Original SWAT Kats Story

The Head and the Heart

By Jade F. Callan & Don Redmond

  • 1 Chapter
  • 9,382 Words

With T-Bone laid up from a SWAT-Kat-related injury, Razor treats Ann Gora to a series of interviews that turn out to be more than that. Now Ann has a dangerous choice to make that might get the SWAT Kats killed.

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Author's Notes:

By Jade F. Callan and Don Redmond

(Dedicated to the lovers of the world – and their secrets!)

This was turning into another frustrating chase. The Enforcers weren’t having any luck as usual, and even the SWAT Kats were having trouble just keeping up with Dark Kat’s new airship. It moved incredibly fast for something of its size.

“C’mon, T-Bone! Dark Kat is getting away!” Razor urged from the gunner’s seat of the Turbokat.

“I know, I know,” the big pilot growled, twisting the jet’s joystick mercilessly in his efforts to follow the large airship rapidly slipping away from them.

Since T-Bone was not about to let Dark Kat escape them yet again, he strained the Turbokat to the utmost and slowly began to gain on the ship. Except for Felina Feral’s helicopter the Enforcers had dropped out of the chase. Even Felina was lagging behind, but she tried her best to keep up. At least she was able to keep the chase in visual range.

Razor was having better luck as T-Bone worked his magic at the flight controls. They were now close enough so that he should be able to get Dark Kat’s ship in his sights and this time he would blow Dark Kat out of the air! Just before he got a radar lock a large section of the ship’s tail detached and headed straight for the Turbokat.

“T-Bone! Look out!” Razor cried.

“I see it,” T-Bone reassured his partner. Unfortunately, they were heading right for the debris, and no amount of twisting of the joystick seemed to convince the jet to change course.

Razor fired Shredder Missiles hoping to chop the tail section up into smaller pieces, and was joined by Felina firing from her chopper. Unfortunately, there was too much debris and it was too close for their armaments to do any good.

“SWAT Kats!!! Look out!!” Felina screamed into the radio, to no avail. She watched in horror as the left wing of the jet was sheered off, and the craft pointed its nose down.

“Only one chance …” T-Bone wrenched the joystick, and the damaged jet limped in the direction of Megakat Bay, “Get out of here, buddy!”

“No way,” Razor snapped back, “We’re in this together!”

“I think you’re taking this togetherness thing a bit too far, Razor,” T- Bone watched the water coming up fast.

“Just shut up and land this thing,” Razor braced for impact. He didn’t have to wait long as the jet soon slammed into the water, diving deep.

Felina put her helicopter in hover mode, and circled the area where the SWAT Kats had gone down. Finally, the jet surfaced, and Felina could see Razor moving in the cockpit. To her horror, however, T-Bone was not moving, “Razor, this is Felina. Can you hear me?”

“Affirmative,” came the reply, pain apparent in the voice.

“Are you all right?”

“Uh, yeah, lemme check on T-Bone.” Razor cut the radio, and Felina could see him lean forward to talk to the pilot.

“Lieutenant,” Commander Feral’s voice come over Felina’s radio, “Where is Dark Kat?”

“I lost him in the confusion, Uncle,” Felina offered, her eyes still on the cockpit of the Turbokat, her heart in her throat.

“I see.” Feral’s voice was cold, “All for a couple of vigilantes?”

“Don’t start, Uncle,” Felina snapped. “I couldn’t chase Dark Kat and make sure their disabled jet didn’t hurt any civilians at the same time.”

“We’ll discuss this later, Lieutenant,” Feral cut the connection.

“Well, Razor?” Felina spoke into her radio.

“Better get us to the hospital, Lieutenant. This doesn’t look good. I think T-Bone broke his clavicle.”

**********************************************************

After fishing the two SWAT Kats out of Megakat Bay, Felina flew them to Megakat General, where they were met on the roof helipad by an emergency team. As they placed T-Bone on a stretcher, Felina informed them that she would have the head of any kat who even thought about removing T-Bone’s mask. Both she and Razor followed the team down to the x-ray lab, and waited outside in the lounge for the doctor. It was there that Commander Feral and Callie Briggs found them.

“So, Lieutenant, I take it one of these damn vigilantes was injured?” Feral growled as he approached them. Razor quickly leapt to his feet, but Callie waived him back to his seat.

“I’m touched by your concern, Uncle,” Felina snapped. “As a matter of fact, T-Bone broke his collarbone.”

“Is he going to be all right?” Callie broke in, with a glare at Feral.

“We’re waiting to hear, Ms. Briggs,” Razor informed her.

At that moment, the doctor approached the group, and all eyes turned toward her.

“Well?” Feral raised an eyebrow at the doctor.

“T-Bone will be fine. He has a broken clavicle, and a few bumps and bruises. All in all, not as bad as it could have been.” The doctor glanced around at the four kats, “A very lucky kat, I must say.”

“And his mask?” Felina pressed.

“Intact, I assure you, Lieutenant,” came the reply.

“Where is he?” Feral growled, determined not to let this opportunity slip through his fingers.

“Room 118.”

Before anyone else could move, Feral stomped down the hall toward T-Bone’s room. After a moment, Razor, Felina, and Callie were on his heels, none of them willing to trust Feral alone with one of the SWAT Kats. As they entered the room, they could hear Feral reading a barely conscious T-Bone his rights.

