When the elevator decanted them some floors up, Mece led them down a short hall to a huge open lab. Here, many techs were buzzing around, working frantically on various projects around the room.
“I’ve had my people focus only on those weapons that are nearly completed and would be of use to you during this emergency. All other projects have been put on hold. If there is something you can use that is still in progress, I’ll allocate more people on it to get it completed quickly for you,” Mece said as he led them to the right of the room.
“Excellent. That will definitely save time,” Feral sighed, relieved. Director Mece was showing himself to be an excellent planner and able to handle emergencies with excellent aplomb, which definitely served him well right now.
“Here, we are working on some new style lasers and missiles that it is hoped will penetrate the force fields Dark Kat is so fond of and be much more effective against the other omegas as well. Using all the info we were able to collect on Dark Kat’s last attack, we recreated the force field then increased its effects so we could find the right intensity of laser that would penetrate it. We finally succeeded a few months ago and were making test trials on it when this event happened. So far, tests results showed they are performing better than we’d hoped. We’re nearly certain we’ve amped them up enough that they’ll succeed no matter how improved Dark Kat makes his own shields. As we know, that omega is always one-upping himself each time he attacks.”
“Good idea and you’re right. That’s one omega that does learn from his mistakes,” Razor growled, pleased to see Pumadyne was trying to get ahead of the criminals, just as he did on a smaller scale.
“Do you think this will be of benefit to you?” Mece asked.
Razor thought a moment then nodded. “If there is some kind of barrier, these might be useful. Since the prototypes have performed as you hoped, are they ready for production and can you have enough made up for our exploratory trip… say in a few hours?”
“Yes, we were only tweaking them a little more and giving them the obligatory testing per manufacturing rules before releasing them for purchase,” Mece answered. He turned to the head of this project and said, “Get five of these ready immediately and have them ready for pickup within the hour.”
Though unhappy about the deadline, the project Kat merely nodded and turned to order his techs to get busy on that order immediately.
“Will that number suffice for you?” he asked, turning back to Razor.
“Yeah, it’s actually more than I need, but I’m sure Feral here could use the others.”
“Excellent, then let us go see more.” Mece led them to some other projects of which Razor accepted three more and rejected five others as worthless for what was needed. Once done in the weapons lab, Mece led them back to the elevator.
“We’ll go to the vehicle labs now,” he said as his passengers got aboard and he keyed in the lobby.
“Glad that lab wasn’t underground,” Razor muttered.
Mece smiled in commiseration. “Yes, so am I. Most all the smaller labs are in this building while the bigger ones are on the grounds behind us. Only our storage facilities were underground, and it’s been a bit of a trial not having access to them but it’s not a severe handicap.”
They reached ground level and Mece took them away from the main doors and down a hallway then turned down another hall before coming to a heavy guarded door. He nodded at the security there, who nodded back and swiftly opened the door for them. They stepped outside and walked briskly down a sidewalk to another hangar-like building some fifteen feet away.
Passing another guard and security pass coded door, the group arrived in the vehicle development lab. He moved to a smaller area to the left and through the doors. Here a small group of techs were testing a hover craft very similar but larger than Razor’s.
They watched the test trials of the vehicle for over an hour. Razor could see where some serious tweaking was necessary and asked if he could make some changes to the design.
Mece eyed him a moment then nodded. “Jenkings!” he called out to the head of the project.
A tall, skinny, gray and black furred tom, wearing a white lab coat, came hurrying over. “Yes, sir?”
“Razor has some changes he wants to make to the Hover Craft 490. Help him all you can to upgrade and alter as he specifies. He and others will need this to see if they can find the ones who have stranded us, so all changes must be done quickly. Have all your techs help on this so it can get done faster since time is of the essence here,” Mece ordered.
Jenkings blinked in surprise but didn’t object. “What do you want to change, Razor?” he asked easily.
“I need to check on some jets first before helping you do what I need. Meanwhile, here’s some of the things I want you to start on…” Razor began, pulling the scientist with him toward the Hover Craft that was now sitting on the ground. He spoke with Jenkings for several minutes then left him to return to the others waiting for him.
“Okay, let’s go see what you got in the way of a high performance jet that’s ready for testing,” Razor said grimly.
