Jenler was exhausted and slumped over his lab table when Dark Kat prowled through just after dark. Scowling, he stalked up to the scientist and pulled his stool out from under him, spilling Jenler to the floor.
The old grey tom gaped upward then scrambled to his feet.
“What progress have you made to inject our subjects?” Dark Kat rumbled coldly.
“I’ve already taken samples, and they are processing,” Jenler said shakily, pointing to a centrifuge working silently on the table. “I can’t do anything until the genes have been distilled.”
Dark Kat eyed him silently then nodded. “Good. See that you move things along as soon as you’re able to.” Without another word, the criminal strolled out of the room.
Jenler’s shoulders slumped in relief. He’d lied. He hadn’t collected the samples, only pretended he had. The centrifuge was empty. He hoped they would be rescued soon or he was as good as dead.
The prisoners stared at him worriedly and prayed as well. Jenler had gone to their cages and whispered briefly what he was doing, and they quietly went along with it. Now it was a nerve-wracking waiting game.
Outside the mountain, the calvary had arrived. Landing away from the entrance so they wouldn’t be heard, they left their choppers and jet and moved in quietly.
Razor and T-Bone had loaded up with some of Razor’s new gadgets and led the way to the cave entrance where the cat’s tracking devices said they were located.
Reaching the cave mouth, they halted and listened carefully. After several long minutes, the faint sounds of creeplings could be heard. It was pitch dark inside.
Using flashlights with care, they studied the layout of the cave. They were dismayed by the multiple tunnels leading further into the cavern.
“This is great!” Westland hissed softly to himself. “I’ll have to divide up my troops.”
“Then I suggest you send a group that way,” Razor spoke up softly. “That’s where the trackers are, and somehow I doubt that’s where Dark Kat is. It’s probably a containment area for just the cats.”
“Why are you so certain?” the Major asked, frowning.
“Listen!” T-Bone said softly.
Everyone went quiet. Distinctly, they could hear creeplings coming from a tunnel to the right, away from where the Commander was located.
“Okay, so you think that means Dark Kat is that way,” the Major asked, pointing to the tunnel with the noises to be sure he understood their logic.
“Yes. From past experience, he’s usually not too far from his creatures,” T-Bone confirmed.
“Alright,” Westland said. Turning to his troops, he signaled to each group to take a set of tunnels then he turned back to the SWAT Kats. “I and this small group are going with you.”
T-Bone nodded, and he and Razor led the way quietly toward the tunnel they hoped would lead them to Dark Kat. They walked for some minutes until they started to see a faint light.
Coming to the end, they found it opened into a large room with other tunnels leading from it. In this space, a lab setup could be seen, prisoners in cages were along one wall and there was Jenler sitting dejectedly on a stool at one of the work benches.
They’d hit the jackpot. Studying the area, there was no sign of Dark Kat, but they had no doubt he was here somewhere. The SWAT Kats took point, and the group hurried across the floor toward Jenler.
Jenler gasped with relief at the sight of the SWAT Kats and enforcers. He willingly allowed himself to be plucked up by the bigger of the pair and carried off to the cages. Using torches, the pair broke the lock on the cages. Soon, all the prisoners were gathered into a group surrounded by enforcers and hustled to the tunnel they had entered.
As they reached the tunnel, all hell broke out. There were laser shots being heard on top of roars and screams of wild cats. Over this was the screeches of creeplings.
Hurrying their charges along, the enforcers kept moving forward. Near the cave mouth was a scene of chaos. There was only the light from discharging lasers to see by, but what they could see was enough.
Major Westland had his charges stop. “Everyone get against the wall and crouch down. Stay here and you’ll be safe,” he ordered the former prisoners then turned to his troops. “Sgt Freeburn, stay here with your team and guard these people.”
The sergeant nodded and took up their positions.
He turned back to the SWAT Kats, who were watching the action ahead of them. He joined them with Sgt Fallon.
“Let’s see if we can even the odds out there,” T-Bone growled as he and Razor led the way out of the tunnel and into the cave entrance area.
Using the lights on their helmets, the SWAT Kats were able to shed light on the battle. Enforcers were trapped in a cleft in the rocks by attacking creeplings. There seemed no end to them. Added to the chaos was the released primitive cats. They were attacking anything in their way as they tried to make for the fresh air they could smell. The creeplings were determined they wouldn’t escape.
Before the rescuers could make a move though, a blast from a much stronger weapon flashed the room, bringing down some of the rock of the cave and raising choking dust and debris. Entering the room was an infuriated Dark Kat carrying his huge blaster cannon.
“Get down, it’s Dark Kat!” T-Bone shouted as he pulled Westland down to the floor with him. Sgt Fallon threw himself to the floor to avoid the laser blasts.
From a crouched position, Razor gritted his teeth and raised his glovatrix. He fired an octopus missile that struck Dark Kat dead center and sent him slamming into the far wall of the cave and out of view.
Running forward, T-Bone fired tarpedoes, spider missiles, and a new missile that sprayed mace at the mass of creeplings.
Everyone’s ears flattened to their heads from the higher pitched cries of the injured and dying creeplings. Despite the racket, their way was cleared, and the trapped enforcers were able to rejoin the rest.