“Uncle, what are you doing?” Felina demanded.

“Arresting a dangerous vigilante,” he answered calmly. “Now, let’s find out just who is under that mask.”

As Feral was reaching for T-Bone’s mask, the door opened yet again, to admit Ann Gora and her camerakat, Johnny.

“This is Ann Gora, Katseye News,” the reporter began, facing the camera in Johnny’s paws. “We are here at Megakat General, where the injured SWAT Kats were taken after chasing Dark Kat. Commander Feral is just about to interrogate one of the SWAT Kats.” Ann motioned for Johnny to turn the camera toward the bed.

“Commander Feral,” Callie spoke under her breath, “If you dare remove that mask, especially with the media here, I’ll convince Mayor Manx to bust you so far down in rank, you’ll have to salute not only Lieutenant Commander Steel, but your niece as well,” Callie grinned at Feral, but it was not a pleasant sight.

Feral looked from Ms. Briggs to the camera, and realized that, no matter what he did, he was going to look bad. Better to keep his job, however, and he retracted his paw. With a dark look on his face, Feral exited the room, pushing past Callie and ducking the camera in Johnny’s paws. Callie followed him, to make sure he actually left the hospital.

“Stop tape, Johnny,” Ann sighed. “Damn it, no story!” She and Johnny turned to go, when an idea struck her, and she turned to Razor.”Would you agree to a solo interview?”

Razor thought about the situation. If he could keep Ann Gora busy, Felina could get T-Bone out of the hospital and back to the relative safety of the salvage yard. He felt a bit funny about talking to the pretty she-kat alone, but nodded, knowing he was doing it to help his buddy, “I’ll meet you down the hall.”

“I have a better idea,” Ann replied, “Why don’t you come down to the station? I think we’ll all be more comfortable, and we can get this taped for the evening news.”

“I’ll meet you there in an hour,” Razor promised.

As Ann and Johnny left the room, Razor turned back to Felina, “Think you can get him out of here on your own?”

“Yeah,” Felina said, her eyes on T-Bone’s face, “I was so scared when I saw he wasn’t moving. I thought …” her voice trailed off, and Razor gave her a brief hug. “I’ll take care of him, and the Turbokat. Don’t worry. You just keep Ann Gora busy.” Felina stroked T- Bone’s cheek and Razor slipped out of the room, knowing he had done the right thing.

**********************************************************

Razor fidgeted with the microphone one of the interns at the TV station had attached to his g-suit. He was nervous about talking to Ann alone, and hoped it would be over soon. He looked over to the chair next to his, where Ann was being primped by the make-up kat. Razor shook his head, noticing that Ann was prettier without all that goop on her face. He then realized just how pretty she was, and felt the color rise in his cheeks. Carefully averting his gaze, Razor turned his attention to the TV cameras in front of him until Ann called his name.

“Ready?” She asked as he returned his attention to her.

Razor nodded, noticing her now flawless face was animated with excitement. Ann turned to glance at the teleprompter, then signaled the camerakats that the interview was about to commence. Razor saw the red lights glowing brightly on top of the cameras as Ann gave her usual intro to the story.

“This is Ann Gora, Katseye News, and today we are lucky enough to have a very special guest in the studio.” She smiled brightly into the camera, gesturing in his direction, “One of the amazing SWAT Kats, the weapons expert Razor, has agreed to a personal interview.”

Razor smiled nervously at the camera, thankful for his mask.

“As I’m sure you all know the SWAT Kats were involved in an air chase with Dark Kat earlier this afternoon. Unfortunately, Dark Kat got away, and managed to knock the Turbokat out of the sky. Is there any word on T-Bone, Razor?” She turned to her right, to look at him.

“Yes,” Razor began, then stopped when he realized that to admit to T- Bone’s injuries would be inviting trouble. “T-Bone was banged up a little, but he’ll be just fine.”

Ann raised an eyebrow at this comment, but let it slide for now. “I see. What exactly was Dark Kat after?”

“Same as usual, actually. The Enforcer Building.”

“Razor, would you mind providing commentary to some of the film that we shot of today’s encounter with Dark Kat?”

“If I can, Ann.”

For the next few minutes film that Johnny and others had shot of the recent battle was played on the monitor. Razor commented, sometimes quite animatedly, on the goings on as well as answered, sometimes rather vaguely, further questions from Ann Gora. He began to realize that filming their conflicts might not be a bad idea, and he decided to tell T-Bone about it. He also thought he saw how they might defeat Dark Kat should they meet him again. The film ended with a long shot of the Turbokat headed for Megakat Bay followed by a lone Enforcer helicopter.

“Well, Ann, that was some interesting footage. You’ve got some very fine camerakats.”

Ann looked into the camera and wanted to kiss Razor for his straight line. She was proud of their camera crews and, in particular, her own camerakat, Johnny. “We’ve got the best.”

There was a pause while Ann looked at her list of questions. She hoped the next question would get Razor to be a little more expansive. “Why do you suppose Commander Feral has such a problem catching Dark Kat, Razor?”

“Because he is too concerned with how he looks while chasing Dark Kat. That, and he has to get Manx’s permission to even look cross-eyed at a jaywalker.”

“What new weapons are the SWAT Kats planning to use against the villains of Megakat City?”

“Sorry, Ann, but I can’t divulge secrets like that. It’ll have to be a surprise, especially for the villains.”

