The Radical Beginning

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The Radical Beginning

Postby Kooshmeister » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:07 am

A "novelized" version of my old fan script The Radical Beginning, focusing on Chance and Jake's Enforcer days.

~*~

In the dead of night in midtown Megakat City, in what was generally considered the scuzzy warehouse district all cities seemed to have, Chance Furlong held the floor in a deserted children's playground. He was on the tall side and somewhat burly.

His shirt seemed too tightly stretched over his broad, muscular chest, his tie perpetually loosened, and when he bothered to wear his officer's cap he always kept it cocked back at an angle, giving him a somewhat aloof, arrogant appearance, one at odds with the relatively wide, handsome face which existed beneath the cap's black brim. But he was hatless tonight, his headfur blowing gently in the light night time breeze which also caused his tie to flap about like a flag on a windy day.

He was in his early twenties, a fresh enough graduate from the academy, and a bit on the heavy side, with a very thick midsection that seemed eternally battling his pectorals for which part of him could be bigger. He kept the sleeves of his shirt rolled up past his elbows, showing off his meaty striped forearms as he bent over the hood of the Enforcer cruiser where he'd spread a large map of midtown.

A red pen had circled the Enforcers' location on the playground, and he now he held a green pen in his right hand, which like his left was covered by non-regulation fingerless leather gloves. His round-cheeked but good-looking face was usually kind, but when Chance knitted his brows, he could look quite fearsome if he wanted to. And then there was his nearly infamous temper, which had earned him as many reprimands as compliments from his superiors.

"All right guys, the situation is this," Chance was saying to a group of Enforcer commandos in visored helmets and riot gear, all of whom were crowded around him and his longtime friend and partner Jake Clawson. Chance noisily chewed some gum of a nondescript, vaguely fruity flavor as he continued, "According to intel, Reno and his gang are holed up inside that warehouse."

Reno was a semi-notorious carjacker who ran a chopshop out of a fairly nondescript warehouse, one Chance now circled on the map using the green pen. Chance had been itching to take him and his gang down for some time and now that they finally had some details on the location of his hideout, he was ready to mount a full scale assault on the joint to bust him. He smirked and glanced at Jake. Jake Clawson was younger than him by a year, and shorter and slimmer, too, and a little bit brainier and more cautious. In fact, the two had almost nothing in common outside of a shared interest in bringing criminals to justice. Thinking back to when they'd met in training at the academy, Chance often wondered how two so different kats could've become such close friends as quickly as they had.

He turned back to the assembled commandos. "Now since we're dealin' with a buncha punks who jack cars from old ladies for a livin', I'd say we shouldn't have too much to worry about." There was a smattering of laughter.

Jake, lean of body and more even of temperment, whose uniform was always kept close to regulation, neatly starched, tie done up tight, cap always close to hand, bent forwards from where he stood framed between the biceps of two of the larger commandos, and said, "Just the same, we proceed with extreme caution. Got that?"

The assembled commandos nodded. Chance rolled his eyes. As much as he liked and respected Jake, his buddy could come off less like an Enforcer officer and more like a perpetually worried nanny on a field trip. He'd jokingly been named Team Mom by a few of their subordinates because of his overly cautious, occasionally finger-wagging ways, sometimes literally wagging his finger at offending Enforcers, whereas Chance favored throwing caution to the wind and going in guns blazing, or otherwise without much resembling a plan beyond "getting it done," which hadn't endeared him to Lieutenant Feral much.

Chance's personal motto was "Heroes don't need plans!" Jake never failed to remind him that people who rushed in with much in the way of plans tended to get killed, and quickly, and Feral was even less kind: "Only morons don't have plans!" the Lieutenant would snarl.

One of Chance's other rather annoying habits, which he was well aware of but often powerless to quit, due to how fast his mind worked when on the job and in the heat of the action, was the fact any advice that didn't quite gel with his personal philosophies, many and varied as they were, went in one ear and out the other. So he just tuned such talk out. As far as he was concerned, there was no time to stop and think when your life was on the line and when it came to the Chance Furlong way of doing things, his long arrest record spoke for itself.

"Okay, guys," Chance said, slipping the red and green pens into his shirt pocket, "let's lock and load!"

He was in the middle of rolling the map up when he turned to watch another Enforcer cruiser drive up. Its headlights flicking off, it slid to a noisy halt beside them. The gull-wing door flew up and from within emerged the towering hulk Chance and Jake had as a superior, Lieutenant Ulysses Feral. He slammed his door and walked over. A helmet like the ones the commandos wore was tucked under one beefy arm, a padded blue tactical vest worn over his torso, gray dress pants terminating abruptly into knee-high shining black jackboots which crunched on the playground's gravel with each wide step Feral took.

He was even bigger than Chance. In fact, Chance knew of few other kats capable of matching Ulysses Feral in size and strength, except perhaps Deputy Mayor Balcus. Ulysses Feral with his severe flat top crewcut, his perpetual scowling mouth and knitted brows, a face of chiseled features, waxed whiskers resembling a mustache and the single biggest jawline Chance had ever seen jutting forth and terminating in a chin almost as large as Feral's entire head. Proportionally, he seemed almost an utter parody of masculinity, with broader than broad shoulders and a massive chest that then tapered down to a narrow waist and almost stick-thin legs, a build that, coupled with the monstrous chin that he had, served to make Feral perhaps the single most top-heavy tom kat living in Megakat City.

Chance didn't like him, and the feeling was mutual, but he obliged to show his superior at least some respect, and so as Feral approached, he joined Jake in a sincere salute, but made a point of noisily smacking his gum.

"Lieutenant," Jake addressed him curtly.

Chance just kept on chewing. Feral ignored it.

"Men, I've just received orders from the Lieutenant Commander that we are to stand down in this operation," Feral said without bothering to salute them in return.

Chance and Jake looked at each other as the commandos murmured amongst themselves. Despite Chance normally being the more insubordinate of the pair, it was Jake who piped up, angrily demanding an explanation. "Why?" he cried. "We've got Reno and his boys cold!"

"Yeah!" said Chance. "Those guys Jablonsky and Lyman nabbed earlier spilled everything!"

Jablonsky and Lyman were two extremely ambitious officers who often found themselves at odds with Chance and Jake, Lyman moreso than Jablonsky. Chance didn't think it was possible to be more annoyed with anyone on a daily basis than he was with Lyman, who never missed a chance to needle Chance over, well, pretty much anything at any time, as, for reasons Chance had yet to quite figure out, Lyman saw him as being something of a personal arch-enemy. Chance himself didn't care about him and wished he'd just go away, though.

Feral sighed. "Orders are orders. You stand down until further notice. Understood?"

"Yeah, yeah..." Chance mumbled angrily, kicking at the gravel with his shoe.

"What was that?" Feral asked, stepping up to put his full height to good use as he towered over Chance.

Although he was slightly intimidated, Chance did his best to hide it. Nonetheless he stood straighter, arms pressed firmly to his sides, and snapped, "I said yes sir, Lieutenant" like a good little soldier.

"That's what I thought," said Feral with a smirk.

