Title: Mutation City
Email address: email@example.com
Warnings: Violence, strong language.
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
Summary: Viper has succeeded in taking over the city and many of its people. Razor must work with an altered Feral to save Megakat City and his partner.
Author’s Comments/Notes: Though this has some similarity to my Viper’s Revenge, it really isn’t the same except for Feral’s alteration, and it’s much darker and angst ridden with some character deaths.
From the top of the flight line, of what remained of Enforcer Headquarters, a large creature looking like a cross between Kat and bird of prey scanned for danger far below his perch with eyes that could see both forward and to the side at the same time with a sharpness no normal Kat could attain without a pair of binoculars. And, even more impressive, were the orbs’ ability to see at a distance of over 100 yards.
However, as great an advantage as the mutation was, the owner of them would give anything for those binoculars. The new abilities only made him feel more isolated and alone. And, beside which, he was still having troubles adjusting to them. When he allowed it, he dared to hope of becoming normal again. Though, as the months of this war dragged on, a cure continued to dangle just out of reach with every defeat.
Shaking off his melancholy, the watcher returned his gaze to the street below … though, actually, the street was no longer visible, not even to his special eyes. Nothing remained of the cement and asphalt but a river of greenish sludge that reached the height of the third floor of all the tall buildings around him, including his own, and totally submerging all those below that level.
Shuddering, he remembered only too well the horror of Viper’s attack that day, four months past, when the mutant allowed his nasty concoction to ooze silently, stealthily through the city sewers, swelling upward until it spewed up every manhole and vent, cutting the city off from its neighbors and bay shores.
The only good luck, if one could call it that, was the fact the basement area of Enforcer Headquarters had managed to keep from being flooded and overrun by creatures when the security alert doors were triggered, slamming shut and sealing just in time. Unfortunately, it also meant all those people who happened to be working down there were trapped until a way could be found to bypass the three flooded floors above them. And, it was imperative they find a way as that deep basement, that went six floors into the sub strata, contained some pretty important departments, storage areas, and building systems, such as: the weapons storage lockers, overflow food/medical/misc. supplies, a backup operation’s center, main security archives, the large weapons R&D and other miscellaneous labs, backup vehicle storage space, standalone power plant, heating/cooling/electrical systems, and, of course, access to the sewer tunnels.
With a bit of engineering genius, done in under twelve hours, and duplicating a feat accomplished by their sister city to the south, Sandoval Bay Enclave, the R&D Lab created a similar trick in one of the elevator shafts. Sandoval Bay had developed an ingenious tube-like material that allowed dangerous cargo to be safely transported by special trains under the waters of the bay from one end of their coastline to the other. Now, with at least one elevator made into a modified diving tube, access could be gained to the basement, much to the relief of all concerned. Especially since there would be a growing need for the overflow food storage very soon. Rescued civilians were gradually swelling the occupancy of Enforcer Headquarters to nearly uncomfortable levels. Taking the civilians elsewhere wasn’t an option with Viper’s creatures everywhere.
Other good luck was the fact water and sewer systems hadn’t been compromised. Apparently, Viper needed access to fresh water too. But, just to be sure, engineers went through, at great risk, to ensure filtering systems were up to the task of sieving out the harmful chemicals … they weren’t. So, more improved filtering methods were installed. Additionally, the huge sewer grates at each end of the piping system, entering and exiting Enforcer Headquarters, were given even more, heavier metal grating to insure no nasty critters invaded.
The watcher’s wandering attention was dragged back to its duty when a sudden movement occurred a short distance from the building. Though movement in that sludge wasn’t unusual as the river fairly teamed with weird reptiles and altered Kats, sometimes extremely big and dangerous things had been known to attack from time to time.
But, not this time. After several long minutes of study, he could discern nothing of consequence. He straightened and flapped his wings a bit. Standing so still could be mind numbing and boring after a while, but he was more comfortable being outside than indoors. He settled into watchful stillness again. Only then did his mind relax and unwillingly drifted back to those early moments after disaster struck as it did many times when he stood out here alone.
