Callie stayed under the Mayor’s desk for the duration of the encounter, trying to remain safe and hoping no more bugs would rush in. Her ears shot up when she heard the office door open and heavy footsteps pound on the carpet.
“Deputy Mayor, are you here?” Feral’s gruff voice asked. “The threat has been taken care of. It’s safe to come out.”
Callie moved out from under the desk and saw the voice matched its owner. The tall, dark brown, Enforcer commander stood before her.
“Thank god it’s over,” she said happily. “If I don’t see another oversized bug, I’ll die happy.”
“Thankfully, no one was severely hurt during the attack,” Feral reported. “Where is the Mayor?”
“At his safe place, the Golf Course,” Callie answered with a disappointed tone. “I came up here to get him, but his bag and clubs were gone.”
“Typical,” Feral responded. “This was obviously the work of Dr.Viper. But, it’s not like him to attack for no reason.”
“I don’t think it was an attack,” Callie replied as she pulled the tape the giant fly had dropped off the desk. “I think it was a delivery.”
“A delivery? Explain,” Feral said.
Callie was about to when the office door opened again. An old orange kat entered the office. He was short and plump, holding a golf bag full of clubs over his business suit.
“Mayor Manx!” Callie stated in surprise.
“I’m sorry I’m late, everyone,” Manx said as he walked to the corner of his office and placed the bag against the wall.
“Where were you, mayor?” Feral asked, trying his best to not lecture his higher up.
“I had an early tee-off today,” Manx answered as he sat at his desk. “I was going to leave when I heard about the infestation on the radio. I thought it would be safer to stay where I was.”
And play another game to pass the time, Callie thought.
“Anyways, as I was saying. The mosquitoes and other bugs were just bodyguards for this fly. He was the one who crashed in here and dropped this tape,” Callie explained.
Feral walked up to the deputy mayor and took a better look at the cassette, seeing the name on it.
“Do you have a VCR and a TV?” Feral asked.
“Of course,” Callie answered as she put the tape back onto the desk and strolled over to the closet at bottom left corner of the office. She opened the closet door and pulled out a TV and VCR on a stroller. She plugged the cords into a wall unit and took the tape, sliding it into the VCR. After the PLAY sign popped up and a moment of static, the three were staring at the face of Doctor Viper.
“I knew it!” Feral announced.
Viper turned his head to the three, a sly smile over his mug.
“Good morning, Mayor Manx,” the villain said with his serpentine voice. “I trussst you enjoyed the bugsss I sssent earlier. Well, that wasss not even a demonsssstration of what I have in ssstore for your preciousss MegaKat City.”
The three kats watched the screen as Viper pulled a small test tube out of his lab coat pocket. Inside it was a near clear liquid with a violet tint.
“What I hold in my hand isss a recent breakthrough in modern ssscience. Thisss formula isss the Viper Sssyndrome, a one of a kind virusss created by yoursss truly.”
Feral’s eyes went into a furious glare, knowing that this was going to be bad.
“Allow me to explain what it doesss,” Viper said as the screen changed, showing a bunch of cells as if they were looking under a microscope.
“Usssing the unique propertiesss of the virussss, it issss able to perfectly disguisssse itsssself assss any other cell in itsss environment,” Viper’s voice explained as a series of black cells appeared on screen.
The black cells moved slowly to the others. When they came into contact, the black cells quickly entered the other cells and quickly came out, perfectly simulating the look of the host. The screen quickly changed back to Viper.
“What you have just ssseen is an example using plain H2O particlesss, the bassssic make up of natural water. However, the gene cannot survive if the environment changesss, sssuch as when a person drinksss the water. The cell causesss ssssuicide after 24 hoursss of the transsssition. But, I have altered the gene ssso that when it doesss detonate, it will releassse a multitude of poisssonsss into the body. Mossst incredibly deadly.”
“No way!” Callie whispered.
