled.
Felina turned to glare at him as she climbed down, then shined her flashlight on the debris at the entrance, trying to figure out the best way to shift it, “I think, if we move the large boulder in the center, we’ll be able to get out of here,” she said at last.
“Let’s give it a try,” Feral doubted Felina was strong enough to help move that boulder, but he was willing to try. The two set down their flashlights and pressed their shoulders into the rocks, straining with the effort. Neither one of them noticed the black cloud forming behind them, nor its advancement on Felina………….
The Turbokat screamed out of the time vortex and into a crystal blue sky. The jet was rolling over and over, but T-Bone quickly stopped the barrel roll and banked the jet, bringing it onto an even keel.
“Would you look at this place, Razor,” T-Bone said, “Solid ice!”
“Three guesses as to how far back we are,” Razor answered, looking out of the cockpit, “I wonder where everybody else is?”
“I didn’t see anybody else come out of that vortex with us,” T-Bone told him, “I think we’re on our own.”
“That means The Pastmaster still has Callie,” Razor pointed out.
“Then we’d better figure out how to get back,” T-Bone countered.
“I’m open to suggestions,” Razor responded, “How about we land and sort things out?”
T-Bone located what seemed to be a solid area of relatively flat ice and set the Turbokat down.
“OK, as near as I can figure,” Razor began, “we are somewhere in the middle of The Ice Age.”
“I think I could have figured that out by myself,” T-Bone informed him.
“The question is, how to get back,” Razor continued.
“We need another one of those time vortexes,” T-Bone added, “and I don’t think we have the equipment to create one.”
“Maybe. I need to figure out how much of those vortexes are magic, and how much is technology. Lemme think on this,” Razor’s eyes narrowed as he concentrated.
“While you think, I’m gonna check out the jet. The last thing we need is to be grounded,” T-Bone popped the canopy and jumped out of the jet, wincing a little as his feet came into contact with the icy surface. He began scanning the exterior of the jet, checking for outward signs of damage. After giving the Turbokat the once over and being satisfied there was no damage, T-Bone leaped back into the cockpit. He glanced back at Razor, who was muttering to himself, then plopped down with a sigh, and began to run internal checks, his feet tucked up under him to warm them up. By the time Razor finally spoke, the system checks had been run twice and T-Bone’s feet were finally warm.
“I dunno, buddy,” Razor said at last, “I think I’ll leave the magic to The Pastmaster.”
“We can either stay here or fly recon,” T-Bone replied, “but we’re at the mercy of The Pastmaster at the moment.”
“I think we better fly, since the ice below has started to crack,” Razor pointed down, and T-Bone leaned out to see his partner was right.
“Let’s go!” T-Bone slammed the controls, and closed the cockpit. The jet blasted into the air, which was suddenly filled with flying ice fragments, “What’s going on?” T-Bone dodged the ice, which was increasingly hard to see in the fading light.
“Earthquake!” Razor told him, trying to track the ice on his targeting controls, “Head north. I think we can fly out of the red zone.”
“Right,” T-Bone swung the jet around due north, and hit the thrusters. He was so intent on dodging the ice, he didn’t notice the dark cloud enveloping his feet………
Callie stood up as The Pastmaster came back into the tower room and walked over to her cell.
“Did you have a nice rest, my dear?” The Pastmaster inquired, a smile oozing over his face.
“I’m not your dear,” Callie snapped at him, her eyes flashing with anger.
“Ah, but you are,” The Pastmaster told her, moving over to the pedestal at the other end of the room, “You are very dear to me, Ms. Briggs. With your help, I intend to rule Megalith City!”
“With my help? I wouldn’t help you cross the street!” Callie informed him.
“But, my dear,” The Pastmaster said, flipping through the pages of his spell book, “Don’t you want to meet your ancestor?”
“What are you talking about?” Callie demanded.
“Why, Queen Callista, of course, the sorceress who currently rules Megalith City,” The Pastmaster paused to read a spell, shook his head, and continued, “She is your several greats – grandmother.”
“You caused all this trouble just to introduce me to a long lost relative?” Callie asked, her eyes wide.
“No,” The Pastmaster stepped back over to her, his hands behind his back, “I went to all this trouble to replace her with you.”
“Never!” Callie cried.
“You’ll have time enough to make up your mind, especially with your friends held captive somewhere in the past,” The Pastmaster gave her an evil smile, “Until then, I’ve brought you a present. It’s just like Callista’s.” with that, The Pastmaster threw something onto the cot in Callie’s cell, and made his exit.
Callie carefully approached the cot, curiosity overcoming fear. On it lay a beautiful aventurine pendant, suspended on a gold ribbon. Slowly, she reached out a finger and touched it. The necklace was quite lovely. Callie picked up the pendant to study it closer, when a flash caught her eye. A mirror, suspended above the pedestal, had picked up the glow from the many candles around the room. Squinting, Callie realized she could see the text of the spell book in the mirror.
“Well,” she murmured, “if I’m descended from a sorceress, perhaps I can cast a spell to stop The Pastmaster, and get the others back to Megakat City,” Positioning herself as she had seen The Pastmaster do when he was casting a spell, she lifted her arms high above her head, the pendant still clutched in one paw. Carefully, she deciphered the lines one by one, reading them backwards in the mirror and speaking them forwards.
“Separate her from kin and lover, And deposit her with another, Might with might, slight with slight, All to face the coming night!”
Nothing happened. That didn’t even make sense, Callie thought to herself. She tossed the pendant back onto the cot, and began to pace the floor, lost in thought. On the cot, the pendant glowed to life………
In the Turbokat, T-Bone continued to dodge chunks of ice and try to fly north, while the ground heaved below. Looking down, he noticed the controls were covered by a dark mist. Before he could speak, however, a strange sensation overtook him, and everything went black………………..
Felina pushed with all her might at the central boulder, but it would not budge. Also, it seemed as if the flashlights were failing. It was growing darker in the cave. She was about to tell her uncle to check the lights when a strange feeling came over her. She almost managed to speak when it went completely black, and she had a feeling of falling………….
“C’mon, put your back into it,” Commander Feral growled at his niece, pushing with all his might. He heard her connect with the boulder once more, and suddenly, the rock moved, “Harder!” Feral yelled, straining against the rock. With one final heave, the boulder rolled out of the recess entrance and down the mountain, just missing the chopper. The smaller pieces of rock tumbled after it. Feral turned to check on Felina, and got the shock of his nine lives.
“Where did you come from?” Feral demanded, his eyes wide.
“Would you believe The Ice Age?” T-Bone responded, rubbing his shoulder, “One of those time vortexes appeared in the jet. Next thing I know, I’m here shifting boulders with you.”
“Where’s Felina?” Feral wanted to know.
“My guess would be with Razor in the Turbokat,” T-Bone said.
“In The Ice Age?” Feral raised an eyebrow.
“Yep,” T-Bone confirmed, “Where are we, if I may ask?”
“Some prehistoric jungle, by the looks of it. Our chopper was attacked by a couple of residents of this time,” Feral explained, starting to climb down to the chopper, “Felina and I were exploring the area when the weight of the chopper caused that cave-in.”
