Original SWAT Kats Story

The Doctors of Doom

By Bill Hiers

Dr. Viper teams up with the alien-possessed Dr. Harley Street in a bid to steal Super-Katalyst 566. But, can the two villains cooperate? A fan novelization/rewrite of the unused Glenn Leopold episode premise. (6 Chapters – Work In-Progress)

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Chapter 3

Rumble in the Lab

A free-for-all erupted. The Ci-Kat-A rushed forward and quickly tried to overwhelm the three Enforcers. The second convict and a Ci-Kat-A drone leaped onto Felina and King, but she and her pilot managed to shake them off, flipping themselves over backwards, sending the two Ci-Kat-A flying through the air. They slammed against the wall on either side of the double doors and fell to the floor, buzzing in disorientation and confusion.

Callie Briggs and Dr. Belljar, still barefoot, cautiously crawled over on their hands and knees and peered in. Gray Taylor, terrified, fired his blaster this way and that, but the winged Ci-Kat-A all dodged his fire.

“If this keeps up, they’re liable to hit something dangerous and blow up the entire building!” whispered a concerned Dr. Belljar.

“If only I had my-” Callie whispered, more to himself than Belljar, but she stopped herself.

Fortunately, Belljar didn’t seem to have noticed. “I might have something,” he said. “Stay here.” He got up and ran off barefoot down the hall.

In the lab, Felina karate-chopped the first Ci-Kat-A, while King pistol-whipped the second converted convict as laser fire flew over their heads, the third Ci-Kat-A drone dodging them easily in midair, Gray’s laser beams putting holes in the ceiling.

“Corporal, control your fire!” Felina yelled. Like Dr. Belljar, she was concerned that a wayward blast might blow them all to kingdom come. She remembered that, in past incidents, Megakat Labs had a tendency to blow up. “Everything in here is extremely explosive!”

Gray stopped firing. “Look out!” he cried.

Felina turned. Steven, the converted kat in the security guard’s uniform, came running at her. His laser pistol was still holstered. Apparently, he hadn’t had the presence of mind to draw his weapon. Yet. Felina wanted to ensure he didn’t. She kicked him in the midsection, and he went flying back, crashing into a big lab experiment table. He went sliding along it, knocking flasks, beakers and other delicate-looking laboratory glassware to shatter all over the floor before falling off the other end himself.

Felina winced. This was a bad place for a fight with so many combustible things around them.

Suddenly, she was attacked from behind by the recovered second Ci-Kat-A, who hooked his spindly arms under her armpits, restraining her. He was about to bite her when Gray Taylor hit him on the head with the butt of his gun. This stunned him enough to allow Felina to wriggle free, and, turning, enraged, the drone backhanded the Enforcer rookie, sending Gray staggering away to collapse between the mustached Ci-Kat-A and his fellow Ci-Kat-A, the first one, who’d fallen from the ceiling earlier.

Recovering, the duo rolled over and grabbed Gray, holding him down. He struggled, but to no avail. “Help!” he cried.

Felina and King turned to come to his aid, Felina cursing ever bringing a rookie along in the first place, when Street grabbed the flask of Katalyst 96 he’d been eyeing earlier, pushing off the floor and taking to the air. He buzzed over the two Enforcers’ heads, grabbing their sidearms away with his grasping, talon-like feet. He tossed them away, then grabbed a tall metal shelf with his free hand, shoving it over. It fell down and landed on Felina and King, pinning them, scattering cardboard boxes and spare computer parts everywhere. Satisfied, Street buzzed down and landed over by the tank containing the desert scorpion specimen.

Over by the door, the second convict recovered and walked over, assisting dragging a squirming, terrified-looking Gray to his feet.

Callie watched helplessly, unsure of what to do.

“You’ll be joining us, Enforcer,” Street said to Gray.

“No!” cried Felina, struggling. The heavy metal shelf kept her and King pinned but good.

Street ignored her. “But first… a little surprise to keep your friends busy.”

