BY THE QUEEN'S COMMAND
Chapter 1: The Queen Commands
The day had begun like any other. Feral had been working through a pile of reports when an alert sounded about a rampaging robot heading for city hall. Sighing in annoyance, he headed out in his police cruiser.
The robot apparently had gotten away from the control of scientists at Pumadyne and was singlemindedly charging down main street causing destruction. He was pissed the scientists failed to report it while it was still outside the city. The thing was over ten feet tall and had a very hard metallic body. Apparently it had been made along the lines of the Metallikats bodies but without the benefit of their sentient minds running it.
Feral's troops engaged it with laser, bazooka and tank fire without making a dent in it. He was thinking of using an electronic scrambler next when his least favorite pair of defenders arrived.
"Crud! Looks like a giant-sized version of Molly Mange," T-Bone shouted as he flew the Turbokat close to the walking metal form to study it.
"Yeah and from the information I'm getting, it's almost made of the same alloy too. It's been resistant to everything they got," Razor answered, distractedly, as he studied his array of armament to see what might bring the thing down.
Feral scowled up at them. Despite what they might do, he wanted to see if his scrambler would work and gave the order to fire before the SWAT Kats could interfere. In seconds, a barrage of electrical energy struck the robot.
While they watched, it seemed the robot had been stopped but to everyone's dismay, it had only paused a moment then the electrical barrage dissipated without harming it at all and it continued its march on the city.
Feral gnashed his teeth in frustration. Above him, Razor noted the lack of effect from the scrambling device which nixed his trying one of his own. Frowning he decided to try a combination weapon he'd developed that fired scrambling energy but was coupled with the effects of one of his banshee missiles.
"I'm going to try something new, T-Bone. Hold us steady," he warned his partner then barked, "missile away!"
It struck true, stopping the robot in its tracks again but this time it shuddered and made strange noises. After several long minutes, it exploded into many deadly pieces of shrapnel.
Feral ducked behind his vehicle as did his troops as metal sprayed down on them. The metal caused mini fires here and there, flattened cars, knocked over lamp posts, and broke windows. Fortunately, it didn't manage to do more than cause a few minor burns and cutting injuries among the Enforcers and none on the civilians who had, fortunately, already escaped or hid. It was several long minutes before the explosion and rain of metal ceased but finally it did. Feral groaned in disgust. He could see a long cleanup ahead of him.
The SWAT Kats were satisfied their work was done until...
"T-Bone, is that Callie's sedan down there?" Razor shouted at his partner.
Without answering, the pilot took them lower and saw it was indeed the deputy mayor's vehicle. What had them alarmed was the huge piece of metal skewering her car, crushing the top. They couldn't see if she was even in the vehicle. Needing to know, T-Bone quickly set the jet down in an empty parking lot.
"Crud! I hope to hell she isn't in that thing," Razor said as the canopy shot open.
T-Bone said nothing as he leaped to the ground and ran to the familiar green sedan in a frantic haste, his partner on his heels.
Feral was shouting orders to his Enforcers to get things cleaned up and see to any wounded when he heard the Turbokat coming closer instead of leaving. Looking up in surprise, he noted them coming down to a landing rather quickly. Frowning he began to head toward them but before he got more than halfway, he saw the pair leaped out of the cockpit and head in a perpendicular angle from him. That's when he noticed the deputy mayor's plight. Changing direction he ran to catch up to the pair.
The vigilantes arrived just ahead of Feral and were studying the problem carefully. The robot's arm had slammed down on her car while pieces of its body armor had pierced the driver's door. This effectively left Calico Briggs trapped in her car. That's if she was even in it.
"Ms. Briggs, are you in there?" T-Bone called to her through a smashed window, praying he wouldn't get an answer.
"I'm here and I'm okay, just can't get out!" Came her voice somewhere near the floor in the back of the car.
Though unhappy she was in there, he was greatly relieved she was okay. She had apparently seen the danger in time to be able to get in the back before it struck. Now they had to get her out of there.
