EXTINCTION

Chapter 1: A Chance of Recovery

Going over her speech in her mind for the fourth time, Dr. Abby Sinian prepared herself for her presentation to the Mayor. As far as she was concerned, this situation had been ignored for far too long and it may already be too late. Sighing, she gathered her notes together, stuffed them into her briefcase and departed the museum for City Hall.

She was greeted by Deputy Mayor Briggs as she stepped into her office. "Hi, Abby! I hope this won't be a long presentation. Mayor Manx has a golf date with the CEO of Megakat Chemical Corporation in two hours." She said apologetically.

"I'll try not to take too long, but Callie this is very important! This problem has been ignored for far to long." Abby stressed urgently as she followed Callie into the Mayor's office.

"I realize it must be because you rarely leave your precious museum artifacts and diggings" Callie smiled at her friend warmly. Abby blushed a little at the comment, then put on a serious demeanor as she readied herself to win over the Mayor.

Mayor Manx and Deputy Mayor Briggs sat politely listening to Dr. Sinian's presentation. "Your Honors, there is a nearly extinct race of felines living amongst kat kind. This species of kat, known as Pantera, are very intelligent. They still retain talons instead of claws, retractable fangs containing a nerve toxin, extraordinary speed and ultra sensitive senses. It is because of these attributes that they were feared, hunted down and killed by the thousands at the turn of the century.

In self defense, the Pantera developed a method of camouflaging their differences, but that very talent worked against them. Because they blended in they could no longer find each other to mate and continue their species hence their near extinction. The male Pantera is built small and fast. Their small size allows them to draw away predators from their mate and kittens but it does not mean he is weak. On the contrary, both the male and the female are extremely deadly creatures. They will defend their mate and kittens to the death. That's how strong their protective instincts are. The male cannot mate with any female but his own kind because they possess small spurs on their penis. The camouflage of the female Pantera is more elaborate. They are much larger than the male so they can defend the den and kittens and they resemble the male of our species not the female. She cannot mate with our kind either because of her obvious male appearance and need for the spurs of the male for procreation.

They are dying out and it is kat kind's fault. To make up for our fear and callousness we need to provide a way for these reserved creatures to come out of hiding and find a mate. My suggestion is to provide a small party gathering here at city hall in one of the conference rooms. We hold it in the evening and have the Pantera come cloaked and masked so that no knows what they look like. This will give them a chance to meet each other and find a mate. Hopefully by the end of the evening those that show will have paired up. Before they leave together we discretely join them in a civil ceremony performed by the Mayor. You and I, Ms Briggs, will register the pairs in the data base. Their identities will not be released and I and my staff will continue to follow up on them and their progress in increasing their numbers. We also need to grant them endangered species status, to protect them as they recover their numbers.

If you agree, we need to do this within the next few weeks. Too much time has already passed and it is mating season for them now. I propose making a public announcement on the local news and TV stations to reach as many Katizens as we can in a short amount of time." With that, Dr. Sinian closed her briefing and waited for the Mayor's response.

Mayor Manx hemmed and hawed in cautious indecision. "I understand your concerrn, Dr. Sinian. But these creatures sound too dangerous. We have enough trouble with those pesky omegas without yet another group of creatures to cause trouble. Maybe it would be wise to let them die out?" He asked nervously.

"Mayor Manx! How could you conscious such a thing? They are only dangerous if their mate or kittens are threatened. They already exist among kat kind and are productive katizens. There has never been a case of a Pantera ever having broken the law." Dr. Sinian was aghast at the Mayor's callousness.

"Mayor Manx that was uncalled for. Kat kind has been guilty of genocide for an entire species and you are afraid of the remnants? Shame on you!" Callie scolded him.

"Now, now, Callie don't be getting upset. I was just looking out for the welfare of our katizens. The Pantera were described as dangerous but if they are good solid katizens of this citaay then it will be our civic duty to preserve theirr species. I just needed to be surre is all." Mayor Manx soothed his deputy. "Now... Ah...about hoow much do you think this little get togetherr will coost?" He asked politely.

