Title: VIPER’S REVENGE
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
Summary: Dr. Viper injects Commander Feral with a mutation virus changing his life forever or does he?
I had finally fallen asleep barely two hours ago when my enforcer radio went off. Groggy, I searched blindly for it and found the squawking thing on the floor beside the bed.
“Lt Feral!” I snapped.
“Dispatch Lt! We received an alert from Megakat Hospital. Commander Feral is missing. A search of the premises uncovered two disarmed door alarms. One was the stair door on the Commander’s floor and the other was the roof. Security suspects Commander Feral has deliberately left on his own, no sign of foul play,” the dispatcher said. “Lt Commander Steele has ordered you to begin a level one search for Commander Feral. Do you copy that, Lt?”
“I copy! Have a level one search team meet me in briefing room two in twenty minutes. Lt Feral out!” I said briskly.
“Roger that, Lt Feral,” said the dispatcher, signing off.
Oh uncle where did you go! I knew he hated being cooped up and should’ve guessed he’d do something like this. Crud, I’ve no idea where he might be though. Obviously, he won’t go to his apartment, that’s the first place we’d look. Where would he go? I sigh heavily, quickly got dressed and headed to Enforcer Headquarters. It’s going to be a long day on little sleep.
Here I am winging my way over the still sleeping city and I can’t get over the sensation of floating in the air without a powered machine around me. It’s kinda frightening, liberating, and depressing all at once. My mind is in such turmoil. Flying only made me more aware of my differences and deepened my growing depression. How could I face everyone looking like I do now? I can’t even muster the disgust at the thought of that fool Steele in command of my enforcers.
I need to be alone to think, decide what I’m going to do next, and try to accept that I may be like this for the rest of my life. I should land somewhere before any of my patrols spot me or, god forbid, the SWAT Kats.
I hadn’t been paying attention to where I was so now looked around to pinpoint my location. I was presently passing over the Military Salvage Yard, it’s still early so its quiet down there, not open for business yet. I decide to veer away towards Megakat Park. There are huge trees there and I can roost in one of them like some kind of black and brown chicken (Crud! I need to stop that line of thought). My wings are getting tired anyway, this being the first time I’ve really used them.
Megakat Park is dew-laden and still this early except for the sound of songbirds wakening, as I swoop down closer to the trees. I soon spot a large, old oak tree with huge limbs. I find out quickly, that even though I apparently have the instincts of a raptor, my huge size makes landing on a tree limb impossible. I land at the base of the tree and climb upward with the help of my new talons. I settle on a wide limb some 20 feet in the air. My morbid thoughts will probably keep me from getting any kind of rest. It’s going to be a long day.
Deputy Mayor Briggs POV
Lt Feral contacted me as soon as I stepped into the office. Though her voice was as professional as always, I could still detect a thread of worry. Her team of enforcers had been searching the city for the past four hours for Commander Feral with no success. I was surprised to learn of his escape from hospital custody, though really I shouldn’t be. During my short visit with him, I could tell he was chaffing against his confinement.
As much as that tomcat infuriates me with his arrogance and stubbornness, I truly feel sorry for him. I know he must feel angry and frustrated that he can’t do his job in his present condition. The Mayor is concerned that we may have to elect a replacement, but I told him to wait and see. I have to admit that he has been a good Commander, if a little shortsighted and narrow-minded at times. I definitely don’t want that pompous ass, Steele, running things for long.
I think I better contact the SWAT Kats and let them know of Feral’s disappearance. Maybe they will have better luck in spotting him.
Military Salvage Yard
I’ve been up for an hour already and Chance is still sawing wood. Guess I’m going to have to roll him out of bed if we are ever going to get ahead of all the cars we have to do today. As I start to climb the stairs to our apartment the alarm goes off. I race down quickly to pick it up.
“Razor here, what’s up, Ms Briggs?”
“Morning, Razor! Listen, Lt Feral just contacted me, seems Commander Feral decided to leave against medical advice this morning and disappeared. She and the enforcers have had no luck finding him. I was wondering if you and T-Bone wouldn’t mind keeping an eye out for him when you are out on patrol?” she asked. I could hear the concern in her voice.
