A few minutes later, Feral’s chopper, rotor blades spinning, sat on the rooftop helipad as Dr. Zyme loaded the giant syringe containing the antibiotic formula, which had been modified into an ad-hoc missile, onto the side of the aircraft. Commander Feral looked on from the open side door.
Zyme stood back. “It’s all loaded, Commander!”
“Good!” Feral said, turning to his pilot. “Let’s go.”
“Wait!” cried Mayor Manx, rushing out of the rooftop stairwell. “I’m coming, too!”
He ran across the roof and jumped into the open side of the chopper as it lifted off. He didn’t quite make it. He hung there, half in and half out, kicking his legs frantically as he tried to pull himself up. The chopper lifted higher into the air.
“I don’t want to be around here if this stuff doesn’t work!” he was whimpering.
A disgusted Feral pulled him in the rest of the way. “You’re a coward, Manx,” he said.
Out of breath, Manx grinned and managed, “Maybe so. But, I didn’t get to be mayor for ten terms without being a wee bit cautious.”
Feral grunted and pulled the door closed. As the chopper turned and flew off, Zyme walked over to the edge of the roof and looked down. Both of the bacteria monsters were just sort of standing there, milling around, not doing very much. One of them, the two-eyed one, grabbed a parked car and stuffed it into its mouth, eating it in one, huge bite. Zyme then observed the creature grow in size a bit as the eaten car was added to its bulk. Swallowing nervously, he turned and went back inside.
The Turbokat came tearing out of the clouds. Flying between the buildings, T-Bone flew straight for Megakat Biochemical Labs and the remaining two bacteria monsters. The SWAT Kats had returned to the hangar, picked up Razor’s “experimental beauty,” as he called it, and doubled back as quickly as they could.
Their objective of getting their creator inside the fortress-like facility having been achieved, the bacteria monsters were simply milling around in the vicinity, dumbly following the last order they’d been given, to wreak havoc and keep the authorities occupied. The larger of the two, the one with two eyes, turned and saw the approaching Turbokat, and once again felt a dim, instinctive hatred of the aircraft. With a gurgling growl, it started down the street towards the approaching jet. It’s cycloptic companion simply saw an airborne snack annoyingly out of its reach and remained by the labs, grabbing up parked cars from the facility’s parking lot and from the curbs of the surrounding buildings and cramming them into its mouth, munching away stupidly, gradually increasing in size.
T-Bone made an exploratory pass of the two creatures, whooshing between them. The two-eyed bacteria made a frenzied but ultimately slow and clumsy effort to grab it. The one-eyed creature, in the process of stuffing someone’s car into its maw, barely acknowledged the passing jet. The one with two eyes struck him as the more immediately dangerous of the two, given both its aggression and the fact, as T-Bone saw it, it could still divide. From what little experience he and Razor had with the creatures, T-Bone was relatively certain the single-eyed monsters were incapable of dividing.
T-Bone glanced back over his shoulder at Razor. “Okay, buddy,” he said, “I’ll get you in close enough for a good shot! Get the one with two eyes! It can still split and make three again!”
Razor nodded. “Affirmative.” He agreed with his partner about which monster to target. The one still capable of dividing was definitely the one to take care of first, especially considering he had only one version of the missile he was about to use.
“Remind me again how we’re gonna kill the other one with only one of these newfangled Megavolt Missiles ready…?” T-Bone asked.
“I dunno,” Razor admitted. “I guess we’ll just have to wing it.”
“Fine with me,” T-Bone grumbled.
He circled around and headed back toward the Biochemical Labs. Razor sighted the two-eyed bacteria monster through his scope, aiming for the most obvious target, that yawning, perpetually smiling black hole of a maw.
“Open wide, big guy! Say ‘ahhh!’!”
Almost as if it heard him, the creature opened its huge mouth wider, as though it expected the Turbokat to fly right in. Razor fired. What appeared to be an ordinary missile flew towards the monster. But, as with most of the missiles he designed, it was anything but. Razor had been working on electrical-based missiles for the past few months, and the first fruits of his labors had been this, the Megavolt Missile, whose casing popped off in midair, revealing a segmented conductor mechanism powered by a thousand megavolt battery. Its one drawback was that it had no means of attaching itself to a target to deliver the electrical charge – a problem he didn’t feel he’d encounter with these creatures with their soft, easily penetrable bodies, to say nothing of their tendency to just open their mouths and gulp down whatever came within reach, and the monster he’d targeted didn’t disappoint.
