At the same time that the SWAT Kats were being arrested near Old Megakat Bridge, three Enforcer jets were flying towards a gigantic stormcloud which had situated itself over the tallest volcanic peaks in the Megakat Mountains. Reports of the cloud had come in from hikers in the area. Commander Feral considered the cloud worrisome due to weather reports insisting on clear skies for the area.
Clearly, the cloud was trouble. It had not made the news, though, due to the SWAT Kats’ battle against Hard Drive hogging the airwaves. As it should, thought the lead pilot. Who cared about a cloud, inexplicable or not? Nevertheless, Commander Feral wasn’t a kat who took chances. But, when he’d been called away on some unexpected business, it was Felina Feral who gave the three pilots their briefing.
“All right, men, form up and let’s complete our inspection run,” the lead pilot said. “I’ll report in to Lieutenant Feral.”
“Roger,” said his wingman.
They sped towards the cloud. As they neared it, its sheer size became apparent to them. Awed, the lead pilot said into his microphone, “Lieutenant, this is the squadron leader. We are approaching the cloud. It appears to be situated over a volcano, but there’s no sign of an eruption. It’s enormous! At least a mile wide! I can see what looks like lightning emanating from within it. It’s definitely a stormcloud of some kind.”
“I guess the weather reports were wrong, then,” said Felina, listening in back at Headquarters.
The jets entered the cloud. For a moment, the pilots’ vision was obscured, but then, something vague could be made out amidst the swirling blackness. The lead pilot recoiled as the brief flashes of lightning illuminated a massive, irregular shape the size of a building.
“Lieutenant!” he cried. “I see something! Something pretty big! Orders?”
“Return to base at once!” Felina said over the radio. “We’ll deal with this mystery later!”
“Affirmative!” the lead pilot replied, and the three jets began to bank away.
“Hey, what’s that?” yelled one of the wingmen.
A moment later, something flashed forth from the object and struck his jet, and it exploded in midair. The lead pilot barely had time to register this or even report it before a second flash blinded him, and he knew nothing more as his own aircraft flew apart into flaming metal and ashes. The remaining pilot, terrified, flew for his life, and actually managed to make it free of the cloud. A third blast fired and missed him, and then he was out of range and flying back to Megakat City as fast as his craft would go.
“Headquarters! We’ve been attacked! Squadron leader and the other wingman both down!”
Listening in back at Enforcer Headquarters, Felina listened helplessly as she heard the first two pilots’ screams of terror coming in over the headphones she wore, followed by the unmistakable sound of an explosion. Then nothing but static. She listened to the remaining wingman’s babble.
“Calm down!” she assured him. “We can’t understand anything you’re saying. Radio silence from now on. Return to Headquarters for debriefing at once!”
Angrily, she pulled the headphones off and threw them aside.
“Uncle was right,” she said. “That cloud thing, whatever it is, is definitely dangerous!
“We should scramble everything we have at it at once!” an Enforcer technician suggested.
“No!” said Felina. “Not until we know more about it! It shot down two of our jets like toys and almost got a third! It could probably do that to an entire squadron unless we knew exactly what it is we’re dealing with.”
Inside the cloud was the Fear Ship. In the main control center aboard the great vessel within the center of the cloud, three figures stood staring up at the giant viewscreen. All three were wearing purple military uniforms emblazoned with stylized “D” insignia. Onscreen, the third and final Enforcer flew away and gradually receded into the distance.
The trio turned turned to face the great figure upon the huge throne on a dais overlooking the cavernous control room. The leader, Blim, wore shoulder patches with a number “1” on either.
“The threat has been neutralized, Lord Dark Kat,” he reported.
The Dark Kat shifted on his throne and rose, towering above his subordinates, surrounded by dozens of his chittering Creeplings. He glowered down at the cowering Blim and the other two.
“Wrong, One!” Dark Kat boomed. “You allowed one to escape! Now the Enforcers will learn of a hostile presence within the cloud before we have been fully charged by the volcano’s geothermal power!”
“Only a small mistake!” Blim stammered. “I can still stop him! Just wait!”
“Wait for what, One?” Dark Kat snarled. “More stupidity? You had your chance!”
Suddenly, a dozen Creeplings swarmed from the shadows and surrounded Blim and grabbed him by the arms. The lead technician was lifted off his feet and flown through the air. A trapdoor opened, revealing the dark cloud beneath. Blim was dropped through this with a shrill scream and disappeared to his death in the volcano below.
The trapdoor boomed shut, and Dark Kat looked at the two remaining technicians. One was Marlow, a handsome young kat with blonde hair and the number “2” on his shoulder patches. The other, Zeckis, was middle-aged with already-thinning brown hair. His shoulder patches said “3” on them.
“You are in command now, Two!” he said.
Marlow nodded with a mixture of fear and confidence. The viewscreen fizzled and changed to show a Kat’s Eye News report that caught Dark Kat’s attention. Initially, the criminal mastermind feared that it would already be about the cloud. Instead, when Ann Gora came onscreen, she had something quite unexpected to say.
“This is Ann Gora, Kat’s Eye News, with a late-breaking special report! The legendary SWAT Kats have been arrested! That’s right, you heard it here first, on Kat’s Eye News!”
Dark Kat couldn’t believe what he was hearing! But, there they were on the news, being led into Enforcer Headquarters in handcuffs. The cameraman attempted to get in close but was shooed away by a glowering Commander Feral.
Ann continued, “Their arrest follows their heroic thwarting of the cyber criminal Hard Drive earlier today! As yet, no charges have yet been filed.”
Turning, she saw a stern, polished-looking young kat in a business suit.
“District Attorney Mills!” She rushed over and jammed her microphone in Mills’ face. “Can you tell our viewers at home exactly what charges the city intends to bring against the SWAT Kats?”
Mills had a pinched, nasally voice. “Why, that’s simple. Reckless endangerment of citizens, willful destruction of public property a hundred times over, willful flaunting of the law, and theft and destruction of Enforcer property! Excuse me.”
He moved away and headed up the steps of the building.
Laughing, Dark Kat pressed a button, and the viewscreen went blank.
“This presents me with a singular opportunity,” he mused. “Two, be so kind as to arrange for a little… accident to happen to my old friends the SWAT Kats, would you? I do believe we ought to save the taxpayers of Megakat City the cost of a trial!”
“Yes, Lord Dark Kat,” Marlow responded.
“In the meantime,” Dark Kat continued, “resume powering up. I want my Fear Ship at maximum capacity before I reduce Megakat City to rubble. In the meantime, I shall be below…”
Marlow and Zeckis stood at attention as Dark Kat came down from his throne and stalked from the control room. While his subordinates plotted the deserving deaths of the SWAT Kats, he had much more important things to attend to in his onboard laboratory…
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