Author: Sage “Sagey” SK
Ideas and scene role-play by: Sage SK and Kristen Sharpe
Started: October 31, 2001
Finished: March 19, 2002
Comments: This mixes the elements of “Katastrophe,” “Bright and Shiny Future,” and “Deadly Pyramid.” And, yes, this would be in an alternate future (it wouldn’t make any sense if it were in the actual SK timeline, no? ? This was based off an odd, odd afternoon dream I had… and watching too much “Samurai Jack” (it’s a good show, man!).
My thanks once again go to Kristen Sharpe for sitting down and helping me role-play the characters and scenes. This story also belongs to her… cuz’ I said so! Thanks a bunch, mi amiga! ::hugs/Stix::
Also, I give my thanks to SK Author Simon Leet for his story, “T-Bone’s Stakes.” It was his brilliant writing and display of character and emotion where I was able to capture Chance/T-Bone’s personality and fears the first time I ever read it. And, I suggest you do, too! It’s found at the SK Fanfiction Archive (http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/8850/fanfic.htm).
And, thanks to all of you who read the snippet I posted from this story on FF.N! The wonderful reviews I received gave me the encouragement to finish this part a lot faster than I’d expected! ? I do hope to have the second chapter up soon.
“There’s a moment in every man’s life
When he must decide what is wrong and what’s right.
You can wait for your dreams to come true
But time has no mercy. Time won’t stand still for you.”
~Bryan Adams – “Into the Fire”
He ignored the loud and heavy music as he walked towards the bar, the black cap on his head tilted downward to cover his eyes and his trenchcoat collar covering the sides of his face. Recognizable or not, he was not on safe ground. But, despite the gambling, and the stares that could have driven him away, the kat continued walking, planting one hand soundly against the bar to get the bartender’s attention.
“Heavy liquor milk, buddy?” asked the bartender. “Or powdered?”
“Skim,” returned the kat cooly.
Even if the blaring music had left people seemingly hearing impaired, it wasn’t enough to let his words miss the ears of every kat within that bar.
The bartender rolled his eyes as he handed the kat a bottle of the drink he’d ordered. “Watch your back, buddy. People in here aren’t fond of non-drinkers.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” returned the stranger, taking his desired drink and moving to a table well away from the exit.
With a heavy sigh, he sat down. As much as he wanted to remove his trenchcoat due to the excessive heat, it remained covering his identity. However, it didn’t serve as a repellant to the number of bounty hunters that approached his table. Keeping his head down, he focused on the mouth of his milk bottle.
“What have we here?” sneered one of them.
“A *sober* kat,” mocked another. “Don’ see many of those here.”
“That’s cuz’ he ain’t supposed to be here,” added a third. “Seems rather hot ta’ be wearing a trenchcoat inna place like this.”
“Some kats prefer to be warmer than what they already are,” replied the stranger to their comments. “Guess I’m one of those weirdos.”
“Weirdo, maybe.” The first bounty hunter, likely the leader of this pack, slammed down a wanted poster on the table with such a force that the wood cracked. “Wanted, definitely.”
The stranger lifted his head slightly to look at the image of the tomkat immortalized on the poster, and the reward below the familiar face that appeared to be staring back at him.
“Ten grand,” he said. “Went up a couple thou’ since last week.”
“Which is why we aim ta’ collect, *Furlong*,” sneered the leader.
With a casual stretch, Chance Furlong rotated the cap on his head to reveal his face, his green eyes scanning the number of hunters standing before him.
“Five. Funny. Thought for the amount of cash involved there’d be more of ya.”
With a swift motion, he overturned the table, sending three of his alleged attackers to the floor. Dodging the incoming firepower, he ran to take cover behind the bar, making it with nothing but a laser burn at the bottom of his army fatigues.
“Told ya’ they didn’t like non-drinkers,” said the bartender, who had taken cover with him once he saw the firepower headed in his direction.
“Yer toast, Furlong!” The first bounty hunter fired a shot without warning.
Finding his window of opportunity, Chance leaped out and fired a net back at his attacker, courtesy of his Glovatrix. Seconds later, he deflected the blast with a tray he’d grabbed up to use as a shield. With a small smirk, he watched the first hunter nailed by the ropes that held the net together.
His victory merely lasted for a few seconds as the hunter’s counterparts rushed towards him.
Chance leaped up and grabbed onto a light, swinging forward to kick them away. He’d managed to hit the nearest one square in the jaw, the others ignoring their falling comrade as they fired once again at the burly tomkat.
These, however, met their comrades’ fate as they were hit with a barrage of fresh cement once he landed. And, that’s how he left them as he hurried outside – unconscious.
