Title: A MEDIEVAL NIGHTMARE
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
The wait was torturous, but, finally, it was time to leave. T-Bone headed for Megakat Park. As they got close, he discovered it was now a huge overgrown forest. Finding a clearing big enough for the jet, he landed.
“Hopefully no one spotted us,” he said grimly as he and Razor jumped down into the hold to join Feral.
“Nothing we can do about if they had. Get aboard!” Razor ordered as he climbed aboard the hoverkat followed by T-Bone and Feral.
Razor opened the cargo door with a control on his glovatrix, then T-Bone gently glided the hoverkat out. He held his position just outside the jet while Razor closed the door and secured the Turbokat.
Soon, they were gliding silently through the trees for city hall. Reaching the exit point where they should have found city hall just beyond, they beheld an old spooky tower instead.
“Must be Pastmaster’s home from the dark ages,” T-Bone whispered as he lowered the hoverkat to the ground. They sat and studied the tower for a long moment.
“Lovely!” Feral grumbled. “If that is his stronghold, then he must have guards of some kind around. Also, where are his other guards to keep the katizens in line? I haven’t seen anything when we flew to the park,” he rumbled in concern. Razor had turned a monitor on for Feral, only after they had left the area of their base, so that he could be an extra pair of eyes as they penetrated the city.
“You’re right! I don’t like the feel of this,” Razor murmured uneasily.
“Perhaps we should try for where the Enforcer Building used to be and see if any of my troops are there or find Felina,” Feral said, uneasy as well.
“Yeah, I don’t like the feel of this either. Let’s do as Feral suggested. It still might be guarded, but as least we’ll see what kind of guards,” T-Bone growled unhappily as he restarted the hoverkat and made off again.
He cautiously steered them through the forest toward the last known location of Enforcer Headquarters. Halting in its general vicinity but still in the trees, they climbed out and covered the hoverkat with a camouflaged tarp Razor had brought along.
Standing in the tree line, they stared in shock at the scene before them. Instead of graceful buildings of modern construction there were miserable looking hovels of wood and peat. Hundreds of them spread in all directions with the occasional stone building that probably housed the nobles in olden days. The dirt streets were empty. Meager lights shone through many of the windows and barking dogs could be heard here and there. Voices raised in anger, pain or sorrow could be heard on the night air. Everywhere lay misery. It hung heavy in the air.
They looked at each other grimly. They had to fix this quickly before people died of disease, starvation, injury, or each other in their anger and fear.
Picking a direction, they hurried through the unfamiliar landscape. Soon, they reached where they thought the Enforcer Building had been. In its place was another stone building that looked like a miniature castle.
They hid behind a small copse of trees that they had discovered were scattered throughout the ‘city’ and watched. The ‘castle’ had torches burning at the front gates and on the ramparts above. There they got their first glimpse of Pastmaster’s guards. Gargoyles! Ugly, grey stone like creatures only about three feet tall with wings. They few around the top of the castle or landed and sat on the ramparts.
“Oh, this is not good!” T-Bone muttered softly.
The others could only agree. How were they supposed to get close, let alone enter the building.
“Let’s try the rear of the building,” Feral suggested.
Not having any better ideas, they nodded and moved off carefully, staying close to the building and trees for cover. It took them a good fifteen minutes to get to the other side. The Gargoyles were there but not as many.
“We’re going to have to cause a small diversion. It can’t be too big or we’ll attract too much attention. Just enough to draw these things away for a few minutes,” Razor said.
“What do you suggest? Got something on you?” Feral asked.
“Hmm, maybe… I’ve got it! I’ll use a small missile to break a large branch on that tree over there; that should bring them running to check it out but not cause any suspicions,” Razor whispered excitedly. “As soon as they do, we run to the wall where that unlighted window is located. Jump on T-Bone’s back, Feral, and we’ll use our grappling lines to get up and in quickly.”
“Sounds like a good plan. Be ready to run when it falls,” T-Bone warned, preparing himself.
