Another mess to clean up and my temper is hotter than normal. Those insufferable SWAT Kats had managed to cause the Metallikats to destroy themselves after causing significant damages to city hall's lobby, the street in front of it, Ms. Briggs' sedan, my sedan and parts of Megakat City Park including the Mayor's recently erected statue to himself (personally I was glad to see that thing in pieces).

I wanted a piece of their hides but, as usual, they were already escaping on those souped up bikes of theirs. It didn't help that Ms. Briggs had just finished saying something derogatory to me then walked off in a huff and the Mayor had ordered me to 'clean up the mess' as if I were the city's street cleaners then he left in his limo for the golf course.

I was seeing red and wanted to scream when my vision suddenly went gray. I barely registered that, when everything went black and I was falling.

When I came back to myself, my assistant, Sgt Fallon was staring down at my face in concern. I realized he had my head in his lap and I was laying on the sidewalk. I blinked in confusion and tried to get up but his paw was holding my shoulder down and I was shocked to realize I was as weak as a kitten. Forming a protective circle around me were the rest of my enforcers, looks of concern on their faces.

"No sir! Stay still. You fainted and were out for several minutes." Fallon said worriedly.

I could hear a siren and groaned in annoyance. 'Oh hell no! I hate going to the hospital!' But it seemed this time I wasn't going to have a choice since I couldn't get up to refuse.

After putting up with the indignity of being poked, prodded, pricked with needles, having a battery of tests done and forced to stay in bed for an overnight stay, the doctor came to my room the next morning and told me some unwelcome news.

"You're exhausted! The nonstop activity of your job over the past few weeks has succeeded in throwing your body out of balance. The drugs we gave you last night have corrected that problem, however, the emotional and physical exhaustion can only be remedied by you going on a weeks vacation." He said firmly.

"What? I can't take a week from my job......" I started to loudly object.

"You have no choice! You will take a vacation and it will be away from Enforcer Headquarters or the next time you will find yourself hospitalized for a month. You're getting off easy this time. I'm truly surprised this hasn't happened to you before now. You are effectively removed from duty and ordered to go on vacation or I will notify your superior and have him order you. Which will it be?" The doctor knew his patient well and brought out the big guns to enforce compliance.

I grumbled angrily but I was outmaneuvered. I hate it when doctors pull the medical card. The one that gives them the authority to remove me from duty. It's never been used with me before, aren't I lucky? But my luck has run out. Apparently, I have pushed it too far even for me.

So I prepared myself for an enforced vacation. When I was released, I went to my office, briefed Sgt Fallon then my second in command and left for the day.

Returning to my apartment, I felt lost. What was I going to do now?

After only twenty-four hours, I was bored to tears. I had done some housework, worked on my car, gone grocery shopping and now sat and watched some mindless TV before going to bed. I had to find something else to do or go plain bonkers.

I had six days to kill and being cooped up in my apartment was obviously not what the doctor intended. I sighed and made arrangements to go somewhere else.

By the next morning, I was on a ferry to Atakata Island. I'd reserved a room at a small hotel on the far side of the island away from the more touristy areas. Checking in, I found my room pleasant and the rear patio opened out to the beach just a short distance away.

Okay, this was more like it. I quickly put my few clothes away and headed out to the water. I enjoyed swimming for several hours, playing with a pod of dolphins that swam by and sunning myself. I went in for a bite to eat (I'd asked for a stocked fridge) then went out to walk the shoreline.

By evening, I went to get dinner in the nice, understated dining room, watched a little TV then went for a moonlight swim. Going to bed that night, I slept like a log, listening to the waves was so very soothing to my ears.

My next few days were spent in much the same way. I had to admit, without a phone, emergency, or someone demanding my attention, I finally relaxed but by Thursday, I was bored again. Though rested bodily, my mind was restless.

I put on jeans, a ragged t-shirt, and some old tennis shoes and made my way across the island to where the tourists go to find a little more action. The walk was invigorating and I was hungry by the time I got to the boardwalk around lunchtime.

I cruised the food stalls, trying a little of everything, checked out the shops and picked up a few things, then decided to go to the small casino to try my paw at blackjack. The casino was fairly quiet because it was still not quite happy hour so I was able to sit down and play a few sets.

I managed to win a little by the time I quit playing. The casino was filling up so I went to get a meal at their really big buffet. I was enjoying my meal and was people watching when my sharp eyes caught something fishy going on nearby.

A group of four young Kats in their twenties were lounging near the cashier's window. They'd been hanging around for some fifteen minutes. What attracted my eye, was how nervous they seemed. There was a she-kat among them and she was playing kissy with one of the males but it seemed rather forced because she would keep her eyes looking around. Not something a lover would do when they were supposedly giving their boyfriend a snog.

Frowning I watched them from the corner of my eye. I didn't want them to think I was spying on them. An ebb in foot traffic occurred some ten minutes later. My position in the restaurant was screened by some decorative plants.

The pretend couple moved a little closer to the cashier's window while the other two males moved to the window itself. One stood in front of the window, the other stood to one side. The couple stood just a little behind them both, enough to screen them from anyone coming.

I went still and turned my head just a little more and saw the male in front of the window shove a very small caliber gun at the cashier. I waited tensely until the cashier handed over a good sized pawful of money which the punk quickly stashed in his coat. The four began to hurriedly walk toward the exit which was across from where I was sitting.

I quickly jumped to my feet and moved rapidly toward the exit, planning to head them off. The couple had just touched the door when I reached them.

"Halt! You're under arrest!" I barked loudly.

They startled like a flock of birds. The couple charged the door and fled to the parking lot with the other two males hot on their heels. I let the couple go and charged the pair with the money and gun, flattening them to the floor with my greater weight and size.

