Chapter 1: Encounter in the Woods
Author's Note: A sequel to my 'Werekats' story. Rewrote this chapter.
He was enjoying a romp in the woods north of the city. Chasing rabbits and deer but not really hunting. Feral was ghosting through a thick patch of blueberry bushes, not making a sound when his nose picked up something really foul and unfamiliar.
Following the scent and careful not to reveal himself, he came upon a cave in the side of the mountain he'd been skirting for the last few hours. The nasty scent was coming from within the cave. It was very strong and set his fur to rise. Cautiously, he crept closer and tried to peer into the dark interior without exposing himself.
Feral froze when he heard a faint hiss followed by some muttering and odd slithering sounds. He crouched down, not quite willing to meet whatever it was. He waited patiently, unwilling to leave until he knew what was going on.
It seemed for a while nothing was going to come out. He stirred restlessly and prepared to leave, thinking to alert his enforcers and coming back with a squad to check it out properly when it finally appeared. Feral felt his hackles rise and his were half wanted to tear away in blind panic. He forced it to stay and watch as the thing poured out of the cave and into the late sunshine.
It was huge and nasty looking. It appeared as nothing more than a bluish-black blob standing more than ten feet tall with four strange whip-like tentacles for arms. There were no sign of eyes, nose, or mouth, that is until a wide chasm opened in its upper half revealing greenish-yellow fangs filling the 'mouth'. It made a loud hissing noise like a tea kettle.
Feral shuddered where he lay hidden under the bushes. The creature sat there for some minutes before finally moving off, thankfully away from where he was hiding. He waited tensely for nearly ten minutes before turning tail and racing back to where he'd left his clothes, radio, and vehicle.
Despite running full out, it still took him a good fifteen minutes to reach his hummer. Altering his shape back to Kat, he jumped inside and paused. He should call the enforcers but it was nothing like some of the things they'd fought before nor could his werekat brethren aid in this either. He really didn't want to get his mate involved but there was no doubt that Jeraz had seen many things while traveling the universe and it might be likely that his technology could take care of this thing with fewer casualties. That decided him.
Taking out a special type of communicator given to him by his mate, he activated it.
"Yes my love, is something amiss." Came the musical tones of his alien mate.
"Jeraz, I've just encountered something truly nasty and horrible looking in the woods. Could use your expertise here asap." Feral stated quickly.
His voice suddenly deepening with concern, Jeraz demanded, "Describe it while I obtain your location from my ship."
Feral quickly described the creature and heard a grunt of repressed anger and shock from his mate.
"You know what this is?" He asked in surprise.
"Unfortunately, yes. I encountered one of those things many years ago in another galaxy. Deadly and single-minded creatures bent on conquest. They rape a planet of its riches, slaughtering its inhabitants before moving on to another planet. Even more destructive than those Ci-Kat-A that decimated my home and nearly tried to do the same to yours." He explained grimly. "You only saw one?"
"Yes!" Feral confirmed, shakened. He'd never even considered that the thing could have come from space because there were too many experiments gone wrong running around their planet without looking for something even more weird out there.
"Must be a scout! We've got to destroy it and send it's ship back out as a warning to its kind that we are not to be trifled with. I'd better stay here and make some calls. Come home Uly as fast as you can. We must plan." Jeraz said tightly before closing the connection.
Feral looked at the communicator in surprise. Jeraz sound angry and afraid. This was not good. He quickly yanked on a pair of jeans then strapped himself in and raced back to the city. More than an hour later he arrived at their penthouse apartment. Jeraz was on the phone speaking to someone.
Feral was carrying the rest of his clothes when he entered their home. Cocking an eye at his mate, he tossed his clothes onto the couch and listened to the conversation.
"You heard me! It's a threat to the entire world not just Megakat City. I'm going to need your technical knowhow and fighting skills plus your formidable jet. The enforcers and werekats are also going to be needed to rid Aristal of this thing. We must work together and there isn't much time. Meet Feral and I at Enforcer Headquarters in an hour and, Razor...load up your jet with everything you've got." Jeraz said tightly.
He got an acknowledgment from Razor then hung up. His mate was glaring at him in shock.
"The SWAT Kats?! Why were you involving them in this?" Feral growled angrily.
"Set your animosity aside, Uly. I told you it would take a concerted effort to destroy this thing. Next to me, the SWAT Kats have a technological edge your enforcers don't. The enforcers and werekats are going to be the hunters and most likely the bait to get that thing where we can take it out without trashing the city or getting katizens killed." He told Feral bluntly.
Feral gaped at him and a shiver of fear slithered down his spine. "It's that deadly?" He whispered.
"Yes!" Jeraz said heavily. "Better get ready to leave, love. We need to take Tanith and Ryan to Werekat headquarters for their safety.
Swallowing hard, realizing their three month old kits could be orphaned if things went bad, Feral nodded and headed to their kitten's room. Tanith was awake and Ryan was just waking up beside him. Feral reached in and lifted Tanith out and took him to the changing table.
He was joined a moment later by Jeraz who picked up Ryan and brought him next to his brother. The parents quickly changed diapers and dressed their little ones. While Jeraz carried them out to the living area, Feral quickly packed a kitten bag for them then dressed himself in his uniform.
Walking past his mate, who was putting the kittens in their carriers, Ulysses went to the kitchen to retrieve the milk he had expressed earlier. He could hear the kittens just starting hungry cries as he warmed their milk. He grabbed four more bottles he'd frozen and placed them in an insulated bag then snatched up the warmed milk and headed back out to the living area.
