The moon hung in the air like a ghostly image in its pure white glory hovering in the star covered sky. The light from it spread across the city slowly inching its way to cover building after building. A steady wind blew from the north pushing dark clouds ahead of it, sneaking into steal the moon's silvery glow.
To the watcher, it felt like a bad omen. A coming storm and not just the weather. He could feel it in his bones, trouble was coming to Megakat City...again. On the night wind, the distant sound of thunder could be heard.
But for the moment, moonlight still held sway. It shown on the watcher's face as he sat on the edge of his apartment roof. A wrong move, a sudden gust of wind, could cause him to fall to the distant ground below his perch. It didn't faze the Kat, his life was one of living on the edge anyway so this held no fear for him.
He sat there contemplating this city he worked so hard to protect. For his selfless devotion he got constant derision and disrespect. He was thought of as cold, hard headed, stubborn, and so by the book, he was too rigid to accept anything different.
What a laugh! That was
only an image he projected to make him seem tough and firm, it wasn't
who he really was. It was never meant for his peers and those he
worked with or those he protected. Tired of being perceived the way
the tabloids presented him, he tried to reach out to those that
mattered most to him. To his pain and sorrow, he was slapped down and
treated with suspicion. No one wanted to believe that all he wanted
was to be accepted for who he really was but no one wanted to reach
out to him and see him as a Kat that wanted the same things they did.
No, they didn't want to see...didn't want to learn...so certain he was trying to trap them, they turned their backs on him. It hurt, the pain digging deep into his already bleeding heart. As he stared out at the night, he wished someone would have just taken a gun and shot him then maybe all the pain he had carried all his life... the intense loneliness, the emptiness of his soul would be over.
When they'd rejected his tentative overtures, he kept his face blank never showing how much he was screaming inside for someone…anyone to help him. To be someone who cared about him, who wanted to be his friend, someone who truly wanted him as part of their family. The same things everyone wants.
He took a deep breath tasting the coming rain and hearing the thunder far way. He couldn't blame them really, after all, he played the part of the stone cold leader for so long, they just couldn't see anyone else. He was just too good an actor.
The injustice of it welled up suddenly and he released a scream of anguished pain. It was loud and torturous, only the approaching storm's thunder prevented anyone from hearing it. He screamed in frustrated anger and sorrow until his voice grew hoarse and still he screamed. His voice gave up but still he screamed.
Finally, the emotion ran out and he slumped down in exhaustion, hanging his head as the storm came closer. He blinked golden eyes empty now of emotion and stared at the city skyline. For so many years he protected this city, gave his very lifeblood for it and yet no one believed he did it because he cared for its Katizens. No...all they believed was that he was only doing it for the money and power that came with the job. That he was corrupt!
Oh, how that particular word burned him with anger then, to his surprise, he was laughing. The joke was on them. He no longer cared what they thought. After trying so hard to prove it wasn't so, he just didn't care anymore.
Let them think would they will, nothing he did or say could change their minds. As far as they were concerned he was what they believed him to be. To all of them he was always wrong, worthless, untrustworthy.
Why else would Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs constantly side with and favor the SWAT Kats more then the enforcers? After all, they could do nothing wrong. No matter how they got the job done, they were considered heroes and he was the villain. No one cared that he couldn't do as he wished because the Mayor always tied his paws, took the funds needed to beef up the military for one of his many ill-conceived projects and raised taxes. He was always to blame for that not the Mayor.
He couldn't count the number of times he pleaded for better weapons, equipment, training and how often he was turned down and still he was blamed for the poor performance of his troops. He would have given everything he owned to have the freedom to fight the big criminals the way the SWAT Kats did. If he'd had that kind of freedom, the city would be a safe place by now. But no, he was tied by a leash that the Mayor loved to pull tight whenever he disobeyed or dared to try to do something not in the budget like a disobedient dog.
No one understood that if he allowed his enforcers to be like the SWAT Kats, many innocent Kats would be harmed in the crossfire. No one understood that if the funding for the enforcers from charity events and from large corporations were cut off, the enforcers would be no more. They just didn't realize that the SWAT Kats couldn't be everywhere and certainly couldn't handle all the more lower level crimes that happened all the time in a city this size.
All they saw was the bigger criminals getting taken out by the pair of vigilantes. Because the news crews played up that so much and, of course, because Dark Kat, Dr. Viper, Turmoil tended to do the most damage. But it was joe average that knew the enforcers for what they truly were. Only they appreciated what they did for the city. Like stopping a mugger, sneak thief, burgler, mob fight, domestic abuse problem, etc. These were things the SWAT Kats weren't equipped to take care of.
But the Mayor never saw that and even if he did, since it didn't effect him directly, he didn't care. He would probably be happier if the enforcers just disappeared.
'And why not? T-Bone and Razor do such a better job then me.' He thought bitterly as he looked up at the moon that was nearly covered by the approaching storm. The SWAT Kats would be in trouble if they couldn't acquire the parts they needed for their weapons and that precious jet of theirs.
The hot shots would be shocked to know he knew who they were. It wasn't really that hard. No matter how well they tried to hide their flight pattern, he still was able to determine where they went after every battle. He knew exactly who they were but he would never give them away because he needed them to take out the heavy hitters while his enforcers kept the rest of the criminal elements in line. He snorted as he looked down at the dark alley beneath his perch.
