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20: The Meaning of Power
20: The Meaning of Power


The strength of unconsciousness....

The swirling darkness......

The danger of oblivion......

The crushing pain.....

The sense of power.....

The light of hope.....

<By the powers, if you've been of any help to me in the past, help me now!  NINE LIVES POWER EMERGENCE!>

--------

Felonia, still distraught, sat against her pillows.  She was still too badly hurt to go anyplace, so she was momentarily stuck in a hospital room.  "Well, anyways, there you have it," she muttered.  "The entire life history of one Felonia Jase, upset kitten and one-cat Ginyu Force.  The story of a yellow tabby who has never gotten anything good out of life."

Francine shook Felonia's shoulders.  "Stop saying things like that!  You can still have a good life, provided that you leave Chaos Kitten and rejoin us!"

Felonia sighed.  "But I just can't leave----"

She spotted something out of the corner of her eye.  She turned her head to get a full view of what was going on, and saw the gray cat standing by the window, trembling violently.  "What's...happening...?"

At this point, both Felonia and Francine noticed the black gaseous mist drifting through the air.  It seemed to be having some effect on the gray cat....

Suddenly, the gray cat gasped, and slammed both paws against the windowsill.  "....So that's what happened to me!" she murmured, her anxiety building.  Looking frantic, she dived towards the general direction of the other bed.  "I've got to get down there and help them out!"

Francine was puzzled.  "What?"

The cat looked back at them; her face was a mixture of pain and determination.  "Don't you get it?  Wildcat's been without me for nearly a year, and he can't go without me much longer, or else he'll go insane with rage!"

She grabbed a duffel bag, took some stuff out of it, then turned into a gray blur and disappeared.  Felonia stared after her, muttering something unintelligible.  Francine, meanwhile, just looked at the general direction the gray cat had taken, eyes wide.  "That was her!"

Felonia looked out the corners of her eyes.  "So you finally figured it out, huh?"  She pulled the blankets back over her face, muttering, hoping to fall asleep.

-----

Carlos Cosmos brought his starfighter in for a landing in the Palace courtyard.  Opening it and leaving his flight helmet and sunglasses on his seat, he vaulted out and trudged into the Palace, hoping for at least an hour's rest before continuing the fight.

Unfortunately, he discovered soon, he wasn't going to have any time to sleep.  Almost immediately, as soon as he walked in through the door, he heard a cry from one of the closets farther down the hall.  Suspicious, he dashed down the hall and, upon reaching the door that the noise was coming from, he attempted to open it.

The door, he found out, was locked; not wasting any time, he blasted the handle of the door off with his disintegration gun, instead.  Putting the gun away, he then opened the door and found an unusual sight: Princess Violet, tied to a chair in the center of the closet.

"You okay back there?" asked Carlos, looking in both directions warily to be sure that nothing bad was watching him.

"I'm upset, but other than that, I'm fine," snapped Vi.  "Where were you when Chaos Kitten dragged me in here?"

"I was out blasting one of the Land-Air Eggs that were attacking the city, senorita," Carlos replied.  "After all, my starfighter piloting IS my day job."

"That fool stole my sword," Vi said angrily, "and I have to get it back so I can send him clear to Extras Island!  I have----"

"Fa-red," someone said.

Carlos turned around, his fur standing on end; and then, almost without any subtle warning, it relaxed; it was only Emperor Fred, staring right at him.  "Fred," he said again.

"Greetings, Your Majesty," said Carlos, and then turned to getting Vi loose from her ropes.

Immediately, as soon as the Princess was free, she dashed down the hall.  "VIOLET!" Carlos yelled after her, then dropped his arms to his sides in despair.  "Why do I even bother?"

"Fa-red," answered Fred, waving his fans around.  At one point, he pointed one of his fans at a small box in the closet.  

Carlos pulled it out and began a close examination.  Realizing what it was, he dashed towards the nearest open window and tossed it out.  While it was still in the air, he drew his disintegration gun and fired it at full power.  A second later, there was nothing left of the "box" but a few particles of dust that blew away on the next gust of wind.

Emperor Fred continued his riot act, even as Carlos signaled his fighter via remote control.

-------

Speedy, Guido, Polly, and GB stood in front of a dented-but-otherwise-undamaged Goliath.  "You pompous jerk," Speedy yelled.  "WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?!"

