Original SWAT Kats Story

X-Kat: The Mutant Squadron

By RogueFanKC

  • 10 Chapters
  • 87,417 Words

Set in Red Witch’s Misfit-verse! The X-Men are trapped in Megakat City, and their only hope lies in the lonely and bitter Razor. Read and enjoy the fight for Megakat City as the X-Men and SWAT Kats team up against evil. (10 Chapters – Complete) Rated M for Violence and Mild Innuendo (Individual ratings on each chapter indicate content).

Read This Story

Author's Notes:

Title: X-Kat: The Mutant Squadron
Author(s): RogueFanKC
E-mail address: I do not like giving my e-mail address link available on the Internet. If you truly wish to e-mail me, go to my author profile at Fanfiction.net and you can view a picture of my e-mail there or review my story there (this story is also found on fanfiction.net under the “X-Men: Evolution” section of Cartoons).  The link is http://www.fanfiction.net/u/249987
Date: April 17, 2005
Rating: T
Warnings: Violence and mild swearing
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of “X-Men: Evolution” for they are the respective property of Marvel Comics.  “SWAT Kats: the Radical Squadron” in this cross-over fanfic is owned by the company, Hanna-Barbara.
Summary: As Megakat City recovers from the last battle, Jake makes the hardest decision in his entire life as he ties a few loose ends, has a final talk with Chance, and says the most painful good-byes he could ever make…
Author’s Comments/Notes: None

Chapter 9

Saying Good-Bye

“Do you want us to come with you, Jake?” Felina asked the brown, furred cat as she, Callie, and Jake were standing at the base of the peaceful, grassy knoll just on the outskirts of the city’s metropolitan areas, the green pastures overlooking the ocean in the distance, “This might be a little hard for you…and we’ll be glad to offer any support if it could help.”

Jake shook his head, though he secretly appreciated the offer, replying miserably, “No.”

Callie seemed a bit hurt at being brushed aside, but she said compassionately with a small nod, “We’ll be waiting for you here when you’re done, Jake.”

Jake felt his feet turn like lumps of lead to match his heavy heart as he walked uphill, his aching hind paws brushing against the wet cool grass and moist dirt.  It was late afternoon, and it was, surprisingly, a beautiful day to symbolize the joy and celebration of the city after the war.  However, by contrast, the air was absolutely chilly all around Jake as he respectfully and carefully made his way through the hill until he reached his destination of a single stone amid the hundreds of others up at the very top, the upright, slab of dark marble resting serenely underneath the shade of a yew tree casting a few light shadows overhead.

Upon reaching the hallowed site, Jake nearly felt overwhelmed with grief as he sank to his knees, but managed to brush away the tears with the stained sleeve of his G-suit from his eyes while slightly admiring the words of the tombstone Felina and Callie had respectfully chose to be carved on the rock.  On it said these words:

Chance Furlong

November 25, 1975 – May 19, 2005

Enforcer, Protector, Brother, Son, Buddy, Hero

For down these mean skies, a SWAT Kat will always fly

Thank you for being our strength and our hope

            Jake had to force the words to come out of his dry throat as he spoke from his soul.

“Hey, old buddy, it’s me.  Sorry about being a bit late…but I guess when you’re running from Enforcers through a sewer and rummaging through garbage dumpsters and surplus stores for food and water, you don’t have much time to go searching for graves.  Plus, I couldn’t risk those kids getting hurt or letting Dark Kat and the Alliance spot me.”

There was only unbearable silence as a bird sang softly in the background.  Jake’s vision blurred within seconds as he touched the smooth marble, warm from hours of absorbing the sunlight all day.  It provided little comfort to the artic feelings he was shivering from inside.

Jake then said, “Callie told me how she punched Feral directly in the kisser right there in the middle of the Enforcer headquarters for everyone to see.  Heh, I know we would have both paid money to see that one.  Just like how I know we both wish we could have seen the look on Dark Crud’s face when we sent him back to the black hole for good.”

The brown kat then numbly started pulling the few dandelions and weeds on the grave, needing something to occupy his shaking paws as he spoke the one-sided conversation.

“I wish we could go back to the good, old days too.  Oh God, I miss it too…so much.  The cars we fixed up, the obstacle races we went through, the smells of grease and brake fluid, the video games we argued and fought over, the Scaredy Kat marathons and late nights with David Litterbin, the weapons we built and the time we spent detailing the Turbokat.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Oh God Chance…I miss it so much.”

Jake felt his throat clog up, a hot ball of grief and hurt.  His breathing was ragged, his chest heaving, as he forced his voice not to give in to the urge to sob.

“I’m going to stop by the hangar and salvage yard and garage one last time before I leave.  Just to take some stuff and junk that I want to have for sentimental reasons…but I’m not going to violate your personal spaces, Chance.  Anything that’s yours, I asked Felina to save and send it to your family as keepsakes, for something for them to have as memories of you.  I…I know you would have wanted that.  And I know you’d approve of Felina of doing the job since she’s fair and she cares about you very much.  She tries to deny it, but I can tell she had a little thing for you as T-Bone.  And Callie misses you a lot too; she told me how she visited here every day ever since you…ever since the wake.  Callie even said how she had to fight tooth and claw to stop Feral from preventing you from getting a decent burial, and how it was such a big turnout.  Everyone in the city, hell even some criminals and rival gangs and Enforcers, all came together and came to show some respect or to gawk without fighting or arguing.  It was like everyone didn’t want to disrespect a SWAT Kat and that they could put aside their differences for your sake.  Heh…I’ll bet Feral never would have thought you’d bring the whole city together like this…”

At this, Jake couldn’t stand it anymore as he broke down and cried, his paw balled into a fist on the soft earth.

