Title: BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL
Warnings: Language, eventual implied sex.
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
The Turbokat lifted higher into the sky as they left the chaotic scene at Enforcer Headquarters.
“So, what happened down there, Razor?” T-Bone asked as went into a holding pattern until he knew what they were going to do next.
Razor gave his partner a quick synopsis of what Feral had told him. “We need to patrol the city and see why whoever planned this wanted the enforcers out of the picture,” Razor said grimly.
“Roger, starting a grid pattern,” T-Bone said as he steered the jet toward the north of the city.
Razor turned on all his sensors while T-Bone listened closely to their emergency channels while he flew the Turbokat.
They patrolled the city for more than three hours and found nothing unusual going on. They finally called it a day and returned to the hangar.
“I just don’t understand. Why mess up the computers and force a massive evacuation of Enforcer Headquarters but not take advantage of it?” T-Bone said in confusion as he pulled his G-suit off.
Razor was standing there holding his helmet, deep in thought before he finally moved to change his clothes. “I suspect it was only to push Feral yet again. After all, that is what Nightstalker is trying to do,” he said slowly.
Chance sighed in disgust as he put on his ballcap. “So, more attempts to send Feral closer to his side by releasing the hellkat?”
“Yeah,” Jake said heavily as he made for the ladder to the garage.
“I just wish we could find a way to get back at that creep short of storming hell. I don’t see how we can prevent him from continuing to keep our city in a constant state of war,” Chance said in angry frustration. “He can keep hammering at us with impunity until there’s nothing left or Feral finally succumbs.”
Jake could only nod glumly in agreement.
Across town… on the lower east side…
“This is bad and getting worse as time passes,” a worried old Kat said to a much younger one.
“You are still unable to determine why this is happening now?” the younger asked.
“No. Every time I manage to get a glimpse of the focal point of the disturbance a flash of red sweeps across it,” the oldster said in frustration.
“We already know that it is one of the lords of hell that is causing all the trouble but not why. I’ve tried to use my own scrying stone with the same unfortunate results,” the younger Kat said, equally frustrated. “Grandfather, I know you don’t wish to do this, but we are out of options. The city is being rapidly destroyed. We dare not wait any longer!” the younger Kat urged anxiously.
“They will not believe us! They didn’t during that Madkat fiasco; why should they now?” he grumbled angrily.
“But, you told me that the SWAT Kats listened and that the blond enforcer was not the Chief Enforcer. You do not know how Commander Feral will deal with this. We must try, Grandfather! Many lives depend on it,” the younger said more insistently.
Sighing, the older Kat stared at his granddaughter. “Very well! You are right. There is really no choice. Let’s go!” he said in resignation, closing the shop and heading for his car.
A little later… Enforcer Headquarters…
“Excuse me, Miss. I need to see Commander Feral. It’s of vital importance and concerns what is happening in the city,” the old Kat told Feral’s secretary.
She studied him a moment and the serious female with him and picked up her phone. She spoke for just a few minutes then hung up.
“Go right in, sir; he will see you,” she said politely.
The old Kat bowed to her. “Thank you!” He and his granddaughter went to the heavy door and entered. Before them, across an expanse of floor was a raised pedestal and behind it sat a very big and imposing Kat. His desktop was overflowing with paper, and he looked harried.
The pair quietly walked up to the desk and waited politely. As they stood there, the old Kat felt a familiar prickling sensation run up his spine. He was shocked. He shouldn’t be feeling that here. Before he could gather his wits, the powerful tom looked up and frowned at them.
The golden gaze momentarily paralyzed the two.
“No! It cannot be!” the older Kat blurted in fear and anxiety. He reached within his shirt and quickly brought forth an odd jade crystal and held it out as if it were a shield. “You shall not take us unaware foul creature!” he barked harshly.
Feral blinked in surprise and shock. The jade crystal sent mild shock waves through him, but his hellkat was furious and retreating. That was even more of a shock. He jumped to his feet, which was the wrong thing to do as it made the old Kat hiss and begin chanting. Behind him a young female was also holding a jade crystal and beginning to chant as well.
Confused and truly worried, Feral quickly blurted out, “Wait! I’m not what you think I am. Please listen! I won’t hurt you and I won’t approach.”
The old Kat halted a moment and narrowed his eyes at the big Kat. “Speak quickly and tell me why you are here and why I should not banish you back where you belong,” he said coldly. not taking his eyes off Feral.
Taking a breath and keeping his paws carefully on the desk in front of him, Feral said, “It’s obvious you can detect my true self. I’ve never heard of mortals being able to do that. I’m a halfbreed. My mother is angelic and my father a hellkat that raped her. I have never been to hell. I was born and raised in Sanctuary. Your jade crystal has actually sent my hellkat side hiding for which I am very grateful to you.”
“Grandfather! He is the focal point. He is who the demon lord seeks!” his granddaughter said excitedly.