“By the time you watch thisss tape, the city’sss water sssupply would have already been contaminated with thisss virusss. The ssshock itssself from when the poissson’sss releasssed can kill, ssso you have two choicesss. You sssurrender the city to me and leave, or watch asss the bodiesss of your citizensss cover the ssstreetsss!” The villain finished with a bloodcurdling laugh that caused the hair on even Feral’s neck to stand up.
The TV screen went into a fuzz. Feral pushed the power button and made the screen go blank. He turned to the other two, a look of great anger in his eyes.
“THAT MADMAN! HE’S GOING TO COMMIT GENOCIDE JUST TO GET THIS CITY!!” Feral shouted.
“How could he do this?” Callie asked. “We have to do something.”
“Yes, how can I be a mayor if the city is dead?” Mayor Manx asked, putting his head on his desk.
“We can’t surrender the city ether,” Feral stated.
“Maybe we could try and synthesize a cure,” Callie suggested.
“Good idea,” Manx said as he picked up the phone and hit for the operator. “Get me MegaKat Biochemical.”
Tai felt the floor shake a bit when the Turbokat returned to the Hangar. Tai sighed, knowing what he had to do.
Ok. When they come, I’ll just tell them I’m not interested anymore, he thought as he strolled down the hallway to the hangar. As he climbed down the ladder, T-bone and Razor leapt out of their jet. The two looked and saw the red kat appear.
“Hey Tai, thanks for holding down the fort,” T-bone said as he strolled over to the third.
“No problem, guys,” Tai responded, putting on a fake smile. “What was the emergency?”
“Giant bugs, same old same old,” Razor answered.
“Uhh, guys. I need to say…” Tai started.
“Since we’re already in our flight suits, let’s go through the Reflex Room,” T-bone interrupted.
“Sure, let’s go,” Razor responded as the two began to walk towards the training room. “Hurry up and change, kid.”
Tai stood there for a moment, still in shock from what happened. He sighed as he moved to the lockers and changed into his Blaze uniform.
What am I gonna do? he thought as he rushed over to join his friends. I don’t want to do this.
T-bone and Razor waited till the red SWAT Kat in training appeared.
“Hold up,” Razor said as he dug into his flight suit, pulling out three black bars with small screens on them. “We’re gonna keep score this time.”
“Score?” Blaze questioned as he looked at the device.
T-bone took one and attached it to the top of his Gloveatrix. Four red zeros appeared on the screen.
“Yeah. We use these to keep score. Kinda like a competition,” T-bone explained.
“Oh. Ok, I guess,” Blaze said as he took the second bar and copied T-bone, attaching the bar to his Glovatrix and having the lights flash 0’s.
Razor looked at the red kat, seeing he was hiding something. “What’s wrong?” Razor asked, making Blaze become alert.
“Nothing. I’m fine,” Blaze answered, giving a fake smile.
T-bone raised his eyebrow at this and looked to Razor, both knowing the kid was lying. T-bone gave him a sly smile, knowing how to see the truth.
“Well come on, guys,” T-bone said as he walked through the door to the reflex room, Razor following him.
Blaze gave a sigh as he followed them, feeling horribly guilty of lying to his friends. As they walked down the steel covered hall, all were silent till they hit the traps. The walls grew spikes and sections of it shot out, trying to skewer the kats. T-bone ducked down, dodging a section of spikes that aimed for his head. Razor stopped where he was as a piece of the ceiling fell, crashing right in front of him. Their scores changed, showing they got 50 points for each one they dodged. Blaze dashed through as another section of the ceiling fell, nearly flattening the red kat.
“These weren’t here before!” Blaze stated.
“We set it to a higher level since we’re all here,” Razor explained.
The three raced through the hall, dodging the onslaught of traps. They stopped before the security lasers and checked their scores. T-bone had a score of 350, Razor had 300, and Blaze had 200.
“Ha, I’m ahead of you guys,” T-bone said in triumph.
“We still have two areas left, T-bone,” Razor replied.
Blaze went ahead of the two. Rows of lasers lined the ground and another row just 5 feet above it while some turned on and off in between.
Oh boy, he thought as he looked at the maelstrom of beams.
