Title: The Giant Bacteria: The Novelization
Author(s): Bill Hiers
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: PG / K+
Warnings: Slightly more than series level violence, Dr. Viper-related body horror.
Disclaimer: The SWAT Kats and all related characters are copyright Hanna-Barbera.
Summary: A novelization of the second SWAT Kats episode, with some of my own changes and embellishments based on a rewritten teleplay I did.
Author’s Notes: “The Giant Bacteria” was always a controversial episode, in addition to being rather clunky, so in many ways this (and the script it’s based on) are my attempt to “fix” it. I hope you enjoy.
As the sun began its slow descent heading towards evening, the peaceful setting of a bayside oil refinery was disrupted as the refinery tanks exploded one by one, until the entire place was in flames. An enormous roiling column of black smoke rose into the sky. The bomber, flying a two-engined purple fighter jet with a row of fearsome black spikes down the back, zoomed through the smoke and out across Megakat Bay, a trio of Enforcer jets in hot pursuit.
They fired their lasers, prompting the enemy to swoop back ’round and fly right at the Enforcers. He fired two missiles. One hit the Enforcer jet on the right. The other found a target in the middle jet. The third was engulfed in the explosion of the middle one. All three crashed smoking into the bay without a parachute in sight.
The enemy swung ’round again and did another pass over his downed foes to ensure there were no survivors, then resumed his original course out across the bay, towards the Megakat City skyline.
As he was departing, the Turbokat appeared around the huge column of smoke billowing up from the fiery inferno that used to be the refinery and joined the chase. In the cockpit sat T-Bone and Razor.
“Does this wacko think he can he blow up every refinery in Megakat City?” T-Bone asked, thinking aloud.
His friend cast a glance back at the ruined refinery. “Well, I’d say he’s doing a pretty good job so far,” Razor replied.
Razor reflected on how this was still early in their career as what the media had called the SWAT Kats. It’d been only a few months since the appearance of their last enemy, the Pastmaster, and his army of giant dinosaurs, and now there was this guy. Whoever he was. He’d been on a wild bombing spree since around two in the afternoon, seeming to target only oil refineries. The news could only speculate on his motivations or identity. T-Bone and Razor relished the opportunity to face a fellow fighter jock for a change, especially after evil skeletons and prehistoric monsters.
They passed over what was left of the Enforcers, floating amidst the ocean waves. Smoke still rose from the floating debris. “And he shredded the Enforcers like an old scratchin’ post!” Razor said, feeling some anger burning at the deaths of the pilots. His finger on the trigger itched for justice. Their as yet unseen foe was beginning to enrage him further and further.
T-Bone said aloud what he was thinking. “Guess it’s up to us to kick this guy’s tail!”
Their enemy’s craft was an older model jet with only two engines, versus the sleeker Turbokat’s three, so catching up to him as they neared the city at the other end of the bay was no difficulty.
“Can you get a lock on him?” T-Bone asked over his shoulder.
“Working on it…” Razor murmured.
He bent forward over his targeting scope. There was a “beep” as he locked in on the enemy jet.
“Gotcha!” he said under his breath. Then, “One Octopus Missile, on its way!”
He fired. An Octopus Missile flew towards their enemy. It looked like an ordinary missile until the front end split apart into an eight-armed “claw,” which was designed to slam into and grab a target. They’d used it previously against the Megasaurus Rex without much success, but Razor was hoping it’d perform better this time. It closed on the jet ahead, which continued on its present source and made no indication that its pilot knew there was a missile closing in on him. The Octopus Missile closed the distance rapidly as the purple jet zoomed through the skies over Megakat City’s coastal district.
T-Bone smirked. “I don’t believe it,” he said. “The sucker doesn’t even see it comin’!”
Suddenly, the enemy banked left hard, allowing the Octopus Missile to fly past its tilted underside and to instead hit the side of a seaside hotel, totally smashing a panoramic balcony. The SWAT Kats were shocked, letting loose a “Whoa!” of surprise in unison.
“He suckered US!” cried T-Bone.
“This guy must have eyes in the back of his head!” added Razor, impressed by their enemy’s prowess.