He couldn’t stay there now. It wouldn’t take long for even more bounty hunters to find him. As he started down the street, he was abruptly stopped by the headlights of a car… a very familiar car.
“Chance…” The driver paused to motion him inside. “I think you’ve had enough action for one night, my boy.”
Recognizing the driver, Chance drew in a heavy sigh and climbed in.
“I wasn’t trying to…” he started, but the old kat’s tired smile stopped him as the beat up car headed down the road and out of the city.
“Have you forgotten bounty hunters hang out in places like this?”
“Oh, I know,” Chance pointed out. “That’s why I was there… To listen to them. They can get in, I can’t.”
Professor Hackle finally sighed at the younger kat’s words. “And, they also have increased the reward two thousand dollars. What are you going to do, Chance? You’ve got a reward of over ten thousand dollars over your head.”
The feeble kat’s words never reached Chance. There was a certain determination in the tabby’s look… in his tone of voice.
“I’m going to get Jake back,” he said firmly, fiddling with something on his Glovatrix.
Once again, Hackle sighed. He knew what was troubling the young kat, not that he could blame him. Not that he could stop Chance from trying to break into Metallikat Headquarters like he had since the very first day they took his partner…
Breaking out of his musing, Hackle once again tried to speak the language of reason, but to Chance Furlong, it was foreign.
“You’ve been trying to get him back for the past five years, Chance… Everyday it’s the same thing… wondering if you’re going to make it back alive with all these lunatics after your hide. This isn’t Dark Kat you’re fighting, son. It’s something bigger.”
However, all Chance could say was, “I *will* get him back.”
The tabby’s never-ending determination to rescue his partner was years away from dying down. And, Hackle knew he couldn’t stop it. Saying no more, he continued driving them down the road towards their sanctuary, where they knew the Metallikats’ forces couldn’t find them.
But the troubled mind of Chance Furlong continued to ask the same question.
Where was Jake? What was he doing?
“You let him escape?!”
The bounty hunter shied away from the camera, trying not to look into the eyes of the kat he knew was watching his every move.
“It wasn’t so much letting…” he quavered.
“It’s ONE kat! ONE kat with ONE weapon!”
The steel and bare walls of the fortress surrounded the kat with infinite wires, connecting him online to almost every area of the city before him. Many wouldn’t have recognized the kat if they’d tried. Only a precious few would know that it really *was* the same kat.
Jake Clawson’s fur color hadn’t changed. However, the friendly look in his once amber eyes, the peaceful serenity of his voice, and his innocent facial expression… those were gone.
An odd source of light illuminated his features, and it was enough to show the spectator what had changed the young kat in five years. He sat in what appeared to be an office chair, surrounded by wires connected to a small area above his left ear.
Where the microchip was.
Where the source of the tom’s sudden thoughts of city domination remained dormant until he awoke its full fury.
“But, he’s… just good!” the bounty hunter insisted.
“He’s a kat, not a machine!” Jake spat. “Now, I want you to get this kat and I want you to get him NOW! Once he’s outta the way, I can procede to phase two!”
Finding himself beaten, the bounty hunter quavered again. “Yes, Sir…”
At that, Jake gave him a well practiced sneer and cut off the connection. His patience was reaching its end. He could *not* let Chance Furlong interefere. He could not.
“Razor, ya’ got ’em?”
His partner’s voice echoed via the communicator in his helmet, reminding the young SWAT Kat to acknowledge his status.
“Affirmative! The Metallikat Express has just made its last stop!”
Missiles were loaded and locked. It was time to take down the remains of the Metallikat Express before it and its occupants caused any more damage. Just… one… clear… shot.
Razor’s concentration was broken by an unexpected grip… one that held him by the neck and dragged him from the Cyclotron. With a squall of surprise, he distantly saw his vehicle collide against the wall before he finally realized he was within the clutches of one of Dr. Viper’s mutations.
He struggled to get down, trying to free his arms, but to no avail.
“Looks like Viper’s fungus fingers have *this* SWAT Kat right where we want ‘im!”
“Yeah! Let’s finish him off before the others get here!”
What was that he heard?! The Metallikats were aware that Viper had him?! He struggled once again upon seeing the glint of their weapons. If he didn’t get out of there fast…
“Dark Kat’sss orderssss were to take him alive!”
Razor couldn’t believe his eyes as Dr. Viper abruptly appeared, then realized what the snake like kat had said.
NO! He struggled against his bonds. Not Dark Kat. These villains couldn’t have formed an alliance. It couldn’t be! His hands tried to free themselves, trying to get him away from the grip. T-Bone… He had to reach his partner!