“Uh…Well I guess we can, but you know, Ms Briggs, we don’t exactly like each other.” I wasn’t very happy about this and knew T-Bone would just hate it.
“I know, Razor, but Feral’s having a really hard time right now and everyone is concerned. I’m only asking you to keep an eye out for him and if you spot him to inform Lt Feral immediately, okay? Please do this for me, I’d really appreciate it!” she coaxed.
“We’ll watch for him, Ms Briggs, that’s all I can promise.” I sigh not being able to refuse her.
“Thanks, Razor, say hi to T-Bone for me, bye,” Ms Briggs says, pleased at my response and hangs up.
Chance is watching me as I put the phone up, the alarm having woken him up.
“So what did Callie want?” he yawned and headed back up the stairs.
I follow him up to the kitchen as he gets something to eat. I relay what she had to say and was surprised when he didn’t get annoyed or lose his temper.
“Yeah, you know I actually feel sorry for him too. Just think, Jake, he can’t fly a jet or a chopper. He can’t even get into his precious enforcer rig. Hell, he can’t even clear doorways easily.” He paused for a moment, thinking, “Remember how we felt when he kicked us out of the enforcers. It’s almost like getting even with him finally, but it feels wrong. We were able to pick ourselves up and start again, but what can he do now?” Chance frowned down at his coffee.
“Huh! Yeah, I guess you’re right. He really is worse off then what happened to us. But, there’s no reason for him to stop being the Chief Enforcer. Sure, his need to be at the front lines may be curtailed, but he is supposed to be in his office running things from there. Now, in some ways, he’ll have to. But, when he needs to be on site, his R and D Section can alter a vehicle for him plus they can make some kind of armor to protect him when he’s in flight,” I mused.
I thought about a few things I could develop for him that would make fighting crime easier for him in his new shape. Something along the lines of our glovetrix but definitely not the same. He would also need some kind of hands free radio and, definitely, a locator beacon so that his enforcers and us wouldn’t accidentally knock him out of the sky.
I looked up to see Chance studying me. “What’s percolating in that canny head of yours, buddy?”
“Oh, just thinking of some of the ways I could help Feral out…,” I began before he cut me off.
“Help him out! Are you nuts?” He was shocked. I explained a few of my ideas. “Huh, well I guess you’re right those are certainly going to be necessary if he insists on being on scene. Don’t want him ending up a target pigeon. At least, until they find a cure, if they do,” he agreed reluctantly. Then he perked up, “Hey, it might also make him lay off us a bit seeing as how we’d be getting him back in the saddle as it were!”
I had to agree it was certainly worth a shot. But, first we had to find him. I have no doubt the big guy is angry, frustrated, and very depressed right now. I hope we find him soon before his depression gets worse and he does something stupid and maybe permanent. I shudder at that last thought! I would never think of Feral doing something like that but then it’s hard to imagine what it must be like for him now.
I set that unsettling thought aside for now. We’ve got a garage to run; later this evening we’ll see if we can locate Feral. Maybe a day alone will help him clear his mind. I can’t believe we are going to try and help our enemy get back on the job. This day just couldn’t get weirder. I sigh and return to the garage; it’s going to be a long day.
I watch day fade into dusk from my lofty perch. Except to drink and relieve myself (I haven’t felt like eating) I haven’t left my tree. I’ve tried to think about what to do next, but my thoughts have run in depressed circles. Most of the day was spent in blank despair. I’ve never given up before in my life, but this situation has overwhelmed me. I should talk to someone to get a perspective outside of myself, but, besides my family, I’m not close to anyone I’d be willing to discuss this with. I feel lost and uncertain what to do next, so I continue to sit here and brood as the day moves into night.
I’m tired! What a long day it’s been and work was even more trying than usual. Mr. Fergus was trying for tyrant of year today. He yelled at all of the secretaries; nothing we did pleased him. I really wish I could get another job. No one should have to put up with constant verbal abuse everyday. It also doesn’t help that some of the girls think I’m at fault for some of Fergy’s sharp tongue. It doesn’t matter that he is even more abusive towards me than them.
