Original SWAT Kats Story

Epidemic!

By James L. King

  • 1 Chapter
  • 6,366 Words

The entire city is catching an influenza-like sickness with mutational side-effects. Can the SWAT Kats, just as sick as everyone else, find a cure and bring the person responsible to justice? (Oneshot – Complete)

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Author's Notes:

Warnings: Sexual innuendo, violence, language.
Rating: T

Summary: The entire city is catching an influenza-like sickness with mutational side-effects. Can the SWAT Kats, just as sick as everyone else, find a cure and bring the person responsible to justice?

Legal: Swat Kat and all related personas, locations, etc are the property of Hanna/Barbera.

##

An insect-like figure placed a small metal case on the roof, then a cardboard box full of jars on top of it.

A simple, but effective means to spread my mutagen virus. I will subjugate the City, and it will fall to its knees, then I will have my revenge. Viper, my old friend, you were my inspiration for this. Too bad for you this is designed to kill you while being merely mutagenic to kats.

He set the timer and flew away. Half an hour later, a brief flash of light appeared above MegaKat Towers, and a fog settled over the City.

*              *              *

The next morning…

“Welcome to MegaKat City, Lieutenant Commander,” Feral said to the medium grey tom walking next to him, “I hope you settle in well.”

“Settling in is easy,” he replied in a deep tenor, “Winning the trust and respect of my subordinates isn’t.”

“I understand that all too well, Shepard.”

“Sir, if I may be so bold, just call me Rick or Richard.”

“So, do you think Steele will adapt to New Derilag?”

“Oh absolutely, sir,” a smile crossed Shepard’s face as he replied, “I’m very sure Steele and Commander Ricardo are getting along just fine, Commander Feral.”

“Commander Feral,” a voice called, and both toms turned to see Calico Briggs walking toward them, a dire look on her face.

“I’ll handle this. Go ahead and report to Medical for your records transfer and physical. Dismissed, Richard,” Feral growled as he steeled himself for the worst.

“Yes, sir.”

*              *              *

“Crazy weather,” Chance remarked as they opened the garage for business.

“Ain’t often we see fog,” Jake agreed. He headed to the outer gate and opened it. He walked back into the garage to find Chance already starting work on a car.

“Jake, hand me that wrench, willya,” Chance asked.

“Sure thing bud.”

An Enforcer cruiser pulled up, a bad lifter tick echoing as the car settled into an idle. The two toms looked up to see a medium grey tom in an Enforcer uniform stepping out.

“Can we help you, Lieutenant Commander?” Chance asked .

“Yeah. I’m Lieutenant Commander Steele’s replacement. I’m just trying to meet all the Enforcers under my command, even you two. My name is Rick Shepard.”

“Touching,” Chance replied in a flat tone.

“Chance, there’s no need for an attitude. He might actually be half-decent.”

“I see Feral was right about you two,” Rick remarked.

A car pulled in and Chance groaned , “Oh, no. I swear… if it’s another loose plug wire or oil filter…”

Rick looked at the car pulling in, then turned back to the two mechanics. “The other reason I’m here is to get my cruiser checked out. It makes a noise, almost like a diesel.” Callie got out and walked up as he continued, “Feral tells me you do all the work for the cruisers.”

“That could be one of a couple things. I’ll get right on it, Lieutenant Commander,” Chance volunteered.

“Thank you, Furlong.”

“Guys, I came by ’cause my car’s got an oil leak.”

“I’ll get it, Ms. Briggs,” Jake said.

Rick caught sight of Chance shooting Jake a glance that meant, ‘I told you so.’

Jake rolled his eyes as she turned to Shepard. “I saw you talking to Commander Feral earlier today. I’m Deputy Mayor Calico Briggs. What’s your name?”

Rick tore his attention from the tiger walking toward the cruiser and looked down at the petite blonde. “Rick Shepard. I’ve replaced Steele as your City’s new Lieutenant Commander.”

“Ahh, ok, that’s who you are. Feral cleared your application with me before accepting. Call me Callie, most of my friends do.”

“Okay, uh, Callie.”

“I’d offer to take you around town, but I know you’re married.”

“Callie, I found the problem. A certain striped wingnut didn’t tighten the oil filter quite enough two days ago. Luckily, you only lost a quart. I tightened it and added the oil,” Jake said, handing her the car keys. “I’ll take the cost outta Chance’s account. No charge to you.”

