It was a name that stirred the emotions of any who heard it. To most, the name inspired feelings of fear and dread. Wanted by the law enforcement agencies of several governments the world over, Dark Kat topped everyone’s most wanted list. He fancied himself some kind of super criminal mastermind, and his actions did little to suggest otherwise. Prior to his debut in Megakat City over a decade prior, he was thought to be just a myth, the product of hearsay among the unscrupulous characters of the criminal underworld. But, as Megakat City, and the newly promoted Commander Ulysses Feral of the Enforcers learned, Dark Kat proved to be very real when he attempted to blow up Enforcer’s Headquarters in a daring aerial raid.
In hindsight, Felina now realized that it was the same incident that Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson were kicked off the force over for disobeying orders. Somehow, during the altercation, Dark Kat had been stopped, but he had also escaped the scene, disappearing for several years.
Unfortunately, Dark Kat hadn’t stayed that way. With increasing escalation, Dark Kat would return and attempt to either conquer or destroy Megakat City, either overtly through the use of nuclear weapons or more subtly by manipulating backstage events through assassinations or other espionage-related activities.
Dark Kat evaded capture and death in an almost supernatural way, which made bringing him to any kind of justice thus far unachievable to everyone including the SWAT Kats.
The previous year, Felina had been victim to Dark Kat’s latest known scheme involving a robotic duplicate of herself being used in an assassination attempt of the city’s leadership in conjunction with a coup of the Enforcers. It was a plan made possible by Felina’s former boss, retiring CAG Captain Ritz, who’d cited being motivated by a personal vendetta against Ulysses Feral. Felina had confronted the traitorous Ritz, but due to time-sensitive circumstances, had to abandon him in the woods outside Megakat Caverns State Park.
To this day, Ritz’s whereabouts were still unknown, a fact that hampered the investigation that had led some to call into question Felina’s testimony.
But, all of that was in the past. Now, Felina was standing on the bridge of an aircraft carrier sitting offshore of Cymric Island in the waters of the Balinese Sea, where another three naval vessels also waited in support. An island where the active volcano of the ominous Mt. Dragon Li puffed like a chimney-stack, with the mainland protected by the largest forcefield network Felina had ever seen.
She was here by the invitation of another well-known criminal, Turmoil, whose lackey had narrowly beaten Felina in a fist fight two days earlier. Turmoil, while evasive, had thus far been nothing but sympathetic to Felina’s current plight in regards to the Enforcers. Though Turmoil’s known criminal history paled in comparison to the known atrocities of Dark Kat, she was still on the other side of the law.
But, despite that history, Turmoil had said she would make a positive difference in Megakat City. And for some reason, Felina was tempted to believe her, especially now, as those words seemed to be being backed up.
“I’m here to put an end to Dark Kat,” Turmoil said. “And you’re going to help.”
Felina stood there, her mind racing.
How did she manage to corner Dark Kat? What’s he doing on this island? What does she need my help for?
And then another thought came to mind.
What if she succeeds?
From what Felina had witnessed thus far, Turmoil had assembled a capable fighting force that was easily on par with the Megakat City Enforcers. Probably more so if one factored in the capabilities of the six Turbokat copies that had been made and the budget crisis that had taken its toll on defense. And Felina had only seen six of those jets. There was no reason Turmoil couldn’t have made more. If Turmoil’s plan to oust Dark Kat came to fruition, who would be next? What would stop her from sailing directly into Megakat Bay afterward?
“What if I say no?” Felina asked.
Turmoil smiled. It was a knowing smile, like the kind someone made when they had already seen a movie and knew how it ended.
“We both know you won’t,” Turmoil said.
Felina frowned, not appreciating the mild condescension. Though, Turmoil was right. Felina had seen too much and been sidelined for far too long. Regardless of who was doing the pressuring or why, Dark Kat was cornered. Felina couldn’t ignore that. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.
This was action, and it couldn’t call any louder.
“Okay,” Felina said. “But you need to stop talking in riddles and give me specifics from now on. Deal?”
“Agreed,” Turmoil said, and then called out across the bridge. “Lt. Durov. Give our guest a tour and fill her in on the mission parameters.”
“Aye aye, Commander,” Lt. Durov responded and approached Felina, gesturing with her hand back down the entryway steps. “This way, miss.”
The tour had lasted the better part of an hour, as Lt. Durov led Felina throughout the ship. While not as large as the Nimitz class, dry-docked Reginald R. Manx that seemed to have sat in Megakat Bay for forever, the Balikirev was still an impressive ship. Durov had unemotionally given the numbers. A crew complement of 100, with another 100 Spetzkatz soldiers on-hand. It was a formidable, if light, force. Another 25 crew members on each of the ships making up the carrier strike group. Add to that another 25 pilots and Turmoil’s forces numbered 400. By military standards, this was a skeleton crew, but due to automated processes and longer shifts, Turmoil’s group of women seemed unhindered by their numbers.
Aside from personnel, Felina had seen an entire squadron of Chinook helicopters, with half a dozen on deck and others in the hangar below. Felina had been shown the armory, where rows upon rows of AK-47s and the newer AK-74s rested in cages. Several RPG launchers, mortars, and RPK-74 light machine guns made up the rest of the weapons, along with ample ammunition stores to use them.
