"I can't believe you talked me into this!" T-Bone raged as he settled into his seat.
"What's wrong with enjoying a little music every now and again?" Razor asked as he settled into his own seat.
T-Bone reached over and tapped his partner on the nose. "If you weren't trying to impress Callie, we'd be back in the hangar working on the Turbokat."
"Well, we're here now, so let's just try to get through this."
T-Bone growled and gritted his teeth. He could just see Callie and the mayor in a box not too far from them. They were up in the top part of the theatre. No one could see them unless they looked. Callie did look and did a subtle wave to them. Razor waved back, making sure she noticed him.
T-Bone shook his head and leaned back to look at the program they'd found on the chairs. The group was called "Celtic Feline" and it was taking the world by storm.
He only had time to glance at the cover page before the lights went down and a female cat sauntered out with a violin and played a jaunty tune, dancing herself across the stage and ramps that extended out into the audience. In spite of himself, T-Bone felt his foot tapping to the tune. He sat up straighter and noticed that Razor was tapping his claws on the arm of the chair and nodding his head to the tune. He was about to slap him on the back of the head when the song came to its conclusion and the bars for the next song started. Another female kat in a long flowing white gown floated onto the stage and down the middle ramp. She paced herself in time to the music, seeming to float down the ramp.
T-Bone took notice of her for she was easy on the eyes. He leaned forward to get a better look at her. She was of a creamy-ginger coloring darker on the head and tail with a blonde stripe down her head and down her long tail. She curled that tail around her feet and raised her head to the audience. She had crystal-blue eyes. He felt his breath catch in his throat. Then she took a breath and began to sing. It was the most beautiful sound he'd heard. It seemed to stun him and make him feel alive while taking his breath away.
Razor's breath was taken away too by her crystal-blue eyes and voice. But he was totally surprised by the poleaxed look on his partner's face. T-Bone had leaned forward in his seat at one point in the song, reaching out to her as she reached out to the audience. 'Oh this is too good to pass up'. He thought to himself and grinned.
T-Bone was thoroughly entranced by the song. When she reached out to the upper part of the theatre, he found his hand reaching toward her. He found himself applauding with the audience and disappointed when she finished the song. She was joined by the rest of the group for another song. Her stripe continued down the back of her low-cut gown. Razor jabbed him in the ribs.
"Seen something you like, partner? Or have you become a patron of Celtic music?" He grinned at him, amusement in his voice. He batted Razor's hand away and glared at him.
"I've never heard anything like this, she was amazing."
Razor looked at his program and handed it to T-Bone. "Her name's Marissa Callistane and she's from Ireland. Callie said that she can sneak us into the after-concert party to meet any of them after."
T-Bone was shocked. "Really?"
"Yeah, but if you're rather low-brow for this type of party..." he waved his hands, grinning again.
"Well, if she's offering." T-Bone said, trying to sound disinterested.
Marissa sang a few more songs and T-Bone found himself being taken away by her singing, almost like flying. He closed his eyes to better enjoy the music and her voice. All too soon, it seemed, the concert was over.
They waited until after everyone had left before heading up to the roof to get the plane they hid under camouflage netting. T-Bone flew it up to the roof of the hotel where the party was being held. On the way to an unoccupied balcony, T-Bone snagged an orange rose and tied it with a piece of blue cording from his jacket. He tucked it into his flight vest. Razor managed to sneak Callie out onto another balcony without being seen. T-Bone snatched two glasses of milk and noticed Marissa talking with a group of people. She excused herself and made her way over to the balcony entrance where he was at. She slipped out, pulled the doors and curtains shut behind her and went to the balustrade, leaning over it and taking a deep breath of the cool air, closing her eyes. He couldn't believe his luck. She was more beautiful in the moonlight. He didn't want to disturb her but.
"Finding it a bit stuffy in there?" He found himself saying.
She stiffened then turned around slowly. He came out into the dim light so she could see him better. She took a breath and placed a hand on her chest, as in relief.
"It was quite warm in there." Her voice was warm and had a slight Irish accent. Her voice caused little prickles down his back that made his fur stand up. He offered her the glass and took a sip from his own to moisten his very dry throat. He never felt like this in front of a lady before.
"Am I mistaken, but are you one of MegaKat City's famous Swat Kats?" She looked into his eyes coyly and sipped her drink.
He chuckled and pulled the rose out of his vest, offering it to her. "T-Bone, at your service."
She smiled and took the rose from his hand, fingers brushing his. It felt like little electric shocks trailing from her fingertips. "I'm pleased to meet one of the heroes of MegaKat City. I'm Marissa."
He took her hand in his and kissed it. Her perfume filled his senses. "Enchanted to make your acquaintance. My partner, Razor is around here somewhere. He had some things to discuss with Miss Briggs."
"Ah yes". She took another sip of milk. "Do you dance, Pilot T-Bone?"
"Actually I do, a pilot has to stay light on his feet." Actually he didn't but was willing to try, anything to impress her and keep her there. "Might I have this one?"
She nodded. He took her glass and placed it beside his on the balustrade. He swallowed hard as he took one hand in his and wrapped his other hand around her slim waist. Her touch on his shoulder felt like hot coals. They moved together for a while and he pulled her closer to him. She leaned in and rested her head on his shoulder and chest, while he rested his head on hers, his hand sliding up her back, her fur was so soft. They didn't seem to notice when the song ended, time seemed to stand still.
