Meanwhile, the SWAT Kats were indeed tailing the third bacteria monster. It lumbered around a building, out of sight. T-Bone put the Turbokat into hover mode and when he rounded the corner of the building, he blinked. The monster was gone!
“Where’d he go?” he said, looking around. “How can a giant walking pile of purple slop just vanish?!”
Also looking around, Razor saw a set of stone stairs leading down. A subway entrance. Fear and dread dawned on him. The subway. It went into the subway.
“Oh no,” he cried, “he went into the subway!”
A single businessman in a white suit and black fedora waited on the Katalina Station platform, briefcase in hand. He yawned. He hoped the train wasn’t late. He had an early meeting to get to. Hearing movement, he turned and cried out in surprise at the sight of the grinning cycloptic horror squeezing its pliant bulk through the subway entrance. It then meandered over onto the boarding platform. The businessman dropped his briefcase and ran. The bacteria monster ignored him in favor of stepping down off the platform and entering the subway tunnel, fortunately for him… and unfortunately for the arriving train he’d been waiting for.
Denny sat bleary-eyed in the motorman’s cabin of the onrushing subway train’s lead car. He hadn’t gotten much sleep last night. They were a few minutes behind schedule, like usual. He sighed. He’d worked as a motorman driving trains for the Megakat City Transit Authority for the past three years, and he hated his job. The same old tunnels, day in, day out; nothing ever exciting happened.
He glanced over his shoulder. Through the rear window of the motorman’s cabin he could observe some of the early morning commuters he’d picked up, something he could afford to do because it wasn’t like there was any traffic for him to pay attention to. The car he was driving was packed almost to full capacity despite the early hour. It was very nearly standing room only.
A pretty young she-kat and an elderly man with glasses, frowning as he read about yesterday’s bombings in the copy of the Megakat Times he had spread open before him were some of the few who’d managed to get seats. Others, including some college types with textbooks and an office worker in a suit with a turtleneck, carrying a stack of file folders and reports, weren’t as lucky, struggling to hold on to their burdens one-handed as they gripped the straps dangling from the ceiling with their free hands. Nobody was talking much. Too early for conversation before the coffee kicked in.
He observed his conductor, Bud, exit the first car and pass through into the second, then turned and focused his attention back on the tracks stretching out before him. He sighed. Yup. Nothing exciting.
The second car was almost as packed as the first. Bud went through, checking things. Pushing his way through the standing passengers, he opened the door and entered the third and final car. This one wasn’t as full as the other two. In fact, other than Bud, there were only four kats; a little boy with gray fur and curiously premature white hair wearing a baseball cap who was with his father, a curly-haired she-kat with the harried look of a housewife, and a businessman with a fedora and bowtie. The housewife had an armful of groceries from some early morning shopping at a 24 hour convenience store. The businessman was reading the same paper as the old man in the first car.
Bud knew that, come that afternoon, this sparsely-populated train car would be packed just as tight as the first two.
“Can we go to the toy store, dad?” Zachary, the white-haired boy in the baseball cap was asking excitedly.
His father, Bernard, sighed, annoyed. He had to get some things at the office where he worked. And then, he had to take little Zachary to the doctor’s office for a checkup. And, so early on his day off, too!
“We’ll see, Zack,” he said, managing a smile, trying not to let his annoyance spoil his son’s good mood. Zachary didn’t usually like going to the doctor, so him being so cheerful was a blessing. “It’ll have to wait until after we’re done at Dr. Hallen’s. I don’t think the toy stores are open this early.”
“Awww, gee,” whined Zachary.
In the lead car, Denny the motorman’s life suddenly got a lot less boring. As the train rounded a bend coming up to the Katalina Station platform, he saw an enormous, purple… thing with one huge, glaring yellow eye and an enormous, pitch black gaping maw come into view. It was blocking the way. His eyes flew wide open.
“What in the-?! Holy kats!” he cried.
He slammed on the brakes. The train’s wheels left a shower of sparks as the speeding vehicle struggled to come to a stop, squealing loudly. In Denny’s car, everyone held on. The passengers holding onto the hand straps dropped everything they were holding but managed to remain standing, while the seated passengers, including the she-kat and the elderly man, went flying forward onto the floor. The people in the second car were also thrown forward violently by the sudden stop. In the third car, conductor Bud, Zachary, his father, and the other two also went flying forwards towards the front. The housewife’s groceries flew everywhere.
