EPILOGUE

He stood at the window, gazing down on the bustling streets beneath, observing the crowded sidewalks and pelican crossings, the stop-and-go rush hour traffic.

The normal chaos.

He sighed, buttoning his jacket. In five minutes, he'd be amongst them. There was no way to avoid it, but he *loathed* these drives. In the streets, his car was just one between hundreds, and the other drivers didn't care about authority or status. They'd cut in on him if they could. They always did that.

Maybe he would get a private chopper once he was commander.

Lieutenant Commander Steele cast a final look on the world outside and turned to the door. He locked his office and walked down the floor, past two captains who greeted him just with a nod of their heads.

Once he was commander…

That objective had faded out of sight again, thanks to these incompetent, brainless blockheads.

He reached the elevator and ordered it up with an enraged fist-slam on the button.

Years of planning. Destroyed!

He should have chosen someone else. But, whom…?

Hard Drive – too self-centered.

Dr. Viper – such things didn't really interest the mad scientist. Plants, and *just* plants, did.

DarkKat… Steele quivered at the mere thought.

No, it had had to be the Metallikats. They had been the only criminals powerful and interested enough to hear out his deal. And, they had screwed it up!

The elevator announced itself with a soft ping. Steele stepped inside and pressed "S3" – the lowest parking deck. The doors closed, and the elevator dropped slowly.

The Mind Transfer Device, unfortunately, was only a near-range weapon. For quite a while, Steele had waited for the perfect moment where he would have been alone with the commander. His Enforcer comrades didn't seem to accept him as their future commander with Feral around. But, if *he* was Commander Feral…

But, the moment had never come.

*Thankfully*!

Steele could well remember the horror and the desperation he had felt when he had realized that the two Pumadyne security guards had switched into their normal bodies again. His mind boggled at the thought of what would have happened if he had executed his original plan. He would have transferred 'Steele' to some remote outpost the Enforcers had. This abandoned salvage yard perhaps. If he and the commander had automatically switched bodies again after two years, *he* would have suddenly found himself to be outcast.

A *big* decline after having been Enforcer commander!

But, the second plan had been flawless. And, the Metallikats had screwed it.

Steele snarled.

He had planed everything meticulously. How the Metallikats should split up in the casino… How he had made Feral notice that Molly went for the vault… How he had waited inside the Royal Lion Casino with the thugs until the SWAT Kats had arrived, and sent one of them into the strongroom after Feral…

A mind exchange between the commander and a SWAT Kat would have opened him all doors.

Feral would have discovered the vigilantes' identities, and gone to the media with his knowledge. The SWAT Kats would have been jailed, and the commander would have been examined by the Pumadyne specialists to search for a way to reverse his condition.

That would have taken time – a long time, to be precise. Time in which Steele would have been in command over the Enforcers. And, when the mind swap would have dissolved after two years, he would have had all the threads in his hands already.

Nobody would have ever suspected him to have given the Mind Transfer Device to the Metallikats. A 'late appearance' of his Enforcers now and then when the robotic couple raided another target would have seen to that.

He stood with clenched fists as the elevator stopped and the doors opened to the parking deck. The Charity Gambling had been held twelve days ago now, and yet… He couldn't get over it…

"That's a very nice watch you got there, lieutenant commander."

Those stupid robots!

Steele stepped out of the elevator and walked over to his car.

At least he had left no traces behind. He had hindered that troublesome news reporter Ann Gora from filming in the casino, and the SWAT Kats had taken care of the Metallikats.

They had recovered, and were now imprisoned in a specially manufactured cell on Alkatraz Island, but they couldn't remember anything out of the week before their electromagnetically-caused shutdown. The magnetic radiation had deleted their active files – their latest memories.

It was the robotic counterpart to amnesia, only without hope of improvement.

They couldn't prove anything on him!

That was the one big advantage of being underestimated, of being thought a complete jerk. They didn't know just how creative he actually was…

He would find another way to gain leadership. Somehow…

Steele opened his car's door and climbed onto the driver's seat, starting the engine and pushing the vehicle into gear. His eyes fell onto the passenger's seat.

On it, in pieces, lay the Mind Transfer Device.


THE END