“Thanks, Jake.”

“Lieutenant Commander, the noise is from the lifters. Hydraulics like these usually develop a tick anyway, but this is a pretty bad case. They aren’t pumping up, so it sounds like a diesel. It either means a bad oil pump or bad lifters. I can order the lifters tonight, but they won’t arrive until tomorrow. We can give you a ride back into town,” Chance said, closing the car’s hood and shutting off the engine. He took off his mechanic’s stethoscope and put it back in a drawer.

“I’ll take him back, guys,” Callie chimed.

Shepard replied, “Thank you, Deputy Mayor. Much obliged.”

The two stepped into Callie’s car and, as they drove away, Chance sighed.

Jake placed a hand on Chance’s shoulder, “You shouldn’t blame yourself.”

“Jake… I took a vow that I can’t return her love until I’m rid of the mask.”

“Has it occurred to you that she’s started to fall in love with Chance, not T-Bone?”

“Why would she want me? To her I’m a junkyard mechanic.”

“Maybe that doesn’t matter to her.”

“Maybe it should matter.”

Jake walked back toward the garage and called, “It’s tearing you apart. Just give in. You can’t win a battle like this.”

*              *              *

Jake set the socket wrench down on the fender-guard and leaned heavily on the car as he mopped his forehead with a damp rag.

“Kat’s alive, it’s hot in here,” he muttered. “You turn up the heat, hotshot?”

He glanced over at Chance to see him shivering uncontrollably. The tiger stuttered, “Y-y-you kidding? It’ s f-freezing! A-and no. I ain’t t-t-touched the heater yet.”

Jake looked at the thermostat and blinked. After he tapped it and readjusted it, he shook his head and said, “It feels like ninety in here, but the thermostat says seventy.”

“No, it feels like thirty in here!”

“C’mon, let’s get you back in the house and get something warm in your hands,” Jake replied, taking Chance’s hand.

Chance yelped in pain and jumped back, “Your hands are ice!”

“Felt like you’re burning up, bud. Something serious is going on. I gotta get you to the hospital.”

They stepped into the towtruck, and Jake started it up. The radio came on and instantly played a news flash.

This is K.R.A.P. radio, with a breaking news story. A sudden flu epidemic has broken out in MegaKat City. The Hospitals are flooded with sick, and…

Jake shut off the radio and turned the truck around. “I think something’s going on more than just us being sick, bud. I think the SWAT Kate are going to be needed. Let’s go to HQ and talk to the Commander.”

*              *              *

The TurboKat landed on the roof of HQ, and the two SWAT Kats got out of the jet. They walked toward the elevator as Feral stormed out.

“What do you two want?”

“It’s… about this epidemic. We wanna help… any way we can,” Razor said, panting.

“There isn’t anything to blow up. Now leave.”

“C-Commander,” T-Bone stuttered, “It’s more’n j-j-just coincidence i-i-if the entire city’s sick. We w-wanna help t-track down whoever’s r-responsible and h-h-h-help find a cure.”

“Since you’re convinced it’s more than just an outbreak of the flu, then I’d think it’s obvious it would be Viper if anyone, SWAT Kats. If you’re sincere about helping, then make yourselves useful and catch him.”

Feral turned and walked away. “Now get off my roof.”

They got in the Turbokat and T-Bone snarled, “He’s b-b-b-blown us off!”

“And, this is… different from normal how?” Razor replied. “He is right though. Viper is a good… good kat to start with.”

“Th-then l-l-let’s go.”

*              *              *

T-Bone felt a sharp pain from one arm and glanced down. He started and in a very shaken voice said, “Uhh, R-r-r-razor?”

“Yeah?”

“Y-y-y-ou m-m-m-may want to s-s-s-start checking yourself. I j-j-j-just grew a claw. F-f-f-fr-from my elbow.”

“Ow,” Razor whined, then felt something moving under his t-shirt in the G-suit. He unzipped the suit and looked down his shirt and called back, “I’ve… got a hand… growing out of my chest!”

“D-d-d-definitely V-v-v-viper! W-w-w-we gotta get him.”

“Agreed,” Razor replied.

*              *              *

The two toms walked into the entrance of the massive, twisted tree, ready for anything. They walked around a corner and watched Viper, his green skin mottled with black, clutching onto a table’s edge as he coughed. After a time, he stopped and spit blood into a beaker.

“Another sssample.”

