"A mouse in a Cat's land."

A quick a "What if..." story...
Or maybe not as quick as short...

July 7, 1997

Copyright 1997 Aivars Liepa, all rights reserved.

Two people on the motorcycle speed through the empty night streets of city.
"All's well!" driver cried out, swearing to avoid the rare cars that was passing at this late hour.
"I will appreciate better, if you, hothead, keep the mind on the road," from his back came an angry voice.
"Easy, dear! I can drive with closed eyes! See!"
"Vinny, no!"
Too late. Driver had already released steering.
"You maniac, you will get yourself killed one time! And me too!" girl hit his back with one fist, with other holding to him for dear life.
"Stop swinging cycle, dear!"
"Vinny! Take the steer! Now!"
"Say 'please'?"
"Yes! Please, please, please!!!"
"Okay, Charlen dear, you won!"
Vinny stretched hands to catch a steer again, when straight ahead of them appeared a dark-violet swirling vortex.
"Rats!" was all, Vinny managed to say, before they run into it. It was like the plutarkian transporter - they disappeared into it. And as soon as they was in, vortex collapsed on itself.

Razor pressed buttons, and Turbocat released two missiles at the fast-moving enemy.
"Say, T-Bone, why the Pastmaster always appears, when we are preparing to take a free week?" he sighted. Despite him being a excellent shooter, it was hard to hit a target who can summon other targets to cover himself. Two dactyls end their lives into fireballs, but the wizard had already opening new and new time vortexes.
"Don't talk, better shoot the damn things! Aww, here comes another!"
T-Bone tossed TurboCat into sharp turn to avoid one dactyl who had imagined himself being a kamikaze.
"How many he can summon?" Razor wondered, releasing another pair of rockets. "T-Bone, we are low on ammo!"
"Okay, enough of sweet talk, lets go for the kill!"
TurboCat swerved and suddenly speed forward on the afterburners. One dactyl get caught into fire and with screams plummeted down to the city.

PastMaster smiled happily, as he see the TurboCat breaking out from the dactyl circle and heading for him. They was into rage now. And the rage of enemy was always working for him. Wizard prepared another spell, holding his watch ready to teleport him away if SWAT Cats try shoot down the dactyl, he was flying on.

"That old leech is preparing to greet us! Razor!"
"Asleep again?" T-Bone asked ironically.
"No. No. What you say?"
"I say, the old leech is waiting for us!"
"Then let not disappoint him! One slicer missile, come up!"
Rocket departed.
"You said, we are low on ammo?" T-Bone turned head back at partner.
"Low, but not out, T-Bone!"
"Newer mind."

PastMaster teleported away long before the missile hit the poor animal, and reappeared on the back of another dactyl. He need spend a few moments to take over its mind from throwing him down, though, and SWAT Kats had located him again. Straight into middle of swarm of dactyls following them.

"I hate this!" T-Bone tossed TurboCat into another sharp turn. "Use a cement gun, lets save rockets for the big guy!"
"You got it!"

Pastmaster cursed his luck, when one straw cement blob hit his current carrier. He now need again teleport, and again calm the animal, and by time he had done that, the spell had messed up. How he don't think about this problem before?
"Okay, lets call a draw today!" he sneered, and throw a half finished spell into path of TurboCat. "Maybe you will like this!" With that he teleported away, leaving dactyls to be dealed with the SWAT kats and the police forces. From where they had come, there was many more to be summoned.

"T-Bon!" Razor screamed, when straight ahead of them appeared another time-vortex.
TurboCat managed to avoid it by a hair, kicking in all brakes, and turning away. The g-forces was so high, that Razor lost conscience, and even T-Bone for a sew seconds blanked out.
"Damn, it was the last straw! You, old... Hey! Where had he gone?" T-Bone sighted.