Feral now joined them and was peering into the car as well. He was thinking of calling the fire department to extricate her when Razor spoke up.
"We can't wait for other assistance, Commander. Listen closely and you can hear the metal still compressing the top. The weight is too great for the roof to hold much longer. I don't think she has enough time for the fire department to get her out of there."
Feral frowned at him but did swivel his ears forward and listen hard. He sucked in a breath when he heard the soft groaning of metal as it was gradually being squeezed downward.
"Kat's Alive!" He exclaimed, his mind raced over how they could get her out quickly. He looked around urgently but nothing came to mind.
"Don't worry, we have welding torches. We'll simply cut her free on this side where she's at." Razor said, already turning his torch on, his partner come up to him and did the same. As they worked, Razor gave instructions to Callie and Feral.
"Ms. Briggs! "Lean this way but be careful of the flames and hot metal. When we get a big enough hole made, Feral will grab you and pull you out." She gave a weak acknowledgment and got herself in position.
Hearing that, Feral moved to stand at one side of Razor then waited tensely. Both SWAT Kats cut as fast as they could through the center of the door, leaving the frame to hold up the roof to keep it from collapsing too soon. In minutes, the piece of hot metal fell to the ground. As soon as it did the roof groaned louder and more ominously. Galvanized, Feral reached in and grabbed Ms. Briggs who had her arms up and ready. Snatching her, he yanked as hard as he could and allowed himself to fall backward to get out of the way faster.
It proved to be a smart move. Just as her feet cleared the wreckage, the roof collapsed, flattening the car in seconds.
Everything had happened so fast, they all felt suspended a moment in time before the sounds of what happened registered to their ears...from the sound of the squealing metal to Feral's oof of displaced air from Callie's weight on his chest and contact with the ground.
The two lay stunned for a long moment before T-Bone reached down and lifted the disheveled Callie to her feet
"Are you okay, Ms. Briggs?" He asked, concerned.
"I am now. Thank you all for getting me out of there," she said, voice still shaky.
Feral rolled over and climbed to his feet, clothes dusty and dirty. He sighed in relief, that had been too close. He shook his head at the sight of her car. Looks like she'll finally be getting a new car, he mused.
For once he couldn't fault the SWAT Kats for interfering, even though he badly wanted to. They had stopped the robot before it could do anymore damage and aided in the rescue of the deputy mayor. Sighing, he turned to speak with her again when something heavy slammed into his back, sending him face down on the pavement again.
The SWAT Kats and Ms. Briggs gaped at the sight of a strange seven foot winged creature standing over the prostate form of the Commander. Feral's Enforcers and a news crew were rushing over to them, coming to a halt to gape too.
The creature resembled a Kat, sort of, with dark brown fur tipped in red and hair that came up high between its ears then descended its back in a thick mane of black streaked with red but there the resemblance to a Kat ended.
Staring closer, those watching the thing realized this had to be an alien as there were too many other things about it that couldn't have been produced on their world.
The alien possessed huge slit-pupiled eyes of green-gold, had long ears with red tassels of fur on the tips and between them on the skull were strange looking antenna. Gleaming and wicked looking white tusks extended upward out of its mouth on either side though the rest of its teeth were very similar to a Kat's. It's body wasn't anymore impressive than a normal well built male of their species though there was no way to know if it were stronger than they were by just looking. Whipping behind it was a long, thin, tail covered with only a thin layer of fur and ending with a feathery fan of fur at its tip. It's paws and feet possessed deadly looking long black claws, much longer and sharper than a Kat's. On its back were a huge pair of ten foot wings of blood red outlined with black that were folded on its back at the moment.
Finishing off it's alien appearance was a form fitting uniform that covered its torso with a strange emblem embossed on its breastplate of a yellow many pointed star. It had no weapons but its natural ones.
Shaking off their shock, the SWAT Kats surged forward to try and remove the creature from Feral's back. But before they could touch the thing, they bounced off a strange kind of shield.
"What the heck?" T-Bone blurted..
