Chapter 1: The Warning
Author's Note: Well this started as something entirely different but when I began to write it, soon became a piece on pulling together to fight nature's fury and using Feral's talent during a dangerous situation. I wasn't planning a sequel to MUSIC SOOTHES THE SOUL but this sort of wrote itself. Hope you like it.
Some weeks after they had learned of Feral's unique talent, a terrifying incident occurred that forced him to reveal his musical ability. His soothing voice and a borrowed guitar helped to ease the terror of a trapped group of kittens and their caretakers and kept them all calm until rescue could free them.
After the Pastmaster had been routed, the omegas seemed to have chosen to lay low leaving the city with a breathing space of relative peace. The Katizens used the time to repair their city yet again.
As Feral looked out his office window, he sighed and enjoyed the rare moment of quiet he'd been needing for a while. There had been some gangland activity but the local police had been able to handle it. And though he was loathe to admit it, he was glad the SWAT Kats' regular patrols dissuaded any criminal from thinking of causing trouble. The temporary peace allowed him to get some badly needed training done, repair jets and ground equipment, and give his enforcers much needed down time.
What no one had counted on was mother nature deciding to cause her share of chaos. The weather had been fairly calm for days except for being unusually hot and sticky, the air still, and the sky a gray pall over it without any sign of rain except for bouts of heat lightning.
James Katterbee of the Megakat Weather Bureau had become alarmed as satellite images warned of a major weather pattern heading their way. He got on the phone and called the country just south of them where the storm was passing over at that moment. The answer he got to his questions made him turn pale. Hanging up, he quickly got on the phone to the Mayor's office. The Mayor wasn't in but he did get to talk to the deputy mayor.
"Ms. Briggs, how can I help you?" Calico Briggs asked, sighing mentally. Another problem she did not need right now. There was still a lot of work to do in fixing the city and a new problem she really didn't need right now.
"Yes ma'am. This is James Katterbee of the Megakat Weather Bureau. I'm informing you of a category three hurricane heading toward Megakat City. I just contacted Sandeval Bay and they are suffering its affects right now."
Callie sat up straighter and looked quickly out the window. All she saw was the solid gray day that they'd been having for the past forty-eight hours. "You're certain of this? What kind of damage is it doing?"
Katterbee's voice was grim. "Yes ma'am, quite certain. I have satellite confirmation besides the report from the Sandeval Weather Bureau. What's happening is major flooding, severe structure damage, over one hundred dead at last count, and one whole section of the city was leveled by it."
Now it was Callie's turn to go pale. "How much time do we have before it gets here?" She said tightly, beginning to take notes as he relayed what steps needed to be taken now. When she hung up the phone, she sat there for a long moment trying to order her thoughts. The disaster heading for them was nearly as bad as the mutated swamp Dr. Viper had flooded the city with. This sounded like it would be as if all three of their worst omegas attacked at once.
Biting her lip, she picked up her phone and called Enforcer Headquarters.
"Feral!" Came the familiar deep tones of the Commander.
"Commander Feral, Briggs here. I need you to have someone collect the Mayor from the golf course asap and you need to come to his office immediately. We need to declare a state of emergency. I 've just been informed that a category three hurricane is heading our way and we have only thirty-six hours to initiate our emergency procedures." She said urgently.
Feral let out a breath of anguish. This just couldn't come at a worst time. They hadn't recovered completely from the last disaster and this one sounded far worse than all the others before it. Just for a brief moment, he truly wished he could go far away from all the stress but the moment passed and he told her he'd be there immediately.
Before leaving though, he summoned his second in command and called down to the desk sergeant to have a car sent to get the Mayor and inform him of a crisis that needed a state of emergency declared. When his second arrived, he briefed him swiftly on what was happening and ordered a recall of all personnel immediately then he left for city hall.
When he parked in front of city hall, Mayor Manx was just arriving too by enforcer cruiser, siren wailing. He looked put out as he climbed out of the car, slinging his golf bag over his shoulder.
"Feral what is this nonsense about needing to declare a state of emergency?" He growled irritably.
"Ms. Briggs summoned me as well, Mayor. I suggest we go and see her now. I will tell you that we've been notified of a major hurricane heading our way." Feral told him flatly as he hustled the Mayor into the building then to the elevator and pushed the button for the top floor.