"Oh, less than $200, Mayor Manx. We only need a little canned music, some food and drink. Nothing much else, after all the Panteras are there to meet each other not to party. Keeping it simple will put less stress on them." Dr. Sinian assured him.

"It sounds very reasonable, Mayor, and as you said, it is our civic duty to take care of this. We can't continue to ignore this grave injustice to a part of our community. It will also give your reputation a boost if it is shown how much you care for the welfare of all our Katizens." Callie pressed.

"Well we can't have thaat and you are riight, Callie! You take caare of the detaiils and let me know when you need me. Now if you will excuuse me, I really muust be goiang" Manx said pompously as he nodded politely at Dr. Sinian and quickly hurried out the door with his golf clubs wanting to forget the subject entirely.

"Okay! Let's you and I put our heads together and plan a 'getting to know you' party" Callie smiled at Abbie as she led her back to her office to discuss the details.

Two days later...

The announcement went out as soon as the arrangements were made. Four days later the special party room was preped and ready. It was nothing elaborate. The room was tastefully decorated in soothing colors and comfortable chairs in pairs around the room with several small tables where the catered food would be, canned quiet music was prepared and soft lighting set up. The Mayor's table was set not far from the door and next to this was a little marriage arbor for the ceremonies. The only three outsiders would be in place and waiting and hoping there were Pantera still around to attend.

Much later that night...

A sweat soaked and moaning Chief Enforcer jerked up from his bed. 'Crud! I hate this!' he panted in misery. 'It's never been this bad before!' Staggering from the bed he made his way to the bathroom, turning on the shower to as cold as he could stand it. Standing under the spray, he gasped at the chill water, hoping it would take the heated discomfort away. Tomorrow was not going to be a good day.

The next morning...

When she first heard the announcement, she was shocked, then her heart leaped with hope. Maybe, at last, she would find a mate. Suspicious, she asked various sources seeking to authenticate this welcome news. She found out Dr. Sinian was indeed the instigator of this unusual party with the Mayor's office sponsoring it. Reassured, she carefully prepared her disguise.

That night at the Military Salvage Yard...

Jake Clawson saw the announcement on the TV in stunned surprise. His best buddy barely paid attention to it. But Jake was cautiously excited and thrilled. He had never told his partner his true species since he resembled an ordinary Kat. There was no need for Chance to know he was a Pantera because it didn't matter to their partnership. Right now he couldn't worry about what Chance might think, now was for hoping a mate would be found at this party.

Should he go as Jake or as Razor? If he went as Jake and was somehow discovered, anyone could find him and his mate at the salvage yard. This would compromise his mate's safety as well risk the SWAT Kats secret being revealed. Right! Razor was going to the party. Smiling in anticipation, Jake prepared his disguise.

The night of the special party...

Both pleased and sad, Briggs and Sinian watched as thirty Pantera showed up. They were relieved that the Pantera in attendance were evenly male and female. Mayor Manx made a short speech, followed by Dr. Sinian explaining what they hoped to accomplish tonight, answered a few questions, then left the Pantera to mingle. The music played in the background softly while the nervous guests made tentative approaches. A poor match was met with a low hiss and raised fur followed by a quick and graceful escape to the next contact.

"Gadfry, what is that odd hissing noise?" Mayor Manx asked nervously looking around.

"It's the Pantera way of identifying a good or bad match. A hiss means back off, you're not wanted. A soft mew from the female and a low rumble from the male means a good match." Abby Sinean explained in a low voice, though she knew the Pantera could hear her.

