Chance was sitting at the kitchen table while watching Jake pacing around a few nights after Halloween.
“Jake, how would you know if Katarina’s been keeping a secret from you?” he asked.
“Because I was dead, Chance. I was in the Underworld. When you think of the dead, the dead hears you,” Jake replied.
“So you heard her think of you and heard the secrets she’s kept?”
“Well, not exactly. I mean, I heard her say something like ‘Now I wish I had told you the secrets I’ve kept from you. I never should’ve held them back’.”
“Well, there *is* that she’s keeping from you that she told me recently.” Jake stopped pacing and stared at him.
“Just… *How* recently?”
“Uh, never mind.” Jake walked over to Chance and grabbed onto his shirt collar up to eye contact.
“Chance. Tell me.”
“Sorry, Jake. I promise Kat I wouldn’t tell you.” Jake let out a frustrated groan and let go of Chance’s shirt. Then he walked over to the hangar and climbed down the ladder. There he saw Katarina sitting on her bed reading a book. She looked up to see he was looking pretty angry.
“Something on your mind, Jake?” she asked.
“What have you’ve been keeping from me, Katarina?”
“There are plenty of things I’ve kept from you *and* Chance. I’m not going to name them alphabetically. You want the truth? You can’t handle it!”
“Oh, yeah? Try me.”
“All right. You’re not an orphan.”
“You told me the Swat Kats are my family, so of course I’m not an orphan.”
“Not that! Your blood father is alive! There! Ya happy?”
“What?” Jake turned to Chance.
“She’s lying… Isn’t she? Please tell me she is.”
Chance sighed, “Sorry, buddy, but she’s telling the truth. Your father’s alive. That’s the secret she told me recently.”
“I ask again: Just *how* recently?”
“Well… Truthfully, it was several months ago. We were in the graveyard, as I recall it.” (Author’s note: If this was TV, the screen would get all fuzzy and we’d go into a flashback. But since this isn’t [damn shame, too], I’m just telling you we’re going into one.) Several months ago. T-Bone and Dulcea (aka Katarina in disguise) were several feet away from where Razor was placing a rose on a grave.
“I feel sorry for him. He never knew his parents. He never had a father to show him how to raise a family. Well, it’s not as if he’s going to have one anytime soon,” T-Bone said.
“He’ll have a daughter sometime this year. I don’t know who the mother is, but I know he’s the father. T-Bone, what I’m about to tell you, you must never repeat to Razor,” Dulcea said.
“His father is alive.”
“What?!” T-Bone whispered.
“His father left his mother before he was born. He has something inside him that hasn’t taken place yet.”
“What is it?”
“I can never tell. It’s something he has to discover for himself. If I ever told him or anyone else, it would never happen.”
“You have to tell him about his father, Dulcea.”
“I will, but not now. He’s already mourning his mother. He doesn’t need to know that his own father abandoned him.” (Flashback’s over. We now return you to where we left off.) Jake was sitting on Kat’s bed, arms folded while Chance paced back and forth in front of him.
“So, you see, Jake, Kat made me swear never to tell you that your dad was still alive because since you thought your mom was dead, you’d think your dad was too so you wouldn’t think he abandoned you,” Chance said.
“How should I be feeling right now? Shocked, angry, sad, or all of the above?” Jake asked himself.
“Jake, I’m really sorry–”
“I’m not talking to you *or her.* I’m outta here.” Jake got off of the bed and climbed back up the ladder. He got into the tow truck in the garage and drove off. Later, he was leaning against the hollow tree that was on a cliff looking over MegaKat City. This is his favorite thinking spot where he settles his differences with one thought with another.
“How *dare* those two keep this from me?” They were just doing what they thought was best for you, he thought to himself.
Jake shook his head and said, “A kat has a right to know if his father is alive.” What did you think your father was? His grave wasn’t next to your mother’s.
“Well, I just assumed that maybe he was cremated or he was buried in another town.” Assumed. Can you believe this guy?
“Watch it, or I’ll go down to the bar, get myself drunk, and give you a migraine.” All right. I’ll shut up. But you’re nothing without me.
“Tell me something I don’t know.” Jake sighed and sat down. His ears twitched when he heard a twig snap.
“Katarina, Chance, I’m not talking to either of you,” he said.
“Who said I came here to talk?” a stranger asked. Jake’s eyes widened and he slowly turned his head around. The last thing Jake saw was a shadow figure swinging a bat at him.
Kat and Chance sat at the kitchen table and talked to each other.
“Why don’t you just tell him who his father is and just get it over with?” Chance asked.
“Two things: 1. I don’t know who his father is. I just know what he is. 2. If we tell him what his father is, that would be the same thing as telling him the *thing* that he has inside him,” Kat replied.
“It’s not a living *thing,* is it?”
“No, just a *thing.* Oh, I want to tell him so badly, but I have to follow the rules and not tell him.”
“Since when do Swat Kats follow the rules?” Kat’s ears twitched and she got out of her seat.
“Don’t you hear that?” she asked.
“You have an advanced hearing which means I can’t hear things you can,” Chance replied.
“Perk your ears up and you’ll be able to hear it.” Chance perked his ears up and slightly heard footsteps.
“It’s probably one of the other Kats.”
“But Ann and Tigera are signing the papers for Buster at the hospital. There’s no way they could be home this early.”
“How right you are,” a voice said. Chance and Kat looked behind them and saw two shadow figures swinging bats at them. Meanwhile, Buster and Ann were getting into a blue van while Tigera was standing outside the passenger’s side.
“I’ll meet up with you guys later. Stripes wants me over and teach me how to fly the TurboKat,” she said.
“OK. See you later, Tiger,” Ann said, starting the engine. Tigera backed away and Ann pulled away.
“Hey, cutie. Need a ride?” a voice behind her asked.
“No thanks. I can walk. Besides, I don’t go anywhere with strangers.” Then she felt something hard make contact with the back of her head. The world grew dark as she collapsed to the ground. The shadow kats each gathered together at an abandoned tower outside the city. They walked into a room and each dropped a body on the floor. Then they locked the door behind them. Hours later, they regained conciseness.
“Me-yow, did anykat catch the number of that truck that hit me?” Chance asked.
“Aah, you sure it was a truck? Feels more like a bulldozer,” Kat said, rubbing her head.
“What are you guys doing here?” Jake asked.
“Hey, we didn’t come here by choice, Jake. Someone broke into the garage and knocked Kat and me both out. How’d you get here?”
“Some guy offered me a ride and I said no,” Tigera said.
“I thought it was one of you guys and they hit me over the head with a bat.” Kat perked her ears up and turned her head.
“I hear something. It sounds like engines.” Then the ground lightly shook. They looked over on the opposite wall and saw the floor very slowly moving away from the wall.
“Am I going crazy or is the floor actually moving?” Tigera asked.
“You’re not crazy. The floor’s moving,” Chance said. Kat looked up and saw a small window twenty feet above them.
“One of us should try to get up there and find something to save the rest of us with,” she said.
“You want to do it?” Jake asked.
“You’re the one who’s the most agile.”
“Yeah, but I’m still recovering from the injuries performed by that Titan.”
“You want me to do it then?”
“Be my guest, Katarina.” Kat sighed and cracked her knuckles. Then she jumped up as high as she could and dug her claws into the tone wall. As she started climbing the wall, her paws slowly began to bleed.
“Be careful, Kat,” Chance said.
“Don’t break a nail,” Jake said. Kat growled and continued climbing. She reached the top of the window and started to climb onto the ledge.
“Those who had doubted me will now burn in Hell,” she said to herself. Then someone stepped up to her. She gasped and lost her grip on the ledge. The figure grabbed her right wrist and held a syringe in her other paw. The other Kats could not see her face from their view. The shadow kat shoved the needle into Kat’s arm and released her to fall to the floor. Chance caught her in his arms.