No way, thought T-Bone. Nobody’s a better pilot than I am! He punched the throttle, the faster Turbokat gaining on the other jet easily. He turned the Turbokat upside-down so that they were cockpit-to-cockpit. Let’s get a look at you, he thought. He and Razor looked down. The pilot looked up at them… with a pair of eyes in the back of his head! What were the odds of that? He was a very stocky, broad-shouldered kat with a neatly-trimmed beard, wearing flight goggles with red-tinted lenses both in front and in back to accomodate all four eyes and, somewhat incongruously, dressed in a suit and tie.
T-Bone frowned. “Wow!” he cried. “Look at that! He DOES have eyes in the back of his head!”
They heard evil laughter on their radio as the voice of their opponent came through the speakers. “You’ll have to do better than that, SWAT Kats, to take Morbulus by surprise!”
He suddenly piloted his jet downward, into the city. So, thought T-Bone, your name is Morbulus? T-Bone had another name for him. “‘Four-Eyes’ wants to play a little canyon tag, huh?” he said, grinning at Morbulus’ challenge. “Well, let’s play.”
He zoomed down after Morbulus. They were well over Megakat City proper now. The Turbokat was right on his tail as both jets zoomed between the skyscrapers, flying low, dangerously close to evening traffic, citizens running for cover as the two aircraft flew overhead. Razor thought this was more than a little dangerous, but knew better than to try to talk his partner out of this.
T-Bone’s pride had been wounded by the mere thought that their enemy was even half as good of a pilot as him, and so he was going to chase Morbulus until he’d bested him. And if it meant pulling dangerous stunts like this, well then, that was okay with T-Bone! Razor was just along for the ride, and had confidence in his friend’s ability to keep them safe despite skirting danger.
Besides, they had a bad guy to catch! Razor locked onto Morbulus’ jet yet again. “This time I’ll get ya!”
He fired another Octopus Missile, with about as much success at the first, which was none. The villain saw it coming with his rear set of eyes and, smirking over his shoulder at his pursuers, dodged, letting the missile sail past and hit a parked gasoline tanker. The truck violently exploded. Thankfully, as far as Razor could tell, there’d been nobody in the cab.
“Crud!” he cried, pounding his fist against the controls. “There’s just no way to hit this guy!”
He was beginning to share his friend’s disdain for their wily enemy and let his emotions, his desire to defeat their foe, cloud his judgment. Angrily, he began loading up every single Octopus Missile in the Turbokat’s compliment, intent on firing so many at once not even Morbulus could dodge them all. He was so fixated on looking down at his work, letting T-Bone do the flying, that he wasn’t paying attention as Morbulus piloted his jet upwards, going higher above the buildings, T-Bone right behind him.
“Third time’s the charm…” the thin SWAT Kat murmured to himself.
T-Bone noticed that they were headed for City Hall. Or at least that the chase was leading in that general direction. The clocktower loomed larger and larger ahead. T-Bone was unsure if the building was going to be Morbulus’ next target. He didn’t think so, as it’d mark a divergence in his thus far unchanging selection of just refineries. Whatever the case, Morbulus being between them and City Hall meant even he, reckless as he was, knew firing would be a bad idea, considering the horrible possibilities if they missed… which, T-Bone noted with some nagging worry, “Sureshot” had done twice already. If he missed Morbulus a third time and hit City Hall…
He didn’t complete the thought. “Uh, Razor-” he started to say.
“In a second!” Razor said distractedly. He fired a barrage of about twelve Octopus Missiles. “Dodge THAT!” he said.
Dodge he did. His rear set of eyes widening in fear as he saw so many missiles flying towards him, Morbulus banked left again, and the twelve or so Octopus Missile continued on towards City Hall. Only then, glancing up, did Razor realize his mistake.
In his office, Mayor Manx was on the phone, fretting over the situation and wishing he hadn’t turned down that maniacal pilot’s demands. He looked very worried and his hairpiece was crooked as he paced back and forth in front of his desk.
“Oh, Callie, it’s just so awful,” Manx was wailing as he went to and fro, expensive shoes threatening to wear a hole in the even more expensive carpet. He had the phone cradled between his neck and his shoulder, toying with a particularly stubborn fountain pen in his free hands.
“Relax, Mayor,” Callie Briggs said through the phone, currently on her way to where it was thought Morbulus would strike next, the Megakat Refinery, “the SWAT Kats are handling him even as we speak.”
Manx looked at a haphazardly strewn collection of papers covered in ink spatters and barely legible writing.