“I see,” T-Bone followed Feral, stopping to retrieve the flashlights and a few tools scattered here and there.
The two slowly made their way to the damaged chopper, stopping before it.
“Is it badly damaged?” T-Bone wondered, knowing nothing about helicopters.
“Nothing I can’t fix,” Feral answered.
“You?” T-Bone looked incredulous.
“Yes, me!” Commander Feral snapped, grabbing a flashlight from T- Bone.
T-Bone watched as Feral stalked up to the side of the chopper and examined it, using the flashlight in the dim light.
“I don’t think there was any more major damage done,” Feral announced, “But this is going to be slow work in the dark.”
“You’re not alone, Commander,” T-Bone reminded him, walking up behind Feral, “I’ll watch your back, and lend a hand if you need it.”
Feral nodded, picking up a wrench as T-Bone set down the tools he had gathered. Feral went to work on the chopper, a flashlight gripped in his teeth. T-Bone surveyed the surrounding area, which was growing darker by the minute. He then turned back to Commander Feral.
“Any external lights on this thing?” T-Bone asked.
“Green switch, far right control panel,” Feral said around the flashlight in his mouth, “If they’re working.”
T-Bone hopped aboard the craft and found the switch. He flipped it, and a soft glow encircled the chopper. As he turned to rejoin Feral, Razor’s extra helmet caught his eye, reminding him of Felina. He hoped she was all right. Better yet, he hoped she didn’t have any problems flying the Turbokat. Razor would take care of her, he reassured himself as he exited the chopper.
“Better?” T-Bone asked Feral, who was elbow-deep in circuitry.
“Much,” Feral replied, intent on his work, the flashlight removed from his teeth.
A noise behind them made T-Bone whirl around, his right arm coming up, gloveatrix ready. Feral snatched his paws out of the circuitry as T- Bone fired into the night.
“What was that?” Feral looked into the jungle, but it was too dark to make anything out.
“Dunno, but it’s not coming back,” T-Bone answered. The two listened, but the night was still. Feral turned back to his work, and T- Bone continued to keep watch.
The Turbokat began to dip towards the ground, much to Razor’s amazement.
“T-Bone!” yelled Razor, “Get the nose up!” Razor peered around the divider, straining to check on his partner. He couldn’t quite believe what he saw, “Commander Feral?”
“Guess again!” a familiar voice said, as paws grasped the joy stick control and the jet again flew up.
“Lieutenant Feral?” Razor was still amazed.
“Bingo!” she laughed, maneuvering the Turbokat through the mine field of ice shards, “This is fun!”
“What, the earthquake, the flying ice, or playing twenty questions? Head north,” Razor responded.
“Flying this jet. What a set-up! And I thought the weapons were fancy,” Felina located the compass and pointed the Turbokat due north. Already, the flying ice was beginning to recede. A good thing, since night was coming on.
“Just get us out of here,” Razor continued to track the ice fragments on his targeting system, “How did you get here, anyway, and in your uncle’s coat?”
“I’m not sure how I got here,” she told him, nosing the jet up higher to get above the last of the flying ice, “Everything went black. Next thing I know, I’m in this cockpit, heading for the ground. Maybe The Pastmaster is playing with us, sending us back and forth through time.”
“Could be,” Razor speculated, “Or maybe it’s some residual energy left over from the first trip. You still haven’t explained the outfit.”
“My uncle loaned me his coat when it started to get cold. We were in a prehistoric jungle of some kind,” Felina explained, “Actually, we were stuck in a cave-in. Hope he can get out by himself.”
“I don’t think he’s alone,” Razor said.
“What do you mean?” Felina asked.
“Well, if you’re here…..,” Razor began.
“Then T-Bone is with my uncle. Oh, no!” Felina finished with a groan.
“At least you know he’s not alone,” Razor pointed out, “The earthquake has stopped, by the way.”
“I noticed,” Felina informed him, “Now, do we keep flying, or land somewhere?”
“Let’s go on a little further, to make sure we’re out of danger,” suggested Razor, “Then we’ll set down and have a look around.”
“Sounds good,” Felina scanned the controls, trying to figure them out, “Where did you two get this jet?”
“We built it,” Razor told her.
“Cool! I’m just glad you made it familiar enough to the Enforcer jets for me to handle,” she flipped a few levers, watching the display, “Do you fly it too?”
“I can, but that’s T-Bone’s job,” Razor answered, “I deal mainly with weapons.”
At the mention of T-Bone, Felina realized that things might not be going as well between him and her uncle. She hoped they wouldn’t kill each other before this mess got sorted out.
“Yeah, I know,” Razor seemed to read her thoughts, “I’m worried about them too.”
“Why does it smell like hot peppers in here?” Felina changed the subject.
“Don’t ask,” was all Razor would say, “There’s a good landing spot, let’s put the jet down and have a look around. That looks like some sort of cave down there.”
“I think this is where I came in,” Felina mumbled, banking the jet and slowly, with Razor’s help, bringing it in for a landing.
Commander Feral removed his paws from the interior of the chopper and replaced the armor plate over the panel he had just repaired. He leaned over and gathered the scattered tools and flashlights, setting them just inside the door of the chopper.
“Finished,” he announced to T-Bone, “It’s not 100%, but it’ll fly.”
“Where’s Razor when you need him?” T-Bone mumbled, still watching the jungle.
“According to you, in The Ice Age,” Feral responded, climbing into the chopper and putting away the tools and flashlights. Leaning back out the door, he called to T-Bone, “I’m going to run system checks.”
T-Bone nodded to Feral, one eye still on the jungle. It was too dark for either of them to see the black cloud advancing on T-Bone from behind………
Felina and Razor moved carefully into the interior of the cave. She had put the jet down just outside the entrance, and Razor had insisted they go in.
“Hey!” Razor exclaimed, “This is a real cave!”
“As opposed to a fake one?” Felina asked, irritated.
“No, one made out of rock as opposed to ice. Look,” Razor pointed up the side of the wall, activating his head lamp at the same time.
“I see,” Felina said, looking up, “but what’s so special about that?”
“Look over here,” Razor started to explain the differences between rock caves and ice caves to her. Both were so intent on the walls of the cave that neither one of them saw the dark cloud closing in on Razor……..
Callie was sitting on the cot, idly toying with the pendant, when The Pastmaster again came into the room. As she watched, he went to consult the spell book, flipping the pages back and forth.
“A strange disturbance in time. Most distressing,” he muttered, lost in thought.
“Problems, Pastmaster?” Callie inquired.
“Nothing for you to worry your pretty little head about,” The Pastmaster told her, coming over to her cell, “Just put your mind on our wedding, and you will be fine.”
“I’ll never marry you! I’d sooner marry Mayor Manx…….or Commander Feral!” she snapped.
“Well, you don’t have a choice, do you?” an evil grin slid over his face.
“I can choose not to marry you,” she pointed out, “and I can refuse to help you depose my ancestor.”
“Are you sure?” he asked her.
“Positive,” she glared at him, rising to her feet.
“Don’t think this is over, Ms. Briggs,” The Pastmaster turned and stalked out, slamming the door behind him.