“Who the hell was that?” he asked. The figure darkly chuckled and her face came into view. They gasped. Her face looked like Katarina’s except she had claw scars over her right eye.
“Vitalini,” Tigera said. (It’s pronounced vee-tal-a-knee. Got it?)
“Hello, sister. Hello… Mother,” she said in a light Scottish accent.
“Sister? Mother? Is this another of your secrets, Katarina?” Jake asked.
“Yes, Jacob, it would be.” Tigera looked at both her and Vitalini.
“I can’t believe I didn’t see it before. I guess I was just looking for the claw scars over her eye.”
“That’s what you always look for, Tigera. Not that it’ll be much help after you lose more floor. You have four hours before the floor goes and you go splat on the next floor forty feet below you. However, Mother won’t last that long,” Vitalini said.
“What do you mean by that?” Chance asked.
“What I injected into her is a very poisonous serum. Soon, she’ll barely be able to stand. Then after that, she’ll lose her power of sight. And then, a few minutes before the floor goes, she’ll die. I have the antidote with me and there’s no way you’ll be able to climb up here and get it. So say your good-byes. Good-bye, Mother.” Then Vitalini laughed as she closed the window with hard steel.
“She thinks she’s winning. But we still got two SKs out there. It’s just a matter of calling them up and getting through Vitalini,” Chance said.
“Well, we might as well die comfortably,” Jake said, taking out his whip and cracking it. In a flash, he received his Swat Kat G-suit. The others followed. Quiver shook her head as her head started to ache.
“I think the serum’s affects are starting,” she said, putting her paw to her forehead.
“Just hang in there, Quiver. If you’re strong enough, can you tell us what caused you to give birth to a Daughter of Satan?” Razor asked.
“It wasn’t really my choice. Satan doesn’t pick any ordinary females to be the mothers of his demigod daughters. He picks the most cold-hearted females and then has his way with them. At the time, I was one of the most cold-hearted around. One night, I was asleep in my tent when a red mist entered. It was small, scent-less, and almost sightless. It circled around me for a couple of minutes when I finally woke up. I screamed as the mist started to speak. He told me I was now a mother of his latest daughter. I would have the daughter at that time the next night.
“When I did have the daughter, I ordered Sir Lionel to kill her. Days passed and he never returned. When Buster went to find him, he found him dead with the child next to him. What he didn’t tell me was that the child had already reached adolescence and was ready to kill me. I was shocked to find out that she looked exactly like me except for the claw scars over her right eye. It rained as we struggled.
“It rained so bad that dam broke as we struggled into the canyon. Vitalini was holding on by a ledge. I tried to help her up, but she let go and fell into the water. I thought she was dead. I was so wrong.” Quiver swayed then lost her balance. T-Bone caught her in his arms. He set her down on the ground, resting her head on Razor’s lap.
“Shock?” he asked.
“No, the serum,” she replied.
“Can you still hear Vitalini if she’s on the other side of the wall?” Quiver panted as she took out her spell book and spoke Latin. Suddenly, they could hear and see Vitalini behind one of the walls.
“Now we can hear and see her, but she can’t hear or see us.”
“Ah, Angel, how’s my favorite little girl doing?” Vitalini asks a teenage female with honey-blonde hair and light blonde fur.
“Just fine. What’s going on?” the female asked. As Vitalini talked, Angel was playing with a locket that was hanging from her neck.
“Well, nothing much, really. The boys just brought over a couple of kats and I’m keeping them up in that room upstairs.”
“Oh, sure, you let guests go up there, but never me,” Angel said.
“I have my reasons, Angel dear.”
“What? Is there a spinning wheel up there and you’re afraid I’ll prick my finger and fall asleep for a hundred years?” Vitalini lightly chuckled as she removed the locket from Angel’s neck.
“Like I said: I have my reasons.” Vitalini opened up the locket to see the picture inside.
“Can you see what’s in the locket?” Razor asked. T-Bone walked up closer to the wall to get a better look at the picture. He saw a young blonde-furred kat holding a kitten in his arms. He gasped as Vitalini closed the locket.
“I don’t know why you keep this thing around. You know he’s never coming back.”
“I know, but I can have hope, can’t I? He was good to me.”
“He is *dead.* Get it through your head. Now, go have your dinner and go to bed.” As Vitalini left, Angel hid behind the corner and watched where she was going with her locket. She saw she was going into the room where she could never go in. Inside that room, Vitalini opened a drawer and put the locket inside. Next to the locket is a bottle full of a purple liquid.
“Mother will never get the antidote in time.” She chuckled as she closed the drawer and walked out of the room. At the bottom of the stairs, Angel decided to get her locket after Vitalini was asleep. when the wall returned to normal.
“T-Bone, who was that?” Razor asked.
“I think it’s my sister Angel,” T-Bone replied.
“Our sister? But I thought she was dead,” Quiver said.
“Yeah, I thought so, too. But the picture in the locket is the same one that I took with me two months ago when I was quitting the team. I gave her that locket on her 6th birthday. I don’t know if the locket said it, but on the locket I gave her, it was engraved ‘To an Angel of a sister.’ She’d be about her age.”
“Well, you know I’d check it if I could, but I can’t see anymore,” Quiver said. Venus walked over to the edge of the moving floor and noticed that they had lost a few feet of floor.
“We’re not going to last much longer if we don’t do something fast. We gotta call Buster and Ann,” she said.
“Roger that,” Razor said, taking out his pocket communicator. Meanwhile, Buster had brought in a pizza into the kitchen where Ann was setting two plates and two cans of milk on the table.
“One tuna pizza with extra cheese, coming up!” Buster said, setting the pizza on the table.
“Great. Let’s eat,” Ann said as she took out a slice. Suddenly, their watches started beeping. They each pushed a button and raised them to their mouths.
“What’s up?” Buster asked.
“Guys, we got kat-napped by a she-kat named Vitalini,” Razor’s voice said.
“Vitalini?! She’s alive?!” Buster asked.
“Who’s Vitalini?” Ann asked.
“No time to explain, Shera. Look, we only have a few hours left before the floor is gone and we fall to our deaths. We also need you to find an antidote to save Quiver from a deadly serum. Do you copy?”
“Affirmative. We got your location and we’re on our way!” Ann said. Then they pushed a button on their watches.
“Let’s hit it!” they both said. Ann rushed over to her bookcase and pulled out a book. (Yes, it’s the classic “Hidden passage behind the bookcase” thing. Call me old-fashioned.) The bookcase opened and she and Buster walked in. Buster switched on the light switch and light surrounded the room. Inside were two hang-gliders and two lockers. Ann opened up her locker first. Buster zipped up his G-suit. Ann pulled on her gloves. Buster fastened his parachute strap. Ann pulled on her boots. Buster put on his mask. And Ann put on her helmet. Boulder pushed a big red button on the wall and a door opened. They could see that they were several stories above ground. They both got their hang-gliders and jumped out. The wind picked them up and they went gliding through the air.
Later, Boulder and Shera had reached the tower. They both pushed their gliders aside and covered them with leaves. Shera checked her glovatrix mini-scanner.
“The mini-scan says they’re in here,” she said.
“In case you’ve forgotten what happened the last time the SKs trusted Razor’s mini-scanner, they almost didn’t find you and you would’ve gotten eaten by that giant scorpion,” Boulder said.
“Don’t remind me. I’m still having nightmares.” Then they reached a door. Boulder extended a claw and used it to pick the lock on the door. When they heard a click, they walked in.
“Why do I feel like this is a little easy?” Shera asked.
“Because it is. But I’m sure Vitalini has some traps for us,” Boulder said.
“Who *is* Vitalini anyway?”
