By Jade F. Callan
(For Glenn Frye and Don Johnson)
“Which way now?” T-Bone asked, bringing the Enforcer helicopter around the back side of Megakat Bay, lights cutting into the night sky.
“How about a real test?” Felina smiled at him, pleased with his progress.
“Such as? I thought your shift was over soon,” T-Bone glanced over at her.
“I made arrangements to stay out past my bedtime,” she informed him, “I figured, after seven weeks of lessons, you were ready for a real challenge.”
“In good with the dispatcher?” T-Bone wondered.
“No, with the Commander,” Felina answered.
“Don’t remind me,” T-Bone said with a groan.
Felina’s brown eyes twinkled at him, “Well, it is Lieutenant Feral, after all. Head over toward Megakat Swamp, by the shipping lanes.”
“What for?” T-Bone corrected the choppers’ course.
“You’ll see,” Felina told him, a smile in her voice, “Remember that quiz I promised you a while ago, when we started these lessons?”
“I remember the kiss you promised me,” T-Bone shot back, “then and now.”
“One thing at a time, T-Bone,” Felina cautioned, “Fly now, kiss later.”
“Promises, promises,” he grumbled good – naturedly. Felina laughed at his grumbling, keeping one eye on the controls, “How late are we talking?” he wanted to know.
“Why, you got a hot date tomorrow?” Felina questioned.
“I thought I was having one now,” T-Bone responded, “Actually, I was planning to get up early.”
“This won’t take too long,” she reassured him, “It’s just that the swamp disables a lot of the guidance systems, and I want to see how well you handle this chopper on manual.”
“Great,” he muttered, “Out of the frying pan, into the fire.”
Felina was still giggling as Megakat Swamp came into view.
“Angle around, come at it from the far side,” Felina instructed. T- Bone complied, and the chopper flew in low over the swamp. One by one, the guidance system screens changed to static. Felina was about to give more instructions when the radio crackled to life. She reached down to try and pull the signal in.
“What is it?” T-Bone asked.
“There shouldn’t be anyone in this area,” she explained, still fiddling with the radio, “I might get some excitement tonight after all.”
“Is that an insult?” T-Bone put in.
“Should it be?” Felina shot back. Before he could respond, she succeeded in locking in the strange transmission.
“…..that’s right, 100 kilos of kat nip,” a male voice came over the radio, “Enough to float half the city away on a drug – induced roller coaster ride.”
“Pick up in ten minutes,” another voice replied. The transmission ended.
“Smugglers!” T-Bone spat out in disgust.
“Big time, too,” Felina observed, “I better call for backup,” her paw started for the radio when T-Bone stopped her.
“Wait, listen,” he said as the radio again crackled to life.
“Did you hear something?” the male voice asked.
“Yeah, sounds like a chopper overhead,” came the response, “It hasn’t made any radio broadcasts. Keep monitoring the radio, I’m gonna get rid of it. Let me know if it makes any transmissions.”
“Right. Last thing we need is those damn Enforcers breathing down our necks,” the radio again went dead.
“OK, no backup,” Felina retracted her paw, “But we’d better get our tails out of here, before they start firing at us.”
“I’d hate to let those scum go,” T-Bone said, keeping a sharp lookout for incoming fire.
“I know, but unless we want to try this alone, what else can we do? They’ll trace any transmission we make,” Felina unbuckled her seat belt and stood up, “Here, let’s trade places. This isn’t the sort of test I had in mind for you,” as she began to walk over to the pilot’s chair, a laser shot out from the swamp and hit the chopper. Felina tumbled to the floor, rolling against the back of the craft, as T-Bone fought to maintain control.
“I think it’s just you and me against them, Felina,” T-Bone called, “You OK?”
Felina got up off the floor and carefully returned to the co-pilot’s seat, “Yeah, I’m OK, but now I’m mad.”
“Good,” T-Bone grinned, “Listen, we gotta think of a way to get a message out before we go down. We’re not gonna last too much longer,” the chopper sputtered in agreement.
Felina grabbed the radio mike, switched the transmitter to a commercial frequency she knew was monitored by the Enforcers, and spoke into the open channel, “This is the private craft Ulysses. I’m over Megakat Swamp. Some sort of engine trouble, will land in bay. Out.”
“Ulysses?” T-Bone wondered.
“Oh, shut up and fly,” she snapped, “That was the first thing I could think of under the circumstances.”
“Are there any extra clothes in here?” T-Bone struggled with the chopper, which was now definitely going down, “We’re going to have to make it look like no one survived.”
“I didn’t exactly pack a suitcase, T-Bone,” Felina replied, “I’ll see what I can do,” with that, she took off her helmet, blue bullet-proof vest, and gloves, “Will these do?”
“I guess,” T-Bone said, “Toss them around, and let’s get out of here!”
Felina threw her belongings across the chopper, firing her laser on the blue vest to make scorch marks. She turned towards the door, which T-Bone already had open. Felina ran over to him, and he grabbed her around the waist. Together, they moved to the edge of the doorway.