There had been no warning and no time to evacuate as that green muck slipped into the city and began filling it up. The attack had occurred in the early dawn hours of a Tuesday morning, and, because of the hour, much of the population hadn’t yet arisen for the day, but that luck didn’t hold for long. As soon as the danger had been discovered, panic set in. Many tried to escape their homes rather than hunker down and stay put, and, in those first terrifying hours, people who hadn’t drowned were soon to wish they had when Viper’s mutations bit them, causing them to mutate and bite other people, perpetuating the nightmare to epic proportions.
And, nightmare it was! Some people only altered a little and could still function and think, while others were changed so much they were highly unstable in the sanity department, while still others were nothing more than mindless eating machines. Most of the first mutations were some version of reptile or amphibian, but then birds began to get infected and they in turn made strange bird/Kat mixes.
Those poor souls that still retained their minds were considered the lucky ones, but none of them thought so. He ought to know. He was one of those ‘lucky’ ones.
The beginning of the end of who he’d been began the moment he’d been dragged from deep sleep by the frightened radio call of Lt. Commander Steele, who reported the nightmare as it was happening. All he remembered of that day was stepping from the chopper that had picked him up and brought him to the flight line then the sudden shadow that had swooped down and grabbed him with its sharp claws. He’d fired his weapon and killed the bird-like creature, but it was too late as he’d been clawed deeply and bitten on the neck by the time he’d been dropped to the asphalt again.
Time blurred after that, and all he could remember during his brief moments of lucidity were: Enforcers trying to kill him, being locked up in the BioTech Labs, the frightened face of Dr. Konway as that worthy tried to find a way to ‘fix’ his condition, the anguish when he couldn’t, and, lastly, the heroic efforts of his aid, Sgt Fallon, who worked tirelessly to help his leader regain some sanity and learn to cope with the changes.
In the end, it was a combination of stubborn will and rigid control that allowed him to survive and, after some accommodations he and his officers had made to manage his mutations, succeed in regaining a semblance of sanity (most of the time), which resulted in his being back in charge of the Enforcers.
But, all who saw him couldn’t forget how much he’d changed. Though he was still a Kat … as he still resembled one, more or less … the changes he’d endured had made him a bit more birdlike. All his senses had been enhanced: sight, hearing, smell, strength. But, it was the addition of a pair of huge ebony wings and larger than normal eyes that gave him those birdlike attributes. With the addition of the wings and extra height, he now stood a respectable eight feet tall, making navigating headquarters a bit of a challenge, especially in the elevator. Added to that irritation was his inability to abide being in enclosed spaces, which meant no one dared to be in an elevator with him. His temper, never very good in the first place, was now like an erupting volcano with a hair trigger. And, with claws much thicker and longer than a Kat’s, he was so much deadlier and more prone to kill rather than wound. That made his officers more leery around him with paws on holsters when in his presence. Something he hated but accepted as necessary.
But, if those were his deadlier attributes, then the one that was the total opposite truly weirded him out. Instead of being the well-known stone face who rarely demonstrated compassion or other feelings to anyone, his newest talent was the ability to sense people’s emotions. And, not just sense them but soothe, if needed, their troubled, frightened, or angry feelings with the right words and, possibly, exuding a special calming pheromone to get the result he wanted. No one really knew for certain. The results, however, spoke for themselves. The Chief Enforcer was a very strange and new creature, and he was very unhappy about it.
However, he couldn’t deny that many of his new talents were very useful in this new war of survival they were all in. His ability to fly allowed him to do patrols without a chopper. His eyes let him see danger more quickly. And, his ability to kill with lightning speed had kept him and his Enforcers alive so far. That didn’t mean he was reconciled with his appearance though. He avoided his reflection as it upset him too much and reminded him of what he’d lost. Seeing his new height, thicker fur, longer claws, longer ears, those huge eyes with their strange nictitating membranes, and most of all, the huge wings, just made him sick at heart. It also was the reason he preferred to be alone a great deal and why he took watch duty frequently. Oddly enough, he was never attacked by all the flying predators.