Once again he fought against the menacing grip of the fungus, its tentacles dangerously closing around his windpipe. And, his mind screamed.
When had these villains teamed up?!
“Crud,” he whispered. And, slowly, the darkness overcame him. It was only before he lost consciousness that he’d been injected with a sort of tranquilizer once he was lowered towards the waiting villains.
Chance remained pensive, sitting on the edge of his bed, his tired mind wandering back to the incident at the bar. A small growl emitting from his throat, he couldn’t help but wonder if he’d just remained incognito… or even just forced the answers he needed from his attackers.
But, it all happened so fast…
His thoughts were broken by a soft knock on his door, and the kind face of Professor Hackle peering inside. “Breakfast time, Chance.”
“Okay, I’m coming…” Chance returned, taking one last look at the photograph in his left hand. Standing up, he tucked it away under a book on the nightstand.
Hackle cocked his head quizically, then steadily made his way to sit down, his cane making little noise as he sat on the chair beside Chance’s bed. “Chance…”
“Is that the same picture you showed me not too long ago?”
With a small sigh, Chance nodded. “Yeah…”
Seeing the younger kat was in need of a few words to get him back on his feet, Hackle attempted the impossible after a few minutes of complete silence. But, he wasn’t Jake Clawson. “I still have faith in you, Chance…” he began, trying to catch the tabby’s attention. “But… you need help if you want to get Jake out…”
“Who could help me?” Chance interrupted, lifting his head just a bit to gaze at his friend.
“The Enforcers…” Hackle picked his words carefully. “Anybody who doesn’t agree with this reign of terror. Everybody is living in fear, Chance… The city has to stand up for itself…”
“Feral doesn’t want anything to do with me!” Chance said, his voice in a frustrated tone. “And, besides, I don’t trust him or his pack of gung-ho troops not to *shoot* Jake!”
Hackle sighed. Clearly, Chance had lost all confidence in those that he’d helped in the past years, despite their differences on how they viewed the law.
“You’re not even sure if that’s what they’ve got in mind… Perhaps they only intend to capture the Metallikats and save Jake’s life. You need a distraction. Let them attack the Metallikats while you go save Jake…”
He was trying to formulate a plan… Anything to keep Chance from performing the same act he’d performed only hours before.
However, Chance’s views on who was or wasn’t an ally continued to blur his definition of justice. And, his righteous indignation wasn’t helping any, even if he *did* have every reason to be upset.
“If one of their SWAT Teams comes upon Jake along the way and he doesn’t freeze when they say to? They’ll open fire. It’s what they’re trained to do. It’s instinct. It’s what keeps them alive.”
“Then you’ve got to reach a compromise, Chance… You’ll end up getting yourself killed if you keep running like a renegade against an entire army that’s after your head.”
“But, I can’t let him get killed…..” Chance whispered desperately.
“And, you can’t die like this, either,” Hackle returned. “If you want to save him, you’ve got to keep yourself alive.”
Chance sighed heavily, letting his head drop, feeling Hackle distantly place a hand on his shoulder.
“You can’t lose faith either, Chance…”
Chance sighed. “I’m not losing faith… I’m just… tired…” And, he was afraid. Afraid of what five years had done to Jake. Afraid of what was going on in the fragile mind of his best friend.
“As are all of us, lad… And, somewhere, deep down, Jake is trying to get in touch with you… I just know that… I feel it…”
The tabby seemed to perk up at that. “You really think so?” he asked, looking up a bit more.
“Do YOU think so?”
“I… I don’t know… Sometimes…” Chance choked out his words, trying to make the knot in his throat go down, trying not cry. “Sometimes, I’m afraid I’ve already lost him… That I lost him years ago… That that thing in his head will have him so messed up, if he could speak to me as himself for just a minute, he’d *want* the SWAT Team to kill him so he couldn’t hurt anyone anymore….”
And, the thought sent shivers up his spine. *Was* that really Jake? Would Jake be willing to commit that type of euthanasia to right all the wrong he’d caused?
“You believe Jake would be that willing to sacrifice himself? Without finding a way to help him first?” Hackle asked, puzzled.
Chance nodded. At that moment, he was speaking his friend’s point of view. “Jake would always be willing to sacrifice himself…” And, in a side thought, he added to himself, ‘But, I’m not willing to sacrifice him….’
Hackle’s head lowered at the younger kat’s words, then he reached out to take the picture that was just sticking a tad out of Chance’s book and just remained staring at the two kats there.
