This is it! The first piece of Underdog fanfiction on the internet, possibly at all!
This tale is to explain what the show, in nine years, never got around to doing–where exactly Underdog came from. Since this story is *entirely* pre-show chronologically, there are no mentions of the name “Underdog,” so you’ll just have to figure out who he is (there’s no “ShoeShine Boy” either — I gave him a real name).
AUTHOR’S NOTE : This story does not take place in a universe completely consistent with the show, mainly because I haven’t seen more than 20 episodes. Also, all the characters exist in the universe of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron (a cartoon show by Hanna Barbera currently airing on the Cartoon Network), but predate that show, so this is not a crossover. *However*, is does change a few things :
1. All humans are now “kats,” a form of anthropomorphic felines who walk around and act just like humans. The only real differences in the story that make them notable as such is the fact I will refer to their hands as “paws.”
2. All dogs are now “dawgs,” a form of anthropomorphic dogs *I* created in other SWAT Kat fan fiction to exist beside the kats. They do not exist in the SK show, where *everyone* is a kat. They *do* exist in my fan fiction. Dawgs are around 3 feet high fully grown, shorter than the 5 foot average of kats. Underdog (the spelling of his superhero nickname does not change to be remotely loyal to the show) is thereby just under 3 feet throughout, since dawgs reach full height at a very early age. The dawgs are not the dominant race, and are found mainly in Western Europe and the British Isles, but there are obviously scatterings of them in America.
3. All other animals retain their forms of the Underdog show. Even though this is a planet dominated by kats and maybe 10% dawgs, there are a few various other species scattered around who appear rarely.
Also, there is a mention of a Megakat City, which is the city the SWAT Kats protect in a later decade. The neighboring city is Faroe Lake (not according to the SK show–just me), and Underdog — during the show — protected mainly them from attacks.
The reason for all of this confusion by bringing the Underdog show over to the SWAT Kat universe is to open some doors for later Underdog/SWAT Kat fanfiction. You can see my fan fiction (along with others’) at my archive at <http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/8850/fanfic.htm>
‘Lab Report – January 13th, 1981 – Dr. Daniel Roberts’
‘The tests have been otherwise inconclusive under the
microscope, and I feel Dr. Leitch has become unsatisfied
with the petri dish. He has made it my job to search now for
a proper test subject — a dawg, preferrably, since there
have been some bad reactions to certain kat DNA.’
When the assigment had come down on his shoulders, Roberts
had been a bit clueless as to where to begin. Lab rats
didn’t suddenly pop out of the woodwork when he advertised,
and even if they would, they’d want to know all kinds of
specifics — such as what they were taking, what would
happen to them, and how they would benifit mankind. There
was also often money involved — they wanted to be paid, or
wanted their loved ones to recieve great sums of money if
Neither options were available, considering the
classification of the process. Leitch suggested someone who
wouldn’t be missed — a vagrant with no family –or someone
dying of a fatal disease anyway. But something had made
Roberts quisy when he thought of thrusting the needle into a
cancer patient, and he was forced to depend on finding the
He was still uneasy, roaming the gutters and alleyways of
Washington, D.C. A high-tech, electrified club hidden in his
jacket would protect his person sufficiently, but that
didn’t really make him feel any better. But here he was, in
the gutters of the gutters, where he doubted one would pass
up an offer such as one he offered.
There were many dawgs amoung the poorer crowd, but most
were old and feeble, or pregnant–to weak for the
experiment. He passed over one who spit alochol over his
shoes when he took an extra second to gaze.
It was several hours later when he was ready to give up for
the day, finding his superior’s specifications rather
narrow. He was about to turn for home when he spotted the
small entrance of a building labeled crudely above the door,
“St. Peter’s Shelter.” The place, inside, wasn’t much better
than the streets he had just left. Possibly hundreds of
homeless were cramped in a series of a few rooms, curled up
on cots with ragged blankets and pillows if they were lucky
— more likely something else soft rolled up. One kat slept
with his head over a radio, apparently his only possession,
perhaps in fear of it being stolen. The air was abuzz with
the sounds of coughing and sneezing — after all, cold
season was in full bloom. There was probably a pastor there,
aiding who he could, but was racing around so their visitor
didn’t see him.
Roberts’ attention shifted to the bed beside him, where an
angry, wet cough came from beneath the blanket. He saw a
small paw come out and grab the end of the blanket, pulling
it closer down. Curious, the scientist slowly let his paw
out just so it touched the blanket, disturbing the owner.
The owner pulled himself out from under to see who the
intruder of his personal space was. Roberts gasped as the
huge head of a young dawg came out, dusty and sickly pale.
This poor thing could not have been above twelve years old.
He was of the beagle breed, known for those floppy black
ears and huge black nose, and he had a pale-gold tint to his
fur. He was wearing worn-down jeans and a patched T-shirt
that clearly hadn’t been washed in a while. He smelled a
bit, as Roberts imagined one would after hanging out too
long in such a place. The dawg was a sickly pale, and
coughed several times before responding to seeing the
well-to-do scientist above him.
“What the hell do you want?”
The words were said with the force and accustion of an
adult, but the pitch was still that of a child’s. It sent
Roberts back a few steps; he had never seen such hate
venting from someone under eighteen.
“I-I . . .,” he desperately tried to pull himself together.
“Is there somewhere you’d like to go? Maybe to get a hot
meal or a change of clothes?”
The dawg frowned harder, “I’m not interested in your
charities. So get the hell away and go bother someone else
trying to sleep.”
“No–I mean as payment. It would all be fair pay.”
The dawg was in the motion of turning back under the covers
when he stopped, curious, “Pay for what?”
“I’m with a scientific research group,” Roberts rushed to
explain. “We need a young dawg for some . . . research.
You’d get a place to sleep and fed three meals a day . . .”
“What kind of research?” he eyeballed his visiter
“Drug therapy. You’d be exposed to some antibiotics,” That
was a lie, but the dawg wouldn’t know the difference.
“Unless, of course, you have prior engagements . . .?”
It was not meant as a question for answering — more of a
probing. Roberts doubted the dawg had any sort of job or
family, and the reply made him sure.
“What do they do to me?”
“Nothing lethal — we’ve already tested it out a few times
on other subjects. We just want to see the natural reaction
to some medicines.”
The dawg coughed, heavily, drawing a ragged breath instead
of getting the response he wanted to come out of his mouth.
“And it looks like you could use some medical attention,
while we’re at it.”
The dawg considered. A hot meal and a bath sounded inviting
enough, but as soon as Roberts had mentioned ‘scientific
research’ all that managed to go through the dawg’s head was
the image of himself running in some kind of gerbal wheel,
with the treat hanging right in front of him. A growl from
his stomach, however, hold him his system had already made
the decision for him.
“All right . . .,” he swung both is legs over the side of
the bed and stood shakily, not feeling incredibly steady. He
wrapped himself in the blanket, which Roberts realized was
probably the only sort of coat he had.
“What’s you name, kid?” the scientist began to help him to
the door, the dawg finding it hard to walk with his illness
crippling him. Roberts didn’t doubt know the kid could have
easily had the flu or some virus for quite a while without
It was simply to get associated, really — they would look
up the kid’s files through his paw prints and have his
records within twenty-four hours after reaching the lab, but
the aquintance was nice.
Jonathan’s eyes widened as the transport car — a very
nice, but hidden from the outside limosine, to be exact —
pulled up in front of them, now several blocks from the
shelter. Roberts had to smile; the kid had probably not been
in such a car in his life.
“Fancy operation you got here,” the dawg remarked snidely,
climbing into the back seat.
“We do this for all our guests.”
“Test subject is hardly the word I’d use for guest,”
Jonathan was all ready beginning to fiddle with the various
objects and compartments within his grasp from the backseat,
like a kid in a candy store. ‘I’m along for the ride; I
might as well enjoy it.’ “Hey, you gotta microwave in here!”
Roberts removed a pack of instant soup he had purchased
earlier, poured it into one of the plastic cups from the
compartment on his side with a bottle of water thrown into
the mix, and placed it in the microwave, “It’s a long ride.
The least I can do is feed you.”
The soup was done within minutes, and the dawg practically
inhaled it, feeling relieved to have something in his
stomach. He remained silent while he wolfed down the
mouthfuls, attacking the cup like a starved pup — which was
precisely what he was. After several minutes, he finally put
aside the container, and turned back to Roberts.
“So this is what they hire you for — go get street scum to
be their genuia pigs?”
“‘They’ is a term that refers to me as well,” he correct.
“I’m a scientist. My superior just sent me because I’m more
experienced with children.”
“You’re a kiddie doc?”
“No . . . I just have kids.”
“Oh,” Jonathan watched curiously as Roberts took out his
wallet from his coat pocket, and held out several
wallet-size photographs for him to see. The dawg took them
in his own paws and held them very, very close to his face,
as if trying to get the pictures into focus and failing.
Roberts observed this, “Do you have vision problems?”
“‘s what my doc told me — a while ago. I think I was seven
when I still had a pair. My old family bought ’em, but I
outgrew up a year or so ago.”
“Your old family?”
“Foster,” he explained, hesitantly. “They wanted me to call
’em ‘mom’ and ‘dad’, too.” Giving up, he handed the pictures
back. His next impuse was too cough, which threw him into
another heavy coughing fit that took several minutes to
“Relax,” Roberts helped him straighten out from his doubled
over position, setting him up with his back more supported
by the seat. “You’re in good paws now.”
The response was another cough, and then, “So why the hell
am I so dizzy?” His eyelids were beginning to drop.
“Relax,” he repeated. “You’re very sick, and it’s a long
ride. Just close your eyes and sleep.”
Jonathan nodded, “I thin’ I’ll do tha.” His mumbled voice
drifted off as he leaned over and closed his eyes, his head
supported by the limo’s door.
Roberts sighed tiredly, securing the blanket over the dawg
before turning back to his own folder of work. Sure, he felt
a little guilty for the sedative he’d slipped in the soup,
but it was necessary to insure Jonathan would still be
asleep when they arrived and was looked over by the
department heads as a worthy subject.
‘Lab Report – January 15th, 1981 – Dr. Daniel Roberts’
‘The subject has been chosen and approved by the department
heads. Dr. Leitch seemed rather pleased that I had chosen
such a young boy, and while his records are still up for
review, it does not seem like there will be any conflicts
with the experiment in past history.’