"A hurricane? That's crazy!" Manx snapped.
Feral just shrugged his shoulders. He wasn't about to get into it with the Mayor until he heard all the facts for himself.
Manx led the way from the elevator, stomping angrily down the hall and thumping his golf bag down near the door of his office.
Callie was waiting for them and before the Mayor could start ranting, she just jumped in. After ten minutes of briefing him on what was coming, the Mayor turned white and barely made it to his desk chair to sit down.
"That's terrible. My poor citae! Yes institute a state of emergency.....do whatever you have to! Get on it! Hurry!" He gabbled in fear.
Feral and Callie glanced at each other and simply told the overwrought and frightened city leader, they would take care of it and adjourned to Callie's office to talk.
"I'll alert the media and have them blitz the airwaves with the news and have them start up the emergency broadcasting system then I'll institute the evacuation plan for the coastal area." Callie said briskly.
Feral nodded. "I've already begun a recall of all my personnel. As soon as I have my troops ready, I'll send them to the coastal areas to get people out of there. The sports dome is the main evacuation point and its a good thing the roof had been reinforced since the attack by Turmoil last year. Other areas of relative safety will be the subways, basements of building on high ground, as well as the Megakat Tunnel which I'll have traffic halted to make it safer for those caught outside. Speaking of traffic, once the alert goes out expect it to be snarled and backed up royally as people escape further inland. The enforcers are going to be maxed out to their limit as will the police forces handling the subsequent mess and getting people moving quickly." He said grimly.
Callie sighed and grimaced at the image Feral had invoked. "Yes, its going to be tough on everyone. I just hope we get through it without too much loss of life. Anything else?" She asked, jotting down everything Feral had mentioned. Most of this was in the plan but it was quicker getting the immediate information from one who knew the city's safe zones better than any other. Mentally, she made a list of people she needed to contact.
"Yes, contact the SWAT Kats." Feral said grimly.
Callie just gaped at him. "What?"
Feral sighed in annoyance. "Do you think I didn't notice that every time you are in trouble, that those two just 'happen' to show up? Give me some credit. I know you must have some way to contact them. That jet of theirs is able to withstand being in space so it should handle storm conditions of this magnitude. I feel they can help by monitoring the hurricane's progress and give us an early warning and they can also go out far enough to see if a surge is headed our way. That surge can destroy the whole coast line and flood the area for miles. All we can do is insure the people in those areas are out but that takes time, which the SWAT Kats can give us by watching how close its getting to us."
She looked at him as if seeing him for the first time. She never thought of him as competent but she forgot that in normal emergencies and against normal enemies, he was very smart and capable in dealing with them and did his job well. It was the omegas that showed him in such a bad light but, if she was honest, it was really because of the shortage of good quality equipment and better training of his troops that was the true culprit.
After this emergency, she would have to significantly alter her thinking and how she dealt with the Commander. Shaking off her surprise, she simply nodded in agreement. "You are absolutely right. Do you want me to tell them that or would you prefer they contact you and get exactly what you want?" She asked seriously.
Pleased that she was going to cooperate with him, he said, "Have them come to Enforcer Headquarters. I'll have them escorted to my office. I'm going to be very busy too you know."
"Understood! I'll contact them as soon as I can." She promised.
Feral nodded and prepared to leave but she stopped him.
"Yes?" He asked, looking back at her.
"This is going to be worse than anything we've dealt with before....I....." She began fearfully but couldn't finish.
He looked at her and his eyes warm with understanding. "I know, Callie. I'm scared too. When you first told me, my first reaction was to wish I was elsewhere. Trust me.....I feel the same as you. The next few days are going to be really bad. Keep your head about you and stay safe. Remember, this time the SWAT Kats might not be able to come to your rescue......nor can I." He said quietly.
She straightened her shoulders and gave him a steady look. Feral's honesty and understanding helped her regain her courage. "Thank you. I know we've not gotten along that well, but I do respect you, believe me. I'll stay here and coordinate everything, someone has too. Have everything come through me because, you know where he'll be!" She murmured that last, softly.
They traded a smirk at that remark, knowing just how much of a coward the Mayor was and how useless he would be during this emergency.
"Anyway, I'll stay safe and will send the Mayor off to his estate, but you do likewise. Everything could fall apart if you are lost." She said sincerely.