"Iiiiiiii!!!" Charlene screamed, when their cycle from the dark street suddenly reappeared into midday, and a half-mile over the ground level.
"I like this! Rocket accelerators, come on!" Vinny shouted. The rocket engines at the cycle back come to life, and their plummet to the ground turned into managed descending.
"Vinny, how we get here?"
"I don't know, but I will ask doctor Carbunkle, when we with bros next time will pay him a visit! Send us flying..."
"Vinny, look around!"
Cyclist looked. City as city.
"Its not Chicago!" girl screamed into his ear.

The landing was hard, but luckily Martian motorcycle amortizators can take a high doses of abyse. Vinny had choose a city park to land, and had managed to do it without much damage, except to the grass.
Well... Charlene was right.
"Yes, dear, this city is much cleaner, I need admit..."
"Damn your stubbornness! Where are we?"
"We will find out, as soon as we ask this old cit... C-CAT?!"

The old kat was looking at the two riders on the strange motorcycle without fear - there was battle going on into heaven, and one into what the SWAT Kats participated.
"Are you the SWAT Kats?" he asked, curious.
With scream, driver gunned engine and steamed away, near tossing off his partner. At last moment he shoot out something long and coiled to snatch it back at the saddle. It need a few moments for the kat to figure, that the thing had been a tail.
"Monsters!" he screamed.
It was all that was need to raise a panic.

Commander Feral was into bad mood. Not only the PastMaster had assaulted the Enforcer headquarters with the group of the prehistoric animals, he had been succeeding to defeat them, till the arrival of SWAT Kats took heat away.
Now he was surveying the damage.
The chopper landing platform was a mess, most of choppers been destroyed before the pilots get a chance to get them in air. The air defense batteries had also shoot down a large group of animals before been overrun, and he need to send after doctor Sinian to identify and preserve them. That woman was obsessed with the chance to study prehistoric animals firsthand. Then he will need to go to Manx and beg for increase of Enforcer budget for the next months to get a new stuff in place of destroyed...
"What is it, lieutenant Steel?" Feral asked, don't turning back.
"The phone calls. There had been sighted a pair of monsters into city park."
"Get a patrol and take care of them."
"Me?" Steel trembled.
"I don't have any other officers free. Felina is busy fighting last pterodactyls, and most of others are injured." Damn Steel. When the assault has driven them down from the landing platform to the top levels of enforcer building, Steel had been nowhere to seen between the fighting. Now he was standing here, into clean uniform. Damn, if not the money...
"Yes, sir..."
Steel departed with the panic into his eyes. Feral cursed his luck for who knows which time.

Vinny slowed down only a ten miles later, when they had escaped city limits and reached a fields. He took the first road that was departing from main speedway, and keep driving off-road till reached a large ravine. Only when they no longer can see any buildings and roads, he stopped.
"I hate cats!" he snarled and teared down his helmet. "I'm allergic to the cats! Why it had to happen to me?"
"I can ask same question, but I think, that's because I agreed to join you into run for pizzas," Charlene too dismantled and removed her helmet.
"I hate all this world! Cats! Have you seen, Charlen? Only cats, cats and again a damn cats!"
"Vinny, calm down..." Charlene patted him on shoulder.
"At least, why I get into this thing alone?!!"
"You aren't alone, Vinny."
"Yes... You are here too... Still, I hope, that Modo and Throttle was there also... Throttle will find a way back... He always knows how to do it..."
"I too know a many ways to do the things. But first, maybe we will check the pizzas? I'm hungry."

The TurboCat landed on the SWAT Kats base, and both heroes climbed out.
"It was a close thing, Chance," said Razor, pulling off his helmet and closing the TurboCat canopy. "We near run out of weapons."
"Yes, and what had we to do then? Hightail from battle? In your place I will start build a bigger ammunition holders," Chance reply, making another mark on the wall, where already was four long rows of the marks. "Another one baddie dealt with."
"Its not the same. He simply run away." Jake noticed, putting away his SWAT Kat uniform and changing into mechanic overalls.
"But we saved the Feral, right?"
"Yes. How bad, he will newer find out, who do that."
Laughing, both cats leaved up to the garage.
"Lets down some milk and then fill up our baby!"

