Jenler had never been this terrified in his life. If he’d been able to read the minds of his victims, he might have had an inkling what sheer terror was like. As it was, he now had a free lesson. He wasn’t liking it much.
The flight aboard the forbidding and cold airship was mercifully short. Creeplings stayed close but no longer touched him. He was allowed to huddle on the floor but not move anywhere else. He shivered not just from the cold interior.
He felt the ship land and the engines go silent. From the forward control center, a huge powerful and frightening looking Kat stepped forward. His glowing eyes stared at Jenler for a moment. No expression on the alien looking face. A large red cape swirled around his shoulders and went as far as his ankles, the hood covering his head. He held a long cane and had a huge ring on one paw.
“Take him to my lab,” he rumbled coldly to his creeplings.
Jenler squealed in fear as he was unceremoniously picked up again and flown through a huge mountain cave with many tunnels. He was taken down one lit tunnel until they reached a brightly lighted area holding a modern lab. Cages were lined along one side holding ordinary Katizens that stared at him in muted terror. They huddled whimpering in their cages. No one dared to call to him and many bore the signs of beatings. He swallowed hard and shivered, looking quickly away.
He was dropped not so gently to the rough stone floor. A large pair of feet came up to him, and he looked up to Dark Kat’s emotionless face. He scrambled hurriedly to his feet and shrank back.
“Mr. Jenler, I found your experiment very interesting. I was particularly amused to learn you had altered that insufferable Feral and his niece. Too bad you couldn’t have done the same to those irritating SWAT Kats, but perhaps you’ll get your chance,” Dark Kat mused darkly.
“Wha….. what…. d… d… do you want?” Jenler stuttered.
“Why….. exactly what you’ve done already, that’s all. Now that shouldn’t be so hard, hmmm?” Dark Kat purred with dark pleasure. “These ‘volunteers’ are who you will use, and this is what I want you to do……….” He began to lay out his diabolical plan.
Jenler’s mouth gaped open in horror. When Dark Kat had finished, the scientist blurted, “I can’t do that! I only changed those four to prove a point. I never intended for anyone else to experience it.”
Dark Kat moved like lightning and yanked Jenler by the shirt up to his face. “I didn’t ask you if you wanted to do it. I am ordering you to do it or you will suffer untold agony until you do,” he warned coldly then released the Kat to land in a sprawl on the floor.
Jenler shuddered and stared around wildly. There was no escape. Shakily, he got up and silently went to the cupboards to check and see if what he required was on hand. His heart sank when he saw Dark Kat had not failed to have everything needed for his mad scheme to work.
When he turned back to the lab table, he noted Dark Kat had left him alone. He paused and looked over at the prisoners, who stared at him in angry horror. He looked away quickly, his shoulders slumped in defeat. His only hope was the SWAT Kats could find him. In the meantime, he would take it as slow as he could to delay things. Having made his decision, he began to work.
Dark Kat had other plans besides the one he set Jenler. He walked into a smaller cave that had been converted into an office for him. He flicked on the TV, sat down, and watched the news for a bit then went to his computer for some research.
Over an hour later, he went into the main cave where his creeplings hung out and did the maintenance work on his airship and other chores. He summoned a group of them and gave them instructions. They chittered in response then flew up and out of the cave, heading for the city.
Not too long later, the enforcer squad guarding a special cage at the zoo were set upon by pink creatures with very long claws and teeth. As they tried to kill the things, two of the creatures slipped past them and made short work of the cage’s newly restored lock.
At first, the occupants of the cage looked warily at the opening. The last time they went through something unpleasant happened to them. Making angry chittering noises, the creeplings flew into the cage and stirred up the primitive cats.
They howled and roared as they tried to bat and take down the weird creatures, but the creeplings were too fast and kept out of reach of the cats’ formidable claws as they continued to harry them to leave the cage.
Finally, reluctantly, the cats ran out the cage door, constantly prodded by the creeplings to head in one direction. It would take most of the rest of the day, but as dusk fell, a disturbed and annoyed group of cats were herded toward a mountain cave.
A huge enclosure waited the cats’ arrival. More creeplings came out of the cave and surrounded the cats. Harassing them by pinching, tapping rears, batting ears and heads, the creeplings herded the big cats toward the cage. The saber-toothed tiger, however, dug its heels at the entrance and set up a significant refusal to enter the cave. It didn’t like the smell.