The train, wheels sparking as it ground to a halt, slammed into the bacteria monster, knocking it back a ways, before finally stopping. This did not seem to affect the creature. Without wasting time, the bacteria grabbed the first car and lifted it, causing it to disconnect from the second car. In the motorman’s cabin, Denny watched in frozen horror as the grinning mouth yawned wide and darkness engulfed the interior of the train car, and he and all of his passengers screamed as the first car disappeared into the monstrous maw with them inside of it.
In three quick bites, the entire first car of the subway train, Denny the motorman and everyone else inside with him, were totally devoured, and the bacteria monster swelled in size. It belched, and grasping, slimy hands reached for the second car, where the passengers hadn’t fully recovered from the jolting stop yet.
Inside, the startled passengers got knocked about as suddenly the lights went out and the entire car interior was plunged into darkness. A brief flash of illumination as the malfunctioning ceiling lights struggled to come back on revealed to the doomed commuters the terrible sight of the roof and walls bending inwards towards them as they all pressed themselves against the floor in a vain attempt to escape. Mercifully, the lights went out again. The screams abruptly stopped, replaced by the sounds of rending metal and breaking glass as the bacteria monster ate the second train car just as quickly as it had the first.
Up top, T-Bone swung the Turbokat around to get enough momentum, flying towards the subway entrance. When they were close enough, Razor shot out on the Cyclotron, driving along the bumpy stairs which led down. He rode the Cyclotron across the deserted boarding platform and flew off the edge, landing on the track and zooming off down the tunnel. He rounded the bend just in time to see the last of the second train car vanish into the monster’s mouth as it grew, swelling in size as the car, and its doomed occupants, were digested and added to its mass. Soon, it would be too big for the subway tunnel to contain it!
His eyes widened in horror at what he’d just witnessed. All those people on the train. “Oh no…!”
In the final train car, Zachary screamed as Bernard held him tightly, Bud the conductor and the other two passengers gibbering and screaming as they got jostled around. The car was being lifted up. The bacteria monster had picked up the last remaining car from the train and was opening wide to eat it.
No, thought Razor. No, you don’t! He revved his engine and went flying at it. He drove past it, getting its attention, its single eye narrowing in annoyance at this distraction. It released the train car, dropping it back onto the track where it sat tilted at an awkward angle, nearly tipped onto its side.
Inside, the four passengers and the conductor lay terrified and unmoving but alive against the nearly sideways seats as the car lurched and swayed and slowly halted, then tilted back onto its wheels, righting itself, albeit off the track. They went to the windows and looked out.
“Look, Daddy, it’s one of the SWAT Kats!” cried Zachary happily.
Razor zoomed back the way he came, past the creature, which was still too close to the train car for his liking. The monster made a lazy grab for him and missed, but made no attempt to pursue. Stopping, Razor popped a wheelie and spun, gritting his teeth in white hot fury at the terrible fate of the subway commuters, determined to save this final few aboard the last car. As the Cyclotron’s front tire came back down to the ground, Razor revved his engine in rage.
“Come on!” he said through clenched teeth. “Come and get me, you giant zit!”
After a moment, it took the bait, moving towards him, its huge, grinning maw open wide to devour him whole. The passengers in the last remaining subway train car looked out the windows as the one-eyed bacteria monster loomed menacingly over Razor. Razor revved the Cyclotron’s engine. Vroom, vroom! He was beyond enraged.
“Come and get me!” he yelled.
The monster snarled, a nasty, a nasty, phlegmy sound. It clenched and unclenched its huge slimy purple hands as though in indecision, but if it was actually thinking anything, it wasn’t immediately apparent. Its single eye simply glared with evil stupidly, gaping maw curled into the same open-mouthed smile as always. Razor popped a wheelie, turning in place, trying to do his best to look appetizing to the beast, intending on luring it away from the train car, to get it to chase him off down the subway tunnel, away from the few remaining kats he’d gotten there in time to save.