Chaos Kitten regained his bearing long enough to smile.  "You'll find him dropped to the ground like a piece of discarded trash," he purred.  "Best of all, there's nothing that you can do to help him.  I don't know how you're able to get up and fight after I knock you down, but I'll worry about that later....AFTER I cream you."

"We'll just see about that,"  GB cawed, "when we----"

There was a massive rumbling noise from behind them.  "Are you ready, Pizza Cats?" a mechanical voice boomed.

One by one, each of the Pizza Cats turned around.  Each of their expressions turned to shock.  "I....can't believe it!" Polly said to herself, her eyes wide in wonder.

"Don't you remember?" asked Guido, gazing at it.  "Curtis said that he was going to get it repaired.  Still, I don't believe he was able to get it finished THAT quickly."

"What are you talking about?" laughed Chaos Kitten.  "That huge metallic piece of junk can't be the Supreme Catatonic---nothing but a cheap imitation!  Everyone knows that hunk of junk was destroyed by the comet!"

"Yeah.  So?" GB said in response.  "That doesn't mean it can't be rebuilt."

The huge robot, still in sphinx form, opened its mouth, dispatching the three lean, mean, fighting machines known as the Goonie Birds.  The 3 birds burst apart, the seperate pieces of armor adding on to the Cats' own, complete with face masks.  That done, what was left of the birds latched onto the Cats' backs and formed the nifty power packs that gave them more energy to fight, as well as the ability to fly.  Now, they were no longer simply the Samurai Pizza Cats; they were the EXTRA TOPPING Samurai Pizza Cats!  "THAT answer your question, C.K.?" Polly yelled at the kid terrorist sitting in the Goliath.

Chaos Kitten laughed again; but everyone clearly saw that he was only trying to dish out some bravado.  "No, it doesn't," he chuckled.

The Pizza Cats turned around again, watching the sphinx transform into its true form.  Parts slid aside to form new parts; the sphinx's head attached to the back, letting the other head take its place; legs and arms fully formed; pylons and body armor fully formed; and the red jewel nestled in the robot's forehead, with the little cat inside of it----"Mew!"----the robot landed feet-first on the ground and flexed its arms, ready to dish out some action.  A golden flare of light exploded from the robot's chest and absorbed Polly and Guido, who flew into the robot without any other noise.  This time, Speedy and GB watched them go in, then turned their attention back to the Vile Goliath.

And Chaos Kitten was no longer laughing.  "Okay, NOW I'm mad," he growled.  "Obviously, that fool Curtis was able to rebuild it....but no matter.  I'll STILL turn it into dust!"

With that, he put the robot in Charge Mode, throwing it forward at full blast----

-----and a black blur appeared out of nowhere and bounced on top of the robot----

----something lashed out at Chaos Kitten, throwing his mind off course and skewing the robot, crashing it into an abandoned building----

----and a dark figure landed in front of the Pizza Cats, sword drawn.

Chaos Kitten had the robot back on its feet in an instant and leaped out of the wreckage.  "ALRIGHT!  WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?!?"

"Keep your mouth closed, and listen to the music, Chaos Mouth," someone hissed.

Speedy and the others looked at the dark figure.  Of course----they knew who this was.  It was the same one who almost singlehandedly brought the house down on the A.L.D.  It was the same one who shut the door on evil.....as the most powerful feline on the planet.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the figure chuckled, "may I introduce the champion of Super-Cats, the one and only....me.  Grand...."

"Admiral...." the SPC said in unison.

Chaos Kitten screamed.  "WILDCAT!"

Wildcat winked and replied in a voice that could be construed as annoying.  "Me-owth!  That's right!"

Polly looked down towards Speedy, and slowly shook her head.  "NOW do you know why I dislike the whole craze in the first place?"

"Are you saying I should get rid of the Pikachu T-shirt sitting in the closet?" Speedy replied.

Polly turned her face away from him and back towards the robot, visibly irritated.  Up where the action was, the evil-doer was raving.  "You are just not human!  NOTHING could've survived what I threw at you!"

"Of course I'm not human," said Wildcat.  "I'm a cat.  And as for how I survived what you clobbered me with?  Let me say it like this.  As a Super-Cat, one phrase sums up my whole crime-fighting career: you can bash 'em, thrash 'em, even crash 'em, but they just won't go away."  He turned towards the Supreme Catatonic.  "BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY!" he screeched.