Jonathan awoke — groggily — to a pleasantly warm, white
room. He coughed, then pushed away the blanket to give
himself some air.
His clothes had been replaced by a white cotton set of a
shirt and pants, and he’d forgotten what it was like to wear
a change to clothes — much less clean ones — so he found
it rather relieving. The room was simple — a bed, a desk,
and a small adjoining bathroom. One of the walls was lined
with a mirror, and it could not have occured to him that it
was one-way. On the desk was a tray filled with the most
inviting thing of all — food, which he couldn’t quite
remember when he’d had last outside of a soup kitchen in
heated form. He set upon it, gobbling up the bread and soup
before going for the chicken.
‘They’re bein’ so nice to me, you’d think they’ll torture
me next,’ he wondered mildly to himself. Not that he hadn’t
found the appearance of the scientist odd, but lucky
netherless. ‘Let ’em do what they want.’ His stomach
grumbled in agreeance, as he stuffed down the rest of the
chicken. ”s long as they keep feedin’ me.’
After dinner, of whatever meal it was supposed to be, he
noticed the shower stall in his bathroom was set up with
shampoo, and decided to treat himself. The only time he
really got a good shower was in the summer, at the beach,
but that all had closed down months ago. Jonathan remained
in there for quite a while, and finally heaved himself out
of the steady stream of hot water, feeling cleaner than he
had in a long time.
‘Hell, I might get used to this,’ he thought playfully,
drying his fur off.
He had just thrown his new clothes back on when the
scientists entered. First was an old, grey kat on the plump
side with large whiskers and a stern look on his face.
Behind him was the scientist he remembered, though he never
quite caught his name. Both were wearing lab coats and
He nodded, as if the question was to confirm his full name.
He leaned back on the bed now, with his back to the wall —
still feeling quite achy. In the rush of new pleasures he’d
forgotten he was sick.
The first continued, “Mr. Weissman . . . Jonathan, I’d like
to welcome you to the Pandora Project,” his voice wasn’t
cold, but without the particular warmth the dawg vaguely
remembered the other carrying. “I’m Dr. Leitch . . . and I
believe you’ve all ready met my assistant, Dr. Roberts.
You’ll meet the rest of the team in a little while.”
Roberts shot a glance at Jonathan, but nothing more. He was
a tan-fured kat with dark brown hair in maybe his early
thirties, much taller and simmer than Leitch.
“Before we explain what’s going to happen, I need to check
a few things from our records . . .,” Leitch adjusted his
glasses to he could read from his clipboard better.
“Jonathan, you are . . . ten years old now?”
The dawg nodded.
“And your parents are deceased? Since you were three?”
“How long have you been without a foster family?”
“Two years, I think.”
“Any sort of employment?”
“I shined some shoes–when I got hungry enough.”
Leitch made a note of all the responses, “And can you read?
Did you have any sort of formal schooling?”
“When I was with the foster family, yeah. I just can’t see
the words on the page.”
“Dr. Roberts mentioned that. You’re farsighted?”
He shrugged, “If it means you can’t see the little stuff —
“When was the last time you had a pair of glasses?”
“Foster family — but I grew out of ’em about a year ago.”
“We’ll have to get you some. And this illness of yours . .
.,” Leitch bent down closer to him, not an easy task for
someone his age. “How long have had your cough?”
“I dunno. Maybe a month.”
“And the fever?”
“Does it look like I got a thermometer in my pocket?”
Jonathan rebuked, sounding tired and agitated.
Leitch frowned, and turned back to Roberts, whispering
close to him, “I want a complete medical inspection. Find
out what the kid has and cure it — we can’t start testing
until he’s perfectly healthy.”
“So we’ll be using him?” Roberts asked, in a softer voice.
“He’s fine — just as long as he’s not sick. It’s not like
he’s going to be missed anyway,” Leitch indicated the file
he had on his clipboard. “Dad died before he was born, and
the mom of cancer. He’s been in and out of foster homes
since he was three. No major loss to society, whatever
Roberts glanced back at Jonathan, who was silent except for
an occastional cough, “I’ll see that he gets a full
“Right,” with that, the older scientist was satisfied, and
bade his good-byes. Roberts sighed and turned back to the
“C’mon, kid — let’s get you better.” He gestured toward
the door, and it took a moment before Jonathan was able to
pick himself off the bed and follow.
Jonathan was repeatedly impressed by the facilities of the
laboratory. It was made up, mainly, by seemingly endless
white hallways with endless rows of doors leading to rooms
or possibly other hallways. A few were open, and he could
see into the rooms with white-coated scientists hunched over
microscopes or test tubes, taking notes and muttering to
each other in some kind of technical language the dawg was
oblivious to. A few glanced at him in his passing with Dr.
Roberts. He was, after all, an oddity — a homeless pup in a
sea of white coats and glasses. Nearly everyone was wearing
some sort of security pass cliped to their clothes or on a
ring around their neck. He himself had one, though he
couldn’t read the finer print on it without the glasses
they’d promised him, and he doubted he would understand it,
“Hell of a place you got here,” he remarked to Roberts.
“Where am I, exactly?”
“Oh,” he said blankly. “No, *where* is it?”
“You’re in Maryland–very close to the district of
“Slept a long time, didn’t I?”
“Yup,” Roberts stopped in front of a doorway to push a
series of buttons on the pad key. A moment later, there was
a minor beeping sound, and he pushed the door open. He led
the dawg through another hallway, and finally into another
room with a bed and a table full of doctor’s equipment. “Dr.
Bartol is going to take a look at you in a few minutes — so
just hop on the bed and wait.”
He did as commanded, still queezy and happy to be off his
feet, “Jeez — does everybody have a ‘doc’ in front of their
Roberts shrugged, “Most of us *do* have doctorates — it’s
pretty much a requirement to work here.”
“So what am I supposed to call you guys? I was gonna just
call you ‘doc’ but there’s too many of you.”
He smiled, “Whatever’s comfortable. I’ll be back.” With
that, he left the room, obviously to talk to someone or get
something. Jonathan swung is legs back and forth over the
‘Might not be so bad after all,’ he mused to himself.
After what seemed like an extense examination, to Jonathan
at least, Dr. Bartol came to the conclusion that he had a
prolonged double-illness of broncitus and a minor strain of
the flu, and began medication immediately.
Most of Jonathan’s days were compiled — for the next few
weeks — of taking pills, getting his system used to three
meals a day, and study sessions. After he recieved a pair of
working glasses, Dr. Leitch wanted to know his intelligence
level in every subject. He read out loud and wrote
paragraphs on what he read, did dozens of addition and
subtraction problems, and even a few ‘mind games’ — as the
doctors put it — that he couldn’t seem to see the use for.
One involved trying to work his way through this maze on the
computer before this mouse did in a cage beside him.
“What the hell do I give a damn about how fast the mouse
can get through the damn maze and I can’t?” he demanded,
frustrated with the game.
“It measures your reaction time on the problem-solving
sections of your brain,” Dr. Roberts explained.
Jonathan shot him a look, and he just laughed.
Dr. Roberts was probably the doctor he saw the most. Though
Dr. Leitch was the head of the project, Roberts was
apparently assigned to keep a closer and more personal watch
on him. He was present for most of the medical examinations,
and the teacher for almost all of the study sessions.
Jonathan decided he liked him early on, since he seemed to
be the only one experienced with dealing with anyone under
eighteen and the most understanding. He tended to ask a lot
of questions about his kids — one four, the other two —
and his wife. Roberts made a note on his clipboard —
“facination with family.”
But the weeks passed, and no sooner had Jonathan gotten
adjusted to the atmosphere did his sicknesses disappate.
Roberts seemed a little hesitant whenever Leitch mentioned
beginning the ‘injections,’ but Jonathan couldn’t help but
notice the scientist was doing his best to hide it in front
of the dawg.
‘Lab Report – January 29th, 1981 – Dr. Daniel Roberts.’
‘Dr. Leitch has recieved the clearance from the commitee to
go forward with the project — much to his expectance, for
he feels the subject has been ready for several days now.
The subject will now begin to be exposed to the syrum, which
Dr. Leitch and I have both had paws in setting up on a
pattern of size and concentration in fluid.’
It wasn’t like Jonathan hadn’t been warned. The original
agreement in the shelter mentioned the tests, and Roberts
had been hinting it for most of the time, but otherwise the
dawg had been told little or nothing about the actual
procedure. All he knew was he was testing ‘medicine.’
Heading to Jonathan’s room that morning, Roberts wondered
if he should have told him more — like what he was taking,
and why. Dr. Leitch’s commands required him to lie about the
syrum’s contents and their knowledge of its effects if the
question came up, which he was not fond of doing, but
Roberts now seriously doubted the dawg knew what the word
“Jonathan?” he tapped on the door, and heard the faint
sounds of movement inside.
“Come in,” came the usual tone, and Roberts stepped inside.
Jonathan was sitting cross-legged on his bed, reading one of
the newer books that had been given to him. He was wide
awake — which probably had something to do with the fact
that he’d been told yesterday.
“Do you know what today is?” Roberts casually began to
clean up what was left of the breakfast, setting it all back
on the tray. His voice was still an attempted mask at
Roberts released a tense laugh, “Not quite. C’mon, kid —
you gotta show them your stuff.”
Jonathan shot him a skeptical look, and set his book aside.
Calmly and quietly, he followed him outside.
Dr. Leitch was still looking over the jar racks containing
various, diluted dosages of a yellow liquid. He rubbed his
eyes tiredly, going back over his notes to check and requeck
and measurements. He didn’t look up when he felt a shadow
hover over him in the already-darkened room.
“Good morning, Dr. Leitch.”
He finally looked up at the foreboding presence of a tall,
well-built kat. His fur was tan, and his hair a dark brown.
His pudge face was already beginning to show signs of
wrinkles. He was clocked in a large, blank trenchcoat.
“What do you want?” the scientist sounded annoyed.
The unnervingly-calm kat pulled a cigarrete out of a pocket
of his trenchcoat, and a lighter out of the other, “Only to
see that everything goes well.”