"Some kind of force field," Razor growled, dismayed by this turn of events. He hurriedly tried to think of a way to remove it without harming Feral.
Feral, meanwhile, got over being summarily smacked to the pavement again and rolled his body rapidly to see who had hit him. He stared up at the creature. Recognition ripped through him causing him to freeze and simply gape.
"You are summoned!" It hissed in a strange gruff sounding language that Feral understood easily but no one listening could..
Feral simply continued to gape at it.
"Are you addled?" It snarled impatiently. "The Queen commands your return. Come with me!" It ordered coldly, expecting to be obeyed and when Feral still did not move to get up, it growled in annoyance and reached down, grabbing Feral's right arm, and pulled.
That snapped Feral back to himself. Fury consumed him as he leaped to his feet, yanking himself away from the creature. Roaring his anger, everyone gaped as his body suddenly underwent a startling change. Within moments, he now resembled the alien...a much taller, more powerful version of the other who staggered back in shock as if this wasn't what it expected to find. Outside the force field, everyone took an involuntary step back.
The transformed Feral's fury fairly made the air shimmer with barely controlled energy that caused the force bubble to glow.
"She commands?" Feral roared in the language of his adopted world, eschewing the one of his birth. "She who stripped me of all that I was now commands my return? How dare she?"
The alien that had jumped him eyed Feral in confusion. Lowering it ears in defense against the volume level of the furious other, it shook its head, unable to understand what the being was saying but knowing it was angry.
One couldn't blame the smaller alien for being afraid, Feral was the image of raw power and sheer intimidating size as he was now over eight feet tall, broad through the chest which was heavily muscled and eyes that were a glowing blood-gold. Though he spoke the language of his adoptive world, the accent was the same as the alien's but filled with far deadlier menace than the alien's had been.
Apparently realizing it was no match for Feral, the alien summoned help. Suddenly, Feral was surrounded by more of the strangers who seemed to have appeared almost magically.
Feral's eyes narrowed with deadly intent as one of the new arrivals spoke. "The Queen commands you to return! No resistance is allowed!"
"Here is my answer to her command!" Feral growled, threateningly, then lunged at this new speaker.
Long claws extended, he proceeded to rip the speaker to shreds. After only a seconds stunned surprise, the others leaped on Feral, burying him with their bodies. The pile heaved up and down for several minutes then bodies were flung outward to hit the force field, covering it in blood and other bodily fluids as they slid down its sides. Standing in the center of the carnage was a thoroughly blood covered Feral.
Callie gasped and turned her eyes away from the terrible scene as did many of those watching but a few hardened Enforcers and the SWAT Kats only grimaced at the bloody scene, too used to this sort of thing fighting the omegas to be shocked by it.
"Holy shit! What a powerhouse and is he ever pissed!" T-Bone swore softly.
"Oh yea! But why...that's the question I want answered. After all, these are his people. How did he get here? And why is he objecting to leaving with them? I don't like all these questions, buddy" Razor muttered, disturbed by what all this might mean to their world.
"Neither do I. The omegas are bad enough without adding aliens to the mix," his partner agreed, grimly.
Feral ignored all those outside the energy sphere as he simply stood there heaving for breath, eyes glowing madly. It was hard to determine how badly he was injured, if he was at all, with all that blood on him. His head tilted back and he stared upward at the sky. Roaring defiance, he suddenly began glowing then a burst of energy bright enough to blind everyone exploded outward. The smell of blood filled the air letting them know the force field was gone.
"Well there went the force field," Razor muttered the obvious, raising his glovatrix.
"Yea but now what's going to happen?" T-Bone growled, raising his glovatrix as well, preparing for more trouble, though uncertain if they were even strong enough to fight these guys.
Before anyone could dare to ask the changed figure of Feral for answers, the air near him shimmered again for a moment and yet another creature appeared.
This visitor was obviously older and wore a uniform that appeared to indicate a greater rank than those that lay dead. The visitor stared down at the carnage at his feet for a moment, dispassionately, then looked up and stared in careful appraisal of the impressive figure before him.