“Goddamn it, Chance, I miss you so much!!!” Jake wailed.

It took a few minutes as the sun set lower and lower into the ocean, turning the sky red with beautiful tones of pink and purple from the clouds before Jake could recollect himself.

“I…I’m so sorry, for what I couldn’t do, and for what I’m about to do now.  I wish to God I could stay here with you, but I can’t.  And I wish to God you could come with me, but that would be selfish on my part.  I…I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to come back here to Megakat City again, and it kills me to know this, to say it.  You were the only friend I could count on, and it’s just tearing up my heart that we have to part like this.  This might be the last time I can ever say good-bye, so in case if it is…”

There was a pause before Jake then whispered softly, barely audible.

“I love you too, Chance.”

With that, Jake stood up and stroked the top of the gravestone for a few moments before he turned to leave.  Yet to his amazement and surprise, he saw Chance’s family standing behind him a little bit away.  His mother, yellow-furred, bespectacled and with gray, teased hair, Chance’s older brother Evan, a brown-tabby accountant in a three-piece suit with Chance’s same playful, blue eyes, and Chance’s younger sister, Jessica, a yellow, striped she-kat with the same fur-color exactly like Chance.  All of them were holding bouquets of red roses to bless the grave, only to find Jake talking with the gravestone of Chance; they had heard every word.  Chance’s mother had tears in her eyes as she stared at Jake, feeling her heart go out to him.  Evan looked sincerely worried and concerned for the surviving SWAT Kat, as if he knew and understood (and respected) Jake’s reason why he was there.  Yet Jessica was glowering at Jake with absolute poison, as if Jake’s presence was desecrating Chance’s grave.  Not that Jake could blame her; he expected some hate to come his way from this.

“What are you doing here?!!” Jessica spat in outrage, “You’re not welcome here!!!  Get the hellkats out!!!”

“Jessica!” Evan reprimanded his sister with a bit of anger, frowning.

“I’ll leave,” the brown-furred vigilante said in a defeated tone as he walked past them towards Callie and Felina who were observing this with uneasiness from the bottom where they could witness and hear every angry word coming from the grieving sister.

“Jake, please don’t go,” Chance’s mother tried to placate, her voice misty with sorrow, “You can stay here longer with us if you’d like.  Chance would have wanted it; he wouldn’t have minded.”

“I can’t.  You’re his family, and I’m not really a part of it,” Jake said as he continued to limp his way down the hill.

Evan tried to stop the SWAT Kat as he said kindly, “You are, Jake, and you’re not imposing on us.  Please!  Don’t leave on our accounts.  Stay if you want, Jake.  We don’t blame you for what happened!”

“Let him leave!!  We’d all be better off without him here!!” snapped Jessica as she snarled at Jake’s retreating back.  Evan then whirled on his younger sister in heated opposition.

“That’s enough, Jessica!  Chance died because of Dark Kat, and he died the way he would have wanted to!  He died doing the right thing and trying to save the city!!  It’s not Jake’s fault!!”

Jessica was now screaming, hysterical, “I don’t care about that!!  I hate him!!  I hate him!!!  It is Clawson’s fault Chance died!!  Because of him, Chance got expelled and kicked out of the Enforcers and had to live in disgrace as a junkyard kat!!  Because of him, Chance had to endanger his life for Megakat City and got his reputation and life trashed in the media and tabloids because of it!!  If there was any justice in the world, Jake should have died instead Chance!!”

The she-kat then shrieked at Jake as he walked stonily towards Callie and Felina, not showing how much her words were like a knife stabbing and twisting in his gut, “It’s your fault, you know!!  You killed Chance just as well as Dark Kat!!!  Where were you?!!  WHERE WERE YOU?!!!  WHY COULDN’T YOU SAVE HIM?!!!  WHY DID YOU LET HIM DIE?!!!  I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR DRAGGING CHANCE IN YOUR MESS, YOU BASTARD!!!  I HOPE YOU NEVER COME BACK!!!

“By all my nine lives, I just want to go up there and slap her hard across her face,” growled Callie as she got into the driver’s seat.  Yet Jake, always being understanding and empathetic, shook his head as he, Callie, and Felina left in Callie’s sedan, still being able to detect the shrill she-kat’s voice through the bullet-proof windows.

Jake commented sadly, “No, it’s better for her to vent out like this.  I’d rather have her blame me than having her blame herself or Chance…and she’s got a right to grieve.  This is probably to only way for Jessica to deal with the pain of having her brother die like that, and to tell the truth, I don’t blame her.  She’s hurting.”

Felina then asked the SWAT Kat hesitantly, “Jake…what about you and your family?  Don’t you want to say good-bye to them as well?”