He acknowledged them as he began to peer through his microscope again. “I’ve been expecting you, SSSWAT Katsss. As you can sssee, this plague affectsss me too. I’ve been working on a cure.”

Razor replied as sweat beaded down his face, “So, you didn’t… create this?”

“The plague is the work of geniusss, but sssadly not mine. Besidesss, I prefer a more rapid and dramatic approach.”

“S-s-so, why are y-y-you of all kats w-w-working on a c-c-cure,” T-Bone asked, shivering.

“It seemsss to be engineered to target me. However, it is mutagenic to normal katsss, and in time, will kill them asss well.”

“So, you’re working on a cure for all of us?” Razor panted .

“In a sssense. I’ve been able to determine that it isss a virusss. Like any virusss, it infectsss it’s host cellsss and turnsss them into a factory to make more of the virusss. However, thisss one alssso reprogramsss the DNA and RNA sequencesss to make the cellsss produce a mutagen, which mutates the virusss and the host, making it resistant to treatment and compromising the body’sss immune system.”

Razor looked at Dr. Viper with a confused expression, “Do what?”

T-Bone crossed his arms and said through chattering teeth, “Hold on a s-sec, Razor, I studied a b-b-bit of b-bio-chem and genetics in high-school. Viper, am I – am I correct in as-suming you’d have to t-target a series of genes in the virus to break it down?”

“Precisssely.”

“Which m-means they’re somehow p-p-protected from the m-mutagen the virus has the cell create? Which means you need to find the common genes, and their chemical defenses.”

Viper began another coughing fit and, after a short time, nodded as he spit more blood into the beaker.

“C-can you det-termine what the mutagen is?” T-Bone asked .

“A variant of Viper Mutagen. I don’t have the facilitiesss to make a more thorough analysisss. That’sss why I’ve been expecting you, and why my plantimalsss never attacked you.”

“You want our help,” Razor said.

“In return, I can make a cure for you.”

T-Bone growled, “Dare we trust him?”

“Dare we not?” Razor shot back, “He knows basically what it is, and he’s already working on the cure.”

“I guess we really don’t have a choice, do we?”

*              *              *

“Comm… Commander Feral, this is the SWAT… Kats, come in.”

The commander’s sleepy voice cut through the static and he snapped, “What is it, SWAT Kats? ”

“We have reason… to believe that Viper is innocent… of this plague. He himself is infected… and says he’s dying. He’s already started… work on a cure, but doesn’t have the facilities… to finish… analyzing the virus. He wants our help.”

“How do I know he’s not lying?”

“W-w-we weren’t a-a-attacked when we came here, F-f-feral. We w-w-w-walked in and he greeted us,” T-Bone replied through chattering teeth.

“That’s still not enough proof.”

Razor panted as he retorted, “Fine, you want… to talk to him? We’ve got him… right here… with us.”

“What?”

“Everything they’ve sssaid isss true, Commander. I’m dying from thisss, and I am willing to make a cure for everyone, asss long as you’re willing to work with me.”

“Why should I trust you?”

“Thisss will kill you asss well, in time. I’ve already determined that much,” Viper replied. “By the time I am dead, it will be too late to reverssse the damage.”

“Do you think he’s honest?”

“Yes,” they replied in unison.

“Why should I risk this?”

“Because he’s the only one who could possibly help us?” Razor said, then T-Bone added, “Honestly, C-Commander, d-d-do we really have a ch-ch-ch-choice?”

“No.”

“Then make arrangements for whatever Enforcers you can to be at MegaKat Biochemical Labs. We’re heading straight there.”

*              *              *

Flanked, led and trailed by armed Enforcers, the two SWAT Kats, Commander Feral, Callie, Felina, Rick and Dr. Viper walked into the main laboratory at MegaKat Biochemical.

Viper wasted no time in assuming control of the lab and issuing orders.

“Sssamplesss. I need sssamples,” he said as he poured a bit of his own collected blood into a separator and set its RPM and time limit. He took two vials of Katalyst and mixed them, then used a dropper to mix it with another sample of his blood. He set it under an Electron Microscope and peered in, adjusting its resolution.

“How much?” a lab technician asked, glancing at the mutant and all the armed Enforcers setting up around the lab.

“A few C.C.sss of blood from fifteen infected katsss would be a sssufficient ssstart.”

He adjusted the resolution again and muttered, “Interesssting.”