Marissa had been surprised by the voice behind her, but she didn't expect one of the Swat Kats to be standing there. His voice was warm and deep, making little arpeggios across her spine and tail. She felt so small next to him. The touch of his lips made her hand tingle.
The offer to dance was to cover her own nervousness and was surprised to feel attraction for this masked rogue. His hand was warm and strong in hers and the hand around her waist felt wonderful. When he pulled her in closer, she rested her head on his shoulder and chest, hearing his pounding heart , her arm and hand slipping around his neck feeling the contrasting chill of the back of his flight helmet. His hand slipped from her hip and trailed up her back. His masculine scent made her feel weak inside. No other tom had EVER done that to her. She closed her eyes, relishing his closeness and scent.
"I've never heard music like you sang tonight." He broke the silence, his voice rumbling through his chest.
"Thank you. If I had known you were there, I would have really tried harder."
He pulled away from her a moment and looked into her eyes. He was stunned by their clear beauty and the leap his stomach gave. "Tried harder?"
Oh aye, I would have really sang harder. I'm glad you enjoyed it. You've never been to a concert like this one, have you?"
He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, grinning. "Um no."
She laughed and he found himself grinning. "Actually, I do enjoy a good game of rugby while I'm not on stage."
"You like football?"
"Aye. I know that you American's call it football, but it's rather tame compared to what I know."
"What do you mean, tame?"
"You'll just have to come to Ireland or England sometime and I'll have to show you."
He grinned. "I just might have to take you up on that."
Just then, Razor came slinking around the curtains with Callie.
"Just thought I'd give you a curtain call."
T-Bone stepped away from Marissa and extended a hand to his partner. "This is my partner, Razor. Razor, this is Marissa Callistane."
She extended a hand for him to take. "The pleasure is all mine, Razor.'
He took it and kissed her hand too. "It's an honor to meet you. Your singing is amazing."
"I'm sorry that I have to cut this short, but T-Bone and I have to be going before the Enforcers get wind that we're here. Callie's stalled them for now."
T-Bone turned to Marissa and took her hands. "I'm sorry I have to run. I would like to see you again."
She blushed prettily and squeezed his hands. "I would like to see you as well. I'll be in town another couple of days, at the Katsbah Hotel."
How about tomorrow night, say 8 in the evening?"
"Meet me on the roof."
He raised her hands to kiss them again. At the curtains he took a last look at her, she was standing there in the moonlight with the rose in her hand, waving to him, smiling. He nodded to her and snuck out with Razor.
She stayed out on the balcony for a few minutes more, sniffing the rose and trailing it across her cheek, a tune beginning in her head. Olivia and Bride came looking for her.
"Rissa? Where did you get the rose?" Olivia asked.
"Have you been here all this time?" Bride asked, handing her a shawl.
"Hmm. Aye. You're not going to believe this! I just met someone!"
"You meet people all the time, what's so different?"
"I can't tell you more than he's a mystery. I don't even know his name, but we're meeting tomorrow night."
Olivia crinkled her nose. "But we've that big dinner tomorrow."
"I'm going to say I have a horrible headache."
Bride clapped her hands together. "A clandestine meeting, how romantic! What are you going to wear?"
"Something casual but nice I think."
"Olivia, we need to go through Marissa's clothes and make sure she's got THE outfit!"
The three she-kats walked back into the main room, Marissa looking back one last time, to see if was still there.
At the hanger, Razor wasn't going to quit. He took off his helmet and gloves, placing them in the locker and grinning at T-Bone. He was staring off into space, humming to himself and whistling.
"Geez T-Bone, must have been a better night than you thought it would be, huh?
"What? Oh, oh yeah buddy."
"The moon was a great green color and the sky was pink"
"T-Bone!", he jumped.
"You're not listening to a word I said!"
He put his helmet and gloves up and pulled off his flight vest.
"Sorry buddy, I just can't get her out of my mind. It's weird, I know."
"You just met her tonight."
"I know, but it feels like…I don't know how to explain."
Jake came over and patted his shoulder, "Why don't you go upstairs and get some sleep and clear your head. We can talk more tomorrow."
Chance did go upstairs to their apartment but he didn't go to bed right away. He went on You View and made a playlist of everything on Marissa and started to play it while he looked up and read all the info that he could on her. He fell asleep listening to the soundtrack of the show they'd just seen. Even hearing her recorded voice made him feel the same way.
The next day was a pretty tame day, except when Jake's new prototype engine about exploded on them. Chance and Jake spent an hour yelling about it and throwing things at each other. They took it out on the obstacle course they had built throughout the junkyard. They apologized to each other after and headed for the showers. Chance began whistling as he dried his fur.
"Gotta date with an angel," he sang.
"Hey loverboy, let Marissa do the singing." Jake said, tossing a towel at his head.
Chance grinned at Jake and started to dress in his uniform. "Hey, Can I use the mini jet tonight."
Jake tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Sure. I think I've worked out all the kinks in it. Might be better than taking the Turbokat. "
T-Bone finished tying his bandanna and zipped up his flight vest. "Great. Time to take it out on a spin. " He looked at his watch, it was 7:30pm. "Woah, gotta pick up some flowers on the way."