Mece nodded and led the group back out into the main hangar and toward an area where several prototypes were sitting being worked on.
Razor spent some time thoroughly going over two of the jets that seemed to serve his needs. He finally settled on one with T-Bone’s agreement. He made some required changes and an order for fueling and weapons to be loaded.
As Razor was setting the SWAT Kats up with a new jet, hover craft and weapons, Feral also looked over some of the jets that were ready for production to see what his own enforcers could use, selecting a model that seemed to do what he needed and had the added benefit of already being nearly finished. He also ordered a variety of weapons and missiles for immediate production and delivery to Enforcer Headquarters within forty-eight hours. Satisfied, his own needs were going to be met, he and Mece returned to the labs to see what progress Razor and T-Bone were making.
They found the pair had split up. T-Bone was overseeing the changes on the jet that Razor had asked for, offering his own assistance to get it done quickly while Razor was already deep in the guts of the Hover Craft, working alongside the techs.
Feral sighed and went to each to tell them he was leaving. Both gave him a high sign, indicating they had no problem with that. Mece escorted Feral back to the entrance.
“Hope you can keep a lid on the population, Commander. I certainly don’t envy you that massive job of peace keeping and, don’t worry, I’ll have everything ready as fast as possible. And, if he has time, I may ask Razor to go over the jets and weapons you’ve ordered to ensure they meet your specifications, if you’d like me to? I must say, that is one very brilliant tom. Too bad he’s a vigilante… I could certainly use him on my staff,” Mece mused.
Feral grimaced and shook his head. “He is that and I wish the same for my R and D, but he chose to be outside the law and there’s nothing I can do about that. Let’s just hope all that intelligence will get us home and, yes, have him give everything a quick inspection… I know his sharp eyes will spot anything amiss,” he reluctantly admitted then he turned away and made for his vehicle. He needed to get back to headquarters.
Mece just nodded and waved farewell as the big enforcer climbed in his hummer and drove off.
Both SWAT Kats worked through the rest of the day and night to get the needed equipment and weapons ready while Feral gave Callie an update on what they’d found out at Pumadyne as soon as he got back to his office.
“We lucked out that the present Director seems to have a good head on his shoulders. He’d already begun having his people focus their attention on nearly finished projects to get them ready for our use. Except for some alterations Razor felt he needed for both the Hover Craft and a high performance jet, they should be operational in about twenty-four to forty-eight hours from now. I also will have more weapons and vehicles ready by then as well. We should be ready to go out and see who is responsible for taking us within a couple of days,” he said with satisfaction.
“Well, that’s good news. The only thing that has happened since you were gone was a couple of incidents that your second was able to nip in the bud fairly quickly. Short tempers were mainly at fault. We do have some criminal elements stirring up some trouble but, again, Major Preston has been keeping on top of it so far,” Callie reported.
“Good, at least we’ve been able to keep the potential powderkeg under control, but the longer it takes for us to get out of here, the bigger the explosion will be if people lose hope,” he said grimly.
“Yes, I know. I think we should send another broadcast by tomorrow afternoon, just to keep the people aware that we are doing something,” she sighed.
Feral frowned unhappily at that but had to agree she was right. The two worked for many hours keeping things flowing. By well after one a.m., Feral finally knocked off to get some rest. Callie, unfortunately, was forced to work until nearly two a.m. before she too could get some sleep. She availed herself of a room Feral provided her just as he stayed in house to be close if needed.
Tomorrow was going to be another long day.
Back on Aristal, things were more or less doing alright so far. Mayor Manx found himself, unhappily, stuck in his office, doing his best to stamp out fires caused by unhappy Katizens worried about their loved ones and whether they would be next to be snatched. Not too long after the event happened, he’d set up a press conference and told the public that they, meaning city hall, were doing everything they could to find out what happened and asked the Katizens to stay calm until they had answers for them.
Meeting with his mini-council in his own home since city hall was gone, Manx, the interim Enforcer Commander and the few council members that were left, discussed what to do about the many big holes in the ground that were the basements for some homes, businesses, and more dangerous places like the enforcer’s armory.