"Ann Gora, KATSEYE NEWS!" the beautiful she-cat was speaking into microphone. "We all already know, that today the Enforcer headquarters building get assaulted by PastMaster, who many times had attacked our city. Lets hear the authorities. What you have to say about today's battle, commander Feral?"
Feral suppressed the urge to tear the microphone out from Ann's hand and smash the camera.
"Enforcers have the situation at the control," he declared into forced voice.
Unfortunately, that was not, what Ann was hoping to hear.
"What you have to say about the SWAT Kats? Their arrival helped the defenders greatly, right?"
Following her paw signal, Jonny panned over the still smoking remains of the machines and animals that surrounded the building. Also into cadre get few ambulance cars, and as the last, few bodies covered with the black materie.
"We had the situation under control, even before they arrived," Feral snarled.
"The eyewitnesses are saying, that before arrival of SWAT Kats the enforcers was falling back. Isn't it so?" Ann pressed the attack.
"We changed our positions, to better hold off attackers." Feral stayed on it.
"More resembles a panic retreat. Commander Feral, what you are doing to stop the further chances of such attacks?"
"If city will give us a bigger budget to work with, many troubles will be solved." Feral glared at the Ann. "Excuse me, but my duty is calling."
"This was Ann Gora, from the action place. Further news at the nine evening, as always."

Callie Brigss turned off TV set, as they was restarting the twohundred seventy eight serie of the "Miay Tears", a tearjerking serial who had get very popular between she-cats lately.
"Increased funds..." she sighted. "Hope, commander... Hope..."

Vinny wake up from the sounds of birds singing over his head. He opened eyes and sighted, remembering yesterday. Simple trip after four pizzas had turned out into trip to nowhere. And the worse, the place, they had landed, was full of... cats! Brr!
"Vinny, you are up?"
Vinny sighted. Not only he had get into trouble, he had dragged Charlene with too. Only one friend, they had on the Earth, and he get her into such a adventure. The worst part was, they seemed to be stranded here for infinity.
"Yes, I'm up. I was thinking."
"Really?" Charlene slid down the side of ravine. "It cant be said from your look."
"Really. I was thinking, how we get here. I remember only the illusory vortex ahead, and next moment we was falling."
"Not to be picky, but if you had hold the steering, instead of playing macho, we may have avoided it. Don't sight, I have a plan already."
Vinny brightened up.
"You get on walk this morning?"
"It was so could, I cant sleep anyway. So I walked down to the road. And see much things, but first lets finish the remains of the pizza."
"Its could!"
"If you want to attract attention of farmer, that lives over here, go away, make a fire."
Vinny sighted, and start eat. The could pizza had turned into something that resembled tire rubber...

