Title: TIS THE SEASON FOR CARING
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
Author’s Note: This is my holiday entry for the DeviantArt, SWAT Kat Fan Club.
It was soo cold, and she was terrified, but for the sake of her son’s safety and her own, she had fled with only the clothes on their backs and a blanket she had grabbed that morning after he had left for work. She had fled to this place where she’d sought refuge years earlier. The door was rusted, and she only managed to get it open far enough to slip in. She tucked her son close to her and wrapped the blanket around them. She prayed her body heat would keep him alive. She didn’t know what else to do. Time passed as her son slept; she was so tired and cold… it was hard to stay awake… Too soon she succumbed to the bitter temps…
The young kitten woke and was frightened by his mother’s stillness. He shook her hard, but she didn’t wake… He cried in terror, but there was no one to hear.
They had chased Viper into these cold tunnels under the city after the mutant kat had stolen a new chemical formula from the BioTech Labs.
The enforcers led by Feral were converging on another area not far from them.
The reason for the two prong chase was the formula was extremely deadly in its present form already, no telling just how much worse it could become in Dr. Viper’s clutches.
So, here they were, trying to track the criminal and taking out his mutant plant things on the way.
Razor was becoming extremely pissed. It was very cold in the tunnels; his feet and paws were freezing. This was not how he had wanted to spend the day before Christmas. He still had a little shopping to do, and, instead, here he was chasing the slimy lizard through the sewage tunnels under the city. Adding to his frustration, his scanner could not pick up the creep since it was a heat seeker and Viper was cold blooded, so they were being forced to follow the path of mutant plantimals, hoping to get a glimpse of the lizard kat.
“T-Bone, look out!” he shouted, firing a tarpedo to the right of his partner as a slimy tentacle tried to snatch the tabby.
“Thanks, buddy,” T-Bone grunted as they kept running ahead.
Finally, as they turned yet another corner in this endless maze of tunnels, they ran into Viper running back their way. Down the other end, came the shouts of the enforcers. They had the mutant kat trapped between them.
Grinning triumphantly, T-Bone fired a net missile toward the oncoming criminal, dropping him to the cold, wet surface of the tunnel floor.
As Feral, with his enforcers at his back, ran up, Razor was just retrieving the flask from Dr. Viper’s paws.
“We’ll take that, SWAT Kat!” the Commander snarled, unhappy the vigilante pair had done the enforcer’s job again.
“Of course, just don’t drop it!” Razor said derisively as he handed the flask to the Hazmat team member who took it carefully and placed it into a containment box.
Feral growled irritably at him as he signaled his enforcers to haul Viper away. The SWAT Kats started to leave when Feral suddenly stepped in their way.
“You hotshots could have endangered the entire city chasing after Viper without trying to secure the flask first. You were just lucky he hadn’t dropped it. We didn’t need your help and had the Hazmat team standing by to handle the dangerous material,” Feral said furiously.
“Come on, Feral! You would have been chasing him forever if we hadn’t trapped him between us, then where you would be? I’ll tell you!” T-Bone snapped, shoving a finger into Feral’s chest to make his point. “You would have lost him, and we would be looking at some kind of nightmare virus that lizard might have cooked up, so count your blessings we were on hand to stop him quickly.”
Feral’s face reddened, and he took a breath to blast the impertinent tabby with a fiery retort when Razor interrupted.
“Silence! Listen!” he snapped sharply, turning his head from side to side, trying to catch the sound of distress he’d heard somewhere nearby.
Feral snapped his mouth shut and glared at the smaller of the two vigilantes when he too heard crying. Freezing, all three kats listened hard.
“It sounds like a kitten!” Feral said distractedly, trying to determine exactly where it was coming from. The tunnels made sound echo eerily, making it nearly impossible to tell which direction the noise was really originating from.
“I think it’s coming from down there,” Razor said, starting to head down one of the tunnels at a run.
It was as good a direction as any other, so Feral and T-Bone followed closely on his heels, continuing to try and hear the faint cry.
Razor apparently had been right; the sound of crying got louder as they moved down the dark tunnel.
The three slowed down, straining their ears, then Feral spotted the partly opened door. Hurrying toward it, followed by the SWAT Kats, he reached it and pulled a flashlight from his pocket to shine it inside.
Huddled in a corner was a kitten, about four years old. The little one was pressed against another form covered in a blanket.
Feral pulled hard on the door, making it screech. The kitten shrieked and stared up at the strangers with terror in his tear streaked eyes.