Major Clawmore stood up and got their attention. “Sir, we need to immediately declare the area of the missing buildings to be off limits to anyone but authorized personnel, which would be my enforcers. We can’t afford looting to occur nor accidents from people falling in the holes. Also, the danger of criminals getting into our very open armory is something I don’t even want to have to be worried about.”
“Oh my! You’ve very right. Take care of that right away. Do you have enough enforcers to do this?” Manx asked, concerned.
Clawmore grimaced, shaking his head. “No sir, which is why I sent an all call out to the private sector for security forces to augment us. I managed to get over a 100,000 to respond and have them forming a solid perimeter around the lost section of the city as we speak.”
It was Manx’s turn to grimace unhappily. This meant more money out of their already lean coffers, but for once he knew there was no choice so didn’t object. “I understand, Major, and thank you for getting that set up so quickly,” he said instead. “Has there been anymore information from our scientists as to how this happened and if there’s any hope of our missing being returned?”
Clawmore sighed and shook his head, his expression even grimmer. “I’m afraid not, sir. We’ve combed through everything and found nothing to tell us how this happened nor who is responsible. The eggheads have been forced to say an outside force, most likely alien, was responsible. They are probably right about that since nothing else can explain it. They’ve also said that whatever happened, if there’s any chance of them coming back, it will have to be them that finds a way to do it.”
“Which leaves us to just sit it out and wait,” Manx finished. “What about the threat of the omegas?” This was his main worry with Feral, a huge number of enforcers, and the SWAT Kats (apparently) missing.
“We just don’t know, Mayor Manx. Until they show themselves, we have no idea how many of them are still here with us. I’ve done my best to be prepared, but without our armory and Pumadyne, I’m not certain we’d win against them and that worries me a lot,” Clawmore admitted, concerned.
“That is not good news,” CouncilKat Lorrimore said, eyes wide with fear.
A mutter of unhappy agreement rose from the rest of the council.
Before Clawmore could say anything more, a knock was heard on Manx’s study door.
“Yes?” Manx called out.
Manx’s butler poked his head in. “My apologizes, Mayor, but there is a person here who says he has something important to say to the council and won’t take no for an answer.”
Frowning, Manx asked, “Who is it?”
“A Professor Hackle, sir.”
“Hackle?” Manx looked confused, not recognizing the name.
“He’s the inventor of robots. He was the one who activated the Metallikats,” Clawmore spoke up.
“What? Why would he want to talk to us… never mind… just let him in,” Manx told his butler.
Seconds later, Professor Hackle hobbled in, the door closing behind him.
Manx eyed him, but it was Clawmore that asked, “What do you want, professor?”
“Forgive the interruption, gentlekats, but after much thought, I felt I should come here to offer my assistance. I know from the reports I’ve gotten that the city is very short of any high powered assistance should the omegas be here rather than gone with the other part of the city.”
Clawmore frowned, “You seem well informed, professor, considering how far out of the loop you are.”
“I still have my contacts in the weapons world, sir. What I offer is the assistance of my one story tall robot, Cybertron II. It could help you should Dark Kat or Dr. Viper show themselves. I cannot sanction killing for any reason nor violence but do understand the need to prevent these two serious threats to the city be stopped the moment they appear. So, I would be willing to allow my robot to be used to capture these two should they be here and prevent harm to Kats and to lessen property damage,” Hackle said earnestly.
The council, Mayor Manx and Clawmore stared at him thoughtfully.
“Well, unless Major Clawmore has a serious objection, I am willing to agree to the assistance offered by you, sir,” Manx said slowly.
“I have no objection, Mayor. By its sheer size, it should, hopefully, be able to take care of our serious hole in our defenses. But, what about the Metallikats themselves? They are still a threat too,” Clawmore asked.
“My two nightmares are safely deactivated. I checked myself before leaving for here,” Hackle reassured them all.
Sighing in relief, the Mayor made the decision to use the robot and left it to Clawmore and Hackle to arrange the method by which the robot could be summoned when needed. He felt better knowing their chances of staying in one piece with this back up insurance had now increased by ninety percent. Now if only he could keep the city Katizens appeased for however long it took for their missing loved ones and the rest of the city to return.
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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.