Title: THE FLU
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
Author’s Note: The flu can make you wish you were dead, but when it makes you paranoid, it can be a nightmare. This is just a little short story inspired by my sick kids.
He didn’t know where he was or why he felt so bad. Sweat dripped from his forehead and soaked his now dirty sweats and t-shirt. He so wanted to strip his clothes off but couldn’t stay still long enough to dare; they were after him, and he couldn’t risk staying in one place.
A sudden noise to his right sent him scurrying like a rat in a maze for another dark hole to hide in. He found another safe spot inside a wooden crate of some kind. He huddled there, trying desperately to be quiet despite his real need to pant.
Chills ran up his spine, and, within minutes, he was shuddering hard, his teeth starting to click together. He stuffed his shirt into his mouth to stop the noise and listened hard.
‘Gods! He felt awful. Why wasn’t he in bed? Who was chasing him?’ he thought blearily. He couldn’t remember how he’d gotten where ever here was nor why he thought someone was after him. Everything was jumbled and hazy.
Pain had added its company to the heat and chills. He wanted to whimper, but they would hear him. Another noise sent him frantically scrambling on all fours for yet another dark hideaway.
“Crud! How hard can it be to catch someone as sick as he is?” T-Bone said, grumbling as he and Razor carefully searched with Felina and a small group of medics and enforcers amid a jumble of crates and shipping equipment at a shipping company not far from Feral’s apartment.
“I’d like to know how someone that sick could have walked out of his apartment and found his way here in the first place?” Razor countered with a snort of disbelief.
“It’s a really bad form of the flu. It can cause rampant paranoia in the victim. In Feral’s case, it apparently has made him think someone is after him and that he has to hide, and, despite being very ill, he is still a strong enough Kat to stay on his feet when the rest of us would have been flat on our backs unable to raise a finger,” Dr. Mewser said heavily.
“Heh! Someone is after him… now.” T-Bone snorted.
This wasn’t something he and Razor would get involved with, but they had been in the vicinity when Felina sent out the mayday. It didn’t seem right to just go on without lending a hand to find the addled Chief Enforcer. Though the thought of Feral being out of his mind was amusing as hell to the tabby, he was careful not to express that out loud.
“Unfortunately, that’s exactly why he’s so hard to find and capture. His paranoia has him constantly running from us,” Felina said ruefully.
“Well, my sensor says he is still somewhere ahead of us, but, every time we get close enough, he scurries off again and I have to reset my scanner. It’s getting a little annoying. I think T-Bone and I should try from above. We might spot him that way and maybe drop a net on him,” Razor said.
“You’re probably right. Go for it! The longer he keeps eluding us the worse his condition will get,” Felina said worriedly.
“Right!” T-Bone said as he and Razor looked overhead and chose a strong crossbeam to shoot their grappling hooks at. They were zipping up into the air within moments as Felina and her team continued to press forward, trying to herd her uncle into a corner of the factory.
When they had learned some workers had seen her uncle skulking around, she had the place evacuated so that he wouldn’t panic any more than he already was. Sighing dispiritedly, she moved forward, softly calling his name, hoping he would have enough sense left to recognize her voice.
Razor and T-Bone carefully moved from beam to beam, trying to be as quiet as they could. Razor’s scanner picked up a warm body again, and he hand signaled the direction to T-Bone. They quickly converged on the spot and got lucky at last.
There, huddled in a tight shaking ball, was their quarry. Razor got him in his cross hairs carefully and let fly a net missile. The noise made Feral bolt, but the sharp shooting SWAT Kat had planned for that. The net sprung out and draped over the big tom smoothly, bringing him down to the floor.
“We’ve got him, Felina; he’s right beneath us,” T-Bone sang out to Feral’s niece.
She signaled that she’d heard him and headed in their direction.
Razor and he rappelled down to the wildly struggling Kat below them. Landing beside him, Razor tried to soothe the big tom. Feral’s eyes were all pupil, his fur stank of fear and sickness and was damp with sweat. The Commander was whimpering with pain and wouldn’t stop struggling.
“Crud, he’s going to give himself a heart attack, buddy,” T-Bone said in concern. He might have thought it funny about Feral being nuts, but seeing him in this condition made him feel sorry for the ailing Commander.
Felina and her team finally found their way to their location. Dr. Mewser quickly checked Feral. Shaking his head in concern, he reached into his bag and pulled out a vial of clear liquid and a needle. Withdrawing a little of the fluid, he quickly injected Feral. Moments later, the Commander gave a moaning sigh and collapsed.
“Alright, let’s get him out of here and to the hospital on the double. He’s one very sick kat,” Dr. Mewser ordered.
Felina watched as the medics prepped her uncle and moved him out to the waiting ambulance. She turned to the SWAT Kats that had followed the group outside.
“Thanks for your help, guys, I really appreciated it,” Felina said in relief.
“Hey, glad we were on hand. Hope the big guy feels better soon,” T-Bone said, brushing off the thanks as usual. He and Razor made for their jet and were soon on their way home.
It was a week later when Feral was able to return to work. He was uncomfortable those first few days back at work when he’d learned how he’d behaved when he’d been ill and the fact the SWAT Kats had been the ones to have rescued him from himself.
The next time he ran into them some weeks later, T-Bone couldn’t resist saying, “Hey, Commander, make sure you take Vitamin C next time you feel bad. Don’t want you running around the city again acting paranoid.” He snickered.
Feral blushed and for once didn’t have a retort to counter the SWAT Kat’s needling. He turned on his heel and left with as much dignity as he could muster. He wasn’t about to thank them for being willing to help him when he was helpless, especially not that arrogant burly tom. He was insufferable as it was, but he would take the SWAT Kat up on his advice.
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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.