The front tire slammed back down onto the ground as the motorcycle completed its turn, and he revved the engine again. Vroom! “You’re hungry, aren’t you? Some dessert after a sub sandwich, you big pile of crud?!”
Hungry. Yes. Dim memories of being promised food prompted the creature into action. The bacteria monster loosed a hideous bellow and lunged forwards with arms outstretched to grab Razor, who hunched his shoulders down in preparation to spin and zoom off, when suddenly the monster’s eyebrow flew up, eye going wide and bulging outwards, mouth opening wider in a pained roar as electricity shot through its body.
Razor jerked back in his seat in surprise, then realized what happened. In taking a step forward to attack him, the monster had stepped on the electrified third rail of the track. The bacteria convulsed wildly, roaring. Blinding bright flashes of light played over Razor, who shielded his face with his forearm. In the train car, the passengers ducked down, screaming.
The monster squeezed its eye shut in agony as the sparking arcs of bluish electricity crackling over its form turned it an unsightly brownish color. After a moment, the electrical discharge fizzled out, and the now brown bacteria monster stood frozen in mid-contortion, eye shut, mouth open in a silent but smiling scream. It’d been burned to nothing but a dried up husk. The unmoving form twitched and then slowly crumbled to dust before Razor’s eyes.
He stared uncomprehending over his forearm at at the shapeless pile of dust that used to be the monstrous germ creature, then lowered his arm and stroked his chin in thought. Electricity. Heat. Newfound hope filled him. He’d found a way to kill the creatures.
In the remaining car, the passengers and the conductor slowly poked their heads up into view one by one, in varying states of fear, confusion and relief. After a moment, they all began cheering.
“W-we’re alive!” said the businessman in the fedora and bowtie.
“I’ve never been so scared in all my life!” cried the frizzy-haired housewife.
“Thank you, SWAT Kat!” said the little boy, Zachary, being clutched happily by his father.
Razor looked over at them. “Is everyone okay in there?” he asked.
There were various shouts of response in the affirmative. Razor smiled, revving the engine again and launching himself back down the tunnel and onto the boarding platform. As he zoomed away, the passengers cheered him.
Razor flew out of the subway entrance on the Cyclotron, skidding to a stop in the street. Reaching up, he activated his helmet’s comlink.
“T-Bone?” he said. “Are you there?”
Above him, the Turbokat descended. “Yeah. What happened? Where’s the big pile of crud?”
Razor grinned. “French-fried to a crisp!” He frowned. “But, not before it ate an entire subway train.”
In the Turbokat, T-Bone grimaced in disgust. “Ugh, those poor sons a’…”
“Well… almost,” said Razor. “I managed to save one car…” He glanced back at the entrance to the subway. “I saved something like a grand total of five people.” Brightening a little, he turned and looked back up at the jet. “But, on the bright side, I found a way to destroy these things!”
In the Turbokat, T-Bone nodded.
“Come pick me up, we gotta make a quick stop back at the hangar,” said Razor. “And fast!”
It was time to go and see if his experimental Megavolt Missile was worth all the time he’d been putting into it…
Megakat Biochemical Labs was a large, solidly-built facility, standing some fifteen stories tall, modernistic in appearance with enormous windows and surrounded by a chain link fence with barbed wire along the top and a perimeter of large artillery cannons mounted on swivel bases.
In the main lab, chief biochemist Dr. Newton Zyme was preparing for the day’s work. He was middle-aged with wavy orange hair and wore a white lab coat. He hated mornings. There was always so much to do, and a large majority of it couldn’t be done until the other researchers arrived. And, what a bunch of layabouts they were! Zyme thought as he fussed about in the main lab, an enormous room filled with all manner of futuristic-looking scientific equipment and machines, getting things ready for his employees to be able to do their work.
What few of them there were, anyway. Megakat Biochemical was horrendously understaffed these days. In the wake of Elrod Purvis’ transformation into Dr. Viper, most of the lab’s staff had elected to quit their jobs rather than come to work not knowing whether they’d be attacked by a mutated half kat, half snake mad scientist, or worse, eaten by one of the many freaks of nature he created.