Dr. Konway, his BioTech Lab Chief, posited the reason was due to a hidden command instilled in the creatures by Dr. Viper. Initially, they’d been afraid those victims only partially altered and still retaining their minds could be controlled by the mutated lizard, but that had, thankfully, not been the case. It seemed only those completely altered and with no appreciable intelligence were firmly under the mutant Kat’s control and did his dirty work while he remained safely out of sight.
The bastard’s failed attempt to make himself a giant during those first harrowing hours of the attack had been a godsend. Otherwise, Viper would have succeeded in his mad plan to destroy most of the city and subjugate the rest. But, he had succeeded in getting the city cut off, killing nearly 150,000 and altering an unknown number of others, at least from what the Enforcers had been able to determine while on their many forays providing aid to the survivors.
The bulk of the population not caught in the first onslaught had managed to escape to the northern forests and mountains, into the southern desert, out to the islands that dotted the bay, across the bay to the strip of land there, or kept going until they crossed into the bordering countries. And, those countries had immediately formed a barrier of weapons and soldiers to keep Megakat City firmly quarantined until they could decide if it should be destroyed.
Quick action by the remaining leader of Megakat City persuaded the other leaders that since the green ooze, weirdly enough, didn’t go past the borders of their city, it wasn’t a threat to them, so could they wait? With great reluctance, they agreed but set a time limit for Megakat to take care of the problem or else they would be destroyed. That time limit had been a week, but, as time moved on and the danger remained in the beleaguered city, the other leaders agreed to several extensions. Presently, four months had already passed with no progress made toward defeating Viper and ending his reign of terror.
Shaking off his visit down memory lane, the Commander focused those unusual eyes below him once more. This time, he spotted something very large approaching but couldn’t really make out what it could be. Feeling a closer look was justified, he suddenly spread his wings and launched himself off the roof, catching the brisk moving thermals that whipped around the top of the building.
Drifting no lower than where the tenth floor began, he glided over the area where the suspicious shape could be seen swimming just under the surface. His ability to look to the sides while looking forward allowed him to keep an eye out for trouble from the broken windows of the buildings he flew past. Things with long tentacles as thick as a person’s body had the nasty habit of reaching out, lightning fast, to snatch the unwary.
He had no intention of being food today.
Back winging sharply, he barely avoided the object that suddenly and swiftly reared upward from the river to attempt a grab at him. It was even bigger than he’d thought and looked like an ordinary water worm that had been blown up to the height of a skyscraper. A sucker mouth as big as a mack truck, groped the air.
It obviously wasn’t happy that it had missed its prey as it gave a loud roar and lunged even higher out of the river for him. But, he was much faster and more nimble. He dodged then grabbed air, flying higher to get out of its reach. He was stunned to see it had managed to get as high as the sixth floor before finally falling back into the green mess below with no splash or sound. It just slid out of view like it was being sucked down a drain.
Ugh! Something new to deal with, he thought. If they thought their lives had been hell when they’d been fighting the omegas, it didn’t compare to the war they fought now just to survive the nightmare their world had become.
Raising his wrist to his mouth, he spoke into a small communicator strapped to it. “This is Feral. We have a giant worm-like critter who can lunge to about twenty feet or more. It’s only four blocks from headquarters and needs to be taken down asap. Send out SK One!”
“Yes sir!” The dispatcher responded, voice sounding more like grinding rocks. That was because the officer manning it now resembled more turtle than Kat, possessing an actual shell and elongated neck.
As Feral hovered nearer the tenth floor once more, he listened for the sound that told him his only remaining high powered defender was on his way. Within moments, the familiar red/blue/black jet swept past him but stayed high so as not to knock the flying Kat aside with its jet wash.
He remained where he was and watched the jet find the worm, go to hover, then fire at it. The worm creature lunged upward at that same moment, receiving a missile down its craw for its effort. It blew wet pieces of itself everywhere.
He wished all their battles were that easy. With its mission accomplished, the jet rose upward then turned and made for the flight line again. As it went to VTOL mode to glide toward the hangar entrance, Feral also arrived and flew after it, coming up by the control tower then dropping down to land not far from the parked jet whose engines were winding down to silence.
