Chance couldn’t remember when he’d pushed his body this hard before. The rest of the day, with only two one hour breaks, was spent under his Uncle Conall’s tutelage. It had been thoroughly grueling and, as he dragged himself back upstairs, he didn’t have the energy to eat much less take a shower.
When Jake saw the shape his partner was in, he winced in sympathy but still forced Chance to eat a sandwich before allowing him to collapse fully clothed to his bed, asleep before he hit the pillow.
For the next three days the routine would be the same except, by the third day, Chance was able to withstand more and more use of magic without becoming completely exhausted. By the fourth day, his uncle had a word with him.
“My prince,” he said quietly, halting their latest workout.
“You have done exceptionally well for a beginner, and I’m well pleased. There is much more to learn, but you do have that serious Fremlin problem to deal with. Since you now have the stamina built up, I feel you are capable of dealing with it tomorrow morning,” Conall said, a pleased smile on his lips.
“Really?” Chance said, surprised and pleased by Conall’s evaluation. When his uncle nodded, he asked, “Could we go through it a few times more….. just so I feel competent with the spell casting?”
“Of course, a wise decision,” Conall said warmly. “Then proceed with your casting, and I will monitor your accuracy. Begin!” he commanded.
Chance nodded, took a proper stance and raised his paws, palms outward. In slow careful fashion he pronounced each word of the spell precisely. In moments, his paws began to glow. As he spoke each word, the bluish-white glow grew brighter and brighter until Chance was nearly hidden by the incandescence of it. After the last word was spoken, he kept control, not releasing it.
His Uncle Conall watched him closely and forced the tom to hold the spell for three minutes before giving him the signal to cancel the spell.
Taking a deep breath, Chance concentrated on pulling the energy from the spell back into himself then grounding by sending it through the earth beneath him. The glow vanished with a soft pop, leaving Chance limp with relief; holding the spell without releasing it was tough.
“Very good, my prince. When you prepare to use this, you will be pouring a lot of energy into it to clear away all the Fremlins that are most likely swarming your Enforcer Headquarters. Is this the only place infested?” he asked.
“As far as we know,” Chance nodded. “When they first arrived, they caused havoc everywhere but since then, it seems their orders were to take our the military force in our city, so they’ve congregated there. Jake had made sure our equipment has been kept protected as best he can, and I’d like to think my own presence has been a deterrent to them.”
“You would be right about that, my prince. From the day in the park when you were revealed, they would have sensed you and avoided you at all costs,” Conall concurred. “Very well, since you’ve told me this is a very large building, let’s work on speeding up your spell casting so the Fremlins don’t try to distract or kill you while you’re trying to cast it.”
“That certainly wouldn’t be good,” Chance grimaced as he prepared to practice the spell however many times it would take for him to know the spell as quick he thought it.
When he was done for the day and everything in his body was exhausted, he went back upstairs and flopped onto the couch. Jake came up from the garage and laid a couple boxes of pizza on the table with three cans of milk and a large bottle of water.
“Here you go, buddy. The two milks and water are yours since I know you’re really dehydrated now,” he said as he plopped down nearby and grabbed some food. “So, how’s the training going?” he asked.
“Well…… my uncle says I’m getting really good despite having to do what amounts to years of training in just days. He says I’m ready to rid the city of Fremlins. I asked him to give me a refresher just so I’m really familiar with it, and I’m glad we did because I was still too slow casting it. By the time we stopped I only had to think the spell to cast it. So, tomorrow I’m going to Enforcer Headquarters and do it.” Chance sighed as he picked up a large slice of pizza and took a big bite from it.
Jake eyed him in pleased surprise. “Wow! That’s great news! I’ve been listening to the enforcer band, and Feral’s just going nuts trying to keep anything running with those things around.”
“Yeah, I know….. hey…… can you get me the phone? I want to give Feral a heads up about tomorrow,” the tabby said.
“Sure…..” Jake got up and grabbed the phone from the kitchen, handing it to Chance as he returned to his seat.
After dialing Feral’s private number he’d given them, Chance listened to the ring for a couple of minutes before a harried sounding Commander answered.