So, after a miserable work day, I’m really looking forward to my picnic in the park. I’ve picked up a delicious chicken dinner and am looking for a perfect tree to enjoy it under. I’ve just found a perfect spot when a scruffy pair slipped up beside me.
“Well, well what have we here?” the larger of the two purred slyly. He was dressed slovenly and smelled of beer.
“Yeah, what you got there? Smells good! Let’s have a peek, toots.” The smaller male smirked and wasn’t dressed any better than his friend and smelled worse. He tried to grab my dinner and purse from me. I held on to both and kicked and yelled for help.
“Now that ain’t nice.” The bigger male grabbed me from behind and held my arms back as his partner grabbed the food and my purse. I was angry and frightened as I struggled to get free. The next moment, a large, powerful shape swooped down from above and smacked into the small male, sending him flat to the ground making him drop my things.
The larger male and I gaped at the apparition now standing before us. The kat was huge and had great big wings that were spread wide. The creep holding me threw me forward and took off screaming in fright. I lurched into the arms of the scary looking kat. The smaller crook scrambled to his feet and fled in the opposite direction from his partner, leaving me at the mercy of the ominous flying creature. I was terrified and tried to push away but froze when he spoke.
“Are you alright, miss?” he asked quietly, concern in his voice. “They didn’t hurt you, did they?”
I stared up at his face in shock; his voice was a deep baritone and he looked familiar, then I realized who the strange looking kat was. “You’re Commander Feral, aren’t you?” I squeaked.
“Yes and you haven’t answered my questions?” He eyed me over for damage.
“Oh, yeah. I’m fine, no injuries, really! Thank you so much for coming to my rescue,” I said shakily. “Um, what were you doing up there anyway… ah.. that is, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Ah, well.. I’m having a bit of trouble accepting my new condition. I got tired of the doctors’ constant useless tests and needed some private time to myself. Unfortunately, all I’ve been doing is brooding until I saw those creeps attack you.” He shrugged self-consciously.
“Well, once an enforcer always an enforcer,” I quipped, trying to lighten the mood some. “Hey, would you like to share my dinner with me?” I couldn’t believe how audacious I was being. After all I only just met him, but I couldn’t help but feel some of his despair and wanted to try and help in a small way for his coming to my aid.
“Really, that’s not necessary,” he protested.
“Please I insist. I’m still a little shaken and would really appreciate your company. We could go behind those bushes for more privacy, if you’d like?” I pressed him.
“All right, if you insist,” he agreed reluctantly. He reached down and picked up my things and handed them to me. I smiled a thank you. We walked around the bushes and found a nice clear space to sit down. I tried not to stare at him as he folded his wings and slowly sank down. It looked awkward for him, as his wings had to sort of fold outward to accommodate him sitting on the ground. He grimaced a little.
“Are you okay?” I asked carefully.
“The wings still take a little getting used to,” he said muttered.
I have the strongest urge to put my arms around him to try and soothe this troubled soul, but I sense this would not be welcomed so I quickly serve our meager meal to get us past this difficult moment.
We eat in companionable silence. I look out over the small pond so I won’t stare at him. What I’d seen wasn’t that hard on the eyes. Despite the obvious changes to his body, he is a handsome kat. He’s incredibly big and tall not counting the wings; he’s naked except for what look like hospital pajamas. His fur is a rich chocolate brown and his eyes a golden hue. His short cropped hair and wings are ebony. He is a stunning sight.
The work day has ended for most of the city’s katizens. My sensitive ears can hear the sound of traffic as everyone heads home. I remain unmoving from my high perch having come to no solutions to my problem.
Since my hearing was tuned elsewhere, I didn’t hear the altercation below me until the scream pierced the air. I glance down and see two scruffy males accosting a lone female. I find myself responding automatically to that call for help. I launch from the tree and swoop down on the smallest perp, flattening him to the ground causing him to drop the female’s belongings. As I turn to the larger of the pair, he screams in terror at the sight of me and flees; the smaller kat staggers to his feet and takes off in the opposite direction from his cohort. Since I don’t wish to be found, I let them go.