“Gotta time this just right, or they’ll see us,” T-Bone told her, “OK, here we go!” As he jumped out holding Felina, she wrapped her arms around his neck. T-Bone’s delta pack opened, and the pair glided to the ground as the chopper hit the trees and exploded.
“Wait a minute!” Felina unwrapped her arms from T-Bone’s neck, “That chopper shouldn’t have exploded like that!”
“It had a little help from me,” T-Bone explained, deactivating his delta pack.
“You blew up my chopper?” she asked him.
“Yeah,” T-Bone pulled her behind some trees, “Bill me for it,” he knelt on the ground.
“I will,” she promised, kneeling behind him. The two watched as the chopper burned until it fell into the water, filling the air with smoke, steam, and soot.
“Here they come,” T-Bone whispered, nodding off to the left and pulling her back into the shadows. Felina could see two flashlights coming their way.
“Commander Feral,” a voice came over the intercom on Feral’s desk. He pressed the response button.
“Feral here,” he said, “Is there a problem?”
“Yes, sir. I mean, I think so, sir,” the voice said.
“You think so?” Feral growled.
“Y-y-yes, sir. This is Officer Snow, in the radio room. I picked up an odd transmission on one of the commercial bands, sir.”
“And?” Feral pressed.
“Well, sir, I think it was from Lieutenant Feral,” Snow answered, “At least, it sounded like her.”
“Why don’t you tell me what the message was,” Feral snapped, “and let me decide if it was important!”
“The message was from a private craft called Ulysses. It claimed to have engine trouble, and was going to land in Megakat Bay. But I’m almost positive, sir,” Snow emphasized, “that it was Lieutenant Feral. She was on a solo patrol tonight, and hasn’t returned yet.”
“I’ll look into it,” Feral turned off the intercom, concerned. Felina had requested permission for an extended patrol tonight, but didn’t say where she was going. Perhaps she was on to something. Feral reactivated the intercom connection to the radio room, “Snow, this is Feral.”
“Yes, sir?” Snow answered.
“Run a check for me on that craft mentioned in the transmission. Find out who owns it,” Feral ordered.
“Um, I did, sir,” Snow replied, “It doesn’t exist.”
“I see,” Feral said, “Feral out,” he cut the connection, got up from his desk and put on his uniform coat. Exiting his office, he headed for the hanger up on the roof.
“What are they doing?” Felina whispered to T-Bone. The two still hid in the shadows, watching the two smugglers examine the downed chopper.
“Checking to make sure we’re dead,” T-Bone told her, “They found the remains of your vest, and your helmet.”
“Are they convinced?” she wanted to know.
“I think so,” he said, “They seem to be leaving. Let’s go.”
“Right behind you,” Felina replied. They stealthily followed the smugglers deeper into the swamp.
Razor leaned back in the cockpit of the Turbokat. With T-Bone taking off one or two nights a week lately, he had been using the time to work on the jet and refine his flying skills. Razor wondered what was up with his partner, but didn’t want to pry. T-Bone would tell him what was up when he was ready. He was about ready to head back to the hanger when an Enforcer chopper hurried by. Razor leaned forward to scan the radio bands until he found the Enforcer frequency.
“I’m still curious about that chopper crash,” Feral’s voice came from the radio, “I’m going to check it out. Stand by, I may need backup. Especially if Felina’s on to something. Feral out.”
Razor’s curiosity was peaked. A helicopter crash? Lieutenant Feral? He couldn’t believe she would crash without radioing in . Why all the mystery? Razor swung the jet around to follow Feral, wishing T-Bone was with him.
T-Bone and Felina followed the two smugglers quite a long way from the crash site. After about fifteen minutes, they saw the smugglers enter some sort of makeshift cabin, that was also equipped with a dock. Slowly, T-Bone and Felina crawled up under one of the windows. Felina took a chance and peeked in the window, then pulled back and held up three fingers to T-Bone. Two against three, T-Bone thought with a grin, not bad at all. The two leaned toward the window to listen to the conversation inside.
“You sure there were no survivors?” a voice asked. Felina recognized it as the first one they had heard over the chopper’s radio.
“Yeah, that chopper was a mess. Cooper and I didn’t find nothing. Whoever was on that thing must be at the bottom of the swamp by now,” came the reply.
“Good. By the time the authorities find it, we’ll be long gone,” the first voice said, “Cooper, you and Tyler get down to the dock and get those kilos loaded. I gotta call the boss.”
“Yes sir, Mr. Hunter,” Felina and T-Bone heard them leave and head in the direction of the dock. T-Bone moved to follow them, motioning to her to stay and keep listening. Nodding, she turned her attention back to the window. Felina heard Hunter fiddling with a radio transmitter.
“Come in, base,” Hunter called into the radio, “This is fishing expedition one to base.”
“This is base, go ahead,” the radio crackled.
“Everything a-OK, will arrive at appointed meeting place on time,” Hunter reported, “Will the Big Boss be able to make it?”