Chance was still burning with resentment that Jablonsky and Lyman had captured Reno's henchmen and not him and Jake - which made this direct order from Steel to stand down all the more agonizing.

If he could bust Reno's carjacking ring, he'd show up Lyman once and for all! And then he could finally make him shut up and go away. He wondered if that was why Steel had sent the order; Chance knew Jablonsky and Lyman were very chummy with the Lieutenant Commander after all and the naked nepotism - a word Jake had taught him; before being told what it meant, Chance had gotten it confused with that other thing where you were in love with your mother - that the Enforcer high command was rife with was something that was difficult to ignore. Chance wouldn't put it past Steel to try and advance his toadies in the ranks by sabotaging their rivals - even if the "rival" part only existed in Lyman's head.

Kicking the gravel another time, Chance turned and stomped over to lean against the monkey bars, scowling, spitting his gum out in annoyance.

~*~

Across the street in the innocuous-looking warehouse, crime boss Reno supervising the work of a small army of mechanics who were stripping down stolen cars for parts. He'd given himself the nickname "The Blade," although no one was quite sure why; he wasn't a knifeman as far as anyone knew. He was thirtysomething, babyfaced and just beginning to become overweight, wearing denim overalls and a button-up shirt for work in the chopshop, giving him the appearance of your average blue collar worker, but his true nature was betrayed by the obvious shoulder holster he wore, in which nestled a laser pistol with carved ivory grips.

Beside him was his right-hand man Taddeo, a kat whose weight gain was even further along than his boss. He was wearing a leather jacket and baggy jeans. Whereas Reno's hair was close-cropped, Taddeo had a long, scraggly mane that looked like it hadn't been washed in several days. He had haunted, nervous eyes and kept looking at his timepiece - an antique silver pocketwatch he'd stolen from one of the gang's numerous affluent carjacking victims. An equally showy sidearm was holstered on his belt.

"When are they gettin' here?" he wanted to know.

Distractedly, Reno replied, "They'll get here when they get here. Relax."

The source of Taddeo's worry was one of the only vehicles, besides Reno's large black luxury sedan, that was left untouched by the mechanics. A parked armored car that said "Megakat Mint" on the side. The gang had stolen it the previous evening. It made Taddeo nervous because of what was inside of it. The carjackers usually only stole civilian vehicles, but occasionally Reno took what he called "special orders" from criminals further up the food chain. These requests ranged from specific models of luxury cars said criminals wished to own, or sometimes vehicles carrying certain shipments, but stealing an armored car belonging the Megakat Mint?

Taddeo was beginning to wonder if the hoped for money was worth the heat that its theft, which had necessitated the killing of all of the guards inside of it, was sure to bring down upon their heads from the Enforcers. Megakat City's new breed of cop hadn't been policing the streets very long, but they were already proving themselves to be tougher on crooks of every stripe than the old police force had been by far. They were more like soldiers than cops.

A horn suddenly honked outside. Taddeo, bundle of nerves that he was, jumped and his hand went to the butt of his gun, but Reno calmly went and peered through the slitlike window in the far wall that looked out onto the street.

"Relax," he urged his edgy second in command, "it's them."

He pressed a button on the wall, causing the big double doors used to get cars in and out of the shop to slide open. A silver four-door SUV of high-end manufacture and toughness pulled in. It stopped in the middle of the garage and Reno closed the door again. He and Taddeo then went over to greet their clients. The mechanics went about their business. In their world it didn't pay to ask questions.

The doors of the SUV opened and three kats got out. All three wore business suits and ties. Their leader, whose name Reno remembered was Todfeld, was skinny with yellow fur and tousled black hair, and wore a black greatcoat over a black suit with a dark red tie. There were black leather gloves on his hands.

His two companions were a tall kat all dressed in gray with a striped tie, and a slightly shorter kat with swept back blonde hair who peered out at the world through the impenetrably black lenses of a pair of stylish sunglasses. He wore a blue suit, and both he and the taller fellow wore black gloves like Todfeld, and also carried a briefcase each. Reno didn't remember their names. Instead, he eyed the briefcases, which, he assumed, contained his money, and smirked, hooking his thumbs in the shoulder straps of his overalls.

Todfeld ignored him at first, glancing over at the armored car. Finally, he turned to Reno and said conversationally, "How did it go?"

"Piece of cake," Reno assured him proudly.

"The truck was right where you said it'd be," added Taddeo, sweating nervously.

Something about Todfeld made him uneasy. Although the lean, angular tom kat dressed in black with that long black coat draped around his skinny frame like a cultist's robe. Or was it his unnaturally bright, wide eyes, which seemed to twinkle with some sort of barely-contained sadistic humor? Or perhaps the tiny smile he had that made the corners of his mouth twitch? Having worked a brief stint at a mental home as an orderly, Taddeo knew just plain crazy when he saw it.

Todfeld's next question puzzled them. "Anyone get hurt?"

Reno and Taddeo looked at each other. Were they not supposed to have killed the guards? Or did he mean their guys? Reno decided to play it safe, answering, flatly, "No."

"Excellent!" Todfeld said, rubbing his gloved hands together, the leather creaking. "I don't like seeing people unnecessarily injured."

So saying, he stepped towards the armored car, but they moved to block his path.

"Ain't your truck, man, 'till we get our money," Reno reminded him bluntly.

Todfeld looked wounded, gesturing apologetically. "I just want to look in the back. Surely that is free if charge."

Again, the two exchanged looks, and then finally Reno decided this was a good point, and turned and opened the back of the armored car, revealing several crates labeled "Property of Megakat Mint." Todfeld could barely contain his excitement, making fists with his hands.

"Yes!" he said happily.

Reno slammed the back doors shut on purpose to remind him of their deal: no money, no truck.

"Awrighty, you seen the cargo. How's about we get our money now?"

Todfeld turned and smiled to his companions. "Pay them, would you, gentlemen?"

Sunglasses and Striped Tie grinned and carried their briefcases to a nearby workbench where they plunked them down. Reno and Taddeo walked over, then recoiled as the briefcases were opened and a pair of laser rifles with foregrips, folded wire stocks and large battery cels resembling the drum magazines of old gangster tommyguns were removed. The two carjackers stepped back, and went for their own weapons, only for Striped Tie, working quickly, to work the charging handle with a clicking noise, followed by a low hum, and aim the weapon at them with the stock still folded. He had them covered. Sunglasses was a little slower, mostly because he took the time to unfolded his gun's stock, but soon the pair had two heavy duty laser-tommyguns, as they were nicknamed on the streets, aimed squarely at their bellies.

"Your weapons!" growled Striped Tie.

"Hey, now, wait a second...!!!" whined Taddeo.

"Yeah!" said Reno.

"Now!" the gunman snapped.

At this, they complied, tossing their laser pistols to the floor. Todfeld walked out from behind them and pulled a gun of his own, a laser pistol with an extended barrel and a scope on top, from somewhere inside of his overcoat.

"You said--" Reno began, in what amounted to a pitiful plea.

"I said 'unnecessarily,'" was Todfeld's response, cutting Reno off. "Unfortunately for you, it is entirely necessary."