It was a portait that could easily bring back memories, that could be framed within the minds of the two kats that were pictured. It appeared to be in the hangar, and it wasn’t hard to recognize the pair.
Jake Clawson was being grabbed around the neck and noogied even as he had on arm up with his fingers in Chance’s far ear. Clearly a sign of friendly wrestling. According to Chance, it was the only shot of them out of uniform ever taken in the hangar… and it had been by accident. Behind them, the Turbokat, their once-magnificent jet, sparkled with the hint of being recently polished.
Breaking out of his musings, Hackle replaced the picture in its rightful spot and turned back to the tabby.
“C’mon, Chance. You need to eat. And, I’ll show you a few things I designed that you can use…”
Chance nodded. “Alright….”
The old kat shakily made himself stand up. After five years, he’d been losing his ability to keep himself balanced. His talent to invent, however, was a different story. Chance stood up to help him.
“Thank you, lad…” Hackle patted him on the shoulder. “We better not keep those tuna sandwiches waiting.”
At that, Chance finally managed a chuckle. “Definitely not.”
As he helped Hackle move to the kitchen, Chance began to note how frail the old professor had gotten. Granted, while he’d actually gotten a bit more muscular, he himself began to gain some premature gray hairs. And, it never occurred to Chance that it could happen to someone who’d just turned the solid age of 30 less than a year ago.
His breathing was rushed, cold, as he sucked in breath after breath, his bare feet dismissing the feeling of mud and slime. On and on he ran through the swamp waters, the hollow trees extending through what appeared to be an endless passage. Their branches menacingly shot out to catch him, obviously with a little help of Dr. Viper’s sickening experiments.
This did not stop T-Bone. With a violent snarl, he slashed out at the vines with his own claws, his Glovatrix finishing the task with a buzzsaw missile he unwillingly deployed.
Because he was unable to concentrate on the imminent(sp?) danger ahead of him. Because his mind was set on one kat.
His partner. Razor… where was he? What had they done to him?
His mind merely recalled what he’d encountered upon landing the Turbokat outside the Megakat Tunnel. He’d heard the explosion. He’d seen the Metallikat Express make its way out of the tunnel. He’d heard the static that came from his helmet intercom. When he tried to contact Razor… When he couldn’t get connected to the Cyclotron’s head computer from the jet itself.
And, his heart had made itself into his throat as he sprinted down the dark tunnel, drawn towards the smoldering ashes of what was left of the Cyclotron. He’d called his partner’s name… to no avail. He’d searched, found no trace of his best friend.
Then, he felt something hovering above him, his eyes narrowed upon the cold feeling that ran down his neck as he spun around. Without warning, he fired a tarpedo towards the fungus that attempted to capture him.
With a satisfying smirk, he let the monster thrash through its sticky prison, his mind settling with the conclusion that the snake of Dr. Viper was involved. Abruptly, his eyes flew wide as the fungus dropped a rounded object, one that ricocheted off the ground and to the feet of the larger kat. At that, T-Bone couldn’t let his heartbeat slow down. Not as he reached for the SWAT Kats’ pilot helmet that belonged to none other than his own partner.
The flashback played itself like a broken record, reeling back again and again as T-Bone reached the grounds of Viper’s lair.
As Razor would have suggested, he would have searched for a suitable entry that wasn’t liable of pointing out his position. But, the brawny tabby paid the thought no mind as he directly rammed his foot into a thinner layer of what was obviously a wall, making his own entry as he forced himself inside.
And, his eyes came upon that of a very startled Dr. Viper.
He gave the snake kat no opportunity to even speak as he pounced with all the fury he was known for, grabbing Viper by the collar and ramming him against the wall with such a force that the beakers on the experimental table next to them shook.
And, his angry green eyes narrowed dangerously into Viper’s as he snarled out three words, every inch of his teeth clenched tightly.
“WHERE… IS… HE?!”
The snake kat struggled against the grip of the furious SWAT Kat, tail thrashing in the attempt to attack back. But, T-Bone’s grip remained and, without warning, stepped back just a few feet to fire a bola missile to tie Viper into a tight bond. Another shot indicated an octopus missile, one that stapled Viper’s tail to the wall.
Satisfied that the green kat was unable to move, T-Bone crossed his arms.
“I’ll ask you one more time, Viper. *Where* *is* *my* *partner*?!”
“Sssstupid, SSSWAT Kat. You’re too late!” Viper struggled against his bonds as he spoke, trying to break free, trying to get away from the SWAT Kat’s fury.
“Spare me the movie script, you miserable constrictor.” T-Bone hauled Viper up by the collar, eyes narrowed. “It’s getting old. Where is Razor?”
