Tai was peacefully surrounded in darkness. The silence of his dreams was calming and relaxing, but it quickly changed. Fire sprang from the ground around him, causing the red kat to suffer the smoke and heat.
Where am I? Tai thought as he looked around. Clean tables burned a red blaze as a row of books fueled the fire. Tai quickly recognized this place as his old lab and the day as the day of the accident.
“Oh God, not again!” the red kat cried as flames leapt up to him. He tried to get away, but more flames sprang up, blocking his exit. The red kat panicked, feeling the flames begin to lick him.
“Help! Help me!” he shouted, praying to get a response. The smoke began to push into his lungs, sending him into a coughing fit. “Somebody, HELP ME!!” Tai shouted.
Just as the flames reached to cover him, the room disappeared. He was now in a large room. Torches mounted the walls and lit the area, revealing stone floors.
Where am I now? Tai thought as he stood and looked around. He stopped when he saw what was behind him. Before him stood three gates, one blocking the next. The red kat walked to the first one, gazing at its golden bars and the symbol above it. He reached out and touched it. The gate sprang open as soon as he did.
“The Soul Gate is open!” a voice said, echoing across the room.
Tai leapt and looked around, but didn’t find its source.
“The Soul Gate is open!” the voice announced again.
“Soul Gate?” Tai responded. “What’s the Soul Gate?”
“The gate to potential has been opened,” the voice answered. “Only two remain now. The Mind and Body Gates.”
What are you talking about?” Tai asked. “Who are you?”
“That shall come in time,” the voice replied. “You shall soon be at the crossroads of your destiny. Chose your path wisely and trust your allies. They will be the ones to choose the final path.”
“I don’t understand,” Tai said. “What destiny? Who are you? WHO ARE YOU?”
“Kid! Wake up kid!” another voice responded.
He felt himself being sucked away, the dream disappearing and being exchanged for reality. He opened his tired eyes to see Chance shaking him.
“Oh. What happened?” Tai asked, eyes barely able to stay open.
“You were shouting in your sleep,” the big kat informed him. “Jeez, talk about loud too.”
“Well, at least I don’t snore,” Tai replied.
“I don’t snore,” Chance snipped.
“Sure, whatever you say,” the red kat said as he looked at the clock, seeing it was seven. The red kat stood up and walked to the dresser, rummaging around for his work clothes.
Chance looked at the kat and saw something strange. A series of scars decorated the kid’s back, easily seen through the deep red fur.
“What happened kid?” the burly kat asked.
“What do you mean?” Tai responded.
“What are those scars?” Chance asked as he crossed his arms. “You haven’t been here long, but I know you’re not the type to get into fights or cut yourself.”
“Ohh. They’re nothing really,” Tai answered as he slipped his suit on, covering the marks. “Just an accident when I was a kitten.” The red kat didn’t look at his friend, trying not to get caught lying.
Chance gave the kat a look of suspicion, but walked out.
Tai looked to the ground, feeling guilty about lying. No matter how old I get, I’ll never be free from those memories, Tai thought. Even at night, he could still feel a blade slowly moving down his back. But, my life has gotten so much better. Why do I continue to remember?
“Hey kid! Hurry up; we gotta get these cars fixed so we can continue training,” Jake’s voice echoed, breaking Tai’s train of thought.
The red kat climbed down the stairs and saw the Jake gathering tools and walking out to the garage. Tai quickly followed him, only to find him alone.
“Where’s Chance?” Tai asked.
“He’s working on something,” Jake answered as he slid under the car, tightening some loose bolts.
“Working on what?” Tai continued.
“Can’t tell you. He said you’ll see later,” Jake answered.
“You know, I can already tell it’s bad,” Tai said as he popped the car’s hood, taking a look on the inside.
“Well, it’ll help you train. So don’t worry just yet,” Jake responded.
“Since I’m one of you guys now, how did you end up like this?” Tai asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, living here and being the SK’s,” Tai clarified.
“That’s a long story kid,” Jake said. “It happened a while back. Chance and I were in the Enforcers a couple years ago. One day, Dark Kat was trying to blow up the headquarters and we were on his trail. We were able to knock out his weapons system and were about to tag him when Feral came and ruined it.”
“Jeez, he’s a pain, isn’t he?” Tai responded.
“Yeah, same old Feral. Anyways, we were knocked out of the sky and had to eject, but our jet fell and hit the headquarters. Dark Kat got away, and Feral kicked us out. We ended up here to pay for the damages,” Jake continued.