“Do you suppose Dark Kat will be back soon?”

“If he is, T-Bone and I will be ready for him!”

“And that’s all we have time for,” Ann returned her attention to the camera in front of them. “This is Ann Gora, saying thank you to Razor for stopping by, and thank you for tuning in.” She kept smiling until the signal came that the camera had faded to black. Ann turned to find Razor removing the microphone from the front of his g-suit, “Why did you lie about T-Bone’s injuries?”

“Because,” Razor laid the microphone aside, “I didn’t want to advertise the fact that my partner is out of commission. Some rather nasty kats might get ideas of larceny if they knew I was going to be flying solo for a while.” He got up and grinned down at her, “Can I trust you to keep the secret?”

Ann removed her own microphone and stood up in front of him, “On one condition.”

“Which is?”

“You come over for dinner tonight. I have the night off since I managed to get this interview, and it’s the best way I know how to say thank you. Also, I hate to eat alone.” She turned that dazzling smile on Razor, and he found himself nodding before he’d even consciously decided to say yes.

“Um, I guess it’ll be ok.”

“Good. Let me get my purse, and we’ll get my car and go. Would you like shish-kebabs, chicken cacciatore, or tuna steaks?”

“Surprise me.”

Ann went to get her purse, wondering to herself what had possessed her to invite Razor home with her. There was something about this tom- kat that she found very appealing. Gathering her things, she walked back to Razor, and together they left for her apartment.

**********************************************************

Felina carefully helped Chance get into bed. She had managed to get him home with no one seeing them, and had gotten his g-suit and mask off him. Chance was very groggy, and was soon asleep, snoring softly. Felina took advantage of his slumber and called Enforcer Headquarters to find out the fate of the Turbokat. To her amusement, it was scheduled to be sent to the military salvage yard in the morning. At least she wouldn’t have to go fish it out of the bay. Hanging up the phone she returned to Chance’s bedroom and sat down beside him on the bed. Felina listened to his breathing, thankful he was still alive.

“Felina?” Chance mumbled, only half awake.

“Yeah?”

“I love you.”

She brought his fingers to her lips, “I love you too, Hotshot. Now, shut up and get some sleep.”

A grin crept across Chance’s face as he drifted back off to sleep, Felina still perched on the bed beside him, holding his paw in hers.

**********************************************************

Razor leaned back in his chair, sipping his milk. The tuna steaks Ann Gora had made for dinner were delicious. He hadn’t ever thought of her as the domestic type, but, obviously, she had many talents. He offered to help clear the table, but Ann waived him off, clearing away the dishes quickly and reappearing with two dishes of ice cream, setting one in front of him. Sitting across the table from Razor with her own ice cream, Ann smiled at him.

“Now,” she asked, “Where were we?”

“You were still trying to get me to tell you about our new weapons.”

Ann blushed slightly, “Am I that obvious?”

“Just a bit,” Razor grinned. “It’s ok, I kind of expected it. After all, what else is there to talk about?”

“I’m open to suggestions.”

“Well, how about why you became a reporter?”

Ann laughed, mirth lighting up her face and her eyes sparkling. “I don’t think I ever wanted to be anything else. I use to drive everyone in my family crazy, interviewing them with a pretend microphone. My father said I’d either be a reporter or a private eye, with my rampant curiosity.”

Razor grinned at the thought of Ann as a kitten, interviewing everyone she could find. “Was it just your family you drove crazy?”

“Oh, no. I interviewed the neighbors, my teachers, my classmates, you name it, I interviewed it. After my parents bought me a video camera for my birthday, there was no stopping me!”

Razor had to laugh at that. “That’s a funny story. Perhaps you should do a report on your young ambitions.”

“I think that might be a bit much.” Ann smiled and finished her ice cream. “Kats don’t want to hear about me. They are much more interested in you SWAT Kats.”

“We’re not all that interesting.”

“Yes you are! I bet you I could get top ratings with a series of interviews with you. Wanna try it?” Ann sounded very eager.

“Um, let me think about it. I’m not sure how much information I should be giving out about us.” Razor quickly finished his ice cream, then stood up. “It’s been lovely, thank you, but I have to get going. I need to check on T-Bone. You will keep his condition a secret, right?”

Ann nodded. “And you will seriously think about doing the interviews? It doesn’t have to be personal, it can be about safety, or some of the villains you’ve fought, or whatever.”

“I promise to think about it. I’ll call you by Friday,” Razor said. He headed for the door, then turned as Ann followed to see him out, “Thanks again for dinner.”

“Thanks for the interview.” Ann smiled at him and Razor, fighting the urge to kiss her, turned and walked out the door.

“Good night.”

“Good night.”

After closing the door, Ann leaned back against it with a sigh. What was it about that tom-kat she found so attractive?

**********************************************************

“Felina?” Razor spoke into the pay phone around the corner from Ann Gora’s place. He had forgotten she had driven them to her apartment, and now he had no way home, “How’s my partner?”

“He’s fine,” Felina replied. “Where are you?”

“In a phone booth, near the corner of First and Plainfield. Uh, do you think you could come get me?”

Felina just managed to stifle her amusement. “Sure, just stay put. I should be there soon.”