“It’s alright; we’ve come to help you,” Feral said softly, trying to look non-threatening as he slowly approached the frightened kitten.
The kitten clutched the blanket covered figure and shivered. Feral knelt down and gently coaxed him. “It’s okay; who’s that with you?” he asked gently.
Behind him, the SWAT Kats had come in but held back, letting Feral try to comfort the kitten first.
“Mommy won’t wake!” the kitten sobbed.
“Okay, we’ll try and help your mommy. Can I look at her please?” the Commander urged, now very concerned for the still form of the she-kat.
Trembling, the kitten nodded and let Feral touch his mother.
The SWAT Kats very cautiously approached.
Razor knelt down near the bigger tom. “Hey, little guy, my name is Razor. Can I hold you and get you warmer?” he coaxed, concerned the kitten was on the verge of hypothermia.
The kitten stared at the cinnamon tom with wide eyes. “You dressed funny,” he said, eyeing the tom with curiosity though he was shivering a lot.
“Yeah,” Razor agreed with a smile. “So, can I hold you?” he repeated, holding his arms out.
“Okaaay, t..t..t..too cold!” The kitten shuddered, moving into the SWAT Kat’s arms and snuggling close to the warmer body. Razor stood slowly and wrapped his body around the very cold kitten.
Meanwhile, T-Bone moved closer to Feral as he examined the she-kat.
Feral was concerned; the kitten’s mother was still alive but just barely. Thinking fast, he stood up and began opening his coat. He looked over at T-Bone and said urgently, “She’s going hypothermic, but at least she’s still alive. Would you pick her up and help place her inside my coat? We’ve got to get her warm quickly.”
T-Bone nodded without argument and knelt down to pick up the very cold female. Lifting her up gently, he carefully placed her inside the Commander’s coat and helped Feral snuggle her close to his chest, closing the coat so that the big tom’s body heat could try and warm her.
T-Bone then reached down and snagged the blanket, went to his partner and wrapped it around the kitten in Razor’s arms.
“We’d better get them to Megakat Trauma Center fast. The Turbokat is not far,” T-Bone said urgently, leading the way out of the room and back down the tunnel, using his tracking device to find the fastest route to the jet.
Feral didn’t argue as he hugged the female close to him for the quick run back to the outside.
Razor cooed and murmured soothing words to the kitten cradled tightly in his arms as he raced behind the other two.
In very little time they were climbing out of the tunnels with T-Bone helping Feral up the ladder. They quickly boarded the jet. Razor stayed in the cargo hold with the kitten so it could stay near its mother.
Feral stared down at the female in his arms worriedly; she hadn’t stirred, but she was still breathing.
At the hospital, the pair was taken from their rescuers and quickly examined. Feral and the SWAT Kats felt reluctant to leave. They had a need to know what had driven the female to hide in the cold tunnels, risking her life and her son’s. Feral had made it clear to the doctors that he needed to know when the female came around so that he could question her.
He tolerated the SWAT Kats’ presence in the waiting area though he’d be hard pressed to say why he’d let them stay. They paced around without saying anything, each lost in their own thoughts.
A few hours later, a doctor finally came out and told Feral he could speak to her. The SWAT Kats eyed him. Feral thought a moment then signaled they could come along.
The kitten was being cared for by a nurse, so they were able to speak to the female alone.
“Hello, ma’am. I’m Commander Feral, and these are the SWAT Kats. We found you in the tunnels nearly frozen to death. You were very lucky we happened to have been down there chasing a criminal or you would never have been found,” Feral told her seriously.
“My son, Ricky, is he…” She struggled to sit up anxiously.
“Easy, he’s alright. A little cold, but he’s recovering quickly. The nurses are taking care of him next door to you,” Feral soothed her. “Now, could you tell us who you are and why you were hiding in the tunnels?” he asked, taking out his notebook.
The female shrank away, trying to hide in her blankets. Feral frowned, an unpleasant suspicion forming in his mind. Aloud, he tried to reassure the female. “It’s alright; you’re not in trouble. We’re just concerned about you,” he said gently.
“Nnno… he’ll find out… I can’t let him find us… please… we need to leave here and go away…” she stuttered fearfully.
His suspicion was confirmed. This she-kat was most likely in an abusive relationship. It was more important than ever that he find out what was going on. He tried to think of another way to convince the female that she was safe and that he just wanted to help her when a commotion outside the room caught their attention.
Before anyone could react, the door slammed open and an angry powerhouse stormed into the room followed by a concerned doctor and nurse.
