Start date: 09-28-2003
Finish date: 07-16-2005
Warnings: Some Violence and Mild Language
Summary: A double-date with two of the most powerful and pretty she-kats in the city, a parade, what more could these two guys want?
Notes: The parade is a nod to both ‘The MetalliKats’ and the very patient and kind Kris Sharpe. It’ll also be one of the few that the boys won’t fly a mission, although we do see some action.
Dr. Leiter Greenbox points to a huge satellite moving slowly away from ZED. He points to it, “There’s the Megabeam Laser that Pumadyne has been developing. Grab it, then nothing will be able to stop us!”
“ZED shall comply, creator.”
Dozens of assimilation cables streak toward the satellite. As ZED’s robotic form finishes attaching the laser satellite to its arm, he brings a mountain up on a view-screen and says, “Time for a demonstration — obliterate that mountain!”
“ZED will comply.”
The beam vaporizes the mountain, and the plasma flash temporarily blinds everyone outside as it surpasses the sun’s brightness. Greenbox smiles maniacally and shouts, “Excellent, MegaKat City will fall to its knees before us! Reset the Megabeam to full power and target the center of the city!”
“Affirmative. Beam discharge in 10 seconds…”
NOOOOOOO! CALLIE! T-Bone wasn’t sure he had echoed that thought, nor was he sure that he hadn’t. He didn’t care. Adrenaline surges through him, and although he struggles, his normal physical strength is inadequate to the task of breaking the steel cables.
Beside him, he sees Razor struggling just to breathe as the cables tighten.
NO, I CAN’T LET HER DIE! He fights the cables even more, flexing his muscles harder, gritting his teeth against the pain as the cables tighten anyway.
In that instant, time slowed. He felt a power he’d never known before, although he recognized it.
I can analyze it later — gotta save Callie…
He grunts, the cable snapping as he flexes his muscles, and he falls forward, stepping to catch himself.
Having no other weapon, he grabs the cable he’d just broken and snaps it like a whip toward Zed’s core.
The cable comes down, shattering the orb as Zed counts, “One…”
Time resumes its normal flow, and he runs over to Greenbox, picking him up and yelling, “Quick, we gotta get outta here!”
As they run down a passage, Razor states the obvious, “This thing’s coming apart!”
They run down another passage, then another, finding themselves at a gun barrel. It falls off in front of them, shortening the distance they had to run. They look and realize it’s the only way out.
“Deploy Deltapacks!” T-Bone yells.
They land safely, a short distance away as Zed’s robot form finishes collapsing. As T-Bone sets Greenbox down, Feral yells, “I suppose you’re responsible for all…”
“Hey, don’t try ta pin this one on us,” T-Bone snaps.
The tall tom growls back as he turns and stalks away, “Actually, I was thinking about thanking you, but I’ve changed my mind.”
Felina shakes her head at her uncle as she steps toward the toms, and says, “I guess Greenbox’s invention got outta hand.”
Razor replies, “Yeah, with a little help from the Metallikats.”
“It’s touching, really, Molly actually loved Mac enough to help us stop that thing.”
“Yeah, well, at least they’re together now,” T-Bone says, managing a smile. He realizes that he feels drained. Not just physically like he normally felt after a mission, but drained in every way imaginable. It was all he could do not to tremble, to drop to his knees and start crying for what he’d almost lost. They’re together…
Felina walks away, and as they make their way back to the City, T-Bone finds himself thinking. Thinking about his life, his past, his future, about Callie. He comes to a simple conclusion.
While I wear this mask, while I protect this City, I can never have her. While I protect her, I can never love her. The day I can love her, T-Bone dies.
* * *
The lift shuts down, leaving the re-converted towtruck in its part of the garage after it had towed the disabled TurboKat back to the Hangar.
“What’s on your mind, bud?” Jake asks as he sees the pensive look on Chance’s face.
“We nearly lost her today,” Chance says as they climb out of the Hangar, “If I had been a second too slow, the City would’ve been destroyed, and Callie would be dead.”
“I know, Chance, I know,” Jake replies.
“I can’t just stand here watching you not take advantage of the fact I’ve stepped aside. Jake, we both know she likes you more. Take her out, get t’ know her.” ‘Cause you may not have that inhibition, maybe you can love her back.