He uncorked the flask of Katalyst 96 and poured it into the tank, splashing it onto the scorpion. The arachnid twitched and began to turn in circles in increasing agitation, becoming visibly larger with each circle it completed.

“Viper isn’t the only one who can create monsters…” Street said, throwing the empty flask aside to shatter against the wall.

Viper? That would explain their interest in the katalysts. Felina now correctly guessed that there’d been a secret facility within Megakat Biochemical where the surviving converted MASA guards from the last time these alien bugs had tried to take over Megakat City had been imprisoned for study. She’d figured that’d been why Street had broken in; to free his Ci-Kat-A “brothers.” But, his interest in the katalysts had puzzled her until now. Were Street and his cronies working with – or for? – Dr. Viper to steal chemicals?

She had to get free so she could warn everyone that there was danger besides the resurgent Ci-Kat-A plague. That was bad enough. Potentially apocalyptic, even, given everything she’d read and what King had told her. But ,if Dr. Viper was involved, it was worse than anyone could possibly imagine. She twisted and strained. Beside her, King did the same. But, it was no use. The heavy duty metal utility shelf refused to budge.

Street pushed the table with the scorpion on it over onto the floor in front of the two pinned Enforcers, smashing the glass tank. The steadily growing scorpion began crawling towards Felina and King. They renewed their struggles, useless though they were.

That accomplished, Street grabbed and prepared to bite Gray Taylor. “Soon, your fear will be replaced by the rapturous delight of serving a higher purpose,” he reassured the terrified rookie, “then-”

Suddenly, the sound of helicopter rotors caught his attention. He released Gray back into the arms of the other Ci-Kat-A. More Enforcers? No. He turned. It was the Kat’s Eye News chopper, hovering outside the huge windows of the lab. Jonny leaned out, filming, but Street only had compound eyes for Ann Gora, who was reporting from the front seat beside the pilot. Street was so focused on her that he barely registered the appearance of an all too familiar black jet swooping past the news chopper.

The other Ci-Kat-A were perplexed to say the least. “Dr. Street, we have what he came for,” Murdoch said. “We must go.”

Street ignored him as something triggered a memory…

Dr. Harley Street, wearing a full-body hazmat suit except for the helmet, which was tucked under one arm, stood beside his MASA car in the desert, offering Kat’s Eye News reporter Ann Gora a friendly little grin as the retrieval truck lifted Kat Sat 1 up with its crane behind her.

“Why don’t you stop by the Space Center tomorrow?” he asked the beautiful reporter flirtatiously.

“Kat’s eye news will be there, Dr. Street,” Ann said with a smile.

Street was snapped back to the present by the telltale sonic boom heralding the Turbokat’s arrival. Nevertheless, Street remained fixated on Ann.

“Dr. Street!” Murdoch said, buzzing and twitching irritably.

“Switch the labels!” Street told him without taking his eyes off of Ann. “Hurry! The SWAT Kats are here!”

Murdoch nodded. Street continued towards the window, continuing to hear the last thing Ann Gora said to him before he’d been bitten by the queen back the Space Center. “Kat’s Eye News will be there, Dr. Street.”

“A sign…” he murmured to himself. Yes. A sign. The answer to the Ci-Kat-A’s problems was sitting in the hovering helicopter right outside, he realized.

Suddenly, the barefoot Callie ran in, grabbing a microscope and clobbering the mustached Ci-Kat-A over the head with it. He gave a pitiful little buzz and collapsed. She punched the second con and sent him crashing into Murdoch, who fell to the floor. He held onto the one flask but let go of the one containing Super-Katalyst 566, which rolled away. This left only one Ci-Kat-A holding Gray Taylor.

“I got this guy!” Gray said. “Go help Lieutenant Feral!”

Nodding, Callie ran over, stopping short at the sight of the scorpion, now the size of a table, crawling over. Shaking away her terror, she started struggling to pull the shelf off of the trapped Enforcers as the scorpion came nearer and nearer.