A bright red light, similar to the light that enveloped Speedy on his first trip inside the Catatonic, surrounded him, and he disappeared in a flash.  Speedy and GB took a look at the red jewel, expecting him to show up.  He did, replacing the little white cat that had been there before.

------

Wildcat became aware of a new sensation: feeling like he was on top of the world.  Inside the red jewel of the Catatonic, the same place that Speedy had stood when he totaled the comet, he could sense everything going on directly in front of and behind the robot.  Beneath him in the robot's core surged a million impulses, awaiting Wildcat's command.

Unsure, Wildcat lifted up Shape-Shifter and pulled it out.  Following the reflexive command, the robot pulled free the Fish Sword, allowing both ends to burst free.  The honed blades of the skeletal Fish Sword gleamed in the light as the tail and head of the fish disappeared.

Chaos Kitten gave a furious roar, and put the robot in Charge Mode again.  Sensing the incoming danger, Wildcat swung his sword.  Down below, the Catatonic swung the Fish Sword, impacting it against the Vile Goliath and causing it to stumble.  "Yes!" Wildcat shouted.  "Power Rangers, eat your heart out!"

"I believe I had warned you not to use that sword in conjunction with anything," Chaos Kitten snapped, righting the robot and stepping back a few paces.  "You have just made a grievous error."  He raised a small remote control, and tapped a red button labeled "Activate".

Speedy looked up at the face of the Catatonic.  "I don't hear anything making a bang.  How about you guys?"

"Nothing from this direction," Guido commented.  Polly and GB voiced their own versions of that line, as well.

Chaos Kitten looked puzzled.  He pushed the button again a few more times, then tossed it away in disgust.  "Why won't that blasted detonator explode?"

"Probably because the link's been severed," Wildcat said.  "Via the Catatonic's radio, I picked up a signal from my best pilot.  According to him, he wasted a 'small box' with his disintegrator.  Said he found it in a closet in the Palace."

"One small box down," hissed C.K., "and ONE TO GO!"  As he tapped the purple button on the robot that ordered it to go to full power, he thought he saw a black shadow out of the corner of his eye.  Turning his head slightly, he searched again; but the motion wasn't repeated.

Wildcat decided to take this opportunity to strike.  Holding his sword straight in front of him, he initiated a motion that ordered the Catatonic to go into its "own" Charge Mode.  Perfect timing; right on cue, the other robot also went into Charge Mode.  However, there seemed something different about the Goliath....

His suspicions were answered minutes later.  As both robots strained with their hands pressed together, a trio of laser cannons appeared on the robot's chest that weren't there before.  Wildcat turned his head slightly.  "Guido, quick!  PRESS THE WHITE BUTTON RIGHT ABOVE YOU!!"

Guido must've had an excellent sense of timing; Wildcat thought he could sense the **ting** as a special feature on the Catatonic was activated.  As this was done, the 3 laser cannons on the Goliath opened fire----

----but none of the green shots that were fired fazed the Catatonic; instead, they deflected off a yellow-ish white force field put in place around the robot.

GB gazed at the robot, surprised.  "Don't tell me that Wildcat's technicans put a shield on there!"

"They put a shield on there," said Speedy, yawning.

"I told you not to tell me that," GB muttered.  Becoming bored, he decided to count the bricks that were knocked free from one of the surrounding buildings.

"Surprise, Chaos!" Wildcat yelled, firing an energy blast from his sword.  Almost immediately, the end of the Fish Sword started glowing, and then fired a yellow blast of its own into the Vile Goliath.  The sheer power of the blast blasted open one of the consoles on the Goliath, as well as causing some minor damage to the robot's superstructure.

"Very good!" Chaos yowled, his anger reaching the boiling point.  "You just manage to deflect 3 of my more powerful lasers, and was able to make a dent in the armor of my prize!  Now, how would you like to go up against the most powerful weapon in my arsenal?"

Through the Catatonic's video cameras, Wildcat looked down at Polly and Guido.  Guido was in his normal spot inside the robot, holding a cup of soda in one hand.  Polly was also in her usual spot, visibly relaxed and even singing to herself.

