Chance's phone buzzed in his back pocket. The burly tom in a mechanic's overalls straightens up from where he was working on the Cyclotron engine, and palms the phone out of his back pocket to glance at the display. He grins and wipes his hands on a rag before he opens it up. "Yello. T-Bone here."
"Hey, T-Bone," Felina's voice greets him, and he grins even wider.
"Hey! You back home from your appointment now?" he asks.
"Mmmmmhmmmm," Felina replies. The phone is tucked up against her shoulder as she moves around her living room. She shuts the front door forcefully and tosses her coat onto the coat rack.
Chance pauses a moment. "...Well? What'd the surgeon say?" he asks, impatient.
"Got a clean bill of health," she replied proudly. "I'm back to work on Monday."
"Hey! That's great news!" he enthuses, and Jake looks over at him curiously. "It's Felina! She got a good report from the surgeon," he says to him, proud as if he was announcing the birth of his first kit.
"Hey, yeah that's great! Say hi for me," Jake replies, distracted, as he frowns at the seam that just wasn't welding right.
"Razor's happy for you too!" Chance says.
Felina and Jake are both kinda rolling their eyes. Jake flips his welding mask back down and leans over his work.
"Tell him 'Hi, Razor'. So, uh, T-Bone? You busy um… Saturday?" she asks, too casual.
"That depends who's asking," he purrs into the phone.
She scoffs. "Well it's just… now that I've got the OK to go back to work- well. I thought maybe you could take me up in the Turbokat like you been promising."
"Heh, well, barring giant monsters, time bombs, or a nuclear war, it's a date."
"There's that word again. 'Date'. This is not a date."
"Right right, it's not a date. Oooh. Hey. Coupon?"
She smiles despite herself, her mouth a bit closer to the phone. "I've still got it," she says voice coy.
Chance is practically purring into the phone. "Does that mean I'll get to… cash it in?"
Jake blinks and pushes his welding mask up. He turns to look at Chance with raised eyebrow.
A throaty chuckle echoes in Chance's ear. "Kat's alive... How did you make that sound dirty?" Felina giggles.
He waggles his eyebrows, which is entirely useless since they're on the phone. "Dirty? Who, me? I'm one of the good guys, remember?"
Jake sticks his finger at his mouth and makes gagging noises.
Chance blinks and glares over his shoulder at his partner, and gives his fist a good shake in his direction.
Jake's expression is pure and innocent as that of a newborn kitten as he goes back to his welding.
Chance eyeballs Jake as Felina speaks up again. "So where should we meet up?"
"Uhm… Megakat Springs?" he suggests, as he turns away and plunks down into a desk chair. He kicks his feet up on the desk and leans back. His heel impacts a pile of papers and they crackle.
Jake pushes up his mask again and gives his weld a critical eye. "Hey buddy can you finish up and hel- HEY!" Jake exclaims, as he spots Chance's feet. "Awwwwww, Chance!" he moans. "Get your dirty boots off that!" His eyes fly wide open and he slaps a hand over his mouth.
"...Chance? Wait, boots, really?" Felina questions.
"Uuuuuuuuuhhhh… I think he means he'll give me one more chance," Chance says, hurriedly.
"O….kay. Whatever. Meet you at the Springs at um…."
"What's the big idea, Jake!? You nearly blew our secret identities!" Chance grouses.
"Aw, I'm sorry buddy," Jake mutters, his ears still drooped.
"Be glad it wasn't Callie," Chance replies.
"Yeah, heh…. that'd be a disaster," he mutters, his ears still flat.
"Aww come on Jake. No sweat alright? It's over. So buddy, I'm going to need the jet on Saturday," he says, casual.
"I heard! Sounds like a lot of fun!" Jake replies.
Chance is whistling as he's heading towards the Turbokat with rag in hand. "Yup. Finally. I can show the Lieutenant," he replies as he is rubbing away a non-existent smudge on the intakes.
"I'm happy for you two."
"Huh?" Chance looks up in surprise.
"I mean it. I'm happy you're so happy, buddy!'
"Oh! Uh, but there's no 'us two' going on here."
"We're just friends!"
"Jake! I'm just concerned for her! That's it!" he says sternly.