“He’s on his way,” came to reply, “Out.”
Felina’s eyes widened. Whoever this Big Boss’ was, she intended to bust his tail! Taking another chance, she peeked in the window again. Hunter, a rather small grey kat with faint stripe markings, was walking around the cabin gathering various belongings. Guess it’s checkout time, Felina thought, ducking back under the window. She was just wondering where T-Bone was when he crept back beside her. Grabbing her paw, he pulled her into the trees on their right, out of Hunter’s earshot.
“They’ve got a couple of boats down at the dock,” T-Bone whispered to her, “The other two are loading up the kat nip. I think we can remember where this place is, let’s wait until they leave and get out of here.”
“No way,” Felina whispered back, “There’s some kind of meeting with the Big Boss in the works for tonight. I got to follow them!”
“Are you crazy?” T-Bone asked, “The two of us against a gang of smugglers? I doubt that the Big Boss will come without at least one bodyguard, and lots of firepower.”
“All I want to do is find out who this boss kat is,” she explained in a low voice, “I wasn’t intending to start a war. If you don’t want to come with me……”
“I’m not going to let you go alone,” T-Bone declared, “C’mon, I think we can sneak aboard the second boat, in the back. It’ll be close quarters, though. Hope you don’t mind,” he started back towards the cabin, staying close to the ground.
“Not if you don’t,” Felina responded, following behind him.
T-Bone and Felina paused under the window, listening for signs of life inside the cabin.
“Mr. Hunter,” Cooper’s voice could be heard, “we got all that nip loaded.”
“Good,” said Hunter, “Now, help me gather everything up. We can’t leave anything behind. The Boss is sending someone to take this place out later tonight. He’s afraid that chopper we shot down might attract too much attention.”
Felina and T-Bone heard them stacking up their belongings. Crooking a finger at her, T-Bone headed for the dock. Felina followed, keeping an ear on the cabin just in case. The two crept up to the boat on the right side of the dock, keeping in the shadows as much as possible. Felina saw that the rather wide, flat-bottomed motorboat had some sort of lower hold. T-Bone jumped aboard the boat and lifted up the trap door to the hold. Quick as a flash, the SWAT Kat and the Enforcer dropped into the inky black interior of the boat, T-Bone closing the trap door behind them.
“I told you it would be close quarters,” T-Bone’s low voice came from Felina’s right, “They must’ve made a few more pick-ups before this one. Good thing this stuff’s sealed in airtight containers, or this would be one fun ride.”
“No kidding,” Felina turned, and found herself up against T-Bone, “If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect you planned this.”
“What, the drugs?” he asked, puzzled.
“No,” she answered, “the close quarters.”
“Not exactly a choice location,” T-Bone pointed out, “but definitely with you. Too bad the circumstances leave much to be desired, as usual. Not that I mind kissing you in your chopper, you know.”
“I noticed,” Felina teased.
“Shhh, here they come,” T-Bone warned her.
They heard footsteps on the deck above, and someone set something rather heavy down near the back of the boat. After a couple of minutes, the engines roared to life. With a jerk that sent Felina tumbling into T- Bone’s arms, the boat began to move.
“Here we go,” T-Bone whispered into Felina’s ear.
“Don’t enjoy this too much,” she warned, “What happens when they open that hatch?”
“They get a big surprise,” T-Bone responded. He leaned against a stack of containers behind him, still holding her.
Commander Feral finally cut his way through the undergrowth to the crash site. He had been forced to land his chopper at the edge of the swamp, and cut a path to the area, which was slow going in the dark. Shining his flashlight over the site, he noted there were quite a few burned trees, and a lot of soot hung in the air. He walked forward to get a better look at what was left of the downed chopper.
“Out for a walk, Commander?” someone on his left inquired.
Feral swung around, drawing his gun with a smooth motion, dropping the flashlight in the process.
“Wait! I’m friendly!” Razor protested, paws up.
“What are you doing here, SWAT Kat?” Feral growled, slowly putting away his gun and retrieving the flashlight.
“I picked up your transmission, and was curious,” Razor explained, “Besides, I like Lieutenant Feral too, you know,” he lowered his paws as he spoke.
“There’s only one of you?” Feral asked, looking behind Razor.
“I’m solo tonight,” Razor answered, “Disappointed?”
“Just stay out of the way,” Feral turned and stalked over to the wreak. It was an Enforcer chopper, all right, but damn hard to figure that out through all the soot. What a mess! As he surveyed the area, a scrap of bright blue caught his eye. He walked over and picked it up, holding it in the beam of his flashlight.
“Find something?” Razor called.
“Felina,” Feral said softly, clutching the sliver of her bullet-proof vest in his fist.
“Commander?” Razor came up behind Feral, having turned on his head lamp, “This is weird.”
“What?” Feral turned to face Razor.
“I found this just before you arrived, near the main wreckage,” Razor held out his paw in the beam of Feral’s flashlight. Resting in it was the remains of an explosive device.