“Commander…… T-Bone here. I’m calling to let you know I’ll be at your building first thing in the morning to get rid of your Fremlin problem.”
“Finally! Those damn things have made us completely helpless, and it hasn’t taken long for the small fry criminals to catch on. I’ve been waiting for the bigger fish to learn of it and take us down,” Feral said grimly, relief lacing his voice.
Chance grimaced, “Sorry it took me so long, but spell casting is not a walk in the park and I had to build my stamina to do something on such a large scale. My uncle says I’m ready to do this. I’d come tonight, but I’ve been utilizing too much energy in my practice of the spell. When I’m fresh in the morning, you should be completely free within an hour,” he promised.
“I’m sure we can keep it together a few hours longer since we know we’ll be getting relief soon,” Feral said dryly. “I’ll be waiting for you on the flight line in the morning.”
“Right, see you then,” Chance acknowledged then hung up. “Huh! It feels weird to have Feral be so cooperating when it concerns us, but since I’m the reason its all happening in the first place and it’s magic involved……. I can hardly blame him. He sounded really relieved to hear from me, so things must be really bad.”
“Yeah, they most definitely are, and he’s right about the omegas. This would be the perfect time for them except the Fremlins tricks are a detriment to some except for Viper. He’s the one I’m truly concerned about,” Jake said gravely.
“Uhmph! Well, we can only hope that mutant lizard holds off a bit longer,” the tabby said then groaned as he got to his feet. “I’m hitting the hay. See you in the morning, buddy.”
“Okay, sleep well, Chance,” Jake said.
He watched a little TV then cleaned up their mess before going off to bed himself. Tomorrow should be interesting.
By eight o’clock in the morning, both males were up eating breakfast….. Jake making sure Chance had plenty of energy food on board to get him through the workout he was going to get once he cast the spell. By eight-thirty, they were airborne and heading for Enforcer Headquarters.
Within minutes of closing the distance to the flight line, Razor sent a radio call warning of their arrival. The tower gave them clearance and notified Commander Feral of their imminent touch down.
The huge tom was waiting when the Turbokat landed not far from the hangar doors, touching down smoothly. T-Bone shutdown the engines and popped the canopy. He and Razor leaped down to the ground and began to move toward Feral, who was walking toward them.
Suddenly, T-Bone froze then whirled in his tracks, raising his paw and firing a burst of energy back toward the Turbokat. In the flare of the spell, several nasty looking things appeared, screaming then popping out of existence.
Scowling, T-Bone turned back around to the open mouthed surprise of Feral and his enforcers standing near the hangar doors and watching, as well as his partner.
He shrugged self consciously, saying, “I sensed them sneaking up on the jet.”
“Wow!” Razor said.
“Kat’s Alive! That was a spell you cast? I didn’t hear you say anything,” Feral said in stunned amazement.
“Uh, well that was what all the practice was for, so I could cast the spell without actually speaking it aloud. Uncle Conall was surprised as well. He said only the most powerful of them could send a voiceless spell,” the burly tom said, slightly embarrassed.
Feral just blinked at the tom. “Well, damn, I guess we should count ourselves lucky you are that powerful because this isn’t a small building,” he managed to say.
“Yeah, I know. It’s going to take a sustained spell casting to do this. However, before I do this, you need to insure no one is in the building. If those things have loosened anything or are in the process of doing that, when they are banished, anything could fall and cause harm,” T-Bone warned.
Frowning, Feral shook his head unhappily. “I have prisoners in the cell block, should they be removed?”
It was T-Bone’s turn to frown. “I don’t know what to tell you, Commander. That’s your call.”
Feral sighed and thought a moment before pulling his radio out and calling dispatch. “Institute evacuation alpha asap,” he ordered.
Moments later, a loud klaxon went off, and soon the sidewalk around the building began to fill with all the personnel of Enforcer Headquarters as well as its auxiliary building in the second tower. It took more than thirty minutes for both buildings to be cleared out and for search teams to insure no one was left inside.