As he walked up to the hangar door, the jet’s canopy shot open and a lithe figure jumped down. The pilot turned his wrist behind him and signaled the canopy to close just as the Commander came alongside him.
“Nasty looking thing. Hope there’s no more of them,” Razor commented before Feral could speak, removing his helmet.
“None that I saw. But…” The Chief Enforcer shrugged his massive shoulders, which made his wings rise and fall.
“Yeah, I know. Always something more out there. Wish we could find that damn creep,” the cinnamon tom said darkly.
Feral agreed with the sentiment but said nothing as the two of them walked side by side into the hangar. They strode past a small group of technicians and remaining Enforcer pilots working on the pitifully few remaining jets and choppers the Enforcers still possessed.
Thanks to Razor, though, those few aircraft were now outfitted with deadlier armaments than before. Packing a much more powerful punch, they succeeded in taking out their enemies more effectively and permanently.
Due to the shortage of qualified inventors and scientists within the Enforcers, Feral had made Razor head of his R&D Section. There wasn’t so much as a single complaint or snide remark that a SWAT Kat was in charge of an Enforcer department. Too many had witnessed the small tom’s skill in designing and building weapons in extremely short periods of time. None doubted he was the reason for their ability to hold off the enemy this long. Besides, Feral knew he couldn’t be choosy about who his allies were now. He’d allowed their original animosity to fade as it had no place in the present situation. And, it didn’t hurt that Razor had been one of the extremely lucky ones who had managed to remain a normal Kat.
Additionally and, oddly, for reasons he didn’t want to investigate too closely, Razor didn’t cause his raptor self to bristle and behave threateningly, which he was prone to do toward anyone else, including his officers, who tried to approach him.
Razor had been stunned by this turn of events and the fact he’d been handed so many different responsibilities from those who had scorned and hunted him before, but even he knew nothing about this situation was normal anyway. So, he accepted his duties with as much aplomb as he could.
Feral’s ranking officers might not have liked it in the beginning, but their attitudes changed quickly after a few frightening incidents with Feral had resulted in death to a few of their number. So now, months later, it didn’t seem odd to them to have to go through Razor when needing to deal with the Commander.
Feral just tried not to think about it at all.
The pair had reached the elevator and had stepped inside. Pushing a button, Feral shut his eyes tightly then asked, “How is T-Bone today?”
Razor had stepped in and moved past the Commander to stand in the corner opposite the tom. Keeping all his limbs tightly held against his body and remaining completely still, he waited for the elevator to begin moving before answering.
“A little better today. The newest drug Dr. Konway tried seems to be showing promise, but it’s too soon to say. At least he isn’t as violent.”
“That’s good news.”
“I guess so.” But he grimaced when he said that. He wanted his partner back! He couldn’t bear to keep seeing that ugly perversion his best friend had become.
In his private moments, in the quarters he’d been given by Feral, Razor would cry and scream at the injustice of it all. It took all he had to keep going each day, but outwardly he displayed a steely calm he didn’t feel so that people around him could hold onto their hope he’d find a solution even though he was losing hope himself.
So, he flew the Turbokat without the finesse of his partner, built bigger and nastier weapons, and hunted for Viper. He wouldn’t rest until that slimy asshole was caught and forced to give them the cure or they located the anti-mutagen tanks.
Only the daily visits to his partner in the BioTech Labs kept him going, even though his friend no longer recognized him.
Earlier, he had stood staring into the cell and grimaced again at the sight of his friend. The right side of the tabby’s body, from face to foot, was some kind of grotesque frog, green and warty. His mouth was huge and sported long teeth and an incredibly long prehensile tongue. The legs could send his mutated body some ten to fifteen feet in the air … a very deadly package that was now firmly locked behind bars that had been fitted with sheets of plexiglass on the outside to keep his tongue from snatching people going by or spitting acid on them.
The tabby’s eyes were the worst feature to Razor’s mind. They were red and glowing with not one ounce of intelligence behind them. It chilled him to the bone. Only half of T-Bone’s mask remained, but his identity was safe as there wasn’t enough of his normal face to identity him as Chance Furlong.