“What’s so special about that?” Feral asked.
“I built it,” Razor informed him, “and I certainly didn’t put it here.”
“Are you saying,” Feral’s voice grew cold, “that you SWAT Kats are responsible for my niece’s death?”
“What I’m saying,” Razor countered, “is that your niece was not alone, and is probably not dead. This explosion was no accident. T-Bone must’ve set it off.”
“For what reason?” Feral wasn’t totally convinced.
“I don’t know, but I bet if we follow those footprints over there,” Razor pointed off into the trees, “we can find out.”
“Show me,” Feral demanded. Razor led him over to where several sets of footprints led away from the crash site.
“I’m sure these are T-Bones’,” Razor pointed to the largest set of footprints, “I’m gonna follow them. Something is definitely up.”
Razor set off into the swamp. After a few moments, Commander Feral followed him. They had walked for approximately twenty minutes when they came upon the abandoned cabin. Razor stopped to scan the area.
“Looks deserted,” Feral said, stopping behind him. He still held the scrap of Felina’s bullet-proof vest he had found earlier.
“Yeah, but the footprints lead up to it, some to the door, some to the window,” Razor pointed out, “Do you suppose T-Bone and Lieutenant Feral found something?”
“Possible,” Feral mused, tucking the blue fragment into his pocket, “but then why didn’t Felina call for backup?”
“That would probably depend on what they found,” Razor pointed out, turning off his head lamp, “I’m going to check this place out. Coming?”
Feral nodded, and the two advanced on the cabin. Feral turned out his flashlight, slipped it into his pocket, and again drew his gun. When they reached the door, Feral pushed it open slowly. Razor covered him with his gloveatrix.
“Like I said,” Feral lowered his gun and holstered it, “Deserted.”
“Let’s have a look. Maybe there’s a clue around,” The two stepped into the cabin , and Feral found the light switch.
“This’ll help,” Feral said, flipping on the lights.
“Much better,” Razor looked around, “Wow, this place is clean.”
“It’s too clean,” observed Feral.
“Huh?” Razor looked at him.
“There’s nothing here,” explained Feral, “No belongings, no kats……and no dust or cobwebs, either.”
“I see your point,” Razor replied, “So, where’d everybody go?’
“The water?” suggested Feral.
“Possible. Let’s go check it out,” Razor responded, walking to the door. Feral followed, careful to turn out the lights behind him. Razor reactivated his head lamp, and used it to sweep the area. Feral got his flashlight back out.
“There,” Feral pointed down to the dock. The two walked down to the water’s edge.
“I’d say the water is a good bet,” said Razor, “but I can’t see T-Bone going willingly.”
“They could be in more danger than you think,” Feral knelt down next to the dock.
“Find something?” Razor walked over next to Feral.
“Look for yourself,” Feral shined his flashlight beam down, and Razor saw a metal container on the dock.
“What is it?” Razor asked.
“Kat nip,” Feral answered, “This was a smuggler’s den.”
“That means……..,” Razor began.
“Those two are in deep trouble,” Feral finished the sentence, “I’ve got to get back to my chopper and call for backup,” The big kat got to his feet, “If I know these smugglers, the drop off point is somewhere on the waterfront, probably one of the old warehouses,” Feral bent over to pick up the contraband container.
“The jet’s not far from here, if you want a lift,” offered Razor.
“I’ll manage,” Feral snapped, straightening up, “You just stay out of the way!” Feral stalked off, back through the trees.
“Yeah, right,” Razor said to Feral’s retreating back, “Just abandon my partner? I don’t think so,” Razor set off after Commander Feral, but took a short cut through the trees off to the right. No sense tempting fate, he thought.
T-Bone and Felina, still in the cargo hold, felt the boat pick up speed as it finally exited Megakat Swamp and entered Megakat Bay. He still leaned against the kat nip containers, holding Felina.
“T-Bone, move your paw,” Felina whispered to him.
“Sorry,” he shifted.
“Not that one,” Felina told him, “the other one.”
“Oh. You’re no fun,” T-Bone complained, moving the offending paw.
“You can put it back after we get out of this mess,” she informed him.
“Promise?” asked T-Bone.
“Promise,” Felina responded, “Now, while we have a chance, and they can’t hear us over the engine, what are we going to do about getting out of here when they stop?”
“The way I see it, we have two options,” T-Bone replied, “Hide or attack. However, they may not open the hatch right away, giving us time to sneak out.”
“I’d rather not get pinned down in here,” Felina said, “I think we should hide if they open the hatch, and hope we get a chance to sneak out.”
“Like I said, you’re no fun,” T-Bone grinned.
“We’ll have enough fun trying to get out of here in one piece,” she said.
“I know,” T-Bone whispered into her ear, holding her close.