“I can’t concentrate on writing my speech for tomorrow’s park dedication,” he complained, secretly glad for the excuse because he knew better than anyone that even without the threat of the city’s oil supply going up in smoke, he’d been experiencing extreme difficulties in even getting the speech started. He was strongly considering just making Callie do it.
“And this blasted pen isn’t working properly, and-”
He was suddenly cut off as the entire building shook. An enormous jointed metal claw pierced through the wall of the office, startling him. Manx’s toupee flew off and he gave a piercing squeal, dropping the phone. The pen spasmed and spewed black ink everywhere, staining his suit. Dropping it, he snatched the phone up and wailed into it.
“I’m under attack! Callie, save me!”
City Hall now had a full compliment of Octopus Missiles bristling imbedded into its sides, looking like some kind of angry inverted porcupine with a clock. Razor was angry. Angry at their enemy and even angrier at himself for being so careless and stupid. He just hoped nobody was hurt, least of all Mayor Manx. He was better than this and he knew it!
Morbulus’ jet zipped in and out of the city before turning and headed back out over the bay again, towards the Megakat Refinery, the only one he hadn’t blown up yet.
“Great!” grumbled Razor. “He’s headed right for another refinery!” He felt suddenly weary. “I’m out of ideas, buddy. How ’bout you?”
His partner smirked. “I got a plan that might work.”
He flew the Turbokat into a nearby cloud bank.
In his own cockpit, Morbulus watched them disappear and felt immensely satisfied with himself. “Ha!” he laughed. “Those SWAT Wimps gave up!” He eyed the refinery ahead, smirking, having saved this one for last because it bore the city’s name. “Now to give the Megakat Refinery a taste of my Morbulus Missiles! The Mayor will regret not paying me that ransom!”
He flicked a switch and the targeting scope locked on to the facility, and his thumb hovered menacingly over the firing button on his steering mechanism. Goodbye, Megakat Refinery! Just a little closer…
The Turbokat flew out of a cloud bank and moved underneath his jet as it drew ever nearer to its target. After a few moments, it became apparent to T-Bone that his idea was working. Morbulus couldn’t see them!
“Let’s see if you’ve got eyes UNDER your head, punk,” T-Bone said quietly to the bottom of his opponent’s jet. “Okay, Razor,” he cried. “Now!”
Razor selected a missile he thought would do nicely for the job. Despite everything Morbulus had done, he didn’t want to outright shoot the guy down unless he absolutely had to. So, instead, he chose a missile he designed specifically to non-fatally disable enemy aircraft by simply removing the pilot from the cockpit. “A Cookie-Cutter should do the trick, he said.
He fired. The Cookie-Cutter Missile launched from a panel in the top rear portion of the Turbokat and flew up at Morbulus. Like the Octopus Missile, it resembled an ordinary missile until the sides fell away and a razor-edged metal circle unfolded and magnetically attached itself to the underside of the other jet. The circle then began rotating rapidly until it was spinning fast enough to bite through metal and began to cut through up into the cockpit.
Morbulus’ concentration was broken as he heard the noise. His finger remained poised over the trigger, but he hesitated, confused.
“Huh?” he cried, startled. The SWAT Kats! It had to be! But where? Not needing to turn his head much to take in the world around him, he nevertheless franatically looked left, right, up and down. There was no sign of them! Then where-? He felt the shudder of something drilling up into his craft underneath him, and looked down at the floor. “What the…?”
He suddenly experienced the odd sensation of his cockpit rushing up and away from him, and it took him a second to realize it wasn’t going anywhere, he was! He fell through the hole drilled by the Cookie-Cutter Missile, ripped right out of his jet! The missile, its job done, fell away. Still in his seat and clutching the broken-off steering stick in one hand, Morbulus dropped like a stone.
He screamed as he felt himself plummetting, discarding the steering stick and fumbling franatically for the button on his seat that would activate the parachute. He didn’t need to. A big metal claw on the end of a very long cable shot out from beneath the Turbokat and grabbed the back of his seat with him still strapped into it, halting his descent suddenly. The Cookie-Cutter Missile and the circular section of metal it’d cut free landed in the water with a distant splash. T-Bone put the jet into VTOL mode so it could hover in midair, and gave Razor a thumbs up behind him.
“Looks like we hooked a big one,” he said.