The bacteria monster caught the treat in its mouth, gulping it down. The Turbokat flew past it, the creature looking mildly disappointed, smile aside, that the jet had not in fact simply flown right into its mouth after the missile, the SWAT Kats looking back at the huge beast over their shoulders. Nothing seemed to be happening.
T-Bone frowned. “Razor, I thought you said this would work!”
No sooner had the words left his mouth than the bacteria monster began to undergo a sudden change. Its eyes widened, and, for the first time, its smiled vanished, turning into a frown of confusion and surprise. Seconds later, bluish electrical bolts surged all over its body as it convulsed hideously and, finally, it blew it. The explosion was muted, more like a “poof” than anything, as the creature disappeared into a cloud of crumbling, ashen dust.
Razor smirked. “I, uh, neglected to mention the five-second countdown.”
That was it for his one Megavolt Missile. No matter. Due to its shortcomings, he’d already begun designing a newer, better electrical missile to replace it, one capable of attaching itself to targets. He was considering calling it the Scrambler Missile, and he was already confident that its electrical output would surpass that of even the Megavolt.
Now, his thoughts turned to the final monster. It was incapable of dividing – or so he hoped – but it still represented a clear and present danger to the city, and it was getting larger and larger the more it ate, already almost as large as the buildings around it.
“Okay, sureshot,” said T-Bone, circling the block high above, “any ideas on how we ‘wing it?'”
Razor stroked his chin, then observed an Enforcer chopper – Feral’s, he imagined – hovering nearby, beginning to approaching the final monster. He squinted through his targeting scope. Something had been attached to the side of the chopper. Perhaps the good folks at Megakat Biochemical had supplied the Enforcers with a means of combating the creatures Razor hadn’t thought of.
“Maybe we won’t need to,” he said, some doubt tingeing his voice. He didn’t exactly like Feral, but he didn’t want him to fail, either; he hoped, in fact, for Megakat City’s sake, that the short-tempered Enforcer Commander succeeded nevertheless. “Looks like Feral’s gonna try something.”
In the Enforcer chopper hovering nearby, Feral and Mayor Manx looked down at the smoking remains of the bacteria monster that the SWAT Kats had just killed.
The Mayor was jubilant. “The SWAT Kats got that one, Feral!” One down, two to go! He and Feral were, of course, unaware of the fate of the third creature, as were those still inside the labs.
“And, I’ll get the other one!” Feral said matter-of-factly.
The remaining bacteria monster had just about empted the lab parking lot and surrounding street of rubber-tired edibles and, nearly twelve stories tall now, walked over to the front of the Megakat Biochemical building and looked in through the window. Callie and Dr. Zyme shrank back as the monster peered in at them with its huge yellow eye. The eye looked back and forth and between them. Callie was uneasy. She felt like a bug under a magnifying glass, or, worse, a piece of choice veal being ogled in a butcher’s shop window.
Zyme smiled reassuringly. “Don’t worry, Ms. Briggs, these windows are made from reinforced armored glass,” the biochemist said with what Callie took to be supreme overconfidence. “He can’t get us.”
So saying, he rapped his knuckles against the glass for emphasis confidently. Thunk-thunk! Callie wished she shared that overconfidence of his and took a step back from the window, overcome by a dreadful feeling that maybe she and Dr. Zyme shouldn’t be standing so close. She reached for his arm to pull him along with her. Suddenly, the monster lifted one enormous, gooey hand and slammed it against the window. The entire room shook. Callie jumped back, as did Zyme.
The glass cracked.
Zyme’s smile – and confidence – vanished. He’d been assured the glass was unbreakable. If these creatures were capable of cracking it, then they weren’t simply giant bacteria… they were super bacteria!