"NO!" Mayor Manx screamed. "Dear Ulysses! That's impossible! City don't have money! And I cant raise taxes before the elections!!!"
"Mayor, the situation is critical. Yesterday attack crippled our last reserves. If we don't get money now, you may not have a city to be elected for mayor soon." Feral slowly said, trying to hold himself calm.
City don't have money! Right! Only for the real projects, but for the fantastic golf places, that kept been build at the south border, there always was a round sums! Feral mentally snarled. If only Manx lost the elections. But he will not. Not with such a weak opponents and not with Callie supporting him...
"Mayor, I sure think, we can find a few funds to be cut, to help commander. Enforcer situation..." Callie stepped to Ferals aid.
"Dear Callie! We have already cut all possible funds!"
"Let me look over them again."
"Sure, Callie. Only don't touch the reelecting campaign budget! And the city hall renovation project! And.. And... That Mile's project too! You do it now, but I need appoint an urgent meeting with the overseas investors. Its in the best interests of city, Ulysses!"
And Manx was gone, sack with golf clubs hanging on his shoulder.
Feral snarled.
"Urgent meeting. On the golf course..."
"This time really, commander. Mister Young and few other large investors are meeting, to talk about the fate of the MegaKat Tower," Callie sat at the mayor's desk.
"Miss Brigss, I sure appreciate Your help, but we will need large sum to cover yesterday losses."
"I will see, what I can do. You hear my orders?"
"Yes. I hear. I can't understand, why You don't want to become Mayor? You already are one, with Manx being a figurehead only."
"I can't, commander. There is no support for me, no big money to finance the campaign, the supporters, pay for reclaim. Manx's had ruled the city for a hundred and half years, and they will rule it in future too. Same can be said about you. Why You don't want to run for Mayor?" Callie sighted, oddly shifting the papers on the Manx desk.
Feral don't reply.
"Lets see... Well, I think, we will cut a few thousands from the MASA budget. They will be mad as hell, but I will try put the funds back for the next quarter. So far it had been a bottomless pit without any payback..."
"Miss Brigss..."
"You want that money, Feral?"
"Yes, sure I want, but the dangers of the holding the development of the cosmic fleet may end into another catastrophe of cosmic invaders."
"We will try to survive. The money will be transferred to Enforcer counts today afternoon. I will look after it personally. And, Feral..."
"I will want a report of where the money went."
"You will get it, miss Brigss."
Commander into stiff steps walked away.
Callie hold her head into hands. The city budget was like a mot-eated bedcover. As much as to pull, it can't be stretched infinitely, only teared apart. And that was what she was currently doing. Shifting money from one project to another, mending ends, taking amends...

"First, we need to find out more about the place, we have arrived," Charlene was talking to Vinny, both sitting on the cycle and hiding into roadside bushes. "And I think, you from memory know, how the authorities will react to us both?"
"Into labs for testing, right?" Vinny laughed sadly. "Yes. Same may be said about any government. Our was same, before plutarkians come..."
"So we want one talkative prisoner. Try not to scare him too much, and try get him alone, without witnesses. I don't like become an alien abductor, the whole world is hunting..."
"Will do, Charlen! Get ready to catch the steer!"
Vinny downed the helmet and checked the cycle. They still had more that half tank of fuel.
"Look! Here comes one!"
Charlene started engine.

Manx was driving his big car toward the golf course and singing to himself, when at his back appeared a motorcyclist. Being a slow driver, Manx politely pulled close to the roadside and slowed down to let him pass, aware of the tricks, young kats on cycles was hot to do. This one however was looking a bit strange - he too slowed down, still keeping at the back of his car.
Manx signaled.
The cyclist pulled closer, still staying at the back of the car.
Somehow Manx start feel uncomfortably.
He picked up the car phone and pressed the call button for Callie.

Callie raised her head, as the phone rang on the desk. She had fall asleep... Damn... She was really tired. What the Manx wanted... Had he forgotten the best golf club or his special golf balls? Callie decided wait for the answering machine to reply.

Vinny took another look around. The place was empty, they was descending into small valley, and they was only two on the road. The right place to pull some cat from the cage.
"Charlen, get going!"
She added power to engine, pulling aside the car.
As soon as they was side to side, Vinny stand up and jumped over to car top.

"Good day! You have reached the MegaKat city hall. At the moment there is no one here to answer your call, but you can leave your message after the signal. Good bye."
Manx screamed. He near run off the road, trying steer with one hand and screaming into phone he held into other.
"Callie! Callie, I'm kidnapped! They attack me! Callie! Callie, help me!"
Next moment the attacker had teared the driver side doors open and look at him.
"MOVE!" he shouted.
Manx obeyed.

Vinny fall into the siding, the cat had been sitting and took over the steer, pulling the car back on road. He had no time to wonder, that the cat had understood him.
Then he noticed the phone, cat was screaming into.
"GIME THAT!" he shouted, catching the phone and tearing away the cord. "And NO SOUND ANYMORE! CLEAR?"
Cat nodded quickly, looking very terrified.

