FOR LOVE OF A PRINCESS

CHAPTER 4: Females can to fight!

Shaking off his ringing head, Firelain staggered off after the Princess. Checking the hall, he spotted Rainstar as she disappeared through a door at the end of the hall. He raced after her.

Yanking the door open he saw her disappear through yet another door a short distance ahead. The small room he passed through held the enormous clockworks of the huge clock in the tower. The sight of it nearly made him stop and stare but he had to catch Rainstar.

Bursting through the door, Firelain nearly stumbled back into the room he'd left when he saw a huge flying monstrosity of metal rush rapidly closer to the rooftop swirling up a hurricane of dust and dirt.

Princess Rainstar in her glamour stood waiting nearby a painted circle on the roof, her coat flapping from the violent winds that whipped around them as the strange craft swooped in and landed.

Though terrified, Firelain gathered his courage and ran to try and stop her. He snatched at her coat, attempting to pull her forcibly off the craft.

Screaming over the noise of the chopper he yelled, "You cannot go! I forbid it!"

~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Feral scowled over her shoulder. Damn ass! Wait... suddenly an evil smirk tugged at her lips before vanishing to be replaced by her normal stone face. If he's so determined to come along I'll just let him.

With that, Feral snatched a handful of cloak and easily tossed Firelain into the back section of the chopper. "I have a job to do. And since you're so keen on going along, get into a seat and shut up." Slamming the door closed, Feral dropped into the passenger seat, cinched her seat belt then pulled on her helmet.

Engaging her mike she barked at the pilot, "Take off!"

The chopper immediately responded to the pilot's yank on the yoke and heaved swiftly into the air sending Firelain rolling across the small space behind the cockpit.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Eyes wide with terror, the knight managed to grab onto the small jump seat he'd fetched up against and pull himself onto it. He tried to figure out what the straps on the seat were for before giving it up and holding onto a nearby metal strut for dear life.

Looking out the nearby window, he promptly wished he hadn't as he cringed from the image of how high they were from the ground and how fast they were moving through the air as if they were some flightless bird. It didn't help that the roar of the strange beast was deafening, making his ears ring.

He realized he dared not use magic as he had no idea if it would be detrimental to the flight of this thing and he had no desire to end up falling to his death so he clung tightly and prayed for a swift end to this crazy and fur-raising trip.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Feral forgot about Firelain and focused on the battle beginning to appear through the windshield. Growling, she could see Dark Kat had rebuilt his nasty Black Widow and was engaging the Turbokat in an uneven battle. Despite everything Razor seemed to be throwing at him, Dark Kat's craft was easily shrugging it off.

Not good and something she'd been afraid would happen eventually.

Studying the battle scene, she noted the entire alpha flight had been destroyed. Par for the course, she sighed mentally. It seemed she always lost far too many good Enforcers to this creature in every conflict.

Even though the SWAT Kats had managed to beat the omega in each battle, it didn't escape her that the mutant Kat was gradually improving the deadliness of his tech on each encounter to the point where even Razor, smart as he was, might not succeed in defeating him. She was betting Razor had become worried about that very thing. Unfortunately, it seemed this battle was going to prove both their fears true.

So what to do now?

Perhaps it wasn't all that bad an event her people had found her at last. Perhaps now she could finally end the conflict with this damned omega. She had grown seriously tired of losing, time to win. But first she needed to test Dark Kat's defences. Just because she could do magic did not mean it could defeat tech. After all, she'd never tried it and there was no history for her to draw on to know if a battle between magic and tech would always win.

Oh sure, they'd won against the Pastmaster and Mad Kat but they'd only been lucky in every encounter. Those two had weaknesses they could exploit which was how they'd won. But against the smartest tech enemy they had, she just wasn't so sure she could best him.

Thinking furiously and watching the battle play out below her, she came up with a tentative plan then called dispatch. "Send backup choppers and jets to my location. Hurry up the evacuation of civilians in the area below Manx Boulevard and Megakat Park Avenue. Notify me immediately when that's done. Have a tank perimeter set up to block the intersections to those streets asap!" Acknowledgement echoed in her ear.

Changing frequencies, she reached out to the SWAT Kats. She knew they always monitored the battle frequency, much to her annoyance but this time she was glad they did.

"Feral? What do you want? We're kind of busy here," the gruff tones of the pilot growled in her headphone.

The sound of something hitting the jet came loud and clear to her.

"Razor, you having trouble penetrating the shield on that thing?" She asked.

Surprised and more than a little preoccupied, Razor answered in short, clipped words. "Yes ... nothing seems to work!"