The tall, powerful figure moved amongst the small crowd anxiously, her paws nervously pulling her cloak tightly closed. She chose a quiet corner and watched the ebb and flow of couples as they met and were rejected or met and got closer as acceptance was granted. As she shifted from foot to foot nervously, a male suddenly appeared before her. Sniffing cautiously, the scent made her hiss. He didn't smell right and it made her fur bristle. He merely nodded and scurried off to the next prospect. She had rejected three more suitors by the time she noticed the male opposite the room from her. Just as she noticed him, he seemed to have seen her as well and was moving in her direction.

Razor had already rejected four females whose scent disturbed him. He was still tense from that last one whose scent had bothered him more than it should have. He looked around as he nibbled a snack from the buffet table. That's when he noticed a very large female staring at him from across the room. Intrigued, he wandered over to her.

He could tell she was nervous as he came close. He eyed her quietly as he took in a cautious sniff inhaling her scent. It set his body on fire but just under the aroma of a female in heat was a more familiar scent he couldn't place. Her eyes through the mask were gold and her voice was deep. These were familiar too. It made him uneasy. Something told him he should know this person. But as she swayed closer he found he didn't care enough about the elusive familiarity to be suspicious only her luscious scent and obvious willingness for him mattered now.

She startled a little. The male smelled familiar as did his voice and though troubled by her inability to identify the male, her intense need over rode her caution. He smelled delicious and she wanted him. Mewing softly she moved even closer.

He accepted her advance with a low rumbling purr. Excited she pressed against him. They both shivered at the contact. The masks prevented a lick or kiss so making sure they would be unseen by the others, they removed their masks.

Razor already knew his identity would surprise and shock his mate but he never would have guessed that his mate would be an even bigger shock. Now the familiar scent and voice made sense. All he could do was gape at her then anger and frustration bloomed in his chest as he hissed his displeasure at fate.

"All this time!!! Damn it! All this time! We wasted years! To be sexually frustrated all this time for no reason just bites! Bast must really enjoy irony," Razor ranted in a furious whisper.

Equally infuriated, the female snarled softly, "Well how do you think I feel?! Every heat cycle unfulfilled over and over again for years and there you were. I'm so tired of taking cold showers." Inhaling his scent again, she moaned suddenly and pressed close again, "Sweet Bast! I'm soo swollen and wet and you smell so delicious, I'm nearly turning myself inside out wanting you." The Chief Enforcer of Megakat City groaned as she leaned down to taste the Swat Kats lips in urgent desire, her ire forgotten in the intensity of clawing need that tightened her womb. Razor returned her urgent kiss, his own anger burned away by his fire for her. He pulled her tighter to him and time was forgotten as they clung together and continued to kiss fiercely, hot desire flaming up within them.

Razor pulled back, panting "Sweet Bast! I want you so badly. It's time to get out of here before I take you right here. Let's get the shock factor over with." He said tautly as his body ached and tormented him. He was so hard he had to adjust himself to get some relief from his now tight underwear. He replaced his costume mask and headed for the Mayor's table.

For a moment she was so dazed by the sweet taste of him and the sudden stop of the kiss that she hadn't realized he was moving away from her. Shaken she quickly replaced her mask and followed him. She noticed that while they had been preoccupied all the other Panteras had departed. She sighed with relief. This would actually make it easier to confront the others with their shocking secret.

Though they hadn't spoken of it, they both knew they could not keep who they were from the Katizens of Megakat City. So, taking simultaneous breaths they removed their masks again at the same time, flung their hoods back and winced at the sudden bellow of shock from Mayor Manx and milder exclamations from the two she Kats.

"I don't belieef this! Is this some kiind of sick joke, if it is it is in verry bad taste!" The Mayor sputtered in outrage.

"It's no joke except the one fate pulled on us." Razor snorted in annoyance. "We would have had several kits by now instead of pain and discomfort for years. Now let's get this over with. She and I have a lot of time to make up." Razor suddenly smirked as he glanced at his soon to be mate.

Feral blushed at Razor's obvious innuendo. "He's right. Too much time has been lost and I have better things I want to do tonight so can we get on with this?" The Commander asked, twitching uncomfortably.

