While T-Bone and Felina were handling their first vampire of the evening, Razor and Feral arrived at their destination. Parking his cyclotron on somewhat solid ground, Razor set the security system and, armed with their daylight flashes, the two began to slink quietly to where it was suspected Viper had his hidden lab.
Feral was surprised at how well he could see out here. There was no moon and the city lights were far behind them, so it was very dark here except for the glowing phosphorescent algae floating on the scummy water. The stench was stronger than he remembered too. Must mean his sense of smell was better as well… that really wasn’t a good thing.
Razor’s ears were twitching and turning, trying to catch any sound that warned of danger. He too noted that his vision was far better than it had a right to be as was his hearing and sense of smell.
He tried not to inhale too deeply of the scent of rotten vegetation and other things as he tramped through the high weeds and over the soggy ground.
They’d walked for some twenty minutes without locating any sign of Viper or his creatures and, disturbingly, hunger was starting to stalk them once more, making them very irritable. Razor had moved into Feral’s path at one point and received a hiss and snarl for his trouble. The smaller SWAT Kat returned the hiss but moved away, giving them both space from each other.
Suddenly a loud ‘plopping’ noise startled them, causing both to freeze and listen hard. Nothing moved and there was no further sound but the usual insect and night creatures, so they decided it was safe and continued probing the thick undergrowth along the banks of the swamp.
Feral was some ways from Razor when something huge, wet, and very smelly reared up from the water and snatched him. The big tom roared with fury before he was dragged under the water.
Razor raced to the spot but could see nothing but the brief disturbance, which began to subside so that he couldn’t tell where the creature was with Feral. Hissing with anger, he paced the water’s edge anxiously, shining his flash over the water to try and see into the murky depths, without success.
Beneath the water, Feral could see nothing as he struggled with the creature. He felt teeth bite down on his leg and he had to keep from screaming or he’d swallow the water and maybe drown. He wasn’t certain of that since he was only half alive. A blood fury overcame him, nearly drowning the pain, as he turned his head and tore into some part of the thing with his fangs.
He must have gotten something vital because it released him and disappeared. Now he was floating in the dark with no idea where up was. Before he had a chance to panic, a light pierced the water then moved away. Hurriedly he chased after it and found he was rising to the surface. Seconds later, he burst free of the water and dragged air frantically into his lungs.
Razor heard a loud splash and flashed his light to it quickly. He spotted Feral flailing and gasping for air. His flash hit the tom’s eyes, causing him to screech in pain.
“Shit! Sorry, Feral!” he apologized, flicking the light away but using it to guide the dark tom back to shore. He leaned out to help the thoroughly soaked tom to climb the slippery bank to more solid ground.
Feral sputtered and coughed as he sat trying to recover. His leg burned like fire but it was getting less painful as time passed.
“Razor! (Cough) Shine that light on my leg!” (Cough),” he managed to choke out.
The flash shone on a jagged tear in the fabric and fur. Blood was leaking out slowly, but as they watched, it soon stopped then the tear in his skin began to seam together.
“Handy ability,” Razor grunted. “Are you okay now?”
Feral slowly got to his feet and shook himself. “Yeah, seem to be. Did you see what it was?”
“Nope! Took you down way too fast for me to make it out before it vanished with you. How’d you get away?”
“Yuck, well at least the fangs are good for something,” Razor snorted. “Unfortunately, all that racket may have given us away…” his voice trailed off as the two listened silently for some minutes.
“Appears not. Probably common here,” Feral finally said.
“That’s to our advantage actually. Let’s try this direction and keep a better eye on the water from now on,” Razor said grimly, turning away from the bank and heading toward a more tree filled area of the swamp.
Feral didn’t object and willingly moved back from the water’s edge. He was now wet and uncomfortable, raising his irritability factor even more as the hunger hadn’t abated and was really nagging at him. Woe be to anyone that was stupid enough to be out here… they wouldn’t last a second with two hungry vampires on the hunt.
Back in the city…
Felina and T-Bone had captured three more vampires and, unfortunately, each of their victims by this time.