Giving a quick nod of approval at what he was seeing, the older alien began to speak in the language of the planet they stood on. "Greetings Ulysses. It seems being exiled on this world has been favorable to you. Dormant genes have been awakened and given you the form of our ancients which will suit the Queen's needs better than hoped." They might have just been at a business meeting for all the attention he gave the smell of death and show of violence laying around his feet. His manner was unnerving to those listening nearby.
Feral's eyes narrowed as he slowly lowered his arms, his body thrumming with tension. In a deep rumbling voice that sounded like thunder, he snarled, "Why are you here Ztoram?"
"The Queen commands your return," the alien, named Ztoram, intoned blandly, ignoring the disrespect the traitor was giving him. Retrieving him was far more important.
Feral lunged at the older creature. Ztoram merely frowned and held his ground, not intimidated even though the other male was now no more than inches from his face.
"Why? Why now?" Feral demanded coldly.
"Your genes are needed to strengthen the weakening blood line of our people," Ztoram stated flatly.
"What gall!" he spit, disgusted. "After throwing me away so long ago, you now come back only because I'm of use to you? My genes are the same as they've always been and could have been used then but you lost your opportunity. I care not if you and all the royal line perishes. Perhaps it is the will of the mother sun that you shouldn't continue so the rest of our world has a chance to replace you with something better. Either way, I care not. I will not sire her next litter," Feral sneered.
Ztoram gave him a frosty look. "It matters not why the Queen wants you. Your only duty is to obey and return as ordered."
Feral smiled. It wasn't nice and made those watching shudder with fear. Ztoram didn't react though a tiny feeling of uncertainty crept up his spine. This was not the sniveling weakling they'd left here years ago, something very deep and profound had happened to him.
"And my response to that is a loud...NO!"
Ztoram blinked, a truly stunned look of disbelief flashed in his eyes. "You would dare..." He sputtered.
"I have nothing to lose! She killed all those dear to me then stripped me of my position and dignity before condemning me to this place. No reason did she give for her behavior. Nothing I did merited what she did to me and mine. I have no reason to give a damn what she wants." Feral hissed. "I have made a life for myself here and will not give it up for a demented ruler."
Anger at this subject's continued disobedience and back talk was getting under his fur finally. In a tight, stiff voice, Ztoram ordered, "You will return to the ship as is your duty to your Queen. Nothing less than obedience is expected of you and continuing this defiance will only get you dragged there in electron shackles."
Looking down at all the dead bodies then up at Ztoram, Feral grinned. "That's what they tried to do. Want to give it a try yourself?" he dared the second in command.
Ztoram's mouth gaped opened at Ulysses' blatant threat then snapped closed. Glaring at Feral furiously, a brief stab of pity for the fool passing through him when he signaled a return to the ship, appearing to vanish to those watching.
Feral huffed out a breath then prepared for more trouble, tilting his head up to watch the heavens alertly, he gave a loud command, not bothering to look around to see if it was obeyed, "Better clear the area! Hell is coming and you don't want to be at ground zero!"
A frisson of fear raced up the spines of all the watchers. The SWAT Kats and Enforcers quickly reacted to the command, turning to begin pushing and shouting at all the spectators.
"You heard him! Everyone clear the area!" T-Bone barked. Razor grabbed Callie by the wrist and pulled her further away from the conflict where the Enforcers had set up a blockade. Now no one was within a mile of Feral's defiant stance in the center of the street. Even the Katseye News crew had decided staying near the SWAT Kats would be a safer option.
The silence seemed to drag on as they waited and watched. Less than ten minutes after the bystanders were removed from harm's way, a sudden burst of light blinded everyone as it struck a return volley sent by Feral.
For several long, terrifying minutes the two blinding lights clashed hiding Feral from view until finally a last burst from the ground overwhelmed the one coming from above. Silence reigned again and standing untouched was the Commander, still alert and waiting, apparently unfazed by the attack. He continued his vigilant stance, his gaze unwaveringly staring upward.