Chapter 6: Explanations and Renewal
It took Feral about a half an hour to get teams organized to begin the cleanup. T-Bone was napping when he returned to the conference room. Everyone else went silent in expectation of getting answers for what occurred a few hours past.
Razor jabbed his partner awake when Commander Feral took his seat near the Deputy Mayor. T-Bone groaned and sat up, more or less alert. He was beat! It had taken every ounce of brain power he had to gain control of the Phoenix Kat when it wanted to continue its gleeful spree of razing the city and despite a judicious amount of aspirin, his head still ached.
Calico Briggs eyed the obviously hurting T-Bone in concern. She wanted to ask him if he was alright but knew the council was anxious to have their answers. Sighing inwardly, she had to admit she too wanted some answers. Clearing her throat, she gained everyone's attention.
"Though we are extremely grateful for the successful defeat of the omegas, it's the 'how' it was done that has many of us concerned." She turned to Feral and began the debriefing. "Commander Feral, exactly what happened to you? What was that creature you turned into? Are you under a spell of some kind?"
"Actually, Ms. Briggs, this" pointing to himself "is my spell form. The creature you saw is my true appearance."
There were shocked exclamations around the room as they gaped at Feral. Combat Commander Stiles was the first to speak.
"What!!? You're not real? You're a spell?" He asked in disbelief.
"If you will hold your questions, I will explain." Feral said calmly. Over the next half hour he told the story of his birth at the beginning of time, the wizard's spell, and the need for a master. At the end there were various expressions of amazement, fear, disbelief and looks of astonishment in T-Bone's direction.
Rubbing her temples, Callie was stunned to learn that the Kat they had commanding the Enforcers wasn't a Kat at all. "Commander Feral, if you aren't real, how is it you have a functioning intelligence and personality?" She asked confused.
"The wizard needed his secret weapon to be able to understand instructions and to learn. The Phoenix Kat isn't stupid. It's a very cunning creature, but it's basically ruled by its emotions. When the wizard trapped the Phoenix Kat in this Kat form it gave it the gift of language so he could communicate with it. This allowed the Phoenix Kat to learn more about the world of Kats and enabled it to look normal. Over the centuries, the spell form watched civilizations rise and fall. When it became masterless, the spell form learned to be a productive member of the various societies it lived among during its lifetime.
Over such a long period of time, of course, the spell form would, quite naturally, develop an independent personality of its own. However, both sides benefit from the spell form's experiences. Make no mistake, Ms. Briggs, I am a Phoenix Kat. The spell form is only a construct. It's only as real as the spell that shaped it, but, truth to tell, I think of myself as real.
I will admit, that after so many centuries, I now identify myself as a Kat and prefer it to my true form. The Phoenix Kat does not really fit in this modern world as well as I do. I only allowed myself to be enslaved once more to save the city I have come to accept as my own." He quietly ended his dissertation and waited for questions.
"So T-Bone has the ultimate control over the Phoenix Kat but does he control your spell form's personality too?" Steele asked concerned that a SWAT Kat had too much influence over their Commander.
"My only part in the 'master' and 'slave' business is control over the Phoenix Kat. This spell form has its own mind and I have no control over that except when it allows it." T-Bone assured the Enforcers.
"He is correct. I make my own decisions and he does not interfere with my life except when my true form needs release. When it was masterless, it did not mind being trapped because it had no choice. But now that it has a master it demands being set free periodically to prevent it from becoming hostile and resenting T-Bone's control and, of course, keeping it from over riding my mind. As long as it is permitted to fly free and to hunt, it is content." Feral insisted.
"What do you mean 'over riding your mind'? How can it do that? Will it be a threat?" Callie jumped at that statement.
"The Phoenix Kat cannot break the spell, Ms Briggs. What it can do is force me to do things I would not normally do. In this case, try to force T-Bone to release me. All hostility will be directed at its master and no one else. It's a safeguard built into the spell." He quickly reassured her.
"Well that's a relief to know." She sighed.
"Not for me it isn't." T-Bone growled, not previously being aware of this catch and not happy about it.
"It will never be a problem, T-Bone as long as you release me on a regular basis. Remember! You did take on this responsibility." Feral reminded him.
"But why did you chose a SWAT Kat in the first place," asked a city council member.
"He had all the qualities a good master needed. He had to be incorruptible, strong and of good moral character. He can never falter. How many here could handle such a burden for your entire life?" Feral asked seriously.
"I see what you mean, Commander and I agree with you that T-Bone is a good choice. Well, now that we know what you are, can you tell me what kind of help the Phoenix Kat will be from now on?" Callie asked.