“It’ll be fine. I’ve had the first dosage measured out for
a week,” he reached for a syringe and a small bottle.
“It had better, Dr. Leitch. You know how much we want this
project to be a success,” ignoring the ‘thank you for not
smoking near the equipment’ sign, the kat lit up his
cigarette and inhaled deeply.
Jonathan began to feel his own stomach butterflies when
Roberts brought him to a section of the labs he had never
been in. In front of them was a heavy, metal door. Roberts
took both their ID cards and slid them into a slot. Seconds
later, the cards popped out, and the door opened with a
The dawg swallowed. He always worse his ID, but had never
had a reason to use it before. The door opened to a dark
lab, filled on the walls with desks and shelves brimming
with test tubes, microscopes, and other tools of science.
Dr. Leitch was hunched over the main desk, illuminated by a
small desk light. The only other light, this one much
brighter, was right over an examination table in the center
of the room. Aside from a few various lab technicians, the
only other notable figure was a kat in the corner he had
never seen before, smoking peacefully to himself.
“Who’s that guy?” he whispered to Roberts.
The scientist purposely didn’t seem to hear him, “Get up on
the table, Jonathan.”
Keeping a careful eye on the kat in the shadows, he
hesitantly climbed up on the table. It was slanted on a
fifty-five degree angle, roughly. As soon as he managed to
get up, two of the lab technicians began to strap him down,
securing him to the table.
“Is isn’t gonna *hurt*, is it?” He asked to Roberts, who
had chosen to remain beside him.
“Hopefully not,” The scientist didn’t want to lie, but he
could see the fear in the young boy’s eyes. “It’s just one
“Just one — injecction?!” His eyes widened further, as he
saw Dr. Leitch rise from his desk with a syringe in paw.
“You didn’t tell me there were gonna be *needles* — !”
“Now, Jonathan, relax — it’s just a prick — ”
The dawg began to squirm under his bonds, “Don’t you come
never me WITH THAT NEEDLE–!”
“*Jonathan* — ” Roberts grabbed one shoulder, pinning it
down, as technician rushed in on the other side.
“GET AWAY FROM ME — ” He continued to struggle, regardless
that Leitch was beside him.
“Jonathan,” Roberts used a softer voice now, trying to
comfort him as the dawg shut his eyes and continued
screaming his head off. Without hesitation, Leitch brought
the needle up to the fur and made the puncture in the skin
layer of his arm.
“NO! I WANT OUT — ”
With the needle in, Leitch tightened his grip with is thumb
over the end of the syringe.
“PLEASE NO — !”
The clear yellow liquid was driven home.
“NO . . .!” The end of Jonathan’s attempted sentence was
cut off by a moan, and a twist of facial features in sharp
confusion. His body began to convulse and he was sweating
bullets. “Ugh . . .”
The scientists all backed off now, waiting to see the
result of the syrum’s presence in his system. He continued
to convulse, thrashing around under his straps.
After several minutes, the shaking settled, and he rested
his back against the metal. Groaning softly, he twisted his
head to look up at Roberts, who doubted he could see him
with the glassy, drugged look in his eyes.
“Jonathan?” The scientist probed, quietly. “How many claws
am I holding up?” He help up two claws, which the dawg
stared at curiously.
Roberts’ voice was low and distilled to Jonathan, under the
effects of the syrum now. The light above him made
everything hazy, and his body had long-since gone rather
limp. He could sort of make out the words, something about
paw, but was unable to answer. Whatever he tried to say came
out in a gutteral sound far from comprehension.
“Can you hear me?”
At last, after a minute of failed attempts, he managed to
sputter out, “Hurts.”
He was beginning to slip back into control again, the
initial high of the syrum done with its climax, “Tingles.”
“Whole body,” he twisted, but only a little. “Hurts like
“Can you feel any find of change? Aside from the pain?”
Leitch asked now, taking notes with his clipboard.
Jonathan looked at him skeptically, and Leitch backed off,
towards his desk. Roberts began to loosen the straps, with
the dawg much too weak to go anywhere.
“You’re not gonna do that again . . . are you?” Though the
speech was still partially slirred, Jonathan was definitely
recovering from the high.
“That depends on what we can learn from how you react to
it,” the scientist answered, not wanting to come out and say
‘yes, we’re going to do it every day.’ He was relieved that
Jonathan had survived somewhat well from the looks of it,
“Do you still feel the tingling?”
“Yeah . . . all over,” the dawg attempted to pull himself
off the table, but nearly collapsed on the floor in the
Roberts caught him, “Easy.” He set the table back at a flat
angle, and helped him back up onto it in sitting position.
“I don’t think your legs are ready to hold you yet.”
“Can I have my glasses back now?”
Roberts nodded to a technician, who fetched the glasses
that had been set aside before the injecction. Jonathan took
them from him, and as he held them in his paws before
setting them back on the bridge of his snout, Roberts
noticed his paws were still shaking.
“How do you feel now?”
“You gonna keep askin’ that every five minutes? Still
tingles,” he retorted, obviously a little crabby over what
he’d been made to go through.
Dr. Leitch returned from his table, taking a good look at
the dawg in his shaken state before turning to Roberts, “I
want a medical examination and a blood sample. After *that*
get can go to bed,” the authorative tone broke down whatever
disapproving look was on Roberts’ face. “When he wakes up I
want a physical update and another blood sample.”
Jonathan made a face; he’d seen enough needles for one day,
but Roberts took his paw firmly, “C’mon, kid — you did
well.” With that he led him out of the room, and the kat in
the shadows was forgotten.
‘Lab Report – Feburary 6th, 1981 – Dr. Daniel Roberts’
‘The subject has recieved a daily dosage of the syrum
according to schedule for the last week. During this period
of time he seems to have begun to become accostemed to the
injecction, because the more painful and apparent side
effects–such as convultions and haluccenagentic indicative
actions — have calmed down considerably with every dosage.’
‘Dr. Leitch has slowly been increasing the amounts
steadily, but under the advisory of myself and status
superior colleges he has slowed the accelaration so that we
may better observe the signs of change that are beginning to
“‘Outside, even the-re-ogh’ — ”
” — ‘even through the shut window pane, the whirl’ — ”
” — ‘world looked cold. Down in the street little eddites’
— yeah, that’s right, isn’t it? Eddies?” He looked up at
his tutor, who nodded approvingly, and he continued, “‘of
wind were worlding’ — ”
” — ‘were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and
the-re-ogh–through–the sun was shining — ”
Through the one-way mirror on the wall between Jonathan’s
room and an observation laboratory, Roberts and Leitch were
watching as the dawg attempted to read to his tutor. Both
scientists found it facinating as to how fast Jonathan was
beginning to pick things up.
“You really think the syrum is working? Or are we just the
first ones to try and educate him?” Roberts had to ask
“Absolutely,” Leitch jotted something down in his notepad
as Jonathan stumbled over the word ‘mustachio’d.’ “A
ten-year-old reading ‘1984’? And that isn’t the only
change.” He referred to his notes again, but Roberts’ eyes
remained glued on the inner room. “His t-RNA and m-RNA are
working overtime. His blood samples show he’s producing
proteins at a 40% rate above normal — even for a child.
There’s a tremendous build-up of muscle proteins near the
skin, indicating the growth of some kind of extra skin layer
that may prove to be — ”
“You still don’t think we’re moving too fast? He’s just a
boy, Dr. Leitch.”
“That’s the reason his system can take this kind of shock
— his young body is *used* to growth. We’re just
accelerating the process in different ways.”
“But mentally? It’s a lot to throw at him, isn’t it?”
“What are you worried about, Daniel? That we’re going to
turn him into a robot?”
Roberts sighed, but shook his head, “He’s just . . . not a
genius, Dr. Leitch.”
“Maybe he is — now, anyway,” Leitch made a note on his
clipboard. “Remind me to give him an IQ test.”
He sighed again, more heavily this time, and kept his eyes
glued to the tutoring session.
“Doc?” Jonathan used his pet name for Roberts, snapping the
scientist out of his reverie as he watched the dawg finish
up dinner. Everyone else was ‘doc *something*’ — he was
just doc. “What’s gonna to happen to me?”
“What?” His train of thought broken, it took Roberts a
moment to recover. “What do you mean?”
He played with the contents of the plate with his fork was
he spoke, “I mean . . . you know how I’m . . . *changing*.”
“C’mon, Doc–everybody’s talking about it. Especially Doc
Leitch. I’m *different.*”
“What — do you mean how the speed of how you’re picking
things up is accelerating?”
The dawg nodded, “And other stuff . . . Doc Leitch was
babbling the other day about that IQ test thing, and how I
beat the mouse at the maze, and all this stuff about
proteins and most of the other stuff he says that I can’t
understand but I’m sure it’s about me. Is that syrum making
Roberts inhaled, and shifted his weight around, “Yes — we
“We don’t know.”
“Why not? I mean, you’re the ones taking all the notes — ”
He shook his head, “It’s not just that, Jonathan . . . your
body–not just your brain — is going through some . . .
changes . . . that we don’t really understand yet. That’s
why you have to have so many examinations and blood samples
“Oh,” His eyes widened. “When are you *gonna* know?”
“We have a basic idea . . .”
Jonathan looked as though he was waiting for an answer.
“Well . . . you’ll probably only get so much smarter, from
the way it looks in the progression rate. Your brain isn’t
really ready for it because you’re so young. Your body, on
the other paw, will probably continue to advance in ways we
haven’t been able to predict yet.”
“So *then* what’s gonna happen to me? After the
He was clearly talking about whether they were going to
throw him on the welcome mat of another homeless shelter or
“We really haven’t thought too much about it yet. If the
effects prove to be permanate . . . you may stay here. You
would be schooled by a series of tutors, and then I suppose
would end up as a scientist. Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t wanna go back to the streets.”
“That’s understandable. Perhaps we’ll find you a — ”
“And I *don’t* wanna go to a foster home,” he rejected
Roberts shrugged, “I suppose we could find someone to adopt
you more *permanately* . . .”
“Can I stay with you?”
The scientist was taken back greatly by this question, “Ahh
. . . I don’t think so.”
“Why not? The scientist could still look at me and stuff
because I’d be real close — ”
“No, no, no,” sadly, he slumped down on the bed beside him.