Callie growled in frustration. How was she ever going to get out of here? She looked around the cell, but nothing appeared to be of any use in getting that cell door open. A thought stopped her. What was it The Pastmaster had said? A disturbance in time, that was it. Maybe her spell had some effect after all. Perhaps, she thought, it might be worth it to try another one. Again positioning herself so she could see the book in the mirror, she hung the pendant around her neck and lifted her arms:
“Dark to dark, light to light, Fur spark and kats fight, To calm the troubled seas of the heart, Bring lovers together who are now apart!”
Callie wrinkled up her nose – another one that didn’t make sense! She took off the pendant, threw it down, and lay down on the cot, staring at the ceiling. There must be some way out of this, she thought, racking her brain. The pendant, which had rolled under the cot, started again to glow……………………
Commander Feral had just started his system checks when he heard the SWAT Kat outside yell. Drawing his gun, he barrelled out of the chopper, scanning the area. He saw the SWAT Kat sitting off to one side, head in his paws.
“What happened?” Feral asked, still scanning the area.
“The last thing I remember, Lieutenant Feral and I were checking out that cave,” came the answer.
“Lieutenant Feral? What are you talking about?” Commander Feral turned to face his companion, “Oh, no, the other one!”
“Nice to see you too, Commander,” Razor said, lifting his head out of his paws.
“I understand that, Razor, but why did you turn the light off?” Felina asked, looking around in the now near total darkness of the cave.
“I don’t think he had a choice,” a voice behind her said.
“T-Bone?” Felina finally located a large kat-shaped shadow by the entrance.
“Yeah, it’s me,” T-Bone answered, switching on his head lamp and looking at her, “And, I must say, you do a lot for your uncle’s coat.”
Felina, not sure whether to kiss him, punch him, or something inbetween, settled on helping him to his feet, “Come on,” she said, not letting go of his paw, “Let’s look around.”
“We could use some extra lights,” he observed, “There’s some lanterns out in the jet, not to mention food.”
Felina let go of his paw and walked back towards the entrance. She had started for the Turbokat when she realized T-Bone was not following her. She turned and looked expectantly at him.
“You’re the one with boots, Felina,” T-Bone pointed out.
“OK. Gee, the ice didn’t bother Razor,” she observed, turning back around.
“He’s got ice-water in his veins,” T-Bone shot back at her, watching her walk to the jet.
Felina hopped aboard the jet, opened the canopy, and rummaged around in the compartments behind the gunner’s seat. Soon, she found a couple of containers of food, two lanterns, and something labeled instant campfire’. Her arms full, she dropped back down to the ground and walked back to the cave, careful not to slip on the icy surface. When she got back inside the cave, T-Bone was nowhere to be seen, and she guessed he had gone further in. Setting down everything, Felina switched on one of the lanterns and set out into the cave after T-Bone.
“Looks like you did a good job repairing the chopper, Commander,” Razor commented, peering over Ferals’ shoulder as the Commander finished the system checks he had started earlier.
“It’ll fly,” Feral answered shortly.
“Where, exactly, are we going to fly to?” Razor asked, moving over to sit in the co-pilot’s chair.
“To find one of those blasted vortexes!” Feral snarled, snapping off the system board, “The Pastmaster undoubtedly still has Deputy Mayor Briggs, in case you’ve forgotten.”
“I haven’t forgotten, Commander,” Razor said, “But I do know that, at least lately, those vortexes have been coming to us. Why waste fuel trying to go to them?”
Feral paused for a moment, “I suppose you’ve got a point, SWAT Kat,” he relented.
“Thanks, I think,” Razor answered.
“Since we seem to be safe here, lets get some food and rest before morning. I’ll take the first watch,” Feral got up and walked to the back of the chopper, taking a quick glance out the door at the jungle as he passed. When he returned to the front of the craft, he had two Enforcer ration boxes in his paws. He gave one to Razor and kept the other for himself, “Not the greatest, but it’ll have to do unless you’re up for a hunting expedition.”
“I’ve had worse,” Razor opened the box and began to eat, just managing to keep his nose from wrinkling.
Feral took his ration box over to the door of the chopper and sat down. He had switched off the external lights to save power, and the darkness settled like a blanket around them. Feral wondered how Felina was doing, and he hoped he see her again soon. Anyone but these infernal SWAT Kats. He looked back into the chopper to find his companion had curled up on the floor and gone to sleep. Better that way, Feral thought, returning his attention to the jungle.
Felina had finally caught up with T-Bone, who had indeed gone exploring but had found nothing. The pair walked back to the entrance, turned on the other lantern, and started sorting out the food Felina had brought from the jet.
“What’s this?” T-Bone pointed to the instant campfire’.
“Dunno. I found it in with the food,” Felina told him.
“Hmmm, lets open it and find out what it is. Here’s a clear spot,” T- Bone placed the package between two stones and tore it open. For a few moments, nothing happened, then, with a whoosh, a flame blazed up, and soon a nice sized fire was burning merrily. Felina and T-Bone brought over more stones, and made a fire circle. They then turned off the unneeded lanterns and returned their attention to the food.
“Hey! These are Enforcer rations!” Felina observed, wrinkling up her nose, “Nothing worse than these,” she took a ration box and sat by the fire.
“Yeah, I know,” T-Bone took the other box and sat across from her, “but unless you want to try finding something else, we’re stuck with it.”
“I hate these things,” Felina said, beginning to eat her rations with a frown.
“I’ll admit, cold pizza would be better,” T-Bone also began to eat, “Waste not, want not, as Razor says.”
They continued to eat in silence. When the meal was finished, both threw their trash into the fire.
“Nice little gadget, this instant fire,” Felina commented.
“Razor’s always got something up his sleeve,” T-Bone told her, “Besides, you look even better by firelight.”
“Thanks, but this was sort of a long way to go for a camping trip,” Felina answered lightly, not sure she liked the direction the conversation was taking.
“Felina,” T-Bone’s voice became softer, “We can’t just ignore what happened.”
“Why not?” she wanted to know.
“I don’t want to,” he answered, moving over to her. Felina didn’t look at him, but she didn’t move away, either, “However, if you want to…..”
“No,” she answered quickly, “I’m just…..not sure what comes next. I mean, we’ve known each other a long time, and…..” Felina trailed off.
“It was a bit sudden, I’ll give you that. I didn’t mean to, well, take advantage of you,” T-Bone wished she would look at him, but she kept her eyes on the fire in front of them.
“Not hearing from you in weeks, I thought you might have gotten what you wanted. After all, you don’t need a promotion,” Felina spat, not sure why she said what she did but needing to hear his answer.
“Now, wait just a minute, Felina,” T-Bone took hold of her shoulders and pulled her around to face him, “I would never do that, not to anyone, and especially not to you. How was I supposed to contact you, walk up to the Enforcer Building and ring the doorbell? Is that really what you think of me?”
“No…..I don’t know,” Felina said, “I’m just not sure how to handle this. My feelings are so strong, and it’s happening so fast…..” she again trailed off, and T-Bone released her.