I look down at the female who was shoved at me by the larger assailant. She looks terrified, and I try to look nonthreatening while I ask her if she is alright. She freezes at my voice then recognizes who I am. She tells me she’s alright and then surprises me by begging me to join her in a meal. I don’t want to be rude and I have no where else to go, so I agree, reluctantly. I pick up and hand her things to her and she leads us around a barrier of bushes to a small grassy spot near the pond.
As she briskly sets about getting our meal together, I study her. She is tall and slim built with reddish-gold fur and a mask of white fur from her ears to her chin. Her hair is copper and falls to just below her shoulders. She is more pretty than beautiful and has strong features. She’s wearing a simple dress suit of light green which matches her emerald eyes. Her movements are graceful as she hands me my share of her dinner. She isn’t given to chatter, and we eat in quiet silence. She fascinates me and I’m not sure why.
When we’ve finished eating, I gather up the trash and stuff it into the carry-out bag. I’m loathe to leave yet, so I carefully try to engage him in small talk.
“Again, I want to thank you for coming to my rescue. By the way, my name is Sarena Flaherty. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard your first name.”
“I’m called Ulysses,” he answers gruffly. “Were you heading home when those two hassled you?”
“It certainly suits you, and, no, I usually pick up a meal at the nearby deli and eat it here before heading home. My apartment is small and work is so trying that I need the peace and wide open spaces of the park before settling down for the evening. I’ve never been hassled before; I’m just glad you were so close by when it happened.”
“You’re welcome! Sorry you were bothered. The police do try to keep undesirables out of the park,” he stated.
“Oh, I know, and they do a good job. It’s very unusual to have something like this happen.” I pause and study his sad face. “I can’t imagine what a shock it must have been for you to be so altered. Have they been able to discover a way to change you back?”
“Not at the present time. The doctors have told me to try and accept what I am while they continue to come up with a solution,” he said heavily. “But, they have no advice as to how I would be able to continue my duties as an enforcer when I can’t fit into any vehicle or plane and have trouble in small places,” he snarled angrily.
Now I understand why he is hiding out in the park and brooding. He’s sunk into himself and having a hard time trying to accept his changed body. Well, my mother always said that feeling sorry for yourself was a time-wasting emotion. You need to get up and get on with your life, she’d said, things will only get better if you tackle them head on. I need to make him see this.
“Listen, just because you have wings now and a few other problems doesn’t mean you are no longer an enforcer. Look what you just did for me! I know it must be hard for you, but you are the Chief Enforcer for this city and you couldn’t have reached that position if you gave up when the going gets difficult. It’s okay to be upset about your present condition, but you need to get past it and learn to adjust. Who knows! You might be an even better enforcer with your new abilities. You won’t know until you try. Besides, this city needs you!”
He gaped at me, stunned. “I don’t know what to say.”
“Don’t say, do!” I admonished him.
“Well! I least you’ve given me something to think about, thank you,” he responded quietly. “It’s getting late; you should be getting home now.”
“Oh yeah! Gotta get up early for work. Will you be alright?” I asked.
He rose to his feet and offered a paw up for me.
“I… I’ve got a lot more thinking to do,” he said distractedly.
“If you need someone to talk to, you can call me or meet me in the park again. Here is my phone number. Please don’t hesitate to talk to me; you need someone and I would like to help you if I can. Besides, I kinda would like to see you again, if you are willing,” I said shyly.
“I think I would like that. You are a very forceful female, you know that?” He was shaking his head in amazement.
I was actually stunned by my forwardness with an almost complete stranger. But, there was something so compelling about him that I just couldn’t let him go. I blushed and mumbled an apology about my pushiness, but he laughed, which looked good on him, and said he needed a kick in the tail and was pleased I’d provided it.
“Do you want me to escort you out of the park?” he asked politely.
“Oh no, that’s okay! I’m sure I’ll be safe enough, thank you. I hope I hear from you soon.”
“You will and thank you,” he said quietly then took off into the air, disappearing further into the park.
I sighed and walked to the exit towards home. It had been the most exciting day of my life. I hope he calls me soon.
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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.