“Yeah!” Razor agreed. “He’s a keeper!” Suddenly, he saw that Morbulus’ pilotless jet was heading straight for the Megakat Refinery. “Oh no!” he cried. “T-Bone, look!”
T-Bone turned and watched helplessly as the jet struck and there was a monumental explosion. A group of Enforcer sedans, lights flashing, followed by the personal green car of Deputy Mayor Calico “Callie” Briggs, arrived near the beach where the refinery was located. They all skidded to a halt as flaming debris rained all around them. A particularly nasty-looking chunk of metal bounced off the hood of Callie’s car.
“Oops…” T-Bone squeaked.
Below them, Morbulus, still strapped into his seat, cheered. The last refinery, destroyed after all! Laughing, he unbuckled himself and fell from his seat and into the ocean below. Neither of the SWAT Kats noticed, too absorbed in worrying about the consequences of today’s adventure. Nobody onshore had noticed either, having been too busy watching the explosion. Morbulus disappeared beneath the surface. Underwater, he held his breath and started hurriedly undressing.
T-Bone flew the Turbokat towards the shore. Still in hover mode, he opened the canopy so he and Razor could speak to those assembled. In addition to Callie, Commander Feral was there was well, with several of his armed commandos.
Feral, growling, yelled up at them. “You hotshot jerks! You’ve destroyed the last refinery in the city!” He pointed at the burning destruction that used to be the Megakat Refinery.
“Cam down, Feral,” T-Bone reassured him. “We got your guy.”
Releasing the Sky Claw, he dropped Morbulus’ seat and it thudded into the sand at their feet. It was empty.
“So, where is he?” Feral snarled.
“What are you talkin’ about?” asked T-Bone, feeling dull anger building inside of him. Was Feral blind? He leaned and looked down, as did Razor. They saw the empty seat. T-Bone felt his anger replaced by confusion and more than a little worry, suddenly overcome with the desire to bug out of there as fast as they could. “Uh…” he trailed off, struggling for words.
It was Razor who pieced together the puzzle. “Crud! He must’ve unbuckled himself!”
“You two are going to pay dearly for this!” Feral said with barely-contained fury.
T-Bone felt himself suddenly talking very, very fast. “Sorry, Feral, but I think Razor left something on the stove. Gotta run. Seeya, Ms. Briggs, sorry we didn’t have time to chat!”
Without giving them a chance to reply, or Razor a chance to get a word in edgewise, he closed the canopy again. The Turbokat turned and flew off into the setting sun.
Feral seethed, watching them go.
“One of these days I’m going to get those two!” he said,
Callie attempted to mediate. Commander Feral’s inability to see the silver lining in anything never failed to exasperate her. “At least they stopped Morbulus, Commander. The refineries can be rebuilt.”
“At what cost?” Feral demanded, glaring her, finding her eternal optimism infuriating. “With the Megakat Refinery destroyed, Manx may as well have paid this maniac for all the money this is going to cost Megakat City!”
Callie had to admit that Feral had a point, to some extent. At least about the cost of rebuilding the refineries. It didn’t help that the Mayor had commissioned that enormous marble statue of himself for the park. Her beloved SWAT Kats could be so destructive sometimes, and yet she defended them. What was money when a villain extorting the city had been taken care of? If only they had him in custody! She didn’t give Feral the satisfaction of knowing he made good points, though, because she didn’t like his rude and confrontational attitude.
Suddenly, a commando pointed into the water, cutting him off. “Commander Feral, look out there!” he yelled.
Feral looked over. What appeared to be a body was floating face-down in the ocean. Two commandos waded into the water, grabbed the body, and hauled it ashore as Feral and Callie hurried over.
“Be careful!” Callie urged them. “He could still be dangerous!”
“Yeah,” said one of them, “if he was still here.”
He held up an empty helmet, and then she and Feral gawked down at what the two commandos had pulled ashore: empty clothes put together to make it look like someone was still in them!
“It’s just his clothes, sir,” said the commando sheepishly.
“I can see that!” Feral snapped, grabbing the helmet away from him, feeling his temper beginning to boil over anew. He threw Morbulus’ helmet away and whirled to Callie, clenching his fists and gritting his teeth.
“He’s naked somwhere!” cried the other commando in a half-chuckle.
Feral ignored him, glaring down at the Deputy Mayor. “If they’d held Morbulus until we arrived, that four-eyed freak would be in cuffs right now!”
