“Chance, time to go!” Jake hollered to his partner from the office where he was finishing up the last of the invoices from their morning’s work.
Earlier, he’d received a quick call from Feral telling him he needed to summon his magical friends to attend. He’d been unhappy that he’d not known this when he’d spoken to them yesterday, but when he reached Byron, he was reassured that they had sensed they were needed sooner and had already been on their way. That had creeped him out just a little, but he thanked them and told them where to go when they arrived at Enforcer Headquarters.
The big tabby was cleaning up and getting ready to close the doors. “I hear ya! Do we have time to shower?” he called back as he shut the huge doors.
Chance grunted at that and hurriedly put up the closed sign on the customer door, then ran out to the gate to put up their ‘Garage Temporarily Closed’ sign. Running back inside, he raced up the stairs. Jake was just coming out of the bathroom and heading to his room. Stripping off his clothes, Chance ducked into the bathroom to take his turn and did a sketchy wash and dry.
His partner was already down in the hangar as Chance came barreling down the ladder and ran over to the lockers to dress. He hadn’t bothered to put anything on but boxers and t-shirt, so pulling his g-suit on took only seconds.
Clean and ready, he hurried across the hangar floor and bounded up into the cockpit. Razor had already begun engine startup to save time. Closing the canopy, T-Bone took control and sent the turntable to rise toward the runway.
Minutes later, the jet roared into the sky and headed toward Enforcer Headquarters. With minutes to spare, they landed where the tower instructed and shut down engines. Opening the canopy, the pair leaped down then Razor set the sophisticated security system.
Felina was there to meet them.
“Hi guys! I’m to escort you to the secured crisis room where the meeting will be held.”
“Good idea to have it there. What has Feral told his troops is going on so they don’t start getting upset by us being here and all the secrecy?” Razor asked curiously.
“The troops have only been told that a serious danger is coming and that all forces of the world are being mobilized to fight it and that includes you two. Though there are a lot of skeptics, no one is openly dissing my uncle on the order. Then, as all the scientists, inventors, and other odd people began arriving today, the doubters changed their minds and realized this isn’t the usual omega danger, so they are more on my uncle’s side now, so you shouldn’t encounter any problems,” she assured them in a low voice.
“Okay, then we know we don’t have to guard our tongues that fanatically, just not say anything about the future, who the enemy is and the other Feral,” Razor murmured softly.
“I’m surprised but pleased Feral wasn’t completely anal about keeping this secret. It shows he understands trying to keep something like this under wraps when it will take a few years for it to happen would be nearly impossible, but releasing just enough to make his troops feel they are part of something big and important ensures they keep the secret better than if they were kept in the dark,” T-Bone commented sagely. “He’s come a long way from the hidebound, by the rules we know and hate.”
Felina was surprised by that nearly complimentary comment by someone who didn’t have a good word to say about the Commander most times. “No matter how much he might ride you guys and how rule bound he gets at times, my uncle has always been considered an excellent strategist,” she said proudly.
“You won’t get any argument from me. This is a side of him I can respect,” T-Bone agreed readily.
She could only smile at that.
The elevator pinged and opened onto a concrete corridor of unrelieved gray. One direction lead to the armory while the other to the crisis room. Felina led them to the end of the corridor then turned into an extremely short hall which ended in a heavy door with a keyless entry and was guarded by two heavily armed and burly enforcers. One gave Felina a nod of respect then held his paw out.
She handed him a flat piece of plastic resembling a credit card which he ran through the reader. The reader flashed green, and the door began to open. The guards eyed the SWAT Kats, but apparently they’d been given the green light to allow the pair to enter fully armed.
T-Bone and Razor gave both guards a nod of respect, which surprised them, then followed close on Felina’s heels as they strode through the now open doorway.
Inside was a huge room with two levels. It was semi-dark with lighted pathways. The walls were filled with situation screens, showing all the military activity going on in the city at the moment. Normally, this was all shutdown until a major incident required its use. Feral was having the techs insure all the screens and surveillance equipment were in working order, hence the reason for the room to be fully manned and active at the moment.
Felina headed up a ramp that lead to a glass enclosed conference room. A huge oak table filled the space and was surrounded by comfortable, heavily padded, brown leather chairs that swivelled. One wall wasn’t glassed and this held more view screens that were dark at the moment. Other leather chairs were against the glass walls. The room was soundproofed because it was nearly filled with people, but you couldn’t hear anything outside it.