"For now, maybe."
"Well yeah maybe- HEY!"
"Admit it, buddy. You're a smitten kitten."
Chance makes a face. "Quit it! Besides. It's impossible."
"Hey, nothing's impossible, we've seen enough to know that. Besides, you told me what Feral did," Jake points out.
Chance sighs, his shoulders slumping a bit. "Yeah I know- but with a she-kat like Felina….. If she's got to make a choice between friends or duty, she's going to choose duty. Every time."
Jake glances over at him as he pulls the welding mask off his head, and sets it down next to the welder and straightens out his ball cap, expression casual. "Why, do you think if she finds out who we are, she'll expose us?" Jake asks.
"If she were ordered to? I don't know," he admits.
"Do you want to tell her?"
"No, but... I guess I do want to find out if she'd be as interested in Chance the disgraced Enforcer as T-Bone the SWAT Kat."
"So you do think she's interested!"
"I don't know, Sureshot!" he says, irritated. "Why the 20 questions?"
"Hey, I can't tease my best bud about his love life? It's just… this concerns our security, you know? If you tell her, I want you to be sure," he says seriously.
Chance blinks. "I'm not gonna tell Felina!"
"If it gets serious, you're going to have to, sometime. Before she finds out. But I trust your judgement. You don't have to ask me because if you're convinced it's a good idea, I trust you to make that decision."
"Just don't go all love struck on me." he adds.
"Hey hey don't worry, Ol' T-Bone has a cool, level head."
"Level head huh?" Jake chuckles at him, watching him move across the floor.
Chance has already moved over to the calendar on the wall and circled Saturday with a thick red marker. "Yeah, it's gonna be great," he sighs dreamily.
The alarms went off just before three am, and Chance's head jerked up. Perimeter alarms, he groggily acknowledged, then he heard a *BANG*. Sounded like something had just exploded in the garage, and he tumbled out of bed and tripped onto the floor, his feet tangled in the covers. By that time he could hear booted feet rushing through their living quarters, and shouts of "Enforcers! HANDS UP!" For a moment he lay paralyzed on the ground, amazed.
"They finally found us out," he thinks, hoping he's having a bad dream.
Then he heard the other bedroom door bursting open and the shouts, and Jake's answering shouts and what sounds like stun rounds.
Chance was on his feet like his tail had been lit on fire and charged to the door, which burst open before he reached the handle.
"Enforcers! Free-" the command was shut down by a punch to the teeth and Chance powers right over the two in the doorway, and delivers similar blows to the two on either side in the hall. He had less than a second to register the crowd of black clad Kommando geared Enforcers packed into the tiny hallway before the stun rounds hit him in the chest. Chance was a big cat but it slowed him. Enough for two Enforcers to force him backwards through the bedroom door and then to the ground.
Or they tried. One Enforcer was clinging to each arm. Halfway down he roared, swung his arms together and cracked their helmets against each other (which admittedly did little damage) but dazed them enough he easily chucked the kats away. They crashed into the stun gun wielding Kat, who was thrust against the wall. That's when six other stun rounds impacted him in the flank. He belatedly realized he might not be able to take down all of them when his face kissed the floor.
Knees and hands and the butts of weapons pressed into his face and back and his arms were wrenched behind his waist. His face was crushed into the worn carpeting and he felt flaccid and relaxed, his muscles liquidy. He'd been hit by stun weapons before and a couple rounds didn't knock him down for long. But eight rounds evidently was exceeding his limit. With his vision blurring and his breaths heavy his eyes fluttered closed.
A familiar voice barked "Don't hurt him! It's your own fault you got sucker punched, Maine-Coon." It was the last thing he remembered.
"Check him," Feral barks, when he heard Furlong sigh and saw the kat go limp and still.
"He's breathing, sir!" one reports.
"You're damn lucky! Get him out of here, and treat him with some dignity, blast you!" Feral ordered. The men dragged Chance, since they could hardly lift the big kat, down the hall.