Razor made another pass over the swamp, hoping to spot something that might give him an idea where T-Bone had disappeared to. He was worried about what his partner had gotten himself into. Smugglers? Razor wondered if the present situation had anything to do with T-Bone’s nocturnal travelings once or twice a week, but dismissed the thought as soon as it came. Something this important T-Bone wouldn’t have kept to himself. Still, the presence of Lieutenant Feral was strange. Giving up on the swamp, Razor turned the jet out over Megakat Bay, still searching for clues. Flying low, he noticed a pair of motorboats just outside the commercial lanes, moving at a fast pace. Somehow or other, Razor knew his partner was on one of those boats. He locked the two boats in on the Turbokat’s tracking device, then lifted the jet high into the sky, so the kats on the boats wouldn’t get suspicious. Now, he thought, to see where they were going in such a hurry.
T-Bone was beginning to wonder where they were heading when the engines shuddered to a stop. He looked down at Felina, just visible in his arms. The two moved apart, and tensed at the sound of movement on the deck above. Slowly, the sound of footsteps receded, to the relief of T- Bone and Felina, who relaxed slightly. They listened for a few minutes, but there was only silence from above. T-Bone reached up and pushed the hatch up carefully, listening for shouts from above. Hearing nothing, he pulled himself up out of the hold just enough to take a look around.
“Well?” Felina questioned from below in a whisper. T-Bone lowered himself back down to her.
“We seem to be in some kind of enclosed dock. My guess is we’re under a warehouse on the waterfront,” he told her.
“There have been problems on the waterfront lately,” Felina mused, “No guards?”
“Probably at the outside entrance to the dock,” he guessed, “and deeper in. I didn’t see any here, though.”
“Let’s get moving, then,” Felina said, “I don’t want to miss the Big Boss.”
“You got it,” T-Bone reached up and hoisted himself out of the hold and up onto the deck of the boat, then turned back to help Felina up. Carefully, they replaced the hatch on the hold and silently stepped off the boat and onto the dock. T-Bone tapped Felina on the shoulder, pointing to the other side of the dock. She turned and saw a fancy cabin cruiser tied there, and guessed that the Big Boss had already arrived. T-Bone took Felina’s paw in his, and the two walked to the end of the dock, where they were confronted with a small landing and a closed door.
“Three guesses as to what’s behind door number one,” Felina whispered, “And the first two guesses don’t count.”
“You take the left side,” T-Bone whispered back, “I’ll take the right.”
Positioning themselves on either side of the door, both brought weapons to bear. T-Bone looked at Felina, who nodded to him. He reached out and grasped the doorknob, gloveatrix ready, as Felina pointed her gun towards the door.
Razor circled the waterfront area, looking for a good place to land the jet. The two boats he had been tracking had gone into some kind of warehouse that opened onto the water, but none of the surrounding buildings had roofs Razor trusted to hold the Turbokat. Finally, he located a sturdy building with a flat roof, but it was a bit far from his target, even on a cyclotron.
“I guess beggars can’t be choosers,” Razor said to himself as he landed the jet.
Felina and T-Bone crept up the steps, toward the main door into the warehouse. They had been lucky, and caught the two guards down below by surprise. Felina had taken out one by clubbing him on the temple with the butt of her gun, while T-Bone had managed the other one by knocking him over the head with his gloveatrix. As they approached the door at the top of the stairs, they could hear voices on the other side. Reaching the top, Felina leaned over and pressed her eye to the key hole, trying to get a good view of what was going on. T-Bone leaned toward the door, listening closely.
“Like I said, Boss,” Hunter’s voice could be heard, “It’s all there. Primo stuff, too.”
“I’m pleased,” a cold, flat voice said. T-Bone felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up.
“We also took care of some busy body back there in Megakat Swamp,” Hunter added, pleased with himself.
“So I heard,” the Boss told Hunter, “and you’re sure there were no survivors?”
“Positive,” Hunter declared. Both T-Bone and Felina smiled at that.
Felina pulled back from the key hole and winked at T-Bone. She not only saw who the Big Boss was, she had identified him as Leo Konclyn. He was nephew to the former head of Megakat Metallurgical, Tyger Konclyn, whom she had busted for illegal toxic waste dumping. Well, it looked like the Konclyns were in for a little family reunion – in jail. Both Felina and T-Bone straightened up and turned to head back down the stairs when the radio in T-Bone’s helmet crackled to life.
“T-Bone?” Razor’s voice filled the staircase, “Do you copy?”
Felina and T-Bone flew down the stairs, hearing the door open behind them. They leaped over the still unconscious guards at the bottom of the stairs, charged through the door, and out onto the landing. Unfortunately, they came face to face with three kats holding very large machine guns, undoubtedly the guards from the outside main doors. Felina drew her gun and T-Bone raised his gloveatrix when a voice from behind made everyone freeze.
“Now, now,” Konclyn said, “No need for bloodshed.” With that, he raised a dart pistol, firing on T-Bone and Felina before they could turn around. The two crumpled to the ground as the drug quickly took effect.
“Nice shot, Boss,” Hunter commented, walking over to Felina and kicking her gun out of her hand. He reached down to pick up the weapon, and noticed the insignia on her sleeve, “Hey, she’s an Enforcer!”