*              *              *

He muttered to himself as he set aside another failed mixture of anti-mutagen.

He mixed another chemical into the base anti-mutagen soup. Using an eyedropper, he applied it to a batch of mutated cells and watched the reaction. The virus self-destructed before his eyes as the anti-mutagens reversed the mutations, restoring the cell to its original function.

He tested it on another sample, and watched the same effect.

A gurgling sound alerted him, and he watched a tech collapse, coughing up fluid. He leaped across to a rack and got a hypodermic needle and then jumped back to his mixture. He drew a small amount into it and dashed to the collapsed tech.

Before any other technician could react, Viper had the needle in his arm and injected the mixture.

“What the hell you doing! You’ll kill him,” a researcher shouted as he charged Viper.

The technician coughed once, spasmed several times, then relaxed and woke . He stood up, looking at the researcher, then at Viper.

The researcher stopped in confusion as Viper turned and went back to the Electron Microscope, saying, “Keep watch on him and give me ssstatusss reports every five minutesss. I need to know if there will be any reversion.”

*              *              *

Half an hour later…

“I found a cure,” Viper wheezed as Feral, Shepard and the SWAT Kats staggered in. “It will reversssse the mutationssss and destroy the mutagen producing virus resssponsssible.”

“How long until you can test it?” T-Bone gasped .

“Now. I have tesssted it on several cell sssamples, then on the techniciansss. On a sssample of my own mutated cellsss, I found the cure has a ssside-effect for me.”

“And, that is?” Feral croaked .

“I will revert to being a kat like yourselvesss.”

Viper took four syringes and injected each kat with the cure. After a few moments, they started to feel better and noticed their throats didn’t feel restricted. T-Bone relaxed as he felt warmer, Razor started feeling cooler, Shepard didn’t seem as hyper, and Feral stopped feeling drowsy.

Viper held a fifth syringe and inserted it between two scales on his arm. “I found a DNA sssignature in the virus itself that identifies it.”

He pushed the embolus, injecting the cure into his bloodstream. “It’sss a signature I know. It belongs to Doctor Ssstreet.”

“The so-called Cikata?” Shepard replied .

Viper continued as his eyes started returning to a kat-like iris and his scales started to fall off, “The mutagen itself is a modification of a failed Viper Mutagen, number 71, if I recall. It had the highest toxicity and most mutagenic capabilities of any of the Viper formulas we made and tested. I think Zyme kept all the research notes on the Viper Regeneration Project. It’s reasonable to assume he’s dead now if Street has any Viper Mutagen.”

His voice became slower, richer, as the mutation continued to reverse.

“My own greed caused my mutation, and I deserve whatever punishment I get, but Street needs to be stopped.”

He pulled his lab jacket about him to cover himself as the reversion completed. “I must finish this cure so it can be applied using the same vector the virus was… breathed in through the air.”

“How much more do you have?” Feral asked the gaunt, bare-skinned shivering researcher.

“I have manufactured enough to apply the cure to a few dozen kats. I’d start with your own Enforcer Bio-chemical research team, and get their facilities on-line so they can start making more while I try to make an atmospheric variant of this cure.”

“I’ll take everything I can.”

“We’ll help ya, Commander,” T-Bone said .

“One of you two take these to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. The other can help me at Enforcer HQ.”

“I’ll go with you, Feral,” Razor volunteered.

T-Bone glared at Razor, but took the two syringes anyway.

“Shepard, get some clothes for Vi… Purvis.”

“Yes, sir.”

*              *              *

Razor helped the Commander distribute the cure amongst the various members of Doctor Konway’s team. Feral produced a sample and some notes and handed them to Konway.

“What are these?”

“The cure to this disease. I need you to start producing it. Vi — Elrod Purvis is already working on an atmospheric version, and there will be chemicals arriving soon.”

Feral turned and left, holding one last syringe in his pocket. Razor tagging along, he headed toward Felina’s last known location.

*              *              *

They found her some time later, curled up in a shivering ball in the pilot’s lounge.

After trying to get her to surrender control of her arm so they could get the cure into her, Razor remarked, “There’ll be no easy way to do this, Commander.”

“Hmmph.”

“If I hold her down and you hold on to her wrist, you can easily inject the cure. Not an elegant solution, but…”

“This isn’t an excuse to grope her, is it?”