"No you don't, buddy, I've got you covered ." Jake reached into his locker and tossed him a bouquet of flowers.
"Ah you shouldn't have…" T-Bone teased. "Thanks buddy."
"Just get going, it's not good to leave a lady in the lurch."
He gave Jake a thumbs up and headed to the lower hanger bay. As promised, the mini jet was parked near the opening. It only took him a few minutes to prep the jet and take off.
It was a beautiful clear night, the full moon rising beyond the sea. It didn't take him long to get to the Katsbah's roof. He noticed a table set for dinner and Marissa awaiting him.
He landed the jet and leapt out in a flourish, presenting Marissa with the bouquet of flowers. "Evenin' Ma'am."
She brought her hand to her mouth to chuckle and took the flowers. "They're beautiful, thank you." Her voice was even more warm tonight.
She walked back to the table and sniffed the flowers again before putting them beside her plate. She lifted a tray of fruit and cheese. "Hungry?"
He took an apple and tossed it into the air. Catching it, he strode to the roof edge, propped a leg up and bit into the apple. Marissa replaced the tray and came over with a handful of cheese cubes. She smiled at him and looked over the city.
"It is lovely here, isn't it?"
"Probably not what you're used to, but it's still a great sight."
"Aye", she started to hum a song under her breath.
"You know the song?"
"I kinda been listening to everything I can from you and the group since last night."
She blinked in surprise and gave him a brilliant smile. "Thank you. I'm impressed. I don't think I've ever had that much of an effect on someone. Are you famished?"
He grinned at her. "You have no idea."
She grinned behind her shoulder at him with red cheeks and led him to the table. He popped the cork on the milk and poured while she took the covers off their dinners.
"Steak, steamed vegetables, and for dessert, an apple torte."
"It sounds great. "
They spent the next few minutes eating the wonderful meal. T-Bone found that he couldn't take his eyes off of her and he noticed that whenever her eyes met his, she blushed, but didn't seem uncomfortable with his scrutiny.
She finished the dinner first and rose to take a shawl off the back of the chair. She went to the roof edge and looked back over the city. T-Bone swallowed the last bites of torte and tossed his napkin back onto the table, coming over to join her. He stood behind her and rested his hands on her shoulders.
"Geez, you are cold. Here, let me warm you up." He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and held her tightly.
She chuckled and actually leaned into him, her perfume was just as intoxicating as last night, but it wasn't overwhelming. She put a hand on his arm and hugged it to her. Her touch on his bare fur felt electrifying. "Thank you T-Bone, but I assure you that winters in Ireland make those here seem tame. "
"So you're saying that we Americans are weak?
She laughed. "Absolutely not!"
He found himself laughing with her.
"So is this one of your planes?"
"Yeah it's just a small one. Thought the Turbokat would be a bit, well obvious."
"Could you take me flying?"
"You like flying?"
"Yes I do."
He grinned at her and pulled out the second seat behind the pilot's seat and helped her in. He took off and looked in the mirror, her hand was pressed to the window and she looked excited.
'Hold on to your afterburners!" He gunned the engine.
Mari hadn't lied when she said that she loved flying. She laughed, coaxing him into arial acrobatics he'd only try with Razor. About a half-hour, he landed the jet at the roof and hopped out and held his arms open. She leaped out and he caught her and spun her around, laughing with her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him soundly. He about dropped her. She stopped and he put her down. She blushed furiously.
"I don't know what came over me. I usually don't do things like that. What you must think of me?" She turned away from him.
"Uh, I can't talk right now." Her lips had set him afire. He went behind her and put his arms around her waist. "It's ok."
She turned around in his arms and wrapped her arms around his waist. "I know that this is so strange, but even though we've known each other a few days, I feel that there's already something between us. Love at first sight."
"Ya know, I was just telling that to Razor today."
"But can there ever be more between us? You're one of the heroes of MegaKat City and I'm a traveling bard." There were sudden tears in her eyes.
T-Bone lifted his hand to gently brush away her tears. He felt his heart wrench. "Does this answer your question?" He cupped her chin and gently kissed her. He saw her eyes widen, she stiffened and she relaxed completely, her arms coming up around his neck, pulling him in for a closer kiss, her eyes closing. The noise coming from the street faded.
After what felt like forever, they broke off the kiss. One of T-Bone's hands was between her shoulder blades, the other at her hip. One of Marissa's hands was around his neck, caressing it and the other was around his shoulders.
"Wow. I think I lost all my words just then." She gasped.
He kissed her forehead and felt her purr against his chest. The sound seemed to reverberate in his bones and claws. He answered with one of his own. She stiffened in his arms, her claws digging into his flight jacket. She gently licked his cheek. He kissed her again.
They spent some time just nuzzling each other, learning each other's scents. Then he lead her back to the table, where they just sat and looked into each other's eyes, holding each other's hands. He kissed her claws and fingertips, she nipped at his. He growled at her. She chuckled back.
"This is so high-school." He grumbled.
"I know, but it also tells me that beneath that roguish exterior, beats the heart of a gentlekat. It's also fun"
"Just don't tell no one. Can't have my rep ruined."
She laughed heartily, and then noticed her watch. Her expression fell. "It's getting so late. I have one more concert tomorrow then we're leaving for the next town the day after."
He felt his heart lurch again. "I wish you didn't have to go."
