Feral was surprised to note that petty crimes had dropped to normal levels and the local gangs had gone into an apparent cease fire. It felt like his father had withdrawn his influence. Instead of being good news, it boded something really bad to Feral’s mind.
Since the harassing behavior hadn’t got him what he wanted, Nightstalker appeared to be preparing to do something major, at least that’s the way it seemed to his son.
He turned his chair around so that he could stare out the window, a pensive look on his face. Behind him, his door opened quietly and Rowena stepped in. Seeing he was preoccupied, she moved swiftly across the room and up his pedestal before he had registered he had company.
He jerked in surprise when a pair of warm arms encircled his neck but reflected in the glass he saw it was his lover and he relaxed. He reached a paw up and caressed her arm.
“What brings you to my office, love?” he rumbled softly.
“I have good news – Dr. Sinian was successful, and my grandfather is now working on it,” she murmured in his ear.
His face lit up, and she smiled back at him before letting her face take on a more somber look. Seeing it, Feral carefully turned around then pulled her to his lap.
“What’s that look for?” he asked in concern, staring into her eyes.
“He won’t give up. He still has twenty-four hours to try and stop us,” she told him heavily.
“Ahh…” he said. He looked past her to the reports and statistics on his desk. “I’m afraid the reports I’ve been getting over the last forty-eight hours says you may be right, Rowena. I was just coming to that conclusion when you walked in,” he sighed unhappily.
“Father Sebastian has suggested you should stay in the church until it’s done,” she said softly.
“Normally, I’d agree that would be the most sensible thing to do, except father will ensure many kats will suffer as much as possible without my leadership. He will make sure I have to be at the heart of things to protect all that I have worked hard to accomplish,” he said resignedly.
“I knew that would be your answer. He will make you pay dearly too!” she said in anguish. She straightened suddenly. “You will not be alone. Your protectors will stay by your side until you are safe,” she said firmly, a gleam of determination in her eyes.
He was already shaking his head. “I can’t allow you to endanger yourself on my behalf…” he began to object.
She placed a finger across his mouth and leaned forward till their faces nearly touched. “You… have… no… choice!” she said tightly. “We are your protectors. I will be by your side, and the SWAT Kats will hover over you. I know that Callie, Abby, and Father Sebastian cannot aid us directly on the battle field, but, in the background, they can be of immense assistance with valuable information or other help. So, you will not prevent us from being there… get used to it,” her tone brooking no argument.
He stared at her in shocked surprise. He didn’t doubt she would do exactly what she said. He let his shoulders slump in defeat.
“I would be devastated if you were taken from me, Rowena,” he said, pleading with his eyes, asking her to not do this.
“As I would you, Ulysses, but I’ve been trained to fight, and by your side is where I’ll be,” she reassured him, leaning down to kiss him, putting an end to the argument.
Just a few hours later, the nightmare began. Turmoil was the first to appear. She slipped through the defense perimeter of the city and swooped down on city hall. Her squadron of technologically advanced jets strafed the building, raining debris to the street.
Feral took his squadron up to meet her, but her jets ran rings around them. They did manage to take a few down but not enough to end the fight. He spent more time gritting his teeth trying to contain the hellkat who wanted desperately to join the fight. But, each time he nearly lost control, his lover would reach a paw forward and grip his arm.
To prevent anyone from realizing a civilian was on the flight line, Rowena was wearing an enforcer flight suit and helmet that hid her identity. He had not been happy to have her in his jet but soon accepted it when she proved to be an excellent gunner. He’d have to ask her later how she came by that skill.
The SWAT Kats arrived on the scene not too long after and began making inroads in her fleet.
Razor came prepared. They both knew Nightstalker would be making a last ditch effort, so he had revamped some of his more potent weapons. They came in handy now.
His banshee screaming missiles now were equipped with a much higher pitch. When he launched them, they attached themselves to the fighters and vibrated them to pieces. Soon, the air was raining jet parts.
Screaming in fury over the comm, they heard Turmoil call a retreat. As fast as they had arrived, they disappeared just as quickly. Razor wasn’t happy when they seemingly dropped off the radar, allowing them to escape.
“They had to have had help to make themselves vanish that easily,” he told his partner.
“Yeah, but there’s nothing we can do about it. At least she’s not chewing up city hall anymore,” T-Bone agreed grimly.
“That’s for sure; let’s head home and wait for the next attack,” Razor grumbled.
It wasn’t long in coming. Viper apparently felt that constantly ripping off Bio Tech Labs wasn’t enough. Taking the whole building was the name of the game this time. His mutant plants snuck up during the night, and, by morning, the scientists weren’t able to go to work. They stayed back in the parking lot and gaped at the mess their building had become. Thick spiny vines had sprung up all around the building preventing entry, and his acid spitting plantimals flew around the perimeter making sure no one tried.