“Thanks,” Razor hung up the phone and stepped out of the phone booth, leaning against it to wait for his ride. He felt silly calling Felina for help, but who else was he going to ask? He tilted his head back, and looked at the stars just coming out above. For some reason, he saw Ann Gora’s face in his mind’s eye. What was it about her that he found so attractive? He smiled to himself as the stars glowed brightly above him.

**********************************************************

After Felina dropped him off at the salvage yard, the tired SWAT Kat wasted no time removing his g-suit and mask, and hopping into the shower. It had been a long day, and Chance’s injury had worried Jake, as well as the situation with the media. It was lucky Callie Briggs had been in the hospital room, or else the whole world would have know who was behind those masks. Finishing his shower, Jake dried off and put on his robe, then walked down the hall to Chance’s bedroom, knocking lightly on the door. When he got no answer, Jake slowly pushed the door open and glanced in.

“Hey, buddy,” Chance greeted him weakly.

“Hey, yourself,” Jake returned, coming into the room and standing beside Chance’s bed, “Thanks for saving my life today, by the way.”

“Your welcome,” Chance shifted in bed, then winced as a dull pain coursed through him. He had taken pain killers, but they weren’t working too well, “How are we going to get any work done with me laid up like this? Sorry I didn’t come out in one piece, Jake.”

“I’m just glad you’re still alive. We can work something out about the work around the garage. It’s our other job I’m worried about.”

“Don’t suppose crime will take a holiday, do you?”

“Nope, but we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.”

“So, how was your interview with Ann Gora? Sure took long enough. What’d she ask about, your life history?”

Jake blushed slightly, “No, she made me dinner.”

“What?” Chance’s eyes widened, “Dinner, you say?”

“Yeah.”

“Jake Clawson, the shyest kat to ever enlist in the Enforcers, had dinner with one of the most eligible she-kats in Megakat City?”

“You’re one to talk,” Jake shot back. “One of the roughest characters in Megakat City, and you’re dating a Feral.”

“OK, OK,” Chance said with a grin, “I give up. What’d you tell Ann, anyway?”

“I didn’t tell her the extent of your injuries,” Jake answered, “And she promised to keep it under wraps, so hopefully crime will take a holiday, at least for a couple of weeks.”

“Good.”

“She also wants to do a series of interviews with me.”

“You gonna do it?”

“Dunno,” Jake turned and walked back over to the door, “But if I don’t let you get some sleep, Felina’s going to pound on me. If you need anything, just yell,” Jake stepped out into the hall, “Good night.”

“Good night.”

**********************************************************

Jake slid out from under the truck he was working on, thankful to see the sun was beginning to set. Between trying to keep up with work at the garage and rebuilding the Turbokat, he was running himself ragged. To his surprise, Felina had been helping every night with the jet, and sometimes coming by before going into Enforcer Headquarters to help around the garage. He had to give her credit, she was a good friend.

Standing up, Jake wiped off his paws on a rag, then tossed it over onto the workbench. He saw Chance in the office, finishing up some paperwork. At least he was able to do something these last couple of days. Jake grinned, thinking about what a terrible patient Chance made.

“What’s so funny?” Chance wanted to know, as he looked up.

“You as a secretary.”

“No funnier than you as a TV star. Don’t you have to call Ann Gora and tell her you’re not going to do those interviews?”

“Who said I’m not going to do them?” Jake asked indignantly.

“You’re not, are you?”

“Maybe. After all, why not get as much good press as we can. If we leave everything to Feral, he’ll just run us into the ground.”

Chance’s face darkened, “You’re taking a big gamble, buddy.”

“I can handle it.”

“I hope so.”

“Am I interrupting something?” Felina asked from the door of the garage. “No fighting yet, fellas,” she said as she looked from one kat to the other.

“Jake wants to do a series of interviews with Ann Gora,” Chance informed her.

“On what, fixing cars?” she grinned.

“No, not with me,” Jake explained, “With Razor.”

“Hmmmm,” Felina mulled this information over, “Sounds pretty risky to me, Jake.”

“Ha!” Chance put in smugly.

“Still,” Felina continued, “That might not be a bad idea, to keep you in the public eye, especially with Chance laid up. Just be careful.”

“I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do it yet,” Jake said, walking over to the stairs leading up to the living area, “But I’ll be careful.”

After Jake had left, Felina went into the office with Chance. “How about you, big guy? How’re you doing?”

“Better, now that you’re here,” Chance kissed her as she leaned over to hug him, “But I still don’t like Jake talking to that reporter. Who knows what she’ll uncover.”

Felina nodded, then shrugged, “Don’t worry about it so much. Jake’s pretty careful about things.”

It was Chance’s turn to nod. Felina helped him up, and they headed upstairs to get some dinner before starting work on the jet again.

**********************************************************

Ann Gora lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling. She had been surprised at Razor’s call, and even more surprised when he had agreed to the interviews. She had been expecting him to turn her down, if he even remembered to call. Stranger still was the feeling hearing his voice over the phone had given her. Ann brought her paws up and tucked them, fingers interlaced, behind her head. The first interview with Razor was set up in three days. Things had been kind of quiet, and Ann was hoping for some excitement to liven things up.

**********************************************************

Razor looked at Ann over the dinner table. Things had been very interesting over the past few weeks. They had just completed their fourth interview, and the ratings had never been higher. Razor had tried to get T- Bone to come along for this latest interview, the big kat’s injuries being all but healed, but his partner had refused. Fine by me, Razor thought, gazing at Ann’s loveliness in the candle light.