"I know, but my duty calls as much as yours."
"When can I see you again?"
"Tomorrow night. There's another farewell party for the sponsors of the concert."
"Until tomorrow, my lady." He got up from the table and made an exaggerated bow that got her laughing again. He kissed her hand.
Marissa waved good-bye to him and sat back down at the table and touched her lips, closing her eyes, wanting to remember the feel of his lips and tongue, his scent, his taste, the feel of his purr. Her heart felt like it was going to explode. She jumped up and danced around the rooftop, singing. Her tune modulated and she found herself singing certain notes and phrases. She ran back to her room and grabbed a pencil and pad and started scribbling.
An hour later, Olivia and Bride came into her room. "Well, how did it go?"
"I'll tell you! She's in love!" Olivia squealed.
She told them about the dinner and how this song started playing in her head when he kissed her. She sang it to them and they sat, mouths open.
"You need to sing it to Jason!" Olivia grabbed the phone and called their promoter. He came up to the room and heard it.
"Well, at least your headache gave you some inspiration. Want to sing it tomorrow night?"
"If I can get the other parts written."
"No. This is a solo work. Piano and violin only, I think?"
"No pipe? I think it will bring meaning to the piece."
"We can try. Do you think you can have it ready?"
Marissa grinned. "Oh yes. I've a reason to get it ready."
"It'll be a great surprise. What are you going to call it?"
Jake was still awake when Chance got back. "Well, how did it go?"
Chance settled into the couch again and sighed. "I think that she's the one."
"You've only seen her twice and that's how you know?"
"Well, how do you feel about Callie?
"Ok, you have a point. But what now, she's an international star and you're just…"
"A salvage yard mechanic who spends a lot of time as a hot-shot pilot. I know, I know." She says she wants to try a long-distance relationship."
"Well, that's the impression I got. We didn't talk that much."
Jake rolled his eyes at him and laughed. "Tomkat."
Chance threw a couch cushion at him and went to bed.
T-Bone settled into the seat he had the first concert and waited for Marissa to appear on the stage. He'd managed to find a way to sneak into her dressing room and leave another orange rose with a blue ribbon on it. He hoped that she would understand that he was there.
After the violin solo, she appeared on the stage, carrying the rose with her and blushing. The band struck up a different tune than before. She lifted her head up and began to sing a new song. It was one about two star-crossed lovers, one who sailed the stars and the other standing on the cliff edge, waiting for her love to return, forever holding the rose he'd given her their last night together, caressing it against her cheek for the final bars. T-Bone was struck dumb. The song seemed to be about him and Marissa. She was also singing more intently than the other night. She knew that he was there! He couldn't wait for the concert to be over. He snuck out as soon as he could.
He waited in the shadows of the same balcony, waiting, willing her to come out. He heard her voice on the other side of the door. "Yes, it was a new song I wrote last night. I'm glad you enjoyed it."
The voice of Captain Feral echoed. "It was a nice song. "
"Nice? That was absolutely breathtaking! Was it inspired by a story?" Callie's voice asked excitedly.
"You could say it was inspired by recent events. Would you please excuse me? It's been quite a long day and I still need to pack."
T-Bone took the hint and flew his plane to the hotel roof. She'd barely came through the door of the roof still in her long white gown before he'd grabbed her and spun her around, kissing her fiercely. She kissed him back just as hard.
"That song was wonderful! I didn't know you could write music."
"Aye that I can, flyboy, I was just so inspired last night. I wanted to show you how I felt about you. That I've fallen completely in love with you."
T-Bone felt shaken to his very core of his being with her last four words, she had said something last night, but he must not have been listening too closely.
He cupped her face in his two hands, feeling how small and delicate she was, seeing the love shine out of her eyes, gently kissing her. "I already feel the same about you too. Ever since I heard your singing, you've done something that all the criminals of MegaKat City have never done."
"What's that?" Her hands came up and held his wrists.
"Caught me completely, all I can do is this to show my inspiration." He kissed her as he swept her up in his arms. "Where am I going?"
"Oh T-Bone! It's room 2225. Is my dashing star pilot claiming me and carrying me beyond the stars?"
"And beyond, babe." He reached the bottom of the stairwell and used his foot to push in the door. She unlocked the door of her room and he gently put her down on the other side of the door. She tossed the key to a table and kissed him gently and led him into the living room.
He pulled her back into his arms again and they kissed again.
"I'm not usually so forward and fast. I like my planes fast, not my ladies. I just don't know when I'll see you again." He felt like he had to explain.
"Neither am I, and there better NOT be any more ladies in your future mister, or you'll have a real katfight on your hands." She brandished her claws and made to scratch at his face. He caught her wrist in his hand. She looked and felt so delicate. He brought her wrist to his lips and nose, gently sniffing, licking and kissing. "Not on your life or mine, baby" She'd better not find out about Turmoil.
She purred with satisfaction and nothing more was said. He woke up hours later in her bed. She lay next to him, asleep with a smile on her face. He reached out to stroke her cheek and took a lock of her hair, smelling it and kissing it. Her eyes opened and she smiled fully, if sleepily at him. She stroked his shoulder and snuggled up closer. He stretched and felt his bandanna stretch on his head. No matter what he did, it didn't come off.
"I need to trust you with something." He sat up and began to take off the bandanna. Her hand shot out.