It pissed him off that his skills as a pilot had not been good enough to put an end to Viper’s plans. All he had to do was deliver those two, huge containers of anti-mutagens, but Viper had managed to snatch it from his jet first. And, when the jet began to plunge into the slime river from lack of fuel, he tried to blast the tanks from his ejector seat but only managed to make a hole big enough to change Viper back and drop the tanks.
The tanks were their salvation, but they lay at the bottom of the river guarded fiercely by Viper’s minions. They’d already lost many Enforcers and Razor nearly his life in the many attempts to at least open the tanks completely. The slow leak did little to nothing to change their situation.
Only a few weeks later and another attempt discovered the tanks had been carried away. Anger and fury sped through headquarters like wildfire as did despair. All felt their chances of returning to normal and saving their city had become almost an impossibility as they had no idea where Viper was hiding.
Which left them with the continual fighting to keep the creatures at bay and hunting Viper. However, there was a small ray of hope. Dr. Konway’s people were working night and day to try and make the mutagen from scratch, using the formula the factory was able to get to them, but their main problem was the need for huge amounts of the chemicals that made the stuff. It was way too volatile to be kept at headquarters, and the factory had been recently attacked by Viper’s creatures, leaving it half damaged and its workers dead or scattered. Another frustrating setback.
The daily pressure made Razor sick and murderously angry. He couldn’t recall ever being this furious in his life even when he’d been put out of the Enforcers. But then, none of them had ever dreamed one of the omegas would finally succeed with one of their mad plans.
As for the other omegas: Dark Kat’s location was unknown, but he hadn’t shown up yet, the Pastmaster had remained absent (luckily or perhaps not as he might have taken away the mess just because he didn’t want a competitor for his city), Hard Drive was dead, and Turmoil hadn’t reappeared since her escape from Alkatraz a year ago. And, the Metallikats were still deactivated.
That last omega check revealed Professor Hackle still safe and healthy at his fortress/lab across the bay. It was he who told them that the green goo never crossed the bay freeway nor spilled into the bay itself. They’d also gotten lucky with communications. Though most of the communication grids were down in the city proper, the Enforcers still had their satellite system and radios, as did Pumadyne, a few remote military outposts, and some of the major broadcasting stations (though Katseye News was more down than up of late). Hackle also had a satellite radio, but he favored the small communicator Razor had given him years ago, which was how they learned he was still around and what the situation was around his area.
Razor remembered what they did just days after it was learned the precious tanks of mutagen were missing. He had suggested to Feral and Ms. Briggs that they go see Hackle and put their heads together to find a way to locate Viper.
So, with Feral flying ahead of them, Razor and Ms Briggs flew in the Turbokat for Hackle’s lab.
The Professor, meanwhile, had been working on some way his robots or other inventions could help in this situation. Despite his pacifistic beliefs, even he knew this had to be stopped or the city was doomed. So, he’d gotten to work right after they’d initially contacted him. He wasn’t particularly surprised when he got a visit from the city officials some time later nor about the news they’d brought him on the deadline hanging over their city from their neighbors that promised complete annihilation of Megakat City if the problem wasn’t solved before it began to encroach on their own lands.
As they sat around his lab drinking coffee or other drinks, he sighed and shook his head.
“I’m grateful you were able to make them wait, Ms. Briggs. But, it means we have very little time left, so we need to put our heads together and come up with a plan as fast,” Hackle said bluntly.
“We know, but have no ideas on how!” Feral snarled, eyes glowing fiercely with anger. Callie reached over to gently touch the dark tom on his arm. He flicked his eyes at her a moment before calming down.
It had been a surprise to discover that Feral’s predator side responded to Callie’s unspoken expressions and touches. So, now he had two people that could help keep him sane and grounded, especially if Razor wasn’t available.