Felina opened the door and their ears were blasted by many voices talking. They stepped through, and she closed the door behind them. She gestured for them to take two open chairs near the head of the table and beside Ms. Briggs, who was talking to Dr. Sinian sitting across from her.
As they took their seats, T-Bone and Razor nodded to those Kats they knew and studied the ones they didn’t. Professor Hackle was there talking to Dr. Liter Greenbox (‘Now that was surprising, when did he get out of jail?’ Razor wondered.) Near them, listening to their conversation, was Dr. Konway and sitting beside him was Dr. Ohm.
Razor leaned close to Callie and asked, “So, who are the rest of these guys in here?”
“Scientists from the Bio Tech and Bio Chemical Labs, Pumadyne weapon’s inventors and designers, the head of the inventor’s association, the head of the Megakat Observatory, leaders for the top security services from the private sector, the head of Feral’s own R&D Section, and I think Razor knows who they are…” Callie said, pointing to a group sitting apart somewhat and dressed rather simply.
“Uh, yeah, they are the local magical society I met by accident a year ago. Feral had called me to have them show up. Wish he’d told me that yesterday, but they’d anticipated the call and were on their way, which just weirds me out a bit,” Razor murmured uneasily.
Callie patted him on the shoulder. “That’s alright, Razor; they kind of weird me out too. No longer being familiar with magic makes all us normals uneasy.”
“You’re right about that,” he muttered then changed the subject. “Uh, by the way, how did Dr. Greenbox get here?”
“Well, he is a bright inventor, and it wasn’t really his fault for what happened. The Metallikats destroyed his life’s work and it kinda tipped his mind temporarily off the track. The doctors assure me he’s essentially a good Kat who was horrified by what he’d nearly done and was grateful he’d been stopped. We need all the inventors we can find that have proven skills and he does, so he was given a reprieve if he helps our cause and he quickly agreed,” she said reassuringly.
“Okay, as long as you’re sure he isn’t going to go off the deep end again. We don’t have time to deal with nuts right now!” T-Bone grunted doubtfully.
Callie gave a small chuckle at that.
“Where’s Feral?” Razor asked, looking around.
Callie sighed. “He’s still on the conference call with the leaders in our part of the world. I don’t envy him the headache, but I’m thankful for what he’s doing to get everything organized. From what I heard, he’s already got the far away countries on board. I’m certain he’ll succeed with the closer ones as well.”
“I don’t see how he could fail since the evidence is just too compelling to ignore,” T-Bone rumbled.
“I agree. Unfortunately, some people just are hard to convince, and it is very exhausting trying to convince those hold outs that the danger is real.”
T-Bone snorted derisively at that but knew it was true nonetheless.
It was just reaching thirty minutes past the time the meeting was supposed to be started when Feral and his assistant hurried in.
“Forgive me for being late,” he said as he took his position at the head of the table. “I do have good news though. All the world’s countries are on board and are sending their experts in the same fields as all of you represented here. Only one country has other magic users. General Kylemar of the Tymurr Federation has a large colony of magic users. He will be getting back to me, hopefully today, with the results of his meeting with them. From now on this secret project will be codenamed Mission: Saving the World. The highest security rating has been given it, and you will adhere to that without fail. We do not want a panic on our paws. So, let’s discuss how we’re going to handle this project.”
Over the next few hours, all aspects of dealing with such a large and secretive project were discussed and a list of requirements was drawn up that all would adhere to:
-Each agency would send their brightest talent to work exclusively on this project (at first they had thought to have everyone stay within Enforcer Headquarters, but it soon became clear it could not hold the number of people involved. One of the private sector security heads suggested an abandoned military installation on the far side of the MASA center. All agreed that would work. Feral was charged with getting it ready for occupation. Ms. Briggs authorized the enforcers to do this to save money and to prevent any suspicion about the place from private contractors. Feral requested a list of required equipment from the ones selected to work on the project so he could begin acquiring what they need by obscure means.) Razor immediately volunteered, along with Professor Hackle, to install a high tech security system tailor made for their needs, which would reduce outside spies’ abilities to penetrate it.
-All the selected personnel were to live and work in the new facility. They would have to sign non-disclosure statements. They couldn’t hold people hostage at the project, however, as they did need to go home at times to visit family and to recharge so ideas could keep flowing. So, each person had to submit to a thorough background check before being given the reasons behind this project before being given the freedom to work on it.