Jake’s eyes turned blank and emotionless as he stared outside the window for several seconds as they drove out of the cemetery before he replied lowly, “I…I don’t have any.  I was the only kitten, and my mother passed away shortly from cancer when I turned twenty-one years of age and was finishing my years in the Enforcer Academy.  And I never knew my father.  He abandoned my mother before I was born, so she raised me by herself as best as she could as a single parent.”

“But…don’t you have any other relatives you might want to talk to?  To see before you…go?”

Jake’s eyes turned misty as he gave Callie and Felina an tragic look for a long moment before he shook his head, whispering hoarsely, “I just did, Felina.  I just said ‘good-bye’ to the only brother I ever had.”

“Oh, Jake,” murmured Callie under her breath as they drove back to the city.

 

 

“So what are we going to do about Lockheed’s…er, predicament?” Hank asked Dr. Sinian as both of them just gave the giant dragon a wary and contemplative glance.  All the X-Men were in the heart of Megakat City, waiting patiently in Grand Megakat City Park for Jake to prepare his journey with them back to their world.  Already, a large crowd of Enforcers and civilians were gathered around the green refuge, but Jake wouldn’t have been in any real danger.  Not only did Professor Xavier’s powerful telepathy keep watch of any potential threats running within the murmuring crowds, but Commander Feral had declared on live television that the bounty for Jake’s capture was withdrawn and declared null and void hours earlier.  Felina told Jake that Ulysses owed him at least that.

Abi smiled as she gently stroked the white mane on Lockheed’s head, gently fingering the wisps of hair with her paws as she stated, “I wouldn’t fear much, Hank.  The Pastmaster’s magic has been completely abolished now that the Pastmaster is dead and trapped in the black-hole along with Dark Kat and En Sabah Nur, so it shall only be a matter of time when the spell wears off on Lockheed and he is returned back to normal.  Since Lockheed himself is a mythological beast of magic and not a mortal creature, the time-energy shall be reversible.”

“That is a true relief,” smiled Hank as Lockheed purred at the touch of Abi stroking him, “I would certainly find it extremely disconcerting if our mansion had to accommodate a gigantic dragon as well as Jake.”

Abi laughed before her face fell.  She whispered with great regret, “I wish it didn’t have to come to this, that we would have to see Jake off like this.  It is as if a part of me shall leave with him, and I can barely stand it even though we have only grown close in such a short time.”

“I know, but I promise we shall treat Jake like one of our own, and we shall all be there for him as his family and friends should he ever need us,” Hank murmured with great devotion and assurance as he placed a giant paw on the curator’s shoulder.  After the battle, when Jake asked if it would be possible that he could come with the X-Men to their world, all of the students jumped at the chance and Jake found himself and the X-Elders under the pleading and begging puppy-eyed teenagers for Razor to join the team, to live with them.  It was amazing how much the younger X-Men and the New Mutants grew to love and trust the vigilante kat, but after what Jake had endured to help them and save their lives, it was inevitable.  Unquestionably, there were some acts in life that would lead to an eventual strong relationship of respect and fondness, and fighting a horde of evil criminals led by a powerful kat demigod was one of them.  And the Professor X smiled as he said that if Jake truly wished for it, he would be automatically accepted as an honorary X-Man.  The mutant adolescents cheered loudly enough to bring down the city as it was settled that Jake would become the newest instructor for the X-Mansion.

Of course, Razor wanted to get some things quickly settled before he would depart, and this certainly did not bring up any complaints, especially since the New Mutants found a way to pass the time until then…

WHHHEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” Bobby yelled as he and the other New Mutants rode around in the Aquain tank-submarine, constantly pressing various buttons on a whim and wrestling for control of the steering mechanisms, causing it swerve violently and crash into various objects as it went from the streets to the bay repeatedly, in some cases smashing through boats and buildings.  And since they accidentally left the intercom on, everyone within the immediate five-mile radius could hear the general shouts, arguments, and comments booming from the vehicle’s speakers.

“Hey, let me have the controls, Drake!!  You’ve driven this thing for long enough!!” they could hear Sam protesting inside the Aquain.

“Hey, what does this button do?” they heard Roberto ask before the turbo-engines suddenly charged up, the exhaust flames actually turning blue, before the tank-submarine hybrid went into Mach-2 and tore through the streets (and several Behemoth tanks), leaving behind tread-tracks on the blacktops that were actually smoking and slightly on fire.

During this fiasco with many of the Enforcers and kats diving out of the path of the out-of-control vehicle, Jake and Felina were having their last talk.  Jake had a threadbare gunny-sack slung over his shoulder, and in it were the few possessions he treasured so much and managed to recover from the home he and Chance had lived at for so long.  It was painful, he had to admit, to revisit his haunts, but Jake also knew that it needed to be done.  The female Lieutenant then handed Jake some rolled-up blueprints tied together with rubber-bands.

“Here,” she said, “These were all of the blueprints the Enforcers collected as evidence from the hangar and garage where we searched your home after the last battle, and I know they would be the safest with you, especially since you worked long on these designs.  All of them are here: the plans for the Turbokat jet, the Cyclotron, your glovatrix, the Aquain…”

“Aaaaaaahhh!!  Turn it off!!!  Turn it off!!!” they heard Sam holler as the Aquain rushed past them again in a red and black blur, the engines still at Mach-2.