“Deputy Mayor, what are you doing here?” cried Felina.

“Believe it or not, I came to check on the progress of those guys!” she explained, straining, looking over at the Ci-Kat-A drones.

“And, where are your shoes…?”

“Nevermind!” Callie said.

The scorpion hissed at her, grabbing the shelf in one serrated claw, and she shrieked, kicking it in his ugly face with her bare foot, barely avoiding its mandibles. It growled and released the shelf and backed up, shielding its face with its claws, raising the rear portion of its abdomen, tail uncurling slightly.

Outside, the Turbokat swooped around and landed in front of the building, unable to land on the rooftop helipad due to the Enforcer chopper. Noticing from the news chopper above, Al turned and tapped Jonny on the shoulder. Jonny turned and started filming out the window on the opposite side of the chopper as the SWAT Kats emerged from the jet, flexing their fingers in their Glovatrixes.

“C’mon,” said T-Bone, “let’s get this over with before I get the heebie-jeebies again!”

“Aw, and here I thought you said you’d gotten over your little bug phobia,” Razor teased.

“Yeah,” said T-Bone. “The LITTLE bug phobia. The BIG bug phobia… not so much!” He shuddered.

They rushed inside. The guard at the desk, having stood up as the Turbokat landed outside, looked confused. He was completely unaware of what was going on several floors above him because no alarms had gone off. He reflexively put his hand on his holstered sidearm but didn’t draw it.

“Hey, have you seen a giant Ci-Kat-A…?” asked T-Bone.

“Huh?” asked the confused guard, wondering if there’d been some breach of security and whether these vigilantes knew about Dr. Belljar’s efforts to study and cure the converted kats upstairs. He considered calling the Enforcers.

“Nevermind,” said T-Bone.

“What do you SWAT Kats want?” asked the guard.

“We’re just here to bust some big bugs,” replied Razor.

He and Razor went into the stairwell. The guard scratched his head under his hat. That was it. He was calling the Enforcers. He grabbed the telephone.

In the hovering news chopper, Ann Gora seemed mesmerized as Dr. Street approached her from inside the lab and stood motionless, only the window glass separating them. Behind him, Callie was still struggling with the heavy utility shelf pinning Felina, while Gray Taylor was fighting the first Ci-Kat-A, and seemed to be losing. Ann, staring into Street’s eyes, was a little unsure of what to say or do as Jonny turned and filmed over her shoulder.

Finally, she found her voice and spoke into her microphone. “This is Ann Gora, Kat’s Eye News, coming to you live from Megakat Biochemical Labs where it seems we are experiencing a resurgence of the giant alien Ci-Kat-A creatures who terrorized the MASA Space Center and endangered the city last year!”

Street lifted one clawed, three-fingered hand and laid it against the glass separating him from Ann, feeling a desperate longing welling up within him, completely ignoring everything going on around him.

The first Ci-Kat-A had an overpowered Gray Taylor pinned to the wall and started sinking his salivating mandibles into the Enforcer rookie’s throat. The SWAT Kats rushed in. The drone stopped mid-bite and turned towards them, having only partially pierced Gray’s furred skin, but kept the Enforcer pinned against the wall.

“Yikes!” cried Razor. “That’s a lot of Ci-Kat-A!”

T-Bone pointed at the scorpion. “And that!” he said, disgusted.

The Ci-Kat-A holding Gray opened his mouth. A deluge of vomitous, yellowish green gunk came rocketing out, and the two vigilantes dodged deftly, shoulder rolling to either side of the door they entered through. It sailed past them, out into the hallway, splattering onto the wall.

“Aaghhh!” Razor cried, unwanted memories of being cocooned surfacing. “I forgot about that crud!”

Lying on his side, he spun, sweeping the first Ci-Kat-A’s feet out from under him. Releasing Gray, he fell onto his back and began flailing like an overturned turtle, spindly legs kicking. Gray, clutching his neck, slid down the wall. Rising, Razor helped him stand.