Feral had cars and tanks on the scene. He didn’t bring the jets because he couldn’t afford to lose any to the acid spitting plants. The SWAT Kats hovered overhead and fumed.
“He’s made sure we can’t try that trick of freezing them again,” T-Bone said with disgust. Heavy vines covered all the windows and the roof. They couldn’t get close enough. “Got anything new to cut through that mess, Razor?”
“Well, I can try my screamers and see what that does, and I might have a few other things that might make a dent,” Razor muttered distractedly as he set up a spray of missiles. “Banshee missiles away!” he barked as he launched his attack.
The Banshees caused all the plants to writhe in pain. The acid-spitting plants made short work of the missiles.
“Well, all that did was make them mad,” T-Bone grunted while dipping the jet away to avoid some angry plantimals.
“Hmm, well there’s still my…” Razor began before he was interrupted by an angry cry from their radio. Lt Commander Steele was shouting that Feral had been snatched by a vine and dragged inside. The fool was ordering the tanks to fire on the plants… which they did and the plants just shrugged it off.
“Well, that will keep the vines distracted, but they’d already made a major mistake,” T-Bone said grimly.
“Oh yeah! You got that right, buddy. Viper really doesn’t know what he’s done,” Razor agreed.
Inside the labs, the vine deposited Feral in a room that faced the battle below with Viper rubbing his paws in evil delight.
“Sssso, Commander, what do you think of my plant army?” he hissed in his prisoner’s face.
Feral struggled to keep the hellkat contained and growled at the lizard kat. “Whatever he’s offered you, Viper, will never be enough to save you in the end.”
Viper blinked at him in momentary confusion, then violently shook his head. “I don’t know what kind of mind gamessss you’re trying to play, Feral, but it doesssssn’t matter. I’m going to clean out the labssss for the experimentssss and formulasss I need to take over thissss city,” he gloated.
“Then, why am I here?” Feral asked bluntly.
Viper looked a bit puzzled as if he really didn’t know why he had taken the enforcer. Feral had a suspicion that he really didn’t know.
“You will be witnesss to my greastessst triumph ever over your pitiful enforcerssss. Even the SSSWAT Katssss are no match for my plant army,” he said, recovering quickly from his momentary lapse.
‘Yeah right, you wish…’ Feral thought to himself as his hellkat made another strong effort to free itself. “I know you aren’t going to believe me, but, if you want to live, you’d better let me go because I can’t hold onto my worst side much longer, and though you disgust me, I’m not interested in seeing you resemble hamburger. Your choice, but you better be quick about it!” Feral warned as he shuddered and grit his teeth.
Viper stared at him as if he’d lost his mind. Moments later, he’d lost his chance as Feral lost his hold on the hellkat. With a scream of triumph and unholy glee, the hellkat sprang free of Feral. Viper was frozen in shock when the hellkat jumped him. Screaming in terror, Viper used his own natural weapons in desperation to free himself as well as calling on his plantimals for help.
Outside the building, the SWAT Kats noticed the plantimals suddenly rushing into the building.
“Guess Viper learned the hard way about why capturing Feral was a very bad idea,” T-Bone said
In grim humor. Razor just snorted as they held their position and waited.
Inside, the hellkat spat flame at the attacking plantimals before they could spit acid at it. Its claws were buried deep into Viper’s shoulders. The lizard kat was screaming in pain and struggling violently to get free to no avail. Very quickly, his plant army was in flames; the huge vines were shrinking back to try to avoid the heat.
Feral was horrified; if his hellkat continued to burn the vegetation with all the chemicals around, it could cause a massive explosion that would bring the building down. He struggled to regain control, but the hellkat was having far too much fun.
What Feral couldn’t see was someone else was joining the party. It was grinning in malevolent satisfaction as it moved closer to the distracted hellkat.
Outside, Razor could see the vines pulling away from one section of the building.
“T-Bone, there’s probably a fire in that area; that’s why those plants are shrinking away. I can get in there and see if Feral needs a paw,” Razor said urgently.
“Okay, buddy. Be careful and keep your radio open,” T-Bone said worriedly.
“Roger!” Razor agreed quickly, then released his seat and jetted his way to the building. Tilting back, he let the bottom of the ejector seat break through the window. Glass sprayed everywhere and captured the hellkat’s attention. Its reddish gold eyes stared at Razor angrily as the cinnamon tom snapped his seat belt open and jumped to his feet.
