Title: Last Names
Date: October 2011
Genre(s): Drama, Suspense, Action, Sci-Fi
Words: 16,800 (42 pages)
Beta Reader: Kristen Sharpe
Summary: A look at Felina Feral's position in the Enforcers and how her last name has and continues to affect her life.
Several weeks had passed and Felina had filed her report. Dark Kat was still at large and Ritz still unaccounted for. The morale of most of the pilots was low, and several of them seemed to think the story of Ritz turning traitor wasn't entirely true, causing her low standing with many of them to be even lower. She didn't care, though, and returned to active duty, her earlier suspension seemingly expunged.
One thing she had wondered, though, was why the robot didn't act sooner to fulfill its mission once she was sighted by the interceptors. She'd found out that Stevenson had merely reported a fellow Enforcer in trouble, without naming names.
"I'd seen you earlier in the day and you hadn't seemed yourself," Stevenson had explained. "I thought it was best to be as discreet as possible once I saw a second 'you' flying back at high speed."
"You know, you've got some veteran instinct for a rookie," Felina had said.
Gorman's big day had been ruined, but he didn't seem bothered by it. During his first official day as CAG he'd read off the flight assignments, and scheduled Felina to be his wingman. He hadn't given any explanation, though she assumed he wanted to keep an eye on her. She still didn't like him very much, but she had to admit, he was good enough for the job despite the jump in rank. And, he did seem to inspire leadership among the pilots better than she ever had.
Commander Feral was leading his own personal investigation into the inner-workings of Megakat City and the Enforcers as a whole now that it was known that Dark Kat had the ability to make robotic duplicates of people. So far nothing else had turned up, but he was determined in his search, much to the chagrin of the Mayor's office.
Despite his betrayal, Ritz's criticism still rung in her mind, and she knew it was an opinion shared by many in the Enforcers. Was she only here because of her last name? Did she bend the rules a bit too much, and get away with it due to nepotism? She honestly wasn't sure anymore, but ever since the academy she'd decided that concerns like that were not very productive. Felina knew she did her best, and was one of the best. Dark Kat and Ritz had both underestimated her resolve.
If there was some kind of lesson or moral she could apply to the recent events she didn't see it, though she pondered on whether or not leaving Ritz alive was the right thing to have done.
Shenanigans was repaired, and no hard feelings were had with the owner. The bar fight scandal was completely forgotten about in light of Dark Kat's plot and Ritz's betrayal. Needless to say, Commander Feral wasn't going to be the only one launching investigations, as the Enforcers were now under even more public scrutiny, particularly from the Mayor's office.
All of these problems made Felina's head hurt, and thanks to Shenanigans being repaired and open for business once more, she knew how to at least temporarily alleviate that.
"If I get you another round you're not going to tear this place up again, are you?" the bartender asked.
"I might if you don't," Felina replied with a smirk. The bartender sighed and turned to the row of bottles behind him to prepare another drink. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a familiar face take a seat one over from her, and she smiled.
"Well, if it isn't that nosy mechanic who still thinks he's an Enforcer," she said. "You must be a real loser to spend your free time looking into suspicious parts returns and getting yourself caught by Dark Kat," she said with good humor.
"Guilty as charged," he replied as he turned to the bartender. "I'll have what she's having."
"Put it on my tab," Felina said, taking a shot from the glass that was just placed in front of her. "Glad the SWAT Kats managed to rescue you. Too bad they didn't show up sooner."
"I'm just glad they showed up at all," he said, taking a drink himself once it arrived.
"You know, next time you notice something suspicious, don't go to the desks, come to someone like me," she said. "You can't save the world on your own."
"That's a lot truer than you know," he said, hiding some deeper meaning in his words. "Though, after what I read in the papers about what you did and went through, I have to say I'm impressed. You're a real badass, lieutenant."
"Yeah, and I fly a real badass plane," she replied.
"That shoots badass guns?" he continued.
"Going faster than the speed of sound dropping badass bombs," Felina continued, downing another shot and slamming the glass upside-down on the counter.
"Flying with other badasses whose respect you've earned?"
"Well, that's yet to be known," she said with a chuckle.
"You've earned my respect, lieutenant," he said, downing a shot as well.
"Oh yeah? And what makes you a badass?" she said, quirking an eyebrow.
"Maybe someday I'll tell you," he said wryly.
They both sat there silently for a few moments, with him obviously sitting there in anticipation of an admission. Felina finally sighed and smiled, a little embarrassed.
"You've probably figured it out already," Felina said. "But I completely forgot your name."
"I know," he said, smiling back.
"So, knowing about the junkyard-sorry, salvage yard you work in, it wasn't hard to find your shop's name, so that narrowed it down to two options," she said, facing him now. "So, which one are you, Jake or Chance?"
Special thanks to Kristen Sharpe for proofreading.