It was a few hours later and the SWAT Kats and Major Westland were listening to Dr. Konway as he gave them the results of the tests he’d done on the altered Kats.
“I don’t truly know how this was accomplished. All I can tell you is what the findings show is going on with their bodies at this moment. Commander Feral, Lt. Feral, Lt. Commander Steele, and Ms. Briggs were injected with something that caused them to devolve to what they might have been at the dawn of time when such creatures roamed. Everyone has a different gene made up of those ancient cats which make us who we are today. Someone has been able to find a way to unlock those ancient genes and cause a modern Kat to devolve. It’s an amazing feat and would have taken some years to develop,” Dr. Konway said, shaking his head, an expression of mixed admiration and horror on his face.
“So, do you think Dr. Viper’s the culprit?” Razor asked.
“I’d have to say no. Viper tends to use various plant catalysts in his monsters, and he hasn’t varied that MO. Also, I have no doubt this took years, and Viper hasn’t been around that long. No, I suspect a rogue scientist,” Konway said slowly.
“Why a rogue?” Major Westland asked with a frown.
“Because it’s immoral to experiment with gene manipulation. There are strict guidelines on this type of research. The Association of Geneticists would not allow this kind of thing to be done,” Konway said with certainty.
“Hmmm, then we need to question the head of the Association to see if they know anyone who was interested in this type of research,” Major Westland said thoughtfully. “Doctor, do you know if this is a permanent change?” he asked in concern.
“I truly don’t know. Based on my test results, they have been altered to the DNA level. I would have to say it is, but I’m not the one who did this, and I’m not a specialist in genetics. The person who did this may have a way to reverse it,” Dr. Konway said with a shrug.
“That’s another thing to ask these people then. Can you keep our altered people here for the time being or should we make other arrangements?” the major asked.
“We certainly don’t have the space or manpower to take care of wild animals. I would have to recommend asking the Megakat Zoo to house them for the time being for their sake. They’ll get better care,” Konway suggested.
“He’s right. Those cats will need a lot of food and space or they will go crazy and be more dangerous than they are already,” Razor said gravely.
Major Westland grimaced. He didn’t want too many people to know about this, but it might be some time before the altered Kats could be turned back to normal, if they could be returned at all. He sighed.
“Very well! I’ll contact the zoo right now and see if they can accommodate us,” the Major said, turning away, taking his cell phone from his coat.
They waited patiently as he argued with the zoo director. It took almost forty minutes before he finally closed his phone.
“Though he wasn’t happy about it, Director Morrison agreed to take care of them. They said we are lucky. An exhibit cage for big cats is empty right now. Hopefully, they can share a cage, but I don’t know that much about how these cats exist together in their time,” he said with a sigh. “We certainly don’t want them killing each other.” One more problem he didn’t need.
Razor spoke up. “We can take them to the zoo for you, and you really need to contact Dr. Sinian about the compatibility of keeping them together before we go,” he said calmly.
Westland frowned then sighed again; he seemed to be doing that a lot lately. He couldn’t believe he was being forced to accept so much assistance from a pair of vigilantes. Whatever would the Commander think of this? Oh well, he was part of the problem after all. Accepting the fact that Razor was right again, Major Westland pulled out his phone again.
Their good luck held. Dr. Sinian had told them the cats would be alright together as long as they were well fed and had a large enough enclosure.
The SWAT Kats helped the enforcers load the four altered Kats into the cargo hold. The group loaded aboard as well to help off load them. Major Westland had insisted on coming along to explain to Zoo Director Morrison the real story behind the cats and insist on his discretion in the matter. He still wanted to keep what was going on under wraps for as long as they could.
At the zoo, Director Morrison gaped at the new arrivals. He turned to Major Westland in annoyance once he’d gotten over his shock.
“Isn’t it bad enough we have to house dinosaurs because of that crazy Pastmaster, now this? What is going on?” he demanded.
“These are not from the Pastmaster. The saber-toothed cat is Commander Feral, the small golden cat is Ms. Briggs, the other more tawny cat is Lt. Commander Steele, and the black cat is Lt. Feral. From what we’ve been able to ascertain, someone has injected them with something that caused this to happen to them. Until we can find a cure, we are entrusting their care to you,” Major Westland said grimly.
Director Morrison’s eyes widened, and he looked again at his unexpected ‘guests’. “Oh my! That’s terrible! I understand now. We’ll do our best to take care of their needs. I hope there is a cure,” he said heavily as he stared at the ancient cats with worried eyes.
“So do we. Please, it’s very important that no one knows about what these cats really are. We don’t want to start a panic. If you want to claim they are from the Pastmaster, then do so. It’s as good a cover as any,” the Major sighed, shrugging his shoulders.
“Good idea. That will make it easier to keep it a secret. I will keep a close eye on them and see that they receive the best of care. Don’t worry,” the Director promised solemnly.
“Thank you. To help you, Dr. Sinian offered to give you all the information she has on these cats from her archives,” Major Westland said.
“Oh, that’s good to know. Though they should have the same basic habits as our more modern wild cats, I’m sure there are some differences we should be aware of so they don’t become ill,” the Director said. “I’ll ring her up immediately. If there’s nothing else, I’ll get busy seeing to their comfort.”
“No. We have to be going. I’ll be checking in with you on a regular basis,” the Major said, turning to leave.
The Director nodded and went closer to monitor the installation of the cats into their temporary home.
The SWAT Kats were waiting to take the Major and his enforcers back to headquarters. A quick trip later and a demand that they be kept in the loop and they were gone again to their hidden base.
It was left to Major Westland to set the investigation into motion. He called a meeting of his squadron commanders to tell them what had happened though there was hardly anyone that didn’t know the scuttlebutt about the upper command being turned into cats.
He ordered them to have teams ready to begin searching for whoever did this as soon as he got the information from the Association of Geneticists. He dismissed them then had his secretary try and reach the leader of the Association and get him an immediate appointment to see him.
He made his way to Feral’s office and plopped down behind the huge, impressive desk. He allowed himself to slump in the chair and put his head in his paws.
‘What a mess,’ he moaned. After a long moment of running over everything he needed to do, he sat up and looked at his watch. Groaning, he reached for his phone. His mate would not be happy. He had to tell her he wouldn’t be home for a few days. When he hung up from that less than joyful call, he summoned an aid and ordered a meal, knowing it might be a long time before he got another chance to eat.
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