“You okay, pal?” he asked, concerned for the Enforcer.

Gray seemed groggy. “I, uh, I think so…” he said.

Razor turned and looked at T-Bone as the mustached Ci-Kat-A got up and charged him, snarling. He was about to shout a warning, but T-Bone, getting up, was already aware of the approaching enemy. He aimed his Glovatrix, intending to give at least one of these glop-spewing bugs a taste of his own medicine.

“Here, lemme wax your upper lip for ya!” he growled. “Launching Mini-Tarpedoes!”

Globs of blackish sludge shot out and hit the Ci-Kat-A in the face, sending him flying backwards. He hit the floor, elbow hitting the flask of Super-Katalyst 566 just as a recovering Murdoch was reaching for it. It went spinning away. Murdoch and the second con watched in suspense as the whirling container threatened to hit the edge of a shelf and smash. They winced, then sighed when it didn’t, slowly spinning to a stop.

Murdoch shoved his fellow converted prisoner off of himself. “Get them!” he ordered. “I’ll get the katalyst!”

The second con nodded and, along with the third and fourth Ci-Kat-A, rushed over to try and prevent Callie from assisting Felina and her fellow Enforcer, intent that the mutated scorpion should have its helpless victims.

Seeing this, T-Bone turned to Razor and Gray. “Razor!” he cried. “You and…” he trailed off. “What’s your name?”

“Gray,” replied the Enforcer, seeming a bit distant, “Gray T-Taylor…”

T-Bone nodded. “You and Taylor keep the rest of the bugs busy while I go help Callie and the Lieutenant and that other guy!”

“Roger!” said Razor, turning as the converted guard, Steven, and two more converted cons, including the one with the scar, and the remaining “old” Ci-Kat-A came rushing at him. “No problem,” he assured himself confidently. He could take these four.

He knelt down and fired a big net, which scooped up the scarred con, pinning him against the wall. He shrieked in distress, a sound no normal kat could ever make, causing the fourth Ci-Kat-A drone to break off and go to help him. Meanwhile, the second con and third Ci-Kat-A descended upon Callie to prevent her from helping the Enforcers. They didn’t get there in time. With a final grunt, Callie lifted the heavy shelf off of Felina and King, allowing them to wiggle free just as the scorpion’s tail darted forward, the stinger puncturing the floor where they’d just been.

The third Ci-Kat-A grabbed Callie’s arm. As Felina and King got up to help her, they were suddenly both grabbed by the giant scorpion’s claws and lifted into the air. The claws squeezed them, forcing the air out of their lungs. Their mouths opened and closed in silent agony as the segmented tail uncurled, preparing to sting. As the Ci-Kat-A was about to bite Callie, T-Bone leaped in and kicked him in the thorax, sending him stumbling backwards over to where Murdoch was crawling on his hands and knees to grab the crucial flask. The staggering drone’s heel knocked it away, eliciting a growl of annoyance from Murdoch.

“Thanks, T-Bone,” said Callie, panting.

“No problem.” T-Bone turned to the scorpion. “Hey, pinchy!”

The scorpion, its tail curling back up slightly, turned toward him, its victims in either claw.

“Suck smoke!”

He fired a gas grenade from his Glovatrix, which hit the creature in the face. Boom! A cloud of smoke filled the air, momentarily blinding the monstrous arachnid. As it coughed and wheezed, it lowered its arms a bit, weakening its grip enough for Felina and her fellow Enforcer to wiggle free. They fell to the floor as the scorpion defensively backed away, disoriented by the smoke. They were helped to their feet by Callie and T-Bone and rejoined the fight. Punching and kicking, Felina grabbed the third drone’s spindly arm and swung him around, using him to hit the second con, knocking him flat on his back. She then released the former MASA guard, and he went sailing away where he became entangled in the tubing and wires which ran along the lab ceiling, struggling and hissing fiercely.