Callie was about to vocalize her now very real concern that they ought to get away from the window, when, after another hit, the glass exploded inwards, raining down over her and Zyme as they shielded their faces to avoid being cut. They looked up and screamed as the monster reached one gooey purple hand in through the window. It descended towards them, eclipsing them in its shadow. They screamed again. Callie closed her eyes. Zyme threw his arms up in a pitiful effort to defend himself. They waited for the end.
It didn’t come. The hand withdrew. Something had distracted the single-minded creature from its task. Slowly opening her eyes, Callie hearing the whup-whup-whup! of approaching rotor blades. Flinching, she and Zyme watched, blinking, as the slimy purple hulk turned its back to them to face Commander Feral’s approaching chopper. Callie actually let out a little laugh of disbelieving relief. Saved by Feral! Again! Like Razor, she didn’t think too highly of the Enforcer Commander… but she was beginning to.
Feral’s pilot kept the chopper steady as it hovered in place. The bacteria monster approached it. At the sight of the creature, a whimpering Manx had retreated further back into the rear cargo area, as if that would protect him.
Seated at the firing controls, Feral narrowed his eyes behind the lenses of his targeting visor. “Open wide, slime bucket,” he said, and fired.
The antibiotic projectile sailed straight and true. The monster caught and swallowed it, just as its recently deceased predecessor had caught and swallowed the SWAT Kats’ missile.
“Got him!” Feral said triumphantly.
But, nothing happened. The monster simply stood there. Feral blinked, raising the helmet’s targeting visor, confused.
He wasn’t the only one who was at a loss. In the main lab, Callie and Dr. Zyme stood beside the broken window, looking out at the unchanging bacteria monster. The longer the monster went without the powerful antibiotics affecting it somehow, the more and more worried the two became.
“I don’t understand!” cried Zyme, distressed. “It’s not working!”
They suddenly heard a hiss behind them and whirled around to find a pair of glowing yellow eyes peering out at them from a darkened corner of the room. A figure advanced forward. Gradually, a silhouette became visible. A lashing, snakelike tail. Tall, tapering spikes of hair. Dr. Viper stepped into the light, grinning hideously, his ceaselessly moving tail audibly thumping against the floor behind him with horrifying glee.
He pointed a clawed finger at his former employer. “You were alwaysss a fool, Zyme! My giant bacteria are immune to antibioticsss!”
Any remaining courage drained from Zyme, and he stood defeated and trying to keep himself from trembling. He didn’t want to show fear in Viper’s presence. Neither did Callie. Mustering her courage, which was no easy task when faced with a twisted fiend such as the half kat, half snake who had proclaimed himself lord of the Dead Forest in particular and of Megakat Swamp in particular, Callie moved to put herself between Viper and Zyme, fists clenched in fury at her sides.
“Dr. Viper!” she said. “I should’ve known you’d be behind something like this!”
She’d suspected Viper might be behind something like the giant bacteria monsters, but, in truth, the things could’ve come from anywhere, and it wasn’t until this exact moment, when she’d heard that all too familiar hiss behind her, that her suspicions had been confirmed.
Outside, the monster roared angrily and lifted one huge hand, swiping at Feral’s chopper. The pilot tried to pull up, but a hit from the monster’s hand sent the aircraft spinning out of control. It crashed upright in the street and skidded a ways, leaving a trail of sparks, until it came to a more or less gentle stop, bumping against one of the few parked cars the ravenous bacteria had overlooked. Inside, Feral, Manx and the pilot were shaken, but okay. The bacteria monster stomped towards the downed chopper with greedy hunger in its huge eye. Suddenly, the Turbokat zoomed past its face, commanding its full attention. It abandoned any interest in the crashed chopper and made a failed grab at the jet, slimy fingers closing on empty air as the Turbokat was already out of reach.
T-Bone swung back around, flying at the monster. “Whatever Feral tried to do, it didn’t work, buddy!”
“At least he saved Callie and that doctor guy!” Razor said, having witnessed what had very nearly been Callie Briggs’ gruesome death from afar, his heart skipping a beat. He never thought he’d say this, but thank goodness for Feral sometimes. “But, now it’s up to us to take this thing out!”
“Roger,” said T-Bone. He swooped past the bacteria monster a second time, the monster trying once again to grab the jet unsuccessfully.