Neither one hears a car idling up to the garage.
“Chance, I don’t love her like you do. I’m not going to ask her. Besides…”
“Jake, for crying out loud, ask her out!”
Callie walks in and stops, listening to the two toms arguing.
“Furlong, if you want to martyr yourself by not even trying, then be my guest. I’m not gonna, at all. Period.”
“What makes you think…” Chance retorts, then they both turn and look sheepishly at the she-kat they had just been arguing about as she clears her throat.
“I’m not even going to begin to wonder whom that conversation was about,” Callie says, doing her best not to laugh at the guilty looks on both toms’ faces. “I brought my car in for an oil change.”
“I’ll get right on it,” Jake volunteers, and walks toward the garage. He turns and looks her in the eyes, saying, “You were the topic, Callie.”
A surprised look appears on her face, and her mouth opens as Jake turns and glares at Chance, “Now you gonna ask her out, Chance, or do I have to ask for you?”
“Jake,” Chance growls.
“Ok then. Have it your way. Callie, will you take that stubborn striped wingnut out on a dinner date?” Jake asks, pointing at Chance before turning around and walking into the garage.
“Jake, I’m gonna kill ya!” Chance replies as he runs into the garage.
Callie stands there, eyes wide in shock, and has to step back as Chance comes flying back through the door, hits the ground, and rolls into the next room.
“Chance, are you ok?” she asks, running up to him.
“As soon as I get done pounding Jake into the ground, yeah, I’ll be fine,” Chance snarls, standing up.
“Oh no, you don’t. I tell you what, I’ll take you out.”
“No. We both know you like him more.”
“How ’bout I take both of you out at the same time?” she says as she tries to block his path.
“No, that wouldn’t work,” the big tiger growls, glaring at the garage entrance.
I’ve seen that look before, but who? She stands in front of him, setting her stance as she asks, “What if I were to bring along someone else and make it a double date?”
“I smell trouble with that idea,” he says, his normal expression returning.
“It’s better than trying to hurt Jake, and having him throw you across a room again.”
“Fine, if Jake says ok, then I’ll say ok.”
She smiles and walks toward the garage, “Good, I’ll go ask him now.”
* * *
“It’s been two days, and no one I know wants to go on a blind date with a couple mechanics,” Callie says to herself as she places the receiver in it’s cradle, “Sue maybe, but I wouldn’t want to inflict her on any tom.”
Just then the phone rings, and she answers it, “Calico Brigg’s office.”
‘Ms. Briggs, come to Headquarters, I need to speak to you about an urgent matter regarding the SWAT Kats,’ she hears the gruff voice of Commander Feral on the other end. Before she can respond, he hangs up.
She drops the phone back into the cradle, shaking her head. “Someone ought to give him lessons on phone manners.”
She opens a desk drawer and gets her purse.
* * *
“Commander, what do you want to accuse the SWAT Kats of now?” she asks as she walks into his office. She glares at him, her arms crossed.
“Only of saving the City. Have a seat,” he says, gesturing to a nearby chair.
Her arms drop to her sides and she looks at him, confused, “What are you talking about?”
“They just saved this city from total destruction a couple days ago. They do deserve something as recompense. I know that you can get in touch with them, so I’m asking you to ask them what they want from the City. If it’s within reason, the Enforcers will provide it.”
“Change of heart, Commander?” she asks in a soft voice.
“Hardly. They are vigilantes, after all, and that makes them criminals. I must be getting soft in my old age, but they do deserve our thanks at the least. Mind you, I will have them behind bars someday, but only after they’ve outlived the criminals we all fight.”
What is he after? “That is commendable of you, Commander.”
“Hmph, if you say so. Now, if you would contact them, please.”
“I don’t have the means right now,” Callie lies, “It’ll have to wait until I can get back to my office.”
“As you wish. Call me with what they want when you do contact them.”
“I’ll do that, Commander.”
“Have a good day, Ms Briggs,” he calls as she walks out of the office.
“Thanks Commander,” she says at the office door, then turns to him, “You have a good day too, Commander.”
“I certainly will try,” he replies, not looking up from his paperwork.
* * *
On the Base floor of Enforcer HQ, Callie rounds a corner and ends up sitting on her tail as a Mack truck named Ann Gora runs into her.