Feral flashed her a small smile. "I'll certainly try to keep my hide intact." With that he quickly left for his office. He had a great deal to do.
Sighing, Callie went into the Mayor's office and wasn't surprised to find his honor under his desk. It took her precious minutes to pull him out and then shove him out the door. It didn't take much to get him to give her command of the emergency while he escaped to his home. Once he was gone, she sat down at her desk and began to set the Megakat City Emergency Weather Plan into action. Once she got the major players notified, she pulled her communicator from her purse and called the SWAT Kats.
In their garage, the alert phone rang. Jake was the closest and grabbed it.
"Razor here! What's up Ms. Briggs?"
"Razor, I've just been notified of a category three hurricane heading our way. A state of emergency has been declared and evacuation plans have begun for people living near the bay. Commander Feral requests your aid in helping to monitor the hurricane and the level of a surge that's expected. Please go see him at Enforcer Headquarters asap. He's expecting you and will have you escorted to his office. Do you copy?" She quickly briefed him.
Jake blinked in shock and glanced out the door of the garage. He frowned at the deepening gray of the sky. His coveralls already stuck to his sweaty body as the temps climbed.
"Roger, Ms. Briggs. We copy. We'll be off as soon as we secure our place too." Razor promised.
"Understood and Razor?"
"Please, be careful.....both of you!" She said worriedly.
"We will and you to." Jake assured her then hung up.
Chance stared at his friend worriedly. "A storm of that magnitude could completely trash the yard, Jake. But even worse than that, it can send shrapnel for miles and hurt people." He said in concern.
"I know but the only thing we can do is scrounge all the tarps and nets we've got around here and cover all the piles and secure everything else in lockers. We haven't got a lot of time." Jake said worriedly as he turned away from the garage and headed for the ladder leading down to their hangar.
Chance was on his heels as they moved to their storage area. "I can't believe Feral is actually asking for us."
"This is going to be really bad, buddy. I think Feral is just trying to cover all bases to ensure the city comes out of this in one piece." Jake said distractedly. "And we better contact him to say we're securing our area and will be there as soon as we have."
Chance just grunted in agreement as he began to pull netting and tarps out then dragging them back outside.
When Jake contacted the Commander through their radio and told him they were securing their home, Feral simply acknowledged the message and sent back that they needed to get done quickly and report as fast as they could. Jake acknowledged the urgency then rejoined Chance as they began to secure the salvage the best they could then their garage and apartment. They pulled the tow truck in and sent it down into the hangar while parking cars they were working on inside the garage. They closed the gates and locked them tight.
With their home and salvage yard as secure as they could make it, they went down into the hangar. After changing into their costumes, Razor insisted on loading emergency equipment. They packed more ropes, a rescue basket, first aid, flashlights, blankets, jumpseats (in case they had to ferry people to safety, extra communication equipment, shovels, and anything else Razor thought they might need.
Two hours after they received the alert, they finally arrived on the Enforcer flight line. Parking near the end of the apron, they hopped out of the jet and were met by Feral's assistant, Sgt Fallon. In quick fashion, they were escorted to the Commander's office.
Feral was in the midst of briefing his squadron commanders. The SWAT Kats came in and took up a position near the windows and listened quietly.
"That's it. Get to your posts and stay in constant communication." Feral finished his briefing.
The officers frowned in surprise at the presence of the SWAT Kats but hurried out without a word being spoken in their direction.
"Alright, SWAT Kats, here's what I'd like you to do. Your jet is stronger than any of mine so I need you to do some storm watching. Keep an eye on how close the hurricane is to our shores and especially watch for a storm surge. I want to know how soon the surge might reach our shores and where you think the hurricane might come inland. Keep in constant radio contact with my tower. I'll give you a specific frequency to use. Any questions?" Feral asked briefly.
"No questions! I do want to say, we will render aid if we're able. Either, when you call for it or if we see it. I've made sure we're loaded with emergency supplies and we can ferry people to safety in a pinch." Razor said gravely.
Feral nodded. "Glad to know it and it will be appreciated but don't forget your primary duty is to give as much warning as possible of the storms approach."
"Understood. What's the frequency?" T-Bone asked, preparing to leave.
Feral gave it to them and went back to his coordination work without noting their departure. Sgt Fallon escorted them back out and soon the Turbokat was in the air and heading to the coordinates of the storm.