Dr. Konway arrived at Feral’s office just as the Commander was hanging up with the Director of Megakat’s Observatory. It had taken more than an hour of explaining, badgering and threatening to try and convince Director Sorbin that he, Feral, wasn’t crazy and that, yes, he did understand tying up the telescope for what seemed to be a wild goose chase would set back their research possibly years, but the alternative was death for all of them.
He reminded the doctor that this city was well know for the bizarre but that this far exceeded anything they’d dealt with in the past or present. If Sorbin needed proof, he was welcome to visit a certain hospital room. Feral would give him clearance to see his future self. Still thinking the Chief Enforcer had gone round the bend, Sorbin said he would go see this so called double this evening and get back with him then hung up on Feral.
Growling at the phone, Feral cursed under his breath then began to dial a number as Konway walked up to his desk. He acknowledged the doctor with a nod then spoke to the officer who was head of the guard detail at his future self’s room. After receiving acknowledgment that the officer would be watching for Dr. Sorbin this evening and would let him know if he showed, Feral got the report that future Feral was still unconscious. Sighing in dismay, he hung up.
“Konway! Dr. Sinian mentioned something we didn’t think to look into. Biological Warfare! We don’t know if my future self was going to mention this or if it was just on magic. Right now, we’re going ahead with the research into magic, but we need to explore this other avenue as well.” Feral sighed and rubbed his face while he gathered his thoughts.
Konway waited patiently. He’d been brought up to speed on what was going on, and he was shocked and horrified that their future held such danger. He was ready to do anything necessary to save their world, but this new subject was just as terrifying as the alien attack was.
Feral returned his attention to the waiting scientist and noted the deeply troubled look on the tom’s face. “Yes, I know just how dangerous Biological Warfare can be. Using it can just as easily take out the ones you’re saving as well as the enemy. Believe me, I really don’t want to take that route. As I remember, my future self did mention that Dr. Viper used his plant army to fight the aliens, but what he didn’t say was if Viper tried to use his usual mutation methods to take out the aliens that way,” he said, a puzzled expression on his face as he went over what was said during the interview again in his mind.
“Pardon me, sir, but I don’t think he would have been able to unless he was able to get some DNA from them. He is familiar with Kat DNA and that’s how he is able to mutate it, but an alien… that would require some extensive research first before he could do anything that could harm them, and, according to what I’d been told, they… meaning our future selves… didn’t have that kind of time,” Konway said thoughtfully.
“You know, I don’t remember him saying any of the aliens except for their hard shell, nearly impervious ground soldiers ever landed on the planet. Not once did he mention them ever doing paw to paw combat with them. Damn it! Too many questions and no answers while he’s still out of it,” Feral said bitterly, frustration lacing his voice.
“How is his condition, sir?”
Feral grimaced, anguish peeking out from his troubled eyes. “Not good. He’s dying, and there’s nothing the doctors can do to halt the deterioration of his body. All they can do is make him comfortable, but he’s got less than a month if that much.”
Konway winced. “I’m sorry to hear that. I truly hope he regains enough strength to answer these questions or we’re fishing in the dark as much as they did in the future,” he said worriedly.
“I know, believe me. Anyway, so are you saying using germs are not going to work for us?” Feral asked, getting back on subject.
“We’re in the same boat as Dr. Viper, sir. We’d need a DNA sample of our enemy to create something that could kill them. So, no, it’s really not an option,” Konway said, shaking his head firmly in the negative.
“Aw well, I didn’t think so either, but I couldn’t drop it from consideration until all the facts were presented. So, it’s back to magic,” Feral grunted, grimacing in distaste at that option.
“I understand your disinclination for that, sir. We certainly don’t have a defense against magic and don’t like using something we don’t understand. Uh… you said Dr. Sinian is exploring that option?” Konway asked.
“Yes, as well as Razor, who seems to know a conclave of magic users. That’s all we’ve got right now,” Feral sighed tiredly, leaning back in his chair to stare up at the ceiling.
“Since there’s nothing my section can do to prepare for this disaster, sir, is there anything else we can do for you?” Konway asked.
Feral paused in his perusal of the ceiling to think then sat up again. “Yes, send some of your brightest youngsters over to help do research for Dr. Sinian. I was going to send some of my officers, but I think a trained scientist’s eyes might be better. She needs at least ten assistants. Can you provide them?”