So, despite the building’s size, it had a staff of less than 100 people, half of them security personnel. With the exception of Alvie and his friend whose name Zyme could never remember, most of the guards were the only dependable employees of the lab. Alvie and his friend tended to just sit around and eat donuts. Zyme had a feeling they would come to a bad end one day due to their inattentiveness.
Hearing the sound of an approaching helicopter, Zyme glanced up and out the window and saw a lone Enforcer chopper flying towards the building, from the direction of the new park. The chopper flew overhead, and Zyme thought it landed on the roof.
Since Dr. Viper’s first appearance Zyme had mostly withdrawn from the public. He’d never had much of a social life prior to that, but, since Purvis’ transformation into Viper, Zyme had become considerably less buoyant and didn’t attend as many conventions or meetings, and completely threw himself into his work at the lab, even moreso than before. He wasn’t even aware of the refinery bombings that had happened yesterday.
At the thought of Viper, Zyme glanced over at a small table in the far corner. Its lone occupant was an Erlenmeyer flask of water with a rose in it, with a tall glass dome barrier over it. The rose was mutated, possessing a four-fanged mouth and a lapping forked tongue. Zyme had kept the thing as a reminder of the Viper Mutagen project.
He heard the sound of the elevator dinging in the hallway, and a moment later a party of four kats came into the room. Commander Feral was leading them. Behind him were Mayor Manx, Callie Briggs and an Enforcer pilot.
“Good morning, Commander,” he said as they approached.
“No time for idle chit-chat, Dr. Zyme,” Feral replied, holding up a hand. “We’ve got serious trouble.”
“Trouble?” Zyme asked. “What sort of trouble?”
Feral opened his mouth to explain when Manx walked up to Zyme suddenly, waving his arms wildly. “There’s these huge purple things, and they’re headed right this way!”
Zyme looked confused. “Purple things? What on Earth are you talking about?”
Ignoring Manx’s outburst, Feral said, “We don’t know what they are. But, they’re big and getting bigger every minute. And worse, whenever we shoot them they split apart into more!” He scowled. “I found out that out the hard way.” As though eager to change the subject, he said, “Doctor, we need your help to figure out what they are and how to kill them.”
Suddenly, Manx grabbed Zyme by the front of his lab coat and shook him. “You’ve got to do something, Dr. Zyme!” he yelled desperately. “Before those big purple globs destroy my beautiful city!”
Feral grabbed the Mayor’s shoulders and made him release the scientist. He then shooed Manx from the room. “Why don’t you go out and wait in the hall, Mayor? And, try to stay calm.”
“Calm?” cried a terrified Manx, his voice rising. “At a time like this?! You’re crazy!”
Gibbering in fear, he turned and ran from the lab, leaving the other four alone.
Zyme sighed and smoothed his lab coat out. “How soon until they get here?” he asked.
“About a minute-and-a-half!” cried Feral, pointing out the lab’s enormous front windows. “Look! Here come two of them now!”
Zyme turned and looked out the huge front windows of the lab to see two huge purple-colored organisms stomping down the street, headed right for the lab! They were vaguely humanoid in shape, with arms and legs, and had enormous, black gaping-wide mouths that were… smiling? Both of the huge monsters were grinning, no, leering evilly as they approached. Those smiles gave Zyme the chills. Mustering his courage, he approached the window, which ran from floor to ceiling; in fact, this entire wall of the main lab was glass, consisting of two of these huge windows.
He looked at the two monsters. They looked like giant germs! The one on the left had one huge, cycloptic eye, while the one on the right had two eyes. Never in his life had Zyme seen something so disgusting and terrifying.
Clearing his throat, he turned to Feral, Deputy Mayor Briggs, and the Enforcer pilot, saying, “They appear to be giant bacteria!”
They all frowned in disgust. Feral was impatient. “Okay, now we know what they are. But, is there a way to stop them?”
Callie Briggs joined him at the window. Zyme stroked his chin, thinking. Obviously, the best way to deal with giant germs was with a large quantity of antibiotics. Luckily, the lab had a bulk supply. In fact, there was some in a few flasks on a nearby worktable, which Zyme went to, leaving Callie by herself over by the window.