Callie jumped up, as soon as Manx's screams filled the room.
"Callie! Callie, I'm kidnapped! They attack me! Callie! Callie, help me!"
"MOVE" another voice screamed.
"Callie, they are already into car! They are gangsters! Callie, do something! Call Feral! Call enfor..."
"GIMME THAT!" same voice ordered.
"Yes, yes..."
Then there was only silence.
"Oh, no..." she whispered, rushing to the silent phone.

Charlene stopped the cycle at the entrance of ravine. It look same as before, grass, small bushes, cactuses. If not the babbling cat that was sitting beside Vinny into car, she may think, they are on vacation into Arizona deserts.
The limousine pulled aside her and stopped.
"Come out," Vinny said into less loud voice now.
"W.. wwhat you wwant? Money? Tthe citty will pay.. I promise..." cat babbled.
Charlene took a more careful look at him.
The cat was over middle age, with starting whiteness on the fur. He also was very antrophomorfic, even more that the Vinny and other Martian Mouses. And definitely more human looking that the high tech plutarkian fish-guys. His cloth was into disarray, but she had somewhere seen similar type of dress...
"Don't shake as jelly, be a man!" Vinny said, pulling off his helmet. It proved to be an error. Taking one look on the Vinny's half-steel facemask, cat fainted.

Feral had reached entrance of battered Enforcer building, when on air come an alarm signal. He quickly catched his comm-talk.
"This is Feral! What goes on?" he demanded.
"Commander Feral!" sounded a fearful voice of his secretary. "Called Callie Brigss! The Mayor is kidnapped!"
"Where?" Feral start run upstairs while talking into the comm.
"On the way to the new golf courses outside city. Lieutenant Felina in chopper already is on way, the ground patrols following."
"Good! Order my chopper get ready on takeoff! I will fly himself!"
"Yes, sir!"
Placing the comm-talk away, Feral cursed. The fool had got what he desired for cutting Enforcer budget, but the press, of course, will spit the blame on him, not Manx.

Callie put down the phone, she had called the Enforcers, and look at her handbag. After short decision, she pulled out the SWAT Kats communicator and pressed the call button.

Jack was half-lost inside the car engine, when start ring the alarm at the garage wall. He jumped up so fast, that hit head against the cover. And before he get out from the engine, Chance had already been at phone.
"Yes, miss Brigss?" he said into confident voice.
"SWATKATS! The Mayor Manx is kidnapped!"
"Do you know any details, miss Brigss?" Chance asked.
"He was on way to the meeting on the new golf courses! He called few mins ago, of being attacked, then one attacker breaked the car phone!"
"South from city?"
"Yes! He leaved me to deal with Feral about the enforcer budget, else I was to go with him."
"Don't worry, miss Brigss, we will save him. T-Bone out." Chance ended the discussion.
Jake was already changing into the SWATKAT costyme.
"What was this time?" he asked, when Chance joined him.
"Old Manx get kidnapped by few kats on the southern road. On way to the golf courses."
"The man will be once get killed for that golf! Was he alone?"
"Yes. Callie stayed in city hall with Feral."
"For once he saved someone."
With roar over the garage speed into southern direction a squadron of choppers.
"Lets see, who will get there first, Felina or us," Jake smiled.

Manx come out from faint only to again meet his nightmare - a kat-sized mouse with steel mask over half head. He screamed and tried to crawl away.
"Calm down, we will do you no harm," come voice from behind.
Manx turned... and screamed even louder.
There was another monster looking at him!
"No! The Aliens! They're back! Help! Help! HELP!!!"
Vinny put a kerchief into his mouth, effectively silencing him.
"Went mad," he sighted.
"Cant hold against him," Charlene reply. "Being kidnapped by a strange-looking aliens with unknown motives may scare the wits out even from the toughest. Not to mentioning some aged father of family, returning from the day work to his wife and kitten..."
"Yes. Charlen, what You think, he is thinking? That we eat him or skin alive?"
Cat again fainted.
"Great help, Vinny!" Charlene cursed in anger. "I'm trying to gain his trust, but You break that at once!"
"Very nervous cat... Apchie!" Vinny sneezed. "See! Its already starting!"
Charlene pulled the cats head on her knees and slightly shaked.
"Wake up, tiger," she slowly said.