She has enough people, weapons and air support to conduct a small war.
And that’s when Felina remembered the communicator that Jake Clawson had given her. It still occupied a pocket in her jeans, and the Glock 36 was still hidden in the small of her back. No one had bothered to frisk her.
At first she had thought that a stupid oversight on Turmoil’s part, but now that Felina had been in aerial combat and was now witnessing everything the convicted air-terrorist had at her disposal, Felina realized it wasn’t stupidity. It was confidence, and trust.
Felina wasn’t oblivious to the fact that everything Turmoil had said was what Felina had desperately wanted to hear.
This all seems too good to be true.
Lt. Durov’s explanation of the circumstances did little to reduce the appeal.
“We’ve been inderdicting Dark Kat’s forces here for one month,” Lt. Durov explained as the two walked through a narrow corridor. “The volcano, Mt. Dragon Li, provides a limitless geo-thermal energy source that’s being used to power the forcefield that covers much of Cymric Island.”
“How powerful is that forcefield?” Felina asked.
“Powerful enough to repulse any conventional attack,” Lt. Durov said. “And, it’s configured in a one-way direction.”
“Meaning things can exit, but they can’t go in,” Felina surmized, recalling the F-16s she’d been forced to engage in Turbokat One. “Then what do you plan on doing then? Starving him out?”
“The Commander doesn’t want to wait that long,” Lt. Durov said as she began to walk up a steep flight of stairs.
Felina followed along, and soon the two were in the main hangar deck which occupied most of the middle of the ship. Several Chinooks were parked in the corners, their rotors folded to allow for more space. In addition to that were several dozen wheeled missile carts, each one holding three missiles, lined up in rows. Each missile looked to be around 4 meters long, about the size of an AMRAAM. They were painted red, with black highlights. In yellow, a lightning bolt symbol adorned the sides of each.
“I’m not familiar with these…” Felina said as they caught her attention and she approached the nearest one, kneeling down to get a closer look.
“They were among the technology the Commander acquired from the SWAT Kats,” Lt. Durov said. “They are called Scrambler Missiles, very unorthodox weapons. And, also the key to the strategy.”
“Scrambler Missiles?” Felina said aloud, and then recalled the weapons Turmoil had fired from Turbokat One at the aggressor fighters. “Yeah, I got to see those things in action. Some kind of electrical disruption?”
“Yes,” Lt. Durov said. “Each one can generate a 100 megavolt discharge in combination with a short-range electromagnetic burst.”
“Good for disabling a vehicle,” Felina said as she stood back up. “Or disabling a forcefield.”
“Yes,” Lt. Durov said. “We estimate that a combined attack using 100 Scrambler Missiles will disable the forcefield, and leave Dark Kat’s base vulnerable to conventional attack. We had some initial problems replicating the technology, but after one of our supply teams obtained an ample amount of the latest volt discharge modulators, our production was able to proceed.”
So that’s what the burglary at the office park was about.
“Aside from the forcefield, what else is waiting on that island?” Felina asked.
“Our intelligence suggests that Dark Kat has around 100 personnel consisting of a hired mercenary force, including air and ground forces,” Lt. Durov said. “In addition to this, we estimate he has 2,000 Creeplings,”
Felina frowned, as memories came flooding back. When Dark Kat had abducted Felina, he’d used a small force of half-a-dozen Creeplings to do it. The creatures had waited in her apartment and ambushed her in the dark. Looking at her with their black, empty eyes and grinning with razor-sharp teeth, they’d bagged and gagged her.
Felina hated them with a passion.
“So, when’s the mission start?” Felina asked.
“Tomorrow at 06:00 hours,” Lt. Durov said as they ascended steps that led back to the main deck of the Balikirev. “These Scrambler Missiles will be loaded on the missile ship before day’s end and be the opening salvo of the attack.”
There was a slight breeze blowing through the air, and the sound of helicopter rotors thumping in the distance.
“Tomorrow?” Felina asked. “I just got here.”
“Additional information has been provided in your cabin,” Lt. Durov said. “But the Commander will be providing more details at dinner, as well.”
“Thanks,” Felina said dryly, and looked upward to see several incoming aircraft.
More Chinook helicopters hovered down and came to a landing on the deck. Felina recognized them as the ones from the private hangar at Megakat International Airport. As they landed, another louder sound streaked above, and Felina saw two more of the Turbokat copies zoom around to come in for a landing. The numbers two and three were visible on their respective stabilizers, both sporting the desert-colored MARPAT-style digital camouflage pattern.
Looks like everyone’s caught up.
“If you have any further questions I’ll be on the bridge,” Lt. Durov said.
“Appreciate it,” Felina replied distractedly, her attention on the newly arrived aircraft, as the lieutenant left her.
The soldiers had begun the process of unloading the supplies from the Chinooks. Their rear loading ramps descended, several pallets with crates stacked atop them being shuttled off.