Huddled together with a ring of guards were the handful of prisoners that had been in the cell block, one of them was Hard Drive, who watched what was going on with intent eyes.
Traffic had been halted a block away in all directions of the site. Feral, who had remained on the flight line while his building was evacuated, received the all clear.
“So, are you ready to get started?” he asked.
“You staying, I take it?” T-Bone asked as he flexed his body to loosen his muscles for the effort.
Feral just nodded. T-Bone nodded back and gestured for the two to stay back from him as he moved to stand in the center of the flight line.
Razor and Feral watched as T-Bone raised both of his paws and began to glow. The two quickly had to cover their eyes as the tom became too bright to see. Suddenly, the glow grew outward from T-Bone and began to spread over everything.
For Razor and Feral, it felt like a sweep of warmth had been pushed through them before moving on. They found they could see again, but all they saw was T-Bone standing with his eyes closed, paws out, palms facing outward and unmoving but their fur rose from something they couldn’t see and stayed that way for the length of the spell.
It made them both feel uneasy. Feral particularly began to feel uncomfortable, causing him to shiver and swallow nervously as the energy T-Bone’s spell was casting reacted with something inside himself. The sensation continued on for more than thirty minutes.
Finally, it stopped, and T-Bone collapsed to his knees and paws as he panted for air. Razor raced to his friend’s side as Feral moved at a more sedate pace to join them.
“Were you successful?” he asked once he reached their side.
“Have to check first…… give me a moment……” T-Bone panted, moving to a seated position.
“That spell sure felt weird as it passed through me,” Razor commented.
Feral eyed the smaller SWAT Kat speculatively. “How did it feel to you?” he asked slowly.
Surprised, Razor eyed Feral questioningly but answered readily enough, “It felt like I was being immersed in hot water, but my fur rose as if I’d been subjected to static electricity. And you?”
Feral grimaced unhappily. “I felt warmth too, but I got the sensation of being tasted by something. It was unpleasant and wouldn’t leave me alone until the spell ended,” he admitted.
T-Bone blinked in surprise and stared up at Feral with a considering look. “Tasted huh? Hmm….” the tabby raised a paw and sent out a small tendril of energy toward the huge tom.
Feral gasped and stepped backward, trying to escape the unpleasant sensation that spread suddenly all over his body. “Stop it!” he barked angrily.
T-Bone ended his magical touch immediately and frowned. He climbed slowly to his feet and studied Feral seriously. “Easy, Commander. This needs to be investigated, but right now, let me check the building. I suggest you prepare yourself for feeling my magical signature through you again, but I’ll be brief,” he promised as he raised his paws again.
Nothing seemed to happen visually, except for Feral feeling that odd sensation again, then moments later, T-Bone nodded in satisfaction and relaxed, and the sensation the big tom was feeling ended as well.
“Your building is clean, so you can have everyone return and clean up any mess that’s been left,” he told the Commander.
“Good!” Feral sighed in relief then pulled his radio and gave the all clear. When he received an acknowledgment, he clicked off then turned back to T-Bone, wanting to ask more about why he had reacted the way he did to the burly tom’s magic, but suddenly his radio chimed with an emergency.
“Commander, Hard Drive is making an escape!” the dispatcher shouted.
Hissing angrily, Feral went to the edge of the building and saw a group of enforcers running after someone, most likely Hard Drive. They watched to see if the numerous troops chasing would catch the criminal, but Hard Drive was fleet of foot and was using innocent bystanders and other things to block his pursuers. He made it into a store and vanished.
Behind Feral, the Turbokat lifted off the flight line and took off after the running pack. It took them only seconds before they reached the building Hard Drive had run into and waited at the rear and, sure enough, the Kat appeared and raced down the alley, trying to put distance between himself and his pursuers.
It was then Razor made the criminal’s race for freedom very short as he got Hard Drive in his sights and shot a spider chain missile, which neatly caught the culprit quickly.
“Bingo!” Razor crowed as Hard Drive hung below their jet tangled in the net.
“Great shooting, buddy. Now let’s get this guy back to the enforcers,” T-Bone cheered, steering the jet back the way they’d come.