'Did they really think I couldn't find out who they were? Did they ever think that maybe…just maybe I just didn't want to bother with it since it would prove I was right about them. That my two ex-enforcers Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson were the SWAT Kats? After all, there was no one on my force, except Felina, who was as good a pilot or weapons officer in the enforcers now.' He thought with disgust.
And then there were all those lectures from the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Both of them constantly on him for his so called incompetence when it was their fault the enforcers were so inadequate. By letting the SWAT Kats do the job, buildings, streets, major facilities were damaged. They would rail at him for the cost of repair. Ms. Briggs was the worst. Always scolding him for doing his job the best he could. Would it have killed her to make the Mayor ease up on him? But why should she? That would only make the SWAT Kats look bad and she couldn't have that especially if it increased the chance of Ulysses Feral finding out who they really were which hardly matter since he knew anyway.
He always had a feeling that somehow Briggs was connected to the SWAT Kats just never knew how. Till one day during a attack on the city he had seen her pull out a communicator and spoke into it, then he knew how the pair always managed to know about what was going on.
He could have called her on it but why bother. She would have only denied it. She was protecting her lover. He knew Briggs was seeing Razor because of the way they acted when together. No surprise there. What shocked him though was to find out his beloved niece was seeing T-Bone.
He didn't know why it upset him so much about Felina's actions. He shouldn't have been surprised, especially the way she stuck up for them all the time. But it hurt that she would betray him. Her father had done the same thing. It didn't make the pain any easier to bear now as it did then. He guessed the reason it hurt more from Felina was that she had taken a side finally and it wasn't his. He suspected the two she-kats knew the pairs identities by now too.
Now as he sat here contemplating his life, he wondered if things between himself and Felina might have been different if he had reached out to her sooner, showed her his inner heart and not the persona he used for his job.
Would things have been different if he hadn't tried to constantly hide the pain and loneliness that had grown stronger as he'd gone from kitten to adult? His golden eyes glazed over as he let his mind drift back to his kittenhood. His life had been cold and empty.
Two parents only concerned with their own lives and not the pair of kittens they'd conceived. His father, remote and focused on his public image to the exclusion of family. A mother too concerned with her image among the social elite to give her kittens the love and attention they needed and craved so desperately. His brother coped by burying himself in his school work, determined to leave this cold home. He never gave a thought or extra care to his younger sibling, leaving him to fend for himself. A bright and engaging youngster, he was forced to entertain himself and try to hide his pain and loneliness.
Tears and begging for attention only gained the kittens a cold shoulder and discipline for disrupting the adults so called important business, too often sent to their rooms, shut away from life and love. They were told to be strong and show no signs of weakness. They learned quickly how to hide their emotions. This made it hard for them to make friends because they were perceived as being stuck up or cold.
It was a shock to him when his first friend had asked him to come over to his house for the night. Seeing a father and mother loving their kitten, carrying him about, worrying about him when he suddenly got sick were a revelation to him that his life at home wasn't normal. His parents would never dream of treating he and his brother that way. If they got sick they would simply give them medicine and leave them alone. His parents would even complain about having to take care of sick kittens. So he and his brother learned to hide that as well. So those hiding skills he had learned so well had come back and bite him hard. His life was now one of loneliness and he was tired of it.
He was brought back to the present when a boom of thunder occurred very close to him. He blinked and stared up at the now cloud covered sky. The moon was completely hidden leaving the city in a deeper darkness. He sighed and got off the edge of the roof.
As he stepped back into the stairwell and went back to his apartment, he felt so very tired, physically, mentally and emotionally. It tired him, day in and day out, to keep up the act that he didn't feel the pain and continue to do his job. He was so sick of the pretense, his stomach constantly tied in knots. It was so tight now that he could feel his lunch trying to come back up.
He stood in the center of his living room and looked around. If the city, the mayor, deputy mayor and his niece wanted the SWAT Kats so bad, they could have them. He wasn't going to stick around any longer to play the bad guy for them anymore. They had the villains to play that part for them. He was through with the game.
He was leaving. There was nothing here for him and perhaps there never was in the first place. He'd stayed far too long and too much of his heart and soul had been hurt. There was nothing here but hate and anger and all of it directed at him. Well, enough! There had to be somewhere he could find happiness and peace. So tonight he was leaving, taking a simple black backpack with a change of clothing and enough money to get him far way from this awful place.
Before he left, he placed a letter on his coffee table. It told them he was leaving and never returning. He had tried his best and it wasn't good enough for anyone so they would have to solve their problems themselves because he no longer cared. He wished them luck in keeping the city safe. Now they could concentrate on doing that without him in their way. Then he signed his name, left his badge and weapon on the table with the letter, picked up his backpack and stepped out of his apartment for the last time. He locked the door and left the key with the security guard and told him to only give it to his niece when she came.
He stepped out the front door just as it began to rain. It started as a small drizzle as he walked to the bus stop then began to pour. Wet to the bone, Feral looked up at the clouds, letting the rain wash over him. It felt like his old self was being washed away and his true self was allowed to shine forth at last.
Smiling for the first time in a very long time, he stepped aboard the bus that had just pulled up. He never looked back and didn't regret what he was doing. It felt good finally doing something just for himself and no one else. He felt a sense of relief and joy begin to take hold.
"Where you heading?" The bus driver asked shutting the door.
"Away from here." Feral said simply as he took a seat in the middle of the bus. As the rain hit the windows, he relaxed in his seat. He knew this choice was the right one and wherever he found himself, he would finally be who he really was and perhaps find true happiness.