Turmoil was among them, having changed into the outfit Felina had first seen her in, apparently in full command mode. The cape she wore billowed slightly in the wind as she strode over, interested in the cargo being offloaded.
Felina walked the short distance across the deck, passing by other crew who were busy with their jobs.
“Well, what do you think?” Turmoil asked over her shoulder as Felina approached.
“I think you got a lot of expensive toys,” Felina replied as she stood next to her, still wearing the green flight-suit over her clothes. “Something about this cargo that’s got your attention?”
“Very much so,” Turmoil said, and then called out to members of the crew who were in the process of offloading a crate from the rear of a Chinook. “Just a moment.”
The two crew stopped what they were doing and stood aside as Turmoil approached them. The crate was precariously perched at the edge of the ramp, and at risk of falling nearly three-feet onto the deck.
“What is it?” Felina asked, following along.
“Just a hunch,” Turmoil said with a smile as she stepped up the ramp, her boots clicking with each step.
Felina wasn’t sure what that hunch could be about, and before she had an opportunity to ponder the options, something surprising occurred. Turmoil lifted up a foot and kicked at the crate. It teetered over the edge of the ramp and dropped the short distance, landing hard and loud on its corner.
The crate, a wooden box measuring no more than four feet by four feet, split open at the impact, and spilled its contents. Smaller boxes of MREs now covered the impact zone, but to Felina’s surprise, so did an additional unexpected item.
“Ow,” Chance Furlong said from amidst the pile as he rubbed the back of his head. He was wearing olive-green cargo pants, military style boots and a tucked-in tan A-shirt, which showed off his muscular arms. He also wore a backwards red baseball cap.
That stupid hat again.
Two of Turmoil’s soldiers brushed past Felina, rifles in hand, and stood on either side of the apparent stowaway, taking aim.
Felina’s eyes went wide as realization struck.
What’s he doing here?
And then she remembered the the note detailing the time and place to be at the airport. She had left it with Chance.
He followed me.
Felina clenched her fists, feeling upset by the lack of trust. The anger she felt quickly subsided, however, and was replaced with concern, as she looked to Turmoil, who was now hopping off the ramp and walking toward Chance.
Chance groaned, seeing the guns pointed at him, as he rose to his feet and held up his hands in a motion of surrender.
“Looks like you caught me,” Chance said, looking at Turmoil.
“Chance,” Turmoil said, using a more alluring tone than Felina had ever heard her speak in. “You disappoint me. I expected you to try to reach me much sooner.”
“Maybe next time I’ll choose overnight shipping,” Chance said sarcastically.
“Well, you’ve no doubt discovered the scope of my operation by now?” Turmoil asked.
“I’ve seen enough,” Chance said, his eyes narrowing.
From his expression and tone Felina had no doubt he’d seen the Turbokat copies.
“Ah, good,” Turmoil said as she reached down to her holster and drew her sidearm, holding it out, the barrel pointed at Chance.
Felina recognized the gun as a Walther P38, its long, thin, naked barrel making it easy to place. It was an oddly appropriate sidearm that seemed to match the deadly elegance that Turmoil had crafted for herself.
At that, Felina’s own hand was reflexively starting to reach back for the Glock 36 she was carrying, but she stopped mid-movement, her eyes meeting those of the soldiers standing at either side of Chance. It was a wordless message, but one received loud and clear: don’t do it or we’ll shoot you.
Felina frowned, and relaxed her hand, returning her attention to Turmoil, whose eyes hadn’t left Chance.
“You know, I kind of wish you’d done this earlier,” Chance said, staring down the barrel of the gun.
“I know,” Turmoil said. “That’s why I didn’t.”
“So, this is how it ends, huh?” Chance asked, his voice sounding oddly calm.
“No, this is the beginning,” Turmoil said as she brought back the hammer of the pistol with her gloved thumb. It clicked loudly into place.
“Turmoil-” Felina began, but couldn’t finish her sentence, as Turmoil pulled the trigger.
The hammer dropped, but nothing happened. Chance visibly winced, caught by surprise. Felina felt her pulse racing, her mouth hanging open.
Turmoil lowered the gun, and walked right up to Chance, who was still holding his hands up. She grabbed at his chin with her free hand and pulled his face toward hers. Chance’s face filled with surprise, but that didn’t last long as the two shared an intimate kiss.
Felina wasn’t sure what she was watching, and felt more confused by the second.
Turmoil pulled away, and pointed an index finger at him.
“Next time you betray me, there will be a round in the chamber,” Turmoil said.
“I don’t doubt it,” Chance said. “Can I put my hands down now?”
Turmoil glanced at the two soldiers and nodded at them. They lowered their rifles and walked away. Chance relaxed his composure as Turmoil re-holstered her sidearm.
“Okay, what’s going on?” Felina asked.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Chance replied.
“Miss Feral,” Turmoil said as she spun around and began to walk away. “Please fill Mr. Furlong in on things, and then make sure the two of you join me for dinner at 18:00 hours.”
Felina watched Turmoil walk away, dumbfounded. Herself and Chance were now standing alone on the deck, the operations in the background returning to normal as the crew continued to unload supplies.
“So,” Chance said after a few moments passed. “Where are we?”
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