He aimed his gun at Taddeo and fired, putting a searing laser bolt through his fat torso. With a yell, the overweight criminal staggered backwards before collapsing into a lifeless heap. The mechanics stopped what they were doing and looked up, startled. Reno took a step forward, meaning to grab his discarded gun, then thought better of it, turned and made a mad dash for a side door, but Sunglasses fired after him, hitting him square in the back, and he pitched forwards and fell flat on his face and didn't get up.

After that, the rest of the gang were easy pickings. Confused and afraid, they were made to get up, put their hands on their heads, and line up against the far wall. At a nod from Todfeld, Striped Tie stepped forward and promptly opened fire, swinging his weapon in a long arc across the line of mechanics who all did a jittering, flailing death-dance, grunting and yelling, before collapsing onto the floor. Their killer smirked cruelly, admiring his handiwork.

"Okay, guys, let's hustle," Todfeld said casually, "someone may have heard all that."

~*~

Back at the playground, Chance, Jake and the commandos heard what was unmistakably the sound of muffled laser fire - first one blast, then a second, more powerful-sounding one and finally a series of sustained ones as someone fired their high-powered laser weapon multiple times in rapid succession, each blast coming one on top of the other. Full auto, it sounded like.

Feral, already getting back into his car, stopped short and turned, surprised. "Gunshots!" he cried.

"They came from the warehouse!" Chance said, drawing his Enforcer-issue sidearm from the holster that dangled off of his gunbelt and charging off.

"Furlong, wait!" Feral yelled after him.

Chance ignored him and vaulted over a low hedge separating the playground from the street. Jake took off after him while Feral simply palmed his face.

Chance ignores him and vaults over the hedge. Jake hurries after him. Feral palms his face.

On the other side of the hedge, Chance landed deftly on both feet in a crouching position. He found himself on a sidewalk running along a crummy-looking street, the single story warehouse looming somewhat ominously before him. A moment later he was joined by Jake who landed in a similar position, gun drawn as well. They both hurried across the street and huddled against the wall by the doors.

"So what's the plan, genius?" Jake asked, not for the first time wondering if his buddy was gonna get them both killed.

"No idea," replied Chance. "I'm makin' this up as I go along. I figure, we see bad guys with guns, we shoot 'em."

"Brilliant!" Jake said with a sigh.

Chance paused and listened. "No more shots. Whatever happened in there is over." He turned and grinned at Jake. "Whaddaya say we knock on the door and say hi?"

"Chance..." Jake warned.

"Relax, buddy," his friend reassured him. "If anything goes wrong the Lieutenant's right across the street."

So saying, he went to the side door and knocked insistently, making a point of hiding his gun behind his back.

Inside the garage, Todfeld and his companions finished loading the final crate in the back of the SUV, having transferred them from the stolen armored car to their own vehicle. They filled the backseat and the rear cargo area. Hearing the knock, they bristled and Todfeld turned towards his two subordinates. Their names, which the recently departed Reno had forgotten, were actually Leonard and Albert.

Addressing Leonard, the tall kat in the striped tie, Todfeld said, "Whoever it is, get rid of 'im!" To Albert, the kat in the sunglasses, he said, "Come on," and went and the two of them went to their vehicle.

Leonard, hiding his weapon behind his back, walked over to the door while Albert shut the SUV's liftgate. Arriving at the door to ever more insistent knocking, Leonard opened the door just a crack and frowned as he was greeted by a heavyset tom kat in an Enforcer uniform. He glanced back at his accomplices, then, making sure his tall frame concealed the warehouse interior for their unwelcome visitor,

"Whaddaya want?" he demanded.

Chance was a little taken aback to be greeted by such a well-dressed kat as this, but he recovered quickly. "Hi!" he said cheerfully, waving with the hand not currently concealing his pistol behind his back. "Is this the illegal chopshop?"

Leonard raised an eyebrow, surprised by the Enforcer's bluntness. "...yes?" he said slowly.

"Great!" Chance said with a wide grin and a posture and attitude he hoped translated to "easygoing" and not "nervous." "'Cause I got my girlfriend's convertible parked outside and I was hopin' you guys could strip it down for me 'cause she ain't been actin' right."

"Leave it out front and we'll get to it as soon as we can," Leonard replied flatly, impatiently fidgeting.

"I got a better idea," Chance said. "How 'bout I ask what a guy dressed up as nice as you is doin' in a scuzzy place like this in the middle of the night? You're not a mechanic, are ya?"

"Do I look like a mechanic, jerkface?" Leonard growled. "Get lost and take your stinkin' girlfriend's car with you!"

Deciding that the conversation was over, Chance frowned and kicked the door in, hitting Leonard in the face. He staggered back, whipping his laser rifle out from behind his back. Reacting, Chance swung out the hand containing his own weapon and both of them fired at the same time, but Leonard's staggering movements resulted in neither of them hitting anything. Dizzy from being struck in the face, Leonard's single burst of laser fire from his tommygun went into the air, out the open door, flying high and wild into the night sky, and, right as Chance fired, Leonard collapsed to the floor, the shot intended for him instead passing over his prone form to strike a partially dismantled convertible.

Chance and Jake leaped in, guns up.

"Freeze!" Jake yelled. "You're all under arr..." he trailed off as he realized they were staring right down the barrels of Todfeld and Albert's guns. "Aahhh!"

They fired. The two Enforcers ducked back outside as the laser fire ripped up the door frame.

Rushing over as soon as they were outside, Todfeld kicked the door shut and locked it. He nudged Leonard with his foot. "Get up!" he shouted. Leonard groggily scrambled to his feet, gun in hand. Nearby, Todfeld watched in helpless annoyance as Albert stood rigidly and made a sound that vaguely approximated to "Unh!" and leaned his head back, promptly collapsing lifelessly to the floor. "Not again!" Todfeld growled, and ran to the unconscious gunman's side, which he proceeded to kick repeatedly. "Wake up!" he yelled. "Get up! Get up, you idiot!"

After a moment, Albert sat bolt upright with a start, blinking behind his shades. "Aah!" he cried. "What happened?"

Todfeld grabbed his arm and helped him to his feet. "Come on, let's get outta here! I'll drive!"
Last edited by Kooshmeister on Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Radical Beginning

Postby MoDaD » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:35 pm

...nepotism - a word Jake had taught him; before being told what it meant, Chance had gotten it confused with that other thing where you were in love with your mother...


Ha! :lol:

You've got a real talent for writing interesting formula fiction (something I consider to be a compliment and is intended as such). Aside from one or two grammar/spelling issues (which I've already lost track of), I'd say that with a quick proofread it's ready to go (assuming of course there's going to be more story).

