Eric put his latest shot down on the counter, the noise of the bar around him nothing more than an annoying echo.
He glanced up and stared at his reflection in the mirror. Staring back was a male of more than average height, with hair worn a little longer than most of the people at his former job. He was wearing his pilot's leather jacket (with the zipper down) and the heel of one of his western boots was resting on the crossbar of the stool he was sitting on. His gaze lowered and out of the lower corner of his eye he could see his button down shirt and black denim jeans.
He pulled back a strand of black hair from his face as the barkeep came closer.
"Another round, George. I don't want to see the bottom of this glass for awhile." He said thickly.
He looked at Eric and shook his head taking the man's glass away. "No more tonight, Erik. You've had enough." He said gruffly. Eric's hand shot out and grabbed the barkeep's wrist.
"I've had enough when I've said I've had enough" Eric hissed angrily, then felt a hand on his on his shoulder.
He turned his head and Cassie stood there looking at him. She was about his height with long brown hair that she wore in a ponytail. She had aqua green eyes which were rare for someone of Japanese-American descent.
"Eric…" She started to say...but he shook her off and snatched his glass back, twirling it on the counter.
"Eric I know what happened…" Cassie tried again.
"Drop it Cass" He growled in warning.
"…and..." She continued then stopped when Eric hurled his glass at the mirror, shattering it. He leapt to his feet and turned on her.
"I said 'drop it'" He snarled then stormed out of the bar, every eye on him as he disappeared.
Eric jammed his hands in his jacket pockets as he stalked down the sidewalk bypassing his bike. Behind him, the bar door opened and quick footsteps hurried to catch up to him.
"Erik please…" Cassie begged as she came up to him and matched his stride.
"Don't you have another pilot to introduce yourself to? I'm sure he's more competent than me" He demanded cutting her off as he turned down an alley.
He heard her stop in her tracks when they were halfway down it and say, "Actually no!"
Eric froze in mid step and turned to look at her, her hair billowing in the light wind as she glared at him.
"I turned in my wings and so did half a dozen other pilots and copilots in protest on how you'd gotten shafted. You are the best pilot that ever came out of the Navy and Top Gun training. What happened wasn't your fault and I refuse to fly with anyone else." She said flatly.
He looked at her for a moment then turned away to continue walking. "You shouldn't have done that. I'm not worth it." He said coldly over his shoulder.
"YOU CAN'T GO THROUGH THIS ALONE! YOU… YOU… STUBBORN ASS!" She yelled furiously behind him.
But he ignored her and continued on until he reached the corner and turned, only going a couple of steps before hearing a scream from where he'd left Cassie. Shocked, he whipped back around and saw a creepy purple light coming from the alley.
"Cassie!" Eric shouted in fear, racing back around the corner. He froze when he saw Cassie being attacked by what looked like small pink gargoyles coming out of a weird glowing hole in the side of a building next to Cassie. It was something out of a science fiction movie.
Shaking off his shock, Eric darted forward and took a flying leap, feet outward, nailing one of the creatures with a hard kick sending it flying back.
"Paws off lizard lips!" He shouted before suddenly being tackled off his feet by the other creature from behind. More creatures came out of the hole and grabbed the humans by their arms.
"LET US GO YOU LITTLE CREEPS!" Cassie yelled. Eric just grunted and kicked but couldn't manage to hit one of them.
The creatures made loud screeching noises as they hauled their prisoners toward the weird hole. Eric struggled even harder but went limp when a trash can lid connected with his head making him see stars and lose consciousness.
Eric woke with a splitting headache and felt dried blood on the side of his head. It hurt too much to open his eyes yet.
'It's got to be the whiskey I drank. Ugh! What a dream I had!' He thought groggily.
After laying still a moment longer, he tried to move his arms and legs but there seemed to be something holding them. That caused him to snap his eyes open. He found he was strapped to a table and beside him was Cassie restrained the same way on another table.