“On such short notice, this is the best I can do,” he said, picking up one of the flasks and holding up for the others to see. Feral in particular looked very interested and leaned in close, eyeing the flask’s contents. “It contains the most powerful antibiotics known,” Zyme continued. “Hopefully, it should stop them.”
“How are we going to deliver it?” asked Feral as they heard the muffled explosion that signified the destruction of the second laser cannon.
“I have a large hypodermic needle which I think can be rigged to fire from your helicopter,” Zyme said said.
Feral nodded. “Let’s get to it, then. I just hope we have time!”
The three other kats watched as Zyme went and got the giant syringe off of a shelf in the back of the room.
“I can fill this with the formula. It’s normally used to tranquilize large animals, but it should be able to inject the antibodies into the bacteria’s system.”
He placed it in Feral’s open hands. The Commander looked down at it a moment. “Excellent,” he said, turning to his pilot. “Prepare my chopper at once!”
“Yes sir!” said the pilot, saluting and running off, still holding the flask. A moment later, he ran back, setting the flask back down on the table, then ran off again.
“I sure hope it works,” said Callie over by the window. “Because those things are heading straight for us!”
“Don’t worry, Ms. Briggs,” Zyme assured her confidently, joining her by the window once more. He pointed outside. “As you can see, we’re well-protected against any attack.”
The lab’s automated defenses swivelled around on their turrets to face the threat and opened fire. In addition, a cordon of uniformed security guards armed with laser rifles took up positions at the fence.
Callie watched, hoping the blasts from the cannons didn’t cause the two-eyed creature to split, idly wondering where the third monster was and whether the SWAT Kats had managed to kill it or not. Right as she wondered this, the two-eyed bacteria monster was knocked back by a blast from one of the cannons and she held her breath, but the monster didn’t divide. She exhaled slowly.
The bacteria monsters stood there as the shells ripped right through their gooey bodies, doing no damage, the wounds sealing immediately afterward. The lasers fired by the guards had the same effect, passing harmlessly through the creatures’ bodies. Roaring angrily, the one-eyed creature swung its fist and destroyed the cannon that had shot it. The creature with two eyes followed suit, smashing another gun beyond use.
The monsters advanced, trampling the fence underfoot. The guards backed up, firing with their laser rifles. The bacteria monsters ignored them, continuing to move inexorably forward onto the property, shrugging off the guards’ fire and the bombardment from the remaining cannons. The two-eyed monster was the only one who still remembered its creator Dr. Viper’s orders, and it went to the right and attacked the third cannon there while its single-eyed companion simply imitated it and went to the left and attacked a fourth cannon there. The air was filled with explosions and booming. With one mighty swipe, the one-eyed bacteria monster destroyed the third cannon.
The guards stopped firing their lasers. They looked around at one another before turning and fleeing in all directions.
Callie and Zyme watched from the window, turning to look at one another in dismay. There was an explosion as the fourth cannon was destroyed.
“Well, almost any attack…” Zyme admitted, a little nervously.
He turned and hurried away as a fifth explosion signalled another cannon’s destruction. Callie, watching him go, didn’t notice as a manhole popped open down on the street outside.
Dr. Viper had waited down in the sewer for the bacteria monsters to finish destroying all of the cannons that defended Megakat Biochemical. Although he correctly predicted they’d be of little use against his creations, better safe than sorry. After hearing the last explosion, he had climbed up the ladder and popped the manhole cover, peering out. The coast was clear. Katalyst 99 would be his! All of the cannons were destroyed. Knocking the cover off, Viper climbed out. He only saw two bacteria monsters. Where was the third one, the second single-eyed bacteria? Viper shrugged inwardly. Probably off somewhere else having fun, he guessed.
He had to note the irony of this particular sewer access point. Not only was it the manhole he’d used to arrive at Megakat Biochemical immediately following Purvis’ resurrection and transformation into Dr. Viper, it had also provided the means for his escape after his first encounter, and first defeat, at the hands of the SWAT Kats.
He addressed the two monsters. “You two will keep wreaking havoc!” he commanded them. Would they understand? He didn’t care. Not at this point. Turning, he approached the front door unmolested. “And, I will raid the labsss!”
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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.