Jake was face down on the carpet of his bedroom, with Enforcer knees in the small of his back and zip ties on his wrists and ankles. A booted footstep is heard and "He's alright, Clawson," Feral says as he enters the room. "Jacob Clawson, you are under arrest. You have the right to legal representation and for that legal representation to be present…"
He keeps talking and Jake listens quietly until there's a rush of booted feet and a "SIR! We found the bunker!" He glances at Feral, whose expression is grim. He doesn't look as pleased as Jake had always pictured him being.
"Get him out of here," he says gruffly, and disappears. Two Enforcers drag Jake to his feet and pretty much carry him out to a cruiser- several of which are in the yard in front of the garage. Two Enforcers are standing at low ready while he's buckled into the back seat. He was grimly amused at how dangerous they took him to be. Once left behind, he twisted his head to look out the back window. He could see they'd dragged Chance outside and he was on his back, limp next to another cruiser. They were trying to figure how to get his dead weight up enough to get him inside. Jake turns another way and eyes the front seat of the cruiser. No keys in the ignition, but that wouldn't stop him. But even if he got the zip ties off, which he thought he could, got the car started, which he knew he could, what about Chance and Feral's Kommando army?
Because that was kind just about what they had here. He shakes his head and glances back at Chance again, who was just getting aware enough that they could drag him to his feet and pivot him into the car.
Hours later at Enforcer HQ, the two of them sat handcuffed in front of a table, with a long mirror facing them. Jake knew they were being watched from behind the mirror in a narrow, tight room with cameras and sound recording from being on the other side. The two had been strip searched, forced to shower and don orange jumpsuits, and they were both shackled. Like any common criminal. The shackles and handcuffs were threaded to chains around their waists that was then padlocked into loops bolted into the floor. Unlike most common criminals.
Both looked up warily when the door opened, and Feral stepped in. Chance was immediately straining at the shackles, half on his feet. "What's the big idea, Feral?" he snaps.
Silence falls for a moment as Feral looks up and meets their eyes, and he looks… sad. And almost regretful.
He then seems to steel himself and smacks his hand down on the table. And Jake wonders if he's playing it up for the observers.
"Chance Furlong and Jacob Clawson, you've been posing as the SWAT Kats for nearly 11 years. You're charged with…" he paused, and consulted a note he pulls from his pocket. "Vigilantism, vandalism, felony destruction of public utilities, causing loss of utility service, felony destruction of public property, felony destruction of private property, domestic terrorism, unlawful explosive and incendiary device manufacture, felony theft, unlawful use of explosives, grievous bodily harm..." he paused. "More will come I'm certain. There is no point in denying that you are the SWAT Kats. We've found your hideout and the Turbokat. I'm sure your fan club will be making up all sorts of allegations of frame jobs and cover ups." He cleared his throat. "I don't want to hear it from you two as well. Save it for your lawyers. They should be here soon." He turns away then glances back at the two of them, his back to the mirror. "I'm sorry". He said, very quietly. "I'm going to help you both as much as I can." He turned abruptly and walked out. The two mechanics stare between each other then their eyes dropped and they sat, silently waiting.
Later the doors burst open and Callie charges in, briefcase in hand and with a tom in an expensive suit following behind. She has a take charge expression on her face and her lips purse when she spots the two, shackled to the floor. "Chance, Jake! Are you both alright?" she questions.
Chance and Jake glance at each other. "Well uh, yeah fine, considering, but- but Callie what are you doing here?" Jake asks.
Callie is opening her briefcase on the tabletop. "Commander Feral notified the Mayor that he had taken the SWAT Kats into custody. I immediately offered to arrange the legal team, of course." She lays out some papers. "Imagine my surprise when I found out who he'd arrested," she comments, and gives the other lawyer Kat a smile. "Between Edmund and I, we'll have you out of here in no time."
"Edmund?" Chance asks, giving the tom a glance.
The tom was a slick, rich looking fella with a confident air, who has a kind of slimy lawyer smile. His suit was impeccably tailored. "Let me introduce myself. Edmund Whiskerford-Pym, Lord Purrforth-Purrforth of Scratchings, Viscount Bushbird, independent counsel." He is extending a manicured hand over to shake both their work roughened ones despite the shackles, and flashing a smile that must have helped his dentist pay for a beach house. He had a large, old looking gold ring on his middle finger and his watch was a Rolkat.