“What about any other copies the Enforcers might keep on their computers?” Jake asked wearily, ignoring the mindless yet mild destruction occurring, “It’s not that I don’t trust the Enforcers, but I’m worried that with them having these on public record, they could easily fall in the wrong hands, and the last thing your guys need are souped-up criminal syndicates.”

CRASH!!!  BAM!!!  SMASH!!!

“Oops, hope that can be fixed!” Jamie groaned as the Aquain sped by them again.

Felina then gave a very mischievous and cunningly mysterious smile as she said, “Funny thing you should mention that.  During the hustle and chaos of cleaning up the city after the war with Dark Kat, I had Dr. Hackle and Shadowcat ‘inspect’ the Enforcers’ database systems.  I reported suspicion that there may have been some attempts to hack into our network, and apparently I was right.  The scans and diagnostics the Enforcers had on the SWAT Kats’ weapons and vehicles for the past month had been erased due to some unforeseen circumstances.”

Jake had to show a small smile of relief; Felina was so much like Chance in her mean streak.

KABOOM!!

“Now look what you did, Ray!” Amara’s voice snapped as the Aquain sped by them again, “You just blasted the Megakat City Museum where Dr. Sinian works at!!”

“Hey, how was I supposed to know that the big, red button shoots out plasma torpedoes?!” Ray shot back defensively.

“News flash: anything connected to a big red button is NOT a good thing, you dimwit!!!”

Felina gave a small chuckle before she turned her attention to Jake, her face serious, brooding, and glum.

“Are you sure about this, Jake?” she asked, “I mean, going to a whole new world, a whole dimension…it’s a little extreme.  And you really don’t have to do something like this, Jake.  It’s possible that we can hide you away from the public and the criminal population, give you a new identity and enlist you under the Witness Protection Program.  You could still live here in Megakat City, back at your old life as a junkyard kat, back with all of your friends and acquaintances without having to say good-bye to them forever.  Jake, you don’t have to run away like this.”

Jake shook his head as he sighed, “I understand why you think that, Felina, but I also know that it really wouldn’t be possible.  My life can never be normal again, not after what I had endured for the past month.  Every kat in the world knows who I am, and even if I did change my identity and life, I’d still be plastered as the hottest news-sensation and fallen celebrity for a very long time.  I don’t think I could ever get used to that, that I could ever stand that.  It’s one thing to do it to Razor…but it’s another thing when it invades on Jake Clawson.”

Jake paused a bit before he added thoughtfully, “And I can’t stay here in the city, Felina.  It’s too painful, to be reminded of how much Chance and I gave for this city, and we lost everything because of it.  No matter where I go, I’m reminded of Chance and how things used to be before we were outed…and it’s too painful for me to possibly endure it.  And this feeling of peace and goodwill towards me isn’t going to last, Felina.  Eventually, over time, some Enforcers might take it in their heads to arrest me and throw me in Alkatraz for the sake of looking good to the public, even though Callie managed to get all the charges cleared off the SWAT Kats.  It wouldn’t be too hard for kats to convince others that I’m a danger and a threat to public security, and the last thing I want is to have another social and political war be fought over my sake.  And what would happen if some mob rings or previous criminals and convicts get it in their heads that they could seek their revenge on me for the troubles the SWAT Kats gave to them?  I made a lot of enemies as a vigilante, Felina, and crooks never let these things pass.  They may try to put another bounty on my head, they might even use you and Callie as a way to get to me, to hurt me, because they know how close I am to the both of you.  I’m not willing to risk that, to risk the safety of you or Callie or Dr. Sinian or Dr. Hackle.  At least with me in another dimension, I’m as good as gone and I’d be able to have some peace without needing to look over my shoulder every minute of my life.”

Lieutenant Feral was silent, contemplative, as she shamefully stared at the ground; she didn’t think about that.

“Like wow!!!  This thing handles turns totally better than the limo and the X-Van!!!  And look, I just broke the speedometer!!!” Kitty was heard exclaiming in delight as the Aquain swerved and tore across the streets at speeds rivaling the Concord jet as it phased through obstacles and buildings thanks to Kitty’s mutant powers.

WHY DID YOU LET KITTY TAKE THE WHEEL?!!!” Scott was screaming on the streets, red faced and wide-eyed, on a walkie-talkie that connected directly to the Aquain’s radio transmission.

Ray cried out while the rest of the passengers were either cheering Kitty to go faster or screaming in fright for her to slow down (or both), “She threatened to phase through the Aquain’s controls and short the tank out if we didn’t let her have her turn!!  We’re weak, Scott!!  We couldn’t risk it and let her hurt this baby!!”

“Kurt, teleport us to the tank-submarine before Kitty kills everyone on board!” Piotr commanded to the blue demon-like mutant as he, Rogue, and Remy held on to the teleporter, and with a puff, all of them vanished within a cloud of brimstone.