“It’s easier than it looks,” T-bone said, hitting Blaze on the back.
“We don’t have all day, guys,” Razor stated as he barreled through. He ducked down so he was out of range of the top row of lasers as he carefully treaded over the floor lasers. He waited patiently, watching where the beams hit and taking careful note. Razor quickly moved through the trap, none of the beams even coming close to him.
T-bone and Blaze followed him, doing as he did till all three were past them. They checked their scores again. This time, T-bone and Razor were tied at 2000 points while Blaze was 1800.
“At least I’m catching up,” Blaze said.
“Come on, we don’t have much more to go,” Razor said as he pushed Blaze forward, having him go ahead of them.
T-bone looked at Razor, finally getting the reason he did it.
Blaze continued down the steel hall, turning the corner to see the steel cords from before had multiplied, snapping and stretching for him. Blaze aimed his Glovatrix to fire at them when he froze.
What? Why can’t I move? he thought, standing still. The cords reached out and got him. They whipped and smacked the red kat, making him cry out in pain. He looked at his glove and saw the score screen changed into words, saying GAME OVER. He heard a beep and saw the metal tentacles recede back into the walls. The red kat turned and saw his partners behind him, a look of disappointment covering their faces.
“Guys,” Blaze said.
“Come on, we need to talk,” T-bone replied as he and Razor turned away and started back down the hall.
Blaze shook his head, knowing that he was found out. He stood up and walked back down the hall, all the traps disabled and no sight of his friends. Even when he returned to the Hangar, there was no sign of them.
I knew I shouldn’t have lied, Blaze thought as he placed his suit back into its locker and put on his overalls. He climbed up the ladder and saw his friends standing in the living room. Chance had his arms crossed with a slightly irritated look on his face while Jake stood by the TV with a look of concern.
“Sit!” Chance commanded, pointing to the couch.
Tai slowly followed the order, sitting on the couch.
“What’s with you?” Chance asked.
“You’ve been acting weird ever since we came back,” Jake said.
“I told you guys, I’m fine,” Tai replied.
Chance walked over to the red kat and with a quick rush of wind, smacked him on the head.
“Owww!” Tai shouted, baring his teeth. “What was that for?”
“That’s for lying to us!” Chance answered with a bellow. “You always give a fake smile when you lie. We’re your partners! We’re your friends for god’s sake! Now tell us the truth!”
“Ok, ok,” Tai replied. He looked to the ground, trying to think of a good way to put it. “I can’t be a SWAT Kat.”
“What?” Jake asked.
“I CAN’T BE A SWAT KAT!” Tai shouted. “I COULD REALLY HURT SOMEONE!”
Jake and Chance looked at the red kat, finally understanding him.
“Go ahead, Jake,” Chance said.
“Why me?” Jake asked.
“You had something like this happen to you, remember,” Chance explained.
Jake reached through his memory to find what Chance meant when he finally did. It was when he had injured two old kats while chasing after Dark Kat. Jake strolled over and sat by Tai.
“I know what you’re going through, kid,” Jake said with a gentle smile.
“How could you? You guys do everything perfect,” Tai asked.
“Not really,” Jake answered. “I went through the same thing you are.”
“Let me guess, story time?” Tai responded.
“Yep,” Jake replied. “We were chasing after Dark Kat one night after he stole some stuff from MegaKat Superconductors. I had him in my sights and fired octopus missiles at him.”
“Yeah, go on,” Tai said, getting into the story.
“Well, he dodged them, and they destroyed this abandoned warehouse. But, we found out that these two old kats were hit in the blast and were hurt,” Jake continued. “I couldn’t even shoot the next time we saw Dark Kat ‘cause I felt like I could hurt more people if I chanced it.”
“Jeez,” Tai responded. “How’d you get over it?”
“Well, it turned out it was a part of their plan to kill my confidence so they could destroy the city. But, I found out; we stopped them,” Jake replied.
“So, it was someone’s plan for me to destroy half of Enforcer headquarters and come here?” Tai questioned.