“I heard that the damage I caused was worse than ever,” Tai commented.
“Half the base was done in,” Jake said. “But, there weren’t many injuries, right?”
“Yeah. It was strange, especially with that big an explosion,” Tai answered. “Anyways, keep going.”
“Ok. So, we were dumped here to pay for the damages, but there was a lot of military salvage. So, we decided to build our own jet and stop evil our own way,” Jake finished.
“That’s cool. Not many people would do that,” Tai responded.
“So, what about you?” Jake asked as he got out from under the car.
“Nothing special about me,” Tai said.
I seriously doubt that! Jake thought, remembering their encounter with Madkat.
“So? Just talk,” Jake said.
“Well, like I said before, I don’t really have a family,” Tai began. “I was raised in an orphanage since I was seven.”
“You’re an orphan?” Jake asked, surprised.
“Yep. I liked it there, everyone was really nice,” Tai answered. “When I was 16, I got a job in the Enforcers and learned how to fix stuff. I kept that job till I was 18, when they created the research department. I moved out of the orphanage and lived at the headquarters. The rest is history.”
“Well, don’t think we’ll go easy on you because you’re younger than us,” Jake said.
“I know you guys won’t go easy,” Tai responded. “I just don’t know how I will be able to help you.”
“What are you talking about?” Jake asked. “You did really well before. Not many people can face Madkat alone, not to mention destroy him.”
“What!?” Tai shouted in surprise.
“I mean, destroy one of his bells,” Jake replied, saving himself.
“Oh. Well, I still don’t know,” Tai said. “You can build weapons and Chance can fly; I don’t know how I could improve you guys.”
“Hey, when the time comes, you’ll see,” Jake answered, giving a warm smile.
“Thanks Jake,” Tai replied, smiling as well.
The two kats worked hard on the vehicles, the third staying hidden. By the time they were done, it was already in the afternoon.
“Phew, that took a while,” Tai said, wiping the sweat off his forehead.
Jake looked at the clock, seeing it was three. “Well, we should probably check on Chance,” the brown kat said as he started walking towards the hangar.
“Wait. You knew where he was the whole time?” Tai asked in surprise.
“Yeah. He’s been really busy all day,” Jake responded as he opened the door and started down the ladder.
Tai, curious as ever, quickly followed him, and was surprised with what he saw. In the center of the room was what looked like a spare pilot seat for the Turbokat. Although Tai had only been in the cockpit once, he knew what it looked like by heart. In front of the pilot seat was a large screen.
“So, what do you think?” a voice spoke out.
Tai looked around and spotted Chance.
“Is this what you’ve been working on?” Tai asked as he walked over to it, looking at the interior.
“Yep. It’s a flight simulator,” Chance answered. “I had to make a few adjustments, since we added some stuff to the Turbokat.”
“This is amazing!” Tai announced.
“Give it a spin,” Jake said.
“Seriously?” Tai asked.
“Yeah. I’ve been working on it so you can learn to fly,” Chance said as he crossed his arms. “So get goin’.”
Tai hesitantly climbed in, feeling the soft seat. He looked at the switches, spying a red button.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“That’s the “Speed of Heat” setting,” Jake explained. “You’re not ready for that.”
“Ok. How do I get it started?” the red kat asked again.
“There’s a blue button in front of you. Just hit that and it’ll go,” Chance answered.
Tai quickly found the button and hit it. The simulator was lifted into the air by an armature. The red kat grabbed the controls and played with them a little, performing turns and dives, just having a ball.
“Now for the hard part,” Chance said with a smile as he pulled out a controller and hit a button on it.
The screen in front of Tai flashed on, giving him a view of the sky.
“What’s going on?” Tai asked.
“We’re gonna put you in a fight,” Jake explained as enemy jets appeared on screen.
The jets fired missiles at him. Tai dodged a few, but was quickly shot down.
“Aww, damn it!” the red kat shouted.
“It’s ok, try again,” Jake called as the screen changed, providing new enemies.
Just as soon as it started, the same result occurred. Tai continued being shot down for a couple of hours, till it was already six.
“Alright, that’s enough!” Chance said as he lowered the simulator to the ground. “We’ll try it again tomorrow.”
“I wasn’t really good, was I?” Tai asked.
“It was your first time; you’ll get better,” Jake assured him.
Yeah, 200 crashes should teach him, Chance thought.
“Come on, let’s try fighting,” the burly kat said as he strolled away.