“I don’t object to slowing down, Felina,” T-Bone told her, “Just to stopping. I’m not sure where this is going, but I’m hanging on for the ride.”
“Me, too,” she said, “but please be patient.”
“You’re worth it. If you can figure out a way for us to see each other, I’ll be there,” T-Bone took a chance, and wrapped his arm around her. After a moment, she leaned against his shoulder and relaxed.
“Let me work on it,” Felina answered him, “I’ll think of something.”
T-Bone looked down at her nestled against his shoulder, “I’d kiss you, but with my luck you’d switch places with your uncle right in the middle.”
“That could be interesting,” laughed Felina.
“For who?” T-Bone asked dryly, while Felina laughed harder. He leaned over and kissed her lightly anyway, but didn’t press it, “Get some sleep, Felina. I’ll stay up for the first watch.”
She started to protest, but realized how sleepy she really was. Leaning against T-Bone, she was asleep within a few minutes, warm in his embrace and her uncle’s coat. T-Bone watched her in the flickering light, stroking her dark hair. It was going to be a bumpy ride, he thought to himself, but definitely worth it.
Razor sat in the doorway of the chopper. It would soon be dawn, judging by the way the stars were starting to fade. He had woken up after a few hours sleep and traded places with Commander Feral, who obviously didn’t trust him but was too tired to seriously object. As he watched, the rosy fingers of dawn spread towards him over the horizon. The invading light woke Feral, who sat up and rubbed his eyes. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only thing the light awoke. From out of the jungle came a strangled cry, and something was moving their way.
“Uh, Commander,” Razor raised his gloveatrix toward the jungle, “I think now would be a good time to test out that repair job you did.”
To his credit, Feral moved quite rapidly, scrambling up and dashing to the pilot’s chair, flipping on the rotors, engines, and control systems. Just as a rather nasty visitor emerged from the jungle, Feral lifted the chopper into the air. Razor managed to nail the creature with his mini- cement launcher as they took off.
“Nice work, Commander,” Razor said as he sat in the co-pilot’s chair.
“Just hope that patch job holds up,” Feral answered, keeping the chopper as low as possible to prevent any air attacks, “See any landing sites?”
Feral and Razor scanned the area below intently, so intently that the dark cloud behind them went undetected until it enshrouded Feral. Razor turned just in time to see the Commander disappear.
“Aw, crud! Now who’s gonna fly this thing?” Razor wondered.
Felina sat watching the entrance of the cave, T-Bone’s head in her lap. As soon as he had gone to sleep, she had covered him with her uncle’s coat. The fire had kept her warm for the last few hours, although it was dying now. It would soon be light out as well. She looked down at the sleeping tom-kat and sighed. He even grins in his sleep, she thought, smiling. This was going to be a bumpy ride, but one she wouldn’t miss for all the world. Felina almost laughed out loud thinking of her uncle’s reaction to her seeing T-Bone, not to mention her parents’, who seemed to keep hoping she’d turn into some fluffy, soft, ultra feminine she-kat overnight. Not much chance of that happening with T-Bone around, not to mention her uncle. Still smiling, Felina glanced out the cave entrance, and a flash of light caught her eye. Carefully lifting T-Bone’s head off her lap, she got up and walked out of the cave and over to the Turbokat. Finding nothing amiss, she thought she would have a little look around before waking T-Bone.
In the cave, T-Bone woke with a start. Looking around, he was a little concerned when he didn’t see Felina, but didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. She may be out by the jet, he thought, looking for breakfast. He rested his head on his arm and figured he’d give her a few minutes. After all, it was still dark……or was it? T-Bone tried to sit up, but the black cloud of the vortex pulled him down……………….
Callie rose from the cot, tired of staring at the ceiling. She had gotten some sleep, but was very hungry. The Pastmaster had refused to feed her until she accepted his proposal, so Callie had gone hungry. He had come in again during the night, but Callie had pretended to be asleep, so as not to have to deal with him. The Pastmaster had flipped through his spell book, again muttering about disturbances in time and something about planning an invasion, probably against that ancestor of hers, Callista. As the room grew lighter, Callie realized it was dawn, and was now light enough for her to try another spell. She had been unable to try after The Pastmaster had put out all the candles after his last visit. If she was truly causing problems for The Pastmaster somehow, she had to keep trying. Now, where was that pendant? She remembered throwing it down the night before. Maybe it rolled? Crawling around, Callie finally located it under the cot. Pulling it out and shaking off the dust, she moved to where she could see the mirror, and raised her arms, the pendant clutched tight:
“Muscle and sinew, teeth and claws, Now in time the world does pause, Reclaiming bonds in blood and fire, But yet in circumstances dire!”
Callie wasn’t sure she liked the sound of that. Circumstances dire? Well, she supposed you couldn’t get much more dire than being a prisoner of The Pastmaster. She sat down on the cot and looked at the pendant. To her amazement, it began to glow…………….
“How do you fly this thing?!?!?” T-Bone demanded, gripping the controls of the chopper.
“You’re asking me? Feral tossed us out of the Enforcers before we got to helicopters,” Razor reminded him.
“Great. Now what?” T-Bone asked, moving the controls experimentally. The chopper dropped like a stone, and he quickly pulled back on the controls until the craft again rose, “This is totally unlike a jet. The whole thing moves around differently.”
“Maybe that’s the key?” Razor wondered.
“The key is to put this thing down, fast, and in one piece,” T-Bone corrected him, “See anything nice and big to try and land on?”
“How about that?” Razor pointed ahead to a clearing in the trees.
“I’ll try,” T-Bone said, fighting to control the chopper. With jerky movements, the craft moved lower and lower, towards the clearing.
“I think you got it, T-Bone,” Razor told him, watching the ground approach, “Just a little more……”
“I hope you know where the brakes are, buddy,” T-Bone answered, concentrating on not crashing. With a hard thump, the chopper landed. Razor quickly flipped the switches he had seen Feral activate before. Slowly, the rotors came to a stop and the engine died.
“At least we won’t have to pay to replace this helicopter,” Razor remarked, unbuckling his seat belt.
“I gotta learn to fly one of these things,” T-Bone muttered, standing up and moving to the door, Razor right behind him. The two jumped out of the chopper and surveyed the surrounding area.
“Looks like the same old jungle to me,” Razor observed, “we’re just deeper into the trees.”
“Not too encouraging,” T-Bone replied, “Got any ideas?”
“Not really, unless you wanna try flying this thing again,” Razor looked expectantly at his partner.
“No way,” T-Bone replied, “I guess we wait for another of The Pastmaster’s calling cards.”
“Why do you smell like smoke?” Razor asked T-Bone as they sat on the ground, backs against the chopper.
“Thanks to your instant campfire’,” T-Bone smiled, “It worked wonders!”
Felina decided the flash she saw must have been the sun reflecting off a sheet of ice, and returned to the cave. T-Bone was still lying by what was left of the fire, and she was about to call to him, when something stopped her. That wasn’t T-Bone under that coat.
“Uncle?” Felina blurted out before she had consciously recognized the kat.