"What have you tried?"

"Feral we've got no time to talk!" T-Bone interrupted, veering the jet away from yet another near strike.

"It's important!" She insisted.

"Scrambler, laser, ice, thermal, explosive," Razor shot back.

"Keep him busy! Evacuation of civilians is underway but still need time. Copy?"

"Got it!" T-Bone spat back, giving up on arguing. He was simply too busy trying to keep them from dying.

Satisfied, she ordered her pilot to climb above the scene. She watched as the view changed and her backup arrived. Suddenly, out of the clear sky a new threat dropped in on them. She fired up the weapons console and aimed at the small mini jets that began firing on them.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

The loud whine and explosive rounds her weapon spat made Lord Firelain want to cover his sensitive ears. All around them was utter madness.

Flying around them were miniature machines that fired glowing red lights at all the bigger flying machines. The battle consisted of both sides firing until someone fell from the sky or exploded into pieces. White blossoms sprang into being with a figure hanging helplessly beneath them. Some made it to building roofs while others were killed by the mini machines. It was sheer mayhem out there.

It hadn't taken him long to determine whose side was what and who the main enemy was. A truly ugly and strange clawed aircraft was at the center of the conflict and seemed impervious to its enemies weapons. Meanwhile, an air ship that looked different from the ones he'd determined were the Princess' fought against this strange ship which lead him to believe it belonged to those two strange warriors.

The battle was unlike anything he'd ever imagined even in the most fevered dream. To try and keep his sanity, he pulled his attention back to the Princess and what she was doing. At her controls she was using some kind of weapon that spat odd ammunition. He watched as she dispatched the enemy very efficiently.

He hated to admit it but she was indeed a skilled warrior and utterly fearless. She killed with efficiency and deadly accuracy as she had earlier with that odd hand weapon. And she was every bit a leader as she ruthlessly sent her people into what was turning into a hopeless battle while sending others to defend the helpless on the ground.

At this point, Lord Firelain wasn't certain either of them would survive this encounter to return home. But if they did, he had no idea how he was going to convince her to return as it was very clear taking her against her will would not be a healthy nor wise idea.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

While Firelain brooded and waited until the battle ended, Feral's hoped for confirmation that the civilians were safe came through her headphones. Sighing in relief, she changed gears. It was plainly obvious nothing they had would stop Dark Kat.

While they'd been firing on the Black Widow and his mini ninja flown jets kept decimating her fleet, Dark Kat had continued on until he was about to land on city hall's tower landing field. This she could not allow. Once he was inside, they would have high casualties getting him out again.

By now more than half her fleet was gone, leaving only her and the SWAT Kats with just a few jets surrounding her own chopper left in the sky. Time to put an end to this.

Activating her mike and changing frequencies to reach the Turbokat, she tried to catch their attention.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Inside the cockpit, T-Bone's face held a grimace of determination and anger. The Turbokat was getting battered. Nothing his partner seemed to do could make a dent in Dark Kat's ship or beat back his formidable weapon's strikes. It didn't help that more of Dark Kat's army had suddenly appeared making things even more complicated.

Switching to private communication, he asked, "Razor, what do we do now? We're out numbered here and he's ignoring us completely."

Razor was scowling at his weapon's board in fierce concentration. All his newest weapons were having no effect against the arsenal Dark Kat had fired on them and his new shield was effectively deflecting all Razor tossed at him which was why the omega was no longer bothering with them. He knew Razor had nothing left to toss at him.

Feeling cold and defeated, he gave his friend the only answer he had. "I have no damn idea! Nothing I have has made a dent in his shield so he feels totally confident in ignoring us. At least his mini-army doesn't have those same shields but there are so many of them that Feral and us may not get out of this alive. Certainly, we can't stop Dark Kat from reaching his goal."

"Yeah, I can see him nearly reaching city hall and it makes me sick that we can't stop him," T-Bone agreed, unwillingly. "So, what do you want to do? Feral wanted us to keep him busy until the civilians are safe and by the looks of things down below we seemed to have succeeded but now what do we do? Besides keep battering at these mini-ships till we're out of ammo."

"Except for the laser and a few missiles, we are out of ammo, buddy. This may be it for us." Razor's voice was bitter with resignation and anger.

Hearing his best friend admit defeat made T-Bone's heart sink and his blood go cold. This was exactly the scenario Razor had feared for some time now. This very subject had come up while they'd been repairing the Turbokat after their last encounter with Dark Kat.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~

"I'm worried buddy."