“As much as I’d love to have you . . . I don’t think my wife
would love it if I suddenly came home with a third kid.”
“So tell her *now*.”
“Jonathan . . . it’s just not that *simple.*”
“Because . . .,” he sighed, slightly aggrevated, ” . . .
it’s not. It’s something you’ll understand when you’re
“Will I understand it if I keep taking the syrum?”
“No . . . Jonathan, some things only come with experience .
. . and that’s just something you don’t have yet.”
Jonathan groaned in unsatisfactory, and Roberts made a
gesture towards the sheets, “I think you’d better get some
sleep . . . we’re up past lights out all ready.”
The dawg climbed in under the covers, “Are they gonna raise
my dosage tomorrow?”
Roberts stopped by the door, now on his way out, surprised
that he cared about it, “Maybe . . . I haven’t spoken to Dr.
Leitch about it yet. Why?”
“Because if you raise it too fast, I’ll finish changing and
have to leave. I don’t wanna do that yet,” He rolled over on
his side. “G’night, Doc.”
“Goodnight, Jonathan,” Roberts shut the lights out, and
closed the door quietly behind him.
‘Lab Report – Feburary 14th, 1981 – Dr. Daniel Roberts’
‘In the two weeks that the subject has been exposed to the
syrum, he has shown tremendous progress in all areas of
study, along with some more hidden physical changes
involving the toughing of his skin and formation of muscles
ahead of his age.’
‘I, along with many of my colleges, am concerned about his
mental health in the process. His IQ seems to be
accelerating expodentially, and has begun to effect his mood
and character. Some of us wonder whether this is dangerous
to a ten-year-old child, and today we will submit our
request to slow the raise in dosages to Dr. Leitch.’
“What the hell are you talking about!?”
Dr. Leitch was mad — no, specifically, frothing mad. One
could practically see the steam shooting from his ears.
Dr. Bartol backed off, but remained calm, “I was merely
making the suggestion — ”
” — that could destroy everything we’ve worked for!”
They were in the soundproof observation lab next to
Jonathan’s room. The dawg was reading quietly in his,
unaware of the calamic arguement occuring a few feet away.
Bartol continued, “If you’d let me finish — ”
“If it provides some decent explanation for your ludicrous
request, go ahead.”
The medical doctor sighed in frustration, “I think we’re
advancing too quickly. Jonathan is beginning to show signs
of mental maturity beyond his years — ”
“So why is that a bad thing?”
” — which simply isn’t healthy for a ten-year-old — or
anyone under eighteen, for that matter! All of the sudden he
has the eliquent speech of someone with a doctorate, he
reads philosophy books and can understand the underlying
themes in ‘1984,’ but inside he’s still emotionally a child.
Now, one of these days those emotions are going to catch up
with him and he’s not going to know how to handle it!”
“Oh, if you wanted to deal with morals you never should’ve
signed to this project, Bartol!” Leitch stormed about the
lab angrily. “We’re not babying a homeless kid by feeding
and clothing him for a month, then giving him two aspirin
and having him tell us how he feels in the morning! This is
research for scientific advancement!”
“You’re not advancing if your subject is driven crazy by
his own feelings!” He turned to Roberts, “Help me here!”
Roberts chose to remain calm, “I’ll back it. If you
continue at this rate, you risk an interior build-up of
suppressed emotions caused by mood swings from the syrum
that could result in mental breakdown. If we slow the
process, we might be able to avoid it, and maybe undo some
of the damage we’ve done.”
Dr. Leitch scrowled, but was silent, and was still
contemplating the matter when a knock came from the door,
Jonathan, to their surprise, was there. In the rush of the
arguement they hadn’t noticed he’d left his own room.
“Jonathan! You’re supposed to be reading!” Roberts rushed
up to him, trying to kind of block him from entering the
room — or he might notice the one-way mirror on the wall.
“What are you doing here?”
“I heard the shouting and I wanted to see what it was
Leitch made a note, ‘Improved hearing,’ “We were just
having a . . . discussion.”
“Oh,” Jonathan looked at them as if they were queer. “Well,
could you keep it down? I am trying to read.”
“We didn’t know,” Roberts defended. “The room was supposed
to be soundproof.”
“It isn’t. So could you keep it down?”
“You can seriously hear us?” Leitch asked, curious.
“Yes, I can. What is the problem?”
He mumbled in response and continued to scribble something
on his clipboard.
“Jonathan,” Roberts began, inching him further out the
door. “I’m going to wake you up a little later tomorrow.”
“Because, we’ve decided some of the dosages have been a
little too . . . demanding . . . and we’re going to slow
down — and skip a dose tomorrow.” He didn’t glance back at
Leitch, who was probably seething.
“Really?” He didn’t say it with any sort of exciement or
letdown, just a kind of matter-of-fact tone.
“Yes. So go get some sleep, and don’t be alarmed if you
wake up on your own and it’s later than usual. We’ll try and
keep quiet,” He nearly pushed him out, leading him to his
room. “Good night.”
“Good night,” still looking at his quizzically, Jonathan
let himself in his room and shut out the door behind him.
When Roberts came in his room the following morning, he
could instantly tell something was wrong. Jonathan was
sitting up in bed, reading his latest book. He didn’t look
well at all.
“Are you feeling all right, Jonathan?” He sat down on the
bed beside him. Jonathan was sweating and had a pale tint to
his body. The scientist felt his forehead, and fever was
evident. “How long have you been awake?”
“Since eight,” Jonathan put down his book. “I didn’t feel
this way when I woke up, though. Only in the last hour or
so.” His eyes quivered and blinked, and Roberts noticed they
were slightly bloodshot. “Can I have my injecction now?”
“Not if you’re sick. Come on,” He helped him sit up with
his legs over the side.
“Get yourself dressed and meet me outside. Dr. Bartol needs
to take a look at you before we do anything.”
Jonathan nodded, and stiffly dressed himself. His movements
were awkward and seemed as though they were induced by pain.
‘I don’t understand how he could get this sick overnight,’
Roberts wondered as he led him down the hallway. ‘Maybe the
syrum was keeping him to some disease in the air so we
didn’t see the signs of infection until the syrum got a
chance to wear off . . .’
Jonathan, still wary, managed to make it to Dr. Bartol’s
examination table somehow, and the doctor preceeded with an
“Symptoms?” he asked, taking the dawg’s blood pressure and
finding it rather high.
“Chills and the fact that I’m shaking all over, mainly,”
his patient shivered. “My eyes burn, and my body aches like
“No stuffy nose?” Bartol got in closer with a light. “It
can’t be the flu, then.” He jotted down something on a
notepad, then faced Roberts. “He didn’t get his dosage of
the syrum today, did he?”
“When does he typically get it?”
“On the nose.”
Bartol nodded curiously, stroked his chin for several
minutes, then said at last, “I hate to admit it, but this
looks something like . . . withdrawl.”
“You know. Lack of required substance to sustain the body.
The shakes, the chills,” he patted Jonathan’s shoulder. “And
these are probably only the early signs of it — it’s only
been two and a half hours.”
“I can’t believe we didn’t put addiction into consideration
earlier,” Leitch thought out loud, pacing in front of the
table where Jonathan sat. “Yet it seems so logical now . .
“Can I have my injecction now?” The dawg, shivering and
tugging his body tightly now, spoke with a thin and reedy
“Just a minute,” Despite Roberts’ look of impatient
toward’s Leitch’s refusal to grant to request, the head
scientist produced an empty syringe. “I want to take a blood
sample to see what’s happening inside his body.”
Jonathan willingly held out his arm, desperate now to
listen to anything if it meant getting his dosage. Leitch
drew the blood, slowly and carefully, and his scrutinizing
manner while setting the blood on a slide and observing it
under a microscope only made his subject’s anger rise.
“*Please*,” he begged again, now with a slightly colder
“Daniel — how long has it been since his last dosage?”
Roberts checked his watch, “Twenty-seven hours.”
“Interesting,” the scientist, still in no hurry, finally
retrieved a syringe with the next dosage prepared in it.
Relief washed over Jonathan’s face when he approached him,
but Leitch made no move to inject it. “It almost makes me
wonder — ”
“*Please*!” he pleaded. “Give it to me!” His breathing had
become heavy and uneven.
“Hold on just a minute–”
Jonathan could wait no longer. His paw struck out, grabbing
the paw of the scientist containing the syringe, “GIVE TO TO
Before anyone could react, Leitch gave out a sharp yell,
surprised by the strength of the fist that was crushing in
his own paw. He let go of the syringe, which dropped to the
floor with an audible *crash* and the soft sound of glass
“No . . .,” Jonathan, with a horrified look on his face,
released Leitch’s paw and jumped on the table, kneeling
beside the puddle of yellow liquid. “*No*. . .”
Angrily, he turned to Leitch, “You have to make another
“Another dosage, yes,” he was still grasping his injured
paw. “It’ll take hours to mix up . . .”
“*No,*” the dawg said coldly. “You have to make one NOW!”
He lunged towards Leitch, obviously induced by his fever and
state of illness, but Roberts finally managed to slip out of
shock fast enough to grab him and hold him back, inches from
the other scientist. Jonathan trashed out and shouted under
his captor’s hold.
“Get the technicians!” he ordered to Leitch. He was having
problems holding the dawg back — he wondered where the
strange amont of strength was coming from, and attributed it
to those new muscles they hadn’t tested yet. Within minutes
the technicians arrived, one with a hypodermic needle he
immediately injected into Jonathan. The subject slumped
under Roberts’ grasp, feeling instantaniously the effects of
the sedative, and would have landed on the floor had another
tech not caught him. Still partially awake but unable to
move much, he was strapped down to the table while someone
attended to Leitch’s paw.
“Bloody beggar,” Leitch snorted as his paw was bandaged.
“He just wanted the syrum, Dr. Leitch,” Roberts said
calmly. “How long do you think it’ll take to make another
“Maybe an hour or so,” he practically spat out his words.
“And it was *you* who wanted to slow it down . . . so now we
proved we can’t. Are you satisfied?”
Roberts sighed, watching the dawg weakly struggle against
his restraints and give up. The sedative slowed his
movements, but it was easy to see he was still in pain.
The scientist patted him on the shoulder, “It’s going to be
all right . . . we’ll get you your syrum . . . just wait.”
