Disclaimer: I do not own SWAT Kats. It is owned by Hanna-Barbera and its subsidaries. The themes are being used for my own enjoyment and no profit is being made in the process. I do, however, own Mike.

Chapter 4: The New Perception 200

When Mike woke, he found himself tucked into his bed in his room at the homeless shelter. He felt his leg, thankfully there was no cast on his shin. He could feel the gauze on his knee through his jeans, expecting his gray fur to be stained red. He could see similar gauze covering his nose and a corner of his mouth. He was still seeing red.

A figure stood next to the bed. "Mike?" It said. "You're safe now. Wake up."

"Ugh," Mike said. He leaned up and made eye contact with the Kat standing next to him. "What happened to them?"

"They've been suspended for one week for what they did to you," the Kat said. He pointed to Mike's dinner table. "All of your teachers have delivered all of your work for the next week, so you can do it in comfort while you heal."

"To my two most desired friends," Mike said, lying back down. "Thanks for your help, sir."

"No problem, Mike," the Kat said, going towards the door. "I'll see you on Monday!" Mike nodded, and went back to sleep for another hour.

Throughout the week, Mike gradually completed his work by subject area. With the occasional visit from a teacher or friend, this made up his week. He liked it that way, though, since public schooling had worn him out. His face managed to heal itself completely, save for scabs and fresh, furless skin in a couple of spots.

He also prepared to fulfill his Borla National Series contract with veteran driver Jeff Long during his time off. His contract was to run all four races at Southern California speedways, and the fourth was in two days. His phone rang to confirm this. "Yes, Jeff?" Mike asked through the phone.

There was a pause. "Yeah, I'm on my way." Mike hung up and walked out of the homeless shelter.

He made his way to MegaKat Central Speedway, where Jeff led him to his car for the weekend. "Ready for this?" Jeff asked.

"Um, 105?" Mike asked, putting his firesuit on over his sweatshirt and jeans. "What happened to 15?"

"I was lucky enough to have two entries this week, and had to move you over," Jeff said. "I should have said something during my call earlier."

"It's fine," Mike said, slipping into the car and applying his safety gear. "Oh, looks like I'm up to qualify."

Mike drove his GE Ford Mustang onto the track. Exciting himself, he rushed to the green, and pushed out his fastest laps ever. Since he was the last to qualify, he saw that he won pole position. Once in the garage, Jeff helped him out of the car with a tear in his eye. "What's wrong, Jeff?" Mike asked.

"A Jeff Long Racing front row," he said. His other entry qualified second. "Hasn't happened since 1977."

"Well, congrats then," Mike said, shaking Jeff's paw. "Glad I could make it happen." Mike saw who looked like Chance Furlong get out of a car, but doubted that it was really him and approached his pit crew.

The next day, Mike led the field of 40 to the green flag. He raced his teammate during the opening laps, and at a yellow flag on lap 52, decided to pit. "Let's go 4 tires and fuel," Mike suggested over his radio. "No adjustments, drives like a dream."

Mike led the lead-lap cars to pit road, and his pit crew changed the tires and filled the fuel tank. Mike was the first off pit road, and lined up on the outside front row for the restart.

Mike noticed something abnormal about the car next to him. The name above the window read 'Chance Furlong'. Mike's stomach dropped at the sight. 'How could he have done this? Because of me?' He approached the green flag and let him go ahead so as not to get a penalty.

Chance made his pit stop a couple of laps later, allowing Mike to reassert the lead. A few more laps passed, and he backed off, dropping to second. "I'm a little tight this run," he said on the radio.

"Wait it out," Mike's crew chief said. "We'll fix it on our next stop."

Mike fell back to 5th by the time he made his green flag stop on lap 129. His car got four new tires, a fuel refill, and a track bar adjustment. "Now, just race hard," Mike's crew chief said. "You have enough to go to the end." Mike resumed his regular pace as the transmission ended.

Mike found himself in second once all the cars cycled through pit road, ending with the 9 of Chance on lap 154. He raced hard with the leader, almost passing him many times, but he didn't clear him until lap 197. He held him off for three more miles to win the race.

Mike drove into victory lane and enjoyed the soda shower given to him. He accepted his prize money and retreated to the garage area, where he saw Jake and Chance conversing next to the 9 car, the tabby still in his own firesuit. Mike stopped at the spot in the garage for the 105 car, today's surprise winner, and removed his firesuit before heading home.

We're almost done here! Now that the New Perception 200 has concluded in Mike's favor, and after Chance as a surprise entry, will they change, perhaps see racing in a new light? Maybe not? Find out in 6 days, when the final chapter will be uploaded.