Her grandfather slowly lowered the crystal but didn’t put it away. “Amazing… I’ve heard of halfbreeds but had never met one,” he said in surprise. “That explains why you didn’t cower when I raised the banishing crystal,” he added thoughtfully. “We must talk, sir. But, holy ground would be a safer place for this conversation.”
“I agree. Let me put away the more sensitive reports and we will be off,” Feral said quickly. He began to put certain files into a drawer of his desk. His mind was whirling with confusion. ‘Who were these people and how did they sense who he was,’ was the foremost thought in his mind as he locked up everything he had to secure.
Done, he carefully came down from his desk and walked toward the door for his coat. The pair watched him closely and politely followed.
“Trudy, I will be gone for a while. I can’t tell you how long. Reschedule anything I have this afternoon. If I don’t get back, I’ll see you in the morning,” Feral told his secretary on his way past.
“Yes, sir. Can’t you be reached on phone or radio?” she asked.
“No! Unless it’s world shattering, I’ll be out of contact,” he said firmly.
That done, he led the way to the elevators. None of them spoke during the whole trip through Enforcer Headquarters and out to his cruiser.
“I have the perfect place where we can talk safely. Did you drive?” Feral asked.
“Yes. We will follow you!” the old Kat said quietly.
Feral nodded and climbed into his vehicle and waited until he saw a little car come up beside him. He acknowledged the pair then pulled out and led the way to his sanctuary in this mortal world.
“He was telling the truth, Grandfather,” the young female said quietly as they pulled up in front of an old Catholic church.
“It seems so!” the old Kat murmured.
Feral waited for them to join him then they walked up the steps and into the church. Feral made his way down the sacristy and stopped at a door. He knocked.
A priest opened the door and nodded in recognition of the Commander.
“Father Sebastian, is there a private place where I and these people can talk or are the rooms on either side of my room empty?” Feral asked quietly.
“The rooms beside yours are currently empty, my son, and will be so for some hours,” Father Sebastian told him.
“Thank you!” Feral said in relief.
“You are most welcome,” the priest smiled warmly then closed his door.
Feral led the way back to the main chapel and then down a carpeted hallway. He used a key and opened a door partway down the hall.
“You have a room here?” the old Kat said in shock.
“Just acquired last night courtesy of Father Sebastian. He discovered by accident what I was and offered his assistance that included providing me a place to sleep free of the dreams Nightstalker has been tormenting me with lately,” Feral said grimly as he gestured toward the bed for his guests to sit on while he took the simple wooden chair.
“So, that is the name of the demon lord that dares to cause so much trouble. It is typical of him. I have had the misfortune of encountering his previous wickedness a decade ago. He nearly destroyed the small town I lived in. My uncle and I had summoned an angelic defender to drive him off,” the old Kat said.
“You have not told me who you are and how it is you know these things,” Feral said.
“My apologizes. Until we were certain what you were, we never give our identities away. Names have power in the wrong paws,” the old Kat said simply. “My name is Lorimer Katzmer, and this is my granddaughter, Rowena Tangier. I own an antiquity’s store on the lower east side called Katzmer’s Curios,” he told Feral.
Feral blinked in surprise. “Aren’t you the one who originally had the kat-in-the-box that Madkat used on his rampage?”
“Unfortunately, yes. When Lenny Ringtail stole it from me, I tried to warn your enforcers but was ignored,” Katzmer said bitterly.
“That would have been my second in command. I had been captured by Madkat. I’m sorry for your treatment by that idiot. I’m glad the SWAT Kats listened to you, or we would never have been freed,” Feral said humbly.
“You are most welcome, Commander. Now tell us how you came to be here and what you know of Lord Nightstalker’s plans,” Katzmer requested.
“I became restless in Sanctuary, so one day I simply left. I came here when I was quite young and entered the enforcer academy. I was finally happy and enjoyed what I was doing. I didn’t mind the restrictions on my abilities or living among mortals. It was exciting and gave me a fulfillment I’d never known,” Feral said quietly.
“That all changed when I found myself under attack. I thought it was because of Dark Kat’s torture. He had captured me and was touching my feet with high-powered electrodes. I held out for a couple of hours until he captured the SWAT Kats then upped the amperage. I was on the verge of dying when the hellkat burst free. It tore Dark Kats minions to shreds then killed the omega. It was then it noticed the SWAT Kats hanging helplessly from the ceiling. That is when I fought back. I forced it to release the pair from their chains and lower them to the floor and, when he’d done that, I forced him back inside,” Feral related quietly.