Jonathan moaned softly, and Roberts couldn’t help but fee a
twinge of guilt for his position.
‘Lab Report – Feburary 21st, 1981 – Dr. Daniel Roberts.’
‘Since the erratic behavior of the subject when he was
denied his regular injecction, we have made sure to have the
right amount of syrum on time. To date, he has had no futher
Dr. Leitch was leaning over his notes, apparently trying to
compute something, when Roberts walked in. The older kat
looked up and noticed him.
“Daniel! How’s the subject?”
He shrugged, “Fine.”
“Good, good,” he referred to his notes again. “I’ve noticed
his intellectual pogression rate has begun to slow down
lately. Have you?”
“Maybe it’s too much on him. A ten-year-old can only get so
Leitch clicked his tongue, “There you go, Daniel — always
worrying. Well, we’re down on dosages since that unfortunate
spill,” he rubbed his paw, still sprained and bandaged, “so
I’ll have to order up some more from the storage facilities.
It should get here before we run out.”
“That, actually, was what I came to ask about . . .,”
Roberts shifted his weight from foot to foot, and stared at
the ground before lifting his head. “He is an addict . . .
so what happens when we *do* run out? The storages only have
to much, and we can’t make more . . .”
“They have more than you imagine, Daniel. But even so . . .
I suppose we’ll begin a program sooner or later of dosage
decreases until he can live without it. But . . . we’ll
cross that bridge when we come to it, won’t we?”
Dr. Leitch was signing in a package a few days later when
he noticed something missing on the ‘in’ list. Curiously, he
checked and double-checked, but it wasn’t there.
“Excuse me,” He tapped on the shoulder of the delivery boy,
who was carrying in another box from his truck. “Isn’t there
something missing from this list?”
“Huh?” He glanced at it. “No, sir.”
“But there was a shipment from a storage facility in New
Mexico that was supposed to come today — yesterday,
actually. It’s already late.”
The delivery boy shrugged, “Can’t help you, sir. The mail’s
been on time lately. You may want to call the facility and
ask if they sent it.”
“I’ll do that — thanks.”
Leitch checked his answering machine as soon as he entered
his office, and frowned. No return calls so far for his
message left on the answering machine in New Mexico. The
package still hadn’t come, too, and they were down to their
He was about to turn around and go back to the laboratory
when he noticed smoke — cigarrete smoke, specfically —
something from behind his chair, which was wheeled so it
faced the window and had its tall back to the desk.
“Dr. Leitch . . .,” the occupant of his desk chair spun
around, and he recognized him immediately. “How is the
project? I’ve been reading up on Dr. Roberts’ reports and
finding them very interesting.”
He was, however, in no mood for small talk, “Where is the
next batch of syrum?”
The kat stood, puffing on his cigarrete. “That’s why I came
down — in case I had to be the one to deliver the bad
“Bad news?” he questioned impatiently. “Where is the
“Didn’t you hear?” he said nonchalantly. “There is no
“What *the hell* are you talking about?” his voice rose,
but only slightly. “I saw the whole storage two months ago.
There’s no other subjects. We’re not selling it to anyone,
“Not exactly,” he remained calm, despite the nervousness
growing in Leitch as the scientist realized the situation.
“You see, our ‘donaters’ decided to play a little game with
us, apparently. The chemical was one that would
spontaniously deteriorate after a period of months of being
exposed to our air — that is, if not in the syrum form.”
“So all the chemicals in storage — ”
” — have all dissolved in the last fourty-eight hours.
There is no more, Dr. Leitch, aside from what you have in
The scientist stood for a minute, grappling with his words,
“B-But what about the subject — today was the last dosage
“Then it seems Mr. Weissman is in a predicament, isn’t he?”
He took another puff. “Normally, since he cannot be released
in fear that he might go to local authorities about what
happened hear, and we cannot put him up for the rest of his
life, he would be . . . taken care of. However, since your
findings conclude that without the syrum he would die within
a period of fourty-eight hours after his last dose . . .”
“You’re not going to kill him . . . you’re going to let him
kill himself,” Leitch couldn’t believe his own words as he
“But . . . he would be in pain — ”
The kat put out his light in and set it on the marble
desktop, “Then I suppose you could hurry the process . . .
but that’s your decision.”
He made a movement towards the door, but the scientist
lurched out in front of him, “Wait — I have an assistant
who won’t take well to this.”
“Then I suggest you give him the day off tomorrow.”
The kat left silently, leaving Leitch to his own horrified
Jonathan began to sense something was wrong around
eight-thirty. He had been told previously that someone else
would come to get him in the morning because Roberts had
been given the day off, but they were supposed to be on
time. He paced his tiny room, anxiously.
Around nine he began to feel the first tinglings of
withdrawl, and started to wonder if he should go find out
for himself. The rule was he was not allowed around the
facilities without an adult, but he had the security pass
regardless, anyway. Putting on his glasses, he read the
words in block print over his photograph : “ALL SECURITY
ACCESS.” That mean he could go wherever he wanted, right?
At nine-thirty he had prepped himself enough to try it.
Leaving his room, he found little resistence with the door.
Outside, the hallways were a mess with technicians running
to and fro, and he had his second sense of add happenings.
Things looked more busied than usual — but luckily for him
to the point where no one seemed to notice he was walking
The only place he had to use his pass, in fact, was of
course the entrance to the laboratory where he recieved his
injecctions. He slipped the card and punched in the set of
numbers he had seen Roberts use so many times. It opened,
thankfully, and he let himself in.
“Dr. Leitch?” Only his voice managed to knock the
apparently overworked Leitch out of his reverie over a file
“Jonathan!” He sounded surprised. “What are you doing
“Wasn’t I supposed to be here around an hour and a half
“Ah, yes . . .,” Leitch frantically hurried around the
room, going through one shelf after another and opening
cabinet after cabinet.
‘How could he forget?’ “Can I have it now?”
“Ah . . . no.”
The scientist momentarily stopped his rushing around,
inhaled deeply, and faced the dawg sadly, “I’m afraid I have
some bad news . . . There isn’t any more.”
“*WHAT*?” he said again, with greater disbelief. He studied
Leitch for moment, “You’re serious.”
“Perfectly. It seems our storage center has been
contaminated . . . and . . .”
“What’s going to happen to *me*?”
“Well . . . you’ll probably go into withdrawl . . .”
” . . . *and* . . .?”
The scientist grappled with the words, “And . . . you might
survive. We’ve never tested it . . . but . . .”
“I’ll probably die,” the dawg muttered, still partially
“Now, now . . .,” Leitch bent down to meet him eye level.
“We’re searching for more of the syrum. I think there’s
probably another dose somewhere in the facilities. I have
every team member on it — we’ll find you another dose.” He
patted him on the back, “You go . . . busy yourself and
we’ll call you when we find something or order up some
painkillers. Get your mind off it, okay?”
Jonathan smiled, almost mockingly, and exited silently.
‘Lab Report – Feburary 23rd, 1981 – Dr. Archibold Leitch’
‘In Dr. Roberts’ absence, it has come to my authority to
make an emergency report.’
‘No more of the syrum has been located within the faculty
or any more of the chemicals in the storage facilities. The
subject has begun, in the last few hours, to go into
continously worse stages. He has complained severely of pain
beyond our medicine’s ability to sooth, and frequently goes
into goes into convulsions that make him almost violent. I
will hesitate no longer to continue with the suggested
solution by my superior.’
The kat looked up from his lab desk at the sound of him
name, seeing two technicians enter. Each had their paw
around one of Jonathan’s arms. He seemed to struggle weakly
against them, in a state of hallucenegenic agony. He noticed
Leitch with his bloodshot eyes, and relief washed over his
sickly pale face.
“Did you find the syrum?” He wiggled excitedly, but they
held him strong. “Please . . . give it to me . . .”
Stoicly the scientist responded, “Strap him down.”
“You *have it*?” The dawg practially shook with nervous
agitation as he allowed himself to be tied down. “Oh please,
*please* . . .” Had his glasses not been removed by a tech,
he might’ve noticed the large bottle Dr. Leitch lifted down
from the shelf was not the syrum. The skull beside the
red-lettered warning label on the bottle should have been
enough of an indicator of its contents.
Leitch nodded to the techs when Jonathan was secured, “You
can go.” Slowly and carefully, he found a clean syringe and
began to load the bottle’s contents into the tube as they
“What is it, doctor?” Jonathan questioned. “I can take a
needle now–why do I have to be tied–” He stopped short
when he could see Leitch turn to face him, syringe in hand.
The contents were not of the yellow color of the syrum.
“*That’s* not the syrum . . . doctor, what’s going on?”
Leitch said nothing, and advanced towards him ever so
“Doctor?” The dawg struggled to prompt himself up by his
elbows, but he was secured with his back to the table. “What
is that? You’re not going to put something in me that you
wouldn’t tell me about, *right*?”
“Jonathan,” the scientist began calmly, but the wavering in
his voice could be sensed as he checked the needle over, now
directly beside the table, “you realize what’s going to
happen . . . in the next twenty-four hours . . . if left
“I want to know what’s in that needle, doc — ”
He swallowed, “Your body will probably begin to break down
. . . your vital organs will stop functioning . . . but
you’d probably be in a coma by then, because you can’t take
that kind of pain. At least . . . that’s what the charts
indicate . . . Your end if near, my boy . . .”
“*DOC* — ”
“And I want to make it make it easier . . .,” he lowered
the syringe in his shaking paw so the needle lined up with
the targetted arm. “I don’t want you to be in pain for
nothing . . . I know Roberts wouldn’t . . .” He exhaled,
intent on steadying himself for his black work. “I hope
you’ll forgive me . . . some day . . . ”
Jonathan’s eyes widened when he realized what he was
talking about, “DOC . . . DON’T COME NEAR ME . . .!”
Closing his eyes, Leitch drove the needle in, but did not
injecct the fluid.
“DOC . . . I DON’T WANT TO DIE — !”
His claw closed over and tightened on the needle’s trigger.
“NO — ,” Jonathan lurched around under his restraints,
feeling the fluid inside him. “*NO*!” The second shout was a
less pleading, more angered one. Without warning and with an
unforseen strength, he tore the straps out from the sides of
the table–freeing his limbs.