“Felina!” Commander Feral sat up and looked at her, “Well, those SWAT Kats were telling the truth. This is definitely some sort of Ice Age,” He peered out the cave entrance behind her.
“Nice of you to drop by,” she said, walking over to him.
“Nice to see someone other than a SWAT Kat,” Feral told her, standing up and putting on his coat, “Another cave?”
“I know,” Felina answered him, “My thoughts exactly. How did you get out of the first one?”
“That SWAT Kat you switched with has a bit more muscle than you do, Felina,” he explained, looking around the cave.
“How’s the chopper?” she added.
“I patched it up, and it was flying fine when I…..left,” Feral said.
“You mean you were airborne when you and T-Bone…….I sure hope he can fly a helicopter,” Felina’s eyes were wide.
“If he wreaks it, he pays for it,” Feral growled, making a fist.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine, Uncle,” Felina tried to calm him, “Don’t worry.”
“Easy for you, Felina,” Feral growled, “You didn’t sign the purchase order for it.”
“No, but I’m sure everything’s fine,” Felina’s voice carried much more conviction than she truly felt.
Commander Feral saw no need to argue further with his niece, and moved deeper into the cave, exploring. Felina, grabbing a lantern, followed, fumbling for the power switch.
“T-Bone and I didn’t find anything in here last night,” Felina told him, finally finding the power switch and turning on the lantern, which she then handed to him.
“I see,” Feral held up the lantern, only to find blank rock on either side of him. He moved deeper into the cave.
“Uncle, what are you looking for?” Felina followed him.
“Just looking,” he answered her.
“I’m game for exploration,” Felina said.
“Just stick close, Lieutenant,” Feral held the lantern higher. The two moved deeper into the cave.
T-Bone, still leaning against the chopper, wondered what Razor had figured out. Keeping his eyes on the jungle, he leaned toward the door of the craft, “Figure it out yet?” he called.
“Not really,” Razor responded. He got up from the pilot’s chair and rejoined T-Bone, “It’s not as clear how to fly one of these things as it is a jet.”
“At least, not to us,” T-Bone added with a grin.
“I guess we just have to wait for one of the Ferals to show up,” Razor leaned against the chopper.
A loud crashing sound brought T-Bone to his feet. The two exchanged looks, then brought their gloveatrixes to bear on the jungle in front of them.
“We may not have the luxury of waiting, bud,” T-Bone said, “Whatever that is, it sounds big.”
“Yeah, but I’m sure we can handle it,” Razor reassured him.
With a loud crash, a creature not unlike the one The Pastmaster had dumped on Megakat City appeared, slithering out of the jungle. It was much smaller than the original, only about five feet tall, but with the same nasty disposition. It advanced on T-Bone and Razor.
“No problem,” Razor fired at the creature, tying it to a tree with a bolo missile. As he fired, however, fifteen more creatures crashed through the trees and came towards them.
“Big problem,” corrected T-Bone, “Guess we have no choice but to fly out of here. You hold them off, I’ll start this thing.”
The two leaped aboard the chopper, Razor firing out the door at the advancing menace while T-Bone settled into the pilot’s chair and began flipping switches. The rotors and engines wined to life.
“T-Bone, hurry up!” Razor called, “They’re bringing in reinforcements!” he fired again at the closest creature.
Grasping the controls, T-Bone succeeded in getting them airborne, just missing the tree line in the process.
“Just in time,” Razor commented, sitting down in the co-pilot’s seat.
“You wanna try to fly this thing?” T-Bone asked, struggling with the controls.
“No way. Besides, you never let me drive,” Razor answered, “Maybe there’s some kind of manual around here. Let me look around,” Razor got out of his seat and began to explore the chopper, opening the lockers in the back. When he opened the last one, a dark mist rose out of it over him. Before he could warn T-Bone, his senses reeled……………
“Like I said, Uncle,” Felina turned off the lantern as they returned to the mouth of the cave, “Nothing’s here. Life probably hasn’t evolved yet.”
“Probably not,” Feral conceded, “but I wanted to see for myself.”
“I’m going to put these back in the jet,” Felina picked up the other lantern and headed for the Turbokat. Feral followed her up to the foot of the jet. Felina leaped onto the wing and activated the canopy release. Feral watched his niece, deep in thought. Felina finished putting away the lanterns and dropped down beside her uncle.
“The question is,” Feral spoke after a few moments, “do we stay here or take this jet and try to find one of those vortexes?”
“I don’t like the idea of taking the jet, Uncle,” Felina told him.
“I’m sure those vigilantes don’t mind using our helicopter,” Feral snapped at her.
“You were flying it when the time vortex brought you here,” Felina protested, “Taking the jet when it’s not necessary is a little different.”
“Are you sure it’s not necessary, Lieutenant?” Feral asked her.
“What do you mean?” Felina looked skeptical.
“First of all, we can’t be sure if we are all really in different times, or just in different places in the same time,” Feral explained, “Second, The Pastmaster still had Deputy Mayor Briggs, at least to our knowledge. It’s our duty to rescue her.”
Felina opened her mouth to protest again when a loud snapping sound made both of them jump.
“Third, the ice is giving way under the jet!” Felina cried, pointing to the area around the Turbokat’s landing gear. A large fissure split the ice, “Let’s go!”
Without further discussion, the two leaped into the Turbokat, Felina in the pilot’s seat and Commander Feral in the gunner’s place. Both strapped in quickly, and Felina fired the engines. Throwing the throttle forward, Felina hoped she’d guessed right on what buttons to press, “Here we go!” Felina called to her uncle as the jet surged forward. She pulled back on the joystick, easing the nose of the jet up into the sky.
“Nice work,” Feral complemented her.
“Thanks. I just hope we don’t run into any trouble,” Felina replied, “I still don’t really know what I’m doing.” She began to investigate the array of switches in front of her. She was so intent on her flying and testing the controls, she didn’t notice the black cloud forming at her feet and climbing up her legs until it had reached her waist, “Aw, crud!” was all she was able to say before the world went black……….
Callie stood in the middle of her cell, facing the back wall. The pendant The Pastmaster had given her now dangled around her neck, and she toyed with it now and then. She couldn’t be sure the spells she was casting were having any effect on The Pastmaster’s plans, and she was worried about her friends. Where were they? While she stood, lost in thought, Callie slowly came to the realization she was not alone. She turned around to find The Pastmaster staring at her from across the room.
“Hungry, my dear?” The Pastmaster asked her.
“Not enough to even consider marrying you,” Callie snapped.
“Ah, but I see you are enjoying my gift,” The Pastmaster pointed to the pendant around her neck.
Callie was just about to reach up and tear the pendant off when a thought struck her. Perhaps she should play along with The Pastmaster. Then he might give her some indication as to the whereabouts of her friends.
“Well,” Callie spoke at last, “It is pretty.”
“You see,” The Pastmaster smiled at her, “I can be quite generous if I want. I’m sure you’ll see things my way very soon. Until then, I’ll leave you to contemplate the fate of your friends,” his laughter echoed back at Callie as he left the room.