"Cassie, Cassie wake up!" He said anxiously, ignoring the pain in his head. She'd heard him and began to groan, slowly cracking her eyes open.
She tried to move her limbs just as he had and her eyes widened as she realized she was tied down. Cassie looked at him in confusion then looked around their surroundings. He did the same and discovered they were in some kind of laboratory. Here and there on various tables were chemicals, vials, and various other unknown equipment. Staring ahead, over their feet, they saw a pair of double sliding doors.
"Where are we and what were those things" She asked softly.
"I don't know! I thought I was just dreaming from too much whiskey but this seems too real for a dream!" He said worriedly.
Suddenly there was a hiss and the doors began to open. In the shadow of the doors something large stood a moment watching them. A couple of those pink creatures darted forward and stood in front of some of the equipment. The prisoner's eyes widened in horror as the shadowy figure stepped forward into the light of the room.
It looked like a massive cat-like creature in a giant black hooded cloak lined in red with metal epaulets on each shoulder. It's face was partially hidden in shadow as its yellow eyes looked them over then it laughed evilly.
"Well done my creeplings! Soon we will be rid of those infernal SWAT Kats!" It said coldly.
Eric blinked then frowned. 'I may be a cat person but this is ridiculous.' He thought.
"This is a dream...right?" Cassie asked in disbelief.
He raised his head and banged it down on the table to try and shake the image but it was still there and his head hurt even worse.
"Well, it's definitely not a dream. So, what's your story Mr. Kitty? Got bit by a radioactive cat?" Eric asked sarcastically, still not able to grasp this strange situation they were in.
The large creature growled and it sounded like a mountain lion. "Your insolence won't get you anywhere. If you weren't important to my plans, I'd destroy you instantly for that flippant remark." It said nastily then it turned to a pair of his gargoyle creatures and nodded. Apparently that was a signal because suddenly a pair of mechanical arms came down from the ceiling with loaded needles toward the helpless humans.
"What are those? What are you going to do to us?" Cassie pleaded, terror in her eyes as the needles got closer.
The creature's yellow eyes stared mercilessly down at her. "You'll find out soon enough. You're perfect for my needs." He rumbled.
"Look buddy! I may like cats and I do have a couple at home and you may be cute in your own demented way, but you're definitely not my type." Cassie said bravely.
"Silence! Soon you will be soon under my control but first a little change is in order." It growled with satisfaction.
Eric struggled harder as the needle came closer and closer to his arm. "Hey if this is a job interview you're going about it all wrong. I think I should tell you that my pilot's license was revoked" He panted in fear.
Their struggles were to no avail as the needles connected with their arms and injected their contents. Just seconds too late, an explosion roared from behind the beds, showering debris on the two helpless prisoners and knocking them both out again.
When the dust cleared, the SWAT Kats sprang into the lab. T-Bone bared his fangs at the sight of Dark Kat. A few of his creeplings abandoned their posts and charged them. The brawny tabby leveled his Glovatrix and fired a missile which exploded, spreading a heavy net that swept the creatures back and pinned them to a nearby wall.
As they struggled to get free, the pair charged toward Dark Kat. The evil Kat pressed a button on his cane which released a bright flash of light, blinding the SWAT Kats long enough for him to make his escape.
"CRUD! He got away again!" T-Bone snarled angrily, slamming a fist into the wall.
Razor was silent for a moment as he looked around. "Hey! Who or what are these things?" He asked, pointing at the two beds and its strange occupants.
T-Bone blinked in shock. Strapped to a pair of tables were what looked like furless and tailless cats. "They look like furless Kats." He said, stating the obvious.
"They may be furless but they do have hair and I'm not sure they are Kats, T-Bone." Razor said, pointing at the obvious hair on each of the creature's heads. "Their ears are wrong and they have more fingers than we do." He added.
"Definitely weird! So what should we do with them?" T-Bone asked his partner.