“A Daughter of Satan, mothered by Quiver. She grew into adolescence a couple of days after birth. She looks exactly like Quiver except with claw scars over her right eye. I thought she drowned back in the Dark Ages. But, then again, I never really knew anything about the Daughters of Satan.” Then Boulder stepped on a stone and a trap door opened. They both fell down the hole. Meanwhile, Quiver was panting and sweating as T-Bone paced.
“What’s taking those two so long?” he asked.
“Maybe they’re here, but they ran into some of Vitalini’s traps,” Venus said. Razor removed Quiver’s helmet and ran his fingers through her hair. Her eyes seemed to be looking right past him.
“Don’t do this to me, Quiv. You can’t let it end like this,” he said. Quiver raised her paw touched Razor’s face. At first, she touched his nose. Then she shifted the paw over to his cheek.
“I’ll be all right, Razor. Don’t you trust me?”
“Only if you tell me what I have inside me.”
“Razor, I’ve told you before: If you want it to happen, I can’t tell you. You have to figure it out for yourself. You’re smart enough to figure it out.” Razor sighed as she removed her paw from his cheek.
“Couldn’t we try to reach Angel?” Venus asked.
“How? How can we reach her when she’s not allowed to come into that room?”
“She might try to get her locket back from where Vitalini hid it.”
“Well, it’s worth a shot. The more we talk, the more floor we’ve lost.” The floor was now five feet away from one of the walls. They only had fifteen feet left. Meanwhile, Boulder and Shera had just entered a new room when they got out of that mysterious trapdoor.
“Welcome, my foolish friends,” Vitalini’s voice said over the P.A. system.
“Since you’ve crossed my path, you will face three rooms of doom. Survive them, and I will give you the antidote to cure the poison I injected into Quiver and I will release your Swat Kats. If you fail, they’ll be joining you soon. Good luck. You’ll need it.”
“Damn it,” Boulder said.
“You sure she said ‘gloom’ and not ‘doom’? Cause this room is really gloomy,” Shera said.
“Well, only one way to find out. Wish me luck.” With that, Boulder slowly walked across the room.
“Be careful, Boulder,” Shera said. Boulder continued to walk slowly until a sharp pole come in front of him.
“Yike!” He looked behind to see more sharp poles shooting up very quickly.
“Damn it!” he said. He twisted, ducked, and did whatever he could to avoid each pole. It was almost like he was doing dance moves. Finally, he reached the end of the hall. He collapsed to the floor as the poles disappeared. Then he jumped to his feet, looking at himself.
“Shera, am I Swiss cheese?” he asked.
“Amazingly unharmed. That was some radical footwork,” Shera said as she came up to him.
“Well, one down, two to go. Let’s go.” Meanwhile (Putting in quite a few meanwhiles, aren’t I?), Vitalini finally went to sleep in her room. Angel crept past her room and went up the stairs. She came up to that one room she was not allowed to enter. She peered through the keyhole and found no one was inside.
“Funny, Vitalini said she had guests in here. And I know nobody left.” She shrugged and extended a claw. She put it in the keyhole and picked the lock. Then she turned the knob. She opened the door and walked in. This was one room she had never been in since she was brought here ten years ago. She thought that there was nothing here that Vitalini would want to keep her from. She searched through some drawers and found her locket in one of them. She put it back around her neck and was about to leave when she found a small book. She slowly picked it up and looked at it. It appeared to be a journal of Vitalini’s. She flipped through the pages to see how far back it had dated to be. Then she went to the most recent date and started reading.
” ‘Finally, I will have sweet revenge on my dear Mother. Soon, she will be dead after I injected the serum into her. It’s only a matter of hours before she and the Swat Kats die’,” she read in the journal. Angel was shocked. She was planning to kill the Swat Kats. She had heard stories about them, but never thought they were true. She looked in the drawer and found the antidote and several syringes. She took one of the syringes and the antidote. She filled up a syringe with the antidote and put the safety cap on. Then she closed the door up and locked it. Back with Boulder and Shera, they were facing the second room of doom.
“Doesn’t look so dangerous,” Shera said.
“That’s what I thought about the last room. Nothing is as it seems,” Boulder said.
“Well, I’ll take this room so you can take a breather.”
“Watch your tail.” Shera took a deep breath and exhaled. She stepped forward and heard a creek. She jumped forward as a trap door opened at her feet. More opened up. She jumped all the way down the hall. She leaned against the wall and panted as the floors returned and Boulder came up to her.
“Great workout,” Shera said.
“Looked like. You wanna share the next room?”
“Why not?” They wasted no time to reach the next room. When they reached the last room, they found the floor to be a very narrow.
“Too narrow to walk side-by-side,” Boulder said.
“No problem. I go to the gym every week and practice on the balance beam,” Shera said.
“Get up there, Hotshot.” With that, Shera shoved Boulder up front of her. She stayed close behind him as they walk across the narrow floor.
“Nothing’s happening so far,” Boulder said. Then an arrow zipped past Boulder’s nose.
“Oh, I wish you hadn’t said that,” Shera said. Then thousands of arrows blasted past them. They each made twists and turns until they had reached the end of the hall. Shera tripped on a loose stone and fell into Boulder’s arms. She looked up at him and blushed. Boulder also blushed and nervously chuckled as he helped her back to her feet.
“Hey, we made it,” Shera said.
“Yeah. Ahem. So, uh, let’s go find the guys,” Boulder said.
The floor had speed up after Boulder and Shera had finished the rooms of doom. Razor was holding Quiver in his arms as he, T-Bone, and Venus were up against the wall.
“This is it, Kats. I guess this is good-bye,” T-Bone said.
“It’s been great knowing ya!” Razor said as the floor was closing in. Suddenly, the wall behind them opened. They screamed and fell backwards. The floor was completely gone when the wall closed back up. They panted as they looked up at their rescuers. At the present moment, they were up side down.
“What the hell took you so long?!”
“OK, next time, *you* go through the rooms of doom and *we* get rescued. It was no slice of heaven,” Shera said. She and Boulder helped them back up.
“Did you get the antidote for Quiver?” T-Bone asked.
“We didn’t find it. All we found was an emptied bottle. Sorry, T-Bone,” Boulder said.
“Well, the floor went about an hour earlier than scheduled, so we have that long to find the antidote.”
“I suggest we split up,” Venus said.
“Roger that. Razor, you take Quiver back upstairs. Boulder and Shera, you guys are going with me and Venus on the first floor.” Then they separated. Razor put the mask back on Quiver’s face and carried her up the stairs and past a door.
“Razor, why don’t you try that door?” Quiver asked.
“How can you see that door when you’re presently blind?” Razor asked.
“My foot hit the knob.” Razor picked the lock with his claw and opened the door. He set Quiver down in a chair. Then he started looking through the drawers. Then he found the antidote. He took a syringe and filled it up with the antidote.
“I don’t know how many CCs I’m suppose to use,” he said.
“I think it was like 2 CCs,” Quiver said. Razor was about ready to inject the antidote into Quiver when he was knocked over. Quiver got knocked out of her chair. She crawled under a desk as someone dragged Razor away. When the door slammed shut, she knelt down and felt around for the syringe. She felt some broken glass and the carpet wet. Someone had broken the syringe. She gasped as she heard the door open again. She hid back under the desk as she heard someone enter.
“What just happened in here?” a voice asked. Quiver did her best to kick her legs, but she hit the table legs. Angel noticed and picked her up.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?”
“Name’s Quiver. And, I’m having a little trouble seeing so where’s here?”
“Quiver of the Swat Kats?”
“That would be me. So where’s here?” Angel took out the syringe from her pocket and took the cap off. She injected the antidote into Quiver as she talked.
“To be truthful, I don’t really know myself. I’ve only been here twice now. Vitalini forbids me to be in this room. I can’t see why though,” she said. Quiver slowly began to see again. She blinks and sees Angel’s face as clear as glass.