It was Konway’s turn to pause and think then he nodded. “Yes, sir. I’ll get right on it and send my best to her right away.”
“Excellent. Be sure to give the list of names for your group to Sgt. Fallon and tell them this is top secret. No phones, no written communications or reports, no discussing it with anyone not part of the group… only direct communication with Dr. Sinian, who will relay it to us. That’s to reduce the chances of a leak,” Feral told him grimly.
Konway nodded, a grave expression on his face. “I understand completely, sir. I’ll get the list to you within the hour.” He turned and left quickly.
Feral wrote up his notes on what was discussed then moved to the next thing on his agenda, which seemed to get longer all the time. According to the lists of people in the weapons manufacturing and scientific fields he’d had Fallon research and print up for him, he still had some twenty left to contact. He needed a break, and there was one interview he needed to do in person. He looked over at Sgt. Fallon waiting patiently.
“I need to get away from these phones for a bit, so I think I’ll go see Hackle and get that discussion over with then finish these last few calls. You stay in my office to be on hand to respond to those individuals I’ve left messages for and set up appointments for them to see me by tomorrow. Got it?”
Sgt. Fallon had pulled out his notepad and was making notes. He nodded in response to his superior’s question.
Feral went on, “If you have to leave, let Mary know where you are at all times.”
“Yes, sir. I hope you are able to get Professor Hackle’s cooperation. I don’t think you’ll have a problem once you tell him what’s coming and that he played a significant part in it in the future,” Fallon said solemnly.
“I’m hoping you’re right about that. Hold the fort! I’ll be back as quick as I can,” Feral grunted as he got up from behind his desk and went to put on his coat. Giving Fallon a sharp nod good bye, he stepped out of his office.
“Sgt. Fallon will be staying in my office while I’m gone to see Professor Hackle. All I need you to do is make sure any messages from the team is quickly transmitted to him,” Feral ordered.
“I’ll take care of it, sir. Will you be on your radio or should I contact you by cell if it’s necessary?” she asked.
“Use my cell only, but be very circumspect with any messages you relay to me.”
Mary nodded her understanding. Feral turned and headed for the elevator quickly. Very soon, he was in the parking garage and getting into his distinctive black and gold hummer.
His mind was running over all the details yet to be done as well as his speech he would give to all his military peers on the conference call later that evening. No matter how he said what needed saying, it still sounded ludicrous. It was going to take a lot to convince them he hadn’t lost his mind. ‘Hmm, perhaps a video of my future self might be helpful…” he thought then pulled his cell out and called Sgt. Fallon. “Sergeant! Check with our surveillance people about sending a video feed of our special guest to my fellow military leaders. Perhaps that will show them I’m not making this up as well as his vehicle. Get right on this and tell them it’s imperative to have it done before the call tonight.”
“Yes, sir! I’ll get right on it,” Sgt. Fallon acknowledged then hung up.
Closing his cell, Feral dropped it into his pocket and concentrated on his driving. Some fifteen minutes later, he arrived at Professor Hackle’s secluded lab/home complex across the bay.
There was a security gate at the end of a long drive. He stopped at the intercom and pressed the button to gain the Professor’s attention. It took a good ten minutes before there was a response.
“Yes, who is calling?” came the professor’s familiar voice.
“Commander Feral, Professor Hackle. I need to see you. It’s urgent.”
“Of course, Commander, come on ahead.”
The gate opened silently, allowing Feral’s vehicle through before closing behind him. He drove up the long drive until he came to the front of Hackle’s home. The Professor’s home and lab was built into the side of a mountainside. One side of it faced the bay with huge windows. The rest of it was hidden from view by a forest at its backside. He didn’t know it, but there was a side road that led to a huge hangar door that the SWAT Kats used when they visited him.
Feral was at the home entrance. The face of this was a nice looking bungalow with gardens across the front apron of yard. The drive stopped at the end of a gravel parking area. He stopped his car, parked, got out then walked up the short sidewalk to the front door. Next to the heavy, ornate door was another security keypad and screen.
Before he could press the button, the door to the home opened silently. The door moved on heavy pins. He blinked in surprise; it was as strong as a blast door at Pumadyne. No would be able to break into Hackle’s home with anything short of a nuclear bomb. He was impressed.