"Edmund WHO?" Jake asks.
He waves his hand negligently. "Don't let my title throw you. Please, call me Edmund, or Purrforth if you prefer. Can I just say I'm real pleased to meet the two heroes of MKC, really an honor to be part of your legal team-"
"Oh, really, Edmund!" Callie laughs. "Stop teasing them. Imagine! Commander Feral mistaking you two for the SWAT Kats," she scoffs.
Chance and Jake exchange a glance.
"If he doesn't want his title to throw us, why does he use it?" Chance mutters out the side of his mouth then clears his throat. "Callie- they've got a lot of evidence-" he starts and his eyebrow raises when she waves one hand dismissively in the air.
"I don't think they have enough, without having unmasked the SWAT Kats in person in front of witnesses."
The two exchange another glance and Jake speaks up. "Is the Turbokat not enough evidence?" he asks.
She turns back, and stares at them both her expression shocked. "What?" she asks. Her cheeks go pale.
Edmund looks up with a shrewd expression and grabs her elbow. "Better sit, Callie. I think our clients are about to drop a bombshell."
She sits heavily and hesitates before she's pulling the briefcase closer. "How could… Look, if you're protecting the SWAT Kats…" she slows and looks back and forth between the two of them.
Jake can see the dread in her expression. And he sighs. "Callie. They're not gonna have any trouble proving that we're the SWAT Kats."
"But. But you can't be," she says helplessly. "You're mechanics! Not pilots!"
The door is opening just then and there's a "Oh they're pilots alright," spoken as Felina Feral steps through the door. She's in sweatpants and her hair is messed and she looks a little winded, like she'd hurried.
"Hey! You can't come in here!" Edmund barks.
"Lieutenant Feral?" Callie questions, raising her hand to Edmund to quiet him.
He stares at her with astonishment for a moment before snapping his mouth shut.
"Furlong and Clawson were both Second Lieutenant Enforcer pilots," Felina replies "before they were stripped of rank and grounded."
Callie turns to stare at them both. "...Felina, you're telling me your uncle hasn't made a mistake here?"
"He's made a mistake alright. He bowed to departmental pressure to arrest them. But... He's not made a mistake concerning their identities," she says with a sigh.
Chance is watching Felina worriedly. Her eyes are firmly on Callie and don't even waver in his direction.
Jake is heaving a big sigh. "Yeah, uh, they can prove we're the SWAT Kats. Because they're right."
"...I can't believe it," Callie finally blurts.
"Oh I don't think it's so shocking, Ms. Briggs," Edmund says easily. "They're certainly similar in appearance. But right now we need to work on getting you bail and-"
"No bail," Felina interrupts.
Edmund stops dead and stares at her. "Pardon?"
"I already know they're not going to qualify for bail- they're technically still Enforcers," Felina explains. "We don't have the luxury of bail. They're either in custody or they're not." She didn't comment on how the idea of releasing the SWAT Kats would go over.
"Well… I'll admit I didn't expect to be dealing entirely with Enforcer procedures. Still, there are exceptions that we can work around," Edmund says confidently.
Throughout this whole conversation Callie has been staring at the boys, who have pretty sheepish expressions. "You mean to tell me…. but… but why didn't you tell me you were….You've been changing the oil in my sedan!"
Chance grins. "And your tune ups and alignment and new mega-spark plugs- did pretty good work didn't we?"
"You ARE T-Bone!" she says, in shock.
"What, how'd that convince you?" Jake asks, in confusion.
"He's so… overconfident."
Jake snorts back a laugh as Chance stares at her.
It was easy to get into her apartment, since after all they were going to be preparing a case. She invited him in fact and he tried to palaver before accepting her hospitality.
"Coffee?" she enquired and he gave her one of his brilliant, disarming smiles.
"Love some. But let me get it - the grounds are above the coffee maker?"
"Oh you needn't bother-"
"I insist," he says firmly, smiling that winning smile. "Sit down, relax, you've had a bad day."
"Well…." she hesitates. "You're a guest."
"A guest who is perfectly capable of making coffee," Edmund calls with a chuckle as he heads into the kitchen.