Razor blinked and cleared his throat, then replied, “No offense intended, Commander, but she isn’t my type, and I really wouldn’t want you for an in-law. That last one is a sentiment I’m sure we share. Unfortunately for the both of us, she has a crush on me and would probably like having me on her.”

Feral allowed himself a small smile as he nodded. “Then try to pin her down as best you can.”

Razor and Feral worked together to straighten Felina out, and Razor did his best to pin her upper body down as Feral put his weight into keeping her arm still enough to get the needle in.

Feral injected the cure into his niece’s arm and she started . Razor got off her and stood up, offering his hand. She looked around and took Razor’s hand.

“Feeling better, Lieutenant?” Feral asked as Razor pulled up.

She nodded .

“Well, SWAT Kat, you can go back to check up on Viper.”

“With… your permission, Uncle, I’d like to accompany him.”

“Granted.”

“Razor, you’ll probably need to give me a ride,” she said. “I need to get one thing from my quarters first…”

“Sure thing. I’ll meet you in the lobby,” he replied . Staring at his tail, she licked her lips then remarked, “It’ll be faster if we stop off on the way.”

“Whatever,” he said as they stepped on to an elevator.

They walked up to a door on the barracks floor, and she unlocked and opened it.

“Care to come in for a second while I look for it?”

“Uhh, no, thanks. I wouldn’t feel comfortable…”

“It’s just as well, then,” she remarked, “I am a Feral. I can control myself. “

“Do what?”

“Razor, I want you soooo bad right now.”

He shook his head. “Razor’s not worth it. The tom behind his mask maybe, but not Razor.”

“Who are you really?”

“Someone you’ll have to hunt down,” he said as he turned and walked away, “If you look hard enough, you’ll find my real face in the Enforcer database.”

*              *              *

“This’ll make ya feel better, Mayor.”

He injected the portly Mayor with the cure, and as the politician sat up, T-Bone stood and walked out of the room. He walked to the next office and opened the door to see all the curtains pulled and all the lights off. He flicked on the light switch and heard a feminine whimper with three barely audible words, “Light too bright.”

He closed the door and dimmed the lights as he homed in on the sound of her breathing. He walked behind her desk as he pulled out the second syringe.

Callie, on her office floor under her desk, cowered from the light as T-Bone approached with a hypodermic needle.

“Here, Ms. Briggs, I’ve got the cure to this disease,” T-Bone said, crouching by her as he took her arm. He probed for a vein, then deftly inserted the needle and pushed the embolus. The change was almost immediate, and she sat up, smacking her forehead. She looked at him wild-eyed as she crawled out from under the offending piece of furniture and collapsed into his arms. She calmed down for a moment and lay in his arms, gazing at him. She started as if shocked by an electrical outlet and stood as he did.

“T-Bone…” she whispered . She lunged at him, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him on the lips.

“Mmph, Cal…Callie, no,” he said through the kiss. He pushed her away by her arms, and she panted as she tried to make physical contact with him again.

“Please, T-Bone…”

His eyes widened in shock at her next two words, and he pushed her away and stepped back.

“You’re delirious.”

“No, this is no delirium. I want you to… ” she said in a soft, sultry voice, then repeated the two words.

He started to turn and was tackled, landing on his tail as she tightened her grip on his g-suit and kissed him again.

Still pinning him down and holding on to his suit, she purred, “You aren’t getting away from me this time, T-Bone. I’m going to…”

“NO!” he cried, pushing her off and leaping to his feet. He dashed out of her office and ran into the just opened elevator as she burst out of her office and yelled, “T-Bone!”

The elevator door closed, and he heard her pounding on the doors as the elevator started down its shaft.

*              *              *

A short time later…

T-Bone looked over as the lab door opened. Razor stalked in and rapidly made his way toward T-Bone.

T-Bone walked over to his partner, “You look… disturbed. Feral try to hurt you?”

“A Feral, yes, but not the Commander, and she wasn’t out to hurt me.”

“The Lieutenant? What’d she try to do to you?” T-Bone asked.

Razor gestured for T-Bone to bend down and whispered something in T-Bone’s ear. The tiger stepped back, “Well, that’s rather odd. Callie just about attacked me for the same reason.”

The blonde-haired Deputy Mayor came in, and spying T-Bone, made a beeline for him. He readied to escape, but she calmly stopped in front of him, holding out her arms in a peace gesture as she said, “I’m sorry, T-Bone. I – I wasn’t myself.”