I quickly used an open palm to smack one male, stunning him while thrusting an elbow firmly into the gut of the one with the gun. He curled up in pain while the stunned one staggered to his feet and made another attempt to escape. I reached out almost lazily and snatched an ankle, bringing the punk down again, face first.

By this time, security had been notified and was running up to us. They grabbed the young punk curled in a ball and began to try and yank myself and the other male to our feet. They were treating me as a part of the scene. I growled in annoyance and set them straight immediately.

"I'm Commander Feral. There are two more perps, a male and a female running across the parking lot that were a part of this." I barked commandingly at them. They jerked in shock at my identity but quickly listened as I gave them a description of the pair, several guards went running out the door.

I dragged the other male to his feet and shoved him toward two guards. A shout made me snap my head around. The punk with the gun had managed to break free of the guards holding him and was sprinting further into the casino. Fortunately, he was unarmed. Growling in annoyance at the carelessness of the local security force, I took off running as well.

I could hear the guards chasing after me rather clumsily. I snorted and ignored them as I wended my way after the punk. The male knocked a lot of patrons over and it made it difficult for me to stay with him as I avoided the irate or fallen patrons.

He finally made it to a far exit and raced through. I followed and soon we were tearing across acres of parked cars. Where he thought he was going was beyond me, we were on an island after all, but he doggedly kept on running.

I wasn't even winded yet as I nearly caught up with him only to have the punk manage to duck into the amusement park area trying to shake me. Snarling under my breath, I shoved past a pathetic guard who tried to stop me and kept my target in sight.

Finally, I managed to close the gap between us by risking going around a ride to get him on the other side. I could have lost him doing this but I thought the chances were good I wouldn't. I was right. As I came around the ride, my target ran straight into my arms.

I quickly snatched him off his feet then slammed him down on the pavement, pinning him firmly. The security guard I'd nearly knocked over, came up puffing out of breath to my side and tried to read me the riot act.

I just glared up at him and snapped. "Save it, give me your pawcuffs now before I report you to your superior."

He blinked at me in confusion but complied. I took his cuffs and quickly put them on my prisoner. I dragged him to his feet as I stood up then marched my perp toward the casino, the security guard following.

"Don't abandon your post. You'll get your cuffs back from the casino security office. Call ahead and inform them I've caught the robber and am returning with him to their location." I ordered him.

He paused in his tracks, frowning at me in consternation. He was already beginning to know I was some kind of cop but not who as he pulled out his radio. He stopped, flushing in embarrassment and asked me who I was.

"Commander Feral."

The guard blanched as he realized he'd been dressed down by the Chief Enforcer. "I'll notify them sir." He said quickly.

I just nodded and left with my prisoner. Well, the security force wasn't completely useless, they had succeeded in capturing the couple. I identified them and gave them my report on what had happened.

The prisoners were sullen and unhappy as they were being hustled into a temporary lockup awaiting transport to Megakat City jail. They didn't see me as they were hustled off.

"What are the odds of the big cheese being here?!" One hissed angrily.

"About as bad as your assurance we'd get away with a 'simple robbery'!" Snarled his partner.

I smiled to myself. The chase had invigorated me more than I would have thought. Maybe I just needed a little small scale action, after fighting the big fights in my job, to relax. Whatever, I felt better than I had in a while.

The Chief of Security turned out to be someone I'd known in the enforcer academy. He'd been injured some years ago and had to leave the force. I was glad he still got to handle the perps even if it was on a smaller scale. He was shocked to see me here but said nothing while we took care of business. When we were through, he asked me out to dinner to talk over old times and I accepted.

We were sitting at a favorite pub of his. The atmosphere was laid back and peaceful.....I liked it. We sat in a corner and ordered sandwiches and beer.

"What the heck are you doing here, Ulysses?" He asked me.

"Taking an enforced vacation." I said truthfully.

He gaped at me. "You're shitting me?" He asked in disbelief.

"Nah! I fainted while on duty. Too much stress the docs said and literally yanked me from duty, told me to leave and not to show my face around Enforcer Headquarters for a week."

"Well I'll be. I never thought you'd be forced to take a vacation. What is the world coming to?" He joked, amused as all hell.

"Ha ha!" I snorted derisively. "I guess I needed it though. I'm beginning to feel much more relaxed." I admitted.

My old acquaintance cocked an eye at me. "Well then it's all good that you came here for a little R&R. Grateful to you for catching that group of wanna be crooks."

"You're welcome. Gave me a real workout." I grinned.

"You're joking? I've seen you on the TV. Running after those omegas and barely getting out alive! That isn't exercise?" He asked, shaking his head.

"No. That's a job that's going to get me killed and there's no joy in it but grim necessity. This little bit of police work catching those perps was much more fun and there's no one telling me I did a crap job or ordering me to clean up the mess after the SWAT Kats rampage through." I growled, downing my beer in one go.

"Ahhh, I see. Yeah I guess that would be a nightmare and a thankless job at that. Why do you keep doing it then?" He asked seriously.

"Someone has to." I say with a shrug.

He just shakes his head and changes the subject. We talk about our experiences into the wee hours of the night. I stagger back to my hotel room in the moonlight, only a little drunk. I make it back to my room and collapse face first on my bed.

I have a mild hangover in the morning but I don't care. I go out and soak in the sun, enjoying my last day on the island.

The next morning, I pack up and catch the ferry back to Megakat City. Dumping my stuff in the back of my hummer, I'm feeling pretty good as I make my way through the weekend traffic for my apartment.

Come Monday morning, I'm bright eyed and relaxed and ready to work again. The doctor was right. All I needed was a break. I'll have to keep that in mind and when I feel overwhelmed again, take another vacation......maybe I'll go to Sandeval Bay next time. I humm to myself and dig into the pile of work waiting for me.