Author Note: This take place five years after Shadow within a Shadow. The three chapters will be a Point View from Felina, Callie and the SWAT Kats. Enjoy! Also I want to say thanks to Ulyferal for beta-reading for me again! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I hope you can enjoy this fic!
CHANGE OF COMMAND
Chapter 1: Felina Feral
He had failed to come to work that morning. She first learned of it when his Sergeant tracked her down.
"Major Feral!" The Sergeant called to her as she was headed for the flight line.
"Yes, Sergeant?" She asked halting in her tracks to wait for him.
"Ma'am, Commander Feral has failed to come into work today and I can get no answer from his cell, his radio, or his home phone. I thought you might want to check on him." The Sergeant said in concern.
"That doesn't sound like him. Thanks for telling me. I'll stop by on my way to city hall." Felina told him. He nodded and returned to his duties.
She frowned to herself. Hope he hasn't come down with something. That'd be the only reason for him not to show. She continued on to the flight line. She had been ordered to take some sensitive files to Ms. Briggs this morning and thought to get some flying time in. Now that she was a major and possibly next in line for Chief Enforcer, she had been forced to stay desk bound most of the time. She truly hated that. The only time she got out from under her paperwork was when an omega threatened. Sometimes she wished she'd never been promoted.
In very little time, she was airborne and flew toward her uncle's apartment building. He had insured a chopper could land there, years ago so it wasn't difficult to put it down and park. She went into the roof door and down a short pair of steps to the top floor where her uncle's apartment was.
She knocked loudly on his door but there was no response. Using the key he gave her, she unlocked the door and stepped in. It was silent except for the ticking of the clock on the wall near the door. She started to move toward the bedroom when she spotted the things on the coffee table.
She stopped and stared in bewilderment. There laying on the table was her uncle's badge, gun, and a letter. Troubled, she picked up the letter and began to read. By the time she'd finished, she felt shock, dismay, and sorrow.
She didn't hate her uncle. After all, it was because of him that she had joined the enforcers. The thing that bothered and annoyed her the most was his pig-headedness, stubborn refusal to accept aid when it was offered, and his constant concern over budget and property damage over the need to take out the bad guys. This was the single most important area of her relationship with her uncle that they fought bitterly about.
She was shocked that he had known all along about the SWAT Kats and had never told her. That he had guessed that she was seeing T-Bone was equally stunning. She read pain, hurt and angry resignation in that letter. It made her feel a combination of loss and relief. It felt strange to realize he was never coming back.
Suddenly, it occurred to her, she was now the next in line for Chief Enforcer. The Mayor had to appoint her but she didn't think that would be a problem. Her mind raced with all the things that needed to be done to transition the change of command.
She picked up his badge and gun and tucked them into her uniform coat. The letter she put in an inside pocket. It seemed fortuitous that she was going to see Callie now. They had much to discuss.
Callie's face was a study of shock, chagrin, and relief. To know Feral had known about her and Razor and Felina's relationship with T-Bone had been a stunning revelation. She felt strange hearing the Commander's pain and anger at what he perceived as betrayal. She had never given it a thought that he might be just as upset by their failure to defeat the omegas as the rest of them. His frustration with them all at not seeing him for who he truly was gave her a twinge of guilt. But it was too late to make amends even if she had wanted to.
Shaking herself, she prepared to handle the Mayor in quickly getting Felina appointed as Chief Enforcer and the ceremonies needed to accomplish it. No telling what things were going to be like now that Ulysses Feral had taken himself out of the picture. Only time would tell.
Five years later...
At first it had been exhilarating and extremely busy when she took command of the enforcers. Mayor Manx had been extremely upset and worried the city would be in danger but Callie had set him straight and things went smoothly after that.
Callie and her even celebrated with their lovers, the SWAT Kats, at the feeling of liberation from having to tip-toe around her uncle all the time and the fact they all had a freer paw in running things their way.
For the first four years that paid off. Except for a lot of grumbling by the Mayor, they had succeeded in keeping the city safe though there had been a bit more property damage than usual.
It started to go sour, for Felina, at least, when she realized her friend wasn't as much of a friend as she supposed. When she asked for newer jets and weapons, she found herself stonewalled.
At first she accepted that times were hard, the treasury was continually drained by the property damages caused by the omegas. She was willing to try and work around it. Razor even helped by giving her some upgrades for their weapons and jets that they could do with the stuff they had on hand. But gradually that was proving to be not enough. She found she couldn't keep fighting and keeping her troops from dying in droves without a major upgrade.
She was shocked and angry when her requests were being consistently refused for reasons of budget. It hit her finally that this was what her uncle had been fighting. This was why he was angry and upset that the SWAT Kats always managed to one up him because he was forced to make do with badly outdated tech, poorly prepared enforcers, and out of date jets and choppers.
When she buttonholed Callie about her very real need for funds, she found to her angry surprise, her friend had dug in her heels and had sided with Mayor Manx on this issue. Even though, Callie agreed some of their budgetary problems were caused by the Mayor's greediness for more monuments and buildings in his name and his grandiose schemes of making money by building expensive office space and selling it for obscene prices, she still would not budget or use her considerable skills to skim off some of Manx's profits to fund the enforcers growing needs.
She lost her temper and vented at Callie for aiding the Mayor in weakening the enforcers to the point of uselessness in favor of the SWAT Kats. She argued the SWAT Kats were good in the fights with the omegas but what about all the smaller scale battles, such as drug and gun running, mob wars, domestic violence (that was escalating), terrorists threats from other countries that saw the floundering enforcers as an excuse to encroach in Megakat waters by pirating their ships. All these things were being handled by the enforcers not the SWAT Kats and without the major upgrades, it would be the smaller criminals that take over the city and not the omegas.