"Are you sure?"
In answer, he pulled her up and placed her fingers on the knot. She untied it and pulled it off. "Oh wow, you're even more handsome than your wanted posters."
He snickered. "My real name is Chance Furlong and I used to be an Enforcer pilot. Ferel sent us to run the city salvage yard because he made us crash into Enforcer HQ and he wants us to pay for his mistake."
"Chance, I like it. I wish I had a secret or two to tell you.
He snuggled down again with her in his arms. "I don't want there to be any secrets between us."
"Never," then she started to cry. "I don't want to leave you, my Chance."
He felt his own eyes burn. "Then come back to me after you finish the concerts."
She nodded against his chest, her tears soaking into his fur. "I think I will do that. Will you wait for me as well?"
He kissed her again and began licking up her neck. "Forever."
Afterwards, they showered and got dressed in silence. Then after she brought coffee into the living room they talked the rest of the night away. She told him all about her childhood. Her father was a research historian and scientist at the University of Alba, her mother a concert pianist but had died when she was young. She had three brothers, all older than her. The oldest, Fargus, was also a research historian, Braiga, the second eldest was an engineer and Targus was a research professor of ancient weapons, rugby player and MMA fighter. Apparently he was a master of many forms of weapons. She was the baby of the family, a surprise when they through their kitten days were done. She was both cosseted and bullied by her brothers. When she started singing at age 7, their mother got her music lessons with the best, if most obscure teachers in Ireland. She had traded lessons for piano accompaniment and lessons for their students.
He told her about himself, how they became the Swat Kats and about some of the criminals they've fought. She seemed to be excited about his stories, as he had the habit of getting up and using items like the coffee cup and a pen to demonstrate the more exciting parts.
When dawn started to appear, they knew that their time together was over, for now. She walked up with him to the roof, hand in hand.
"Don't forget about me." He said.
"Never, my T-Bone. I love you so much."
"I love you too, my Marissa."
He jumped into the plane and she backed away. He waved to her and she was grinning back, waving her shawl. He could see the silver tracks of tears down her cheeks, soaking into her fur.
She waved until she couldn't see the jet anymore, then she held her breath, replaying the night previously, feeling her body tingle with remembered passion. 'Yes, I will be back, my Chance."
She went downstairs and packed, then washed her face and waited for the call to come downstairs. She lay down on the bed they had just shared; she could still even smell him, his warmth fading from the sheets and covers.
Olivia and Bride knocked on her door. She opened it and they stepped back at the look in her eyes. "Are you ok?"
"Yes. His name is Chance Furlong and I am in love with him." She brought out her bags and added them to the trolley. She tucked the roses into her bag. "In fact, I'm going to move to MegaKat City after the tour to be with him."
"Wow, this is serious! You hardly know him."
Marissa smiled and thought, 'no YOU don't know him at all'.
"Neither did my da and mom. He met her just once when she walked into the wrong class and he knew she was the one."
They walked to the elevator, Marissa telling them what she could about Chance. They thought he was a buff guy, working in a military salvage yard.
Jake couldn't even cheer him up much. He gave up around noon and they worked in silence. He finally tried one last time.
"Look you said that she would wait for you. That's kinda how Callie and I are. I'm waiting until she has time for us."
"But she's here. All I have is her pictures and her music."
"That's more than what most other people have. Just think of the welcome home you can give her."
He grinned and winked at his partner. "You're right there." They went into the small kitchen to rummage up some lunch. Jake turned on the TV. They had had it off due to the work they were doing in the garage.
There was a news alert on. "I repeat the group; Celtic Feline has been kidnapped by Dark Kat and the Pastmaster. The group was getting ready to board their plane when the creeplings of Dark Kat attacked." The footage started rolling, the creeplings were making people scatter, but Marissa was standing her ground. She was swinging her bag to good effect, knocking some of the creeplings off. One grabbed her from behind and she stomped on its feet and rammed her head into the creeplings head. It let her go and she grabbed it and rammed her knee into it. She stopped at the screaming of the others in the group. It was the chance they needed to grab her. Dark Kat himself grabbed her arm and sprayed something into her face. Her eyes rolled up into her head and she fell into his arm. Her bag dropped to the ground. Chance saw the roses he'd given her fall out of the bag to be stomped on by Pastmaster as they put the girls on the flying lizards he brought. Callie was being tossed on one as well, and she was unconscious.
"As you can see, only the singers of the group were taken as well as the Deputy Mayor. If anyone has any information about their whereabouts, please contact Enforcer Headquarters."
Chance felt himself begin to shake as rage colored his vision. He threw the wrench he was holding into the TV. Jake sighed…another TV destroyed.
"Ya know, you really need to watch your temper. That's it for the TV until next month."
"Not now, partner." Chance said through gritted teeth. "I'm going to rip Dark Kat and Pastmaster limb from limb."
They ran into the hanger's locker room and began to dress. "I'll tell you something, buddy. I'm glad that you two are an item. She has just as bad as a temper as you.
Despite the rage he felt, he felt himself grinning. "I like my she-kats with a bit of spice. Boy she was giving it out, wasn't she?" He felt proud of her.
"The first stop we need to make is to the TV studio. I want to see and listen to the footage from the airport. They're might be something on it to indicate what they're up to."
"How's that gonna find them?"