“And this one’s a SWAT Kat!” Cooper called as he wrenched the gloveatrix off T-Bone’s paw.
“Bring them upstairs,” instructed Konclyn, “We’ll decide what to do with them later. Right now, we have business to finish. You other men, get back to your posts,” he turned and went back up the stairs. Hunter followed, carrying Felina, while Tyler and Cooper hoisted T-Bone between them and brought up the rear.
Razor slowed the double cyclotron as he approached the waterfront. He was nearing the location of the warehouse those two boats went into, and wanted to ditch the cyclotron nearby and go in on foot. Razor had tried to contact T-Bone via radio, and, when he had activated his radio, had found T-Bone’s receiver open. T-Bone had not responded, however, and Razor was now even more worried about his partner. As he stopped next to an abandoned warehouse, Razor again thumbed his radio, but all he got was static. Guess I’m going in blind, he thought to himself as he parked the cyclotron just inside the door of the warehouse. He set out along the waterfront, in the direction indicated by the tracking system in his gloveatrix.
T-Bone slowly regained consciousness, but kept still so as not to tip off the smugglers to this fact. His head was pounding, an aftereffect of the drug Konclyn had used on them. Half opening his eyes, T-Bone took in his surroundings. He was on the floor in a large main room, his back against the wall, paws tied behind him very tightly. Felina was on the other side of the room, tied to a chair, still unconscious by all appearances. The four smugglers sat around a table off to the left. The windows to the right were covered with dark cloth, and there was a stout chain and padlock on the main door to the right. T-Bone closed his eyes again and cocked an ear to the conversation going on between the smugglers.
“Sounds good to me, Boss,” Hunter said, “A fair split. I’ll have Tyler and Cooper start pushing the nip tomorrow. Those school kittens are easy marks.”
“As long as it’s sold, Hunter,” Konclyn replied.
“Don’t worry, Boss,” Tyler put in, “Those kittens pay top dollar, and get their friends hooked as well, doubling the market.”
T-Bone felt his blood boil. These creeps intended to push that kat nip on school kittens, and their only concern was the money they would make. He had to get loose and stop them. Carefully, he twisted his paws, trying to get a feel for the ropes around his wrists, but the knots were too tight. There has to be some way out of this, he thought.
Razor crept along the side of the warehouse, trying to find either a way in or a way to at least see in. All the windows were tightly covered. Razor thought to try the radio again, then decided against it. Slowly, he rounded the corner, keeping close watch on his surroundings. There seemed to be voices ahead.
“What do we do with them?” Hunter asked, hooking a thumb in T- Bone’s general direction.
“For the SWAT Kat, I think a little boating accident is in order,” Konclyn replied, “Cooper, you and Tyler go down and empty that nip onto the landing. After you’re through, put a few explosives by the engine. We’ll give our friend here a one-way ticket to the bottom of Megakat Bay.”
“Right, Boss,” Tyler and Cooper made their exit.
“And the Enforcer?” Hunter wanted to know.
“I have special plans for her,” Konclyn informed him.
Razor couldn’t quite hear what was going on inside the warehouse. As he leaned closer to the window, a large shadow fell over him. Whirling around, gloveatrix up, Razor found himself face to face with Commander Feral. Feral raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to speak when he heard the voices inside the warehouse. Both Razor and the Commander turned and listened, their mutual animosity forgotten for the moment.
T-Bone kept his head down and eyes shut, and struggled with the knots around his wrists. He had to get free before they got the chance to hurt Felina. He began to wonder where Razor was. If his partner had used the radio, he must be aware something was wrong. If there was ever a time T-Bone needed backup, this was it. He realized Konclyn had begun to speak again, and turned his attention to the smugglers, opening his eyes a bit and lifting his head slightly.
“What kind of plans do you have for her, Boss?” Hunter asked, curiosity getting the best of him after a few moments.
Konclyn got out of his chair and walked over to Felina. Reaching out, he drew his finger down her cheek, “I know kats who’ll pay quite a bit for a beauty like her,” he told Hunter.
“Pay for her?” Hunter wondered.
“Yes, Hunter, pay for her,” Konclyn pulled his paw away from Felina’s face.
“But, she’s an Enforcer,” Hunter protested.
“Without the uniform, she’s just another she-kat,” Konclyn pointed out, “And I’ve got just the thing to tame her. Perhaps I’ll have a little fun with our guest before putting her on the market.”
Felina’s head snapped up, “Just try it, you scum!”
Razor and Feral still couldn’t make out what was being said. Motioning to Feral to keep down, Razor moved to the corner of the building and peeked around it. Finding nothing, he crept along the side, noting the voices were becoming clearer. Feral followed close behind, a look of disbelief on his face as he listened to the kats inside the warehouse.
“Ah, you’re awake,” Konclyn said to Felina, “All the better, and much more fun.”
“I’ll never let you touch me,” Felina vowed.