The wild cats made another attempt to try and escape, and the enforcers were uncertain what to do.
“Let them go! We can track them later!” Razor suddenly shouted at them.
Major Westland seconded that order, and the wild cats fled out into the night. He sent the rest of his troops over to the tunnel where the former prisoners were and ordered them to get them to the choppers. While his back was turned, the SWAT Kats vanished.
When he turned back into the cave, he noted the pair was gone and thought they might have gone back to see if they could catch Dark Kat. He took a team and raced back down the tunnel Dark Kat had come up.
When they came to the end, they found themselves in a huge cavern with a hole toward the ceiling. Rising quickly toward that hole was Dark Kat’s air ship. There was no sign of the SWAT Kats.
Cursing savagely, Major Westland turned to run back to their choppers. When he got outside, he saw the SWAT Kats were already on Dark Kat’s tail in the Turbokat. Sighing in relief that at least someone was after the criminal, he focused his attention on getting the rescued Kats and Jenler back to Enforcer Headquarters.
Jenler sighed and hurried with the others over the rough terrain to the choppers. All he had wanted was to make life better for Katkind, but Dark Kat had shown him what could happen if his research fell into the wrong paws. He shuddered at what that Kat could have done to Megakat City. He felt sick that he would have been responsible for the disaster if the criminal hadn’t been stopped. He would have to rethink his goals for the first time since he started down this path.
As Jenler and the rest of the rescued Kats were loaded aboard a chopper, Major Westland directed a squad of enforcers to remain behind and take care of the cleanup of the cave and gather evidence. They were to finish off the creeplings since there was no where to keep such vicious creatures, and they didn’t want any to survive to give their leader aid.
Meanwhile, the SWAT Kats chased Dark Kat over the countryside. Taking a page from the Metallikats, Razor sent a relentless missile after Dark Kat’s ship. To insure he couldn’t shake it, Razor had managed to fire a tracker onto the air ship when it was escaping.
“Stay on his tail but not too close, T-Bone. We want to make sure he doesn’t escape this time,” Razor said coldly.
“Roger that!” T-Bone growled. He kept the jet within a few miles of the air ship. He watched as Dark Kat took his ship up to the stratosphere.
“Not sure if his ship can handle too many g’s,” Razor commented.
“Hmm, we’ll soon see!” T-Bone rumbled.
Dark Kat’s ship kept heading upward until he finally leveled off then plunged down again. There were flashes of missiles trying to hit the missile, but Razor had built it with a small thinking computer that made it guard itself from attack while staying on target. A truly evil weapon and one Razor never intended to use again.
Finally, the end came. After trying to outrun the missile every way he could, even going toward the city, which the SWAT Kats prevented by cutting him off by firing missiles, Dark Kat lost the race as the relentless missile got closer and closer.
One final attempt to evade the death heading his way by toppling a water tower near the train station only managed to allow the missile to close in and hit its target, causing a spectacular explosion.
“At last!” Razor sighed in relief. Though not the type to kill, this time he could do it without remorse. This criminal deserved it.
T-Bone stared at the raining debris of the destroyed air ship without a flicker of guilt. That had been the worst enemy of the city, and now he was finally destroyed.
“Let’s go home, buddy,” he said, turning the jet toward home.
“Yeah, good idea. I’ll contact Westland and tell him it’s over,” Razor said quietly.
“Don’t let it eat at you, buddy,” T-Bone warned quietly, knowing his partner well.
“I’m not. I promise. I’m just tired and relieved. Now all that’s left is rounding up Feral and the others again.” Razor sighed.
T-Bone groaned. “Aww, I forgot about that.”
“Then we probably should go get them now. Don’t want them to get into trouble, do we?” T-Bone grunted in annoyance, turning the jet back to the mountains.
“No, can’t have that,” Razor agreed as he turned on his scanner and tried to pick up the wayward cats’ signals again. It, fortunately, didn’t take too long. The cats were probably tired too because they had traveled quite a distance before finally ending up near a river where they were stationary.
This time, Razor had a simpler method of capturing them. It helped the cats were close together. Two were in a tree while the other two lay near each other at the base of the same tree.
As T-Bone passed low over them, Razor fired a canister that spewed a quick acting sleep drug. Within seconds, all four were asleep.
Over the next thirty minutes, Razor went down and wrapped each cat in a net then had T-Bone winch them up into the cargo hold. The smaller cats were easy, but Feral required T-Bone coming down to help wrap the huge tiger than both going back up then winching the cat up slowly, but finally, they were done and heading toward the zoo once more.
Razor contacted Major Westland and told him they had the cats and to warn the zoo they were heading their way with them.
Westland was relieved and did as asked. Within two hours, the four cats were once again back in their cage and guarded.
Everyone was so very tired after such a traumatic day that Major Westland decided it could wait until tomorrow to have Jenler change the altered cats back to normal.
As for Jenler, he was safely ensconced in a cell…. alone. For once he didn’t care where he was. He was just glad to be safe and to get a chance to rest at last. Tomorrow would be soon enough for settling accounts.
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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.