“Sorry, Callie,” Ann says as she helps the other she-kat back to her feet.
“That’s ok. What’s the hurry?” Callie asks as they both start gathering her dropped papers.
“I was going to go interview Commander Feral about his latest statement about the SWAT Kats.”
“Oh, about the City having to be grateful to them?”
“Yes. Interesting change of opinion.”
“You free tomorrow night?”
“I do have an anchor spot on the six o’clock news tomorrow night,” Ann says, “But I’m free the rest of the night, breaking reports notwithstanding.”
“Would you mind a more or less blind date? I’m trying to take this one tom out, but he doesn’t want to. He wants his friend to take me out. I’m just going to take them both out on a date, but I want another girl there to make it a double, if you don’t mind.”
“I guess so. What time, and where should I meet you?”
“Seven-thirty, at Salty’s Bar and Grill.”
“I’ll be there. Gotta run now, though.”
Callie smiles after the retreating she-kat and pulls out her cellular phone.
* * *
“The SWAT Kat Razor has a saying and Bingo! is his phrase-e-o, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo! is his Phrase-e-o,” Jake sings to himself as he paints several new missiles.
“Is he sick?” Chance asks, an incredulous tone in his voice. He plugs his other ear with his finger to block out his partner’s tune.
‘He seemed sincere, guys,’ Callie’s voice filters through the comm.
“I don’t know, T-Bone, it’s not like Feral. I don’t trust it. Or him,” Jake says as he puts the finishing ‘From Razor with Love’ on a missile.
He starts singing his little tune again as Callie replies, ‘Just let me know what you want, and he said if it’s within reason, he’d grant it.’
“I dunno. Maybe some new technology. A force-field, p’rhaps.”
“I’m already working on that, T-Bone, and a new armor,” Jake interjects as he starts a shark’s face on a buzz-saw missile.
‘Money? A parade? A psychiatrist for Razor?’
“Nah, that’s just Razor’s missile paintin’ song. Y’know, Manx did promise us a parade,” the tiger muses.
“If he’s sincere, Feral might be willing to go through with it,” Jake adds, “Couldn’t hurt the publicity on both sides.”
‘I’ll ask him,’ Callie responds, ‘Oops, got a councilkat knocking at my office door, gotta go.’
Chance hangs up as Jake continues singing.
“That little song might convince Callie you’re completely and legally insane.”
* * *
Jake and Chance walk into the bar and wave at the older grey tom, who finishes taking an order and waves back. The two toms stop and look around, and spying Callie, walk in her direction.
They sit down in the booth that Callie had been waiting at.
“You look beautiful,” Chance says softly to her. She smiles back at him, “And you’re quite handsome, tiger.”
She looks at Jake and says, “When you’re not grease-covered, you’re cute, Jake.”
He blushes and mumbles, “Thanks.”
After a tense moment of silence, Chance says, “So, who, and more importantly, where is the other girl for this double-date?”
Callie looks around the restaurant, “She should be here any… there she is.” She stands, waving to the other kat.
Upon seeing her, both toms exclaim, “Ann Gora?”
“Well, I’m at a disadvantage,” she replies in a smooth tone, “May I ask who you are?”
“I’m Jake Clawson, and this is my partner Chance Furlong.”
“Clawson, your father was an Enforcer wasn’t he?”
“You two were the ones who crashed into Enforcer Headquarters.”
“Wasn’t our fault, it was…”
“Chance,” Jake says, casting a quelling look over at his friend.
Callie interjects, “Umm, shall we change the subject?”
“Yeah, it’s probably a wise course of action,” Jake replies.
Ann opens her mouth as Chance says, “A subject best forgotten.”
“Well, what do you think about the SWAT Kats?” Ann asks.
Chance quirks an eyebrow.
Callie chimes, “They requested a Parade after Commander Feral had me relay a message to them that he’d grant any reasonable wish.”
“Really? Care to get me in contact so I can do an exclusive interview?” Ann asks, switching to reporter mode.
“I’ll ask them.”
“I think they do a better job than the Enforcers at keeping the skies clear of MegaVillians,” Jake says, looking at Chance, an eyebrow lifted in query. Chance slowly shakes his head as Jake continues, “And I’m a former Enforcer.”
