With much effort and an eternity of climbing up the endless stairs, Callie and the lieutenant had managed to help a now awake Razor carry a still unconscious T-Bone.
“I’d prefer not moving him, but with those Shriekmen still around here somewhere we can’t wait,” Felina had said.
Razor had nodded in reluctant agreement and the trio moved the dead weight of the SWAT Kat up. At the mouth of the tunnel, the desert of the Felidae Ergs greeted them. The camouflaged canopy that had covered the entrance had blown over, allowing the sun to cast its full blaze upon them.
Despite feeling like a sweaty tired mess, Callie welcomed the warm feeling on her skin, appreciating the open air’s contrast with the underground nightmare they had just emerged from.
“There’s a medical bed in the bomb bay,” Razor said. “It’s a little bit cramped, but it’ll have to do for now.”
“Is it next to the pool table or the microwave?” Felina asked humorously, one of T-Bone’s arms over her shoulder.
“I found some space next to the sauna for that,” Razor replied in tune, T-Bone’s other arm over his shoulder.
Callie let go as the two carried T-Bone out of sight and into the still awaiting Turbokat. As they did so, Callie turned around to cast a glance at the tunnel behind them. Its dark mouth hung open, like a monster inviting prey.
Come on in, indeed.
She jumped as a hand was placed unexpectedly on her shoulder.
“Sorry!” Razor said.
“No, that’s alright,” Callie said, and noticed he was holding onto something. “Is that what I think it is?”
“Yeah,” Razor said, holding up a remote control with a single button. “This’ll detonate the Semtex charges.”
“Are you going to press it?” Callie asked.
“I was, but I realized that maybe that decision wasn’t mine to make,” Razor said as he handed the remote to Callie.
Callie took it and held it in both hands, looking at it.
“I don’t know what your plans are, whether you’ll need this place intact to form some kind of case against Puma Dyne or not,” Razor said, and then turned his attention to Lt. Feral who was watching their conversation. “Hey, can you drive stick?”
The lieutenant scoffed at the question, glancing at the Turbokat.
“I think I can handle it,” Felina replied.
“Good, because I need to keep an eye on T-Bone,” Razor said. “You know, make sure he doesn’t get rattled around like a paint can.”
“Unless you’ve got further business here, Deputy Mayor, I say we leave,” the lieutenant said as she began to lift herself up into the cockpit of the Turbokat.
Callie nodded, and looked at the tunnel once more, staring into the dark abyss where light seemed to flee, knowing of the terrors that were just beyond and below it.
“Just take it easy on the throttle,” the voice of Razor said over an intercom. “This thing’s got a lot more power than that Sabre you’re used to flying.”
“Yeah yeah,” Felina said dismissive as the canopy slid forward, enclosing the two occupants of the cockpit. Only it wasn’t the SWAT Kats, but Felina where T-Bone usually sat and Callie where Razor normally sat.
Callie’s concern over T-Bone’s wellbeing had lessened as Razor had repeatedly assured her he’d been through worse. The fact that he was now semi-conscious and talking was also a good sign, though Callie had no idea what he was referring to when he mentioned something about Kat Kommandos.
“Yeah, he’s still a little out of it,” Razor had said.
The Turbokat vibrated as its engines roared to life. Callie could see the lieutenant adjust the throttle. Outside a small sandstorm was erupting as the exhaust of the jet’s moveable thrusters kicked up sand. Within moments they were ascending, and the lieutenant banked the jet in a wide horseshoe turn, and kept it at a hover.
“Well, have you reached a decision?” Felina asked over her shoulder.
Callie stared out the canopy, looking down below, seeing nothing but a featureless sheet of sand that stretched far into the horizon in every direction.
Who’d have thought there’d be such a horrible secret here?
“I have,” Callie said, and she pushed the button on the remote Razor had given her.
Below, several plumes of smoke and sand shot upward as the ground swelled up and then collapsed on itself, crushing and burying the locations known as SITE A and SITE B.
“Let’s go home,” Callie said.
“Yes sir,” the lieutenant responded with nothing but sincerity in her voice.
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