Back inside Megakat Biochemical, Viper seemed content to ignore both Callie and Dr. Zyme, moving through the room with that waddling, slithering walk of his. Okay, so, she thought, it’s Dr. Viper. Now what? Try and escape? Wait to be rescued by the SWAT Kats? Attack him? Behind her, Zyme was inching towards the door. Callie realized the biochemist had the right idea. Waiting to be rescued was foolhardy… and trying to attack someone like Dr. Viper was suicide. And, so she joined him in moving towards the door… until she saw where Viper was headed, and fury overtook her.
He went over to the shelves where numerous katalysts, some in stoppered Erlenmeyer flasks, others in futuristic-looking canisters, sat neatly-labeled and lined up in numerical order. Viper grabbed one canister filled with a dull orange bubbly chemical, not too dissimilar in the color of the antibiotic formula Feral had just tried and failed to use against the remaining giant bacteria, and grinned.
“Katalyssst 99!” he said, more to himself than to his audience of two. “At lassst!”
He grabbed another. And another. And another. And still more. His arms were full to overflowing with them, and still he grabbed more, as though intent on taking every single sample the lab had on hand. And, with each canister he grabbed, Callie’s fury grew. She’d expected something grander from the evil scientist to justify the destruction caused by his creations. She was not directly aware of anyone who’d died as a result of the bacteria’s rampage, but she was positive at least some citizens had been hurt or killed. And, she thought of how she and Dr. Zyme, who remained behind her, having hesitated at the door, refusing to leave without her, had almost been killed by one of the things. All so Viper could steal some chemicals.
And, as her anger overtook her, she took a few steps towards the snakelike scientist greedily gathering up canisters of katalysts like a kid in a candy store, and she confronted him directly.
“So, that’s what all this is about?” she cried. “A robbery?! What kind of sick, twisted-”
Angrily, Viper turned with his armload of Katalyst 99, cutting her off. “Sssilence! How dare you quessstion my plansss?”
You arrogant sicko, Callie thought. All thoughts of not provoking the mutated villain went out the proverbial broken window as a furious Callie grabbed a pencil jar off a nearby desk and threw it at him. It smacked into the back of Viper’s head, sending pencils flying everywhere. He tensed and his eyes glowed with fury.
“You won’t get away with this, Viper,” Callie vowed. “The SWAT Kats will see to that!”
“No, Ms. Briggsss…” Viper said without turning around.
Suddenly, his tail lashed out, whipping across the room, and, before Callie could react, it encircled her, and Zyme behind her, coiling around them. It tightened. They were squeezed together against one another, and Callie felt the air forced from her lungs. The coils crushed so tightly around them that the buttons on her blazer popped off. Viper dragged them over to himself.
“…it’s you who won’t get away!” he finished, cackling evilly.
So much for doing things the smart way, Callie thought, scolding herself for having let her temper, her anger at Viper’s petty motivations, get the better of her. Now there was no hope for escape, unless…
Whoosh! The Turbokat flew past the broken window, close enough that Callie caught the briefest of glimpses of T-Bone and Razor in the cockpit. The SWAT Kats!
In the Turbokat, the SWAT Kats got a glance of Viper with his prisoners as they flew by. “Callie!” cried T-Bone in dismay.
“And Dr. Viper!” said Razor. “So, he’s behind all this!”
Inside the lab, Viper was beyond furious. The final bacteria monster stepped into view, its enormous purple bulk filling the view out the window. For a brief instant, Callie was terrified Viper would fling her and Zyme into its mouth, but, instead, he simply pointed at it with his free hand, arm quaking in fury.
“Get them! Desssstroy the SWAT Katsss!” he rasped. The monster roared and moved off to obey. With that seen to, Viper seemed to calm down some. As for his two prisoners, he said, “A couple of hossstages should ensure my essscape. And, when we return to my home in the Dead Foressst, I’ll be sure to make you both quite comfortable.” He cackled and flicked his forked tongue.
Callie shuddered in horror and disgust. She had no doubt that Viper’s idea of “comfortable” was something truly repugnant indeed.
Navigate This Author's Stories
Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.