Jeraz took one of the bottles and coaxed Ryan to take it while Ulysses gave the other to Tanith. Once their kittens were happily sucking down their lunch, their parents quickly slung their carriers on their arms and made their way back down to Feral's hummer. They were soon rushing to mid town to drop off the kittens.
They managed to luck out getting a parking spot less than a block from The White Tiger Club. The kittens were full and happy as they were carried up the steps to the club. The guard butler smiled down at them as he let their parents in.
"Is Tam in, it's urgent we see him?" Feral asked quickly.
The guard blinked in surprise but answered readily, "You're in luck he just came in an hour ago. Should be in his office."
"Would you call Clarise. We need her to take care of the twins." Feral told him as he and Jeraz headed for the stairs. The guard gave a quick acknowledgment.
Jeraz opened the outer door to the leader of the werekats office. The secretary looked up in pleased surprise. "Ohh...you brought the twins." She cooed coming around her desk to look at them.
"Klara, we need to see Tam urgently. Would you mind watching the twins until Clarise gets here to take care of them?" Feral asked as he and Jeraz put the kitten's carriers down on the sofa and their gear.
"Oh I'd love to. You need to see Tam, you said. Let me check!" She said quickly as she knocked on the door instead of going back to her desk intercom. A rumble came from within and she slipped inside. Moments later she was back.
"Go right on in. I'll take care of these little guys." She smiled as she moved to the twins to distract them from their parents departure. Feral nodded gratefully at her and followed his mate into Tam's office.
The white tiger mix eyed them in concern as the pair came up to his desk.
"Tam, we've come on a matter of dire urgency. Please hear me out completely before you interrupt." Jeraz said tightly. Tam nodded and settled to listen. Jeraz gave him the grim details of what Ulysses had found in the woods.
As expected, Tam was shocked and concerned. "So we have another alien visitor who isn't here to say hello." He said with grim humor once he'd recovered from his initial shock.
"Unfortunately and it's far more dangerous than any you've encountered before." Jeraz warned him.
"So I gather. So what's the plan." Tam said not wasting any time.
"I'd rather explain it to all parties involved. We are meeting the SWAT Kats and top enforcers at Enforcer Headquarters. Please take whoever you want with you if you feel the need but we must leave immediately." Jeraz urged the werekat leader.
"My second is right here so I don't need anyone else at this moment. So let's be off." Tam said briskly getting up from behind his desk.
Nodding in relief, Jeraz led the way out the office door. He and Feral paused a moment to kiss their kittens farewell and give instructions to Clarise as Tam told his secretary where he'd be, then they headed out. Tam decided it made sense to just go with the pair so they climbed into Feral's hummer and headed uptown to Enforcer Headquarters.
They arrived ten minutes later at huge imposing building. Climbing quickly out of their vehicle, they rushed up the stairs for the big doors then strode swiftly toward the elevators while Feral's enforcers watched them with trepidation. Word had already spread that something big was happening.
They decanted on his office floor and hurried to a conference room just down from it. Opening the door they found his squadron leaders sitting at the conference table while the SWAT Kats leaned indolently against the windows nearby. Ms. Briggs was also there, sitting tensely at the head of the table.
"Sit down SWAT Kats. Jeraz will brief us on this new danger to the city and to Aristal." Feral said gruffly, sitting next to Ms. Briggs.
The SWAT Kats took two chairs at the end of the table and ignored the hostile looks they received from the enforcers near them. The enforcers were confused as to why the Werekat leader and their alien katizen were on hand for this meeting.
Jeraz stood between Ms. Briggs and Feral and looked at everyone gravely.
"Earlier this morning, my mate had a close encounter with an alien visitor. I'm truly grateful his were senses warned him to keep his distance from this creature or he would not be here now." Jeraz said grimly. "At the same time, we're extremely lucky he had decided to take his morning constitutional in the northern woods or we would not have known of this danger until far too late. That said, I'm here to brief you on this thing which I've had the misfortune of encountering years ago on the far side of the galaxy."
Jeraz paused a moment and studied the faces around him. There were grim expressions on the SWAT Kats faces and confusion and fear on the faces of the others.
"If you thought the Ci-Kat-A were bad this thing is far worse. So far as we are able to determine only a scout has landed. I never knew what they were called only that all other stellar races avoided them or destroyed the scout before it could summon more of its kind that would rape, ravage and decimate the inhabitants of any world they could get a toe hold on." He laid out the danger then went on to describe their enemy.
"They are very hard to kill and the best description of them is a bluish-black blob standing more than ten feet tall with four appendages that resemble whip-like tentacles. There are no visible eyes, nose, or mouth. But it's mouth is invisible until it opens and you get a view of a big maw filled with greenish-yellow fangs. It makes a loud hissing noise like a tea kettle. It's skin is nearly impenetrable. Neither fire nor cold bother it, nor do lasers or propellent weapons. It can move extremely fast and those tentacles can cut through metal and are strong enough to lift a tank." He said flatly.
"Well crud! Then how do you expect us to destroy that thing?" T-Bone barked in frustration which was echoed by the enforcers.
"That is why we're having this meeting. To figure out how to defeat it and send it and its ship back into space as a warning to its kind to stay away from us." Jeraz said cooly.
"Well this is great...not!" Razor muttered sarcastically.