FREEDOM LOST

Chapter 32: Epilogue

With Viper out of the way, the city could now give a collective sigh of relief. Megakat City now became a city to trade and visit rather than be avoided. This extra influx of new Katizens and visitors did increase some levels of crime but nothing the enforcers couldn't handle.

The SWAT Kats saw far less action than they used to but after more than ten years of fighting, neither tom was that unhappy about that fact.

Chance wanted more time with his mate and son as well as enjoying his new job. He divided his time at his job and taking care of Jeremy, though the kitten spent equal time at the daycare learning social skills.

Jake was having a fantastic time switching from weapons making to inventions with more peaceful applications. In this, he found a kindred heart with Professor Hackle. To no one's surprise, the pair formed a small company of their own. It's mission was inventing and building things that would make life much easier for Katkind. One of the first things produced from their company and showing immediate success was a nursemaid robot.

As for Lt. Commander Steele, he forged on with his writing of a comprehensive handbook on Sabrens that was published after more than a year's work. When it hit the news stands, it became a major best seller and copies were flying off the shelves.

It wasn't long before Steele's 'Living and Working with Sabren's' was a mandatory manual for all businesses and required reading in schools......from kittenhood to professional/technical levels.

Steele was embarrassed by all the accolades, awards, and recognition he received from all walks of life in Megakat City and beyond its borders. Leaders of the Sabren community were especially lavish with their praise, giving Steele a monetary award for contributing to the improvement of relations between Katkind and Sabrens, making their lives much easier now and for future generations. He's earned a noteworthy footnote in the history of Megakat City.

Feral gave him a commendation and the Mayor insisted on having him be recognized for the single most important accomplishment of the year, giving him a beautiful plaque and party to celebrate it.

But despite all the attention and the tidy fortune he'd earned from the sales of the handbook, Steele continued to remain in the enforcer ranks. Commander Feral was greatly pleased that Steele hadn't been lured away as he was grooming him to replace him as Chief Enforcer.

As they moved into a new year, Feral came into heat again but fortunately, it happened at home this time and Cybertron was called in to keep Jeremy occupied while his parents were busy.

Despite it being a fairly straight forward pregnancy, Feral was nervous and tense during most of it, afraid of a repeat of the last one. Chance spent a great deal of time soothing his mate, though he too was nervous and watchful. He was relieved when Uly passed his third month with no problem although his mate remained tense and wary all the way up to his due date and, true to who they were, Feral's kitten decided to make an appearance during a city emergency.

It had been a cloudy and gray day, threatening rain when the familiar portal appeared. Dinosaurs, (T-Rex and huge triceratops) poured out in a thunderous herd from the portal to charge down the street leading to city hall. Feral was quickly on scene in his chopper with a fleet of choppers around him and a squad of tanks trundling toward the rampaging dinos. The tanks shot grenades of sleeping gas successfully taking numerous dinos down.

The other choppers each had a Sabren aboard and as soon as they were close enough they gave the dinosaurs a blast of energy that made them scream in pain and charge each other. While they were preoccupied with trying to kill each other, the rest of the enforcers and the SWAT Kats finished them off with more gas or frying them with energy charges and missiles.

The Pastmaster had been taken aback by the fierce and successful response from Feral's choppers and the unexpected destructive power of Sabrens. The fact the Sabrens were being able to blunt his attacks so easily finally convinced him that he was expending far too much magical energy trying to defeat them so did the only thing he could......open a portal and try to escape.

The SWAT Kats swept in and blasted him with a really high mega level of electricity frying his pterodactyl mount from under him sending the sorcerer falling toward his newly opened portal.

Feral flew close enough to fire his laser at the creep's paw, knocking the pocket watch out of his grip and sending it flying toward the ground while the Pastmaster continued on into the swirling funnel of time. He screamed in fury then vanished with a snap of displaced air.

The storm continued unabated around them as they worked to gas the remaining dinosaurs.

Feral truly hoped they'd finally managed to convince the Pastmaster that the future was no longer such easy pickings and to stay away plus the fact they now had his watch. One could hope.

Despite the quick routing of their enemy from the past, he didn't leave without making a sizable mess. It was during the round up of the last critter that Feral's labor suddenly began.

He had been standing with Steele as he directed his troops on how to corner and gas a huge armored triceratops, the last creature on its feet. As the thing screeched then collapsed on its side, Feral nearly dropped his megaphone when a sharp pain lanced across his belly.

"Argh...Kat's Alive! That hurt!" He growled, suddenly doubling over. .

Steele looked at him in consternation, grabbing the megaphone before it fell then pulled out his radio hurriedly. "Dispatch give me an open frequency," he barked quickly then when he received the go-ahead, "SWAT Kats, the Commander has gone into labor, get your tail down here asap."

"You don't have to tell me, Steele, I can feel it!" T-Bone hissed as he felt the harsh pain his mate was experiencing.

The tabby put the jet on VTOL and set down in a small area of street that was clear. Once the jet was down, he popped the canopy and leaped down, his partner right on his tail.

While waiting, Steele was helping the Commander stay on his feet and was relieved when the brawny SWAT Kat ran up to take over the care of his mate.

"Come on love, time to leave the work to Steele," T-Bone admonished as he took his mate from Steele's arms.

Panting and gritting his teeth, Feral still managed to give a last command, "Steele, take this and see that it gets into Dr. Sinian's paws. Have her lock it up....safer with her than us." He handed over the Pastmaster's pocket watch.

"Don't worry sir, I'll take care of it, you just go and concern yourself with bringing your kitten into the world safely," Steele assured him firmly.