The voice was meek. Tired. And, it sent a chill down the big kat’s spine. Spinning around, he met the eyes of his smaller partner, weary as he held onto a vine for support. Giving no thought of where Viper might land, T-Bone dropped the mad scientist and rushed to his friend.
“Razor? You okay, buddy?”
T-Bone checked for any obvious cuts and bruises. He found none, which struck him as odd. But, he gave it no further thought.
“C’mon, Razor. We’re getting outta here.”
“No… Chance… I can’t go.”
And, that was the stone that shattered the mirror. T-Bone froze, his eyes wider than he could ever muster, his blood running cold. Razor… just gave away his real name?! But…
“Run that by me again, Razor?”
“J… Jake now, Chance… I can’t go with you…”
“What are you talking about?!”
“My place… is with them, now.” And, ever so slowly, the smaller SWAT Kat removed his mask, his amber eyes meekly looking up at T-Bone. “I’m sorry…”
No sound emitted from the taller SWAT Kat. No sound except for heavy breathing. His green eyes were frozen into his partner’s amber orbs. This could *not* be happening. What had they done to Jake?!
“Ah… I see you’ve found your way to our little circle of friends.”
It was a voice that sent even more chills down T-Bone’s spine… which were abruptly melted by the fury that burned within him. With a snarl, he spun around to face the owner of that voice.
“Oh. I forgot to mention that your partner might be staying with us a while longer,” the purple kat purred, helping Viper out of the bonds that trapped him.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HIM?!”
“Oh, nothing too serious…” Dark Kat casually made his way behind Jake, placing a large hand over his shoulder. “Just made him a member of our own…”
That was about all T-Bone could take. “He’d NEVER do that!” he snarled. With a swift movement, he grabbed Jake by the arm. “We’re getting outta here, Jake.”
Jake looked on, his weary eyes never leaving his partner’s. And, he never moved. Instead, he let his ears droop.
“Chance… Leave while you still can.”
“I am NOT going ANYWHERE without YOU! Now, c’mon!”
Again, Jake didn’t move. Behind him, Dark Kat and Viper looked on, as though enjoying the spectacle, wondering how long it would last before the larger SWAT Kat realized that he’d lost the war.
And, Dark Kat didn’t hesitate to have T-Bone find out. With a sinister cackle, he directed his attention to Jake.
Without warning, Jake sank to the floor, screaming as he held his head.
“Jake?!” T-Bone was beside his partner in a heartbeat, holding him by the shoulders. “Jake, what is it?!”
“Ch…ance! Get out!! It’s taking over me! Th’ chip’s taking over me!! Get out!”
“Chip?!” T-Bone’s eyes shot a glare towards the other two villains. “WHAT DID YOU DO?!”
Dark Kat cackled merrily with Viper’s own hissing. His evil glare came upon the tabby, grinning sinisterly despite Jake’s screams. “Just a sample of my mini microchip. It should eliminate your partner’s previous recollection of his past in a matter of seconds. Don’t think reasoning will stop the process.”
T-Bone directed his attention towards his partner once again, shaking him desperately. “Jake!! Wake up!”
“Chance!! Get out, NOW!”
“I’m NOT leaving…” T-Bone froze. He was unable to move, unable to hold his partner again as the smaller kat’s Glovatrix was aimed at him.
“Chance… Please…. Leave now… Before… they get you, too.” Jake’s eyes were tearful, losing their amber coloration. “I’m sorry, Chance… I’m sorry, buddy… Maybe… you’ll find a way to stop this…” He said no more as the tears fell. “Please… Go on, buddy. Go.”
“Jake…” The taller kat realized how serious his partner was at this point, shakily stepping backwards, back to the entry he made for himself. Then, there was a tone of determination in his voice. Not once did he look at the two villains. All his attention was directed towards Jake.
“I WILL come back, Jake. Don’t think that thing’s gonna stop me. I WILL come back!”
With that, he was gone, not daring to look back as he ran through the swamp, his mind forever focused on the sad and innocent look of his best friend…
Reaching an area well away from the lair, he stopped to catch his breath. And, sinking to his knees, all the big kat could do was one thing.
He shed tears.
He cried… and cried… and cried.
And, it would have been only days later when he’d watch the Metallikats begin to take over the city, with his partner as a right hand kat.
‘I WILL come back, Jake. Don’t think that thing’s gonna stop me. I WILL come back!’