"But...but you're male...at least...you look male? This just caan't be true, when the public finds out the Chief Enforcer of this ciity is feemale, a Pantera and mated to a SWAT Kaat there will be an outcry. Ah!! This a disaaster!!" His Honor continued to rant.

"Mayor Manx, it can't be helped." Briggs soothed, just as shocked, continuing to stare at the two of them. "We are just going to have to keep this a secret and..." She was interrupted by Razor.

"No can do, Ms Briggs! We are highly protective of our mates. Once mated, we cannot hide our relationship. If anyone threatens or harms either of us they would find themselves confronting a deadly Pantera instead of a Swat Kat and Chief Enforcer. It would put enforcers and my partner in a dangerous position if they should come between us by accident no matter what the reason. No! It is imperative that our mating and our species be publicly known." Razor stated seriously.

"I'm afraid he's right, Mayor. Even more so after I have kits. It's much better that the danger be explained right up front to protect my enforcers from unintentionally threatening my mate by just doing their job. Also revealing who we are will hopefully encourage more Panteras to come out of hiding. That is, if there are any more left." Feral added gravely.

"I have to agree with them Mayor Manx. What Razor has said is very true. Pantera are dangerous creatures when their mates are threatened in any way. Because of their very public positions, disclosure is most definitely necessary and could very well help their kind be more accepted by kat kind." Dr. Sinian interjected supporting their decision.

Sighing, Briggs reluctantly looked to the Mayor for his decision. Resigned, Mayor Manx caved and performed the civil service to wed the two, then Dr. Sinian registered their names into the public documents and her science data bank. As soon as she finished, the pair quickly restored their disguises and escaped to the elevator.

In the elevator Razor turned to his soon to be mate. "I think it best that we confront T-Bone right now rather than put it off. It's important that we be in a safe, secure place when we mate and I can't think of any safer place than the SWAT Kat hanger," Razor said firmly. "We'll get your car later."

"Whatever you think best. Right now I could care less where we end up as long as it's a bed and you are on top of me." She said hotly trying not to press her body against him again.

Swallowing hard and trying to keep his paws to himself he fervently wished they were already on their way. He led the way to a back exit where his cyclotron was hidden. Putting on the spare helmet, she climbed behind him. She couldn't help moaning and leaning against him. Razor had to focus hard to ignore the intense heat of her body pressed and wriggling against his back. Racing through the night, Razor made quick time to the salvage yard and his soon to be very unhappy partner.

Back in the conference room...

"Well we certainly didn't see that coming, but at least the project was successful. All the Pantera that showed up found a mate. The sad thing is, there were so few of them. I'm afraid they are either closer to extinction than the scientific world thought or they are too afraid to show themselves. Commander Feral is right, the public unveiling of her and Razor may actually prove helpful in educating the masses about their species and increase their chances of recovery." Dr. Sinian said quietly, still shaken by that unexpected revelation.

"Hmm, that's certainly true. Maybe we can spin this to our advantage and keep the political damage to a minimum. After all, the SWAT Kats are a beloved icon and Commander Feral is a respected Chief Enforcer. We should be able to make it work." Deputy Mayor Briggs mused thoughtfully. "Though we're going to have to find a way to down play their public animosity against each other. After all, no matter how I feel, the SWAT Kats are vigilantes and not everyone is accepting of them. The Enforcers are going to very upset to have their Chief so intimately involved with their nemesis."

"If anyone can maake it plaay riight, Caallie, it's you." Mayor Manx sighed still a little upset.

"Thank you, Mayor. I'll get on it right away. We will need to release this information as soon as possible before it can get leaked by accident." Briggs said decisively. They got up to leave. Callie helped Abby collect her data and laptop then the Mayor escorted them both out of City Hall. He climbed into his limo after saying farewell to Callie and Abby who had come in their own cars.