“What are you looking at?” Ann inquired softly.

“You,” said Razor, with a boldness Jake, without the mask, would have never possessed.

The two kats sat looking into each others’ eyes for a few moments, and had begun to lean forward, when the phone rang.

“I’m sorry, I have to get that,” Ann quickly stood up and raced to the kitchen. Razor, for his part, leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath. He waited for Ann to return, mulling over his feelings for her.

“I have bad news,” Ann announced as she re-entered the room. “That was Johnny. I have to go down and redo some footage for the evening news that didn’t come out right,” Ann turned the lights back up, and blew out the candles. “Sorry to cut this short.”

“It’s ok, you’ve got a job to do. I should be getting back, anyway. Thanks for the dinner,” Razor got up and headed for the door.

“Good night.”

“Good night.”

“Oh, Razor,” Ann caught up with him at the door, “Don’t forget about next week.”

“I won’t.”

“We have to …”

Ann’s sentence went unfinished as Razor leaned over and pulled Ann’s face to his, kissing her. He expected Ann to pull away from him. Instead, after a moment’s hesitation, she responded whole-heartedly. When the two kats separated they both looked confused and embarrassed.

“I’m sorry, Ann. I don’t know what came over me. Maybe …” he couldn’t think of the words now.

Ann put her paw on his. “That’s ok. I enjoyed it, as unexpected as it may have been,” She straightened herself up and with a firm voice tried again. “Would you like something more to drink? I can put Johnny off a little longer.”

Razor shook his head. “No, thank you. I think I should leave,” With that Razor walked to the front door. He opened it and paused. He knew he should leave, but he wanted to stay. He had to force himself to go out the door.

Ann locked it behind him, and leaned her face against the cool metal of the deadbolt. “What am I doing? I can’t be falling in love with that kat. I have to be objective. I …. Damn it! Why didn’t I ask him to stay?”

**********************************************************

Chance watched Jake from inside the garage. Jake had been working on the same transmission for hours, and it was a pretty simple job. Something was up and Chance was pretty sure he knew what it was.

“Jake,” Chance came out of the garage and into the heat of the afternoon, “We gotta talk.”

“About what?”

“Ann Gora.”

Jake straightened up and turned to face Chance. “What about her?”

“Just what is going on between you two?”

“What are you implying?”

“That this is more than a few interviews.”

“Why don’t you come along and see?”

“Because I get the feeling I’d be a third wheel.”

“Look, Chance, nothing’s going on that you need to worry about, ok?”

“OK, but if you start staying out all night, no one will have to tell me what to worry about.”

“Yeah, you and the Enforcer!”

Both kats returned to their work, troubled at the turn of their conversation.

**********************************************************

Razor and Ann had made themselves quite at home on her balcony, leaning back in deck chairs and sipping wine, talking about nothing in particular. Slowly, however, Razor became aware of the time and realized it was time for him to go. Standing up, he set his glass down on the deck table and then turned to Ann, who had also set down her wine and risen to her feet.

“I have to go, Ann, ” Razor said softly.

“I don’t want you to,” Ann slid her arms around his neck.

“Ann …,” Razor looked at her, temptation playing havoc with his sense of right and wrong.

“Razor, please stay. I don’t know how else to ask you. I want you to stay with me tonight, not as the subject of an interview, but as you. Just you and me …,” Ann’s voice trailed off as Razor drew her close and kissed her, his arms tight around her.

**********************************************************

When Jake came into the garage it was almost mid-morning. Chance was irate because he knew where his partner had been all night. He tried to maintain his temper, but finally had to let loose.

“Your girlfriend is going to ruin this for us. She’s just playing you along to find out who’s under that mask.”

“No way. Besides, you’re the one who’s dating Commander Feral’s niece, and she found out pretty quick.”

“Felina is a bit different from the sharpest reporter in Megakat City, remember. I suggest you drop her.” Chance saw the stubbornness in his partner’s face and softened his tone a bit. “At least be careful. She didn’t get her reputation by ignoring opportunities.”

“She’s not like that!” Jake turned on his heel and left the garage to go upstairs, and get washed up.

Chance stared after his erstwhile buddy. He sincerely hoped that he was wrong about Ann Gora, the newskat.

**********************************************************

Ann Gora found herself fighting with the steering wheel of her car. It was bad enough that the tip hadn’t panned out, but now her car wasn’t working either. This was a fine day! Not only was her expose on city workers not doing their jobs going nowhere, but it was obvious her car wasn’t going to be going anywhere much longer either.

The car had been running fine yesterday, but now it seemed the steering wheel was determined to fight her for control of the car. She wasn’t too familiar with this part of town, and, being on the outskirts, she wasn’t sure she could find somewhere to get the thing fixed. Finally, she spotted a sign for an auto repair garage, attached to some sort of salvage yard, and drove through the gate. Bringing her car to a stop, she found two tom-kats in mechanic coveralls working in the garage.

“Hello?” Ann called. One of the mechanics dropped a wrench as he looked up at her, but Ann was used to being recognized, and simply plowed ahead, “My car needs to be looked at, it has a steering problem.”

The other mechanic, a large orange kat, walked over to her. “Surprised to see you out this way, Ms. Gora. I’m Chance Furlong. Let’s go take a look at your car.”

