TRIALS OF MOTHERHOOD, III

Chapter 4: Mommy to the Rescue

As they reached the lighted entryway, they froze when they heard voices and the chittering of creeplings.

"We should probably recharge while we have the chance. Nothing else to do right now." Mac said to Molly as they watched the creeplings busily working around them.

"Huh! Wish we had some TV to watch. This is boring watching those things." Molly snorted.

"At least those kittens are quiet." Mac said as he headed for a control board against a far wall.

"Ah they're too tired to give us much trouble. Probably sleeping in that box I gave them." Molly told him as she joined him.

"Box?" Mac asked confused as he pulled out some charging cables.

"Yeah, what did you think I was going to use? It's just one of those big cartons Dark Kat has around here with a pillow and blanket they'll be warm enough." Molly said grabbing a set of cables for herself.

"Oh, works for me." He shrugged and closed his eyes. Molly snorted and did the same.

The watchers looked around the work space. The Metallikats looked like they would be out for a little while though there was no way to know for certain if they would still hear the rescuers but even if they didn't the creeplings would. There didn't seem to be enough cover to hide behind to allow them to sneak in.

They anxiously waited and watched for an opportunity. After about fifteen more minutes, the creeplings suddenly left for the main cavern. Mac and Molly opened their eyes for a moment to note the creeplings departure then closed their eyes again.

'So they weren't completely oblivious. This would require great care.' Feral thought. He signaled everyone to take off their boots and anything else that might jingle and leave them where they were hiding. When they were ready, Razor led the way silently followed by the enforcers and T-Bone bringing up the rear. Much to their relief, they succeeded in slipping by the Metallikats and into the far doorway safely.

Leaving his enforcers to guard their backs at the doorway, The SWAT Kats, Feral and Felina walked down the short hallway. They stopped at the first door they came to.

Using paw signals, they split into pairs and stood at either side of the door. Razor reached forward and opened it cautiously. Inside, to their relief, was the big box Molly had mentioned. Feral rushed into the room, leaned over the box and beheld his beloved kittens. Tears falling unbidden down his face, he tenderly reached in and picked up both in his arms, blanket and all. They never woke, too exhausted to stir. He nuzzled each taking their scent deep into his nose, Feral choked with relief.

The SWAT Kats stayed by the door and gave Feral privacy. They'd seen the shine of tears in the dim light and were embarrassed by the show of emotions from the normally stoic Commander but didn't blame him a bit. They were just happy to see a mother reunited with his kits.

Felina stood close to her uncle and sighed in relief. Though she knew they needed to get out of here quickly she couldn't begrudge her uncle's very real need to relieve his anguish by holding his kittens. After many long minutes, she gently touched him on the arm. He raised his head and nodded. Hugging his kittens tightly to his chest, he let the SWAT Kats and Felina be his protectors on the way out. His only purpose was to protect his little ones from any further harm.

Quickly reaching the waiting enforcers, they all halted and watched for a few precious moments before carefully retracing their steps. They soon made it to the main cavern entrance. They stopped long enough to collect their boots and other things before moving to enter the bigger cavern that lead outside.

To their dismay, the creeplings were swarming all over the place. They seemed to be cleaning and moving various things everywhere.

"Crud! How do we get past them without causing a ruckus?" T-Bone whispered in frustration.

Razor watched the proceedings in the other room for some minutes before finally responding. "Hmm, it seems like they are very nearly finished with what they are doing. It might not hurt to sit tight and wait."

"I don't like the idea of staying here but you are probably right." Feral hissed softly his kittens made a soft mewing sound before settling down again.

They moved back until they were completely hidden from view behind a rock formation. The wait seemed to drag on for a long time but according to Felina's watch it had only been twenty minutes when the creeplings again gathered together and sped out of the cavern, surprisingly heading for the ceiling. When they didn't seem to be coming back down some ten minutes later, the group decided it was safe to move out.

Again keeping to the shadows, the group slipped as quietly as they could for the entrance. With Razor in the lead, Feral just behind him, his enforcers and Felina and T-Bone bringing up the rear, they nearly reached the outside.

A sudden loud screech that echoed loudly in the cavern made them jump in their furs. It was another hidden creepling. Razor stunned it but it was too late. Down from the ceiling came the other creeplings and from the other room they heard the bellow of Mac.

No point in being quiet now, T-Bone, Razor and Felina with the other enforcers spread out in front of Feral and began firing at the creeplings.

"Get out of here Feral. Head for the Turbokat as fast as you can!" T-Bone shouted at the Commander.