“Crud! I wish we could find the things before they kill someone, but they are practically invisible,” T-Bone growled in frustration.
“I know!” Felina bit out, just as frustrated as her flying partner. “It doesn’t help that there are so many fools not willing to listen to the ‘stay inside’ ban, providing the vamps fresh food.”
“I’m with your uncle when he said they get what they deserved. The threat is real, and yet they still throw their lives away for nothing more than greed or needing a pack of cigarettes. They’re right when they say cigarette kill,” the tabby said in grim humor.
Felina just groaned at the misplaced humor of the pilot then she spotted something below them.
“T-Bone, go back! There seems to be a rather large group of idiots in front of a club. Couldn’t tell if it was a fight or what was going on.”
“Well, let’s just see…” T-Bone grunted, turning the jet around and going to VTOL over the spot she had indicated. Bringing the jet lower, the pair could plainly see it was a fight going on. Snorting in disgust at such stupidity, the pilot lowered the jet to the street.
Opening the canopy, he and Felina kept a wary eye out for vamps that would be drawn to the commotion as they approached the group.
Both males and females surrounded the pair of battling males. Rather than wade in, T-Bone fired a flash bulb missile into the air after warning Felina to protect her eyes. The crowd screamed in shock, blinded and falling all over each other.
“Shut Up!” Felina bellowed.
The crowd went silent though there were still some cursing and crying going on as well as the grunting sounds of the two males still whaling the tar out of each other. T-Bone stepped forward and yanked both combatants away from each other then shouted in their faces.
“Are you two crazy? There are vampires wandering around and here you fools are, out in the open, providing them a ready-made feast.” He shook both and dropped them on the ground.
“Now get your asses back inside before the Lieutenant here has you all arrested and taken to Enforcer Headquarters,” he roared at them.
“Not your homes, you ninnies!” Felina shouted when she saw some of them heading off into the dark. “Get inside that club and stay there until dawn. The manager can’t evict you, but he can refuse to serve you anything more tonight. Now get your butts inside… move!”
Suitably cowed, the club goers and the combatants headed for the door of the building. T-Bone and Felina watched them to insure all were indoors and safe.
Unfortunately, the commotion had attracted the hunters. As the last of the crowd began to disappear into the club, several dark shapes dashed from a nearby alley and snatched a few of the laggers. Screams filled the air, causing a panic with the crowd at the door. The ones in back shoved the ones in front violently, trying desperately to escape the certain death at their rear. Within moments, the rest of the Kats vanished inside and the door slammed shut.
Meanwhile, outside, T-Bone and Felina were using their glovatrixes to fire spider chain missiles at the attackers. They knew it was impossible to separate the killers from their victims once they’d latched on. The vamps ability to kill swiftly meant no victim was spared to make it to a hospital anyway, so they didn’t even try.
There were six vampires, and it was a race for the pair to take them out before they became the next candidate for those deadly fangs.
Nearly all were caught in the first volley but not two of them. They had been faster with their kills and were looking for more victims. Spotting T-Bone and Felina, they split up and advanced on the preoccupied pair.
“Look out, T-Bone!” Felina shouted as she spotted one rushing up behind the tom. She fired a tarpedo missile because she was out of spider chains. She immediately followed it with a flash bulb missile, which made the ones tied up on the ground and another one that had nearly gotten her, scream in pain.
T-Bone saw the one near Felina and shot his last spider chain missile at it.
As the flash bulb faded, the pair hurriedly ran back to the jet before more could appear and leaped aboard. Once airborne, T-Bone fired another spider chain at the tarred faced vamp before going about collecting all the wrapped up vamps. Using the sky claw, he carefully picked them up without losing any. Their load now secured, T-Bone flew them to Enforcer Headquarters.
“Lt. Feral to tower! Arriving with six vamps and five victims in five minutes.”
Back out in the swamp…
They’d been searching the swamp for more than two hours now and were getting very frustrated and becoming more vicious as time went on.