I am curious if this Lt. Commander Steel is the one we're familiar with, or if he's a more "senior Steel" that's since moved on to other things in the present day. I'm assuming this will be explained later on, though it'd be an interesting point if Lt. Ulysses Feral did manage to get promoted and surpass the existing Lt. Commander Steel to get the present day job we're all familiar with.
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Re: The Radical Beginning

Postby Kooshmeister » Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:56 pm

It is the same Steel. I'm aware The Wrath of Dark Kat describes him as "green" (i.e. new or inexperienced) but this is a carryover from the script the story is based on. I included Steel because I wanted Ashland, the current commander, to have a weaselly sidekick and rather than invent a new character, I just used Steel, with the unspoken explanation for the apparent contradiction being that deciding Feral's assessment of Steel's inexperience is a combination of his own personal (low) opinion of him and the fact that although he'd been serving as the lieutenant commander for at least a few years, he hadn't ever been out on a mission one single time, due to his own laziness and Feral typically keeping him and his embarrassing self chained to a desk at Enforcer Headquarters. Not much of this will be covered in this fanfic, though, but it was just my way of justifying using Steel.
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Re: The Radical Beginning

Postby thelastmemory » Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:55 pm

Good so far! I love your descriptions of the characters.
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Re: The Radical Beginning

Postby Kooshmeister » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:21 pm

Back at the playground, Feral, having witnessed the shots fired wildly into the air, growled in annoyance.

"Blast those two!" he said, then whirled to the commandos. "All right, move in!"

Outside the warehouse, Chance and Jake huddled alongside the door, panting, still clutching their sidearms.

"Okay," said Chance, "so the bad guys are a little better armed than we are."

Jake felt his even temper beginning to boil a bit. Chance was one of the very few kats in Megakat City that tested his patience, and often. "Not a problem?" he parroted angrily. "And how do you suggest we overcome this obstacle, oh fearless leader?" he snarked.

Chance turned and glared at him, and started to say something when the front of the building exploded outward as the silver SUV belonging to the gunmen plowed through the wall. The two Enforcer officers flinched as the building shuddered from the impact and dust and chunks of plaster and wood rained down around them, then, recovering, watched as the vehicle swerved right and headed down the street. Chance grinned, always eager to look for the silver lining in any situation, even when it was only a silver lining to him.

Standing up, he said, "Well, on the bright side, it just turned into a car chase!"

Suddenly Feral and the commandos came charging through the bushes, guns up. Choosing to ignore his two insubordinate subordinates for the time being, Feral motioned for three commandos to head inside through the enormous hole left by the SUV. A moment later one of them emerged, looking a little grim. He'd seen the bodies that littered the floor of the chopshop inside. He said something to Feral that Chance and Jake didn't hear, and then Lieutenant Feral then stomped over to them where they sat on the sidewalk.

"Which way did they go?" he asked solemnly, a hint of anger in his voice.

Jake pointed off down the street. "That way. At full speed."

"Looks like even you two got here a little later," Feral said. "There's thirteen bodies in there. And one very empty armored car belonging to the Megakat Mint. I think we've stumbled onto something a little bigger than just plain old carjacking."

"Thirteen?!" cried Jake, leaping up in a sudden fury. "They... they..."

"We have positive IDs on Reno and almost his entire gang," replied the Lieutenant. "It was execution style. They lined them up against the wall."

Jake clenched his fists in fury. He'd killed people in the line of duty. He'd seen his fellow Enforcers fall and innocent bystanders as well as criminals get killed. But never in such a massive amount. The thought of even those scuzzball carjackers being made to get up against the wall and then gunned down execution style without mercy was making him see red. It was a level of murder he couldn't abide. Chance stood also and gave his shoulder a calming stroke.

"I wanna bust these guys, Chance... really bad..."

"Aren't you the one always preachin' about not runnin' off into the wild blue yonder without a plan?" asked Chance, glad to see his friend all fired up with righteous indignation, but a little worried all the same. Jake could sometimes be scary the few times he got really, really angry.

"That was before thirteen people went and got slaughtered like cattle," Jake pointed out. "Come on!"

As if summoned by his command, three Enforcer cruisers rounded the corner up the street, tires squealing. One skidded sideways and stopped on the curb. From out of the car got Jablonsky and Lyman, their guns out. Chance grinned, and watched as the two charged headlong into the warehouse to do... whatever it is they thought they could do to help. Turning, he grabbed Jake's sleeve.

"Come on!" yelled Chance. "I got us a ride!"

The other two cruisers continued driving, whizzing past them, as Chance ran to Jablonsky and Lyman's car, which say with the doors open. Jake ran after him.

"Furlong, get back here!" yelled Feral.

"What are you doing, Chance?" yelled Jake.

Chance got into the driver's seat and shut the door to discover Jablonsky had left the keys in the ignition. "You said you wanted to bust those guys, right?" Chance asked him as he turned the key and started the motor. "Well, no crook gets away from Chance Furlong! So come on, Jake! Let's go get those guys!"

Steeling himself up, Jake slid into the passenger's seat. "Gladly!"

Stepping on the gas, Chance peeled off, Jake yelping and shutting the door as the cruiser fishtailed and roared off down the street. Emerging from inside the warehouse and looking a little visibly sickened at the carnage they'd found within, Jablonsky and Lyman noticed Chance "borrowing" their car.

"Hey...!!!" cried Lyman. He ran off after the departing vehicle, but, unable to catch up, before he was reduced to just jogging pitifully after it. With a snarl, he took off his cap and flung it impotently after them before stopped and yelling after them, one finger pointing. "I'll get you for this, Furlong!"

~*~

The SUV roared down Main Street, passing city workers busy hanging a banner between two lamp posts that read "Megakat City 400th Anniv. Celebration." The workers watched the vehicle go speeding recklessly past them, but then resumed their work. High-speed chases weren't exactly uncommon these days.

Todfeld was at the wheel, disobeying seemingly every traffic law ever, refusing to heed stop signs and running red lights like crazy, causing numerous fender benders. He had a time table to keep to, and his master, although occasionally the understanding sort, didn't suffer tardiness lightly.

Leonard rode shotgun, his laser-tommygun in his lap, and Albert was in the backseat, cramped with the crates they'd been unable to fit in the rear cargo space. He was very unhappy at being stuck back there but kept his mouth shut. He could tell Todfeld wasn't in the mood to listen to his complaints.

Hearing sirens, Leonard glanced to his right at the passenger sideview mirror and saw a pair of Enforcer cruisers suddenly gaining on them, lights flashing. "We got a tail!" he announced.

Todfeld checked his own mirror, then said casually, "Wax those clowns!"

Lifting his weapon out of his lap, Leonard rolled down the window, leaning out and shooting at the pursuing Enforcers. His laser fire shattered the windshield of the first one, spraying the commandos inside with glass. Shielding their faces, they promptly merged into another lane, out of Leonard's line of fire, while a commando in the second vehicle leaned out and returned fire.

Jablonsky and Lyman's purloined cruiser rapidly gained on the pursuit. Steering with his right hand, Chance whipped out his laser pistol in his left and leaned out the window, firing at the SUV and shattering the rear window, making Albert yelp and finally begin voicing his misgivings.

"Can't ya go any faster?!" he cried.

"I'm flooring it now!" Todfeld said back over his shoulder, glancing at the speedometer. The SUV, while speedy, was somewhat slower than the Enforcer squad cars, even without all the heavy crates weighing it down more than usual.