“Before that incident, no one knew of my existence. They only saw a large tom. But, after I killed Dark Kat, the SWAT Kats saw me change and saw my mother when she arrived to speak with me. She told me I needed to surround myself with friends and to get a lover. After that, Ms. Briggs, the Deputy Mayor, witnessed the change but helped send it back with her touch. She contacted Dr. Sinian, Director of the Megakat History Museum, to find out what was going on. When Ms. Briggs took me aside to talk with me about her findings and to find out more from me, Father Sebastian found out here in the church where we were holding our discussion. According to Ms. Briggs, I’ve unwittingly surrounded myself with the honest, moral individuals I needed to protect me from Nightstalker’s encroachment and keeping the hellkat under control,” Feral finally finished.
“As for what he wants, Ms. Briggs told me he uses halfbreeds like me as a battery to increase his powers so that he can take over the other demon lords.” He sighed in frustration.
“A lot has happened to you in a very short time, Commander. What I don’t understand is why this Lord Nightstalker had not tried to take you before… why now?” Katzmer asked, absorbing the information Feral had related.
“I don’t know really. I can guess it could be I wasn’t old enough or powerful enough yet and now I am,” Feral said, shrugging his shoulders in uncertainty.
“That is a reasonable assumption. In answer to your other question, my family are demon hunters. We have hunted and banished demons for generations. Now I need to ask, have you sought angelic assistance to rid the city of Nightstalker’s interference?” Katzmer asked seriously.
“I hadn’t had a chance since Ms. Briggs brought it up yesterday. I guess since I’m in a church, I should make the attempt. I’m not well liked or tolerated by the angelic defenders, so I’m not certain of my reception,” Feral said, not very happy to be doing this. The defenders found his very existence an affront and did their best to ignore him.
“Then, perhaps a formal plea with the help of others would help your cause, Commander. Rowena and I would be willing to aid you. Perhaps you should also ask for Father Sebastian’s assistance as well,” Katzmer suggested.
Feral stared at them in astonishment. It seemed he had found another pair of protectors to add to his growing circle of friends. “Uh… well thank you… I appreciate your offer, and you’re probably right… the more pleas from devout supplicants there are, the more likely they will ignore what I am and heed us,” he said thoughtfully. He rose from his seat and led the way back out into the church. They went back to see Father Sebastian. Feral explained what was needed.
“I would be honored to aid you in your request to the most divine for their assistance, Commander. I suggest we hold a small service then make our request,” he said quietly.
“Whatever you think best, Father,” Feral agreed.
Feral, Katzmer and Rowena waited in the pews patiently while Father Sebastian prepared to perform a service. When he was ready, the Father had them go to their knees behind him. He began the service. It was simple and heartfelt. When it was time to make their request, he had each of them take a lighted candle and had each in turn make their plea.
Feral waited to last to make his request. Allowing the others to be heard first and hopefully the message would have been heard before he made his.
Clearing his throat, he asked in his most humble manner, “Please heed the pleas of these Kats. Our city is under demonic assault. We beg your assistance to stop Lord Nightstalker’s depredations against the innocent of this city in his bid to capture me for his use…” Feral said urgently when a blast of pain struck him.
He cried out and fell backwards, his paws going to his head in anguish. The others were horrified and quickly bent down to hold him. When they did, the pain was banished. He panted and opened his eyes in shocked dismay.
“I’m shut out!! Something prevents me from reaching out to Sanctuary. Let me try to reach my mother,” he said worriedly now that he’d recovered somewhat.
The others looked at him in concern but released him. They stayed close just in case.
Trembling a little still in reaction from before, Feral closed his eyes and concentrated on his mother’s form. He had just succeeded in touching her when a veil of darkness slashed across his mind once more, stabbing him with fire. He screamed. The others quickly wrapped themselves around him and the pain stopped. He whimpered for some minutes before he could finally open his eyes again. Tears fell down his face unheeded.
“I… I touched her then fire stabbed through me, and I lost her again…” he choked in shocked dismay and anguish.
“This is not good!” Katzmer said grimly. “It seems Lord Nightstalker has managed to generate enough power to control your hellkat side enough to block your efforts at calling for help.”
“Then, how do we defeat him without the assistance of the angelic defenders?” Father Sebastian asked in growing concern and fear.
“I don’t know…” Feral said, feeling helpless.
“There is only one way left and you have already begun it,” Katzmer said solemnly.
“Huh! What would that be?” Feral said, confused.
“Your circle of protectors, of course. As well as using your angelic powers more frequently and, lastly, by seeking a lover… someone who can bind your heart to them and keep the darkness out,” Katzmer said as if that were the simplest thing to accomplish.
“Ohh… not you too!” he groaned.
Katzmer eyebrows rose in question.
“Ms. Briggs told me the same thing, but I haven’t even dated in my life. I just haven’t been interested in anyone,” Feral sighed, feeling put upon.
Smiling secretively, Lorimer Katzmer said softly, “Things are coming to you, Commander. I have no doubt that this task will also come to you without you really having to look. It might even be under your very nose right now. Give it a little time. Your circle of friends has come to you over the past few months; this will too.”
Feral just frowned at him as if he was crazy, but Katzmer just continued to smile.
Navigate This Author's Stories
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.