Razor sighed. T-Bone was a great pilot and partner, but sometimes he wondered about his mind when he was pissed like this.
"If we get a little snippet of what they're up to, I can try to figure out where they took everyone."
T-Bone looked abashed as he put on his helmet. "Sorry buddy."
Razor went to him and patted his shoulder. "Look, I'm worried too. Why would they take Callie as well as the singing group?"
"Maybe because Pastmaster wants to marry her again?"
Razor shivered. "No way dude. That's too creepy to think about."
They ran to their jet and jumped in
At the studio, they snuck into the radio room and ran the raw tape of the kidnapping. Razor listened carefully through earphones. There wasn't much on it, just a reference to Sonics.
"Anything?" T-Bone's jaw was tight.
"Nothing, just a reference to Sonics. There was a scientist who was studying the effects of Sonics, but I can't remember the name. "
The communicator went off in their pockets. T-Bone pulled out his and answered it. "T-Bone here."
"Are you T-Bone?" A heavily accented voice answered.
"Who is this? How did you get this frequency?"
"My name is Professor Douglas Callistane and I'm Marissa's father. Do you know where my daughter is?"
"No, but we're looking into it."
"That's the scientist I was thinking about. I didn't know he was Marissa's father."
"I might have some information that will help you find her. Please meet me at the top of the hotel where she was staying, the Katsbah."
Marissa came too slowly. She stirred slowly, still dizzy.
"Don't try to move so quickly. It'll fade with time." Callie was saying. She helped her to a sitting position.
It was just Callie and her in a small cement cell. She heard sobbing across from her cell. She got to her feet and went to the barred door. Olivia was crying into the shoulder of Bride in the cell across from them. Two other cells held the other four members of the group.
"Where are we?"
"Somewhere underground," Callie said.
"How long have we've been here?"
"A couple of hours I think. I was knocked out too."
Marissa examined the cell door; it looked like a normal cell door. She extended one of her claws and fiddled with the lock.
"Are you picking the lock?"
"I am. My brothers were excellent teachers in picking locks." The lock snapped and swung out. It only took her a few minutes to free the others. They began to try to find a way out. The corridors seemed endless.
Olivia began to cry again and get hysterical, "We'll never get out of here!"
Marissa wiped the tears away and hugged her. "Ach no, little one, we'll get out of here. Have you ever been in a maze?"
"Well, my da always told me to put your hand on the left wall and follow it all the way out. So, you're in charge of keeping us all on an even keel." She lifted the young kats hand to the wall.
They walked a few more minutes until they reached stairs. They climbed them to see a large room with several of Dark Kat's creepling minions patrolling and a large door leading out.
Marissa turned to look at the others. "All right, now is the hard part. Celestine and Callie, take the others out of here, contact the authorities and bring them back here."
Callie blanched. "What are you going to do?"
She grasped a long metal pole that was behind the door. "I'm going to cause a diversion so you all can escape."
"That's too dangerous!"
"Do you see any other way out?"
Callie picked up a smaller rod. "Then I guess I'm going to have to help you out."
"No way, you know this city, you can help them get out of here and lead the authorities here."
"All right, but I'm sending the Swat Kats back as soon as I can"
"I'm counting on it." 'Find me soon my T-Bone', she thought to herself.
She took a deep breath and stepped out of the stairwell. She banged the butt of her improvised staff on the floor. "Hey! Uglies! Come get me! I don't think much of your security system!" She made sure they were following her before taking off in the other direction. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the she-kats heading out the door.
She climbed several staircases before bursting into a room filled with electronic equipment and crystals, and Dark Kat and Pastmaster. Some of the creeplings came up behind her and tried to grab her. Cursing in Irish, she whirled the staff around, taking out several creeplings. She continued to fight until all of them were down. Then red beams of light grabbed the staff and her along with it, she struggled, clawing, and biting.
Dark Kat started applauding her. "What spirit and what fighting skills you have my dear. Where did you learn such skills?
"My brothers, if you really want to know."
"Such defiance you have, my dear." He cupped her chin in his fingers. Unlike T-Bone, she felt total revulsion at his touch. She jerked her chin away, sickened.
"Actually, your little act helped us to decide what to do with your friends. It's you we really need, not them. So we'll let them go, but we won't be here when the Swat Kats or Enforcers get here." He sprayed more of the knockout mist into her face. She fought it off as long as she could. She felt the Pastmaster release his spell and Dark Kat catch her up in his arms. Her last thoughts before unconsciousness claimed her was a picture of T-Bone giving her the orange rose that first night.
A group of cats awaited the Swat Kats as they landed on top of the hotel building. The oldest of them went to greet them when they jumped out of the plane.
"Professor Callistane?" Razor extended his hand.
"Aye", he shook hands with him. He introduced Mari's three brothers, Fargus, Braiga and Targus. They all carried some sort of medieval weapons.
The cat seemed to shrink and stagger. "Da!" the oldest cried, grasping him and lifting him in his arms. "We need to get him to his room."
The three boys lead them to room on a lower floor. They settled him into a chair and brought him a glass of water. The middle brother offered him a pill out of a small bottle. "Just breathe da."
T-Bone rested a hand on his shoulder. "Are you going to be all right, sir?"
The old cat nodded, sipping the water.
"We came on the Concorde and the trip was hard on Da. But he insisted that he come with us."