“No! I mean, if you worry about messing up, you will,” Jake explained.
“But how? I actually did hurt people. If I screw up…” Tai started.
“You can’t worry about that,” Chance interrupted. “If you do, you’ll be risking yourself and us.”
Tai couldn’t respond as he began to think about what they said.
“You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for,” Jake said. “Just don’t worry about it. When you’re going to do something, don’t think about what could happen. Just go and do it.”
Tai looked at his friends, seeing the friendly warmth in their faces. He couldn’t help but smile, feeling all the weight from Burke’s words lift of his shoulders and make him feel as light as air.
“Thanks guys,” he said, a beaming smile on his face.
“No problem, buddy,” Chance said, giving the red kat a thumbs up. “We’re your friends; that’s what we’re for.”
“Let’s go, guys; we have to finish up that car from yesterday,” Jake announced as he strolled towards the garage, Chance and Tai following him.
Dr. Konway was hard at work, studying a new specimen long thought extinct. Under a microscope was a neon green petal with a light violet color bordering the outside and completely coloring the tip. He watched the black cells in the pedal move and react to each other.
“Remarkable! Simply remarkable!” Konway said as he observed the cells. His concentration was shot when the phone in his lab began to ring.
D**n phone! the scientist thought as he moved away from his table to the other side of the room, where the cordless device was. He pulled the phone off its charger and answered.
“Dr. Konway?” an old, heavy accented voice asked.
“Yes. This is my lab after all,” Konway replied.
“Oh thank god!” the voice responded. “This is Mayor Manx.”
Konway nearly dropped the phone. It wasn’t often that he got a call from the head of the city.
“Mayor Manx! I’m sorry for being so rude,” Konway said in a bit of a panic.
“It’s quite alright,” Manx replied.
“What can I help you with, mayor?”
“I need you to take some water from a sink and look at it,” Manx answered.
“We have gotten a threat that the city’s water is poisoned, and we need you to look at it,” Manx answered again.
“Umm, alright,” Konway said as he put the phone down on the table and walked over to his work. He removed the slide with the petal and pulled out a fresh slide from a box next to the scope. He then walked a few steps over to the sink and turned the cold-water knob. A stream of the cold liquid flowed from the metal pipe as the doctor reached down into his lab coat and pulled out an eyedropper. He gently dipped the tip of the tool into the liquid and squeezed the end, capturing a small amount of H2O.
He walked back over to the microscope and dropped a few bites of the liquid onto the slide and lightly smashed another slide on top of it. He then slides the slide into the microscope and looked, only to be shocked at what he saw. There were H20 molecules, just like with any water, but these were a bit different. They were a slight violet color.
No way! he thought as he looked at the sample. He continued looking around the slide and found something familiar. A small, black cell was approaching one of the molecules. As soon as it got into close range, it quickly went in and out of the molecule, emerging as a near perfect look-alike.
These cells, Konway thought as he tore his eyes away and looked at the plant sample he was observing earlier. These cells are exactly the same as that flower. Does that mean that there are more? The doctor moved away from the table and back to the phone.
“Sir, it’s true,” Konway reported.
“No! This is horrible!” Manx whined in the phone.
“Don’t worry, sir. I think I may have a solution,” Konway replied. “Give me one hour and I may have the cure.”
“Really!? Very well, one hour,” Manx responded. “God bless you, Dr. Konway!”
“Thank you, sir,” Konway finished, hitting the off button and hanging up the phone. The doctor sighed, knowing he had a lot of work ahead of him.
Manx and the two had waited patiently for an hour when the front desk called.
“Hello,” Manx said into the phone.
“Sir, there’s a doctor Konway to see you,” the desk person stated.
“Good, good. Send him in,” Manx replied, hanging up the phone.
“Do you really think his cure will work?” Callie asked. “Dr. Viper has a way of getting past technicalities like that.”
“We won’t be able to know until he shows us,” Feral answered.
The three heard the door open and saw Dr. Konway appear. The orange-red scientist walked into the room, carefully holding a small vial. The liquid in it was a near clear blue.