“And yet, they’ve had their fair share of failures,” Ann says, “So, Chance, why were you shaking your head?”
“Just at how fast you switch to being a reporter,” he says.
Jake replies, “Granted, they’ve had failures, but still, they succeed more often than most others would.”
“I’d like to get to know the kats behind their masks,” Callie says, then adds, “I don’t think they’d really go for a date or anything. I had a hard enough time with you two.”
“Yeah, it nearly took Chance getting hurt for us to actually agree to this,” Jake says, elbowing his partner.
“Speak for yourself, Jake. You tossing me was the only thing that prevented me from poundin’ you into the dirt for asking her to take me out.”
“Let’s change this subject, shall we?” Ann says, as Callie looks embarrassed.
“I, uh, agree. What subject should we talk about now?” Jake replies.
“So, tell me about yourselves,” Ann says, leaning forward and staring at them.
“What’s to tell? We run a junkyard and a marginally successful car repair business,” Chance replies.
“Marginally?” Callie retorts.
“You, his sister, both my grandpas, and my great-uncle Hackle are our only regular customers, outside the Enforcers.”
“You mean Professor Hackle?” Ann asks.
“Why does he need a mechanic?”
“He’s getting on in years. He doesn’t want to do it if someone can do it for him.”
“Makes sense. So, you do good work?”
“We’d have a lot less if it weren’t for her. She goes through an engine about once a year.”
“Excuse me?” Callie retorts, “I go through an engine a year?”
“Just about. Let’s see, there’s the original 350, which is the one Chance blew, a GM Turbo V6, which was hydro-locked during the ooze flood, and the small block 400 currently under the hood.”
“You notice both times it was when Viper attacked that she lost an engine?”
“Come to mention it, yeah,” Jake replies, “Never put it together that way.”
“Well, you guys refused to let me absorb those costs. With the first one you said the engine had a problem, so you replaced it more or less for free. The second one, you said was still covered under a warranty.”
“Yeah, so,” Chance asks.
“So why didn’t you charge her?”
Chance replies, “She brings it in for a minor problem, it blows up for us. We replace it with something on hand. The second one, well, we didn’t feel like charging her for acts of Viper.”
“Oh, so I receive special consideration?” Callie asks, arms crossed, eyes narrowed.
“Only ’cause he’s in love with you,” Jake replies, pointing at Chance with his thumb.
“Jake!” Chance snarls, teeth gritted. You idiot! I can’t love her!
Ann laughs, “You two act just like brothers.”
“We practically are. I met this cocky tom-kat back in Enforcer boot camp and kicked his tail. Then, he kicked mine,” Jake says, “We’ve been friends since.”
A graying tom walks up to the table and whips out a notepad and pencil, “Ey Jake, what’s ‘e ordah t’noight?”
“Hey Sarge, how ya been?”
“Dem good,” the old kat replies, “In fact, I know everyone at this taible. Want ya usuals?”
“Yeah, t-bone steak, medium, and swap those ‘shrooms for onions and hot peppers, willya?” Chance asks.
“I’ll take my usual seafood buffet, Salty,” Ann says, “Callie?”
“May as well go with my usual. Can’t beat the best tuna steak in town.”
“Aww, heck, I’ll take my usual too, Salty,” Jake replies.
“All together, not too loud, single or separate bills?”
“I’ll take it, Salty,” Jake chimes.
“You can’t afford that,” Ann and Callie reply in unison.
“Wanna bet? What’s the damage?”
The two females look at him in surprise, “You get a thirty percent discount?” Callie finally asks.
“Yeah, I’ll take it,” Jake says, then looks at the two, “He insists on giving me a discount just because I saved his tail a couple times back when I was his partner. That’s ok, I get him back on the tip.”
“Thatcha do,” Salty replies as he walks away, note-pad in hand.
“He retired before I got kicked out, literally days before. He’s one of the ones I’d trust with my life, and my dinner.”
Jake’s comment about dinner provokes a chuckle from Chance and a giggle from Callie.
* * *
“I had a good time tonight, guys,” Callie says as they all walk out.
“Uh, thanks,” Jake replies.
“Me too. With my schedule, it’s hard to have a social life,” Ann pitches in, “But maybe we can all do this again some time?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Chance says.
“All right,” the two females say in unison.