"I needed to be here." He fixed Razor with a look. "I know you have seen the raw footage. What was on it?"
"Something about Sonics."
With a shaking hand, he pulled out a color picture; it was of himself, three other cats and Marissa.
"What does Miss Callistane have to do with this picture?" T-Bone asked.
"I was the main researcher in the field of Sonics. Marissa has perfect pitch and I asked her to help me in my research. Sonic generators for energy, healing, there's many uses for Sonics. Someone stole my research a few months ago. That's why they took her. They took the others to cover up what they did, but its Marissa they want."
T-Bone clenched his fists and gritted his teeth in anger. His communicator went off.
"Thank goodness you're there. Marissa helped us to get away by causing a diversion. We're at the docks!"
"We're on the way." He tapped the communicator. "MegaKat City docks!"
"We're coming with you." The oldest brother said.
"No way, it's too dangerous. Dark Kat and Pastmaster are the worst of the worst." Razor stated bluntly.
Fargus spoke up, laying his ears back. "She's our little sister, so we're coming with you."
Razor started to protest again, but T-Bone's hand came down on his shoulder. "He's right, partner." He pointed at Fargus and the other two brothers. "You listen here, what we say goes. We tell you to tuck tail and run, there better be dust under your pounding feet, got that."
Fargus looked to his brother, all nodded their heads. He extended his hand. "We have a bargain."
The Callistane brothers had to follow them through the streets in their rented car and GPS. At the docks, they followed the Swat Kats into where the girls had been kept. Everything was gone. The cells were still there, but Marissa was nowhere to be found. It was hard for T-Bone to act like a third party when he could see in his mind's eye Marissa languishing in a cell somewhere.
"Da! Da! look at this." Tragus, the youngest, bounded over the stairs and dropped a crystal in his father's hand.
Professor Callistane looked at the crystal closely. It was a shard of a pink quartz crystal. "Where did you find this?"
They rushed as fast as they could up the stairs and into a large room, it looked cleaned out, but did have scrape marks on the floor as if from heavy equipment being moved in and out. A necklace was on the floor near a window. Fargus picked it up and handed it to his father without a word.
It was a silver crescent moon with an amethyst teardrop off the end. T-Bone remembered her wearing the necklace the last time he saw her. His fist clenched at his side, his heart sinking to his stomach.
"This is my Marissa's necklace. I bought it for her when she went on tour with the group." There were tears in his eyes.
Razor grasped the old tom's hand and squeezed it. "We'll get her back. I need you to tell me all about your research and if there's any way to track it."
He nodded. Braiga bought over a crate for his father to sit on. "This will take a while and you probably won't understand a lot."
"Try me." Razor said with slitted eyes.
Marissa woke up with a dizzy head again. She raised herself on her side. Her hands were manacled together along with her feet. No chance of using her claws to get out of this. Targus always told her that it was wise to wait to see what the enemy wanted before kicking his tail, so she sat up against the wall of her cell and practiced deep breathing to clear her head of the gas.
What seemed like forever, two creeplings came to get her. They opened the cell cautiously, noting that they were bruised in several places.
"Ah ya bogus brats, you were two that tried to take me out. Can't do anything to me unless I'm chained up you cowards!" She spit at them and turned her head away in disgust. They grabbed her anyway and wrestled her out of the cell. A beam of red light grabbed her outside the cell and brought her kicking and cursing to another room.
It looked like something out of a Frankenkat movie. Gadgets, gizmos and objects were around three walls. She recognized some of the equipment. Anger replaced fear. "That belongs to my father, you thieves!"
Dark Kat turned to face her. "Awake my dear? Ah yes, your father's equipment. He is a marvelous professor specializing in clean energy, trying to prove the power of Sonics. I just found a better use for it. The power to rule the world, with your help, that is."
"I'll never help you. You know I won't."
"Ah but would you help your family?" Pastmaster said from the other side of the room. He gestured to an oval ring filling with mist. A picture of her father and brothers in a car filled the oval. "They're here in MegaKat City trying to find you with the Swat Kats."
"Ah but even now, we are on a time bomb. We are sitting on a large quartz crystal mine outside of town. Any interference and we'll detonate the crystals with Sonics." Dark Kat said.
"That'll destroy MegaKat City and up to one hundred miles around." She said in horror.
"Exactly my dear, so the decision comes to you. Will you help me and save your family."
She nodded, blinded by tears. She covered her face with her manacled hands and collapsed to the floor, sobbing.
"Are you sure that this would be the place for them buddy? It seems pretty stupid to build your sonic station on top of a quartz mine."
"As perfect sense as a nuclear power plant."
"Point taken. We still have our tagalongs?
"Yup. Gotta hand it to them, they're persistent. You ok?"
"No. I won't be ok until Marissa is safe."
"Boy T-Bone, you've got it bad."
"A disease I hope never to get rid of. We're coming up on the mine. What the heck?" A purple shield came up over the facility.
"Pull up T-Bone! That thing's reading solid."
T-Bone pulled up just in time to avoid the shield. He landed near the road and they waited for the car to pull up.
"Amethyst crystal energy," Professor Callistane reported when they went to stand near the Swat Kats.
"What'll we do now?"
"I haven't managed the trick of switching bands. That shield will protect anything physical from getting in."
"But not energy itself." Razor finished for him.