"Huh? About what?" Chance eyed his partner in surprise. He was working on a loose strut in the wheel well of the nose gear and had leaned out to grab another tool when Jake spoke up. The smaller Kat had been finishing up work on a malfunctioning missile at his work bench.

Staring bleakly over at his friend, Jake sighed. "No matter how many modifications I make to the jet or how many new weapon designs I come up with, Dark Kat is out stripping me. I'm beginning to fear the next time we cross paths, he will out-tech me and that will be it for us."

Chance stepped out of the wheel well and walked slowly over to his friend. He stared down at the missile then up at his friend. "Actually, I was beginning to worry about that too," he admitted, slowly. "So what do you suggest we do?"

"Honestly?" Jake shrugged his shoulders. "I have no idea."

"You sound as if you want to toss in the towel?"

Jake rolled his eyes. "Not even close! I just wanted you to be aware that we're on borrowed time."

Chance smiled sadly. "Yeah, but then we always were. So fight on...right?"

Jake gave him a fierce grin back showing lots of fang. "You bet your ass we will."

And that was the end of the discussion. But then what else could be said? They had chosen to do this no matter what the cost.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~

His mind returned to the present with a jolt as a stray blast from one of the mini-ships managed to strike the left wing. Cursing, he took evasive action and Razor used the laser to turn the ship into a spinning star of damaged metal that hit another ship before both disappeared from view.

There was no choice. They had to fight until they had nothing left to fight with.

Suddenly the radio came alive with a call from Feral.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Feral sighed in relief when he heard Razor acknowledge him but didn't like the sound of defeat in the tom's voice. It meant the SWAT Kats were nearly out of ammo and options. Time to step in.

"Pull out! I need you to lead those mini-ships away from Dark Kat!"

"What? Are you insane? What the hell can you do alone?" T-Bone shouted.

"Trust me. You haven't seen what I'm capable of..."

Razor cut in. "Magic!"

"Yes. Though I'm not certain it will work either but what else do we have?" Not waiting for a response, she said, hurriedly. "Just keep above me as backup if necessary. If my plan works, our enemy will be gone for good. You copy?"

There wasn't a response for several seconds, then ... "Roger, acknowledged. And good luck ... Princess!" T-Bone answered not being able to resist a dig at her.

Then he took the Turbokat straight up and like she hoped, most of the mini-ships hounded after the fast jet. The sporadic bloom of weapon's fire told her Razor still had enough ammo to deal with them. Within minutes the battle field was cleared for her own attack.

Relieved, she directed her pilot to close in on Dark Kat's ship ignoring his shocked glance. Discipline made him obey and soon her chopper was making quick erasure of the distance. When the Black Widow loomed large in the forward windshield, Feral opened a side wing window.

"Halt here!" She barked over the roar of the wind and engines of the chopper. The pilot obeyed with alacrity though he swallowed with no little amount of fear. She spared him a grim smile. "Don't worry, I'm not crazy but what I do next is going to freak you out. Take evasive action when deemed necessary but keep me in sight of that ship until I tell you otherwise. Got it?"

"Y-Yes sir!" The pilot stuttered.

Turning away, Feral took a deep breath and released it then raised her paws toward the window. Okay, here goes everything.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~

In the rear area of the chopper and completely forgotten, Lord Firelain's eyes widened in horror as he watched the Princess' air ship close in on the abomination they'd been fighting.

By the stars, she is crazy! He thought, trying desperately to keep his stomach contents where they belonged. What madness is she contemplating attacking such a strange vessel without hope of defeating it? Even if I know not the rules of this strange battle, I can see her fleet is hopelessly outclassed. I'm not even certain our magic could win out against such a formidable enemy. Yet she has sent her fleet away and is going to take on this enemy alone. I must stop her!

Though terrified, he released his hold on the metal he'd been clinging to and grabbed hold of the back of her seat.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Dark Kat was beginning to think Feral had lost his mind when his instruments indicated the Enforcer had sent away his entire fleet. He was stunned the SWAT Kats had also left the field.

Now how did he make them do that? He knew the pests didn't like the Commander. Shaking his head, he shrugged off the feeling of unease and continued his plan of attack. "If that fool wants to commit suicide, who am I to dissuade him," he growled aloud.

Nothing could stop him now! For the first time since he began this war of domination, he was within seconds of taking over the city. His first act would be to force that pompous fool, Manx, to make him Mayor of the city. His next act would be to kill those pests, the SWAT Kats (if they weren't dead already along with Feral) and disband the Enforcers.

Ignoring the suicidal Enforcer coming at him from behind, Dark Kat continued toward city hall.