“I’m afraid you won’t have a choice,” Konclyn informed her, pulling a phial and syringe out of his pocket, “This is distilled kat nip. It’s very potent, and very addictive,” he explained as he filled the syringe, “One shot of this, and you’ll become as malleable as clay,” Konclyn advanced on Felina with the syringe, “Bye – bye, Ms. Enforcer.”
“NO!!” T-Bone screamed from across the room. With a supreme effort, he tore the ropes around his wrists apart and leaped to his feet. Hunter moved in on T-Bone as he began to run across the room, but his face met with T-Bone’s fist before he could attack. Hunter crumpled to the floor. Konclyn, meanwhile, had dropped the syringe and was reaching for his dart pistol. As he brought the gun to bear, however, T-Bone knocked it out of his paw. Ignoring the sound of windows shattering behind him, T- Bone grabbed Konclyn around the throat and lifted him off the floor. Konclyn began to emit choking sounds.
“T-Bone! No!” cried Felina, still helplessly tied to the chair.
“T-Bone! Don’t do it!” Razor raced across the room, leaping over the broken glass from the window he had burst through. He put a paw on T- Bone’s shoulder.
“Felina!” Feral moved across the room, his boots crunching the broken glass from the window he had leaped through. Quickly reaching her, Feral set his niece free.
“T-Bone, c’mon, we don’t need to give Feral something else to charge us with,” Razor pleaded, as Konclyn began to turn blue. Razor had never seen his partner in such a murderous rage.
“T-Bone, let him go,” Felina came over and put her paw on T-Bone’s other shoulder, “I’m fine. We’ll take him in, toss his tail in Alkat-traz, and throw away the key.” Slowly, T-Bone loosened his grip, and Konclyn dropped to the floor, clutching his throat.
“What about the others, downstairs?” Felina asked, turning to her uncle.
“We picked them up earlier,” Feral told her, “Along with the drugs.”
“Felina,” T-Bone turned to her, “are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” she said, facing him. He could tell she was still a little shaken, but he let it go.
Konclyn coughed from the floor, and Feral drew his gun and walked over to him. Towering over the former drug lord, a cold rage spread over Feral’s face, “I heard what you tried to do to my niece. If you ever get near her again,” Feral promised, “I’ll finish the job that SWAT Kat started.” Konclyn cowered on the floor as several Enforcers entered the room.
“Commander Feral,” one of the officers called, “We got seven downstairs, plus two boats loaded with kat nip.”
“Take the prisoners and the evidence to Enforcer Headquarters,” Feral instructed his officers, “I’ll take care of these two. Cuff them for me.”
As the Enforcers cuffed Konclyn and Hunter, Razor turned to his partner, “I think everything’s under control here,” he said, “Shall we go? I got the double cyclotron parked not too far away.”
T-Bone looked at Felina, who nodded at him, “Thanks for the help,” Felina smiled shakily.
“Anytime,” T-Bone replied, then turned to Razor, “Let’s get out of here.” Reaching over, T-Bone retrieved his gloveatrix off the table, then followed Razor back out one of the shattered windows. In silence, the pair walked back to the warehouse where Razor had parked the cyclotron.
Commander Feral started up his chopper and lifted off, Felina in the co-pilot’s seat beside him. She had wanted to fly them back to Enforcer Headquarters, but Feral thought it better she rest. Hunter and Konclyn sat with their backs against the wall of the chopper, their paws cuffed behind their backs. They had been silent for most of the trip, but, when Felina glanced back at them, Konclyn spoke.
“I’ll get you and that damn SWAT Kat for this,” Konclyn growled at Felina.
“I’m not afraid of you,” Felina informed him, her eyes level with his.
“You should be,” Konclyn replied, and looked away.
Felina turned back to the front of the chopper, her jaw set in a stubborn line, what T-Bone referred to as the Feral look’.
“Threatening an Enforcer with bodily harm is a serious offense, Konclyn,” Feral growled, “I’d suggest, unless you want it added to your indictment, you stop right there.”
They flew on in silence.
T-Bone flew the Turbokat over Megakat Bay, and he and Razor watched as the Enforcers cleaned out Konclyn’s warehouse. Over in Megakat Swamp, another group of Enforcers were clearing away the chopper wreckage and checking out the abandoned cabin.
“I guess there’s one good thing that can be said about what happened tonight,” T-Bone spoke at last.
“What’s that?” Razor asked.
“It was a good reminder of why we became SWAT Kats in the first place,” T-Bone replied, banking the jet and heading over the city.
“You got that right,” Razor agreed.
“I’ve got to stop at Megakat Park,” T-Bone informed Razor, “I left my cyclotron there.”
“What were you and Lieutenant Feral doing in Megakat Swamp?” Razor wanted to know.
“She was teaching me how to fly a helicopter. After our little adventure in the past, I decided it was time I learned,” T-Bone explained as they came up upon the park, “Listen, do you think you could fly the jet back to the hanger? I think I might take a ride and meet you back there. I need to……..calm down.”