"Roller two, this is Eagle one. See anything?"
"Nothing so far, Eagle one! Roadblock is checking all incoming cars, no signs from mayor or his car."
"Check roadsides."
"Yes, mem. Roller two out."
Felina dropped microphone and again looked down, trying spot the large limo, Manx had. For once its size was a disadvantage, it was something not to be hidden easily.
"Scratch nine calls Eagle one."
"Eagle one hear." Felina hastily reply.
"We called the guards at the golf course. No car had passed that way after the alarm."
"Good. They are somewhere there. Continue seek."
"Scratch nine out."
Felina continued fly over road, till she noticed ahead another roadblock by Mile's golf courses security car.
"This is Feral! Report!" radio cracked.
"No signs so far. According to reports, kidnappers still is somewhere down into fields."
"Weed out. Check all sideways for mayors limo. Ground patrols check all farms. We will get them. "

Razor raised head from listening to the enforcer radio conversations.
"Well, half a job done. Weed over the old sand carrier, it may be perfect place where to sunk a car."
Turbocat turned slightly.
"Switching in metal detector."
"What You see?" T-Bone asked.
"Nothing useful. Carrier is full of metal... Seems all gangsters had used it to rid of a cars..."
"Any more smart ideas?" T-Bone's voice was teasing.
"Turn around, will try infrared detector."
"May help, if they is hiding into some wreck or under bushes."
Turbocat made loop and fly back over the pool of gray water at the bottom of sand valley.

"First thing I will do will be raising MASA funds..."Manx mumbled. He opened eyes... to look into second aliens face.
"A-AA!" he screamed.
"Forget it, Charlen." came voice of first alien. "He is a fat fool, nothing more. We will need to find another."
"Maybe, but fat fools don't ride around into superluxury limos and don't have finest collections of golf clubs I have ever seen. Who are You?"
Manx gulped.
"Manx... Mayor Manx..." he whispered.
"Manx. My names Charlen, and that is Vinny."
"Not simply Vinny! Its the hottest rider into all galaxy this side of Plutarkh!" the mouse declared.
"Vinny!" Charlen snapped back at him. "Tell me, Mayor Manx... How we can understand one each?"
"The translators... Mutilator had ones with... when he arrived..." Manx reply.
"We don't have any. Have You?"
Manx can only shake head.
"Okay, forget it. Where we are?"
"MegaKat city..."
"Charlen, he is a fool! Cant You see it?"
"I'm not a fool!" Manx managed to sit up now. "I'm Mayor of Megakat city, and I know, our enforcers are already looking for You. We have repelled one invasion of aliens, and we will repel another!"
"Vinny, go look around!" Charlene ordered, and Manx snapped paw over his mouth, only now understanding the significance of spilled information."
"What is name of Your planet?"
"Charlen, I see few choppers circling over road in distance," Vinny called from top of ravine.
"Its impossible.. my planet too is Earth..."
"Charlen, we called Mars Earth, and Your planet Water, remember?" Vinny voiced his opinions from lookout post.

"Get something, Razor?" T-Bone asked, for sixth time passing the sand carrier and making large loop over few fields and small group of trees.
"Nothing. They aren't here."
"Great... And now what?"
"We will look on other side."
"By way saying "Hi!" to Feral?"
"Is he here too?" Razor asked.
"Arrived few mins back, and get order into that stampede. They are sweeping area in circles."

Callie Brigss was very unhappy person. Not the usual state of her mind.