Followed closely by the three Enforcer cruisers he turned and took an exit that brought them onto a highway heading toward Old Megakat Bridge in the distance, grateful for the sparse nighttime traffic. In fact the only vehicle of note was a large tanker truck. Seeing the decorative flames sweeping back along the truck's silver tank trailer, Leonard, still leaning out the window, got an idea. Turning, he shot out the truck's back tires. Leonard ducked back inside as the SUV flew past the suddenly out of control tanker which began veering to the left and finally overturned and blew up. The first two Enforcer cruisers screeched to a halt to avoid hitting the flaming wreckage.

Not Chance.

Leaning back inside, he floored it. Jake, despite his eagerness to catch the murderers, looked a trifle nervous.

"Chance...?" he asked, watching as the wall of fire drew ever nearer through the windshield. "What are you--CHAAAAAAAANCE!!!" He covered his eyes.

The other Enforcers, out of their cars, watched in disbelief as Chance barrelled past them, shooting right through the gargantuan wall of flame. Emerging from the fire on the opposite side, the car was a bit singed and the wheels were aflame, but it was otherwise undamaged. Slowly Jake uncovered his eyes, blinking. They'd made it! His relief turned to anger, as he glared at Chance and promptly hit him. Chance laughed.

"Warn me next time!" Jake growled.

Todfeld stared in shock at his rearview mirror. "I don't believe it!" he said.

"Look, we can lose 'em at the bridge!" Leonard said and pointed.

In particular he pointed out a large ship getting ready to pass underneath the bridge, which was already starting to raise. Todfeld nodded and swerved towards the exit, Chance's cruiser right behind him.

He points up ahead at Megakat Bridge, where a large ship is getting ready to pass and the bridge is already starting to raise. Todfeld nods and swerves through the traffic, Chance's Enforcer sedan right behind him.

The SUV barrelled towards the raising bridge. It ramped up the incline and shot into space. Todfeld, Leonard and Albert were wide-eyed with fear as their vehicle seemed to hang in midair for a few seconds, but luckily for them the SUV made the jump, slamming onto the opposite side before it had raised too high. They sped wildly down to the bottom, hit it in a burst of sparks that more or less annihilated their rear bumper, and continued on unmolested.

Chance and Jake weren't so lucky. Chance tried to climb the incline like Todfeld did, but by now it'd tilted too far. The front-wheel drive cruiser's wheels skidded uselessly on the pavement and the car slid back down, its bumper smacking into the bottom and crumping the back end. Chance and Jake were jostled from the impact, but recovered easily enough.

"Well, that could've gone better..." moaned Jake, palming his face.

Chance, still gripping the steering wheel, sighed, "The Lieutenant's gonna kill us."
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Re: The Radical Beginning

Postby Kooshmeister » Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:33 am

Work on this is effectively suspended for the time being. I haven't felt much like writing lately. This was cranked out in a sudden and unexpected burst of inspiration I received through some very positive feedback about my writing on The End of the SWAT Kats!, but that inspiration has since waned considerably due to a lot of different factors. The same applies to The End of the SWAT Kats! itself, too, unfortunately, which is depressing because that thing's taken me forever to get as far as I have. Who knows? Maybe the writin' bug'll bite me again sometime soon.
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Re: The Radical Beginning

Postby Kooshmeister » Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:47 pm

Ann Gora, a pretty young she-kat, was buying Chinese food from a vendor. She was an young field reporter for Kat's Eye News, the biggest news company in the city.

Short and thin, with a neatly-trimmed bob haircut and clothing that tended towards various shades of blues and greens, Ann's nickname around the station was "Annbitious," because of her dedication to going all-out. She had a tendency to put her own life on the line in pursuit of a story. If she had one flaw it was that she tended to insist those working with her have the same level of fearless committment that she had, and as a result she tended to endanger others as often as she endangered herself. As a result, although her superiors loved her, her co-workers didn't, and she had gone through a grand total of twelve different cameramen since joining the outfit three years before.

Still, she always got her story, and so her bosses tolerated her reckless behavior as long as she kept getting results. And she intended to. As much as she loved the thrill of the chase,

Nearby, her latest cameraman was sitting in their news van listening to the Enforcer band through a scanner sitting on the dashboard, idly drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. Jonny K. - as he'd styled himself - was a scruffy, compact, muscular young fellow wearing a purple turtleneck sweater and a red baseball cap turned backwards in the current popular style. Mirrored sunglasses were perched up on the cap, leaving his eyes free to see for night driving.

Something on the radio caught his attention, and, leaning out the open window of the driver's side door, he called over to Ann as she approached with their dinner.

"Hey, Annie, c'mere and listen to this!"

Walking over with two boxes of takeout, Ann got into the passenger's seat of the van. "What is it, Jonny?" she asked eagerly.

"Check this out," Jonny said, twiddling the dial on the radio.

They heard an Enforcer's voice coming in through the static. "--repeat, the road's been blocked by flaming wreckage, but the thieves are headed south Old Megakat Bridge! Driving a silver sport utility vehicle, I repeat, a silver sport utility vehicle! Be advised--"

He broke up before they could hear any more, but it was enough to whet Ann's appetite. She smelled a story, and she and Jonny could easily get a head start on any of their rivals if they got moving now! "That's less than a mile from here!" she gushed. "Whaddaya say, Jonny?"

By way of answering, Jonny started the engine and sped off. A little while later, they came onto an old country road a few miles from Old Megakat Bridge amidst some slow-moving, sparse late night traffic. All of a sudden, a silver-colored SUV, horn blaring, roared into viewed, weaving in and out of the sparse traffic, peassing the news van. From where she sat, Ann could make out at least three people inside of it.

"There, Jonny," she cried excitedly, "that's them!"

Her cameraman frowned. "All right, so now what?" he asked.

"Follow them!" Ann urged him, as though it were the most obvious answer in the world. "Hundred to one they lead us right to their hideout!"

That was what Jonny was afraid of. "All right, all right, I know better than to argue with you..."

He shook his head. Out of Ann's cameramen, he'd been with her the longest. He'd been a thrill seeker once. Before coming to work for the news outfit, he'd been a professional skateboarder for whom an eye for photography and a knack for video cameras had been a mere hobby. When not competing, he often photographed or filmed his fellow athletes, and always got great shots. But following a catastrophic accident during a particularly daring stunt which had all but ruined Jonny's left leg and several months of recovery, Jonny stopped competing and turned instead to making a living off of his natural eye and his nearly savant-like abilities with a camera.

Ann's enthusiasm made him nervous, but the two had come out of tons of scrapes together none the worse for wear, and so generally he trusted her. If nothing else, he stayed with her because he felt as though he were looking out for her. He felt as though his naturally cautious nature since his accident balanced out Ann's more headstrong instincts quite well.

Following a group of armed and dangerous criminals wasn't exactly his idea of a good idea, but she'd never steered him wrong before. And so he shook his head and turned off his headlights, then dropped in speed so that the van fell behind the SUV until he held at a steady twenty, keeping the SUV's tail lights in sight ahead of him at all times.

~*~

Claude Balcus wasn't just big. He was a titan of a feline. A colossus. Any room he entered, even at his family's ancestral home Darkhaven, seemed too small to properly contain him.