He stepped back, and her arms dropped to her side and she stammered, “I mean, I was, ’cause I do want you, but I wasn’t. I… couldn’t control myself.”

She looked down at the floor and turned on her heel, walking toward the entrance.

“T-Bone, if you don’t go after her, I’ll kick your tail,” Razor said .

“I’d like to see that,” he retorted.

Leery of the end result, T-Bone started after her, and caught her at the door. He placed a hand on her shoulder and bent down. He whispered, “I love you dearly. I need you like a drowning kat needs air. But, while I wear this mask and protect you and this City, I can never, ever… have you. I pray, that with time, you understand my burden. Pursue someone else, please.”

She found herself wrapped in his arms. He released her, and she turned to face him.

“Thank you, T-Bone. Thank you for your honesty,” she said, and with that, she ran away.

T-Bone walked back over to Razor, his expression mournful.

“That face has ‘Uh-oh’ written all over it. What’s wrong?” Razor asked .

“Crud, Razor, why can’t I love her?” T-Bone whispered .

Razor could only sigh.

“Because you’re an idiot, that’s why.”

“Now to try this,” Purvis mumbled. “It seems to work on the sample.”

He called a technician, “Release this into the building’s ventilation. We need to see how well it works.”

Felina walked in, and Razor cringed . She walked over, her face expressionless and stopped next to the two toms, her arms crossed.

T-Bone piped up, “Help you, Lieutenant?” .

“I needed help about fifteen minutes ago, but someone didn’t want to help me.” She ducked her head. “In a way, I can’t say I blame him.”

“Better not to than risk twenty years in Alkatrez,” Razor replied. “I don’t blame you because it’s an apparent side-effect of the cure.”

“Look, I find you attractive, and I’ve been hoping for Razor’s blade since practically day one. Whatever it was just amplified it a lot.”

“I think I’d best leave the building before the aerial cure is released,” Razor said. “See you outside, T-Bone.”

With that, he started toward the door.

Felina sighed.

T-Bone asked, “What’s up?”

“Who are you guys really? He told me that he’s not worth it, but the tom behind the mask was.”

“You’ll have to find out for yourself, Lieutenant. If you do find out, then please, don’t tell your uncle.”

*              *              *

Razor stepped out of the Biochemical labs and saw Callie sitting on the empty steps, her glasses in her hand as she sniffled.

He sat next to her. “You okay, Ms. Briggs?”

“No.”

“What’s wrong?”

She wiped a tear from her eye and sniffled once before saying, “I know who you are. Who you both are.”

“Uhm.”

He sat down next to her, and she placed an arm around him. Reluctantly, he did the same.

She looked at the empty street, at the hollow sounding city and whispered, “What can I do to make Chance love me, Jake?”

“You can’t make anyone love you,” he said.

And, even though she knew the answer, she asked, “If you could, would you have me back?”

He shook his head. “No. But, I have forgiven you all those nasty things you said. I apologize for what I said that day too.”

She turned to look at him. “Then I will have to pursue him.”

He replied, “Promise me you won’t hurt him like you did me.”

“I promise.”

Razor nodded and stood up. “Then pursue him with all your heart and soul. If you want, I’ll try to beat it into his thick skull that he shouldn’t deny himself based on an irrational fear.”

“I’d like that.”

“Then you have my word, Callie, that I’ll help work on him.” He walked down the steps toward the Cyclotron. He needed to get it loaded up in the Turbokat.

*              *              *

“What would be the best way to distribute the cure, Purvis?”

The scientist looked up at Feral. “I can think of several ways. None are ideal.”

“Ideas?”

“We could try to use crop dusters, or we could hoist canisters several thousand feet above the city and use explosives to spread them…”

“I like the crop dusting idea better.”

*              *              *

Feral and the SWAT Kats walked out of MegaKat Biochemical Labs, and the two vigilantes started toward their jet as Feral walked to his chopper.

The Turbokat leaped into the air and flew off toward the desert, and Feral called them up on the radio as he flew toward a nearby airfield. “Where are you two going?”

“We’ll let you be the hero on this one, Feral. At least when you brag to the news tonight, your claims will be true. It’s enough for us that we discovered it and brought in Viper for ya.”

“And, to what do I owe this turn of events?”

“Crop dusters ain’t my thing, and Razor can’t outfit the Turbokat with a spraybar and tanks.”

Razor added, “See you next time, Commander.”