Hovering over the flight line some minutes later, Razor released the net so their prisoner dropped the short distance to the ground. Enforcers hurried forward and took Hard Drive into custody. The SWAT Kats were about to leave when they received a radio call.
“SWAT Kats, please land. We still have something to discuss,” Feral told them.
“Huh? What could he want now?”
“Guess we better see, buddy. He’s been fair with us of late,” Razor told his partner.
Sighing unhappily, T-Bone returned to the flight line and touched down. Opening the canopy, they both jumped down. Razor secured the jet before they joined Feral, who was waiting for them.
“Come to my office and we’ll talk privately,” Feral rumbled, turning and leading the way.
As they walked through the flight ready area and into the main building, they could see the damage the Fremlins had left behind. Grimacing, the SWAT Kats knew this was going to take a while to clean up, putting the enforcers in a dangerous position should any of their enemies decided to attack now.
“What’s your estimated time for being operational again?” Razor asked in concern as they made for the elevators.
Feral eyed Razor as he pressed the button for the elevator, but before he could say anything, the elevator doors opened to no elevator car. They blinked then leaned in and saw the car at the bottom of the shaft.
“Woah!” T-Bone whistled.
“Damn it!” Feral growled then headed for the stairs. “In answer to your question, most likely four hours for the most immediate things and twelve to be completely up and running again.”
“Damn, that’s not good!” Razor commented unhappily as they walked up the stairs, damage here was minimal.
“That’s an understatement,” Feral rumbled unhappily.
Except for a commiserating sigh, the SWAT Kats said nothing more as they walked to Feral’s offices one floor down from the flight line. Privately, T-Bone was glad they hadn’t been at the bottom floor; he was just too pooped right now for such a trek.
Minutes later, they were in Feral’s spacious office. He ordered some bottled water for T-Bone as he could see the SWAT Kat was looking a bit peaked after his heavy use of magic.
When the secretary brought him two bottles, T-Bone drank one down immediately. He sighed in relief and began drinking the second one much slower.
“Thank you! I get really dehydrated doing magic.”
“I thought so,” Feral nodded as he made for his desk and sat down only to fall to the floor. Hissing in fury, he got to his feet and stared down at his dismantled chair. Cursing under his breath, he moved to the couch against the wall but paused and eyed it suspiciously, letting Razor test it first before daring to sit down again.
The SWAT Kats wisely didn’t laugh, even if it had been funny. Nothing was too funny about how much damage the Fremlins had done during their time here.
“What a pain in the tail those things were,” Razor said, shaking his head.
“You’ll get no argument from me. So, the reason I’ve asked you back is twofold. First, I want to know what you meant by that comment you made earlier about my reaction to your magic and, secondly, we need to discuss the threat from the portal opening again,” Feral said gravely.
T-Bone sighed and set his empty bottle down and returned Feral’s grave look.
“You felt my magic differently than Razor did. His reaction is normal for the average non-magical Kat. However, your response was due to you possessing a magical core. It’s not the same as mine because I’m not from here, and that is why your body objected to it so strongly. I’m willing to bet Ms. Briggs might get the same reaction. It’s also the same reason the Pastmaster won’t show up here right now,” he explained.
All Feral could do was gape at the SWAT Kat….. completely shocked that he could be magical too.
“I have a magical core?” he finally managed to say in a hushed voice.
T-Bone shrugged. “My Uncle Conall told me that many present day Kats possess a magical core gained from their ancestral lineage. It doesn’t mean they can use it like a real wizard; their cores are dormant. My kind tried not to use any magic around those that weren’t practitioners because it could cause misunderstandings and fear,” he explained.
“So, my abilities are dormant?” Feral said, feeling relief at that.
“Well, not like others. You seemed to be a bit more sensitive than you should be. Sorry, I’m not experienced enough at this to know what’s going on with you. Only someone with more experience can answer that for you. It may have to wait until this war is over, Commander,” T-Bone said sympathetically.
All Feral could do was scowl at that but, honestly, he really didn’t want to know anymore about it. It gave him the willies.
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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.