“Stay away from me!” Feral hissed hungrily as Razor slipped too close again to him as they navigated through a clot of trees with hanging vines on them that made getting by that much more difficult.
Razor snarled back, flashing fangs. “I’m just as hungry as you are, so shut up!”
Feral nearly charged the tom but forced himself under control. They needed to find Viper soon or they would be reduced to killing each other. Turning away from the SWAT Kat, he pushed through a thick patch of vegetation and was surprised to come upon a clearing. He halted before pushing through completely to stare around cautiously. His caution paid off as he spotted one of Viper’s mushroom soldiers standing near a huge, thick tree that didn’t quite look natural.
He stepped back quickly and grabbed Razor’s arm, putting a finger to his lips. The small tom nearly snapped at him but halted instantly when he saw the look of urgency on Feral’s face.
Feral leaned close and whispered, “I think we hit paydirt! There’s one of Viper’s mushroom things standing before a tree which doesn’t look like a tree. Go through there and see!” he advised, releasing the tom.
Razor nodded then slipped through the hole Feral had made and peered out when he reached the edge of the clearing. He stayed back far enough to still be hidden by the near wall of vegetation. He studied the tree closely before backing away and returning to the big tom.
“You’re right! It looks fake. So, how do you want to play this?” Razor asked tensely.
“Come in from either side and take out the monster,” Feral said simply.
Razor nodded and made off to the left while Feral went right. They met up on either side of the odd tree and leaped out at the same time. Claws and fangs tore the mushroom thing to ribbons before it could even screech.
“Yuck! That tasted nasty!” Razor hissed softly, spitting out what he’d taken into his mouth.
Feral agreed as he too spit out his gross mouthful.
Razor went up to the tree and studied it very closely. He went around it once before returning to the front and lifting his glovatrix. Using a small light, he finally located what he was searching for then used a small device to push into the locking mechanism he’d found. There was a soft click and a door silently opened. It had been cleverly hidden so no one could have discovered it.
The door opened to a set of stairs made of stone leading down into the dark. A faint light could be seen at the bottom. They headed down, allowing the door to close silently behind them. At the bottom, they came upon a lab.
The buried room had been carved out of rock and was some twenty by fifty in size. A long rectangle. The end of the room had doors on one side, which were closed at the moment. The lab itself held long tables filled with beakers, microscopes, burners with stuff bubbling in beakers on them, dozens of petri dishes, a wall of cabinets, a fridge, cages, computer, and other lab equipment that one would find in a modern lab.
Viper was no where to be seen. Creatures in the cages hooted, howled and screeched at them as they passed. Feral’s first instinct was to trash the whole lab, but they needed to find the antidote first. They’d just reached one of the doors when one of them opened and Viper walked out, attention on something he was holding in his paws. He looked up and squawked in shock at the sight of the two.
“You! What are you doing in my lab?” he screeched angrily, turning to swat Razor with his tail, sending the SWAT Kat against the nearby wall. But, he couldn’t turn fast enough to prevent Feral from grabbing him.
Clutching the paper in his paw tightly, Viper used his other paw and feet to fight Feral, barely beating the tom back from him. He prepared to turn and disappear through the door that was still open, but Razor was there first.
“You’re not going anywhere, snakepuss!” Razor hissed, displaying his fangs.
Viper’s eyes widened in horror, backing away but ending up running into Feral’s chest. The huge tom wrapped his arms around the lizard and leaned his head forward, displaying his own fangs.
The mutant Kat shuddered in shocked dismay as well as confusion. “How could you be ssstill alive?”
“Just lucky I guess,” Feral growled, using all his self control to not take a bite from Viper’s neck. The sound and smell of blood running beneath the mutant Kat’s skin were driving him crazy.
“Where’s the antidote for this? We know you would have made some if only to protect your slimy butt,” Razor demanded, pushing his face even closer to Viper’s.
Viper’s eyes were huge with fear. He continued to clutch the paper tightly in his paw as he tried to weigh his options… they were pretty bleak.
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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.