She then noticed Murdoch. “Whatever you do, don’t let them get those flasks!” she told T-Bone. “They’ve got some kind of important katalysts Dr. Viper wants!”

“Roger that!” T-Bone said, started off, then paused. “Wait. Viper? What is this a miscreant convention?”

He ran over and did a slide across the floor like a baseball player heading for home, kicking the flask just out of Murdoch’s reach.

“No!” cried Murdoch.

The flask went whirling away, then got sent flying in another direction, towards Razor, by the flailing mustached Ci-Kat-A, still trying to free his eyes from the tar. An enraged Murdoch set the other flask down out of the way and jumped onto T-Bone, grabbing him in a headlock. T-Bone strained and choked against the bigger con. Murdoch wasn’t able to convert the SWAT Kat by biting him yet because his mandibles hadn’t grown in, but he could break his neck! T-Bone strained and gurgled, eyes slowly closing.

Meanwhile, Razor deflected clumsy blows being thrown by Steven and the other Ci-Kat-A. A sideways chop to the neck sent the converted Megakat Biochemical Labs guard stumbling away to crash against a desk. Razor caught a punch thrown by the now freed scarred convict, using his momentum to swing him around, pinning his arm behind his back, twisting it. The scarred con gave a yowl of pain. As he did so, the con’s heel nicked the flask of Katalyst 566, sending it spinning away into the middle of the room.

Razor slammed the converted prisoner against the wall, knocking him out. He then ducked as the fourth Ci-Kat-A swooped in, allowing him to smack into the wall. As the dazed kat-insect landed, turning, Razor delivered a double punch to his midsection, kicking him aside, where he remained on his feet, dazed, holding his head. Finally, Razor turned and jump-kicked the fourth convict, sending him staggering and stumbling uncontrollably across the room. He unintentionally kicked the still-spinning flask of Katalyst 566 back over to where Murdoch was attempting to choke T-Bone to death.

The fourth con himself smacked into the big window over the street, making Ann and Jonny in the chopper jerk back in surprise and snapping Street out of his reverie. Nevertheless, Jonny filmed the dazed prisoner slowly sliding down, face and palms pressed against the glass, face squished and scrunched as it pressed against the window. He thunked into a heap on the floor. Street looked down at the unconscious con, then turned to look at the chaos behind him, getting angry.

The flask of Katalyst 566 finally came to a halt over by T-Bone and Murdoch, the orange liquid inside sloshing.

Meanwhile, as Razor fought the fourth Ci-Kat-A, who had recovered enough to fight, the SWAT Kat noticed something was wrong. The Enforcer, Gray Taylor, wasn’t firing his weapon and in fact hadn’t budged from where he’d been standing. His back was to Razor.

“Hey!” he cried, exchanging blows with his opponent. “Why aren’t you firing?”

Razor delivered a final punch to the Ci-Kat-A’s face, and he teetered and fell to lie to sprawled on the floor, then turned to find Gray standing turned around, holding his gun, head down, panting heavily. Suddenly, he stiffened, raising his head and opening his eyes. They were green and insectoid!

“Oh, that’s why…” said a shocked Razor.

With an insectile hiss, Gray raised his gun and fired at Razor, who leaped aside and up, onto the wall, as the laser blast continued on and hit the armored glass of the big lab window, splintering but not shattering it as it passed through it, leaving a little hole. The laser blast barely missed the tail of the news chopper, spooking Al.

“That’s it,” he said. “I’m moving us away from here.”

Ordinarily one to argue with her pilot and insist on staying despite danger, Ann was weirded out by her little “moment” with Street. “A good idea!” she agreed.

The chopper banked away.

Back inside the lab, Murdoch grinned, close to killing T-Bone when a voice behind said “Hey!”

“Huh?” He turned and all he saw was an Enforcer-issue boot planted in his bug-eyed mug.