Ann followed Chance out to the car, and stood off to one side as he checked under the hood. The smaller mechanic, who’s name was Jake according to the patch on his coveralls, stood on the other side of the car.

“Looks pretty bad, I’m afraid,” Chance announced from under the hood. “It’ll take at least three days.”

“Are you sure?” Ann looked skeptical.

“Feel free to take it somewhere else for a second opinion,” Jake piped up at last.

“Wait a minute,” Ann looked up at the sign again. “You two are Callie Briggs’ mechanics, aren’t you?”

“That’s right,” Chance lowered the hood of the car.

“In that case,” Ann handed Chance her keys, “I trust you. Callie always has nice things to say about your work.”

“Glad to know we come so highly recommended,” Chance replied.

“You’ll call me when the car’s ready?” Ann gave them a business card, “I’d really appreciate it.”

“Sure,” Chance took the card. “Let me get you an estimate sheet. It’ll be a pretty rough estimate, though.” The tom-kat turned and re-entered the garage, heading for the office.

“Um, what were you doing out here, Ms. Gora?” Jake finally filled the silence, trying not to stare at her.

“I had a hot tip from an informant, but it turned out to be false,” Ann responded. “I’m just glad I found you two, and that you were open.”

“Oh, we usually are.” Jake kicked the dirt at his feet, wishing Chance would hurry up.

Ann was just starting to take a closer look at Jake when Chance came back out of the garage. “Here you go, Ms. Gora.”

Ann studied the estimate paper Chance had handed her. “Hmmm, that seems fair enough.” She looked up, “You’ll call if there’s anything else that needs to be done?”

“Of course,” Chance said.

“Now, is there anywhere I can get a cab around here?” Ann shoved the paper into her purse.

“The newsstand around the corner usually has a taxi in front of it,” Jake told her. “The owner, Robbie, has a son and a daughter who are cabbies.”

“Thanks.” Ann turned and started walking out of the salvage yard.

“Well, that was interesting,” Chance observed. “At least there’s too much damage to the car for her to have done it herself.”

“What are you implying?” Jake asked, his eyes still on Ann.

“Nothing, nothing,” Chance turned and headed back into the garage. “You can stay out here in the heat, bud. I’m heading upstairs for some Scardy Kat.” With that, Chance left his partner to watch Ann Gora’s retreating back. Chance was on the stairs and didn’t notice when Ann tripped and fell, but Jake saw it, and ran to help her up.

“Are you all right, Ann?” Jake helped her to her feet.

“Yes, I’m fine, just a little dusty,” Ann laughed, brushing herself off. “Thanks for the help.”

“Be careful.”

“I will.”

It was not until Ann had walked over to the newsstand that she realized her paws and arm were tingling where that mechanic had touched her, and that his voice sounded familiar. Could it be …? In the taxi, on her way back to her apartment, Ann remembered there was someone in the Enforcers who owed her a favor. First, however, she intended to do a little digging on those two at that garage.

**********************************************************

Ann was at work the next day when she got a call from Chance at the Salvage Yard. He told her that after they had carefully looked at what was wrong it was clear that it would take closer to a week to fix.

“There are a couple of parts we need, among other things. Jake found one of them among the salvage, but not the other. Unfortunately after we looked at the one in salvage we decided we couldn’t use it. We’ll have to wait for those parts before we can finish up. We’ll do what we can in the meantime.”

“Thanks for calling.”

Ann thought that while the tip she had been following hadn’t panned out, she had gotten a couple of good mechanics out of it. More importantly, she had perhaps gotten an even bigger story. Ann smiled to herself as she picked up a letter from her desk.

**********************************************************

Felina was startled when the phone in her apartment rang so late at night. She had just been about to go to bed, and was slightly annoyed at the thought of someone calling her this late. This better be good, Felina thought as she picked up the phone, “Hello?”

“Felina, it’s me, Chance. Listen, Ann Gora just called, and she was asking some strange questions. Me and Jake are working on her car, but she seemed to want more information than just about the car. She insisted on talking to both me and Jake. I think something’s up. Can you go in and check on it with the Enforcer computer system?”

“I guess … wait, I have my laptop from work with me. I was typing some reports since you were too busy to go out,” Felina reached over and picked up the computer, settling on the couch and placing it on the coffee table in front of her, “OK, let me see …,” she tapped into the main database at Enforcer Headquarters, “Well, I don’t see any … aw, crud!”

“What’s up?”

“Somebody requested yours and Jake’s files yesterday, complete with voice prints! This looks really bad, Chance.”

**********************************************************

As Ann sat in her living room she tried to correlate the answers from the mechanics with the information from the Enforcers. There did not seem to be much doubt about it, but before she would go on TV to announce to the world that she had discovered the SWAT Kats identities she wanted to nail down a few more things.

As she shuffled the papers around trying to make a list of what still needed to be done she flipped over a sheet with Jake’s picture on it. She had no problem visualizing Razor’s helmet and mask over Jake’s face.

“Ah, Razor, my love, you thought you could hide from me. Now we’ll have no secrets between us.”

The paper slid from Ann’s fingers. “Mother of Kats, what am I doing? This isn’t a game with them!” Ann stood up, scattering papers as she did so. It was past time to go to bed. She hoped that a good night’s sleep would clear her head.