Jake then pushed gently, “Besides, I still own the city millions for the destruction of the old Enforcer headquarters that got me and Chance kicked out of the Enforcers in the first place.  I doubt your Uncle will still want to let that slide.  At least this way, I can kinda do a little tax-evasion.”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!” screamed Rogue, Kurt, Remy, and Piotr in dread and at the top of their lungs as they rushed by, holding on for dear life on top of the tank, with Kurt unable to directly teleport them inside a rapidly moving vehicle.

“Kitty, let us in, you motor-maniac yahoo!!” yelled Rogue as she tried to punch her way through the submarine hatch, only to experience, to her complete surprise, a very painful sensation on her knuckles.  She couldn’t even make a dent on the metallic surface.

Felina turned her attention back to the SWAT Kat in front of her as she whispered, “For what it’s worth, Jake…the Commander is a good kat, a noble kat.  He…he just makes mistakes.”

Jake frowned as he glared a little at Felina for bringing it up.  As much as he respected that Felina would always be loyal to her Uncle and that, when it came right down to the basics, Feral was ultimately on the side of good, the same side T-Bone and Razor fought for without fear or without losing hope and enthusiasm…Jake would never forgive Ulysses Feral for what he did to him, for what he did to Chance.

“The problem with that, Felina, is that his mistakes were too costly, and me and Chance paid the price for it.”  Jake was amazed how bitter and venomous his voice was, but Felina just looked at Jake without offense as she nodded.

“Kitty, will you quit it?!  Let go!!  OW!” yelled Kurt over the Aquain transmission.  It was apparent that one of the New Mutants was able to open the hatch and let Rogue, Remy, Piotr, and Kurt scrabble inside before it dove into the water, making a considerable tidal wave in the process and drenching everyone a block away.

“I’ll miss you, Jake,” she finished weakly, her eyes watering and her tail twitching nervously.  Jake immediately abandoned his hard feelings, knowing that the Lieutenant wouldn’t want their farewell to be simmering with resentment underneath, and the SWAT Kat’s heart broke as he hugged Felina as hard as he could, feeling her body shudder.  Upon seeing this, several other kats in the crowd (at least the ones that weren’t ducking for cover and cowering from Kitty Pryde’s hellish driving skills) started to make their way to Jake to offer their sympathies and thanks and farewells.

Lieutenant Steele came up, a bit shamefaced and shy at humbling himself, but he gave Jake a sincere smile of warmth and gratitude as he offered his paw, saying, “I…I know we weren’t exactly the best of friends, and I was pretty much a cowardly butt-wipe, but…thank you, Jake.  If anything, you and Chance deserve to be Lieutenants of the Enforcers instead of me.”

Jake was touched at the truthful insight of the once-pompous Enforcer as he firmly grasped Steele’s paw and shook heartily, letting the Lieutenant know that Jake didn’t have any hard feelings of the sort towards him.  Steele smiled again as he withdrew and stood next to Felina who gave him a scrutinizing look of appraisal.

“That was pretty cool of you to admit it, Steele,” she murmured, smiling, “Never thought I’d see the day to witness you willingly admit how much of an intolerable and incompetent prick you were before.”

Steele smiled ruefully; it was hard to deny that it was the truth.  He sighed, crossing his arms over his chest, “After what happened to Fangston, making the Commander’s position doesn’t really seem as important anymore.”

“How did Fangston’s wife take it?”

Steele’s eyes went solemn as he answered, “I followed the procedure and delivered his uniform along with his badge and gun to Mrs. Fangston.  She was pretty devastated when she saw me at the front porch holding her husband’s apparel, but I told her what really happened and how he saved my life and how I knew I could never repay him back for taking the bullet for me.  She was still heartbroken…but I think the thought of her husband doing something noble before he died kind of eased the sadness a bit.  And she didn’t blame me, God bless her.  In fact, she was more worried about me, how I was feeling guilty for getting Fangston killed.”

Felina then said, “It wasn’t your fault, Steele.  Fangston knew what he was doing, and in the end, you, Lockheed, and Boom-Boom managed to avenge his death by stopping the Pastmaster.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” they heard Kitty screaming as the tank flew out of the water and whizzed by them for the umpteenth time, nearly whining like a baby over the speakers.

“Remy got her!!  Grab her feet while Remy pries her fingers loose from the controls!!!”

“Like let go!!  I’m not done yet!!  It’s still like totally my turn!!!”

Steele nodded sadly after he watched the Aquain tank-submarine zoom by, but he then said to Felina, “Also, Felina…I want to let you know I turned in my resignation today.  In two weeks, I’m resigning from the Enforcers and you’ll be the second-in-command for the Commander of the Enforcers.  Let’s face it: I’m not much of an Enforcer and after what happened today, if any kat deserves to be the next Commander, it’s you.”

Felina’s eyes went soft as she then began to see Steele in a whole new light as she then gave a friendly sock to the kat on the arm, giggling, “You little punk-ass, you know how much I’m gonna miss seeing you at Headquarters again.  But…what are you going to do?”

“I dunno…I guess that’s the exciting part,” Steele grinned as he winced, rubbing the sore spot on his arm.

“Oh boy, Jake’s gonna kill us when he sees this one!” Piotr groaned as his voice rose and fell as the Aquain barreled by.