“Angel! You can’t trust Vitalini. She’s evil!” she said, grabbing Angel’s shoulders.
“What are you talking about? She took me in when my parents and brother were killed.”
“You mean Chance, Michael, and Mary-Ann?”
“How– How do you know?”
“Because I’m your big sister.” Angel pulled away from Quiver.
“You’re crazy! I don’t have an older sister! Or brother or anything! My family is dead!”
“You’re locket is engraved ‘To an Angel of a sister’. Inside is a picture of you and our brother Chance. He gave you that locket on your 6th birthday.” Angel gasped. How can she possibly–?
“I don’t know how you know all this personal stuff, but I’m getting Vitalini.” Angel headed for the door, but Quiver closed it.
“Listen to me. She is a Daughter of Satan. She is one of the most evil creatures ever to walk the Earth. I know all this because I am her mother!”
“Daughter of Satan? ‘Chayeah, right. And you think I’m suppose to believe that she’s your daughter.” Quiver took off her mask and showed Angel her face. Angel gasped to she her face looked exactly like Vitalini except for the scars.
“You’re telling the truth. I can’t believe this is happening. Vitalini was like a mother to me when my parents… Disappeared. After all this time, they’re alive?” Quiver nodded.
“He’s here. He’s somewhere in the tower, looking for that antidote. Holy kats, if they got Razor, there’s a good chance they got him and the others, too.”
“And the way Vitalini deals with certain kats is by turning them into metallikats.”
“Damn! I hope Razor discovers what he is soon, or else we’re gonna be called the Swat Metallikats.”
T-Bone was being put into a machine while the Kats were chained to the wall across from him. Vitalini chuckled as she stepped forward to T-Bone.
“No doubt Mother is dead by now. I’m sure she’ll be missed. Soon, you’ll forget all about her.”
“Don’t be too sure about that,” T-Bone said.
“Oh, I’m *very* sure. Adios, *Uncle* T-Bone!” Then she pulled a switch on the control panel. A bright light entered the chamber, making it hard for the Kats to see what was happening.
“So this is how you’re going to get rid of us, Vitalini?” Venus asked.
“For you, dear sister, I thought I’d bring out your nephew. Mungo!” Then, a huge creature with spikes surrounding its surface crashed into the room. Razor and Boulder gulped.
“What’s the matter, Vitalini? Don’t wanna break a nail killing us yourself?” Venus asked.
“I just thought it would be nice to see you die in the rarest way possible. Every one of my son’s spikes are filled with hind’s blood. It’ll be a quick demise. Mungo, you may do the honors,” Vitalini said to the monster. The monster growled and came towards the Kats.
“If Quiv wanted me to discover what I am for myself, I gotta think,” Razor said.
“And I suggest you think about it fast, Razor, before the hind blood monster gets here!” Shera said.
“That doesn’t give me much time to think then. Although, gods die faster when they make contact with the hind’s blood. That’s it!” Suddenly, a bright light surrounded Razor, causing the monster to shield its eyes. When the light dimmed, Razor broke the chains that held him.
“Razor’s a god!” the other Swat Kats said.
“Demigod, actually,” Razor said.
Vitalini growled, “Get him!” As Vitalini’s guards came into view, Razor broke the chains that held the Kats. “Mega wind storm, blow!” Shera said as she threw her daggers at them. Then, a strong wind blew the guards back.
“Works every time.” Just then, the door to the chamber opened and a metallic T-Bone stepped out of it.
“OK, Windy, how will those daggers work on *him?*” Boulder asked.
“T-Bone, attack!” Vitalini said. T-Bone charged towards them with turbo-boosters at the back of his heels.
“Ai-yah!” a voice shrieked. Then Quiver swung in with a steel cable and kicked T-Bone right in the chest, knocking him over. Quiver is presently maskless.
“Quiver! Glad you dropped in,” Shera said.
“I thought you’d be dead by now,” Venus said.
“Not quite. Now, where’s that daughter of mine so I can ground her?” Quiver asked, cracking her knuckles.
“Quiver, behind you!” Quiver spun around to see Mungo charging at her.
“Time to put this creep on ice. Ice shield, blast!” Quiver threw her stars at Mungo and the covered him in a block of ice.
“Bull’s-eye!” she said, catching the stars as they returned to her. Then she fell on her back as the metallic T-Bone got back up.
“Take it easy, T-Bone.” T-Bone raised his arm and a gun barrel came out. He aimed it at her and was about to fire when he heard a voice shout at him.
“Chance! Don’t do it!” He turned his head and saw Angel running towards him.
“Terminate intruder,” he said in a robotic voice, pointing the gun barrel at her.
“Chance, it’s me– Angel! Don’t you remember?” T-Bone’s face stayed cold. He lifted her up in the air and jabbed the gun barrel into her rib cage. He was about to fire when he saw the locket around her neck. Engraved on it was “To an Angel of a sister.” He lowered the gun barrel and Angel.
“Chance?” Angel asked.
“We’ll catch up on the reunion later, Angel. Right now, we got some tail to kick!” T-Bone said. Vitalini growled as she walked towards them.
“If you want something done, you have to do it yourself. Your head is mine, Mother!” Then she pounced on Quiver. Quiver kicked her off and got back on her feet. Vitalini extended her claws and slashed them at Quiver. Quiver turned her head in pain. When she face Vitalini again, she had claw slashes over her left eye.
“Do you know why my father picked you as my mother anyway?” Vitalini asked.
“Because he doesn’t pick just *anyone* to be the mother?” Quiver asked.
“Yes, but not in *your* case. Jettona asked a favor from Father to make you suffer for killing her family. And what better way than with me? I was to terminate you at all costs.”
“But the river kind of spoiled Satan’s plan?”
“And Satan saved you. But then, all the Daughters are considered ‘Daddy’s Little Girls’, aren’t they?”
“Always. Here’s an example.” Vitalini shoved Quiver backwards and snapped her fingers. Suddenly, a hole opened up and Quiver fell in. She quickly grabbed onto a ledge. She looked up to see Vitalini grinning over her.
“Kind of like last time, isn’t it, Mother?”
Quiver grabbed onto Vitalini’s ankle and said, “Not quite yet.” And she yanked Vitalini down into the hole below her. As she looked down, she saw a lava river, waiting for her to fall into it.
“Guys! Help!” T-Bone reached in and grabbed her paw.
“I gotcha, sis.” Then Quiver groaned. Vitalini grabbed onto her ankle, claws dug deep in it.
“I’m not going down alone *this* time, Mother!” Quiver looked up behind T-Bone and saw Mungo coming up.
“T-Bone, behind you!” T-Bone ducked as Mungo pounced. Mungo feel past Quiver and Vitalini. Vitalini watched as her son fell to the lava river. She started climbing up Quiver’s back as she was coming to T-Bone.
“Son of a bitch!” she growled.
“Leave him *alone!*” Quiver growled, letting go of T-Bone’s metallic paw and starting to fight her.
“QUIVER!” T-Bone shouted.
“T-BONE!” Quiver screamed as she fell towards the lava river. Fire shot up as both Quiver and Vitalini disappeared.
“No…” T-Bone said softly.
“Quiver!” the other Kats shouted as they rushed over to the hole next to T-Bone.
“No. This can’t be happening,” Razor said.
“She’s gone,” Angel said. And they stood there, staring into the chasm where Quiver had fallen.
“I can’t believe this is happening. Quiver *can’t* be gone,” Shera said.
“Nobody can survive a fall like that. And even so, that lava river…” Boulder said.
“Well, while I’m thinking about it, let’s get Chance’s body back,” Angel said. T-Bone stepped into the chamber and Angel pulled the lever. Then light surrounded T-Bone again. When the process was almost done, the machine malfunctioned. T-Bone stepped out of the chamber, coughing and waving the smoke away.