T-Bone flipped off the communication switch and remarked, “Gettin’ soft in our old age, aren’t we?”

Razor smiled. “Hey who knows, now that he’s two pilots short, he may recruit two washed up mechanics.”

“Nah. Not Feral.”

*              *              *

Half an hour later…

Jake and Chance looked at the chopper landing in the Salvage yard.

“Lookie, lookie, Chance,” Jake said, “Feral’s here.”

“Hmm. I think we’d better play sick.”

“I agree. Especially since we were. I’ll act extremely exhausted.”

“And, I’ll be overheating,” Chance replied, carefully pouring a bottle of water down the neck, then back of his shirt.

“Okay. Well, let’s get to it,” Jake said as they stepped out of the garage together.

“What’re you… doin’ here, Commander?” Chance snarled, panting as if he were still sick as Feral walked from the chopper, “We made… our payment… on time.”

“It pains me to say this, but I need your help with something.”

“Oh really?” Jake muttered, looking extremely exhausted.

“If you do a good enough job at it, I may count some of your outstanding debt as being paid.”

The two looked at each other, then Jake asked warily, “What kind of job?”

“It’s not much, but I need kats who can pilot crop dusters so we can distribute an aerial cure to the recent illness the city has been inflicted with.”

“Crop dusters,” they doubtfully echoed in unison.

Even as Jake hid a smile by snorting in disgust, his eyes twinkled as he glanced at Chance. Chance glared back at him.

“Time is of the essence. So, is it yes, or no?”

Jake harrumphed, then said, “What have we got to lose… other than our lives, eh Chance?”

“Crop dusters… are nothin’… like choppers – or jets,” Chance remarked, then clenched his jaw as he continued to stare at Jake. Finally, he looked at Feral and said, “Yeah. I’m in. On one, no… Two conditions.”

“And, they are?”

“Can I get a red… crop duster? And, a can of black… spraypaint?” Chance said with a smile.

“I suppose. Why?”

Chance chuckled softly, but masked it as a low deep cough. “You’ll… see.”

“Well, count me in too,” Jake replied.

“Good. We’ll give each of you an injection and fly you there. Get whatever you need and get in the chopper.”

*              *              *

Chance finished spraying the can over his template and removed it to see the Red Lynx’s insignia on the side of the plane. He got in, started it up and taxied to the runway where Jake was already taking off. Feral shook his head while hiding a smile by scowling.

Call it a bit of hero worship, he mused. Although the Red Lynx was a bad guy, Furlong always did admire that pilot’s skill.

*              *              *

Several hours later…

Chance pulled off the helmet, climbed out of the plane and walked over to Commander Feral. He said, “Commander?”

The tall tom turned around and saw Chance standing with his hand offered, “What?”

As Felina got into a chopper, Jake parked his crop duster.

“Thank you, sir. Thank you for letting me fly. It’s nothing like a jet, but it’s… well – thanks,” Chance said.

Feral slowly took Chance’s hand and shook it. “You’re quite welcome, Furlong. Thank you for doing what you did. You saved many lives by flying.”

Jake slowly got out of the crop duster as the chopper that had Felina took off, then made his way to Chance.

“Thanks. And… you’re welcome, sir.”

“Hey, bud,” Jake said, “Commander, thank you.”

“Not a problem, Clawson, and thank you.”

“You’re welcome, sir.”

As Chance and Jake got on board his chopper, Feral mused, Maybe, just maybe, there could be a place for you on the force again. I wonder what Ms. Briggs would think of the idea. She’d probably say it was stupid, or deny it because I’d be using them to hunt her precious SWAT Kats.

If it were to happen at all, he’d have to allocate funds for them, and get them to warm up to him. If he could swallow his pride, then maybe they could too.

He muttered to himself, “Now to start planning. I think it’s time I revised Project Diablo.”

*              *              *

Three months later…

“Elrod Purvis, for repeated assaults on MegaKat City and the wholesale deaths of many of its citizens, this court finds you guilty and sentences you to life in prison with no possibility of parole,” the judge said as the news media looked on. “However, recent extenuating circumstances must be considered. For saving the lives of everyone in the City, the sentence is hereby reduced to five years in a maximum security prison and one-thousand hours of community service upon your release.”

The judge straightened and pounded his gavel. “Court dismissed.”

Purvis stood up and allowed the bailiffs to take him away. In a way, he was glad. Viper could never and would never plague the City ever again.

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