Chapter 1: Changes
After trying to steal more chemicals from the Bio Tech Labs and being prevented by Razor and me, we chased scaly back to his hidden lab in the swamp. Feral and his enforcers caught up with us when we had Viper cornered. Feral just had to get in the middle of the fight and ended up getting injected by Viper with some type of mutation virus. Using an octopus missile Razor pinned Viper to a wall and the enforcers were able to truss him up for transport.
As we were about to follow the enforcers out, Razor notices that something is amiss with Feral. That's when we suspect he's been injected. His eyes are shut tight, his paws are clenched into fists and his body is hunched over. His fur is beaded with sweat. All he can do is moan in obvious pain. There's no way his enforcers can get him to the trauma center fast enough so we volunteer to take him. Razor asks the enforcers to take all the bottles in the lab to Dr. Konway at the Bio Tech Labs for analysis to determine what Viper had used on the Commander.
Feral can barely stand now and his pain is increasing, as Razor and I and two other enforcers carry him to the Turbokat. We settle him onto the cargo floor and try to make him as comfortable as possible.
"I'll stay down here with the Commander, T-Bone. You better get us there quick." Razor said.
"Roger that buddy!" I agree and quickly climbed up into the cockpit. Within minutes, I got us soaring aloft and headed at sonic speed for the hospital. Razor tells me later, the pain drove Feral crazy. He lurched to his feet screaming and charged toward the cargo doors. Afraid Feral will injure himself in his agony, Razor takes pity on him and fires a knock out gas missile ahead of the maddened Kat. A few seconds later Feral crumbles in a heap on the floor.
"T-bone! Are we nearly there? I've just had to knock Feral out with gas!" Razor relays urgently.
"Just arriving, Razor, I'll let them know he's now unconscious." I acknowledge.
Setting down smoothly onto the landing pad of the hospital, I open the cargo door for the emergency team. They rush forward with a gurney and quickly assess Feral's condition before lifting him onto the bed and hurrying him to the emergency room. Inside they strip him and soon find an injection site. The attending physician, Dr. Wengard, orders blood drawn to determine the extent of the damage the unknown virus may have caused Feral. Razor tells the doctor about the bottles from Viper's lab and that they were being taken to the Bio Tech Labs.
"Let's hope they can find out what Viper did and they can find a reversal for it" The doctor said worriedly. "All we will be able to do here is treat the symptoms as they appear and pray that's enough."
While we were talking, the gas wore off and Feral woke screaming. His powerful form lurched off the bed and knocked everyone nearby down as he charged out of the room and down the hall toward a window. Razor and I quickly rushed after him. I was able to tackle the big guy before he reached the window. While we pinned him to the floor, the doctor swept in with a tranquilizer and knocked him out again. The Commander collapsed instantly. He was gently placed on a gurney again and this time, restrained. We decided to stay in case we were needed.
As the medical team worked over the Commander, the tranquilizer wore off quicker than it should have and Feral was once more threshing around in agony, no pain meds seem to have any effect. To our horror, Feral began to change. His fur rippled, claws changed, ears enlarged, his entire body seemed to get bigger, but the most shocking change was when an eruption began to occur on his back, slowly at first then more rapidly as a pair of ebony wings emerged. When they stopped growing, they were some eight feet in length. The wings flapped around knocking equipment and Kats down. As soon as the wings stopped growing, Feral stopped threshing around and lapsed into unconsciousness. Silence fell as everyone present stared at the transformed Chief Enforcer.
Feral had always been a tall Kat, but now he was bigger, more powerful, his paws had long scimitar-like claws, the claws on his feet had also extended, his body fur had thickened as did his legs. His ears were wider and longer with tassels of fur on the tips. But the huge wings were still the most incredible thing about his change. Dr. Wengard ordered a CAT and MRI to be done, he voiced his concern about the Commander's state of mind when he was forced to face the changes made to his body by whatever Viper had injected. Yeah, if was me, I'd freak out. God only knows what Feral will make of it. I actually feel sorry for the arrogant tom kat. There's nothing more we can do here so Razor and I take off for home.
Feral's POV.... Hours later...
I regain consciousness slowly. I feel strange, heavier somehow and stiff, but at least there is no more pain. I can't seem to move very well. I blink my eyes open and wince from the brightness of the lights. I sense that someone has turned the lights down. I cautiously open my eyes again and sigh when it doesn't hurt but jerk in shock when I see my brother leaning over me.
"Easy Uly, take it slow" he gently touches me, his voice low.
"Tyrone! What are you doing here?" My voice sounded hoarse. That's when I notice Felina is here as well as she gives me some water to ease my throat.
"The doctors felt it was best if Felina and I were here when you awakened Uly. How are you feeling?" His voice is gentle and concerned that alone worries me.
"Uh, I'm tired and a little stiff. My body feels awkward and heavy in some way but I'm not in pain anymore. Did they find out what Viper did to me?" I say hesitantly.
"I'm sorry, brother! Dr. Wengard, whose in charge of your case, said they are still processing the tests they performed on you and they are waiting for results from Dr. Konway on the samples your enforcers gathered from Dr. Viper's lab. Meanwhile, nothing can be done for you right now." Tyrone stated carefully.