Callie wondered if her performance had been for nothing. It was hard to tell if The Pastmaster believed her or not. Idly, she moved over to study the spell book in the mirror, wondering if The Pastmaster had turned the pages. Squinting to read the lines, Callie realized he had indeed turned the pages, and she decided to try another spell. Maybe wearing the pendant helps, she thought, raising her arms and reciting what she had just read:
“Small in stature, large in wisdom, Just might hold the keys to the kingdom, Skill and patience to those that need it, And evil will soon be defeated!”
She liked the sound of that! Lowering her arms, Callie looked down at the pendant, which was glowing like a beacon………………
“Felina!” Feral yelled, “Are you all right?”
“I’m all right,” said the occupant of the pilot’s seat, “But I’m not Felina.”
“Not again!” Feral protested.
“I keep telling you, this isn’t exactly my idea, Commander,” Razor told him, “Hey, who activated the air conditioning in here?” Razor flipped a few switches, shivering in the cold cockpit. Gripping the joystick, he brought the jet onto an even keel.
“I take it, then,” Feral asked from behind Razor, “the chopper is still in one piece?”
“It was when I left,” Razor responded, “And with Lieutenant Feral there, I’m sure everything will be fine.”
“I certainly hope so,” Feral grumbled.
“Where were you two headed anyway, Commander?” Razor inquired.
“The ice cracked under the jet. It was either move it or loose it,” Feral answered.
“I see, ” Razor adjusted the controls, “Lieutenant Feral was doing the flying?”
“Yes,” Feral scanned the controls in front of him, “Interesting craft you have here.”
“Thanks,” Razor replied, “It’s not for sale.”
The two flew on in silence.
“Did you find anything that’ll explain to me how to fly this thing?” T-Bone sounded exasperated, and he was holding the controls so tight his fingers were cramping.
“Will I do?” Felina asked from behind him.
“Felina!” T-Bone roared, relief evident in his voice, “Help me with this thing, will ya?” T-Bone heard her walk up behind him.
“First of all,” Felina told him, “loosen your grip. It’s not that hard, T-Bone, just different.”
“Why don’t you show me instead of telling me?” he asked, starting to vacate the pilot’s seat. Felina leaped for the controls as he moved. Her hands slid down as he released his grip. They moved around each other, Felina finally coming to rest in the pilot’s chair.
“It’s easy, really,” she said, “Just different than a fixed wing craft.”
“Tell me about it!” T-Bone sank into the co-pilot’s chair.
“I could teach you,” she offered, bringing the craft up and flying just above the tree line.
“I’m sure your uncle would just love that,” T-Bone commented, glancing over at her.
“I fly night patrol once a week, sometimes twice, usually solo if I can manage it,” Felina explained, “It’s a way for us to be together,” she carefully didn’t look at him.
“True,” T-Bone replied, “Though an Enforcer helicopter is not the most romantic place I can think of.”
“It’s a start,” Felina responded, “Unless you’d rather forget the whole thing?”
“Nothing doing,” he countered, “Flying lessons it is. Perhaps I can reciprocate with lessons in the Turbokat….of course, you can already fly a jet.”
“Still, it might be fun,” Felina turned and smiled at him.
“With you, definitely,” T-Bone returned her smile.
After a few moments, Felina returned her attention to her flying, but T-Bone continued to study his companion. Felina was many things, he thought, but boring was definitely not one of them.
Callie was quite shocked when The Pastmaster reappeared after barely an hour. He usually waited longer between baiting sessions. She wondered what he was up to. As Callie watched, The Pastmaster went over to his spell book and began flipping through the pages once again. From his robes, he drew out what appeared to be some sort of figurines. The Pastmaster raised his watch, the face of it pointing out a window, and began to speak:
“Down through the endless portals of time, All must now listen to my rhyme, Bring these creatures here to me, Thus to ensure my victory!”
A beam of light shot from The Pastmaster’s watch and out of the window of the tower. Looking out, Callie saw a time vortex swirling in the sky. To her horror, a variety of rather nasty creatures from many different periods of history dropped from the vortex to the ground below.
“You see, my dear,” The Pastmaster hissed at her, “These pets will help ensure my domination of Megalith City. With Callista away, victory will be swift, and you will become queen before the day is over!”
Callie could only stare at him, horror written all over her face. The Pastmaster was too concerned with his spell to notice her reluctance to share in his glory, and he leaped onto the window sill to gaze upon his work.
“With these creatures, I shall make short work of the centurions who guard Megalith City,” The Pastmaster announced, “and with you to take her place, no one will oppose me!” With that, he again lifted his watch, levitated off the window sill, and onto the head of the largest creature milling around outside.
Callie heard The Pastmaster and his creature brigade begin to move off, and realized she had to do something. That spell book was no help. She had to find a way to get the SWAT Kats here to help stop The Pastmaster. Perhaps she should try to make up a spell herself, based on the one The Pastmaster had used. Callie decided she had to try. It either worked, or she was stuck here, bride of The Pastmaster. Raising her arms, her mind raced to concoct a spell:
“Down through the endless portals of time, All must now listen to my rhyme, Return to me that which is mine, Friends now scattered, reach and find!”
Around her neck, Callie’s pendant glowed with an internal fire…….
“Problems, Commander?” Razor heard Feral take in a sharp breath.
“Not exactly. Look,” Feral pointed off to their left.
Razor glanced out the cockpit, “A time vortex! That’s out ticket out of here!” He turned the jet and headed into the heart of the churning black cloud.
“That chopper better be in one piece,” Feral muttered as the Turbokat entered the vortex.
“Maybe we should land, Felina,” T-Bone suggested, “We’ve been flying quite a while.”
“I don’t think so,” she answered, “Look!”
T-Bone looked out the front windscreen to the right, “One of The Pastmaster’s time vortexes!”
“Let’s go!” Felina brought the chopper around so fast T-Bone smiled in admiration, and she flew it straight at the vortex.
“I gotta learn to fly one of these things,” T-Bone again declared as they entered the vortex.
When the pendant abruptly went dark, Callie despaired of ever getting out of The Dark Ages. She wondered if The Pastmaster had succeeded in defeating the forces of Megalith City, and strained to see out of the high window in the back wall of her cell. As she looked down, however, it wasn’t The Pastmaster she saw. Down below her window sat, wonder of wonders, the Turbokat!
Razor hit the canopy release, and both he and Commander Feral dropped down to the ground. The began to look around, when something hit Razor on the head and landed at his feet.
“Where’d this come from?” Razor wondered, picking up a shoe from the ground. It was too modern an item to be from any of the time periods they had been in.
“My guess would be from up there,” Feral pointed to a window high in the stone tower to their left.
“Deputy Mayor Briggs?” Razor speculated.
“Could be,” Feral answered, “I’ll check it out,” he marched toward the only visible door in the tower.
“We’ll check it out,” Razor corrected him, following Feral, who gave him a dark look.
The pair entered the tower, surprised by the unlocked door, and began to climb what seemed to be an endless staircase.
“Why is it always stairs?” Razor muttered under his breath.
Felina set the helicopter down close to the Turbokat, and she and T- Bone quickly exited the craft. They looked around for Razor and Commander Feral, but there was no sign of them.