Professor Callistane eyed him like a prize student. "Correct. Your mind is astounding, young tom. I wish I had you at University in my classes."
"Nah, I'm more of a fast thinker on my feet Doc, but I'll keep the offer in mind. Come on T-Bone."
They jumped back into the Turbokat and took off again. "Fly around the perimeter. I need to find its weak spot and we can use the lasers to open it up like a soup can."
He continued in tight turns around the shield. "Hah! Got it, aiming lasers. We'll need to get through the hole quickly before it has a chance to seal up again."
T- Bone flew around the perimeter again and Razor fired the lasers. The laser hit the shield and a large section of it shattered, but began to reform almost immediately.
"Tuck your tail!" T-Bone yelled as they barely got the Turbokat into the opening before it closed.
They landed the plane and got out. The Callistane brothers didn't look happy to be outside the shield. The shield changed to red.
Professor Callistane pounded his youngest son on the back, who took a sword out of a sheath and hit the shield with it. Another large piece fell out and the three brothers scrambled thorough. Professor Callistane stayed on the other side.
"Red energy, protection against energy weapons but not physical, "panted Fargus. The shield changed to purple again.
"The Sonics are coming from up there." Fargus pointed up to a small building on the side of the hill.
"How do you know that?" T-Bone asked.
"This may sound dumb, but clench your teeth together and point your ears over there." T-Bone and Razor did so and found that the sound was most uncomfortable from that direction.
"Then let's go pay them a visit." T-Bone cracked his knuckles and started off toward the building.
After several minutes of sneaking around they found the door and peered through it. There were a score of Pastmasters and Dark Kat's creeplings and animated skeletons around the room. Marissa was manacled to an upright table. Her eyes were glazed over and there was a device around her throat with a clear quartz crystal in it that was glowing. Her mouth was open but there was no sound coming through it. The vibrations were being carried into the crystal and the control panel to her side controlled what kind of energy being produced. There wasn't much of a falter as she took a breath to carry the note. Professor Callistane explained that the crystal singer went into a trance when singing unless it was broken or the equipment was turned off and awakened. The crystal would still absorb the sound vibration emitted by the singer until she or he stopped singing for more than a few seconds.
T-Bone growled and clenched his fist at his chest, adjusting his Glovatrix . He heard the brothers answer that growl. "Ready?"
T-Bone looked at the brothers. "Now's the time to turn tail and run."
"You're outnumbered. We at least can even the odds." He raised his quarterstaff and grinned. T-Bone and Razor chuckled. "After you."
The fight was intense and nasty. The Callistane brothers were as good as Marissa said. The youngest, Targus, had lost his sword, but was a MMA fighter. The oldest, Fargus was not remiss in doing dirty tactics, using his head sometimes. The middle brother, Braiga wore a metal cestus on his hand like the Kats' Glovatrix, but he was using it in punching opponents out.
Fargus was knocked into Razor and T-Bone and they went smashing into the console, it sparked, smoked and went out. Marissa sagged in her bonds, a trickle of blood coming from the side of her mouth, eyes staring out for a few seconds before closing.
Braiga knocked Dark Kat into a wall and a control fell out of his robes. He scooped it up and looked at it. "It's a detonator!"
"Toss it here!" Razor shouted.
After a few foibles, the control sailed into Razor's hands. Dark Kat and Pastmaster disappeared through one of Pastmaster's portals. Fargus raged in frustration.
Razor was looking at the detonator." There's a bomb or series of bombs around here. We'd better get out of here and get the Enforcer bomb squad down here."
Fargus was looking at the manacles. He extended a claw and tried to pick one, he got an electrical shock that sent him flying.
"Idiot." Braiga snorted. "Tragus, haul him up. He examined the wires coming from the manacles. Then he raised back his gloved hand and smashed the box behind the table. The manacles clicked open and Marissa fell into T-Bone's arms. He tore off the collar. Then he hugged her close and lifted her in his arms.
"We gotta get her to da." Tragus said.
They carried her out and T-Bone knelt with her and laid her on the ground. He supported her back and head. Her father knelt to examine her. Marissa's eyes fluttered opened and she grabbed at T-Bone's flight jacket and pulled him close.
"Bombs in the mines." She said hoarsely.
"It's all right Miss Callistane. We've got the detonator."
She nodded and noticed her brothers and father with her and opened her mouth.
"Nay dear, dinna try to talk now. You've overused your vocal cords. You need to rest."
Razor called Callie back and explained the situation. Enforcer vehicles and an ambulance soon arrived. T-Bone backed off from Marissa and she winked at him as they took her off.
He couldn't visit her in the hospital, not with all the Enforcers around her. But he received constant reports from the family calling on Callie's communicator.
The day she was released, Callie called for Marissa and said that she wanted to say good bye before she left. He and Razor went to the airport.
She was waiting on the tarmac with her family. She hugged them both tight and gave T-Bone a hidden nuzzle and kiss.
"I wanted to thank you for everything, Swat Kats." Her voice was better, but still hoarse. A white cloth covered her throat.
"Nothin doin', Miss Callistane. You have some amazing brothers here and you can really kick some tail." T-Bone said. They shook hands warmly.
"We just hope to see you back in MegaKat City soon." Razor said.
She looked down and looked up, embarrassed. "I get asked this all the time, but may I have a picture with you both?"