She was about to reply when they heard the sound of approaching sirens and vehicle engines and turned, seeing fire engines along with some news vans driving up. Ann Gora got out with her cameraman and several other reporters. Just what they needed, Feral thought. The media. The various reporters began stampeding down the beach towards them as the firemen piled out of their trucks and unspooled their hoses to begin the unenviable task of attempting to douse the flames of the refinery.
Pointing to himself, Feral said, “I’ll handle the press. We’ll talk later, Briggs.”
Turning, he walked to meet the gaggle of microphones, camera lenses and flashing lights thrust into his face in the gathering darkness. His men followed him and flanked him like bodyguards.
“Commander Feral!” Ann Gora said. She was a young, petite redhead in green with a stylish necklace who was always the most eager and energetic of Megakat City’s newspeople. “Is this the end of the ‘refinery reign of terror?'”
“In a manner of speaking…” Feral said.
Jonny K. and a few of his fellow cameramen turned their video cameras towards the smouldering ruins of the refinery. The reporters continued eagerly pressing.
“What about Morbulus? Do you have him in custody?” a small, orange-haired reporter in a polka-dotted tie from Kat’s Eye News demanded eagerly, having to stand on his tip toes to ensure his microphone reached Feral’s face.
By now, the villain’s name had been released to several different news outlets, and so there was no longer any mystery regarding the identity of the enemy jet’s pilot.
“Yeah, Commander, do you have this wacko or what?” asked another colleague of Ann’s from Kat’s Eye News, a tall, handsome and square-jawed reporter with neatly pomaded black hair.
Feral cleared his throat and jutted his considerable chin forward. “Ahem, well, due to the valiant efforts of my Enforcers, and some minor assistance from the SWAT Kats, the evildoer known as Morbulus won’t be destroying any more refineries any time soon.”
“You mean because this was the last one!” shouted a reporter with white hair and purple-tinted glasses, who’d shoved through the crowd suddenly. He was from Inside Megakat City, a less scruplous rival news organization of Kat’s Eye News’.
“Who said that?!” growled Feral, his eyes burning and scanning the crowd.
The white-haired reporter made a sound and vanished back into the anonymity of the group, and said nothing further.
“What about Morbulus?” asked the orange-haired reporter.
“Yeah, where is he?” pressed the black-haired one. “And, what about the SWAT Kats? Where were they in all this?”
The talking and arguing went on as Feral was bombarded with questions. Callie, however, was left alone, thankfully. She didn’t mind speaking to the press, but not so many at once. She loosened her tie a bit and stared down at Morbulus’ empty clothing. She dearly hoped that that was the last Megakat City would see of that particular villain.
A ways down the beach, the sewer of the city emptied into the bay via a large drain pipe. A figure broke the surface of the water. Wearing nothing but his underwear, a tank top and boxer shorts, Morbulus swam ashore and climbed up inside of the pipe. Turning, he looked down at the burning refinery in the distance and the lights from all of the Enforcer vehicles and fire trucks. He laughed.
“I guess you could say I sure gave THEM the strip!” he said to no one in particular, laughing at his own joke. He made a fist and thumped his chest once triumphantly. “No way I’m gonna see the inside of a prison cell!”
Suddenly, he heard a loud hiss echoing through the pipe behind him. Using his rear eyes, which widened in surprise, he saw a pair of glowing yellow eyes peering out from the darkness of the sewer behind him, burning like hot coals. A rasping voice issued forth from the blackness.
“I’ll put you to much better ussse than that!” it hissed.
Morbulus gulped. “Wh-Who are you?” he said, still without turning around.
A figure became distinct in the gloom as it slowly emerged into the dim light. Short, thin and hunched over, it was a scrawny kat with green and bluish green striped fur and crazy black spiked hair, appearing to be naked save for a white coat that was at least three sizes too large for his thin frame. A long reptilian tail lashed slowly behind him as a long muzzle terminating in a spadelike chin poked up so that those yellow eyes could stare into the ones on the back of Morbulus’ head. The mysterious green kat looked weird, but who was he, a kat with a second pair of eyes in the back of his head, to judge?
“You can call me Viper!” said this green, white-coated entity. “DOCTOR Viper! And, I’ve got big plansss for you. A form of… alternative employment, you might sssay…”
Morbulus suddenly wished he HAD been arrested after all…
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