Hackle eyed him curiously and gestured for the huge tom to enter. Feral stepped into the entry way of a very nicely appointed living space. It wasn’t large or ostentatious, but it was comfortable. The living room had comfortable couches, a fireplace, and a plasma TV, but by the looks of it, the Professor never spent time here. It was for guests only. Doors led off to the other spaces like the kitchen and bedrooms, but to the right of living room was another door that seemed to blend into the wall.
He wondered if that led to the Professor’s labs. Before he could ask, Hackle was speaking to him.
“It’s a surprise to see you here, Commander. I can only assume it’s something very dire to bring you all the way to my humble home,” Hackle said, hobbling over to the couch and sitting down.
Feral followed his lead and took a seat across from him. “I won’t beat around the bush here, Professor. Our world is in serious danger from a threat that won’t happen for three years.”
Hackle blinked at him in confused dismay. Feral quickly told the elderly Kat about their sick future visitor and the grim news he’d brought them at the cost of his life.
“Oh my! This is terrible!” Hackle blurted in shocked horror. Shaking his head, he allowed the information to filter through his brain for a few minutes.
Feral kept his silence and waited to see what the old Kat would say.
Bringing his attention back to Feral, his face was grim as he said, “So, in this future war, I created an army of robots to try and win back our world, but it was too little too late, is that correct?”
“That’s what my future self told us. Even with the help of the omegas we were losing badly.”
“Except for Hard Drive, now that’s an amazing twist,” Hackle said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Yeah, that’s what I felt too, but Razor feels we should attempt to try and convince our enemies that we have a much bigger problem then their desire to take over the city. Unfortunately, we don’t know where the omegas are hiding, and I’m doubtful we can convince them in time. Although, that might not be true of Hard Drive. He’s on the loose again, but it might be worthwhile to put out feelers for him through the criminal channels, telling him we might have a deal for him. It’s worth pursuing since his abilities did have a real impact,” Feral mused.
“If you want my two cents on that, Commander, I agree you should at least make the attempt. Everyone has the right to redeem themselves,” Hackle said quietly.
Feral could only shrug at that. “I’m not about to dismiss anything at this point, Professor. We’re in too much danger to turn away any possibility. Anyway, are you willing to take on this burden now and get robots built for this offensive?”
“Oh, definitely, Commander. If it can make even a little more of a difference having them on hand sooner before the conflict reaches such catastrophic levels then I must do my part,” Hackle said firmly.
“Then there’s one more thing I’ve got to tell you. The SWAT Kats said when the Pastmaster sent them into a future he had altered, it was one where the Metallikats took over your robots and turned them against Katkind, nearly wiping them out and leaving our world a ruin. Razor wanted you to insure these robots could not be subverted to criminal use or even our alien enemy’s use. He said you had them controlled by a single matrix controller unit. That kind of setting was ripe for take over. So, whatever you have to do, don’t make it so easy for the robots to be turned against us,” Feral warned him gravely.
“Oh my! How awful! Thank you for giving me the warning. I must think on how best to make my robots more autonomous and incorruptible. Perhaps I should consult with Razor and get his ideas in this area. He is a very bright tom, and he could make my work much easier,” Hackle said thoughtfully.
“I’ll let him know to get with you when he can make time. Right now, he’s trying to get us another form of defense. One dealing with magic, the only thing that apparently hadn’t been used,” Feral told him.
Hackle’s eyebrows raised in astonishment. “Magic? Well, you could be right. We did give up that belief and abilities when we turned to science. Perhaps the combination of the two… technology and magic will be the key to our survival. I hope Razor is successful in his endeavor. You’ve given me a great deal to think about, Commander.”
“I know, and I hope you can assimilate it quickly and get busy building,” Feral acknowledged, ruefully. “Listen, it’s imperative that you only communicate with the SWAT Kats, my assistant Sgt. Fallon, and me. We’re trying to prevent a panic among the populace, so we’re keeping a tight security lid on this. I’ve set a meeting with all our possible allies within Megakat City for tomorrow. I want you to attend as well. It will be at Enforcer Headquarters, my conference room at ten a.m.”
“I will be there, Commander,” Hackle said solemnly as he led the Commander back to the front door to bid him goodbye. “I pray we succeed.”
“So do I,” Feral said quietly as he stepped through the door. “See you tomorrow.”
Feral felt some relief that his mission had been successful as he drove back to headquarters. Now he had to finish making his other calls. Tonight and the next day were going to be very busy ones.
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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.