Chance let his mind drift back and forth from time to time, watching Hackle get the sandwiches from the counter as he was told to sit the minute they got into the kitchen. He distantly saw the older kat set his sandwich in front of him. Picking up the morsel, the tabby simply looked ahead and, in what appeared to be seconds, ate it whole in four big bites. He didn’t even pause to savor the taste. All he did was ponder his options of getting Jake out of that fortress as he swallowed.
“You finished that fast, lad,” Hackle commented, barely picking up his own sandwich.
“Heh… I was hungry…” Chance blushed slightly, his eyes meekly asking Hackle if there was more where that came from.
“You haven’t eaten in days, have you?”
“No…,” Chance reluctantly admitted. “Sometimes… I’m not hungry…”
The old kat smiled gently, realizing that, in the last few weeks, despite the lack of food Chance’s body demanded daily, the younger kat had managed to keep the bulk of his muscles.
“You need your strength, lad,” he said. “Better help yourself to another one. There’s more than enough.”
As Chance got up to get another sandwich, Hackle concentrated on the young kat’s Glovatrix, figeting with a few wires and buttons. Chance munched on his sandwich, slowly this time, watching the old kat, wondering what he’d found so interesting in his weapon. Granted, his supply of mini missiles was constantly running low. Not that Hackle couldn’t build more from scratch.
But, he wasn’t Jake. Jake would always keep their supplies stocked. Jake created the Glovatrix. Jake taught Chance how to use it.
He just wasn’t Jake.
“Made a few additions to your weapon, lad,” said Hackle, snapping Chance out of his stupor.
Handing the tabby back his Glovatrix, Hackle motioned him outside. The curious tomkat pulled on the weapon and followed the professor to the balcony of the beachside apartment, miles away from the old house Hackle had once lived in.
Safety had been a primary concern for Chance when he’d turned to Professor Hackle for help, convincing the elder kat to find a location where the Metallikats wouldn’t find them. The run-down, two story apartment wasn’t the best in the city. Then again, MegaKat City wasn’t the best area to search for a place to live… not after five years. Those who’d survived the work camps were let free in promise of good behavior. Some went out to try and lead a normal life without complaining. Others had become bounty hunters in a matter of weeks. Women, children and the elder had stayed behind as part of the salvage slave labor. Those who’d avoided imprisonment had fled the city to neighboring Katskill** and Lake Faroe*** in search of a home and relatives.
Chance took in a deep breath as the salty air was welcomed into his nostrils, the wind blowing sheepishly into his face, ruffling his facial fur.
“Try the first button on the right,” Hackle instructed.
Making sure it wasn’t aimed at anything substantial, Chance did as he was told. Before his eyes, the facsimile of a tridimensional radar**** was displayed. The red, laser-like grid awaited instructions, asking the owner to give a command.
All Chance could do was gape. “Woooooow… Cool effects, Professor.”
Hackle chuckled at the younger kat’s fascination. “You can see through building interiors and find a life form within a range of 30 feet. Now, try the button on the left… aim towards the water.”
Snapping out of his fascinated muddle, Chance retracted the radar and aimed directly towards the sea, praying that no one would actually see anything from where they were standing, especially the robots on patrol.
And, his amazement was once again rewarded. The Glovatrix, upon senstive touch, fired a thin, but powerful, beam of ice, the large body of water below temporarily forming a small pond of ice that was destroyed by the vehement waves within a matter of seconds.
Chance remained gaping. “Yow!” he finally exclaimed. “Professor, you’ve outdone yourself!”
Hackle smiled. “As long as you can put them to good use…”
Put them to good use… Chance stared at his newly armed Glovatrix and managed a smile.
“I’ll do my best…..”
The metal based main corridor of Metallikat HeadQuarters was silent save for the low hum of the huge fans overhead, giving the area a cool environment. It was kept at a perfect temperature to prevent any machine from overheating, especially the robots on patrol.
One of those particular robots, while not chosen to be on patrol, still felt that its presence was needed with that of the one calling it, commands swiftly processing through its hard drive. Its orders received, the Cybertron, once the invention of a certain Professor Hackle, made its way towards the main control center, a questioning beep emitting once he faced his caller.
[Are… *they* anywhere?]
The Cybertron glanced at Jake, quickly searching to decifer the younger kat’s current mood. The non-metallic kat appeared to be civil enough to talk. At the moment, he was calm.
[Negative,] returned the robot, speaking back in mental terms.
Jake sighed. [Good…. What are the conditions outside?]
Checking out a nearby window, the Cybertron replied, [Cloudy. More than smog. It’s overcast. Damp.]
[Alright.] Jake nodded at that. His timing was a good as any. [I need you to send a message…]
[Send? I am not equipped for cyber message delivery outside our connection.]