Felina kicked him off of T-Bone, and he released the SWAT Kat, landing with a thud between the katalyst shelves. They rocked from the impact, jostling the flasks on them, but thankfully nothing fell off. Murdoch lay there breathing heavily, but didn’t get up.

“Th-Thanks, Lieutenant…” said T-Bone, rubbing his throat.

“No problem,” said Felina, she and King having retrieved their laser pistols in the meantime. They were both armed again.

Meanwhile, Razor ran along the wall, being shot at by Gray and Steven, the recovered guard having finally drawn his own sidearm. Observing, T-Bone and Felina rushed to the rescue as Murdoch sat up almost robotically, frowning, then smiled, seeing both crucial flasks close at hand. He grabbed them.

Razor deftly dodged all the laser blasts, landing and sweeping Steven’s legs out from under him. He cried out as he hit the floor, and Razor kicked the gun from his hand, then turned and found Gray’s gun barrel right at his forehead, cursing himself and waiting to feel the laser blast rip through his skull.

Rushing over with T-Bone, Felina gasped in horror, as did King.

“Taylor!” cried Felina.

“Not again!” said King.

Gray turned and glared at them, surprised, allowing Razor to grab the laser pistol and twist it out of the converted Enforcer’s hand. Gray growled angrily. Razor punched him in the throat. Felina winced. King raised a shaky hand, trying to aim at the converted rookie.

“I can’t get a clean shot,” he said, anguished.

Suddenly, there was a muted “Pew!” and Gray staggered back, clutching at his neck to to find a little feathered dart sticking out of his skin. After a moment, he wobbled and collapsed to the floor. The barefoot Dr. Belljar stood in the doorway holding a tranquilizer rifle, two spare darts clenched in his teeth. Hearing a roar, Razor turned and saw the huge scorpion scuttling towards them, abdomen up, tail uncurling to strike.

“Mini-Turboblades!” he yelled, firing.

The Turboblades sailed through the air, slicing off the scorpion’s stinger. The creature shrieked piercingly. It batted at Razor with its claws, snapping and slicing at the air. Razor backpedaled, trying to fend the serrated claws off. Dr. Belljar took one of the spare darts out from between his teeth, loading it into the tranquilizer rifle. The scorpion’s left claw lashed out, grabbing Razor’s wrist, squeezing, crushing his Glovatrix.

“Aaghhh!” Razor screamed. “Hey! Let go, you overgrown…!”

“Pew!” Another dart sailed through the air and stuck in the scorpion’s side between the armored plates of its back and lower belly. It growled, releasing Razor, who staggered back, clutching his wrist and inspecting his damaged Glovatrix. The scorpion’s movements became lethargic, and after a moment, it lay down on the floor and ceased to move.

Razor sighed in relief, giving Belljar a thumbs-up in thanks.

The various Ci-Kat-A were either recovering or freeing themselves and regrouping. The one with the mustache had even managed to wipe the tar off of his face, although some globs remained in his facial hair. Except for the unconscious Gray, they all converged on Street, surrounding him like bodyguards. With him standing at the head of the group, they looked like a street gang ready for a rumble.

“Now what?” asked Callie.

“Round two is what,” replied T-Bone.

The SWAT Kats and Enforcers prepared for another go, when suddenly Murdoch came running into view, holding the flask of Super-Katalyst 566. Or, at least, that’s what its label said. He held it up triumphantly.

“Street!” he cried happily.

“Oh, no, ya don’t!” said T-Bone, taking aim with his Glovatrix. Suddenly, Steven the guard jumped up and chomped onto his arm. “Yeeeeooouch!”

He punched Steven in the head, making him relinquish his hold, and the guard staggered over to where the other Ci-Kat-A were. T-Bone was panicking, rubbing his forearm where he was bitten. A grinning Murdoch handed the flask to Street. Hurrying, Dr. Belljar took the remaining dart from between his teeth and loaded the tranquilizer rifle again.

“Fortunately for you, SWAT Kats, I have more pressing matters than settling old scores,” Street said.