He found the coffee easily enough in Callie's tidy cupboards. He whistled as he filled the coffee maker with water, and found the cups. From a bottle in his inner jacket pocket he tapped three little pink tablets into one of the cups. He stared down at the cup for a long moment, before he exhaled and twisted his neck, trying to pop the stress out. He drops one more tablet into the cup and pockets the bottle again. "You take it black?" he calls.
"Yes please," she called back. She had kicked out of her heels and put her feet up on the ottoman. "There's sugar in the canister and cream in the fridge if you like, really you should let me-" she is half on her feet as Edmund sticks his head back out the door.
"No, no! Black is fine, you sit back down and let me take care of it," he laughs to cover the nerves he was starting to feel.
As the coffee perked Edmund peeks into her fridge and into her cupboards. He finds a package of chocolate cookies and arranges them on a plate. He hesitated again before he poured the coffee into the cups and watched the tablets disappear.
"I hope you don't mind, but I could certainly use a snack after that bombshell," Edmund says as he steps out into the living room, one coffee cup balanced on the plate and the other in his hand. He extends the cup to her which she takes without a thought, then steadied the other on the plate as he sets it down on the coffee table.
"I don't mind at all. But I don't think there's enough chocolate in the entire world to cure this day for me," Callie says a little bleakly.
Edmund gives her a pitying look. -You don't know the half if it- he thinks to himself as he picks up his own cup. "Do have a biscuit. The sugar will do you good," he urges, his expression full of gentle concern.
She smiles and sips from her cup before she sets it down and picks up the cookie.
He swallows and hides his face behind his cup, taking his own drink. "So, strategy?" He asks.
She sighs, and toys with the cookie instead of taking a bite. "I don't think we can do anything but admit publicly that they are the SWAT Kats, but not plead guilty to any charges," she says firmly. She sets the cookie back down and takes another sip of coffee. "I have a hard time believing any jury of peers would want to convict them. They've saved this city a hundred times and public opinion is overwhelmingly in their favor."
"Even so they could certainly be found guilty of most of those charges."
She sips her coffee and nods. "That's the other side of the problem. Any one of those charges could stick. A judge could throw a favorable jury decision out and we'd have a devil of a time appealing it. We could also face a stacked jury. There are plenty of regular katizens who bear a grudge against the SWAT Kats for property damage. I've heard the complaints a thousand times. 'That giant robot wouldn't have stepped on my car if the SWAT Kats didn't chase it down my street!' They would have no qualms convicting them of damages because of the hope to get a payout in the end."
Edmund chuckles. "I can respect that point of view. So we agree they should admit to being the SWAT Kats then?"
She nods. "And hope the tide of public opinion induces clemency. Then plea for our lives. Have you given much thought to a plea bargain?"
He nods, and reaches for his briefcase and pulls out a notebook. "I did jot down ideas while they were giving their statements… are you feeling alright, Callie?"
She was blinking and rubbing at her forehead. "Just so tired suddenly…"
"It's been a long day for you. Get the rest of that coffee down you and maybe we can get this settled quickly so you can get to bed," Edmund urges.
"Of course, I'm sorry, I'll just have to fight through" she yawned, then took another larger swallow.
He watched her with hollow eyes. He cleared his throat. "I don't suppose there's any chance of paying for damages?"
She giggles. "No, there's…. My goodness I'm exausud… billins and b…. bug...eh…" she sighs and pitches forwards and he grabs her to keep her from hitting the coffee table face first. As he pushed her back into the couch her head rolls and he has to lift it up. She is limp and her breathing is staggering. For a heart wrenching moment he fears he's killed her, and he carefully counts her breathing and pulse for a couple minutes. They seemed stable and he exhaled. He stared at her woodenly, and reached to pull an errant lock of gold hair out of her eyes.
-I don't have to do this. I can just claim she didn't drink enough of the coffee and put her to bed and forget all of this- he said to himself as he reached for his cell phone with shaking hands. His fingers dialed almost of themselves.
It rang only once before it was picked up. "Yes?"
"I… I've done it. It's done, Master. I have Briggs."
"Excellent. Good work Purrforth, your efficiency will be rewarded. I will collect her personally. Expect me in ten minutes."
He exhaled. "Yes… Lord Dark Kat.