Dr. Sinian sighed, closing her eyes to prevent herself from crying as she hugged Jake tenderly, whispering, “I shall never forget you, Jake.  And I shall see to it that the stories about you and Chance are never disfigured and twisted into obscurity.  After all, like a philosopher once said, ‘those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it’, so I shall chronicle your escapades as the SWAT Kats in the Megakat City Museum with much accurate detail and remain faithful to the truth.  I’ll see to it that our kittens and our kitten’s kittens shall never forget the real reason the SWAT Kats emerged, how they fought for this city and gave us hope, and how they and the X-Men defeated Dark Kat once and for all.  I promise I shall see to it that neither you nor Chance are ever forgotten, and your legacy shall be forever engraved in history as the bravest and most virtuous vigilantes the world has ever known.”

Jake smiled at this as he nodded his approval.

“Wow, good thing there was a fire extinguisher on board!” Tabitha was heard saying as the Aquain tank-submarine now rushed by with, not surprisingly to the X-Men elders, several dying plumes of smoke emanating from the open hatch and turret.

“Oh dear,” murmured Abi, rolling her eyes at the New Mutants’ escapade.  Dr. Hackle then leaned over to Jake and whispered in the kat’s ear, “Shalom, Jacob.  May you find the peace and happiness you were denied of for so long.”

Touched by the simple prayer, Jake sniffed, feeling his eyes well up, and like a true grandfather, Dr. Hackle just brushed aside some of the wet streaks on Jake’s cheeks with a frail, wrinkled paw, smiling his blessings as he said, “And you do not need to worry about the city, Jacob.  Along with the Enforcers, Felina has requested for the Cybertron 1 and Cybertron 2 robots to be out for full patrol of the town.  They’ll help keep the civilians safe.  But…are you sure about this, Jacob?  After all, being an instructor and guardian of hyperactive, mutant adolescents is a far different flavor from being a maverick of the law.”

Jake pondered this as he head another explosion ring out from the Aquain followed by Ulysses Feral throwing an absolute fit, jumping up and down on the street next to a now unidentifiable piece of flaming wreckage, twisted metal and burnt rubber.

“My car!!!” they heard Commander Feral screaming in the background, “That little punk blew up my car!!!

“It was an accident!” called out Bobby as they passed by the Commander, but judging that his tone was mockingly in a sing-song manner, anyone with ears and a brain could tell that the turret-blast was anything but accidental.

Jake smiled, his eyes twinkling a bit, as he turned to the professor and said, “At least it won’t be dull, Dr. Hackle, and as much as I try to deny it…these kids are beginning to grow on me.”

Dr. Hackle nodded as he stepped aside as Pop Perkins, an elderly dark-gray kat with glasses and a white mustache ambled over to Jake, his eyes full of honor and sorrow.  Jake remembered Pop; he was a comic-book retailer who knew Chance ever since childhood, and the senior kat always said with pride that Chance would make something of himself, that Chance would change the world for the better.  Little did Pop Perkins realize how much he was right.  Pop was crying as he hugged Jake with a tight bear-hug around the lean kat’s waist.

“I always knew Chance was a good kat, truly one-of-a-kind,” sniffed Pop as he released his hold, “I’m sorry to see him go like that.  Jake, if anything, Chance has told me about you, how he was always so full of happiness and joy whenever he mentioned you and how much you changed him, how much being his best friend meant to him, gave him purpose.  You were the best thing for Chance to happen for a while, Jake, and if anything, you still are.  Do what Chance would have wanted you to, Jake.  Do it for Chance.”

“I will Pop, and thanks,” Jake replied.

Ann Gora and Johnny K. then came up to Jake, with Ann looking remorseful for her part in the mud-slinging of Jake and Chance.  Johnny held out his paw and shook Jake’s warmly, his eyes sad yet accepting and full of the utmost respect.  Johnny would always be grateful for what Razor and T-Bone did for them and for that, Johnny pledged his undying loyalty.

“Take care, man,” Johnny said.

Ann then shook a bit in apprehension as she whispered, “And Jake…I’m sorry.  For everything I said and reported about you and Chance for the last month.  I was being so wrapped up in my career and the excitement of reporting a hot story…I forgot what it truly meant to be a reporter of the news and truth.  It took a friend to help me realize that.”

Johnny turned red as Ann then continued, “I don’t expect you to forgive me…but I regret what I did to you.  And you don’t have to worry about the news footage of today.  No one except those in the city will know where you and the X-Men have gone, and I’m not going to report it.  In fact, I had Amara burn all the copies of the footage we shot today.  If anything, I want to respect your privacy this time, Jake, and keep what happens about your life now secret.  No one’s going to track you down and go dimension-hopping and no kat will know the truth about what Dark Kat really intended for the city and the world.  I even turned down the offer to the KNN network…so that I could make sure no other tabloid or news station in Megakat City will tarnish the name of the SWAT Kats.  But it won’t ever make up for what I did to you.  I…I’m so sorry, Jake.”

Tears were spilling out of Ann’s eyes, but Jake showed he had no hatred for the reporter as he gave her a gentle hug, replying with some ease, “What’s done is done, Ann.  Just be careful.”

Ann sniffed, smiling at the offer for redemption, as she stepped aside and gave Jake a peck on the cheek before stepping back and stood side by side with her camera-kat.