“Sure, buddy,” Razor said as they landed, “See you in a little while.”
“Thanks,” T-Bone popped the canopy and jumped down to the ground.
Razor moved up into the pilot’s seat as he heard the cyclotron roar away. Closing the canopy, he activated the thrusters and shot into the night sky. So that explains all the night trips, Razor thought to himself, helicopter lessons. Still, that didn’t explain the murderous rage on T- Bone’s face tonight when Konclyn threatened Lieutenant Feral. And hadn’t T-Bone called her Felina’? There was definitely more to this, Razor thought as he turned the Turbokat towards home.
Felina sat in the kitchen of her quarters, nibbling on a donut. After making her report, carefully altering it a bit so as not to indicate she wasn’t alone on her patrol, she had headed back to her quarters and taken a long, hot shower. Dressed in her silk pajamas, she felt much better. A knock at the door startled her, and she put down her donut and walked over to answer it, “Who’s there?” she asked.
“It’s me. May I come in?” Commander Feral answered.
“Uncle?” Felina opened the door and motioned him inside.
“I wanted to make sure you were all right, Felina,” Feral explained as he walked in and closed the door behind him.
“I’m fine, really,” she smiled at him, “Do you want to tuck me in and tell me a story like you used to when I was a kitten?”
“Do you want me to?” he smiled back, remembering the kitten she once was.
“Not particularly,” Felina replied, “but I’ll take a hug,” she walked over to him.
Feral embraced his niece, “You always were a tough one, Felina,” he told her, “Just don’t try to be too tough.”
“Didn’t you always say tough is as tough does?” Felina reminded him as he released her.
“I did, didn’t I? Oh, well,” Feral turned to go, “Your parents still blame me for you becoming an Enforcer. And I’m still damn proud of you,” he opened the door.
“Thanks, Uncle,” Felina closed the door behind him as he left, locking it tight. She turned and headed back to the kitchen, and had just sat down and picked up her donut again when there was another knock at the door.
“Oh, for kat’s sake!” Felina set her donut back down and walked to the door, “Forget something, Uncle?” she asked as she opened the door again.
“Hello, Felina,” T-Bone stood in the hall.
“T-Bone! What are you doing here?” Felina’s eyes widened, “How did you get in here?”
“Let’s just say I’m very resourceful,” he answered, “Now, can I come in before somebody sees me?”
Felina stepped back and motioned him inside, closing the door and locking it after he came through. She turned to face him.
“I hope you don’t mind my stopping by,” T-Bone said, “but I had to see you…….alone.”
“I don’t mind,” Felina told him, “but I’m fine. Why won’t you believe that? I’m an Enforcer, trained to handle such situations.”
“Felina,” T-Bone walked over to her and took her into his arms, “A tom-kat threatened to drug you, rape you, and sell you to the highest bidder for who knows what purpose. That would terrify anybody – including me.”
“Not me,” she protested.
“Felina,” T-Bone’s voice softened, “I saw the terror in your eyes. Denying it won’t make it go away.”
She looked up at him, and felt a rush of emotions inside. She knew T-Bone was right, she just hated admitting it.
“All right,” Felina relented, “I was scared, but……,” at that point, her eyes welled up with tears, and she moved deeper into his embrace, buried her face in his shoulder, and began to cry.
T-Bone held her close, his cheek resting on her hair, “Don’t hold back on my account.”
Felina didn’t answer him, she was sobbing too hard. She cried for quite a while until she finally cried herself out.
“C’mon, Felina, time for bed,” T-Bone led her to the bedroom, “A good night’s sleep does wonders,” he carefully helped her lay down on the bed.
“Stay with me,” she asked as he sat next to her on the bed.
“I don’t think that would be a good idea,” T-Bone answered, “We might be tempted to make love and, while I’m not against it in general, I don’t think it would be wise to do so under the circumstances,” he leaned over and kissed her gently.
“At least,” Felina yawned, “stay until I’m asleep. I’m halfway there already.”
“OK. Let me get the lights out there. I’ll be right back,” T-Bone got up and put out the lights in Felina’s quarters. When he returned to the bedroom, she was fast asleep. He walked over to the bed and reached down to stroke her hair, “Nobody’s going to harm you while I’m around, Felina,” T-Bone whispered to her, “That’s a promise.”
Silently, T-Bone left Felina’s quarters, turning off the bedroom light and locking the front door behind him.
Commander Feral stood next to the windows in his dark office, looking out over the city. Konclyn and his henchmen were in jail, under heavy guard, awaiting trial, but that still didn’t make Feral feel any better. Konclyn had made some dangerous threats against Felina, and Feral knew that even Alkat-traz bars might not stop Konclyn from taking revenge on his niece. Feral also knew that he would protect Felina with his own life, if necessary. He again felt cold rage fill his being as he vowed to keep Konclyn from hurting Felina.
“Not while I’m still alive, Konclyn,” Feral growled out the window, as the city lights blinked at him, “Not while I’m still alive.”
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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.