His first instinct was to knock Leitch away, sending the
scientist straight into the wall. Infuriated, he tore the
needle from his skin and hurled it across the room, letting
it smash against the wall and the remaining fluid to fall
onto Leitch’s head. Jonathan threw himself off the table,
landing unsteadily on two feet. He ran for the bottle on the
desk, and read its label with a voice wavering in pitch in
“Sodium . . .chlorite? . . . this is poison . . .” His
anger rose in his voice again, and he slammed the bottle
into Leitch, who was curled up against the wall now. “YOU
TRIED TO POISON ME — !”
“Now Jonathan, *please* . . . it was for the good — ”
“FOR THE GOOD!” His features red with hate, he grabbed the
scientist and threw him back across the room, his body
crashing into the table.
He had time to do little else, when the technicians stormed
in through the door. Acting purely on instincts, he ducked
out while the metal door was opened, slipping between the
two of them. Before they had a chance to realize as to what
was going on, he was gone.
“Don’t just stand there!” Leitch, partially recovering,
stood and leaned against the table. “*Find him*!”
It had not occured to Jonathan to find an escape route
previously, being he’d never given the matter much thought
and had rarely been beyond the hallways designated for his
passage in getting from one lab room to another. The place
was brimming with technicians at all hours, and he had no
idea as to the size of the complex or where it was located
on a map.
He practically flew by the technicians, most of them
unaware of his plight’s reason and the techs already in
pursuit. He turned down another hallway, then another . . .
same white walls, same side rooms. There was almost no way
to tell his direction.
Jonathan was beginning to feel as though he was slipping
ahead when he hit a dead end corridor. Spinning around, he
heard the sound of boots on the waxed floor, and to his
horror several soldiers, dressed in black and carrying uzis,
appeared in block of his exit.
“There he is!” one shouted, and their direction turned to
the trapped dawg.
‘What’s next? Ninja guards?’ At the movie reference his
mind brightened with an idea. Grabbling the nearby wheeled
cart full of bottles and various scientific instruments, he
mustered as his strength and hurled it in the direction of
the soldiers. It didn’t necessarily knock them all over like
a Jackie Chan movie, but it was enough of a momentary stun.
Seizing the moment, he hopped up on the cart as it crashed
through. When the cart came to a stop as it met the awaiting
reception, he lept off and landed on the other side of the
wall of soldiers.
‘I can’t believe that actually worked!’ He allowed only a
moment to enjoy his success, then took off in another run.
‘Come on, I need a way out . . . what room has windows?’ The
only one he could recall was the lab next to his, that he
had been in the doorway only once to try and quiet the noisy
scientists. ‘I know there *that* is, at least . . .’
Thankfully, the door was open — probably because of the
rushed state some technician left it in after hearing the
alarm siren first sound. The window, as his second stroke of
luck, wasn’t barred. Not hesitating, he picked up a lab
stool and hurled it through the glass.
The soldiers, now with Leitch, were at the door when he
managed to climb up onto the windowsill. He glanced out, and
grew dizzy when he noticed the three-story jump.
That was enough of an incentive. Taking a deep breath, he
closed his eyes and pushed forward. All he felt on his way
down was a sting in the back of his leg.
His land wasn’t so easy, but bearable in a bush that wasn’t
thorny. There was no time to lie there and contemplate why
he was magically still alive; he picked himself up and
turned away from the complex, heading for the woods
apparently surrounding the place. His leg stung horribly,
which he guessed was from a bullet wound, but he ignored it
as best as he could as Jonathan disappeared into the wooded
Moments later, the soldiers bothered to stop firing.
“He’s gone, sir,” one of them announced to Leitch.
The scientist only shrugged, “Keep looking. I want a
full-scale search of the surrounding forest. He’ll be dead
in the next twenty-four hours — if he’s lucky to last that
long — but his body must be destroyed.”
‘Lab Report – Feburary 23rd, 1981 – Dr. Archibold Leitch’
‘The subject has left the facility. His termination, by our
paws or his own, is enevidable.’
Jonathan didn’t stop running until the pain grew too much,
both in his leg and his entire body from the withdrawl, and
felt as though his limbs were going to fall off if he didn’t
rest. Halting by a small waterfall, he collapsed on the tiny
bank. He had heard nothing of soldiers for well over an
hour, and assumed himself to be momentarily safe.
Minutes passed before he could pull himself back up into
sitting position to take a look at his leg. He had indeed
been shot, but there was no exit wound on the front —
indicating the bullet could very well still be inside. He
tore off the lower half of his pant leg, which was soiled
anyway, and soaked it in the water before attempting to wrap
it around his leg as a makeshift bandage.
He was not able to decide which hurt worse — the sting in
his leg, or the withdrawl symptoms. His body still shook and
he was sweating despite the chill of late Feburary. He
prayed for some magical angel to come deliver the syrum, or
Dr. Roberts, or anyone else . . . just to stop the pain.
Leaning over the stream formed by the waterfall, he was
washing his face off when he felt the tears begin to creep
up under his eyelids. For an instant he swallowed and tried
to hold it back, afraid that if he let himself go he would
get more worked up and make everything worse — that or he
wouldn’t be able to stop. Finding it hard to catch his
breath from the oncoming sobs, however, he finally stopped
fighting the urge.
The release felt good, for both his body and soul. He was
alone and afraid, and after all, he himself had forgotten
his age in the mess of IQ tests and eliquent speech. The
emotions released were not only from the events of the past
few hours, but the last weeks as well. He was tired —
emotionally and physically — of needles, mental analysis,
tutoring, and testing. The rush of new experiences and
overly-mature information was simply too much for someone is
age, and he allowed his true feelings to be exposed.
He had no idea how long it was before he recovered. He had
no way of knowing anything, in fact, especially how long it
had been since his last injecction–which he wasn’t sure he
*wanted* to know. He slowly cleaned himself up, and began to
try and stand again. The pain was great in his leg, but he
had to try.
‘But where would I go?’ he reminded himself, and suddenly a
forgotten memory flashed in his mind — the wallet with the
Roberts’ family photos he had stared at so often contained
an address, which he had long-since memorized. ‘Now if only
I could find this town he lives near, I could ask directions
. . .’
With a newfound sense of determination, he slowly began the
long journey in the direction he guessed would lead him
It was around two in the afternoon when Roberts got the
call. Susan was upstairs, putting Michael in for a nap, and
Emily was still at nursery school, so he was first to the
His disbelief echoed through his kitchen. Susan appeared at
the bottom of the stairs instantly, reading the shocked
expression on his face.
“Honey — what is it?”
He immediately slammed down the phone on its cradle as soon
as he was done with the conversation, and went for the coat
closet, “I have to get to the lab. Jona — the subject
Roberts threw his coat on, “A dawg we were exposing to a
medicative syrum. He jumped out a window and made a break
“Why would he — ”
“I don’t know, Suzy,” he kissed her on the cheek, buttoning
the coat. “I just don’t know. Listen, if he comes here — ”
“Why would he do that?”
“Because he has nowhere else to go and he might look up my
address. What can I say? He liked me. If he comes, I want
you to call *me* immediately, okay?”
She seemed a little surprised, but recovered quickly
enough, “What does he look like?”
“A dawg — beagle bread. Tan fur, big, floopy ears. Kind of
hard to miss in Maryland,” he waved, then hurried out the
Susan had found it hard to take him seriously, and had even
forgotten mainly about the matter. She was about to go wake
Michael up from his nap, actually, when she heard a tapping
on the back screen door.
‘Must be one of those squirrels,’ she thought to herself,
and pulled back the screen. Her jaw dropped when she noticed
the form lying on her porch.
It was a dawg indeed. His clothes, probably originally
white and embroidered with the Gen-Tech logo on the breast,
were soiled beyond being salvaged. A torn piece of cloth
used as a bandage was soaked with blood dripping right
through it and down the leg. He moaned softly, trying to
pull himself into the house, but unable to stand.
“Oh my — you must be that — ,” she stopped at the word
‘test subject,’ thinking it too harsh. Her overall surprise
was his age; he could not have been much more than thirteen,
even though she had had little experience with dawgs — it
was obvious enough. His eyes lit up a bit in seeing her bend
down and scoop him up, somewhat successfully carrying him
inside and laying him down in a chair.
She was reaching for the phone when he paw struck out,
grabbing her sweater, “Please . . . no hosp’tal.”
“But you’re injured — ”
“No hosp’tal,” he repeated, his speech slurred by whatever
seemed to be causing his body to shake and prespire.
“*Please* . . . don’ wan’ them t’ fin me. . .”
“Why not?” Curious, she knelt down to his eye level as he
slumped helplessly in the chair.
“Leitch . . . th’ doc . . . try to kill me — he’s gonn’ do
it again . . . please.”
“You need help.”
“Call Doc . . . Rob’rts . . . he’ll ‘elp me,” he gestured
towards the phone again.
She bit her lip, then called her husband’s office number.
After several rings he picked up. Susan quickly assessed the
“He should be acting a little sick,” Roberts explained.
“He’s in withdrawl from the dosage he missed his morning —
“No, I mean he’s injured. Shot. In the leg. He won’t let me
call for an ambulance because he says he doesn’t want to
found. Something about Dr. Leitch trying to kill him.”
“*What*?” he turned around, noticing the suspected
scientist now entering the office. “Look, honey . . . I’m
coming home right now. Just fix up what you can and stop the
“Danny — ”
“Bye,” he slammed down the phone, facing Leitch. “Doctor .
. . I need to get home. Emily is very sick.”
Leitch looked angered, but sighed and nodded, “We still
need you to help us find him.”
“I know,” he threw his coat back on. “Call me if you get
Susan did her best to untie the cloth bandage after hanging
up the phone and moving him to the couch. Jonathan grunted,
but didn’t otherwise complain. She cleaned it as best she
could, slowly and carefully, and he didn’t say a word the
‘He’s taking it awfully well for someone his age,’ she
mused, gently applying a new bandage that would hopefully
stop the wound from bleeding again before Roberts got home.
“I don’t want to give you any medicine, because Daniel
might have his own prescription when he gets here. He’ll be
home soon,” She sat down in the chair beside him.