[Can you deliver a message, then?] Jake’s every feeble attempt to speak to the robot was being pushed by his subconscious, fighting, struggling to gain some control before the chip took over the young tom’s mind once again.
The Cybertron gave the affirmative. [I am ready,] it replied, waiting for its intructions.
[I need you to find Chance…] Jake directed, his subconscious fighting once again to regain control. [Tell him not to get any closer to this place… the reward’s already increased… They’re instructed to shoot him on sight.]
The Cybertron sent a feeling of confusion. It had express orders not to discuss Chance Furlong with Jake in some of his current moods. Slowly, the robot could tell that Jake’s calm state of mind was about to disappear. [You have noted to me before that he is unlikely to discontinue his efforts… and he is incapable of understanding me.]
Jake sighed. [Yes… I am aware…] Five years didn’t stop Chance from trying to break his way into Metallikat HQ, and he was sure that, even if the Cybertron did deliver the message, the kat that was once his best friend wouldn’t back down. [In terms of comprehension, search for his Glovatrix’s computer….]
The Cybertron gave the facsimile of a nod. [I will do so. Are there any further instructions?]
[None for now… don’t let them see you…] Jake’s passive tone of voice was weakening.
[Understood….] With that, the Cybertron hurried to carry out its task, long before Jake was aware that it was gone.
The current Jake, the one that’d increased the reward, called up the bounty hunters he’d hired earlier.
“Have you found ‘im yet?!”
The weather that the Cybertron had predicted was indeed in its worst. A steady fog was slowly beginning to descend over the metal-based city. Finding this a good time as any to search, the willing robot looked for the kat Jake Clawson had sent him to seek, scanning for a kat with both the weight and height as that of Chance Furlong.
On the opposite direction of the street, Chance himself was once again scouting the area, yet in another disguise. This time, however, he wore a black mask over his eyes. Even if it did keep his face incognito, the memory of wearing the mask was downright painful, reminding the young kat of his days as a SWAT Kat. Focusing now on his goal, he reminded himself not to walk into anymore bars. The mask itself spelt trouble.
Abruptly, he perked his ears to that of a wizzing sound… one coming a few feet from the area where he was standing. Eyes narrowed upon seeing a robot cruise by, he readied his Glovatrix, his missile of choice loaded and ready to deploy upon his command.
Then he paused, eyes narrowed as he recognized the smaller robot.
The Cybertron scanned the lone kat upon hearing his voice. Then, recognizing him, he raced over where Chance was standing, emitting a series of beeps that appeared to be joyful.
It was the Cybertron, alright, Chance mused. But, what was it doing here? Did Professor Hackle send it after him? And, if he did, why didn’t he ever tell Chance that it’d been rebuilt?
“Cybertron… what’re you doing here?”
His inquiry was given a series of beeps as an answer. Burying his face into one hand, Chance murmured, “I forgot… You don’t speak English…” He paused once again, green eyes suddenly worried. “Did something happen to Hackle?”
The Cybertron shook its head, trying to interface with the computer in Chance’s Glovatrix.
Taking a hint, Chance knelt down and held out his Glovatrix, watching the Cybertron extend a hand and let a little wire deploy to link to the weapon’s computer.
“What is it?”
Finally, Chance was rewarded with words, those displayed on the Glovatrix’s 3-D radar. “Greetings, ChanceFurlong.”
And, once again, Chance couldn’t help but blink. This was new.
“Are you alright?”
“I…” He broke off the sentence with a sigh. “I’m alright… Why’s Hackle worrying again?”
“I have not seen my creator in two years, ChanceFurlong.”
“Two years…?” Chance frowned. If it wasn’t Hackle who’d sent the Cybertron after him… “Then… How’d… Who’d… Who sent you?” Paranioa began to taken over Chance’s mind, eyes darting around to make sure he wasn’t being set up.
The Cybertron didn’t answer directly. “I was taken from my home in the lab… Now, I have found you.”
“I see…,” he murmured. “What… brings you looking for me?” Suddenly, memories of the Cybertron came back in numbers. And, among them were those of Razor. When they’d first met the Cybertron and what Hackle had programmed it for. How badly Razor wanted to test it. The way his amber eyes lit up behind that mask and looked at the robot from head to toe. The way he acted like a small child with a new toy. At that, Chance couldn’t help but wince.
The Cybertron looked at him for a moment, then finally replied. “I am sent by JakeClawson.”
Chance froze, eyes wide, his face going pale as he read the words the Cybertron had displayed on the radar. And, he couldn’t get the words out. All he could do was stammer.