“You sure about this, Ann?” Johnny asked his friend, a bit puzzled and concerned, “I mean, giving up that KNN position must’ve been hard.  I…I know it meant a lot to you.”

Ann then smiled delicately, for the first time not bothered about appearances, as she took Johnny’s paw into her own, startling even herself.

“I think I’ve found something that means a lot more,” she said quietly.

Johnny’s eyes went wide before his entire face, including his ears, turned a soft red as he blushed, touched and infinitely happy.

Jake then spotted the next kat who wanted to say good-bye to him and, to his shock, it was Murray, the junkyard kat who shared the salvage yard with Chance and Jake and was also a dump-truck operator for Megakat City maintenance.  In the past, Burke and his friend Murray would self-righteously annoy Chance and Jake to no ends, finding any way to torture and tease them maliciously for their fallout from the Enforcers.  Yet it was a bit odd to see Murray only by himself without his best friend.

“What happened to Burke?” Jake asked.

Murray looked a bit glum as he whispered, “He didn’t make it.  Got killed in the last battle with Dark Kat a month ago.”

Jake didn’t know how to feel about that.  Certainly, Burke was an annoying, malicious dirtball who couldn’t have his brain keep up with his mouth, but Jake knew no innocent civilian deserved that type of death.

“I’m sorry,” Jake said softly.  It was the best of a sincere statement he could come up with, especially since Burke was never well liked by either of the ex-Enforcers.  Yet Murray’s face lifted slightly, as if those two words were enough to ease his suffering, and he patted Jake as well as he could on the shoulder.

“Don’t be.  You got Dark Kat, and I know Burke’s happy about that, Clawson.  Jus’…jus’ take care of yourself along with those X-Men freaks, all right?”

“I will,” Jake replied in a distant tone.  Yet then his eyes stopped as he then saw the last kat he wanted to see standing directly in front of him.  It was Commander Ulysses Feral.  The entire crowd all around them held their breath as Jake balled his paws into fists, his breathing being a bit labored, as he glared at the large, burly kat.  Feral met the glare before sighing, crossing his arms.

“Running away from your messes as usual, Clawson?”

Jake literally had to force himself not to punch Feral out right then and there as he hissed, “Want the last word, huh, Feral?  Well, take it!!  You out of all kats should be leaping for joy at the fact that I’m going to be gone for good!!”

Feral knew that it would be a long time before Jake could be able to remember the Commander without some hatred, but he knew it was no less than what he deserved as he said simply, “Apologies aren’t my thing, Clawson.  Just so we’re clear.  I don’t regret giving the order for the sniper to take the shot, I don’t regret thinking you had joined with Dark Kat, and I certainly don’t regret in not changing my opinion that you and T-Bone have given this city more trouble than aid…”

Feral paused, noticing how the entire audience of kats were staring hatefully at him, before he then said the most sincerest tribute he could ever force himself to make.

“…but if anything, Furlong was a good kat.  One of the best.  He would have been a hell of an Enforcer.  And the same goes for you, Clawson.”

Jake sullenly looked to the side with mixed feelings before he muttered, “It doesn’t bring back Chance, Feral.”

Feral nodded, replying shortly, “I know.”

But in a surprising and unexpected act of humility, Commander Ulysses Feral stood at full attention before he saluted to the SWAT Kat in front of him, his face emotionless and his movement sharp and coordinated, showing his respect to Jake, a bit begrudgingly.  Jake was a bit taken aback from the salute, but at least he stopped frowning.

Jake then turned his attention back to the X-Men as he slung his pack over his shoulder.  The rest of the mutant team were gawking at the Aquain as the kids clambered out of the hatch (and in Kitty’s case, was carried out, kicking and screaming).  It was indeed something to deem as noteworthy.  Despite having to endure the merciless handling of hyperactive mutant teenagers with dangerous senses of recklessness and foolhardiness, the Aquain hybrid-vehicle was still pretty much intact, pristine and fully functional.  The dents and scratches on the outer surface were barely noticeable and the tank-submarine seemed ready to go through another round.

“Oh my goodness!” gasped Ororo.

“Oh my stars and garters!” gasped Hank.

“Whoa!” gasped Jean, “After all the abuse it took, it still looks as good as new!!”

Charles Xavier then gave Jake a very wide and appreciative smile, saying, “I think we certainly can use your mechanical talents, Jake.”

“Good,” Jake smiled as Forge opened the portal with the fully functional alternator in his hand, letting it grow to be as wide as a football field, and allowing Lockheed to jump in first, dragging the Aquain with him due to the insistence of the New Mutants.  While the X-Men were stepping through the window that would deliver them back home, Jake turned to see Callie Briggs standing there apart from the crowd , her face streaked with tears.  Jake dropped his sack and opened his arms in a final gesture of comfort.  Choking, Callie sprinted towards Jake and allowed herself to be enveloped into his strong, lean arms as she embraced Jake Clawson for what would be the last time.

“Good-bye, Callie,” whispered Jake as he hugged the female calico kat with all of his sorrow and pain.  Callie didn’t bother restraining herself as she wept, but whether she was weeping for the loss of Chance or the loss of Jake, she could not say.  Her paws dug into Jake’s broad shoulders, as if she was afraid of letting go of him.  Jake then smiled grimly as he took out an object from his sack.