“‘s okay,” He closed his eyes. “Than’yu.”
She remained by his side for quite a while until Roberts
returned. During that period, Jonathan did not stir or speak
except for a few muttered garbles of sentence fragments, and
after a time she feared he was losing consciousness. Relieve
washed over her when her husband rushed in the door.
“Jonathan?” Not removing his coat, he bent down beside the
dawg and shook him. “Can you hear me?”
The only response was a minor motion of twisting in a
feverish sleep, and a few mumbled words. Roberts opened each
eye and inspected the pupils with a pen light. Sighing, he
looked up at Susan, “How long has he been like this?”
“He was awake when I found him, but you could barely
understand what he was saying. The last time he said
something clear was after I cleaned the leg –about fifteen
After finally slipping his coat off, Roberts pondered,
“This is a later stage of withdrawl. I’d guess he’ll slip
into a coma in the next hour or so. He won’t survive without
“Of which there is no more, right? What about that little
sample in the canister you brought home a few weeks ago?”
His eyes lit up, “Oh my G-d . . . yes! It should be enough
to at least bring him back to consciousness.” He ran into
his study, reappearing a few minutes later with a syringe,
filled with a yellow liquid. “This *has* to work.”
He struck the needle into the dawg’s arm, and there was an
instant reaction of shaking and squirming. It was a few
minutes — barely — before Jonathan reopened his bloodshot
“Doc–?” He smiled, as best he could, when he saw Roberts
holding up an emtpy syringe. “The syrum . . .!”
“Yes–but this is my only dosage. I brought it home once
for some outside testing and never brought it back. It
should put some more time on your clock. Now . . . let’s see
about some painkillers for that leg.”
He disappeared again into the study, returning with another
filled syringe. This one he plunged into the swollen muscle,
numbing it within a minute. Roberts cautiously removed the
bandage, using the penlight to get a better look at the
“You might be able to get off without stitches, but first I
have to get the bullet out,” he reached for a box of medical
tools, and spend a good deal of time choosing the right one
— it was obvious he was not with the exact, proper
equipment for the makeshift surgery.
“Are you sure we shouldn’t take him to a hospital?” Susan
pleaded, but Jonathan moaned negatively, and the scientist
“I don’t think he’ll let us. He’ll have to explain later.
Now — ,” he turned back to his work. The dawg gritted his
teeth, feeling still a small amount of pain even after the
novacane injection, but Roberts was quick with his work.
“There we go,” he held up the bullet, formally of residence
in Jonathan’s leg. Gently he began to rebandage the leg.
“There should be a little more bleeding, but it’ll clot soon
“Sorry about your couch,” Jonathan winced, noticing their
orange sofa was now a crimson shade of red. His clear and
unchildlike speech was beginning to return.
“It’s all right. Since that’s over with . . . what’s this
about Dr. Leitch?”
The dawg nodded, frowning at the memory, “He couldn’t find
any more syrum . . . and I guess he didn’t know you had a
dose at home. I guess he wanted to make the end easier for
me . . . so he was going to inject me with sodium chlorite.
Luckily, I realized it wasn’t the syrum in that needle in
Roberts’ mouth dropped at the retelling of the tale, and he
shook his head sadly, “I can’t understand why he would want
to do that . . .” He patted the dawg’s shoulder. “Listen . .
. you just relax. We’ll figure out what to do with you when
you get stronger.”
He was about to stand and leave when Jonathan grabbed his
sleeve, “Wait . . . do you hear something?”
Roberts picked up his ears, “No.”
“Sounds like somebody . . . in front of the house.”
The sound of the doorbell confirmed it. Susan ran to the
window, and her features paled when she looked out, “Daniel
. . . it’s soldiers from the lab — and Leitch.”
The scientist uttered a curse, “Can’t he ever trust me?” He
knelt back down when he saw Jonathan throw his legs over the
side of the couch. “Jonathan, no — you can’t put weight on
your leg yet.”
“I can’t stay here, can I?”
There was a heavy bang on the door, “Daniel! Open up the
Roberts glanced at the clueless Susan, than back at the
dawg, “C’mon . . . we can get you out the back. Suzy, you
answer the door and try to stall them.” Carefully, he helped
Jonathan ease painfully onto his feet. The dawg leaned
heavily on him until they made it to the back door, then
removed his supportive weight, refusing any more help.
“I’ll be okay,” he was having trouble settling the weight
on his injured limb, but he made it well enough. “Thanks for
the help, but I don’t want you to get shot, too.”
He turned away and proceeded out onto the porch, and then
the backyard. Roberts saw the dawg pick up speed when he
heard the sounds of gunshots in the distance, and the
scientist spun around to see Leitch’s soldiers advancing on
him in his hallway, guns drawn.
“You shouldn’t have done that, Daniel,” Leitch said coldly.
“You’re only stalling his end.”
“You tried to kill him!” he made an advancing move, put his
paws shot up as the gun barrels cocked closer in his
direction. “I’m just being humane!”
“There’s no time to be humane!” his superior shouted.
“He’ll be dead in a few hours and his body has to be
destroyed before word of this gets out! You know the rules!”
“Not a few hours,” he corrected. “I . . . found another
dose. One I brought home once and never brought back. He has
another day–there’s no reason to kill him yet.”
“And if he makes it to a town? And leaks this to the
press?” Leitch shook his head angrily. “A syrum that does
what it does to him? And how the ‘evil goverment’ is
searching to find and kill him? How would that look for
Gen-Tech? Or our government, much less!”
Roberts just lowered his eyes sadly, settling into a chair,
“He’s just a boy, Dr. Leitch.” He shot a look at Susan, who
looked rather confused. “Honey, I’ll explain this later.”
“That ‘boy’ successfully threw me across the room, then
broke out of a government restricted laboratory and is still
on the loose with ocer fifty soldiers on his tale. We don’t
even know the true extent of his powers — he’s only started
to show them in the last few hours,” Leitch explained. “If
other people knew what he could do–if *we* knew what he
could do — than a lot of people would want their paws on
“Just . . .,” he pleaded, ” . . . don’t hurt him. Please —
tell them to make it quick.”
“They will, they will,” Leitch assured, peering out the
back window into the outside edges of the wilderness. “I
doubt he has much of a fight left in him.”
Jonathan was helped with yet another stroke of luck; the
large pile of leaves beneath a tree truck he managed to
squeeze himself under was a sufficient hiding place. He
heard the sounds of soldiers above and all around him, but
they had yet to notice his safe haven. There he remained,
trying to ignore the pain returning in his leg and rest his
tired limbs, until darkfall.
Cautiously he began to pull himself out. The soldiers, for
all apearances, were gone. All that was left was a starry
sky twinkling down at him and the endless woods in all
It was long before he heard the sounds of footsteps in leaf
piles again, but they were distant. He instinctively made a
motion in the direction of the tree trunk again, but
something stopped him.
A force, unlike one he had ever felt before, overwhelmed
him. It prevented his escape, with his feet locked into the
ground. In terror he still heard the crinkling of boots grow
stronger, but he was helpless to do anything.
He wavered in stance but still could not run, and a wave of
naseua hit him like a rock. His body was filled with a
tingling sensation, much like when he had first been given
the syrum, and had he been able to look up he might have
noticed the skies seem to open up above him.
“THERE HE IS!”
He was immune now to reaction from the soldier’s shout.
Swallowing, he closed his eyes and waited for whatever end
was before him. Jonathan’s last feeling was that of
weightlessness, a relief from the pain in his leg, and then
he felt nothing at all.
Susan had begun to worry long ago, when they took her
husband to the lab–she was afraid for both his and
Jonathan’s life. But he returned in a later hour, with a
pale look on his face, and she knew what had become of the
“Oh, honey . . .,” she embraced him instantly, feeling him
nearly lean on her for support.
“They didn’t get the body,” he said, his voice wavering to
hold back the tears–but there was a sense of success in it.
“Thank G-d they didn’t get *that* . . . someone might find
it and at least give him a proper burial.” It was a long
time before he pulled her away, “Where are the kids?”
“Emily’s in the den–she wanted to stay up and see you.
Michael went to bed a little while ago.”
He nodded, and without slipping off his coat, sauntered
into the den. Emily was sitting indian-style on the floor,
watching TV. Without warning, he came from behind and
scooped her up, holding her against his body tightly.
“Daddy!” she screamed in joy. “Mommy was worried–”
“I know, I know,” he assured, letting her stroke his chin
fur. “I’m okay. Listen, Emily . . . how would it sound . . .
if we were to get a new house?”
“Where?” she asked with the curiousity of a child at her
age of four.
“Far, far away . . . maybe somewhere warmer. It depends on
who wants to hire me.”
“What about the lab?”
He smiled, facing his wife as he still held Emily, “There’s
been some . . . trouble . . . between me and Dr. Leitch. So
now I don’t have to work with him anymore.”
“Oh,” she couldn’t understand — she wasn’t supposed to.
“G’night, Daddy.” Kissing him, she allowed him to release
her and she ran upstairs. It was a moment before Roberts was
able to look up to Susan’s stare — but fortunately, it was
soft instead of his feared furious.
“Daniel . . . you lost your job? You were assistant
director of the project — ”
“I know, I know . . .,” he sighed, collapsing on the den
chair. “Leitch just had some differing opinions on to how
Jonathan was supposed to be handled. It’s okay . . . I can
get another job. You remember the offer a few weeks ago?
From the company in Nebraska?”
She bent over, and kissed him on the cheek, “I have faith
in you, honey. I’m going to go to bed.” Susan turned for the
stairs, “You did the right thing, no matter what might have
happened to him in the end.”
‘I wish I convince myself of that,’ Roberts thought coldly,
and followed her up.
‘Final Lab Report – Feburary 24th, 1981 – Dr. Daniel
‘The subject has been terminated.’
~It is odd,~ one contemplated to the other, ~what these
people do to their children.~
The second made a gesture in agreement, shifting color in
coordinance with its mood. They were watching the boy on the
table, still unconscious by all appearances. His entire body
was incased in a kind of tube, with no wires but many
flashing lights around the sides, indicating the use of
~We should have never given it to them,~ the second made a
movement towards the table, looking over the lights’
patterns of flashing as if they were some kind of readout.