**********************************************************

“Damn it Jake, this is a mistake.” Chance tried to talk his partner out of going over to Ann Gora’s apartment. Since Felina’s revelation the two kat’s had been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Jake, attired as Razor, was going to see Ann and get this straightened out once and for all. He would show Chance that he was wrong about her.

As soon as Razor left Chance called Felina. “We’re really in trouble with Ann Gora now.”

“Why?” Felina wasn’t sure how much more trouble the two kats could possibly be in than they already were.

“Razor’s decided to go over to Ann’s and prove me wrong.”

“Oh, no!”

“I better go over and break up the party. Jake and I are going to have a lot of trouble on our paws if this gets out.”

“No, you stay put and let me take care of this. I have more authority than you do.”

“Just remember, it’s my hide on the line.”

“And a very nice hide it is, all things considered.”

“Very funny, Felina. Just take care of this, will ya?”

“You got it, Hotshot.”

**********************************************************

Razor nervously knocked on Ann’s door, hoping she was home, hoping he had been right to place his trust in her. Finally, the door opened, and Ann smiled at him, stepped back, and asked him in.

“I hope you don’t mind my stopping by uninvited, especially since we don’t have anything scheduled,” Razor said as Ann closed and locked the door behind him.

“It’s OK by me, especially under the circumstances,” Ann replied, sitting on the couch and motioning for him to sit next to her.

“What circumstances?” Razor asked, sitting beside her.

“The fact that your voice print matched that of a mechanic named Jake Clawson,” Ann announced with pride. “And that your existence coincided with his being assigned to the military salvage yard. And that …”

“I see,” Razor coldly interrupted her, “And you expect me to confirm this?”

“You might as well,” Ann told him, “I have all the evidence.” She reached up and pulled off his helmet and mask, revealing the sad face of Jake Clawson. Jake allowed her to look at him, then replaced his mask and helmet, if anything to hide the hurt in his eyes.

“And I trusted you,” Razor got up to leave.

“Look, Razor … Jake, this is the biggest news story of my career. How can I pass it up?” Ann was surprised Razor didn’t realize what she had accomplished.

“Some how or other,” Razor crossed to the door, “I thought what we had together was important too,” Razor unlocked and jerked the door open, only to come face to face with Felina, in uniform, her paw reaching for the knocker. He ignored her, “I thought we loved each other. At least, I loved you. Obviously our definitions of love are a little different.”

Felina stepped back and allowed Razor to pass, then stepped through the door, closing it behind her.

“Lieutenant Feral?” Ann was still reeling from her confrontation with Jake, “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve come to ask a favor,” Felina said. “I want you to ignore what you’ve found out about the SWAT Kats.”

“How can I do that? It’s the biggest story of my career! I’ll get my own show with this!”

“And probably kill T-Bone and Razor. Or at least get them thrown in jail for life,” Felina observed.

“What are you talking about?” Ann blinked at the Enforcer.

“Don’t you think every criminal will make a bee line for that salvage yard when they hear who the SWAT Kats really are? Not only will you be putting Jake and Chance in danger, but a lot of Enforcers could loose their lives as well, trying to stop every kat who wants a piece of the SWAT Kats,” Felina could see she was not having that much of an effect on Ann, but she continued, “Please think about what you are doing.”

“Why are you so interested in this? And how did you …? Wait a minute. T-Bone had to have someone take him home from the hospital that time he was injured. Razor was here, so that leaves … you!”

Felina nodded at the reporter, “Yes, that’s right. I love Chance. I’ve also known who and what he is for a long time now. So, I ask you, for all our sakes, please reconsider this.” Having no more to say, Felina quickly left Ann’s apartment.

Sitting for a few moments in reflection, Ann shook herself and reached for the phone, dialing quickly, “Hello, Johnny? Meet me with your camera at this address in the morning. It’s a salvage yard. I’ve got a story that will send our ratings through the roof!”

**********************************************************

Felina found Jake and Chance’s apartment dark when she got there after talking with Ann Gora. Entering the kitchen, she lifted the hatch and climbed down to the hanger, which was lit up to an almost blinding glare. Dropping off the access ladder, she turned and looked for Chance and Jake.

“Over here,” Chance called. Felina squinted in the bright light, finally making out the forms of Jake and Chance, who were furiously working on the Turbokat.

“What are you two doing?” Felina asked as she walked over. She found the light a little kinder to her eyes over by the two other kats.

“Getting the jet ready,” Chance told her, concentrating on his work. “We may have to make a hasty exit in the morning.”

“Do you really think she’ll do it?” Felina wondered.

“Yes,” came Jake’s flat reply.

“What can I do to help?” Felina wanted to know.

“You can start by saying you’ll never forget me,” Chance turned to her and took her into his arms, “I may never get to see you again.”

“I’m coming with you,” Felina informed him, putting her arms around his neck, “My career is over here. Ann knows about us and will probably use it in her story as well. There’s nothing for me in Megakat City without you, anyway.”

“Great,” Jake mumbled under his breath, “I managed to ruin three lives instead of just two.”

Ignoring Jake’s comment, Felina asked, “Will there be time to go back to my apartment to get a few things? There are some things I’d rather not leave behind. If it’s small enough, will there be room? It won’t take me long, I can go when we take a break.”

“I think so.” Chance looked at her. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Where you go, I go. I love you.” Felina kissed him and then smiled. “Perhaps we can find a nice deserted island somewhere.”