“Razor!” T-Bone shouted, moving over by the Turbokat.
“Over here!” Razor called to him from over by the tower.
Both T-Bone and Felina turned to see Razor, Commander Feral, and Deputy Mayor Briggs walking towards them.
“Ms. Briggs!” T-Bone sounded delighted, “You’re all right!”
“Yes, but the people of Megalith City won’t be if we don’t stop The Pastmaster,” Callie answered.
“The Pastmaster was going to switch Queen Callista with Ms. Briggs,” Razor explained, “and The Pastmaster’s attacking Megalith City right now!”
“Well, let’s rock and roll, buddy!” T-Bone grinned at his partner.
“Ms. Briggs, you’ll be safer with us in the chopper,” Feral told her.
“Of course, Commander,” Callie responded, not about to be left behind.
The two SWAT Kats leaped aboard their jet and shot into the sky, followed closely by the other three in the Enforcer chopper. The two crafts quickly came upon the fierce battle raging outside the gates of Megalith City.
“Looks pretty intense down there, buddy,” Razor observed.
“Just the way I like it!” T-Bone declared, swooping lower over the action.
“T-Bone,” Felina called into the radio of Razor’s spare helmet, which she again wore, “The Pastmaster is on the head of that dinosaur next to the city gate. If we can get him, we stand a better chance against his creatures.”
“Right!” T-Bone located The Pastmaster, “Razor, can you get him?”
“Already working on it,” Razor told him, leaning over his targeting controls.
“I wonder where the queen is?” T-Bone asked.
“Callie said Queen Callista was away on a trip. Transportation being what it is here, she probably doesn’t even know what’s going on here,” Razor said, “Octopus missiles, away!”
The Pastmaster, who had seemed oblivious to their presence, suddenly spun around and raised his watch, sending a beam of light against Razor’s missiles. Before they even came close to The Pastmaster, the missiles disintegrated.
“Now what?” T-Bone wondered.
“SWAT Kats! On your right!” Felina warned, bringing her chopper around. Before either T-Bone or Razor could react, Felina fired her laser at a creature who was intent on the destruction of the Turbokat. She succeeded in wounding it, and diverting its attention. Her actions gave Razor enough time to lock missiles and take out the nightmare from the past that had just tried to cancel their future.
“Thanks, Lieutenant,” relief was evident in Razor’s voice.
“Now let’s get The Pastmaster,” Felina responded, “I’ll distract him, you take him out. Without my machine-guns, that’s about all I can do.”
“Right,” T-Bone brought the jet around for another pass at The Pastmaster.
Felina bore down on the creature The Pastmaster was standing on, firing her lasers and cursing at her lack of ammunition for her machine- guns. Callie found herself holding onto Commander Feral to keep from being tossed about in the chopper’s interior.
“C’mon, Razor, make this one count,” T-Bone growled as they came up on The Pastmaster again, who was busy with Felina.
“You got it,” Razor punched up two more octopus missiles and fired. This time, The Pastmaster turned a bit too late. He succeeded in destroying one of the missiles, but the other hit home, striking the creature The Pastmaster was riding on in the back. The Pastmaster tumbled down off the creature, falling into the moat that surrounded Megalith City. His watch flew out of his grasp and through the air.
“Nooooooo!” The Pastmaster’s strangled cry cut the air. His spinning watch created another time vortex, which made short work of the creatures attacking Megalith City, drawing them back into their own times. In just a few seconds, only The Pastmaster and Queen Callista’s army were left on the field below. The vortex closed before anyone else could take advantage of it. The watch plummeted into the moat below.
“I’ll get you for this!” The Pastmaster vowed, “you are all stuck here, in my time, where I rule!” With that, The Pastmaster snatched up his watch and ducked under the surface of the water, making his escape.
“Now how do we get back to Megakat City?” Felina asked, irritated.
“I may have an idea. Tell the SWAT Kats to stand by,” Callie said, releasing Commander Feral and taking a few steps back. As Felina contacted T-Bone, Callie raised her arms and began to speak:
“All who hear, now heed my rhyme, Send us back to our own time, To the place from whence we came, Take all, and end this game!”
Feral, who had been watching Callie in disbelief, was quite shocked to see the pendant she wore begin to glow. Still, no time vortex opened.
“What the…….” Felina had turned around and caught sight of the glowing pendant, “It’s building up energy!”
“That’s it!” Callie cried. She ran over to the door of the chopper and threw it open. She jerked a little too hard, however, and started to tumble out, only to be stopped by Commander Feral’s arm around her waist.
“In a hurry, Ms. Briggs?” Feral asked.
“Thanks, Commander,” Callie reached up and tore off the pendant, then threw it out into the sky. A beam shot from its face, opening a time vortex. As Feral pulled Callie back into the chopper and shut the door, both Felina and T-Bone steered their crafts into the vortex.
“Here we go!” T-Bone warned anyone who was listening.
T-Bone and Razor were both quite glad to see the familiar skyline of Megakat City when they exited the vortex. T-Bone banked the jet and headed towards the hanger, looking back to make sure the Enforcer chopper was OK.
“Everything all right?” T-Bone radioed Felina when the chopper exited the vortex.
“OK on this end,” Felina told him as they watched the vortex close in on itself.
“What was that Ms. Briggs threw out of the chopper?” T-Bone wanted to know.
“I’ll explain later,” Felina put him off, “Right now, I’m not sure I know.”
“Roger that. Take care of yourself,” T-Bone was wondering why Felina didn’t give him any indication of when to meet her.
“Thanks for your help,” was all Felina said as she turned the chopper towards Enforcer Headquarters.
“I’ll be good to get home, eh buddy?” Razor leaned back in his seat.
“Yeah,” T-Bone responded. Had Felina changed her mind after all?
“What do you say, pizza and nachos?” Razor asked.
“Sounds good,” T-Bone answered as the salvage yard came into view.
Callie sat in a chair in Feral’s office, giving her statement. Felina sat on her right, listening closely.
“…….and that’s when you and Razor showed up,” Callie finished.
“So, it was you switching us back and forth all that time,” Felina jumped in, “Too bad you don’t remember the spells.”
“I’m afraid I’m just too tired and hungry,” Callie said, “Are we done now, Commander?”
“For now, Ms. Briggs,” Feral looked at her from underneath his eyebrows, “I’ll stop by your office tomorrow with your statement for you to sign.”
“That’ll be fine,” Callie got up and walked over to the door, “See you tomorrow.”
Commander Feral nodded to Callie, who then exited his office.
“Wow, what a story!” Felina exclaimed.
“If you really believe it,” Feral didn’t look up from his paperwork.
“It explains a lot,” Felina pointed out.
“I suppose. Are you on duty, Lieutenant?” Feral wondered.
“Actually, yes,” Felina answered guiltily. She stood up and walked over to the door, “I’m assigned as your pilot for today, Commander.”
“In that case, you’re dismissed,” Feral told her, “I’m staying right here and catching up on this paperwork. Unless you’d care to help me with it?” Felina was out the door before Feral finished his sentence. Chuckling, Commander Feral returned to his work.