He was old, but had aged well, being roughly sixty, but appearing in his mid-fifties, with an immense chest and shoulders so broad that it always seemed like a miracle that he fit through anything less than double doors. Everything from his suits to his shoes had to be tailor made for his enormous frame. He was a very dark feline, with charcoal gray fur. His facial features were deeply lined but still handsome, with strangely luminous eyes that stood out in stark contrast to his dark fur. Of equal note was his light gray, almost white, hair, neatly coifed and arranged up, back and away from his face. He'd gone gray in his hair prematurely, and it gave him a very distinguished appearance he quite liked. He thought he photographed well.

He stood in the Deputy Mayor's office at City Hall, arms folded behind him, hands clasped together, looking out upon the city. His city. Manx's name was on everything, of course, but it was Balcus' city and had been for the past decade or so. Only a few people realized it, though, and he aimed to keep it that way. Annoying, blustering old fool though he was, Manx was a perfect figurehead for diverting attention away from Megakat City's true master: Deputy Mayor Balcus. And best of all, he didn't even know it! Balcus had a way of coming up with brilliant ideas and selling them to Manx in such a way that the fat, bespectacled old curmudgeon in the world's most obvious toupee would think HE had come up with them. So, Manx had his uses.

The intercom on Balcus' desk buzzed. A thickly accented voice that was neither Scottish nor Irish but something in-between came through the tiny speaker. "Claude? Claude! Are you there?"

Balcus' proud smile faded slightly. Yes, Manx had his uses. But he was still annoying.

But they were fast approaching the phase of his plan wherein that usefulness would finally run out, and Balcus could finally be rid of him, freeing himself to pursue... other projects. Then, slowly, his smile returned.

He turned and approached his desk. An enormous hand, gold and jewel-encrusted rings on his very thick fingers, giving him a slightly affluent appearance more befitting royalty than a humble civil servant, came up and with his ringed index finger he pressed the "talk" button on the intercom after making a point of making Manx wait a few moments longer than was necessary. It amused him to make Manx wait.

"Yes sir?" he said in a rich, deep baritone.

"Get in here!" snapped Manx. "I want to finish going over those decorations!"

Balcus took his finger off of the button and sighed. Duty called. His plan was close... but still far enough away he had to keep playing yes-man and errand boy to the entitled buffoon he'd worked hard to keep in office for nine terms. But first he'd let Manx wait just a little longer. He wasn't done with his nightly gaze upon Megakat City, and so he returned to the window and gazed out upon the vast coastal cityscape that was his from the tallest building to the smallest apartment slum. He felt above the world, a god, and he took a deep breath in through his nose, nostrils flaring, and then slowly exhaled.

A god. What a wonderful thought! Maybe not this time, but soon he fancied he'd be the next best thing. Soon, if all went well, and he had no reason to think it wouldn't, Megakat City would be fully within his dark embrace and the citizens would tremble in awed worship as they fell at the feet of their new king.

~*~

A few minutes later, Balcus was speaking with Mayor Manx and going over decorations with him. They two stood in Manx's enormous, high-ceilinged office on the tenth floor of City Hall, one of the few rooms in Megakat City outside of his personal apartment that was large enough that Balcus felt relatively comfortable in them.

Manx, short, overweight and wearing a dark gray toupee that didn't even remotely match what little hair he had left, stood squinting intently through a delicate pince-nez perched on his muzzle, studying a green and blue banner that said "400th Anniversary" on it.

Balcus was sitting on the edge of the Mayor's desk, hands folded in his lap, his face the very picture of patience. Despite being the one who considered this a chore, Manx was the one acting angry and impatient. Balcus knew why. He had a golf game tomorrow that he didn't want to miss, and he wanted to hurry up and get the decorations for the party chosen.

As he watched the little Mayor doing the closest thing to work he'd seen him do in at least four years, Balcus couldn't help but marvel at Manx's ego. Generally, Manx preferred to let someone else, usually him, handle anything having to do with the day to day running of Megakat City, but he was so filled with unfounded pride at "his" city that rather than leave the task of decoration-picking up to his event planners, Manx insisted on micro-managing every aspect of the upcoming anniversary celebration. It amused Balcus to see Manx care about things that ultimately didn't matter, while pawning other, more imortant tasks off on underlings.

But it seemed that after several hours of going over decoration after decoration, the novelty of feeling like he was doing something actually worthwhile was beginning to wear thin for Manx, and he was getting extremely annoyed and impatient.

"I think the green and blue looks best, don't you, Claude?" Manx said at last, holding up a banner that said "400th Anniversary" in blue lettering on a green background. It matched the colors of his suit, Balcus noticed.

"I actually prefer the, uh, purple and red color scheme, Mr. Mayor," Balcus said, pointing with a clawed finger to a version that had red lettering on a dark purple background, one he'd designed himself. Purple and red was a color scheme he'd always liked, in part because it was the theme of the Darkhaven crest - a dark red "D" on a purple background which the Balcus family had adopted as the symbol of their ancestral home, which currently sat dormant and unused in the countryside, or so everyone thought.

Manx frowned and picked the purple and red banner up, scrutinizing it. He clearly didn't like it. "I don't know," he said doubtfully. "Seems a bit.... imperious, don't you think? I'm still not entirely sure we ought to host the big bash at that drafty old mansion anyway."

Balcus smiled and got off of the desk to stand at his full height over Manx. "Why, that's the idea, sir. To show the people of Megakat City, not to mention the world, that after four-hundred years as a modern metropolis we're still the most powerful city in the country."

So saying, he made a fist. Manx still looked a little uncertain but shrugged, tossing the banner down. His patience had finally run out. Good, though Balcus, that meant he was that much closer to being done. "Eh, whatever," Manx said. "Just as long as we get this over with. I'm tired and I need to be up early for tee-off in the morning."

"Relax, Mayor," Balcus assured him, "you won't miss a wink of sleep."

"Now, as for the dinnerware--"

Manx was in the middle of picking up a catalogue of expensive plates and glasses when suddenly the phone rang. He answered it.

"Manx," he said into the phone. There was a pause. He looked disappointed, then turned and handed the phone to Balcus. "It's for your," he said glumly.

Balcus took the phone and brought it to his ear, listening. A moment later, he heard the silky voice of Todfeld slither through the earpiece, speaking rapidly, his voice a little tinny due to the unreliable quality of tyhe SUV's car phone. "It's me, sir," he said. "The mission was a success. Despite some complications courtesy of the Enforcers, we managed to get in and get out without losing anybody. Except for Reno, of course. As ordered, he's been taken care of."

Balcus smiled. "Good," he said, feeling overwhelming pride and satisfaction at Todfeld's report. Mention of the Enforcers interfering annoyed him. He could've sworn he'd told Ashland there were to be no Enforcers anywhere near that area. He'd need to discuss it with him later, but, for the time being, the success of the mission kept his temper in check. "I knew I could depend on you."

"Thank you, sir," Todfeld replied proudly. As far as most people in Megakat City were concerned, Mayor Manx included, Todfeld was merely the Deputy Mayor's personal assistant and valet, but to Balcus, the thin, dark-haired Todfeld was so much more than that. "And as for the gold, I'm in the process of delivering it to the designated location."