“Houston, we have a problem,” he said.
“Not really. The only thing that didn’t change back was your right arm. Is there a problem with that?” Angel asked.
“Yeah. If both Chance Furlong and T-Bone have a mechanical arm, they’ll figure out right away that I’m both of them.”
“And no one else but me knows the Swat Kats’ secret identities?”
“You and our parents are the only people who know. Actually, Mom and Dad only know who Quiver and I are.”
“Well, covering up your arm won’t be any problem, T-Bone. Replacing Quiver, however, will be,” Razor said.
“No. I don’t want anybody replacing Quiver. I’m through adding new Swat Kats. Five is fine for me. Let’s just go home.” The others went ahead of T-Bone. T-Bone looked back at the hole and remembered the last look he saw on Quiver’s face.
He shed a tear and whispered, “Good-bye, Little Sister.” Later that night, Tigera was out in the Salvage Yard under the light of the full moon. She had lit a fire and had a bowl of blood in her paws.
“I’m not going to believe that she’s dead. The blood I collected from one of the dead guards should let me do what I need to do.” She brought the bowl to her mouth and swallowed it. She wiped the blood away from her mouth and passed out. Then her spirit jumped out of her body and floated high in the air. Then another spirit came to her.
“What do you want here in the Dreamworld, Tigera?” the spirit asked.
“I want to know where my friend went when she died, Coricopat. Where is she?”
“Oh, Tigera, you know me better than that. I don’t tell anyone what they want to know.”
“If I have to fight you, I will.”
“Fine by me.” With that, Coricopat flew towards Tigera. Then he grabbed Tigera’s neck as if choking her. Then a vision came to her. She was being chained to the wall. Then the fight returned. She kicked Coricopat in the stomach and sent him flying backwards. Coricopat flew right back to her and grabbed her neck again.
“Do you know why I’m showing you your future?”
“You’re trying to answer my question about my friend?”
“Something like that. I want you to die by watching your death.” Another vision came to Tigera. Tigera’s head fell back into the wall. She fought to keep her eyes open as she looked over at the kat next to her. The kat looked at her. It was Katarina, older and hair shorter with claw scars over her left eye.
“I never thought it would end like this,” she said.
“We may have lost the boys, but we’re not losing each other,” Tigera said. Two kats loaded up their guns and aimed them at them.
“Your friend is dying with you, Tigera. How does that make you feel?” Coricopat asked. A gun fired, and Tigera’s body was bleeding at the shoulder. Despite the pain she felt, Tigera smiled.
“Good,” she said. Coricopat seemed shocked.
“If Katarina’s dying in the future, that means she’s still alive!” She kicked Coricopat several times until she kicked him way into orbit. Then Tigera rejoined her body. She shot up and panted. She looked at her shoulder and saw the wound the bullet had made to the future Tigera. It was not bleeding, just scabbed. She smiled to herself as Chance and Jake came out.
“Tigera? What are you doing out here?” Chance asked. Tigera got up and kissed Chance.
“Not that I don’t approve to the kiss, but what was that for?”
“She’s alive! Kat’s alive!”
“She’s *alive?!* How can you be so sure?”
“I can’t explain it, but we gotta get Buster and Ann here ASAP and then go find her.”
“You’re serious about this?” Ann asked as Tigera was leading her and Buster into the hangar.
“Why would I kid about something like this? Kat is alive,” Tigera said.
“Then where is she?” Buster asked.
“I did some searching and I found out she’s in Oriana, 1196. Let’s get Jake and Chance and go.” Oriana, Scotland, 1196. The Kats are walking through a market place inside Oriana Castle. Chance had his right arm covered by a cape.
“Strange to be back home again,” Buster said.
“And to think, you’ve lived here all you life and you don’t even have an accent,” Ann said.
“Where would Kat be? She’s not the queen anymore, so where would she go?” Chance asked.
“Maybe she’s telling stories to the kitties or something.”
“Wouldn’t doubt it,” Jake said. The others walked on as Chance dropped by the well to get some water. As he turned around to catch up, he saw something… Or a *someone.* He saw a she-kat in a green and white dress with long dark hair standing in front of a cart. The she-kat felt the eyes of someone watching her and she slowly turned around. It was Katarina. Both she and Chance stood speechless while looking at each other. Katarina began to walk up towards him. Chance was about to come up to her when he heard a voice.
“Chance, will you hurry up? We gotta look for Kata–” Jake said as he came up to Chance. His sentence was cut short when he saw Katarina.
“–Rina. Katarina, you’re– you’re alive.” He came up to her and walked around her.
“Jake, you’re making me dizzy. Would you stop it before I break your face?” Katarina asked.
“Is *it* you!” Jake smiled as Kat jumped into his arms and hugged him.
She kissed his cheek, “I’ve missed you, too, Love.” Jake looked back at Chance and backed away so they could have their moment. Chance and Kat embraced madly.
“Well, I’ll, uh, go get the guys while you two catch up,” Jake said. As Chance stopped hugging Kat, he smiled.
“Oh, Chance, when you didn’t get my messages–”
“What messages? You’ve only been gone a night.”
“Oh, well, I, uh, I guess time went slower when I left. I’ve been here for about a week. That’s why I’m scarred,” Kat said, lifting her bangs over her right eye, showing Chance the claw scars given to her by Vitalini.
“I– We thought you were dead. We thought we’d lost you for good.”
“Ya nearly did. Vitalini and I continued to fall and fight as we headed straight for the lava. I got kicked onto a ledge on the wall. Then Vitalini fell to the lava with Mungo. I was in shock for several hours. When I finally got out of the chasm, I found myself here. I didn’t know how I was supposed to return home. I knew how to send messages through time, but how to return…”
“Katarina!” Kat looked behind Chance to see the other Kats coming up. Each gave her a hug. Everyone was smiling, except Chance.
“How did you guys find me anyway?” Kat asked.
“It’s something of a long story, Kat. Where have you been staying?”
“At a friend’s house outside the castle. Let’s go.” Once again, the group went up ahead of Chance while he was deep in thought.
“Chance! You coming?” Jake asked.
“Uh, yeah. I’m comin’, buddy.” He ran to catch up with the group.
Everyone was lying out straw to make out his or her bed. Kat had been sleeping out in her friend’s barn and they were spending the night in there.
“We’ll go home in the morning. No reason to stay here, is there?” Chance asked.
“Well, Chance, there’s something that I forgot to mention when you got here–” Kat said. A loud roaring interrupted her sentence.
“What the hell–?!” Then the barn doors opened up, revealing a creature covered with spikes.
“Mungo!” Tigera said. Mungo roared again and charged at them. Kat ran and tripped over a horseshoe. Then Mungo zipped past her, heading right for Chance. Chance jumped out of the way and Mungo crashed into a pile of straw. Chance rushed over to help Kat up. Then he noticed her right shoulder. No blue claw marks.
“Apparently, he wants you,” Kat said.
“Uh, right. Me-yow!” Mungo came charging at them again. Jake and Tigera knocked them out of the way.
“How can we beat this thing?” Jake asked.
“With light. Mungo only comes out at night,” Tigera said.
“So, if it’s light he hates, it’s light he’ll get. Fire sword, burn!” Chance took out his sword and held it in front of Mungo. The sword started glowing. Mungo shield his eyes and ran out of the barn.
“All right, Chance. That’s kicking some tail!” Jake said, giving Chance a high-five. Then a blonde-furred she-kat came into the barn.
“What has happened?” she asked.
“Susan. It was that monster Mungo. He would’ve gotten us if Chance hadn’t saved us,” Kat said.
“Well, at least I managed to injure him some. But I don’t know if that was enough to stop him,” Chance said.