Laden with his kittens, Feral knew he couldn't help the others so quickly began to run down the hill and across the field to the trees where the jet was hidden. Running with him, protecting his escape, were his Sergeant and two other enforcers.

Behind his departing form, the rest held off the creeplings until they felt Feral had a good head start and the Metallikats were just entering from the other room. Firing a mini matchhead missile at the ceiling, Razor managed to trap the robots temporarily behind a wall of rocks.

"That's it! Let's hightail it out of here. Run!" T-Bone shouted at the others. They quickly turned tail and ran after Feral who was just reaching the trees.

Racing after them, looking back only occasionally, the rest caught up to Feral just as he reached the jet, panting hard. His kittens had been jounced awake and were crying. Razor opened the cargo ramp and Feral and his officers raced inside. Feral sat down onto a jump seat and Felina quickly cinched her uncle's safety harness. Taking the seat next to him, she quickly did the same as did the rest of the enforcers. They'd barely got restrained when the Turbokat launched skyward rapidly pushing them into their seats hard.

The kittens wailed. "Oh loves it's okay" Feral murmured nuzzling each of them. They stopped screaming in fear and cried for their mommy instead, their small arms wrapping themselves around his neck. He hugged them and purred to help them calm down as well as himself. The jet jolted around them setting the kittens off again.

"Look out T-Bone, those two are really pissed." Razor warned his partner as he targeted the two robots that were now standing outside the mountain entrance and firing at them. He sent three plain old missiles at the two blasting them both back into the doorway and sending said entryway down on top of them.

"Great shot, Razor. That should hold them until the enforcers can come and neutralize them." T-Bone said in relief. "If they have any problems we'll just come back and give them a hand once we get rid of our precious cargo."

"Right you are T-Bone. From the sounds coming up from the hold, Feral is going to have his paws full comforting his kittens. Poor things." Razor said sympathetically.

"Yeah, hope they don't have too many nightmares from this experience. Just glad we got them out of there safely." T-Bone said gratefully.

Razor switched on the intercom to the cargo hold, "Commander, do you want us to take you to your apartment? Or somewhere else?" He asked.

Feral thought a moment then said, "Take me to the Khan Tower."

"Roger!" Razor acknowledged.

In very little time the Turbokat was setting down gently on the, fortunately empty, chopper pad. Razor dropped the ramp and both he and T-Bone saw the little family off safely.

"Felina, go with the SWAT Kats and ensure those robots are rounded up and have Hackle shut them down." He ordered.

"Right Uncle, don't worry about a thing. Maybe you shouldn't come in tomorrow. I think these guys are going to need you for a bit yet." Felina said hesitantly.

Feral looked down at his exhausted, teary-eyed and traumatized kittens. "Yes, you are probably right, Felina. See that Steele is informed of my absence." He said quietly.

"Yes sir." Felina said, saluted and returned to the jet.

Before the SWAT Kats could join her, Feral called out to them. They stopped and looked at him puzzled. "I don't know how to thank you enough for saving my kittens." He said huskily.

"Don't mention it Commander, we're just both really glad they are safe again." T-Bone said brushing off the thanks even though privately he was stunned to be getting it from Feral in the first place.

Feral just nodded then turned and went down the short stairs to the entrance to his penthouse. The SWAT Kats ran to the jet, closed the ramp and quickly took off to take care of unfinished business.

As Feral stepped into the patio foyer that led into the main living area, a small furry missile struck his legs. Looking down he saw the crying face of Casimir.

"Mommy...mommy...you found Gaspar and Kiara!" He shouted.

Behind him came Bagera on the run and Matty as well as some of the servants. They surrounded the pair.

"So glad to see these little ones again." Bagera said in relief.

"Yes, thanks to the SWAT Kats." Feral said gratefully as he began to move forward, Matty picking up Casimir so that he could stay close but not hinder his mom from trying to move.

Bagera stared at Feral in surprise. "The SWAT Kats?" He asked shocked.

"Yes, I'll tell you about it later, Bagera. Right now I need to get these three washed and comforted. Would you please contact Dr. Wanser. I want him to check them over." Feral said quietly as he headed for the kittens bedroom.

"Of course, sir, right away." Bagera nodded leaving swiftly to do Feral's bidding.

The other servants including Mattie followed after Feral and helped him strip each of the kittens and help them into the bath with Feral. He had decided to take them into the large pool in the master bedroom. The soothing water helped calm them as well as the hot chocolate Matty made for them when they were dressed for bed.

Dr. Wanser arrived as they were drinking their cocoa and checked them over gently.

