Chapter 1: Collecting Samples
Outside the city limits...near sunset...
An old farmhouse sits sadly between two very old oak trees. The barn in back barely stands as weathered wood surrenders to the hands of time. High weeds surround the place and an old For Sale sign hangs by one hook on its stand some distance from the house. The house itself was still sturdy though it badly needed painting and the steps leading up to the door were rotten and dangerous to trod upon. The back door, fortunately, had cement steps that were still intact. Faded curtains hung in the windows. It appeared to have been abandoned to its fate years ago...no sign of habitation could be seen.
But it wasn't empty. Someone had slipped inside and was now living hidden within. Alfred Jenler was bitter and vengeance driven. He'd once been an up and coming scientist in the field of genetics until one day he'd tried to convince his colleagues to allow him to research a radical idea.
At first, they politely listened to his impassioned words about his pet project but no one was willing to endorse it siting the cost and the inherent wrongness of doing something like this. He continued for months trying to convince anyone that would listen to fund his project but no one was going to stick their neck out in such dangerous territory.
So Jenler worked on his project on his own with funds from an inheritance. His fellow scientists became alarmed when they learned he was actually conducting experiments and ordered him to stop. They grew concerned at what they could perceive had become an obsession. When he refused to cease his research, he was finally fired from his position at the university and blackballed from the Association of Geneticist.
Cursing them for what he perceived as short-sightedness, Jenler continued on with his project in his home. He very quickly ran through the money from his inheritance then was forced to sell his home to gather more funds. This left him with no where to work. Storing his meager belongings but keeping his precious research with him in his car, he searched for a suitable place that was cheap. He accidentally came across this place and made himself to home. No one had troubled him for some months as he conducted his experiments in the basement of the house.
His initial tests were promising but it wasn't until four months later that he had a breakthrough.
"At last! I've unlocked the key!" He crowed loudly frightening his odd menagerie of creatures. The poor things no longer resembled what they had been originally. Creatures that hadn't walked the planet in centuries now hooted, screamed, and howled from their strongly built cages.
He smirked to himself in pleased triumph and vindication. The formula written on the papers he held carefully in his paw was the achievement of a lifetime. All that was left was to test the theory on a higher form of life.
"I need to prove my theory works to the public at large and the only way to do that is to use it on the big shots of this city. Then no one will deny my success. Once I've proven what I can do, then I'll get them to listen to how this can benefit Katkind. Those fools at the university will see that its not an aberration but a way to learn about the past in a more real way. It will also help open new avenues of research that will strengthen the current gene pool...making it stronger more resistant to disease." He chortled to himself.
He went to the safe he'd installed in the basement and locked his notes up tight. He fed his menagerie then took a medical bag and double checked its contents. Within were many sample tubes, an eye dropper, some strange looking liquid in a bottle, tweezers, and a notebook with pen. Smiling to himself, he took the bag upstairs and went to the room he used as a bedroom.
The windows in this room had been broken and covered over with boards. It had been perfect for hiding in. He had illegally attached a line to a distant power pole for electricity and the farm had a spring that he had tapped and made a pump to send it into the house plumbing. This made him totally self sufficient. He relaxed that evening and got a good night's sleep tomorrow would be an important day.
The next morning, he showered, took out clothes he had worn when he'd worked at the university, and carefully groomed himself so that he wouldn't look slovenly. After all, he needed to get close to his targets and looking like a harmless professor would ensure he could. Smiling coldly at his image briefly, he felt satisfied and left the house.
His car was hidden in the old barn and he used a rather rutted and barely there deer track behind it to head away from the place. He didn't move back to a real road from some distance. This way no one could tell if someone was using the place because he left no tracks.
Reaching the university where he used to work, he carefully parked his car in the visitor's area. Not calling attention to himself, he blithely walked on campus heading for the library. Walking through its doors, he noted the near absence of students and smiled slightly.
He had planned his timing well. It was too early for most students to be using the library so what he intended would not cause any mass panic. He had no intention of hurting anyone if he could help it. Slipping toward the back where an exhibit of plant life was being displayed, he pretended to be studying a few of them. In reality, he was using the eye dropper to deposit some of the fluid he had in a bottle.
After he had made a deposit on several of the plants, he unhurriedly return to the front of the library, looked at some recently arrived books for some moments then checked out an art exhibit near the check out desk before casually walking back out the front doors. He went and sat down at some benches not far away, pulled out a book from his pocket and waited.
Some thirty minutes later, screams and a rush of Kats came hurtling out of the library. On their heels were what looked like plantlike tentacles trying to grab them. Smirking to himself, Jenler got up and went behind a tree to watch.
Some ten minutes later, the enforcers arrived and overhead the roar of a jet told him the SWAT Kats had too. Rubbing his palms together in excitement, he prepared to get his samples. He waited until Commander Feral arrived and had taken charge.
In very little time, the plant creatures were subdued and Feral, with his niece, were standing on the sidewalk before the library, looks of puzzlement graced their faces. The SWAT Kats left and that was Jenlar's cue to approach the pair.
Just as he was getting close, another major player arrived. 'Perfect, now I won't have to find her.' He thought happily.
Jenler was able to get right up to Feral who didn't notice him at first.
"There's no sign Dr. Viper was ever here, Uncle, despite the presence of these plant creatures. Also there just doesn't seem to be anything he would want here." Felina was saying when he got close.
"Then why were these things here?" Feral growled in confusion.
"Uh maybe they were a prank by some students?" Lt. Commander Steele suggested earning him a glowering look from his Commander. "Hey! It's possible. This is a school." He defended himself.
Jenler smoothly got even closer. Holding one of his paws close to his body and the other resting in his pocket, he pretended to bump into Lt. Feral. Quickly he pinched the back of her palm, taking a few hairs. "Sorry!" He apologized as he stepped away from the Lieutenant who spared him barely a glance, not noticing the pinch.
He stepped back out of the way as the Deputy Mayor strode up to the three. Jenler turned his back to them and quickly stashed the hairs in a tube with her name on it and stuffed it back in his jacket pocket. No one really took note of him, the small crowd and enforcers were keeping their focus on the library.
He casually made for Ms. Brigg's sedan. No one was turned his way when he quickly opened her passenger door and leaned in. He grinned happily when he found some blond hairs on her head rest. He gathered some up, put them in another marked tube and slipped back out of the car.
Moving back to the group once more, he bided his time. He needed samples from Feral and, perhaps, he should take some from his second in command too.
"You there!" Feral barked pointing at Jenler.
"Did you see anything unusual before these plant things took over the library?" He demanded, eyeing the slight, non-descript looking middled aged grey tom who had been hanging about nearby.
"I'm sorry sir, no I haven't. I was in the library for a bit but came out to sit and read. Nothing unusual happened." Jenler answered, innocently. As Feral sighed and began to move away, he managed to brush against Feral's paw and arm, getting a precious sample in the process.
The last party he wanted was much easier to get a sample from. Steele was frowning at the library with his back to Jenler. He stepped close and brushed a paw across the blond Kat's shoulders.
Steele turned around in angry surprise and stared at Jenler questioningly.
"Sorry sir, there was a bee on your shoulder." He said with a shrug.
Rolling his eyes and shaking his head in annoyance, Steele turned back to the matter at hand.
Jubilant with his success, Jenler walked away from the group and made for his car. He spent the next few minutes carefully documenting his capture information and securing the last samples. Finished, his precious samples safely deposited within his bag, he drove back to his hideout.
"I now have enough genetic material to set my plan in motion. Soon those four will be my object lesson to those fools at the university." He said happily as he drove down the freeway.