“Nothing is. Only the light,” Tigera said. Susan came closer and noticed Kat’s ankle was bleeding.
“Here, Kat. I’ll take you in the house and wrap it up.” When Kat left, Chance took off his cape and revealed his mechanical arm.
“Chance? Is something wrong?” Ann asked.
“That’s not Katarina,” Chance replied.
“What are you talking about, Chance?” Buster asked.
“Earlier today, she knew how to send messages through time, but she didn’t know how to return. That’s bullshit. We all know she’s been doing it for years. Also, she was scratched on the *left* eye, not the right and she parts her hair on the right yet this one parts it on the left. And she’s the first one to know if we have some uninvited guests. Yet she didn’t say anything about it. And she was right in the path of Mungo when she tripped. But he zipped right past her. And when I came to pick her up, she didn’t have the panther claw marks that turns her into a panther.”
“So what are you saying?” Jake asked.
“That kat is not Katarina. It’s Vitalini.”
“Father saved her and her son, I’d wager. This means Kat *is* dead,” Tigera said.
“Are you sure about that? You saw her dying with you,” Buster said.
“She had claw scars over her eye.”
“Well, you saw Vitalini scratch her over her left eye, so they’d both look the same no matter what. Nobody really pays much attention to which side the scars are on.”
“Katarina is dead. Live with it, Buster,” Chance said.
“Well, how are we going to fight Vitalini?” Jake asked.
“We just wait. Soon, she’ll go out and find Mungo to see how much damage I did to him. She’ll discover I didn’t even scratch him. When she comes back around, that’s when we strike.”
“Chance, we can’t kill her,” Ann said.
“Why the hell not?”
“Two things. 1: She’s half god, meaning the only thing that can kill her is hind’s blood. And 2: Good guys don’t kill.”
“Both are true. Ah, I’ll think of something. Right now, we need a plan.” Meanwhile, in a cave way out in the country, Mungo received a visitor.
“Hello, Baby. Did Uncle Chance hurt you?” Vitalini asked. Mungo softly growled.
“Let Mummy see.” She looked all over his surface to find him completely unharmed.
“Damn that Furlong. He knows who I am.” Mungo purred as Vitalini stroked his face.
“Yes, he does. Hmm, doesn’t matter. Soon, they’ll be your next meal. Tonight, we kill them. I have to go now. You just rest, OK?” Mungo growled as Vitalini left. Back with the Kats, they had already put their G-suits on. Boulder, Shera, and Venus were walking through the forest, looking for Vitalini.
“She’s gotta be around here somewhere,” Shera said. Venus looked around and saw someone walking. She pointed in that direction.
“There she is. Let’s go.” T-Bone and Razor were on the other side of the forest also looking for Vitalini.
“She’s going to pay for killing my little sister,” T-Bone said.
“We’ll find her, T-Bone. You can rest assure of that,” Razor said. He looked around and saw someone limping in the distance.
“Apparently, she’s been through some punishment already. We could always put her out of her misery.”
“Let’s go.” The kat they were following leaned against a tree to catch her breath. She was bruised and scratched in several places and also bleeding. Her hair was messed up and her dress was torn in some places and one of her sleeves was gone. She twitched her ear as T-Bone and Razor came up from behind her.
“Whoever ya are, let me be. I have been in enough trouble for one day.”
“Oh, yeah? Well, prepare for a second helping!” T-Bone said, knocking her down. She panted as T-Bone took out his sword and raised it over his head.
“He-yah!” she shouted, kicking his leg. That brought T-Bone to the ground, falling on his back. Then the kat collapsed to the ground, exhausted. T-Bone growled as he got back up.
“She’s going to pay for that one.” He raised his mechanical arm and the gun barrel came out.
“Wait a second, T-Bone,” Razor said. The kat grunted as she got back to her feet.
She panted, “Go ahead and kill me. End this suffering now.” Razor gently grabbed her shoulder and turned her around. The kat looked down at her feet.
“Katarina?” She softly gasped and looked into his face.
“Kat– Kat, is that really you?” He slowly removed the bangs from over her left eye to show the claw marks over the eye. The claw marks were bleeding.
“Jake.” He looked at her right shoulder to find blue claw marks.
“T-Bone, look.” T-Bone gasped and came to her. Her eyes started to fill with tears. She jumped into his arms, crying.
“I’m sorry, Kat. I’m so sorry,” T-Bone said.
Kat stopped hugging T-Bone and then hugged and kissed Razor.
“I can’t believe this day I’m having,” she said.
“Kat, what happened to you?” Razor asked as Kat released him.
“An absolute nightmare, Razor.” (OK, flashback time!) Katarina walked up to Oriana castle. The claw marks were scabbed at that time. The people she passed were murmuring as she walked up to where Queen Tsidii was.
“Katarina! What is she doing here? Look at the scratches on her face. She doesn’t belong here,” she heard the people say.
“Why have you returned?” Queen Tsidii asked.
“Tsidii, what’s this about?” Kat asked.
“You know very well what this is about!”
“No, I don’t!”
“Do not play dumb with me, Katarina! You know what you have done!”
“Whatever has happened, I did not do it!”
“Your Majesty, listen to her!” Susan said above the crowd.
“Silence! Katarina, you are charged with the murder of Sir Lionel!”
“What?! No, Tsidii! He was killed years ago! You know Vitalini killed him!”
“Insolent feline! You are guilty of his death and the deaths of several others! And your punishment…”
“Exile her! No, behead her! Run her through!” the crowd shouted. Kat looked around in horror to hear those words being said.
“The gauntlet!” Tsidii said.
“No!” Susan shouted. Two guards grabbed Katarina by the arms and pushed her forward in between to lines of kats.
“I had always feared the gauntlet. And now that I was actually going to run it, I feared for my very life. Each kat had either a stick, a weapon, or used their claws. Anyone who ran the gauntlet had never gone out alive. I was strong, but I wasn’t strong enough for the extreme punishment,” Kat said while the flashback was happening.
“Whoever dost not bruise or draw blood shall run the gauntlet himself!” Tsidii said. Of course, no one actually wanted to run the gauntlet him or herself, so they were ready to strike her. Katarina panted and started running. She stopped for an instant whenever she felt extreme pain. They continued to beat her as she continued running. When she had almost reached the end of the gauntlet, she collapsed to the ground. The beating had stopped. She was bloody and panted hard as someone stepped up to her.
“What shall we do with her, my Queen?”
“Put her out of her misery,” Tsidii said. One guard raised the sword over his head. Katarina kicked his leg and got back to her feet. She ran the rest of the gauntlet with more beatings. One scratched her left eye while another tore off one of her sleeves. She then ran out of the castle with the guards running after her.
“Get her! Do not allow her to live!” Tsidii ordered. They threw their spears and fired their arrows at her. An arrow hit her in the shoulder. She screamed and fell to the ground. When the knights caught up with her, she looked dead. They nudged her, and she remained still.
“We will not have to worry about her anymore,” one guard said.
“The bitch deserved it,” another said as they walked away. When they were out of sight, Katarina opened her eyes. Playing opossum gets ’em every time, she thought to herself. She looked forward and saw a small river. She crawled up to it and looked at herself. She gasped when she saw the claw marks over her eye.
“No wonder they thought I killed Sir Lionel. In the water’s reflection, I look like Vitalini.” A tear rippled the river as did several blood drops. She pulled the arrow out of her shoulder. She groaned and struggled to get to her feet. Then, she walked on.
“And that’s what just happened, guys,” Kat said. (Flashback’s over. Back to where we left off.)
“Everyone thinks I killed a kat. But he died while I was still a warlord. Kind of a long time to bring up the case just now. Tsidii never even saw Vitalini’s face.”
“Oh, Kat. When we saw you fall into the chasm…” T-Bone said.