Jake and Tai followed him into what looked like a small dojo. On the wall was a large monitor TV and there were pieces of gravel on the ground.
“We normally break bricks to show our strength,” Jake explained as the group put on white martial arts uniforms.
“You guys are nuts!” Tai responded. “There’s no way I could do that!”
“Well, you’ll have to learn some time, buddy,” Chance said as he got to the center of the dojo. “Let’s start off easy and do some one on one.”
“Oh..ok,” Tai answered hesitantly. He joined the big kat in the center.
The two bowed in respect and got into stance. Chance charged at the red kat, his right shooting out hit. Tai stepped left and brought his right arm in a block, pushing away the kat’s fist. He shot his left out and hit the tabby’s side.
Chance stumbled back, surprised at the attack.
“That was pretty good,” the tabby said. “Your style is different than Jake’s.”
“Yeah, I use Wing Chung,” Tai responded. “Its purpose is to block your enemy’s attack and leave an opening.”
Cool. I can’t wait to try and beat it, Jake thought as he watched.
“Well, let’s keep going,” Chance said as the two got back into stance and began to fight.
Chance made sure to look for openings, successfully hitting the red kat in the chest. Tai stumbled back, surprised at the tabby’s strength.
Jeez, he’s much stronger than he looks, Tai thought as he analyzed his opponent.
“Come on! You can’t let one hit stop you,” Chance advised as he leapt for another attack.
Tai got into stance and watched the kat coming at him. Chance swung with his right, but only hit air when Tai ducked down. The red kat shot out his leg and performed a sweep kick, knocking the kat off his feet and to the ground. Chance looked up, seeing Tai standing over him, smirking.
“Not bad, kid, not bad,” Chance said as he got up.
“Thank you,” Tai replied, smiling.
“Ok, it’s my turn now,” Jake said as he got into stance.
The two kats bowed and went at it. The two kats showed great skill, blocking and striking each other. Even when one lost, he would just get up and continue. It was late when the two finally decided to call it a night. As they walked from the dojo to the ladder, Tail looked at the simulator.
I will beat you! he thought. I’ll prove that I belong.
The bum awoke in a strange place. The stone floor was cold on his fur, and the bright light over him stung his eyes. Rows of steel bars acted as walls. The alley kat found a glass right next to him. He picked it up and felt the inside with his finger, feeling small drops of water.
“Ssso, you’re awake,” a voice sounded.
The alley kat turned and looked around, seeing an evil being. The bum instantly knew him, from the newspapers and the TV.
“Doctor Viper!!” the alley kat shouted in surprise.
“It’sss good to know I am common knowledge,” the serpent responded.
“Where the hell am I?” the alley kat asked, baring his teeth.
“You are in the sssecret lab of Dr. Viper,” the villain answered. “I can tell you are not very relaxed. Would you like to leave?”
“Let me think… HELL YES!” the alley kat answered.
The doctor stood up and walked to the door of the prison. He quickly stuck a key into the lock and opened the door.
The bum darted out, running as fast as he could while taking in the sights. He was in a large laboratory. The bright lights shined over tables of microscopes, test tubes, and tools. Large tankers of chemicals bubbled and churned by the walls and cages housed nightmarish monstrosities. The bum looked and saw a large, sewer pipe at the end of the room, water spilling from it into a pool. The alley kat shot for the pipe, hoping to escape.
The doctor, who moved so quickly and quietly he seemed to become apart of the shadows, unknowingly followed him. The doctor reached into his lab coat pocket and pulled out his stopwatch, which he started at the beginning of the experiment.
“Run asss fassst asss you want; your time hasss come.” The doctor grinned.
Just as the bum reached the sewer pipe, knowing he was home free, the stopwatch hit zero. The bum felt a surge in his body, which made him stop where he was. He felt a wave go through his body, making him feel sick and defiled. A cold spell shot through his system as his body began to fail him, sending him to his knees. His heart felt like it was being pounded on with a hammer, and his eyes began to get really heavy. He fell to the ground, but was unable to feel it. His fur began to grow cold as a violet color began to spread on it. After the few moments it took for this to occur, he was dead.
The serpent appeared and checked his test subject’s pulse, feeling nothing. Dr. Viper stood and stepped back as his laughter echoed through out the lab.
“Sssuccesss! The formula isss ready!” the doctor squealed as he turned to the cages which held his creatures.
“Now, my petsss, we ssshall make a visit to the city, but it will be the lassst. For sssoon, Megakat city will be oursss.”
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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.