Razor took aim and shot a missile at the base of a huge limb some twenty feet away. It gave way with a loud crack. The Gargoyles raced over to check it out, and the SWAT Kats and Feral raced, hunched low to the ground, to the wall. Just under the window, Razor and T-Bone shot their grappling lines. Feral wrapped himself around T-Bone, and they were whisked upward. Luckily, it was wide or they would have had a problem going up at the same time. Feral climbed up over T-Bone’s head and went into a roll, jumping to his feet quickly followed by the SWAT Kats climbing in the window. Their luck was still with them. The room was empty.
Searching the room for a moment, they discovered some clothing hanging on hooks on a wall. To their relief there were some cloaks as well. Putting them on, they felt better about being able to go unnoticed.
Razor opened the door slowly and looked out. The corridor was empty, and they slipped out and stood for a moment to decide which direction to go. Listening carefully, they heard a mutter of voices coming from one end. Trotting quickly, they reached a staircase leading down.
The voices came from below, so they went down the stairs swiftly and halted at the bottom to peek around an archway that lead into a huge room. Wooden tables were against one wall near a huge fireplace and at one of the tables were enforcers. Feral let out a sigh of relief, but he didn’t step out just yet. They carefully looked around and up for any hidden guards they might have missed and found a huge stone guardian at a door leading out.
“Crud! How do we take that thing out without bringing all the calvary down on us,” T-Bone hissed in annoyance.
“We’ve got to get one of my enforcers to come over here and talk to us. It’s the only way we’re going to know what’s going on, and maybe they’ve seen these things weaknesses,” Feral hissed back.
“I guess we have to wait until one of them needs to use the bathroom,” T-Bone said sourly.
Feral just shrugged his shoulders while Razor continued to study the guard. It seemed like forever, but it had only been ten minutes when an enforcer got up and stretched. He made for the doorway they were hiding, to their relief.
They stepped back into the shadow of the stairs. The enforcer wasn’t really paying much attention when he nearly walked right into them. T-Bone snatched him and covered his mouth before he could cry out. Feral stepped in front of him and watched the trooper’s eyes widen in relieved surprise.
Feral gestured for T-Bone to release the tom then signaled they should go back up the stairs before speaking. Though he was obviously burning to speak, the officer held his peace until it was safe enough for them to talk.
“Commander! Sir, you’re alive!” the officer blurted, but kept his voice low.
“Yes. We were sent into the past and only just managed to return. What’s been going on?” Feral demanded softly.
“Well, sir, when you and the SWAT Kats disappeared, Lt Commander Steele tried to take out Pastmaster but failed miserably because the sorcerer had brought in dragons and those stone flying things as well as a few of those big stone guards. Soon, the city changed around us, and things went from bad to worse. We had no weapons, no modern anything. We put up all the katizens with children here that lived nearby – there’s plenty of room – and the injured and sick, but there isn’t much we can do for them because we have no medical supplies. Food and water is supplied by Pastmaster’s guards twice a day, ” he told his Commander quickly.
“Have you seen any weaknesses in Pastmaster’s guards?” Razor asked him.
“The Gargoyles sleep during the day as do the stone guards. As soon as the sun comes up, they freeze. Unfortunately, we discovered that they are replaced by a magical barrier. The gap between them freezing and the barrier going up is seconds,” the officer said glumly.
“Is there anyway to destroy them?” Razor persisted.
“Well, yeah! When they first showed up and before all our weapons disappeared, our lasers and missiles could shatter them. Even a sonic boom from our jets could do it. Obviously, it’s why he got rid of them so quickly. A lot of enforcers died when they fell from the air when their aircraft vanished. Even their parachutes didn’t save them because the dragons toasted them before they could land,” he said with angry sorrow.
“My niece… Lt Feral… is she…?” Feral asked hesitantly, afraid of the answer.
“Oh, she’s okay, sir,” he answered quickly. “She’s upstairs on the ramparts watching the Gargoyles.”
“Would you go up and get her? Then, I want you to gradually ask all the officers to pretend to go to bed. Will that cause any suspicions?” Feral ordered but asked in case this would be a problem.
The officer frowned, “I’ll go get the Lieutenant, sir, but it’s been our habit to stay up and not go to bed until dawn, and these things know that.”
“Ahh, alright, just get my niece for now, then go back to your table like you’re supposed to and say nothing yet,” Feral ordered him.
“Yes sir.” He saluted and raced up the stairs and disappeared.