~But we cannot bandage that past.~
~Then at least we can still save this one’s future,~ it
floated and settled down on the other side, watching the
dawg’s light breathing.
The first sensation he was aware of, after his blacking out
in the woods, was warmth. Unlike he had ever experienced. He
could not even compare the first time he awoke in the lab
with this. He could almost *feel* the light around him,
though he was unable to open his eyes. It was soothing and
comforting, though there were no cotton sheets beneath him
from what he could tell. The ache was gone, thankfully in
His first instinct, when he found he could not open his
eyes, was to attempt to move. He shifted in his position,
then discovered he could do little. He was pinned down at
the feet and secured with his head to the table.
‘Why can’t I open my eyes?’
He struggled for a moment, than gave up on movement. He
moaned softly, then was suddenly aware of a presence at his
side. No . . . two presences. Their aura was stronger than
anything he had ever felt before–it was like he could see
them without opening his eyes. They must have heard his moan
and realized he was waking up.
Jonathan strained, but at last was able to open his eyes.
There was no blinding white light–as he had come to expect
from the afterlife, so he assumed he wasn’t dead. The
background of the room was a distant mesh of colors; it
seemed like if he watched one area of the wall long enough,
the color would shift hues. It made his eyes burn, so he
decided to concentrate on other things.
He at last got to see what held him so. His head and feet
were both inserted in this tube-like machine, only whatever
glass that would be around the rest of his body was missing.
He was reasonably immobalized, pinned down to the
surprisingly-soft table beneath him. Everything was a hazy
white, so he could never make anything out as a clear shape.
Suddenly he noticed to blobs of color seem to jump out from
the wall–and he realized what he had merely assumed to be
part of the room were two beings he sensed. They took on no
definite shape as they drew closer, but remained hazy shapes
of an aqua-white color.
One of them must have seem him tense in fear, and it put
out what was probably its equivalent of a paw and brushed it
across his body in a wind-like swoop. A gentle sense of
comfort washed over him instantly, loosening his tightened
muscles. For the mmoment, he was able to relax in their
~Do not be afraid.~
That was the second thing to frighten him. There was no
sound in the room when it spoke, aside from the distant
whirring of machines and his own heavy breathing, but he
heard it echo in his head perfectly well. What was the word
for it? Telepathy?
Still very dizzy and weak, he tried to collect himself,
“W-Wha do yu . . .?”
Alarmed again, he wondered if it had read his mind, or just
guessed the end of the sentence.
~Do not try to speak. You are too weak. Just think it to
“I c-can’t — ”
~But you can!~
Swallowing hard, he decided to play along with whatever
they had in mind. ‘What do you want?’ He decided to repeat
~We want to help you.~
~Your kin have wronged you.~
‘You can’t help me, unless you have enough syrum for the
rest of my life,’ sadly, he was reminded of his predicament.
‘I’ll need it in a few hours–‘
~It can be supplied.~
He was shocked at the sensation of having his own thought
interuppted, and the answer. ‘Where am I?’
The one “speaking” made a fluid motion, almost indicating a
smile, ~You would not understand if it was explained. Rest
now, and all will be taken care of.~
The “hand” passed over him again, and he felt another
comforting sensation — this one of the inviting darkness.
Harold was just about to pull off the highway and head some
when he spotted a figure beside the road. Curious, he pulled
his truck over on a shoulder, coming up beside the short
figure — either a child or a dawg.
It turned out to be, from all appearances, both. The youth
stood silently beside him, obviously phased from some recent
events. He was cloaked in a white outfit, but barefoot and
wearing nothing to protect him from the breeze. He seemed to
shake and shiver as he waited.
“Need a lift, kid?” Harold wasn’t one to pick up
hitchhikers, especially on his way home from a long shipment
trip, but he felt guilty about letting someone so young
wander like that.
Nodding stiffy, the dawg climbed up through the open door
and into the seat beside him. He looked insecure.
“Something wrong, kid? You don’t look so good.”
He shook his head.
“Where you goin’?”
“I-I don’t know,” he answered at last.
“What’s your name?”
“And what were you doing out there, Jonathan?”
He shrugged uncomfortable, “I-I don’t know.”
Harold gave him a queer look, but kept his eyes on the
road, “Well, unless you have someone in particular to go,
I’ll take you to my place and help you get things sorted
out, okay? Name’s Harry Lynch.”
Jonathan smiled, again stiffly, and they continued in
“Look at him eat!” Mary Lynch exclaimed. The couple were
sitting at the opposite end of the now-closed diner’s
counter, watching Jonathan swallow mouthful after mouthful
of scrambled eggs and anything else he could get his paws
on. “It seems like he hasn’t been fed in days!”
“Maybe he hasn’t,” Harold pondered. “Kid doesn’t seem to
have any home or family. I don’t know how long he was
wondering before I found him. All he has on him is those
clothes, a pair of glasses, a watch, and a wierd-lookin’
“Harry . . .,” she said in all seriousness, “he acts like
he’s . . . *seen* something . . . or been through something.
Maybe that was what he was trying to get away from — ”
He shrugged, “What can we do? We’ll have to report him to
the foster agency and see if they can find any relatives.”
Mary frowned, unsatisfied, and walked over to Jonathan, who
had now finished his third plateful, “Poor boy . . . you
“No, ma’am — thank you.”
Glancing down, she noticed something, “Jonathan — your
watch is off by two hours.”
“Here,” she pulled up his sleeve, taking a better look at
it. “It’s six-thiry. Yours says four-thirty. And look . . .
the date’s off, too.” She brought her eyes in closer.
“Feburary 24th? What’s this?”
“Why? What’s the date?”
“March 10th, honey. You’re two weeks behind!”
His mind spun. ‘Two weeks?’ The last time he remembered
checking his watch it was eight o’clock, on the 23rd.
Somehow, two weeks had passed, but he had only lost eight
“Here you go,” she reset the watch, then set it back on his
wrist. “Now . . . do you have any relatives? Anywhere to
Sadly, he shook his head.
“Well, then — we’ll just hafta get you to a foster agency.
But if you ever want a meal, you come back to the diner,
He smiled, gratefully.
When the Lynches dropped him off at the foster center, he
discovered that not only had he lost eight hours somewhere,
but he had somehow crossed half the country. He was now in
Megakat City, California — entirely on an opposite side of
the country than Maryland.
It didn’t make any difference to him, really. After
skipping out of the center before they noticed him enough to
sign him up for a foster home, he returned to his only true
home — the streets. And as he soon discovered, the streets
were just as cold and unforgiving as those in Washington.
The only difference was in himself. He had changed,
undoubtably. That was why he refused to be sent to a foster
home — he didn’t want anyone catching one.
It had a lot to do with the ring, he guessed. That
‘magical’ ring “they” had supplied him with, to fight his
syrum addiction. Every twelve hours it produced a pill for
him out of seemingly nowhere, and every twenty-four he took
He guessed the pill’s contents were different from the
syrum, because the effects were . . . different. Some of the
effects he had begun to experience in the laboratory were
now . . . amplified. It was hard to tell if he was any
smarter without the tutors and the constant exposure to new
knowledge, but there were *other* things. His strength
increased, though his muscles didn’t appear to from the
outside — he still looked ten, though he quickly hit a
growth spurt and in a few months had attained a height
closer to that of a grown dawg.
And the flying. It had been by chance, when he was being
chased by a few cops for peddling in the nice area, and he
made a jump — and simply didn’t come down until he felt the
need to. It was an amazing experience, but he shared it with
‘If the scientists knew I could do this . . .’ he smiled,
but it quickly turned into a shiver fo fear.
So he kept it all to himself, making a living by peddling
and occasionally going over to the Lynch’s diner when he got
hungry enough. The shelters were just as bad as those in
Washington, but they were there. He had no complaint; it was
better than being totured by goverment scientists.
Then, one day, he’d made the mistake of walking in on a
shoot-out between two local gangs. He was too deep in the
line of fire when he realized what was going on, and
immediately hit the ground, fearing for his life.
He experienced several stinging feelings whiz across his
back, but nothing mroe than that. Jonathan waited several
minutes for the gunfire to stop, then got back up.
He had gotten up to early. One of the remaining gang
members turned and without thinking, fired on him. He
stumbled back, feeling the same stinging feeling, but never
the bullets pierce his skin. When he dared to open his eyes,
he noticed the bullets lying on the ground in front of him.
Almost as if they had *bounced* off him . . .
The gangster, unbelieving and staring at him like he was
some kind of demon, screamed and ran.
There was only one conclusion; he was bullet-proof. The
pills had given his skin a thickness that prevented harm.
For days he pondered what he should do with his newfound
powers. He felt that he had some kind of gift, but why
*shouldn’t* he keep it all to himself? He didn’t owe
anything to society; all they’d ever given him was pain and
lonliness. But his attitude changed when he overheard a
conversation between two kids about his age, looking over a
“Hey, gimme that!” they were apparently fighting over the
new issue of ‘Superkat.’ “I wanna read it first!”
“I payed for half of it!”
“Then you can read the back first!”
“Boys, boys!” the newstand kat appeared in the front. “What
is the arguement about?”
“I wanna read it first!”
“*I* found it.”
“I would’ve if you hadn’t tripped me on the way over!”
“Boys!” he shouted again. “What is the big deal about this
Their eyes wided, “Oh, Superkat’s just so cool — ”
“He’s the coolest superhero there is!”
“He can fly and — ”
” — bullets just bounce of him — ”
Jonathan perked up, facinated and a bit humbled by their
admirility of this character so like himself.
” — and he fights crime!”
“Isn’t he so *cool*?”
“I wish I could fight crime like him!”
“I wish I had super powers like him!”
‘Fight crime? What an amusing notion?’ He picked up his own
copy, glancing at the cheezy drawing of the kat in spandex.
‘Spandex? Who would wear something *that* tight?’ Amused, he
bought it with the only money he had, and spent most of the
afternoon reading it.
The comic was wild and entertaining, but it sparked a
curiousity in the back of his head . . . about how far he
could go with his powers. Glancing down, he stared carefully
at the ring that meant everything to him. There was a symbol
on it, porbably of signifigance in the written language of
it’s donators, but it was much like the “u” in the English language.
A smile spread across his face, and an idea began to form .. .
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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.