“Here, take this,” he whispered as he placed something heavy into Callie’s paws, “I figured you could use this more than I could.  And Chance would have wanted you to have it.”

Callie sniffed as she looked at the gift Jake bequeathed to her.  It was a photo inside a simple, slightly tarnished silver picture-frame, plain yet clean and without a speck of dust on the glass.  Inside was a photo of Jake, Chance, and Callie all smiling next to her green sedan that she brought over to their garage to be worked on for the umpteenth time, and as a joke, Chance suggested they commemorate the visit with a photo to remember their best customer.  Jake and Chance were both in their garage coveralls and red baseball caps, their faces and paws smeared with grease and oil, yet Callie was hugging the both of them around their necks without fear of getting dirty, laughing behind her glasses, and all three kats were smiling with great joy and peace in the photo, a sure memory of their close friendship and the times they saved her and the hundreds of others of Megakat City from evil.

“Oh Jake…” Callie choked, her voice unable to finish the rest of her sentence, as she began to cry again, and Jake knew that the photo meant more to her than anything from the way she cradled it delicately to her chest like a baby kitten.  The brown kat then gave Callie a final hug before kissing her chastely on the cheek.  Jake Clawson then turned around and hefted his luggage over his shoulder before approaching the portal under the watchful and morbid gazes of everyone all around.  The rest of the X-Men and Lockheed had managed to go into the portal leading them back into their world and took the Aquain along with them.  The only ones left were the Professor, Logan, and Forge who was still maintaining the opening of time and space with the alternator.

“I’m ready,” Jake whispered, his voice shaking.  God, this was harder than he previously thought.

“You sure about this, hairball?” Logan asked gruffly, knowing that this found be either now or never.  It was funny; no matter how times he was asked that, Jake could never say a definite “yes”.

“No…but I’m going to do it anyway.”  Satisfied with that as a final answer, the four of them turned their attention to the temporary rift.

“Jake!” Callie cried out desperately, her eyes streaming, hoping to convince her friend one last time, “Please, don’t go!!  Please!  You don’t have to do this!  There’s nothing for you there!”

Jake then turned back to give her a look of sorrow and resigned acceptance of misery, his eyes forever pained at the way he was going to hurt Callie.  He said softly in response so that only those close to the portal could hear.

“There’s nothing for me here either.”

With that, Jake, Logan, Forge and Professor Xavier stepped through the purple swirling portal before it closed with final absolution behind them, disappearing with a small wisp of purple light and smoke.

Jake was gone from Megakat City.  Forever.  And all that could be heard was Callie’s uncontrollable sobbing as the final strings connecting the former SWAT Kat to Megakat City and his world were severed permanently.

 

 

Chance Furlong felt himself floating upwards as he finished observing the scene of Jake leaving with the X-Men with a heavy heart.  He knew how unfair it was to both himself and his buddy to suffer like this, but at the same time, Chance smiled through the tears pouring down his blue eyes even though he couldn’t feel his pupils stinging from the crying.

“Ya’ did good, ol’ buddy,” he whispered softly, approvingly, as if he knew Jake could hear him, “Ya’ did good.  But until you’re done watching over those tykes…live, Jake.  Live.”

Chance then felt himself walking on fresh grass and dirt, riddled with perfumed, colorful flowers underneath the warm sun and crystal-clear skies, his body so light he practically felt like walking on the moon as he walked towards the light.  There were kats waiting for him in the distance, all of them being innocent souls freed from Dark Kat and En Sabah Nur’s prayer stones after both of the evil creatures were engulfed by the black hole.  Thanks to Razor and the X-Men, all of them were liberated, set free to…wherever the heck they were and spared from the fate that were bestowed upon the Invincible Alliance of Evil and their master for their sins.  Chance felt himself warmly welcomed with open arms by many Enforcers, male and female, as they shook his paws and patted him comfortingly on the back.  Some of the officers even saluted Chance to show him their utmost respect.  The grizzled Sergeant Fangston wrapped his arms around Chance’s muscular, broad frame in a bear hug, laughing.  Mayor Manx had tears in his eyes as he gave the tomcat a thumbs-up sign, grinning.

Yet then there was one last figure, shrouded by the shadows cast by the soothing light radiating behind him, walking towards the SWAT Kat directly in front.  The crowd respectfully parted ways, like Moses did to the Red Sea, as Chance felt his heart fill so much with joy, he thought it would burst, as he felt himself grow smaller and smaller, shrinking in height and size, until he was a small kitten, wide-eyed and completely innocent as he looked up happily at the figure now in front of him.

His father smiled as he scooped up the toddler Chance in his arms, planting a kiss on his son’s forehead, his breath warm and sweet.

“I’m so proud of you, Chance,” he murmured lovingly.

And with that, his father happily spun Chance in his arms as he twirled around and around to the amusement of the kats watching him.  Chance closed his eyes and squealed and laughed with excitement, feeling like he was in the wings of the Turbokat again.  And as his father spun him around and around, Chance knew that eventually, after a long and fulfilling life, Callie, Felina, and Jake would be reunited with him once again forever.

Next Chapter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Navigate Stories