“Sir, you can’t just burst in here…,” the doctor tried to reason with the male.
The male paid him no mind and ignored the others in the room as he charged up to the bed and snarled, “What the hell are you doing here? You were supposed to be home fixing dinner and cleaning up that mess you made last night!” He reached down and snatched the female’s arm, yanking her up hard.
Startled at first, the SWAT Kats and Feral hadn’t reacted until the big male yanked the helpless she-kat up by her arm. Growling angrily, Feral snapped a paw out and grabbed the male’s wrist hard, making the tom cry out.
“Let go of her now!” Feral snapped icily.
The male let go, and the female fell back onto the bed, hugging her arm to her chest and crying.
“Who are you and what right do you have to tell me what to do with my own wife?” the male demanded belligerently as he tried to pull his wrist from Feral’s iron grip.
“I’m Commander Feral, Chief Enforcer for this city, and I’m charging you with assault. Just because she’s your wife does not give you the right to treat her that way,” he said, disgusted by the aggressive male.
“You can’t do that… I’ve got rights…” the male spluttered furiously.
“Well, look at it this way… you either go to jail or we’d be happy to take you on a little trip you’ll never forget,” T-Bone hissed coldly, shoving his face close to the assailant.
The male startled at the sight of the powerful pair of vigilantes he hadn’t noticed until now. He paled and stopped struggling against Feral’s grip. Inwardly, Feral was pleased by the SWAT Kat’s effective threat. Outwardly, he presented a stern visage as he released the creep, took out his handcuffs, roughly turned the male around and cuffed his paws together.
Turning to the SWAT Kats, Feral asked gruffly, “Would you mind taking this creep outside and watching him while I speak with her?”
“Sure, be glad to help the law!” Razor said, a cruel smile gracing his lips.
T-Bone roughly grabbed the male by one arm while Razor took the other, and they practically lifted the tom off his feet as they pulled him from the room.
While they were taking care of the husband, the doctor had gone around the bed to check on the wife. Gently examining the injured arm, he found it a bit bruised and strained but otherwise okay. He told her he would get a pain killer and ice pack for her and left with the nurse behind the SWAT Kats and their prisoner.
“Now, ma’am! He won’t be bothering you for a bit, but unless you press charges, he’ll be back,” Feral said quietly to the frightened female.
“I.. I… don’t know what to do anymore…,” she said in a defeated voice.
“Why don’t you start by telling me about yourself and what’s been going on?” Feral coaxed.
He waited patiently while she gathered her courage to tell him a tale he’d heard far too often. It made him angry and sad to know this happened in his city. He wished there was some way to prevent it, but as long as everyone had free will, kats would continue to make bad decisions, causing pain and heartache around them.
Sighing in sympathy, he gently caressed her arm to soothe her when she had finished telling her story. He searched through his mind for a solution. Telling her to not worry and to get some rest, he left the room.
Down the hall in the waiting area, the SWAT Kats waited patiently with the prisoner. Frowning he walked up to them. Studying them a moment, he came to a decision. He moved to the prisoner and undid one of the cuffs then turned and attached the loose cuff to a steam pipe.
“Just stay there and shut up,” Feral warned the kat. “I want to talk to you two,” he said to the SWAT Kats, gesturing them away from the prisoner so that they could speak privately.
Razor and T-Bone traded looks then followed Feral. He spent the next few minutes telling them what was going on. “I need a suggestion as to what to do for her. She can’t go home, that’s clear. I can’t hold that fool very long, and I know she won’t press charges,” he said heavily.
The pair stood tensely for a few minutes, absorbing what Feral had told them and thinking about what could be done for the troubled female.
“I have a suggestion,” Razor said suddenly. “I had the unhappy task of getting involved in something like this with family. The threatened member was taken to another city and placed in a battered she-kat facility that helped her regain her self esteem and trained her for a job. They also helped her get an apartment and a new identity if she wished. I know for a fact that she is very happy and in a new and loving relationship,” he told them.
“That sounds like the perfect solution. This female has no family here. That is one thing the bastard did was to separate her from her support system. Where is this place?” Feral asked, relieved that one of them had a solution. He was heartily tired of losing on cases like this. Too often the female was killed by their mate. He just couldn’t bear to have this happen to this she-kat if he could help it.
“It’s located in the Tamloren Empire,” Razor answered.
“Let’s you and I go talk to her about this. You can tell her more about it, and I can keep her mate out of the way long enough for her to leave if she decides to do it,” Feral said decisively.