Felina wandered into her small quarters in search of food. Hopefully, there was some cold pizza in the fridge, and maybe a donut in the breadbox. Finding both items where she expected, she settled down at the table and switched on the TV. She hoped T-Bone got her message, or her upcoming night patrol was going to be pretty lonely.
After eating lunch and clearing away the daily mess left by Burke an Murray, Jake and Chance decided to check out the Turbokat for damage. Jake hopped up into the gunner’s seat, anxious to see if Feral had messed with anything during his ride. Chance climbed into the pilot’s chair, flipping a few switches to run systems checks. As he finished, a piece of paper on the floor caught his eye.
“What’s this?” Chance asked, reaching down for the paper. Unfolding it, he saw it was some sort of hand written schedule, with the dates for the current month on it, and notations about patrols. It was a copy of Felina’s duty schedule.
“Well?” Jake piped up from behind, still absorbed in his work.
“Nothing. Probably dropped by Lieutenant Feral,” Chance answered, refolding the paper and placing it in his pocket.
“I guess, unless we want to walk up to the Enforcer Building and ring the doorbell, she’s out of luck,” Jake said, “Can you imagine explaining that to Feral?” Jake finished his work and jumped down out of the jet.
“No thanks,” Chance followed his partner, “Let’s get more missiles loaded and fuel up. Scardey Kat’s on tonight, and I don’t want to miss it.”
“You got it,” Jake rolled his eyes, but refrained from any other comments on Chance’s viewing habits.
– Two Days Later –
Felina waited to be given clearance to take off. She had postponed it as long as possible, hoping T-Bone would show up, but it looked like he never got her message. At least, that was the reason Felina preferred to believe. Getting a green light, she eased the chopper off the roof and into the night, heading for Megakat Bay.
“You’re certainly better at this than I am,” a voice from behind told her.
Felina nearly jumped out of her fur, “T-Bone! You were here all the time!” she accused him.
“Yeah,” he came out of the shadows and dropped into the co-pilot’s seat next to her, “I had to make sure you were alone. You seemed to be waiting for someone.”
“You, silly,” Felina told him, “How’d you get in here?”
“Simple. I left the Turbokat on the roof of City Hall, used my jet pack to get close to the Enforcer Building, then used my delta pack to glide onto the far side of the roof,” he explained, “A few tense moments, but not that bad.”
“And then you just hopped on board the chopper?” she wondered.
“Basically,” T-Bone answered.
“Hmmm, I may have to look into roof security,” Felina mused, “Next time, I’ll pick you up at, say, Megakat Park?”
“Suits me,” T-Bone responded, “That way, I can use a cyclotron, and Razor won’t get so suspicious.”
“Trouble?” Felina questioned, turning the chopper from the bay and back over the city.
“He just wondered why I wanted to go out alone with the jet,” T- Bone felt uncomfortable discussing Razor, “Nothing major.”
“If you say so,” Felina let the matter drop, “Have I got news for you. You remember how we all kept switching around through time?”
“How could I forget?” he laughed.
“Well, it wasn’t The Pastmaster manipulating us, it was Deputy Mayor Briggs!” Felina informed him, again banking the chopper for another pass at Megakat Bay.
“Ms. Briggs? How’s that possible? That doesn’t make sense, Felina,” T-Bone told her, disbelief in his voice.
“I was there when she made her report. Listen to this,” Felina proceeded to relate to T-Bone Callie’s end of the story.
“Pretty amazing,” T-Bone commented when she had finished, “Too bad she lost that pendant. If The Pastmaster ever shows up again, we could have used it.”
“I know,” Felina replied, “You’re not getting much of a flying lesson tonight. Want to trade places?”
“Not now. Maybe next time,” T-Bone said, “Actually, I’ve learned quite a bit just watching you.”
“There’ll be a quiz next time,” she laughed.
“After dinner and a movie?” T-Bone joined in her laughter. Both of them were highly amused at the thought of going out on a date, him in his g-suit and mask and her in her uniform.
“I think we’ll stick to flying lessons for now,” Felina countered.
“Just flying lessons, Felina?” T-Bone tilted his head to look over at her.
“Why did you take your mask off when we made love?” Felina asked, her eyes on the bay outside the front windscreen.
“First and foremost, because I trust you,” T-Bone answered her, “Second, because it seemed too weird to leave it on. And third, because I didn’t want to hide from you behind it.”
“You trust me that much? Why?” she glanced over at him.
“I just do, Felina,” was all he would say.
They flew in silence for a long while, Felina only breaking it to check in at headquarters. Finally, she spoke to him again, “If you are still willing, we can meet every week like this,” she offered, “and maybe…….more.”
“OK,” T-Bone answered, “but I better head back now. I’ve been gone about four hours.”
“City Hall it is, then,” Felina radioed in her change of course and turned the chopper towards City Hall. As the building came into view, she could just make out the shape of the jet in the shadows. Landing near it, she shut down the chopper’s engine and turned to T-Bone, “Here you go.”
“Thanks for the ride,” T-Bone unfastened his seat belt and stood up, but instead of heading for the door, he walked over to her. Reaching down, he unfastened her seat belt and pulled her to her feet.
“T-Bone, what are you……..” Felina began as he reached up and took off her helmet, tossing it aside.
“I’m collecting on that kiss, Felina. I don’t think there’s any danger of you switching with Feral now,” as he spoke, he slid his arms around her waist, “This was easier the last time, without your gun and bullet-proof vest.”
Felina’s startled expression melted into a smile, “Just because I can dress up doesn’t mean I will all the time. Besides, the uniform and I are a package,” she wrapped her arms around his neck, “Deal with it.”
“Gladly,” T-Bone tightened his arms and pulled her closer, kissing her for quite a long time. Finally, he came up for air.
“Oh, my, that would have been an interesting scene between you and my uncle if he had switched with me in the middle of a kiss like that,” she smiled at him.
“Felina,” T-Bone said softly, “You are so beautiful.”
“Think so?” Felina pulled him close for another kiss, which turned into several kisses.
“We’d better stop,” T-Bone pulled back and warned her, “or you’ll be late getting back.” He made no move to release her.
“You’re right,” Felina took a few steps back, unwrapping her arms from his neck and breaking the circle of his arms around her waist.
“Sometimes, it doesn’t pay to be right,” T-Bone observed, moving to the door, “Next week, at the park?”
“Wait,” Felina reached into her pocket and pulled out a small white box. Silently, she handed it to him.
“What’s this for?” he asked.
“Thanks for the roses,” she said, “Open it.”
T-Bone opened the box. Inside, he found an antique Enforcer medal, a silver bi-plane, that was once given for valor in battle.
“Felina….” T-bone looked up at her, not knowing what to say.
“Take it, and wear it when you fly,” she told him, “That way, I’ll always be with you.”
Without another word, T-Bone pinned the medal on his g-suit, under the collar, near his heart.
“You better go,” Felina whispered, “I’ll see you next week.”
“You have Razor’s spare helmet, in case you need me,” T-Bone added, “See you next week,” he reached out to stroke her hair once, then was gone.
Felina didn’t move until she could no longer hear the sound of the Turbokat’s engines.
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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.