Turning, he shrieked, making everyone except for the other Ci-Kat-A wince and cover their ears, blowing the armored panes of glass out of the window frames. Belljar dropped the tranq rifle. Leaping onto the sill, glass crunching under his feet, Street yelled over his shoulder.

“But, believe me, that reckoning is coming… and sooner than you think!” To the other Ci-Kat-A, he said, “Let’s go!”

Spreading his wings, he flew off. His ten underlings followed. The five who could fly gripped the five newly-converted kats under their arms and carried them as they zoomed off after Street. The SWAT Kats and Enforcers fired after them to no avail.

Callie grabbed the dropped tranq rifle and took aim, but Street was by then too far out of range, too far ahead of the pack. She grimaced and lowered the rifle.

“A reckoning? What’s he talkin’ about?” asked T-Bone, rubbing his arm.

“Well, we did squish his lady friend last time…” said Razor.

The flying group of very jubilant Ci-Kat-A passed by the hovering news chopper. An uneasy Ann, Jonny and Al watched them go past. The Ci-Kat-A paid them no mind save Street, who stopped, turned, using his rapidly-beating wings to hover in place like a grotesque hummingbird.

“Go on without with me,” he said to the other Ci-Kat-A.

He then cautiously approached the hovering aircraft. Al’s eyes widened, and Ann grabbed at his shirt, trying to find her voice as she watched the horrific parody of the once handsome scientist she flirted with once approaching them, trying to tell her pilot to get them out of them. Dutiful Jonny filmed with his camera, but he unbuckled his seatbelt, ready to leap to Ann and Al’s defense if the need arose.

Street landed with delicate ease on the chopper’s passenger side pontoon, the whirling rotor blades whipping his hair and antennae around. The helicopter lacked front doors, so he made one, tearing a hole in the fuselage one-handed to expose Ann sitting buckled into the front passenger seat. The reporter sat frozen with terror but also with morbid curiosity. As one would toss aside a wadded up piece of paper, Street flung the torn off section of metal away, and it went whirling off like a crooked Frisbee to who knew where.

With his free hand, he grabbed Ann’s wrist in what at first she took to be a violent gesture, but soon turned tender. Ann dropped her microphone.

“D-Dr. Street…” Ann said, managing to find her voice.

“Ms. Gora,” said Street, all schmooze, “I must apologize for my rudeness the last time we spoke. As I said at the time… I was busy. I hope you can forgive me.”

Pretending to be filming, Jonny surreptitiously slid across the rear seat to Ann’s side, meaning to open the sliding door there and intervene, but Street reached in over Ann’s shoulder and punched the hapless cameraman with the knuckles of the hand holding the flask. The thick glass of the flask clunked off of Jonny’s head and he was knocked backward, almost falling out of the helicopter. Although he didn’t, his camera did; it flew out the open door on the other side, plummeted to the street, and smashed on the asphalt.

Back inside the chopper as Jonny lay unconscious in back, Ann and Al frozen in fear, Street resumed turning on the “charm.” “My apologies for that interruption,” he said.

He moved to kiss (or bite?) Ann’s hand. A scream was rising in her throat but couldn’t quite seem to make it out as her delicate-looking hand came closer and closer to the deadly-looking mandibles. With her other hand, she managed to grab Street’s shoulder and shove, knocking the converted MASA scientist off of the pontoon he was perched on. His buzzing wings prevented his falling, and he kept ahold of the flask.

“Ah, well,” said Street, seemingly crestfallen. “Perhaps the mood was wrong, my queen.”

Suddenly, Al pointed. “The Enforcers!”

An annoyed Street turned and looked at an approaching squadron of Enforcer choppers. He turned back to Ann. “We must do this… some other time.”

He flew off. A shaken Ann and Al watched him go.

“‘Queen?'” said a confused and disturbed Ann.

“What was he talking about…?” asked Al.

Ann didn’t have an answer for him.

Next Chapter

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