“Sure, I’d be happy to,” Razor said.
“I’ll watch the prisoner then,” T-Bone said, heading back to the sulking male.
Feral and Razor went to the she-kat’s room, and Razor gently told her about the sanctuary. She asked a lot of questions and finally…
“It sounds almost too perfect, but I’m willing to take a chance if only to give my son a chance to be happy and safe,” she said in resignation.
“T-Bone and I would be happy to take you there. Do you want to get some of your things?” Razor asked quietly.
“Would you? That would be wonderful… but… when could we do this? Will the doctors let me go?” she asked worriedly.
“I’ll go ask,” Feral told her and left the room. He found the doctor and spoke with him. He was pleased to find out that this doctor knew of the place Razor had mentioned and thought it an excellent idea. He told the Commander that the she-kat needed to be kept warm, but that the facility she was to be taken to could handle her recovery.
“Let me write up my notes for her to take with her. I want her to stay a few hours to recover enough for the trip. How about you come back in about three hours, and I’ll release her?” the doctor asked, pleased his patient would be taken to a safer place. He also was tired of seeing these types of cases, which increased at this time of year.
Pleased, Feral returned to the female’s room. “I have good news. The doctor is also familiar with this place and is happy to release you to them. He’s writing up a release and his notes for you to take with you. Rest for now and, later this afternoon, we’ll take you to your place and help you gather your things, and the SWAT Kats will take you there,” Feral told her.
She smiled, letting grateful tears fall down her cheeks. “I can’t thank you enough for helping me, thank you,” she said gratefully.
“You’re welcome!” Feral said as he and Razor left the room.
Feral reclaimed his prisoner. “I’d like to be in on this little operation. How about I meet you here in about three hours?” Feral asked.
“Sure, no problem. We’ll be here!” T-Bone said quietly. Nodding at the big tom, he and Razor went back to the roof to their jet and left.
Hours later, they met again outside the female’s room. They stepped inside and found her dressed and sitting quietly on the bed, holding her son.
The kitten cried out happily. “There they are, mommy. They the ones who helped you!” he said excitedly.
“Hello, squirt. Glad to see you are alright. We’ve got something for ya!” T-Bone said, presenting a large Teddy Bear to the kitten.
Ricky whooped for joy and clutched the toy tightly to his chest.
“And, I have something for you!” Feral said, handing an envelope to the she-kat.
When she opened it, she gasped at what she saw.
“Ohh… I can’t take this…” she began to object.
“Yes, you can. Everyone donated something for Christmas. We all want you to have a bright new beginning, and this will help,” Feral insisted.
“I… thank you soo very much. It will help a lot,” she said with tears in her eyes as she clutched the envelope full of cash.
“Well, little guy, ready for a trip aboard our jet?” Razor said warmly to Ricky.
“Yeah!” Ricky said happily. He let Razor take him into his arms for the walk up to the roof.
Feral rolled the mother in a wheelchair after them. She was still a bit weak, and it was hospital policy that she not walk out. When they reached the jet, Feral lifted her in his arms and carried her to the jump seat T-Bone lowered for her.
Razor placed the kitten in her arms then strapped them both into their seat. Feral took another seat nearby. They were soon taking off, Ricky squealing his delight and mild fright at being in a jet for the first time.
They landed on the she-kat’s apartment building. While Razor entertained Ricky, Feral, T-Bone and the mother went to her apartment and, with boxes they had brought, helped her pack her personal items. Very soon, they were finished and back in the air.
The flight lasted about an hour. After the novelty wore off, the kitten succumbed to sleep. T-Bone landed the Turbokat on the roof of the facility then stayed with the jet as Feral and Razor carried their charges into the building.
Thirty minutes later, they returned and climbed back in. Feral napped on the way back. The SWAT Kats dropped him off on his flight line at Enforcer Headquarters. Before they could take off, Feral signaled to them. T-Bone shot the canopy back so they could hear him.
“Thank you for a happy resolution of this sad situation. I would have hated to end the year on another unhappy domestic abuse case I know would have gone sour very quickly upon that creep’s release. I like that we won this time, and we made a difference in a pair of lives that otherwise would have perished. Have a Merry Christmas!” he said, smiling.
The SWAT Kats felt surprise and pleasure at the compliment. “Hey, you’re welcome. Glad we could help. Merry Christmas to you too!” T-Bone said, grinning with happiness over a job well done and the astounding thanks from the taciturn Chief Enforcer.
The Christmas spirit was alive and well in Megakat City.
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