"Why do you act as if something is really wrong?" I'm starting to get really concerned.
"Take it slow Uly. You've changed a lot." His brother looked unhappy.
I tried to get up but felt like I was weighed down and my back felt funny. Tyrone and Felina each grabbed an arm and helped me into a seated position. Something flung out to the sides and I turned to look to my left and my mouth gaped open at the sight of a black wing. I just sat there frozen.
"What the hell is that?" I finally rasped out.
"They're wings Uly" Tyrone stated the obvious.
I could only stare at him stupidly. My mind could not seem to wrap around this. After a moment, I thought I'd better see how much worse it was and asked my brother for a mirror. Felina moved a large rolling mirror close. With their help I struggled off the bed, my brother steadied me as I swayed to my feet. Now I could see my entire body. I was only wearing a pair of hospital pajama bottoms. I stared in shocked disbelief at my altered image.
The wings were huge, they nearly reached the ceiling and the tips touched the floor. My ears looked strange. I raised a paw to my face and watched as these huge claws extended out and looked down at my feet and saw equally long claws there too. But the wings, O God the wings! It was too much, my mind was on overload and I couldn't take anymore. I dropped to my knees, burying my face in my paws. I felt my brother crouch in front of me and gather me into his arms to try and give me comfort. I barely registered Felina gently rubbing my shoulders. What was I going to do now?
After that first day of horrified revelation, the only feeling I had was numbness. I couldn't seem to shake the feeling of helplessness as the doctors continued to put me through countless more tests. They found I could see very well at night and had abnormally good distance vision and my hearing was very sensitive. As for my wings, the doctors took me to a room with high ceilings and had me test them out. To everyone's surprise including mine, I didn't have to learn to fly. It seemed to come naturally to me, although I tired easily, which I was told would be overcome by exercising the wing muscles. None of the results of their tests could tell the doctors how to reverse the changes. The only thing they could be certain of was that Dr. Viper had bonded my DNA with some type of raptor. I was still a Kat but now I've been enhanced by a raptor's hunting and flying traits. No matter what they called it, I was now a freak.
Deputy Mayor Calico Briggs stopped in to see me after I'd been here a few days. She offered her and the Mayor's condolences. Ms Briggs hoped Dr. Conway would be able to find a way to reverse my condition soon. Though we seemed to always be at odds, she was very distressed to see me like this and offered me encouragement to not give up hope. It strangely enough made me feel a little better to know she was concerned for my welfare.
Despite Felina's and Ms Brigg's efforts, my condition had been leaked to the press so that nearly the entire city knew of my changed appearance. Many wanted a peek at the flying Kat and tried to get into the closed corridor I was staying in causing the hospital to increase security.
The object of this intense scrutiny was fast becoming tired of being confined. The numbness had been burned away by a growing frustration and rage at my predicament. I wanted out, away from the pitying glances and hushed conversations they thought I couldn't hear.
Going back to work was out of the question. I no longer fit through doorways. I had to nearly bend over to clear them. I could no longer get in, much less drive my vehicle nor get into a jet or copter. Worse yet, the change had given me claustrophobia. I found being in any small space, whether it was an elevator or a stairwell, would bring on severe symptoms of panic, rapid heart rate, and intense fear . No matter how much I tried to convince myself that the feelings were not real, I couldn't overcome it. The doctors informed me that the condition was most likely caused by the raptor traits I had acquired, since these types of birds didn't handle closed spaces very well unless blindfolded. I glared at them for that piece of information, bluntly informing them I couldn't very well do my job or go anywhere if I were forced to wear a blindfold in closed places. A further nuisance was my uniforms which wouldn't fit over my new form and although Felina was having clothes altered for me, it didn't change the other difficulties facing me.
Damn it, I felt useless, bored, and scared. I had to escape! No amount of pleading or arguing would get the doctors to release me. I found I couldn't just walk out before some burly guard would gently but firmly insist I return to my room. The doctors felt it was detrimental to my health and emotional state to be released at this time. More tests needed to be done. Frankly, I felt they were afraid of me as much as for me.
I just couldn't take it anymore! He wasn't the commander of the enforcers for nothing. Monitoring the security, doctor and nurses schedules, I bided my time until that perfect moment came. I learned where the exits were, studied the alarms on the doors and practiced walking with my eyes closed in stairways.
The perfect moment came during the wee hours of dawn. I moved down the silent corridor without a sound, reaching the fire door without being observed. Carefully I disengaged the alarm and slipped into the stairwell, closing the door quietly behind me. I closed my eyes quickly before panic could set in and feeling the railing I slowly crept up the stairs. Once at the roof exit, I opened my eyes and quickly disarmed the alarm and opened the door before my symptoms could disable me, carefully closing it behind me. I paused for a moment to look around, making sure the sky was clear, before using my powerful legs to propel me into the air where my wings caught a warm air draft giving me the lift to clear the building. I didn't try to climb yet till my wings were sufficiently warmed up. I soared into the early dawn sky heading toward the outskirts of the city, careful to avoid being detected by my own enforcer patrols.