Razor was horrified; behind the Feral hellkat was another hellkat much bigger than the Chief Enforcer. “Feral, look out!” he shouted, pointing and firing a tarpedo at the other hellkat.
The Feral hellkat whirled around, still holding Viper, and hissed at the intruder. He threw Viper’s unconscious body at it just as Razor’s tarpedo hit. Both ended up stuck against the wall. Before the Feral hellkat could turn back to the SWAT Kat behind it, Razor jumped close and wrapped his arms around its wings. It howled angrily but was driven off and mortal Feral reappeared.
“Feral! Quick!” Razor shouted, pointing at the pinned hellkat that was fast getting itself free of the goo.
Feral struggled to his feet with Razor’s help, held his paws out and rapidly spat out the banishment spell. The spell struck the hellkat just as it tossed Viper away and charged the pair in front of it. It screamed in fury and fear before vanishing from sight.
Feral legs slid out from under him, dragging Razor with him to the floor. He was too exhausted to make clothes as yet, so Razor simply held him against his chest while the big tom panted and tried to regain his strength.
“Razor, is everything alright in there?” came the anxious voice of his partner over his comm.
“Everything’s fine, buddy. We won. Feral’s exhausted, and I’m waiting until he recovers enough to get clothing on again.”
“Roger that, Razor. Let me know when to come close to get you,” T-Bone said in relief.
“Will do!” Razor said with a sigh. As he waited for Feral to recover, he used a small foam missile from his glovatrix to put out the fires in the room.
It took Feral some ten minutes to regain enough strength to flick clothing on and get to his feet. Razor kept a light paw on his arm as they moved closer to Viper.
The lizard kat wasn’t dead, but he didn’t look good. He was still unconscious too. Sighing, his shoulders slumped in exhaustion, Feral just looked down at the criminal.
“I know it’s hard to be willing to help him, but you know you can’t leave him like that,” Razor said quietly, knowing exactly what was passing through Feral’s mind because he was thinking the same thing.
Feral said thickly, “I know… but he’s such a pain in the tail…”
“Yeah, he is that!” Razor commiserated as he continued to help Feral stay on his feet as he reached down and placed a paw on Viper and healed him just enough to save his life but not enough to let him forget his near death experience.
“Okay, T-Bone! We’re ready to get out of here. Can you put the jet on auto?” Razor asked, uncertain if the coast was clear enough for T-Bone to risk it.
“Yeah, the plants are just slithering off now. Be right there!” T-Bone told him.
Soon, the Turbokat was hovering just above the room they were in. T-Bone climbed aboard the carry basket and lowered it till he was level with the broken window. He lightly jumped into the room.
“Wow! What a mess!” he commented when he strode across the floor toward them. He reached down and hefted Viper into his arms and carried him to the basket while Razor helped Feral behind him.
T-Bone went up first then sent the basket back down to them. They climbed on and were carried aloft. As they got off in the cargo hold, they could see Viper laying strapped to a pad on the floor for the trip to the ground.
“Where do you want us to take you, Commander?” Razor asked as he helped him sit on a jump seat he’d pulled down from the wall.
“I need to be down there directing the clean up,” he answered wearily.
“You really should just go to the church and rest. I can’t stay near without your enforcers becoming suspicious,” Razor told him.
“It’s alright; Rowena is down there and is probably a bit pissed that she couldn’t prevent me from being taken and is fuming that she doesn’t know what went on, though I’m sure she’s figured you two were with me,” he said with a sigh.
“Rowena? I didn’t know she was ghosting you. How do you explain her presence?” Razor asked in surprise.
He snorted; he just couldn’t keep secrets from his protectors. It would reduce their effectiveness. He sorta missed his privacy at times though. “She’s my lover,” he said flatly.
Razor’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “Huh! Well, that’s certainly news, and I guess that means the circle around you is complete at last,” he smirked. Feral just snorted in response. “T-Bone, take Feral down in front of the building; he’s got someone waiting for him,” he instructed his partner.
“Roger!” came T-Bone’s slightly puzzled response, but he asked no questions, knowing Razor would fill him in later. He landed the jet in the empty parking lot and opened the cargo door.
Steele, a small detachment of enforcers and Rowena rushed to the jet. Steele was shocked when he saw Viper’s condition but said nothing as he had the enforcers took them into custody. Rowena went to Feral’s side and replaced Razor as his protector and helped him leave the cargo hold.
She nodded at them in relief, and they nodded back. Minutes later, they were back in the air and heading home. Rowena kept close to Feral while he got cleanup started then drove him back to headquarters to write the report on it. She would wait until they were alone in the church to question him about what went on with Viper.
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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.