"Well, for right now, I suppose I can use my extensive knowledge to help you rebuild the city and the Phoenix Kat can help clear rubble and the mountains of trash and debris that have accumulated due to the war cheaper and faster than the normal methods." Feral suggested, shrugging his shoulders. As for the future, a backup weapon perhaps?" Shrugging his shoulders.
"That may not be a good idea. The Phoenix Kat gets too excited at the sight and sound of violence and blood. Makes it really hard to control. I'm afraid its only use can be for the end of the world type trouble like it handled a few hours ago." T-Bone shook his head against that idea. "As for helping to clean up the city, that sounds like a good idea, though, I'd wait a few days, to let the Phoenix Kat cool down, then allow it limited time out to do what it likes to do best, burn things up!" He smirked in amusement. Feral snorted, but smiled a little too.
The council conceded that that was indeed a good idea. The decision was made to meet again in five days to iron out the details of rebuilding. Meanwhile everyone was tired and relieved and wanted nothing more than to see their families and return to as normal a life as they could. With that, the meeting broke up and everyone went their separate ways for a well deserved rest.
A month later...
Cleanup and rebuilding had begun in earnest. Most of the population had returned to the city, though too many were now homeless. The Mayor's office was inundated with requests for assistance. It was going to take a long time for them to get things sorted.
After spending another late night at the office, Calico Briggs dragged herself back in early the next morning despite still being tired. The needs of the city during this time were nearly overwhelming. Cleanup, however, was going at a rapid pace thanks to the Phoenix Kat. Speaking of the flaming creature, Callie remembered it was due to clear the area to the southwest today. She moved to Mayor Manx's office to look out the south side windows. She caught a flash of light and watched as the magnificent creature swept across the sky. Not far away, hovering nearby, was the Turbokat.
"Hold us steady, buddy." T-Bone admonished his partner as he kept his eyes on the Phoenix Kat.
"No problem T-Bone. Wow! Does it really like to burn things." Razor said in an awed voice as he watched the fiery creature raze to powder damaged buildings, vehicles and war debris with ease and obvious enjoyment.
"Yeah! It likes it a little too much. It's hard to handle when the Phoenix Kat gets drunk with the heady excitement of destruction." T-Bone sighed. "But I have to admit, it does help to keep it happy and content when its put to rest after a glut of burning everything in sight."
"Hu, what are you going to do when the cleanup is finished?" Razor asked thoughtfully.
"I don't want to think of it right now. I have no clue what to do. I'm hoping Feral has some idea what will entertain it." T-Bone shrugged, dismissing the problem for later.
After about another hour, T-Bone called the creature back to him. It soared and swooped playfully as it made its way back to the Turbokat.
T-Bone smiled at its happy antics. When it was just above him, he opened the canopy. "Hi there beautiful. Follow us to Enforcer Headquarters, stay close and land after we do." T-Bone ordered it. Tossing its head in agreement, it soared above them as Razor piloted the jet to their destination. Razor landed the Turbokat at the end of the flight line and T-Bone hopped out as soon as they stopped. The Phoenix Kat landed a few feet from them. It folded its wings and walked up to T-Bone.
T-Bone watched the creature walk up to him and dip its head for a scratch. He smiled warmly and obliged the beautiful thing. It churred in its throat happily at him. "Yeah, you've done a great job today. I'm very pleased with you and so is everyone else in the city. It's time for you to get some rest now. You'll get to do some more very soon." He gave the creature a final caress down its chest then recited the spell.
In moments the Commander of the Enforcers was standing before him, a smile of pleasure gracing his handsome face. "Thank you, T-Bone! The city is getting cleared very quickly and the Phoenix Kat is contented. That certainly makes my life much easier." Feral bowed his head at T-Bone in respect.
T-Bone merely grinned and clapped the Commander companionably on the back. "Hey I'm glad we are able to do our part in repairing the city. I think we will wait about three days before letting it back out. Okay?" T-Bone asked politely.
"You know best, T-Bone. I know it would prefer everyday, but I know it is very stressful for you." Feral demurred.
"Yeah it is that for sure. Well, gotta get going see you a few days from now." T-Bone waved at Feral in farewell, walked back to jet, hopped in and took back the controls from Razor.
"Let's go home, Razor" He said as he piloted the Turbokat toward their hangar received an affirmative grunt from the rear. T-Bone felt at peace, even though controlling the Phoenix Kat was tiring, it was rewarding as well. The working relationship with Feral was friendly which made their life soo much easier. Yeah life was definitely good!