She was glad to be of some use as there wasn’t a city for her to run. Except for regular broadcasts to reassure whatever people she could reach, there wasn’t much else she could do so she had moved into Enforcer Headquarters with the four surviving members of the city council and their families. City Hall was an abandoned hulk as it was unable to defend itself from the incursions by Viper’s minions. She was actually the new temporary Mayor as Manx had been killed by a tentacle plant early on. But, except for interceding for Feral, keeping the city population hope afloat, and keeping the other country’s leaders from blasting them, she had nothing else to occupy her. She felt next to useless and very tired physically and emotionally. But, it wasn’t in her to just roll over and give up, so here she was doing what little she could.
Sighing mentally, she gave Feral an encouraging pat and returned to drinking her tea.
Hackle had been understandably shocked by Feral’s altered form and a bit nervous around him especially when he saw how close Razor and Ms Briggs stayed near the big tom, obviously monitoring and controlling him. If he needed any example of what Viper had done to most of the populace, Feral was an awe-inspiring and frightening example. He was also deeply saddened to learn of T-Bone’s fate but said nothing as he could see it ate at Razor. He kept his focus on solving their most pressing problem and pushed everything else aside.
“I understand your frustration, Commander. Finding Viper or the tanks is paramount, so we need to invent some kind of detector that can be fitted in the Turbokat, Enforcer aircraft, and my Cybertron II,” he said, thinking aloud.
“A cold blooded animal detector won’t help find Viper because of all the other cold blooded creatures crawling and swimming all about the city,” Feral flatly pointed out. He and Razor had already discussed this possibility.
“True, however, I’m suggesting the construction of a device that will use a sample of the anti-mutagen chemical to find the tank and Viper’s blood to find him.”
Feral blinked at him in startled surprise then smiled widely, revealing the longer fangs he now had. “Hell yes! That’s brilliant! It so happens Dr. Konway has a sample of both.”
“Easy, Feral. It’s one thing to suggest such a thing but a totally different matter to develop a device that can do that. However, you’re right, this is the best option we’ve heard yet. I suggest we have Dr. Konway work with us because we’ll need his biology skills for this while the Professor and I provide the technical side of making the device. Thankfully, we have working satellite connections to make this easier. I’ll come back here after dropping you off Ms Briggs …” Razor began to say.
The three males stared at the female in surprise.
“I have nothing to do. Let me stay here and help. I’m willing to do anything you might need, Professor. I may not be a scientist or a techie, but I can make sandwiches, coffee, go get supplies, whatever you need.”
Hackle looked surprised at first then an understanding gleam came into his eyes. “I understand, Ms Briggs, and I concur. We could certainly use your help here.”
Callie sighed, relieved. “I will need a quick trip back to get a few things though.”
Feral gave Callie an understanding smile. He couldn’t blame her for wanting to do something, even something so menial as being a gopher. “Razor, with what we have available you should be able to hook Konway up in a separate lab so they can get started before you return here.” Razor nodded agreement. “Oh, and I don’t think you should be the one to bring her back. It wouldn’t be wise for you to be seen flying the Turbokat back and forth from here too often. You run her home, and I’ll bring her back as I’m not noticed by the creatures and won’t be attacked. While no matter how careful you are, you do get noticed. I’ll also get the samples and bring them back as well,” Feral added.
“You’re right. I have no doubt lizard puss is having us watched. So, I’ll return by flying very high and after dark to throw off most of the watchers.” Rising to his feet, he raised Callie up as well. “We better be off then. Be back after dark, Professor.”
“And, we’ll be back within an hour or two,” Feral added.
“See you all later then. Meanwhile, I’ll get busy setting up my end of things and clearing a lab for this project and a room will be available for you, Ms. Briggs.”
She nodded her thanks then Hackle walked them back to the hangar where the Turbokat was parked. Within moments, they were all away, Feral flying low while the Turbokat took a higher altitude flight path.
Razor’s thoughts returned to the present. It had been two months since that trip to Hackle’s and they had indeed been able to develop a device to hunt Viper. But, the city was vast, and it was taking a very long time to find the crud’s hiding place. At least an hour every day he flew a grid pattern over the city as did Feral’s pilots, though at a much higher altitudes to keep from being napped. In between hunting, Razor continued to work on new weapons and doing the occasional foray outside to kill the enemy.
