Dr. Viper, Callie knew, had once been Elrod Purvis, a biochemist who was a lab assistant to the late Dr. N. Zyme, working on groundbreaking scientific research at Megakat Biochemical labs. She knew he had worked on the failed Viper Mutagen 368, a chemical compound that was intended to revive dying crops and overcome famine. Purvis had tried to steal the formula from Zyme, and in the process had fallen down the building’s stairs and died, the formula spilling all over him.
What Callie and others soon discovered, was that Viper Mutagen 368’s restorative properties came at a price: it would turn its subjects into terrible, mutated versions of themselves. Zyme’s test plants turned, and, so did Purvis. At the morgue, his body reanimated, and he became the now reptilian Dr. Viper, an insane psychopath with demented dreams of turning Megakat City into a swamp. Most frightening of all, was that he retained his scientific genius, and would use it to create monsters to carry out his fiendish goals.
In retrospect, Callie thought she should have suspected Viper as a possible culprit in the SWAT Kats disappearance. No one had seen him in years, though. He was presumed dead after his last public appearance when he used Katalyst X-63 to flood the city. But, Viper had defied death once before.
“Don’t move!” Felina said, looking down the sights of the M16. “I’m placing you under arrest.”
“Very well, I’ll come along peacefully,” Viper said with a mischievous smile, and held out his clawed hands, palms open, wrists side-by-side.
“Hold this,” Felina said, shoving the rifle into Callie’s hands.
Callie clumsily held the rifle as Felina withdrew a set of cuffs from her belt and approached Dr. Viper.
“Lieuteant, be careful, he’s-” Callie began, but stopped as Felina harshly grabbed one of Viper’s outstretched hands and twisted it behind his back, shoving him hard into the nearest wall.
“Oooh, you don’t messssss around, do you?” Viper said, a humorous tone in his voice.
“Shut up,” Felina said and applied the cuffs, snapping them on his wrists behind his back.
“If you’re not careful my lawyer will hear about this,” Viper said with a laugh as Felina led him off the wall by his shoulders and shoved him down into the reception desk’s empty chair. Viper collapsed into it.
Outside, Callie noticed, the noise from the creatures had stopped, but before she could wonder why, her attention was brought back to Viper as Felina began to question him.
“Where are the SWAT Kats?” Felina asked, putting her hands on her hips, looking down at the seated Viper.
“They’re around,” Viper replied, looking up.
“Where?” Callie asked, walking forward. Felina took the rifle back from her and slung it over her shoulder. It bumped against the SMAW that was still attached to her rucksack.
“They’ve been my guestsssss,” Viper slithered. “You’d be surprised how eagerly they arrived at my invitation.”
“Your invitation?” Callie asked, and then withdrew her communicator. Upon seeing it, Viper smiled.
“Ah, so that explains why you’re here,” Viper chuckled.
“You lured them to this location using their communicator signal?” Felina asked, quirking an eyebrow.
“I did,” Dr. Viper said. “Ever since our first encounter, Deputy Mayor, I’ve known those two used a secret communication device.”
Callie frowned, old memories returning.
“When you paralyzed the mayor and me at Megakat Biochemical all those years ago, you found the communicator in my purse, didn’t you?”
“Very astute,” Dr. Viper said. “It’s been a discovery I’ve kept to myself. An ace up my ssssssleeve if you will.”
“So you reverse engineered the communicator while it was in your brief possession, and now, all these years later, you lure them here,” Callie said, gesturing to their surroundings. “Why? And for that matter, what is this place and what are those horrible things out there?”
“Ah, thisssss place,” Dr. Viper said with a tone that was bordering on reverent. “This is an old, dirty secret of Puma Dyne’s. Think of it as a factory for producing genetically engineered super soldiers. They never quite got the formula right, but I made some adjustments. I call them my Shriekmen. Puma Dyne chose to cut their losses and pretend like this place never existed.”
“That’s why they funded those monitoring stations,” Felina said. “To keep an eye on this place in case something ever got out.”
“You’re not as dumb as you look, lieutenant,” Viper said.
“You’re one to talk,” Felina said with a sneer. “Those things of yours set off the warning system. We were both there when it happened.”
“Oh yes, I’m sure my pets did,” Dr. Viper said. “But the monitoring stations won’t alert the Enforcers. They’ll go straight to Puma Dyne.”
“I figured as much,” Callie said. “And let me guess, they’re not going to risk telling anyone for fear of the public backlash at the discovery of this place.”
“Precisely,” Dr. Viper said.
“Then what’s the point of having monitoring stations in the first place?” Felina asked.
“So that those in the know can attempt to deal with the problem quietly. That’s why I had several of my new minions keeping an eye on that place” Viper said, and then gestured with his eyes down the hall. “As you can see, it didn’t work.”
Callie glanced in the direction Viper was suggesting and gasped. There were spent shell casings, blood, and the remnants of uniforms, among other assorted, military equipment. A single intact helmet was left, on which she could see the Puma Dyne logo.
“You killed them?” Callie asked.
“More or less,” Dr. Viper said with a shrug. “A small, private strike force greeted me just yesterday. My Shriekmen made short work of them.”
The sight of the carnage made Callie feel ill, and she hesitantly went back to the topic that had brought them there.
“What happened to T-Bone and Razor?”
“Ah, those two,” Dr. Viper said. “They arrived here, thinking they were rescuing you, only to be ambushed by my featureless minions. They put up a fight, but in the end, there were just too many.”
Callie felt herself shaking, and she reached forward and grabbed Viper by the collar of his lab coat.
“Where are they?” Callie demanded.
“See for yourself,” Viper said, looking at a nearby closed door.
Callie let him go, and started to head for the door, but Felina stopped her.
“No, let me take a look,” Felina said, and then took off her rucksack and the SMAW, setting the items down on the floor. She brought the rifle up and slowly approached the door. Callie tensed, and watched as the lieutenant turned the doorknob. It creaked open slowly.
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Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.