"Fortunately, Commander, they are fine just shaken up. They may suffer nightmares for a while but I think they'll recover quickly with extra TLC from you and Mr. Khan. If there are any lingering emotional problems, please let me know quickly so that we can nip it in the bud." Wanser told him smiling warmly at the kits and giving each a sugar free lolly.

"Thank you!" Feral said relieved and tired.

Wanser just nodded and took his leave. Feral insisted the kittens sleep with him tonight and no one objected.

"I'll have a meal sent in for you, sir. It's dinner time and I know you'll be hungry soon. Just relax and take comfort from your kittens being returned to you." Matty said warmly and left to take care of ordering a meal for him.

Casimir clung to one side of Feral while Gaspar was on the other and Kiara lay against his chest. He purred softly to them nuzzling each one in turn. Exhausted, it wasn't long before they were all sleeping soundly. He tenderly laid them on one side of him and caressed each little face repeatedly. So very grateful that his little ones were back safe with him. He knew he had to call Shere soon but he was loathe to disturb his kittens by reaching for the phone. He lay there silently for some time.

Matty soon returned with a tray of food for him. She smiled down at the sleeping brood and her bosses tender way of touching each one unceasingly. Though he was male, she was always impressed at how good a mother the Commander was.

"Here you go, sir. Eat up! You'll need it to keep up with these guys when they wake up." She said softly placing the tray over Feral's lap.

"Thank you Mattie. Could you hand me my phone and the TV controller?" He asked quietly.

"Of course, sir." She moved across the room and retrieved the items he'd requested. Just leave the tray on the floor, sir and I'll get it later. Good night to you."

"Good night, Mattie and thank you for all your help. I meant to ask, are you alright? It was a pretty traumatic thing for you too." Feral asked in concern realizing he hadn't asked after her well being.

"I'll be alright sir. It was very scary but all's well that end's well and that is all that matters. I've just got a few bruises here and there. Don't worry about me." She told him with a warm smile then took her leave.

Calling his mate was going to be tough but better now than when he heard it on the news. He knew Shere hadn't known about it despite it happening some hours ago so that meant he wasn't near a TV or radio at the moment for which Feral was grateful. Shere would have been beside himself with worry. As it was, when he told him, the tiger was very upset and angry. Feral just let him rant and rave for several minutes knowing it wasn't directed at him. The tiger was just upset and frightened.

Finally, when he had calmed down sufficiently to be able to hold a quieter conversation they talked for some time. Feral missed his mate. He could really use a hug right now. It had been a very traumatic day. Shere promised he would be on the first flight out.

"I love you and I'm so very sorry I couldn't be there at this awful time." Shere murmured still feeling a deep shock at what had nearly happened to his beautiful kittens.

"I know love. Just come home as soon as you can. I need you!" Feral said softly.

"I will. Get some rest my beloved." Shere said warmly.

"You too my love." Feral whispered back then hung up.

Sighing he finished his food and set the tray on the floor. He had intended to watch the news but then decided against it. Setting the controller on the nightstand, he slid down into the bed and turned out the light. Curving his body around his kittens he drifted off to sleep.

It was nearly dawn when a heavy weight pressed the bed down beside him. He sleepily opened his eyes and tried to orient himself when he felt a familiar nuzzle on his neck. Sighing happily he carefully rolled over to face his mate.

"Welcome home, love!" He whispered. Khan's answer was to kiss his mate deeply for several long minutes.

When he'd arrived home thirty minutes ago, he had rushed into the room and beheld his family blissfully asleep in their super size bed. He went to his kittens side of the bed and sat down carefully. He reached out and gently caressed each little face tenderly.

'Gods! If he had lost them...! No...he wouldn't think about it. It was too horrible to imagine.' He thought. 'What Ulysses had gone through didn't bear dwelling on.'

He was grateful that he'd been able to get back here so quickly. After caressing each face once more, he got to his feet and headed for the bathroom. He took a quick shower and dry then padded nude to his mate's side and slipped in behind him. Uly's sleepy response tightened his heart and when Uly rolled toward him he couldn't resist kissing him senseless.

Hugging Ulysses, he whispered huskily, "I missed you my love, so very much. It terrifies me to know how close I came to losing all of you. I couldn't have borne that. So I'm home for a while. They need both of us to recover from this terrible incident."

"I'm glad. I'm off tomorrow as well." Feral told him then kissed his mate again and hugged him tightly to him. He didn't want sex right now just comfort and Shere seemed to realize that. Very soon they were spooned together and falling back to sleep safe once more.