Wildcat then looked down at Speedy and GB.  Speedy was singing something softly to himself, likewise; probably something from Billy Joel, but he couldn't be sure.  GB was tallying up the number of bricks dislodged from damaged buildings.  At last, he turned his head back towards Chaos Kitten.  "Go ahead, hot stuff.  We're ready for you!"

C.K. shrugged.  "Alright.  You asked for it!"

He pushed a series of levers below him on the floor of the seating area, which opened up a new panel on the right side of consoles.  Chaos Kitten pushed the switch to full power, causing a massive power upsurge.  The right fist on the Goliath withdrew, and a massive laser cannon appeared in its place.  As it drew its power, the whole robot started glowing purple.

Guido and Polly both snapped out of their relaxed state.  Guido hurriedly checked the readings the Catatonic was getting.  "Wildcat, that robot is charging up enough power to disintegrate this city with one hit!"

"What else is new?" Wildcat asked, holding his sword in front of him, downwards and at a 45 degree angle.  The Supreme Catatonic followed suit.  "Trust me....I know what I'm doing!"

"Yeah, right," C.K. shouted back.  "Alright, Wildcat.  Get ready for destruc-----"

----What seemed to be a black cannonball launched from one of the buildings that was still intact.  It bounced off the curve leading up to the cockpit, then landed.  Suddenly, C.K. found himself yanked out of his seat and thrown towards the ground.  He was still able to get a 3-point landing; but what he saw surprised him.

A large, stocky Black Maine Coon longhair was perched on the back of the Goliath, his eyes glowing with stored power.  "Get ready for a SHOCK to your system!" the cat yelled, throwing both sets of claws into the wrecked console-----

-----a long, electrical current pulsed from the black feline and into the working systems of the Vile Goliath----

----the robot stopped glowing, and internal explosions began blowing massive holes in the armor of the robot----

----the black cat was thrown to the ground, obviously hurt----

The Vile Goliath, once one of the strongest weapons known, had gone down, a casualty of Ambush Cat's T.S.D., or Total Static Discharge, Attack.

Ambush Cat struggled to his feet and glared at Chaos Kitten angrily.  "That...." he managed to hiss, "was for....Francine!"  With that, he collapsed on the ground, unconscious.

Wildcat turned his head and yelled down at Speedy.  "That attack just blew some holes in the Goliath's armor.  Finish it off!  GB, you grab Amush Cat and get him out of here!"

Speedy nodded, going into his Cat's Eye Slash sequence.  "ONE GINZU SPECIAL COMING UP....HII-YAAH!" he shouted as he hurled the deadly bolt, amplified by his power pack, into the internal workings of the robot.  Like many robots before, the robot blew itself into pieces, leaving smoldering wreckage behind.  He looked at GB, just to see if Ambush Cat had made it; and just by looking at him, he was able to tell that the trickster was still breathing.

Guido looked at Polly.  "I think that cat just did Zero proud."

Polly shook her head.  "He wasn't trying to destroy himself along with the robot.  Before he attacked, he shuffled across a surface capable of conducting electricity...REAL FAST, too; probably around Mach 3.  He was totally charged with electricity.  It wasn't that which knocked him out; it was the fact that the robot was destroying itself from the inside out."

Guido looked surprised.  "Is that all a guess, or is it for real?"

Polly laughed.  "It's for real, Guido.  Back before that plane crash in the park last year, he demonstrated that attack in a practice session.  Has enough power to stun even Godzilla."

Guido slowly nodded his head in realization, then looked back down at the scene below.

-----

Chaos Kitten drew the sword that he taken from the Princess, fuming.  "Come on down here, Wildcat," he shouted towards the Catatonic.  "This one's between you and me!"

"Gladly," Wildcat purred.  He turned his head a fraction of a few degrees.  "Cougar-Brains, Release," he uttered, transmitting the code to release him from the red jewel.  He disappeared in a flash of light; then reappeared before C.K., his sword fully drawn.  No one noticed that the little white cat had reappeared; they just wanted to see the impending showdown.

"I gave that sword to the Princess," Wildcat hissed.  "If you lose, you'd better give it back."

"On the contrary," C.K. shot back.  "Even if I lose, I'm keeping it with me."

Wildcat laughed half-heartedly.  "You'd better be prepared for a world of nightmares, then."

Chaos Kitten just glared at him.  "The same to you, Super-Cat.  EN GARDE!!"

Both cats charged forward.