Callie said she sympathized but that she couldn't give Felina what she wanted. Snarling in fury, Felina stormed out of the Deputy Mayor's office.
Things became strained between the Enforcers and the Mayor's office after that. The enforcers themselves were feeling the brunt of their Commander's wrath. But they understood why she was angry all the time. They were too were tired of giving their lives to save a city that wouldn't support them. Enlistments were down as many young Kats turned away from such a dangerous job that had few rewards and saw less and less successes against the bad Kats.
To make matters even worse, the enforcers were concerned and angry at what they could see was a more relaxed attitude by their Commander toward the vigilantes. Some agreed it was the SWAT Kats that kept the omegas at bay but many of the older hard liners were truly pissed that they were not able to do their job because of inadequate equipment and being shown up by the high tech SWAT Kats on a too regular basis. Their disgruntlement reached Felina's ears but she didn't know how to solve it.
This state of affairs began to take its toll on the relationships between the SWAT Kats and their lovers as well.
Felina's anger at her inability to protect the Kats under her command made her lash out at Razor. The strain between the two she-kats made it hard for the SWAT Kats to not accidentally step on toes when their lovers were at war. It made things strained and tight between the long time partners. Razor would take his frustration out on T-Bone whenever he and Callie had a fight. The reverse would be true when T-Bone and Felina fought as well.
What really steamed Felina was when T-Bone would make one of his sarcastic comments about how lame the enforcers were. She would immediately jump on him and tell him in no uncertain terms that she was fed up with those comments.
"You try fighting the crime around here with outdated tech. It must be nice to steal from the salvage yard to get what you need and have an inventor at your beck and call to whip up new weapons. But I don't have that option and you can thank Callie for that. She's refused every request I've made for more funds to improve my forces. So don't be making any more nasty, stupid comments about my enforcers." She hissed at him furiously
T-Bone back-pedaled quickly, realizing he had pushed her buttons one too many times. Unfortunately, nothing he could say could make the situation any better. He couldn't give her what she needed and her frustration was straining their relationship big time.
It was no better for Razor. The last time he was with her he was forced to listen to her complain about yet another request from Felina.
He tentatively tried to soothe things a bit. "But Callie, Felina's right. The enforcers are sinking. T-Bone and I are alright with the omegas but we can't be everywhere fighting all the other crimes this city is suffering from. Can't you find a way to help her?" He asked cautiously.
Callie's green eyes flashed with fury. "Mayor Manx has succeeded in draining the budget. I have barely enough to keep the city running. What Felina is asking is over a quarter of a million dollars to upgrade her enforcers and I don't have it to give her. But she won't listen." She snarled furiously.
"But, Callie there won't be a city to run if the criminals take over." Razor pressed, knowing he was putting his foot in it but also knowing it was the truth.
"I...can't...help...her!" She bite off every word. The evening deteriorated after that and Razor wisely left quickly, frustrated and angry himself.
Meanwhile in Enforcer Headquarters, more trouble was brewing.
Felina's officers had noticed a closeness between their Commander and the SWAT Kat, T-Bone. It had been barely noticeable when her uncle was around but then had grown more bold after he had left. It made quite a few of them suspect more was going on.
When she began to snub that same SWAT Kat a few years later and a strain was seen in their behavior toward each other during battles, many realized the pair could be very likely lovers who now had a falling out. This incensed quite a few of the old guard. Playing with the enemy was seen as betrayal.
Among the ranks, those most loyal to the ex-commander, began to foment rebellion. Cruel pranks, whispering in the halls, questioning orders during battles or ignoring them altogether, and showing disrespect for her began to occur with increasing frequency. The boldest among them would jeer and make comments about her lover.
She began to feel isolated. Her troops that used to respect her abilities on the battlefield were turning away from her in droves because of her affiliation with T-Bone. She cried to herself in private and railed angrily in public. She felt like blaming her uncle for all her troubles but knew that wasn't fair. After sitting in his seat for five long years, she now understood what he had suffered from the constant humiliation from the SWAT Kats.
She thought she had known what was the best way to help save the city only to find out it wasn't that easy after all. Callie was learning that the excesses she had turned a blind eye to with regards to the Mayor's shenanigans had finally caused the city to begin its long slide into chaos. Something had to be done but the only thing she could see was getting rid of Manx.
Meanwhile, Felina's situation had gone from bad to worse. Her ranking officers had managed to build a case against her. She was being charged with the betrayal of the regulations she had sworn to uphold with her knowing association with a vigilante.
She was formally charged and suspended from duty while her hearing was set within a week to face a tribunal of military leaders to answer for her crime. Callie had been required to appear as a witness for the prosecution. She too would be facing charges that she willfully aided and abated two known vigilantes. Her court hearing would be after Felina's in federal court.
While she waited for her hearing, Felina was forced to stay at home. Now she had lots of time to think and reflect on how everything had gone to hell in such a short time.
"Uncle, was it really this bad for you as it is for me now?" She wondered aloud.
Many miles away, in another country, Ulysses Feral was sitting eating a meal and reading the local paper. In the international section, he came across an article that talked about the problems Megakat City was facing. The Deputy Mayor and Chief Enforcer were being questioned in court about their alleged association with the infamous SWAT Kats.
"Trouble already rearing it's head, eh? Well…not my problem anymore." Feral said with a grunt of non concern as he tossed the paper away and paid for his meal.
He pulled his backpack over his shoulder once more and headed out. These last few years had been relaxing and freeing. He wasn't about to give them up for a city he no longer cared about. So no matter what the troubles were in Megakat City, he was never going back.