Both Jake and Chance had to smile at that. Chance gave Felina a wrench, and the three of them resumed work on the jet.

**********************************************************

As Ann’s cab drove up to the salvage yard she saw one of the city’s dump trucks parked across the street from the gate. Now that tip pans out, she thought. Still she was glad things had miscued before or else she might never have gotten the story she was going to broadcast now.

Ann fidgeted with her hair as Johnny set up the shot of Ann outside the gate to the salvage yard, which was bearing a very unfamiliar and hastily painted closed sign. She knew this was the story of her career, that this would be a momentous morning for her, but Felina’s words, as well as the look on Jake’s face when she had confronted him, were haunting her. What would happen to Megakat City without the SWAT Kats? What would happen to Jake once his identity was known? Most of all, would she ever see him again?

“Annie, we’re ready when you are.”

“Give me just a minute, Johnny,” Ann looked around, knowing what she had to do, “OK, hit it.”

Johnny made some adjustments to his camera, then pointed at Ann, signifying he was rolling.

“This is Ann Gora, Katseye News. I’m here with a startling story, one which most kats will be interested in. We all see city workers every day, but what do we really know about them? Do they always do what they are supposed to be doing? Just take a look,” Ann pointed to her right, and Johnny had to struggle to turn the camera to an unexpected angle. When he finally got everything set, all of Megakat City was watching Burke and Murray, asleep in the front seat of their dump truck. Ann’s voice came over the image, “You, the taxpayers of Megakat City, are paying for those two to sleep on the job. It’s time this stopped. I suggest every kat watching this broadcast call the mayor’s office to complain. We need more responsible spending of our tax dollars. This is Ann Gora, Katseye News.”

“That’s a wrap,” Johnny called. “Great story, Annie. You sure surprised me with that one, but it is a great story,” He turned back to the truck and Ann turned to look at the building in the salvage yard behind her. She couldn’t quite tell, but she thought she saw a figure in the window, watching her.

**********************************************************

“I can’t believe she didn’t spill the beans,” Felina was still staring at the TV, while Chance had relaxed back into the sofa. The three kats were dressed for flight, ready to take off once Ann had told their secret. Instead, they all had a good laugh at Burke and Murray’s expense. Feral would probably have their jobs for this.

“It figures,” Chance grumbled. “We bust our tails all night and she doesn’t do it. Oh, well, time for some shut eye.”

“Speak for yourself,” Felina snapped. “I have to go on duty in an hour and I’m so sleepy I could curl up in a squad car.”

“You could always call in sick,” Chance observed. “I still have to thank you for saying you would go with me.”

“Is that a proposition, Furlong?”

“Yep.”

“Hand me the phone.”

Jake was oblivious to the bantering going on behind him. He had watched Ann out the window until she climbed into the news truck and was gone. When he turned around, he found Chance and Felina nowhere in sight. With a sigh, Jake walked to his own bedroom, to try and get some much needed sleep.

**********************************************************

Two days later Ann sat at her desk at the station, trying to concentrate on the notes for her next interview with Commander Feral, who had demanded equal time after she had done all those interviews with Razor. She jumped as the phone on her desk rang, and she snatched it off the hook, “Ann Gora.”

“Ms. Gora, there’s a mechanic here, who says he is returning your car. Would you like me to send him through, or do you want to come out here?”

“I’ll come out.” Ann hung up the phone, grabbed her purse, and headed out to the lobby, hoping against hope that it was Jake, and not Chance, who had brought her car. When she saw Jake, however, she stopped in her tracks, suddenly feeling rather awkward.

“Your car is this way, Ms. Gora,” Jake told her in a heartbreakingly formal way. Ann followed him out to the parking lot, where her car waited in her designated spot. Jake handed her both the keys and the bill.

“Um, why don’t we get into the car while I write the check?” Ann offered, opening the driver’s side door and sliding into the car. She reached over and unlocked the door on the other side. Much to her relief, Jake walked around and got in. Ann fished her checkbook out of her purse and began to write him a check.

“You didn’t do the story,” Jake said flatly.

“No,” Ann answered, handing him a check for the repair plus a handsome tip, “And no one else will, either. I destroyed all the evidence.”

Jake took the check from her and placed it in his pocket. “I see. You really scared all of us, you know.”

“I know and I’m sorry.” Ann looked at him. “Will I see you again? I hope you believe me about this. I never wanted to hurt you or Chance or the SWAT Kats, but I know you think I just used you. I want us to become friends again, Jake.” She reached for his paw, but he withdrew it. “I would like us to become lovers again, too.” She sat silent for awhile hoping Jake would say something, but he did not. “I know it will take time, but please forgive me.”

Jake didn’t answer. He opened the car door and got out of the vehicle as Chance drove the tow truck around to pick him up. Ann flinched as Jake slammed the car door shut and she didn’t look up until the sound of the tow truck had faded.

**********************************************************

A few weeks later, Ann Gora was sitting at her desk trying to piece together a story she had to present on the air in two hours. This had all made sense to her earlier in the day, but now she couldn’t find the connecting thread. She looked up when someone shouted at her.

“Ann, you got a call on line 12.”

“Thanks.” She hoped the interruption would help. “Hello, this is Ann Gora.”

“This is Jake Clawson. Do you have time for a cup of coffee?”

The End

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