“Ya thought I was dead. I should be dead, but why aren’t I?” Kat asked.
“Hey, we’re not complaining. How’d you survive?” Razor asked. Kat wiped the tears out of her eyes.
“Don’t remember much. I remember falling and fighting Vitalini. I remember Vitalini screaming when she died. I hit my head and I blacked out. I found myself on a ledge on the wall. As soon as I was strong enough to move, I climbed out and found myself in front of my old friend’s house. That was yesterday. And then all this happened.” T-Bone and Razor looked at each other.
“I don’t know how to tell you this, Kat, but…” T-Bone said. Kat’s eyes widen.
“Vitalini’s alive. Great kats, she’s alive.”
“She probably knows we figured it out. She’ll be coming after us soon.”
“Unless she already found a couple of Swat Kats to feed to Mungo!” Razor said.
“Boulder! Shera! Venus! Damn it!” Kat looked up at the sun.
“If I know anything about Mungo, he’ll come out at night. Ahh,” she said.
“You OK, Kat?” Razor asked.
“I’m just a little weak is all. Probably the loss of blood.”
“Yeah, you’re losing quite a bit of it. We’ll get you over to Susan’s place and she’ll fix you up.” Razor then picked Kat up in his arms.
“What about Boulder and the girls?”
“We’ll look for them. Right now, get some sleep.” Then Kat drifted off to sleep. Meanwhile, Boulder, Shera, and Venus were tied together and gagged, hanging from a tree branch in front of a cave. Shera managed to chew the gag out of her mouth.
“Did any of us expect this to happen?” she asked. Venus chewed her gag out of her mouth.
“Expect what to happen?”
“To become an entree for your sister’s son.”
Boulder chew out his gag and said, “Speaking of which…”
“Hi, guys. Uncomfortable?” Vitalini asked.
“Very,” the three Swat Kats replied, eyes narrow.
“Don’t worry, it won’t last long. When the sun sets, Mungo will be hungry. You’ll be a snack.”
“A snack? Then what’s the main course?” Venus asked.
“When I get my claws on you, Vitalini–!” Boulder growled.
“But you can’t. Damn shame, too. I could use the amusement. But now, I have to look for Razor and Uncle T-Bone.”
“You think we’re just going to *hang* around and let you get away with murder?” Shera asked.
“It’s not the first time. Oh, if only Mother was here to watch her old kingdom die. Oh, well. Adios.” Then Vitalini left.
“C’mon, girls. We gotta get free and warn T-Bone and Razor,” Boulder said.
“Yeah, we already lost Quiver. We’re not losing them, too,” Shera said.
“Venus, you think you can burn the rope without burning us?”
“Probably. I’ll give it a shot,” Venus said. She squeezed her paw loose and pointed her finger at the rope that held them up. Fire shot out and put the rope on fire.
“First floor, going down!” The rope snapped and they crashed to the ground.
“Well, I guess I could use some more practice on frying a rope,” Venus said.
“Maybe you should catch up on your Houdini movies,” Shera said, untangling the rope. Boulder grabbed one piece of rope that Shera was grabbing. Boulder’s paw brushed over hers. They looked at each other and almost blushed. Venus cleared her throat, making them look at her.
“Well, come on. We gotta find T-Bone and Razor before Vitalini does,” Venus said. Then they left the scene.
Katarina was all cleaned and bandaged up. She was wearing a clean green and white dress and was sitting in front of a mirror, combing her hair. She undid the bandage over her eye and looked at herself. She looked at her now scabbed claw marks. She sighed.
“This is going to take some getting used to.”
“Hello, Mother,” a voice said. Kat gasped and looked behind her. Vitalini was sitting on the bed, legs crossed and arms folded. Kat got out of her chair and kept her distance from Vitalini.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I came here to look for your brother and boyfriend. But apparently, they went out to look for your step-daughter and friends,” Vitalini said.
“Step-daughter? You mean Venus?”
“Venus, Tigera. Which ever you prefer. They’re the same person either way. You know, if I cared, I’d ask you how you survived. But I don’t really care.”
“I can guess how *you* survived. Satan saved you, didn’t he?” Vitalini extended her claws and sharpen them on the end table by the bed.
“Like you said, all the Daughters are Daddy’s Little Girls. Is that why you never loved me?”
“I have my reasons.” Then Vitalini looked out the window. The sun was beginning to go down.
“Mungo will be out soon. He’ll eat your friends and then your kingdom. That’s when the *real* fun begins.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“I want you there when he seeks and destroys everything in sight. I want sweet revenge on you for what you did to me!”
“You’re not the first Daughter who wanted sweet revenge on me. I’m used to it. My life is Hell, OK?!”
“Then I’m going to make your life worse than Hell.”
“You made me suffer enough already. I’m not going to let your freak of nature kill my kingdom!” Kat jumped out of the window and started running towards Oriana Castle.
“Bye-bye, Mummy.” Meanwhile, T-Bone and Razor had just reach the cave where the Kats escaped.
“They should’ve been here,” Razor said.
“You’re a god. Can’t you check where they are?” T-Bone asked.
“I’m a demigod and I don’t know how to do that yet.” T-Bone looked on the ground and saw the rope that the Kats escaped from. T-Bone picked up one end of the rope.
“Hey, this end was burned. This was probably done by Venus.”
“That means they’re free.”
“And it’s still warm. The only problem is finding out where they went off to.”
“Finding them isn’t our *only* problem!” he pointed at the cave. Mungo came out, roaring like crazy.
“Razor, I have only three words for you: Run for it!” He and = Razor then ran as Mungo chased them. At Oriana Castle, the people were going about their normal lives until Katarina came crashing into the castle.
“Katarina! I thought she was dead!” the people said.
“Listen to me! You are in grave danger!” Kat said.
“Aye, we are. And it is because *you* have returned!” a guard said, holding a sword up.
“You do not understand! It is my daughter Vitalini!”
“Vitalini is dead. And I would have thought that the gauntlet would finish you once and for all. Perhaps another trip through it will put some sense back into you!” Tsidii said.
“Tsidii, listen to me! I know it’s crazy, but Vitalini is still alive and her monster son is coming here tonight to kill us all!”
“Enough of your lies, Katarina! They are worthless here! The gauntlet!” Two guards grabbed her arms again and dragged her forward to the two lines of kats with weapons and claws.
“I am not going through this again,” she said. As she started to turn around she found a sword pointing at her.
“You can put an eye out with that thing.”
“It shall be *your* eye if you do not run the gauntlet,” the guard said.
“I would gladly lose an eye than run the gauntlet again.”
“What is the hold-up here?” Tsidii asked as she came up to the guard.
“She refuses to run the gauntlet, my Queen,” the guard replied. Tsidii turned to Kat and took out a dagger. She placed it at Kat’s throat.
“So you refuse to run the gauntlet, my old friend and Queen?”
“I gave you the title of Queen because I thought you would do a good job and would have good judgment. You know I did not kill Sir Lionel,” Kat said.
“I am warning you, Katarina. Do not make me lose my temper.”
“You know me, Tsidii. I would never kill one of my own kats.”
“You killed plenty. We did not have you run the gauntlet then because you were the Queen. But now, *I* am the Queen. And if you will not go through the gauntlet, you will die by a flick of my wrist.”
“I swear to you, I am innocent.”
“No more lies, Katarina. I am putting an end to them.” Kat gasped as Tsidii motioned her paw across Kat’s throat as if marking it with an X.
“Do not do something you will regret, Tsidii.”
“Who said I am going to regret it?” Then something blasted the dagger out of her paw. Kat gasped and looked to her left. T-Bone had fired his mechanical arm’s gun to knock the dagger out of Tsidii’s paw. Razor is standing next to him.
“It’s about damn time! What took you so long?” Kat asked.