-All reports on the work would be funneled through Feral’s office by the heads of each section on the project. He made it very clear that no phones, faxes, or personnel other than the head would handle the reports. To get them to Feral, Sgt. Fallon and Lt. Feral would be the carriers and would wear special communicators that were untraceable to summon them when needed. Again, Razor would be responsible for developing those. This would prevent any leaks, they hoped. Feral would consolidate the data into a short, concise report to be sent to all his peers around the world and written in cryptic form only. The crypt key would be delivered by the SWAT Kats to all the leaders in every country. It would take them several days to accomplish that mission and Feral promised to provide them the fuel for it. T-Bone interjected that being on call this way would prevent them from earning a livelihood in their personal lives. On her own authority, Callie told them she would begin paying them a small salary for their part in protecting the city. She would square it with the Mayor later. Razor and T-Bone were extremely relieved.
-And, last of all, Feral tossed out the idea of trying to entice Hard Drive to come in and make a deal with him. He explained what future Feral had said about the techno criminal’s part in fighting the war and the fact he sacrificed his life to get them the information that led to using magic. He wanted their opinion on it. Many were shocked and surprised, but once they got past that, there was a general consensus to go ahead and make the attempt. Professor Hackle made the comment that everyone had a right to redeem themselves.
The only thing that couldn’t follow the rules being set up were the magic users. Byron calmly told Feral that for them to develop and experiment with spells to help in the war, they had to be in a calm non-technical setting and that place was their home and a mountain retreat only they knew about.
Though there was some argument about how secure that would be, Feral finally had to agree to allow them whatever they needed to do since he couldn’t very well order or control something he simply didn’t understand. And, they were the heart of the project, so what they needed and wanted they would get. Byron further upset them by telling the group that the magic users coming from the Tymurr Federation would need a combination of tech and nature in their workplace to conduct their experiments.
Razor was puzzled and confused by that request, but Byron would not elaborate. After much discussion, Professor Hackle suggested his home. It was in a natural setting and his labs were science based. Byron said that would work very well.
Exhausted after many hours of work, the group broke up. All promised to provide the names of all those being considered to work on the project to Feral by the end of the week. Feral would then do a thorough background check on all the candidates. Meanwhile, he would also have to get moving on preparing the military installation to house all those coming in and decide where to keep all the out-country personnel until their background checks were complete. He mentioned his problem to Callie as the rest of the room cleared out.
She frowned and thought. “Hmm… let me make some quick calls, Commander, and I’ll get back to you this afternoon, alright?”
“Fine. I could kick myself for failing to think of temporary housing for all those coming in. Most will be arriving within days,” he growled unhappily.
Callie reached out and touched his arm. “Ulysses, you’ve already done so much in such a short time. Don’t damn yourself for not being superkat for goodness sake. You are only one Kat after all. That’s what the rest of us are here for, to help you when you need it,” she said firmly, giving him a smile of encouragement.
He smiled wanly at her in return, surprised and touched by her concern and support. “Thank you. I have forgotten that in all the commotion. I’ll let you handle housing. I certainly have enough on my plate right now.”
She grinned. “That’s the spirit. Talk to you later,” she said, heading out herself. She had a lot to do as well.
As the SWAT Kats walked out, Professor Hackle joined them.
“Do you think we should go by this military installation and see what we’re up against in securing it?” he asked Razor thoughtfully.
Razor gave him a sideways look. “You’re right! We shouldn’t waste anytime since, as Feral said, many of the people will be arriving very soon, and we’ll have to have the place secured within the next few weeks,” he said, grimly.
“Let me go ask that security guy before he gets out of here exactly where that place is,” T-Bone said quickly as he hurried off to find the person somewhere ahead of them.
Razor stayed with Hackle and escorted him to the flight line. He was helping the Professor board the Turbokat when T-Bone returned, a small smile on his face. They were set to go obviously.
It was an ambitious project, but no one complained. Their world’s existence was at stake. What they especially didn’t need right now were omegas but, unfortunately, their only desire was profit and domination. The omegas would need a shock to make them realize their world was threatened by something much more deadlier than themselves. It would be up to Feral and the SWAT Kats to show and prove to them the danger was real and to see if they could get these criminals’ cooperation. Only time would tell.
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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.