One of the creeplings flew back into the cave and returned with a short rod. It tapped the tiger on the butt, causing it to howl in fury and pain. The cattle prod convinced the tiger that forward was a better choice than trying to resist. It leapt forward and was in the enclosure with the door closing behind it. It roared in fury, but the creeplings ignored it.
“Excellent work, my pets!” Dark Kat said with a pleased smile on his face as he came from another tunnel entrance to walk up to the enclosure and look upon his prizes. “You’ll make an excellent diversion, Commander. What irony to have the Chief Enforcer of this city be the cause of chaos rather than the defender from it.”
The transformed Feral spit and hissed at the big Kat, but Dark Kat just stared at him in amusement.
“Yes, you’ll be perfect for my plan,” he murmured, turning away. He had some more work to do before his plan could be put into action.
At Enforcer Headquarters, Major Westland wasn’t happy to receive the urgent call from the zoo that said their cats had been ‘liberated’ from their cage. Ready to chew on nails, he got into his car with Sgt Fallon in tow and rushed to the zoo.
What greeted him there made his blood run cold. The sight of dead creeplings told its own story.
“Crap! Dark Kat has the Commander and the others along with Jenler. Now we’re really in for it,” he growled bitterly more to himself than anyone else.
After ensuring the scene would be processed, he hurried back to Enforcer Headquarters. Instead of going to his temporary office, he stopped at the radio room, much to Sgt Fallon’s confused surprise.
“Give me an open frequency,” he barked at the communications officer.
“Yes, sir!” the officer said then signaled he could speak.
“SWAT Kats, this is Major Westland. Dark Kat has taken our special packages from the zoo. I need you to come to Enforcer Headquarters asap,” he said briefly then broke the connection.
He turned to Fallon. “Wait on the flight line for their arrival then escort them to my office.”
Grumbling to himself, he left to see if he could get more paperwork done before he was thrown into another battle.
Across town at the salvage yard, a pair of mechanics were trying to clear the backlog at their garage caused by their frequent absences. Jake’s head appeared from around a van as he heard the Major’s message. A curse from under a car told him Chance had heard the message as well.
“Crap! We’ll never get done here, and I’m heartily tired of chasing those cats,” Chance grumbled as he rolled out from under the car then stood up.
“Well, this time we won’t have to chase them. Remember, I just put trackers on them,” Jake said with a grim smile.
“Oh, that’s right. Well, the only thing we have to worry about then is confronting Dark Kat,” Chance said, grinning as he closed the garage and made his way to their entrance to the hangar.
“I’ve got some new toys to try against that creep,” Jake gritted as he hurried to change his clothes.
Very quickly, the pair were airborne and streaking across the sky toward Enforcer Headquarters. Less than ten minutes later, they were landing on the tower flight line. As they jumped down from the cockpit, they spotted Feral’s assistant walking toward them.
“Follow me. I’m your safe passage to Major Westland,” he said before they could speak.
Nodding, the pair followed the Sergeant to the elevator. It was a silent ride. They decanted at the top floor and made for Feral’s office.
“Glad you could get here so quickly,” Major Westland said grimly.
“Not happy to hear that our special cats are gone again, but the good news is I did get them tagged,” Razor said before the Major could say anything more.
Westland’s face lit with fierce joy. “Yes! Now we can get that bastard once and for all.”
“Yes, and I’ve developed some surprises for him that should prevent you from losing too many enforcers as well,” Razor said with a feral grin.
“You have, eh? Alright, then let me get some squadrons gathered, and we’ll leave immediately. One could hope we catch him off guard this time,” Westland said tightly.
“I think it’s a safe assumption. He won’t see the devices since I only had time to make very small ones that I attached with glue to the base of one of their ears. So, yeah, Dark Kat shouldn’t be expecting us.”
“That’s a lucky break. Let’s get to it then,” Westland said in relief as he picked up his radio and alerted several troop choppers and six special ops teams to be ready to leave in fifteen minutes. He went to gear up while the SWAT Kats boarded their jet and waited.
When everything was ready, the whole group lifted off the flight line. With the Turbokat in the lead they flew straight for Dark Kat’s mountain hide-away through the darkening sky.
Navigate This Author's Stories
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.