“*You* try to out run Mungo next time,” T-Bone said.
“I will not have insolence in my kingdom. Be gone with ya!” Tsidii said.
“We can’t until you realize that Katarina’s telling the truth,” Razor said.
“She says Vitalini is still alive and that her son will be here to destroy us.”
“Well, Your Majesty, we got a newsflash for you–” T-Bone said. Mungo came crashing through the wall, roaring loudly. Then Vitalini walked up next to him.
“Hello, Tsidii. Remember me?” she asked. Tsidii’s eyes were wide open.
T-Bone turned back to her and said, “She’s telling the truth.”
“Take them, Mungo!” Vitalini said. Mungo growled as the kingdom ran for their lives.
“We gotta take him down now!” T-Bone said.
“You don’t have to tell us twice. Razor, you got a plan?” Kat asked.
“Affirmative. I’ll tell ya as soon as we reach the stables,” Razor said. As the Kats ran over to the stables, Razor explained his plan.
“So you know your part, Kat?” Kat nodded and walked off. T-Bone and Razor opened the doors to the stable and walked in.
“What kind of stable is this? Where are the horses?” T-Bone asked.
“Who cares? Let’s just get ready for Mungo to show up,” Razor said, sitting on a stool. Then he felt a paw on his shoulder. He looked back and shouted. The stranger shouted back. T-Bone took out a flashlight and shined it on Razor and the stranger.
“Hey, watch where you shine that thing, T-Bone.”
“Yeah, you wanna blind us?”
“Venus!” T-Bone said.
“Hi, Stripes. What are you doing in here?” Venus asked as Boulder and Shera appeared.
“We could ask you the same question. Razor has a plan to take out Mungo.”
“Sounds good. Count us in. What’s first?” Boulder asked. Razor looked behind Boulder.
“Well, you can start by looking behind you.” Boulder, Shera, and Venus looked behind them and saw Mungo roaring. They looked at each other with narrow eyes.
“Retreat!” They ran over to T-Bone and Razor as Mungo roared again. Venus hid behind T-Bone and grabbed onto his right shoulder.
“I don’t mind you doing this, Venus, but what are you doing?” T-Bone asked.
“I’m not crazy, T-Bone. That thing has hind’s blood spikes,” Venus replied.
“I’ll take care of ‘im.” T-Bone took out his sword and the sword started glowing. Mungo knocked the sword out of his paw.
“Uh-oh. Where’s Apollo when you need him?” Mungo was about to strike them when the stable doors opened.
“Wait!” Mungo looked and saw Vitalini entering.
“Vitalini!” Shera said.
“I don’t want you to kill them alone. Let’s do it together,” she said.
“Oh, when I get my claws on her…” Boulder said. Mungo came over to Vitalini.
“That’s right, baby. You can have Uncle T-Bone…” T-Bone walked up from behind Mungo with his sword in his paw.
“You can have Uncle T-Bone stick his sword in your back! Now, T-Bone!” T-Bone raised up his sword and plunged the sword in Mungo’s back. Mungo roared and tried to strike T-Bone. He only scratched his right arm. T-Bone checked the damage.
“T-Bone, are you OK?” Razor asked.
“A few wires are cut, but otherwise, I’m fine.”
“If that’s not Vitalini, then… Katarina!” Shera said. Mungo roared and swiped his claws in Kat’s direction. Kat ducked and rolled over to the Kats.
“Hi, guys. How’s it going?” she asked.
“How did you–?” Boulder asked.
“Long story. Tell you later.”
“If there *is* a later.” Then Vitalini came in through the doorway to see Mungo trying to get the sword out of his back.
“No! Those miserable mortals!” She came up to Mungo, who plunged one of his giant spikes into her shoulder. She gasped as blood came flowing out of the wound. Mungo looked behind him to see Kat. Then he looked back at Vitalini in shock.
“Mommy!” he said, grunting. He wrapped his arms around his mother. Vitalini looked back at the Swat Kats and put her arms around Mungo. Just before they fell over, Vitalini had something to say.
“This isn’t over, Mother.” Then she closed her eyes and she and Mungo fell over on the floor.
“It’s the first time in centuries I’ve seen a god or demigod die. I always forget how horrifying it is,” Venus said. Kat sighed as she looked at the mother and child, lying dead on the floor.
That night, there was a full moon. Kat was leaning on a fence that was looking over field. She sighed. T-Bone came up next to her.
“Is it finally over?” she asked.
“Are you kidding?” T-Bone asked.
“Vitalini’s last word were ‘This isn’t over.’ What could she mean?”
“I don’t know. I never understood gods.”
“Things are not as they seem. I thought Vitalini was dead long ago. You can never be too sure, you know?”
“Yeah. I know what you mean. We thought you were dead. Kat, is there anything you can do about this?” T-Bone asked, showing her his mechanical arm.
“All I know is Dark Age magic. We never had a spell for mechanical limbs. Sorry, bro.” T-Bone sighed and rested his chin on his mechanical paw.
“All I can do is this.” Kat spoke in Latin and instantly, T-Bone’s mechanical arm was covered by the appearance of a normal arm. T-Bone smiled and looked at the arm.
“Feels real. But it’s not really back to normal, is it?” Kat shook her head.
“The fur is real, but the inside is still the mechanical arm. It’s the best I can do until we can find some way to change it back.”
“As long as you guys are here, I don’t care about the arm.” Kat smiled. Then Razor and Venus came up from behind them.
“Everything OK, guys?” Razor asked. T-Bone and Kat nodded.
“Kat, listen. About my father–”
“You figured it out.” Razor nodded.
“I never wanted to keep it a secret from you, Razor. Those are just the rules.”
“Do you know who my father is, Kat?”
“To be truthful, I don’t know. All I know is that he is one of the Greek Gods. It’s probably best if we don’t find out which one it is.”
“Yeah. Probably so. Hey, do guys know what happened to Boulder and Shera?” Venus asked.
“You’re asking *us*? You’re the one who found out what year I was in,” Kat said.
“Well…” Venus shrugged.
“I think they went out for a walk,” Razor said, putting his finger in his mouth and sticking it into the air.
“And it’s a perfect night for a little l’amour.” Meanwhile, Boulder and Shera were walking down a path in the forest.
“Boulder, why are you taking me out here?” Shera asked.
“You’ll see,” Boulder replied, pushing some vines aside. Shera gasped. On the other side of the vines, she saw a beautiful waterfall.
“Oh, Boulder, it’s gorgeous.”
“I know. I used to come here all the time with my girl.”
“She died of a disease.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“Well, life goes gone. I’m used to it. Sometimes I wonder why I even became a knight.”
Boulder scoffed, “Glamour. It was that glamour that got my brothers killed. I don’t know.” Both Kats were silent for a few moments. Then they both spoke.
“Shera, I–” Then Shera cleared her throat. Boulder rubbed the back of his neck.
“Hell, I’m at a lost for words,” Shera said.
“That makes two of us.”
“Shera.” Both were silent again.
“Maybe we should catch up with the guys,” Boulder said.
“Yeah. You’re right. Let’s go,” Shera said. As Shera started to walk forward, Boulder grabbed her arm. They both looked at each other and came close together. They closed their eyes and kissed. The other Swat Kats were watching from behind a tree.
“Thought they’d never get together,” T-Bone said.
“But we knew they would,” Venus said.
“Well, looks like we need to put this story to a close. Hey, Kari!” Razor shouted.
“Hey, Razor. What’s up?” a voice asked. (OK, that would be me. I just couldn’t resist!)
“Think you can end this story now so we can get home?”
“Razor, who do you think you’re talking to?! I’m the writer! OK, consider this story over.”
OK, so I wanted to put myself in the story. IS THAT SO WRONG?! Ha ha, just kidding. Adios!
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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.