“Mind if I walk you to your car, Ann?” Jake asks before Chance can.
“Thanks,” she says, and turns toward her car.
Chance glares at Jake for a second, then looks at Callie, “Well, may I escort you to your car?”
Callie smiles and says, “Sure.”
Chance offers his arm and they walk off toward the green behemoth.
“So,” Callie says, “You love me, huh?”
“Yeah.” But… I can’t. I mustn’t.
“Not just because I’m the Deputy Mayor?”
Oh Callie, if I could just give up being T-Bone, I’d move the stars themselves to write ‘I love you’ in the night sky. He sighs, “It wouldn’t matter if you worked as a waitress here at Salty’s, just so long as you are you.”
“You know, the last time I really dated anyone was back in college. That was over nine years ago.”
Gotta start making excuses. “So? I’m outta practice myself. I didn’t wanna ask because I thought you’d reject me.”
“I don’t love you, Chance,” she says as they walk up to her car.
“I know,” he replies before she could continue. He takes a step backward, “Have a safe night Ms. Briggs.”
“What? No goodnight kiss?”
He shakes his head, “No, unless… you want me to kiss you.”
“I’ve not had a kiss since my sophomore year in college.”
He steps toward her and takes her hands in his, then leans down and brushes her lips with his own. He straightens, and she says, “That wasn’t a real kiss. I want a real kiss.”
He leans down and kisses her, sliding his hands behind her, molding her to his body as she eagerly returns the kiss. After a timeless moment, he pulls back and steps away.
“Wow,” escapes her lips. She smiles at him, a contented look on her face.
“Since you don’t love me, I’ll forget that kiss ever happened,” he says, wiping the lipstick off his mouth. There, you happy? You’re breaking my heart by making me want you even more. I can’t have you. I just… can’t bear to hurt you by telling you that outright.
The smile disappears, “Why?”
“I’m your mechanic. You shouldn’t get involved with someone like me when you’re the most powerful kat in the world’s largest City.”
“You run this City. I just fix cars and run a junkyard. It’s a big difference,” he says, then caresses her cheek, “Good night, my lovely Calico.”
He turns and walks away. Her shoulders slump as she watches him get in a car and drive off.
I could grow to love you, Chance…
She turns and gets in her car.
* * *
A month later:
The TurboKat screams overhead, doing a 1080 Barrel roll at an altitude of thirty feet. The crowd watches the jet pull up, continuing the roll.
“Think they liked that?” T-Bone comments as he levels off and engages hover mode.
“As soon as my stomach comes back from orbit I’ll answer,” Razor says. T-Bone chuckles as he rolls, activating VTOL and the landing gear as he dives at the landing pad. Approaching at what seems to be full throttle, T-Bone lands the jet dead center of the pad.
The canopy slides back, and the two vigilantes leap out and land on the ground. The canopy closes and seals automatically. An Enforcer hands them each a wireless microphone, which they put on.
“Told ya, Razor, I could land her on a dime,” T-Bone says, pleasantly surprised to hear that his remark had just played over the loudspeaker system.
“I never doubted that, T-Bone, but did ya have to do it full throttle?”
Scattered laughter comes from the crowd as T-Bone replies, “Actually, Razor, yes.”
They walk up the steps to City Hall, to where the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Commander Feral were standing.
The crowd quiets as Commander Feral, his booming voice enhanced by a wireless microphone of his own, says, “Well, SWAT Kats. Even I have to admit we owe you one. Since you requested a parade; that’s what you’ll get. I’ll still have you arrested someday, but not today.”
“Thank you, Commander,” both of them reply.
Feral switches off his microphone and says, “Get your jet loaded on the second float.”
The SWAT Kats nod and switch off their microphones, too. As they turn and walk back toward the TurboKat, the crowd cheers.
Several she-kats in the front of the crowd yell, “I love you!”
T-Bone grins at them. Razor tugs on an ear to pull him toward the jet. They leap on the wing and the canopy slides back, allowing ingress.
They settle in their seats, canopy still open as T-Bone throttles up enough to lift the jet off the ground and hovers over to the float.
He sets the TurboKat on the float and powers down the engines. The two toms stand on their ejektor seats, and as the Parade gets underway, they start waving to the crowd.
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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.