“Well, not as bleak as we thought. All we have to do is destroy Pastmaster’s guards on this building. Wait until nightfall when the barrier falls and arm up your best sharpshooters with the weapons we have and get Pastmaster’s watch to undo all this,” T-Bone said with grin.
“Except that we can’t utilize the watch to make it undo the spell he cast!” Feral said bluntly.
T-Bone’s smile vanished, and he growled, “Then what’s the point of trying?”
“I didn’t say the idea didn’t have merit, only that we need to know how to return the city to normal,” Feral said in annoyance.
“Ms. Briggs!” Razor blurted. “She’s a descendent of Queen Callista. She should be able to use the watch. That’s if we can find out what spell he used. I have a bad feeling she is Pastmaster’s prisoner. The only good luck to that is she may have heard the spell,” Razor said, trying to be upbeat.
“Well, then it looks like we are going to storm the tower.” Feral sighed. He didn’t have a chance to say more when the sound of running footsteps and a body throwing itself at him took his attention.
“Oh God! Uncle, it’s you!” Felina’s voice was choked with relieved emotion.
For once, not holding back, Feral hugged his niece tightly. So very glad that each was alive.
The SWAT Kats politely stayed silent during the reunion. The guard smiled then made his face flat again to head out to the tables.
Feral brought Felina up to date then he discussed what he had in mind for storming Pastmaster’s castle. “You two should distract the Pastmaster, while I and my troops sneak in through the door and come up behind him.”
“That should work. Lieutenant? Is Ms. Briggs in Pastmaster’s paws?” Razor asked.
“Yes, and so is the Mayor, Ann Gora, Dr. Sinean and the city council,” she said grimly.
“Any word on where Professor Hackle is?” he asked.
She frowned and looked surprised. “No. I have no idea if he’s alright or not.”
“You know, it’s quite possible he wasn’t affected by this spell. I think he may be at the limit as was our base. He has an armory of weapons he’s invented,” Razor said excitedly.
Feral’s eyes widened with hope. “Then, all we need to do is see if he is still in operation and arm all my enforcers.”
“Okay, I think we have a functioning plan. First, we destroy the guards here just before nightfall so that when Pastmaster’s magical barrier drops, they will be destroyed and, hopefully, he won’t notice immediately. Have your troops evacuate the katizens here and herd them into the forest as far as they can and have them hide. When Pastmaster finds out his guards are gone, he’ll come looking. He’s usually connected to his magical constructs; that’s why we can’t leave them here to be harmed. Now, while that is being done, T-Bone will fly you two to Professor Hackle’s and hope he’s alright and get the weapons. Meanwhile, I’ll take the hoverkat to the Tower. When Pastmaster leaves, I’ll try and slip in and set a trap. If it doesn’t work of course, we’ll go with your original plan, keep him busy and you try to take the watch from him. At least we’ll get two attempts,” Razor said as he laid their plans and pitfalls out.
“No way should you go alone. I’ll go with you and cover your back,” Felina insisted.
They looked at her for a moment, then Feral nodded his head. “She’s right, for you to succeed, you’ll need someone else there to help. No argument! Now, what kind of trap did you have in mind?” he asked.
“Netting him would have been my first choice, but he could use his watch to remove it, so a tarpedo pinning him thoroughly to a wall should keep him from using it. It’s very gooey and messy. I’ll need to set up a trip wire with the missile to explode when he hits it,” Razor told him.
“Well, all that’s left is to wait till dawn to get started,” T-Bone said, “and that’s about four more hours away. What do you want to do until then?”
“Why not come to my room and we’ll trade information?” Felina suggested.
“Sounds like a good idea; nothing we can do right now. Hope no one finds the hoverkat and jet in the woods while we’re stuck in here,” T-Bone said in concern as they followed Felina up the stairs.
“No chance of that, T-Bone. There is a curfew. No one out after dark. The katizens are only allowed to move around to hunt for food and firewood except for us,” Felina told them as they went down a hallway and reached a heavy door that she opened and revealed a bunch of chairs and a line of wooden beds filled with hay for sleeping.
They sat down and began telling Felina about their time in the past, and she told them what life had been like for her and the city the past week.
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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.