“W…. Wh… What did you say?”
The words were still on the screen, flashing briefly so Chance could reread. At that, the tabby sat down. His eyes never left the words on the radar, his heartbeat and his thoughts going crazy, unable to slow down.
“I was sent to deliver a message…,” explained the Cyberton. “But, my new primary programming is to assist you… It was added by your JakeClawson when he was most himself.”
“How is that possible?!” Chance yelped, abruptly finding the words he was looking for.
“JakeClawson sometimes functions as he did when I was introduced to you.”
The taller kat remained mute. However, deep down, for the first time in five years, he was starting to find a ray of hope… one that he’d never see again. And, all this time, he remained starting the Cybertron.
“Are you alright, ChanceFurlong?” asked the robot.
“How long ago was this?” Chance whispered.
“How long ago was what?”
“His… this… change?”
“JakeClawson fluctuates between his personalities infrequently.”
Chance arched a brow enough to make it form a near perfect checkmark. “You mean… his attitude changes at irregular times?”
The Cybertron nodded.
“How long has that been going on?!” Chance demanded, the back of his mind angrily yelling at Jake for not getting in touch with him earlier.
“Since I was taken from the lab and first gained knowledge of his… condition.”
That was the fuse that lit the bomb.
“Then… why didn’t he try to contact me then?!” the tabby yelled, a fist clenched in the direction of Metallikat HeadQuarters.
“I am uncertain. But, JakeClawson is careful the other personality does not learn of my programming.” The Cybertron was unphased by the larger kat’s tone of voice, unaware that it was the type of attitude that had his enemies quivering, hoping that they would not encounter the being that was once known as T-Bone, the SWAT Kat.
Reeling back to the files stored in its hard drive, the Cybertron recalled the first time it’d met the SWAT Kats. The smaller one, Razor, the alter ego of today’s Jake Clawson, was the quieter of the two, eager to take it with them. T-Bone, on the other hand, didn’t appear to be too friendly… not when he’d seen the Cybertron face to face at least. And, he wasn’t at all too happy when the Cybertron had accidentally run over his bare foot.
The Cybertron’s first impression of the two masked kats was confusing, in a sense. Why did these non-metallic beings run around in masks? And, barefoot? Weren’t kats accustomed to wear civilian clothing? To be able to walk freely without the fear of getting shot at?
Then he’d realized what these two SWAT Kats, these heroes, were after. They had their duties. They were to serve and protect the place that they called home. And, “to serve and protect” was what the Cybertron’s first instructions were when his creator brought him to life.
A heavy sigh broke the Cybertron out of its “musings,” catching Chance Furlong in time to bury his face into one hand. And, it was puzzled upon seeing tears streaming down the big kat’s cheek.
“ChanceFurlong… you are crying.”
“I know…” Chance managed through sobs.
“It’s… too… complicated to explain….”
“Please try,” pleaded the Cybertron, watching Chance’s actions curiously. Was this sobbing being, this non-metallic lifeform, really bent on destroying the Metallikats? One that wasn’t capable of hiding his emotions as Jake Clawson was able to do?
“I haven’t seen him in five years, thinking that vile chipped messed him up completely…” Chance continued sobbing. “Yet somewhere in his mind… he’s still Jake…”
“Yes, he is…” The Cybertron waited patiently, watching, letting Chance cry. Finally, in what appeared to be endless minutes, Chance took a deep, shuddering breath and wiped away at his eyes.
“Okay…. I think… I can manage…” Forcing himself to stand, Chance started walking back towards the building he called home, well away from the city, motioning the Cybertron to go with him.
“Where are we going?” enquired the Cybertron, barely managing to retract the little cable it used to talk to the tabby from his Glovatrix.
“Home,” Chance stated simply. “You’ve got some more explaining to do.”
The Cybertron gave another nod, a beep hinting that it’d replied with a simple word.
To Be Continued
* – Shamelessly borrowed from the RPG plot Kristen and I had going one night. Knew you’d recognize it, Kris! ?
** – Katskill is a city I coined after the Catskill Mountains.
*** – While it isn’t something I came up with, Lake Faroe is a popular city used in most SWAT Kats fanfics. I’m not too sure who really initiated it, though I’ve been told it was Anubis Soundwave.
**** – Remember that this is based in an alternate universe. This means that “Dark Side of the SWAT Kats” never really happened, so we’re assuming Professor Hackle invented the dimensional radar in this plot.
“Plowed” – Sponge
“Freedom Fighter” – Creed
“Weathered” – Creed
“Into the Fire” – Bryan Adams
“In the End” – Linkin Park
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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.