Razor took Feral's other side helping the groaning and sweating tom to the jet's already open cargo door. "At least this time it's the slower one, buddy!" Razor observed to his partner.

Before T-Bone could agree, Feral grunted and hissed, "oh sure, slower but no less painful."

"Sorry about that love!"

On the trip to the hospital, the pains eased a bit, giving Feral a breather. T-Bone rubbed the tom's back during each intense contraction. The flight took fifteen minutes and Feral was very glad when they arrived because he was dying to lay down and curl up.

Six long hours later and Feral was ready to brain his mate. Despite how truly agonizing the short delivery was, it was nothing compared to this long drawn labor. It was absolute hell! However, the end was still a joy as he brought into the world a beautiful daughter this time.

"Ah, she's a dream, love!" T-Bone said with a most besotted look on his face as he held their daughter just minutes after her birth.

"Yeah, she sure is," Feral sighed in exhaustion but smiled as he watched his mate.

Though staying with Jake had been fun, Jeremy couldn't wait to see his new sibling. His parents had done their best to prepare their son for having a playmate and he was familiar enough with that concept from his time at the daycare that he'd been receptive about seeing this new person.

However, until the kitten was born, Jake had his paws full keeping the two year Sabren kitten busy and distracted until the following day. When morning finally arrived, Jeremy was bouncing around excitedly.

"You have to eat breakfast first, Jeremy," Jake admonished trying to get the kitten to calm down for just a little while longer.

"Don wan to eat....want to go!" The kitten said a little sulkily.

"You behave that way, youngling and we will not be going until much later," Jake warned firmly.

Sighing, Jeremy knew better than to push Jake when he spoke in that tone so settled down and ate his cereal, allowed himself to be cleaned up, then brushed his teeth.

"Alright, we're ready to go so get your jacket," Jake said pleased Jeremy had obeyed him so far.

Yelling with excitement, the kitten raced to his bedroom and grabbed his jacket, pulled it on and was back to stand by Jake's side as the tom switched to his Razor persona.

Finally ready, the tom picked up the kitten and carried him out to the garage. Soon they were zooming down the road to the Sabren hospital.

At the hospital, Feral was grimacing with distaste as Dr. Ainsly finished his morning exam of his patient.

"Well, you're doing very well, Commander, this time around. No problems nursing your daughter?" He asked as he pulled off his gloves and pulled the bedding back down over the tom's nether regions.

"No, she's just as good an eater as her brother was," Feral said, a small smile tugging his lips as he glanced over at his sleeping daughter.

"Excellent. I think you'll be able to go home tomorrow if you keep up the rest and healing you're doing. I'll see you tomorrow," Ainsly smiled then left the two.

T-Bone yawned. "I don't know how I'd forgotten about being sleep deprived. And its going to be longer this time since she's a Kat instead of a Sabren," he said with resignation.

Feral groaned. "I don't know how I'd forgotten that little tidbit. She'll grow at a normal rate as well so she'll need more intensive care longer than Jeremy did. I am truly glad the heavy hitters are no longer around since it looks like I'll be out much longer this time."

"Yeah, definitely a good thing. We'll also have to get used to Jeremy becoming a little jealous, difficult and maybe a little clingy as he realizes your time will be taken up by Kiara a little more at first. Good thing we already had him in daycare. When he starts getting a little bored and begins misbehaving, we'll send him off to the daycare to derail those habits before they can become a nightmare for us."

"Kat's Alive! I don't want to even think about that yet," Feral groaned in realization of all the pitfalls that occurred when one had more than one kitten this young.

"We'll manage love. My job allows me a lot of flexibility so I'll be around to help with Jeremy and all the others that will be coming along," he told his mate encouragingly.

"Don't remind me. But at least it's only going to be two more," Feral sighed, shaking his head at the thought of bearing two more kittens in the next two years. Though his heart still ached a little about the one he had lost, he felt a little better about only having four kittens to raise in the end.

Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on Feral's door. In walked Razor with their son in his arms.

"Mommy!" Jeremy cried the second he saw his mother in the hospital bed. He squirmed anxiously in Razor's arms as the tom walked him up to the bed.

T-Bone took his son from his partner's arms and let the kitten lean close to hug his mother tightly about the neck.

"Be careful of Mommy's stomach, champ. He's still really sore from giving birth yesterday," his father warned as he allowed his son's feet to touch down beside his mother's body.

Jeremy's face scrunched up in concern as he became more careful.

"It's alright, sweety. Daddy just wants you to be careful but mommy's alright, really," Feral reassured his worried kitten.

Jeremy smiled broadly and nuzzled his mother as Feral kissed and nuzzled him back.

"Well, would you like to see your new sister?" T-Bone asked, smiling at down at his son.

Jeremy turned in his mother's arms and nodded happily.

Grinning, T-Bone went to the basinet on the other side of the bed and lifted out something wrapped in a pink blanket. His father came back around and lowered the bundle a little so that Jeremy could peer at the tiny face laying there.

"Oooooh, she's tiny!" Jeremy said in awe, eyes wide with amazement.

"She'll grow fast then you'll have someone to play with," his mother said warmly.

Their son scrunched his face in surprise then turned to his mother with an affronted look on his face. "But she's a she!" He said, using the logic only a two year old male could have.

Feral, T-Bone and Razor burst into gales of laughter.

Still laughing, T-Bone said, "well son, the next one could be a tom like you but I wouldn't be surprised if your sister doesn't whomp your butt for that attitude some day."

Jeremy just gave his father a look of disgust but returned his attention to his tiny sister, reaching a careful finger out to touch her face.

Little Kiara yawned at him. Enchanted, Jeremy murmured, "hello, sissy!"

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