"Good!" Balcus said. "I'll see you tonight, then."

"Goodbye," Todfeld said, and hung up.

Balcus handed the phone back to Manx, who brought it to his ear, but heard only the dial tone. He hung up, looking annoyed as Balcus went to the door. On the way he scooped up his black wide-brimmed fedora and matching overcoat which were draped over a chair.

"Where are you going?" Manx demanded in a petulant tone.

"Sorry sir," Balcus replied, doing his best to sound like he really was sorry, "but some important business came up that I need to attend to. I'm sure you understand."

The Mayor looked sullen as Balcus put his fedora on and threw on his coat and walked out of the office confidently, not feeling the need to explain himself any further to his employer.

"We'll finish going over the decorations tomorrow," Balcus said over his shoulder.

"Welp, there goes my golf game tomorrow..." Manx said with a sigh as the door slammed behind Balcus.

~*~

The news van drove along a two-lane blacktop. There wasn't another car visible for miles in either directions. No houses, either. Just endless trees. Inside, Ann and Jonny scanned the lonely, desolate road. Ann was annoyed. Jonny's cautious driving had resulted in the SUV pulling away from them and disappearing and it seemed as though they'd lost it. They were nearing the bridge spanning Megakat Canyon and beyond that, the highway just wound aimlessly through undeveloped rocky woodland on its way around the mountains to the Megakat Desert. Past that point, the escaped thieves could be anywhere. If they didn't find where they'd went soon, Ann realized, they might have to give up the chase.

It wouldn't be a total loss. The least she could do was inform the Enforcers of where the fugitives had gone so they had some idea of where to look for them, when suddenly, up ahead on their left, she saw a dark wrought-iron gate with a "D" insignia.

Jonny saw it too. He slowed the van to a stop at the gate. Beyond it was a tree-lined gravel road leading up to a very large mansion, barely visible in the darkness.

"What's this place?" Jonny asked.

Ann recognized it after a moment. "Darkhaven Manor," she said. Admittedly, she'd never seen it in person, but given its location near Megakat Canyon, it couldn't be anything else, unless there was some other giant country mansion she didn't know about. "It used to be some big mansion that the Deputy Mayor's family lived in but it's been closed up for years."

"Sounds like a good place for these guys to have their hideout, huh?" Jonny observed. "And I'll bet the Deputy Mayor would love to know whose occupyin' his house while he lives in the city!"

Ann nodded, liking the cameraman's instincts. The Balcus family hadn't lived in the house for at least a generation. Certainly the Deputy Mayor had never lived in it as far as she was aware. And like Jonny suggested, a place like Darkhaven, closed down and unlived in, would present an opportunity too temtping to pass up from a group of thieves in need of a hideout.

"Take us around the side," Ann said.

Jonny drove down the road a ways. Ahead, they could see the bridge going across Megakat Canyon. Darkhaven was closer to the canyon than Ann had thought. Jonny turned left and drove into the woods a ways, stopping as he came to the fence marking off the edge of the mansion's property. He shut off the engine, but left the keys in the ignition, turning and regarding Ann a little nervously.

"Want me to go in with you...?" he asked.

"No," Ann said, thinking. She too had been reflecting over how dangerous their current undertaking was. She wanted someone on the outside in case something befell her, and she told Jonny as much. "It might be dangerous, and if I don't come back I need you here to call for help."

Jonny nodded, still looking extremely worried. Taking a small camera, Ann got out of the van. Running over, she paused at the fence, frowning, then nimbly scrambled over the top, dropping down to the overgrown lawn on the other side.
Last edited by Kooshmeister on Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Radical Beginning

Postby Kooshmeister » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:59 pm

Ann sneaked across the overgrown lawn by a grand fountain, making her way towards towards the large, three story house and various outbuildings which comprised Darkhaven. Her high heels made walking through the ankle-high grass difficult. She leaned against the rim of the fountain, and slid off one shoe, and then the other, looking up at the house as she did so, taking in her surroundings.

The mansion was positively ancient, from around the turn of the century as far as Ann could tell. Overgrown plants and large, leafy vines gripped the exterior like the tentacles of a sea monster, giving the structure the appearance of some mad combination of a medieval fortress and an old ivy league school. Most of the windows were shuttered, and those that were open revealed only darkened rooms.

The fountain, too, in addition to the state of the lawn, was a testimony to the fact the place hadn't been occupied in ages. Although beautifully carved, depicting a fearsome-looking horned dragon reared up on its hind legs with claws outstretched and fanged maw open to spit forth a torrent of water instead of fire, it wasn't turned on at the moment, and nothing but scummy, nasty-smelling water filled the enormous basin, which was the size of a swimming pool.

From what she could see, Darkhaven was completely deserted. But that didn't mean it really was. Ann trusted her hunches. It was what had made her such a good reporter, if she did say so herself - and she frequently did, being a relentless self-promoter without a humble bone in her body. Not that she considered herself arrogant, exactly; she simply wasn't one who believed in hiding lights under bushels.

With her shoes in one hand and the camera in the other, Ann crept barefoot around the side of the house, following the gravel driveway to the rear of the property where there was some kind of large cobblestone courtyard. There, in front of a large, low building set aside from the mansion, sat the silver-colored SUV, right out in the open. It was parked facing the low building which Ann guessed was the garage - through the slightly open door she could glimpse large, blocky shapes covered in protective tarps. The SUV's back was open, a single crate labeled "Property of Megakat Mint" sitting in plain view. Jackpot.

Smiling, Ann used her camera to snap a photo of the vehicle and its incriminating contents. Flash! But where was the rest of the booty? She'd thought for certain there'd be more. It seemed off to go through so much truble just to steal one--

Hearing a door open, she hid in some bushes. A thin beam of harsh yellow light knifed across the courtyard, shining on the parked SUV. Someone came out of the rear door of the mansion. And then someone else. Two male kats. The first one was stocky, with blonde hair giving him a vague "surfer dude" look and an equally blonde, thin mustache, while his taller companion had a shock of spiked-up white hair. Both were in business suits. They walked to the SUV as a third kat stood in the open doorway and watched them.

The two got the crate out of the back of the SUV, hefting it with some effort. Evidently the contents were quite heavy. Gold, Ann thought.

"Sheesh," said the blonde kat with the mustache, "these things weigh a ton!"

"Good thing this is the last of 'em," said his white-haired companion.

So, Ann thought, there were definitely more inside.

"Quit your griping," said the third kat, the one standing in the doorway. He moved aside for his two friends, then went and shut the SUV's liftgate.

This kat gave Ann the willies. He too wore a suit. Dark. A red tie. Blood red. Evil black gloves covering his hands. He was lean and sharp-featured, with yellow fur and neatly-combed solid black hair, and bright, alert eyes which seemed forever roaming, always penetrating; once, he seemed to glance at her hiding place, and she thought for certain he had spotted her. She froze. But then his gaze moved on and he watched the other two carry the crate into the house through the door. He followed them and shut it after himself, plunging the courtyard into blackness again.