“Dr. Konway, thank you for coming on such short notice,” Manx said as he stood up and greeted the doctor, shaking his hand.
“It’s ok, mayor. I was able to synthesize a cure that works,” Konway reported.
“Very good, Konway,” Feral congratulated. “We can have the water restored and the threat end.”
“Unfortunately, we can’t,” Konway replied, a sad look on his face.
“What do you mean?” Callie asked.
“You see, the virus was created from a very special plant,” Konway explained. “It’s called the Achilles blossom. It was just recently found.”
“Why is it rare?” Manx asked.
“You see, the flower concentrates most of its heat in its roots. When that area is cooled, the flower dies. There used to be a lot of them, but irrigation into MegaKat Swamp killed off most of them,” Konway answered.
“What about the cure you have?” Callie continued.
“This was created from the only specimen we had. This is not even close to the amount we need to purify all the city’s water,” Konway answered again.
“So, this flower might be found in MegaKat Swamp?” Feral questioned. “I can send platoons out there to look for them.”
I have someone else in mind, Callie thought.
“I’m sorry, guys,” she said as she smoothly strolled past the three tomkats to the door. “I have to take care of something. I’ll be right back.” With that, Callie opened the door and quickly went into the hall. She reached into her handbag and felt the communicator, hitting the button of the famous heroes.
“Hey kid! Could ya hand me a wrench?” Chance’s voice asked as he was under a 2000 Ford Taurus.
Tai pulled his head out of the car’s hood to follow his friend’s request. He walked over to the toolbox on the ground and dug the tool out.
“Here you go,” Tai said, handing him the tool. Chance’s greasy paw came out from the car and collected it.
“Thanks bud,” Chance’s voice said. The burly kat dropped the tool when Jake began putting on a new tire, securing the hubcap on it.
“Damn it!” Chance cursed as he reached for it.
“Sorry Chance,” Jake responded, pushing the tool closer to him so he could get it.
The burly kat reached for the tool again, only to lurch up and slam his head when the three heard the alarm go off through the house.
“Grrrrrrrrrr!!!” Chance cried out as he pushed himself out from under the car.
“You ok?” Tai asked.
“Yeah,” Chance replied as Jake and Tai helped him up. “It’ll take a lot more than that to hurt me.”
“Yeah, especially with that hard head of yours,” Jake joked, getting a laugh from Tai.
After getting an, “I’m going to kill you!” look from Chance, the three rushed down into the Hangar, Chance being the first to get to the phone.
“What is it, Miss Briggs?” Chance asked, rubbing his head a bit.
“T-bone! Don’t drink the tap water!” Callie answered.
“Don’t really do anyways. Why?” Chance responded.
“The city’s water has been poisoned! The bug attack earlier was just a distraction. Dr. Viper put a virus in the water that can kill a person 24 hours after they drank it,” Callie replied. “Dr. Konway has a cure, but it comes from a rare flower in MegaKat swamp, and we need a lot more to clean the city’s water. Feral is going to send forces to look for them, but I thought it would be good to tell you.”
“Oh God!” Tai shouted, making Jake and Chance look at him.
“What’s wrong?” Jake asked.
“Chance! Ask how long the water has been poisoned!” Tai ordered with a panicked voice.
“How long has the water been poisoned?” Chance asked.
“Since noon this morning,” Callie answered.
Tai’s eyes widened at the answer.
“Seriously, what’s wrong kid?” Jake asked again.
“I drank some water before you guys got back,” Tai answered, still panicking. “I drank the virus!”
“Crud!” Jake responded.
Chance looked at the red kat with surprised eyes when he put the phone back to his ear.
“Don’t worry, Callie, we’ll look for them,” Chance said into the phone before he hung up.
“You guys are going?” Tai asked.
“No,” Chance answered. “All of us.”
Tai looked at the burly kat, realizing what he meant. “You mean?”
“Yep, it’s your first mission, buddy,” Jake answered.
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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.