He stared at Feral’s winged back warily. Being in an elevator with the tom was not a comfortable thing because of the tom’s severe aversion to being in tight places, which was why he took the position he did in the car. If the tom knew where you were and you didn’t move, you survived the trip. Needless to say, not many dared to try it except for himself, Callie, and Steele.
Steele. Just thinking of that idiot who was now a smaller bird-like version of Feral (more like a sparrow hawk) made him want to throw up. At first, Steele had behaved as Feral had in the beginning, wild and dangerous … uncontrollable. His own Enforcer peers had to forcibly incarcerate him. Still, he had been one of the lucky ones. After being injected with one of the first drugs developed to try and reverse what Viper had done, Steele became calmer and functional again … to a degree.
That degree was Feral. He obeyed the Commander without hesitation. Razor suspected it was because Feral was the more powerful of the pair and could rip the pipsqueak into little pieces if he was even remotely pissed off. So, Steele was the Commander’s biddable little puppy, which meant he could ride in the elevator with Feral without much fear.
They reached their floor, and the doors opened. He didn’t move. Feral had to scent the air before stepping out and opening his eyes. Until he did, Razor would wait even if it meant the doors would close on him. It was necessary for his safety to wait until the Commander was completely out and away before moving forward … ever. Today was one of those days when Feral took a bit too long moving away. Sighing, Razor allowed the doors to close before moving forward and hitting the button for the floor again. The doors snapped open once more, and he started to step out when he was surprised to find Feral standing there waiting for him. He froze and eyed the Commander warily.
Unbidden came the image of what had happened in the early days when a rookie had run up to the Commander as soon as the tom had stepped from the elevator. It had taken a while for anyone to come near this elevator again even after the blood had been cleaned up, and absolutely no one approached the Commander at all now and went through him first. Now wasn’t that just weird. T-Bone would have been shocked.
Razor would give his life to have things as they had been only four months ago. Gods, had it been that long already? He was so sick and tired of fighting this war!
“I feel the same way,” Feral’s deep voice murmured, breaking into Razor’s anguished thoughts.
The young tom blinked his eyes behind his mask in surprise. Feral’s huge gold eyes reflected sympathy as well as sadness.
It was just soo creepy to know Feral could feel what he was feeling. It was the reason they worked so well together. And, that would shock T-Bone even more. An ache struck his heart every time he realized just how much he missed his partner. But, his anguish was nothing compared to Feral’s grief at the loss of Felina. They all thought the Commander would go completely mad when the beautiful Enforcer had been killed. For a short time, Feral had to be kept in one of his own cells as his grief had turned him into a thing of fangs and claws that wanted to rend and kill. It had taken him and Ms. Briggs several days of talking plus a judicious amount of tranquilizers to finally get Feral calm and sane again. And, even longer to help him not give up fighting altogether.
But, the SWAT Kat couldn’t give in nor allow Feral to do it either, so he found a way to force the Commander to fight and save what they could before the rest of the world finally lost its patience or became terrified enough to bomb them out of their misery.
He just wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and die right now.
However, many were the nights when he wept and raged at all the compromises he had to make when he would much rather give up … It just hurt too much, and he was exhausted mentally and, too often, physically. With so many Enforcers killed or altered and their equipment reduced to a mere thirty jets and choppers, the Turbokat and himself were the only thing between them and total subjugation under Viper.
This and the fact his partner needed the help from Feral’s people was why he lived here and no longer in their hangar. Their hidden hangar and garage had been spared the swamp water, but Viper’s creatures did roam the land near there so it was much better that he was here. He only went home when he needed something, but that hadn’t been often. So, he worked to keep Feral sane and functioning as together they tried to save their city.
“I wish this was over as well,” Feral sighed, giving Razor a light pat on the shoulder. “But, until that happens, we must soldier on no matter how much it hurts.”
Razor gave him a weak smile. “I know, believe me I do. But, some days it’s just too hard.”
Feral nodded then turned and headed for his office with the slumped shoulder and tired SWAT Kat following in his wake.
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