Ann sighed with relief.

Now that she'd found the thieves' hideout, she could run back to the van and get the heck out of here and alert the Enforcers, and get the big scoop. But her tendency to rush in without thinking and her curiosity at just what the criminals were doing with what they'd stolen got the better of her. Forgetting her unease with the black-haired kat in the dark suit, and the terror she'd felt when she had thought he'd seen her among the shrubbery, she made up her mind to break in and have a quick snoop around.

Moving barefoot across the cobblestones, she paused at the door. No. They might be right on the other side. Better to find a different way in. Besides, they probably locked it after themselves. She crept back around the side to the front of the house, cautiously looking in every window she came to and trying each one. Finally, she found one that looked into a small but ornate dining room with a table for twelve. She found that the window was unlocked.

"Yes!" she whispered triumphantly to herself, and slid it open.

She left her shoes lying on the ground under the sill and climbed in. This room had been used recently. Although many pieces of furniture were still covered in dust-proof dropclothes, the table and six or seven of the chairs were bare, and half-eaten pizza and takeout adorned the otherwise expensive china. It seemed that the thieves helped themselves to the Balcus family heirlooms and were using them to eat off. Ann took a photo, and cringed at the flash of light which flooded the room. Crud. She hissed between her teeth and looked down at the camera, squinting in the dimness, trying to find the button to deactivate the flashcube.

She heard footsteps. She froze. Someone was coming! She was in the middle of trying to decide whether to leap out the still-open window or dive under the table, when, at the other end of the room, through the open door, a kat of medium build walked by and continued on, apparently without having seen her. His footsteps receded. Sighing in relief, Ann went and peered around the corner of the doorframe.

She found herself looking down a wide hallway with many doors and a hardwood floor. The kat she'd seen, a lean fellow in a suit - were they all in suits and ties? - was walking away from her down the hall. He took a right and disappeared. She followed him. He was oddly dressed. He wore a suit and tie - were they all in suits? - but also had a construction hardhat on his head. What was going on?

She watched him go to a closed door. When he opened it and went through, an orange light flooded the dark hall. He didn't close the door all the way, and so Ann snuck over to peer in.

She found herself looking down into a merger of a medieval nightmare and a modern metalworking facility. The door opened onto a narrow landing, from which a flight of old stone steps led down into what appeared to have once been a sizable basement to the mansion. It had been converted into a working foundry, and recently, judging by how new all of the equipment looked.

Suddenly eager for as close of a look as she could safely get, Ann eased the door open enough for her to pass through and crawled on her hands and knees to the edge of the landing and gaped down at the massive operation before her. Kats in hardhats, including all of the ones she'd seen already, were working on opening multiple wooden creates, the ones labeled as mint property, wrenching the tops off with crowbars. Some had protective goggles.

The ones with goggles were taking huge gold bars from the crates and carrying them to an enormous heated cauldron or vat that was twelve feet wide and ten feet deep if it was an inch, requiring them to go up a short flight of metal steps to access it. At the top, they threw the bars in, where they melted. The entire thing was filled almost to the brim with bubbling liquid gold.

"Kats alive," she whispered to herself, "what an operation!"

She continued to stare, openmouthed, silently watching them work. The lean kat in the dark suit, also wearing a hardhat, appeared to be directing them, shouting orders and hurrying them along, repeatedly checking a wristwatch as thought concerned about the time. He was standing at the direct edge of the vat, flanked by two other kats, one wearing sunglasses indoors, the other sporting a black and white striped tie. They were sweating from the intense heat pouring off of the smelting vat and were in varying states of undress and discomfort, ties undone, ties completely removed, jackets off.

All save the black-haired kat, whose jacket was buttoned primly, tie done up nice and tight against his throat. Though he was sweating just like his companions, he didn't seem bothered by the heat at all.

"Come on, come on," urged the black-haired lean kat, eyes wide, looking insane and slightly Mephistophelian bathed in the orange glow coming from the vat, "move, guys!"

"Relax, Todfeld," said Sunglasses, fussing with his tie absently and yawning.

"He'll be back soon and I want to surprise him by having it all melted down by the time he gets here," said the black-haired kat. Todfeld. Ann didn't recognize the name.

Evidently, they answered to someone. A ringleader. This kept getting better and better. Ann could barely contain herself. Suddenly remembering her camera, Ann lifted it up and almost snapped a photo. She cursed quietly, remembering the flash, and fumbled with it. Managing to get it turned off, she sighed in relief, and began snapping pictures of the criminals going about their work. She got many pictures of the leader, Todfeld, in particular. She wanted him especially identified.

~*~

Outside, Jonny waited in the van, uneasily drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. Come on, Annie, where are you? he wondered. He saw a pair of headlights coming down the road through the trees. A long black of some sort. He couldn't really tell. He turned into the driveway and stopped at the front gate, which creaked open for it. Uh-oh. Company. Hunkering down a little bit fearfully in reflex, Jonny watched as the sleek, dark vehicle drove through, the gate shutting after it with a loud clang, and eased its way nearly silently up the long driveway towards the house.

~*~

In the makeshift foundry, Ann continued taking pictures willy-nilly. All the while, the criminals working down in the hellish industrial setting below her were completely oblivious to her presence. Thank goodness she'd remembered to turn the flash off. But in her zeal to get photographs of every single little thing, she not only took too long, but started to forget she was supposed to be hiding, and started raising her body up on the landing a bit more with each successive picture that she took.

"When will the molds be ready?" asked Todfeld, glaring down into the churning golden liquid under his feet, as though hypnotized by it.

Striped Tie answered. "The guy I talked to said tomorrow at the latest."

This seemed to satisfy Todfeld, who finally peeled his gaze away from the cat's contents to look at Striped Tie and Sunglasses beside him. "That's cutting it close, but I guess it's better than nothing.

Without warning, he flinched as he noticed something, seemingly in Sunglasses' face and whipped his head around, looking up at Ann. Crud! She realized he'd seen her suddenly in the reflection of the lenses of Sunglasses' sunglasses. Oh no! she thought, panicking, oh no!

"What the--???" he said.

"Crud!" Ann said aloud.

"Look!" Todfeld cried, pointing at her with one black-gloved hand, as though in accusation. One by one, everyone else began turning and looking up, until literally every pair of eyes in the place was on her.

Oh, this night just got really terrible, really fast. Oh, Annie, why didn't you just take a couple of pictures and leave? Why did you get so greedy?

Todfeld then uttered two words that may as well have been a command to kill.

"Get her!"
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R.I.P. Gary Owens (1936-2015)

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MoDaD
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Re: The Radical Beginning

Postby MoDaD » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:06 am

Kooshmeister wrote:...Ann's nickname around the station was "Annbitious,"...
:lol:
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Cody Furlong
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Re: The Radical Beginning

Postby Cody Furlong » Thu May 18, 2017 12:56 pm

Awesome story! I love how you described Chance at the start of it. I wish there was a picture of it.
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You search and search for something, never realizing it is within and always has been. You can not find it, you can not understand it, you simply accept, and believe, and it will grow.
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