MASTERMIND OF PEACE

Chapter 3: The Final Battle Begins

Long into the night Feral planned his strategy for facing down Turmoil while elsewhere other clandestine forces were being airlifted to the far mountains north of the city.

"Coming up on target, sir!" the voice of the co-pilot announced over the intercom.

"Roger!" the leader of the paramilitary team acknowledged. "READY UP!" he barked to the hard-eyed group sitting in jump seats along the walls of the stealth transport.

All released their restraints, checked their gear, and secured weapons before following their leader toward the slowly opening rear ramp of the plane. They huddled close waiting the word to go.

"GO!" came the barked call from the co-pilot.

Without any hesitation, the leader leaped forward, followed immediately by his team. The transport continued on as below it dark figures dropped like small missiles toward the rocky and forbidding landscape of an extinct volcano.

No parachutes were deployed until the group were nearly close enough to see all the protrusions of the mountain side. Only then were cords pulled and canopies opened catching the night air, the silk dark as the night around them. They drifted like leaves toward their destination.

Snatching at rocky protrusions, the team clung to the rough surface of the volcano as they quickly released their chutes before the fabric could tear them from their perches.

As soon as all members were accounted for the leader immediately began climbing upward toward a large cavernous opening some twenty feet above the group. Moving as stealthily as they could, the team drew closer to the yawing entrance and as they did so, weird chittering sounds could be heard echoing off the rock walls warning them of their first obstacle. With combat uniforms black as the night itself, the team were nearly invisible to normal vision but not the sharp eyes of those that were making those eery chittering sounds. They had to be extremely careful not to make any loud noises nor reveal themselves before they were ready.

Laying nearly flat like snakes, the group slithered over the lip of the broad ledge that led into the mountain. Then, still unseen, the team crab-walked inside quickly, spreading out to hide behind any available cover as they penetrated further into the interior. Only a faint light could be seen somewhere far ahead of them and this was what they headed for. Since all wore special night vision goggles no flashlights were necessary.

Encountering no one as they moved forward, the team had their weapons at the ready and kept eyes peeled on the ceiling of the cave as this was where the creatures making the strange noises were wont to hang out.

For reasons unknown, the paramilitary team managed to penetrate a considerable distance, almost a mile, without being detected by Dark Kats normally sharp-eyed and sharp toothed flying army of creeplings or even a mechanical alarm system. That worried their leader. He raised a paw to signal a halt.

All froze in hidden positions and waited, tense and alert. The leader eyed the rough entrance where the light was emanating from with suspicion. The chittering seemed louder here. Were all the creeplings with Dark Kat? That just didn't seem right. Knowing how paranoid and tech savy this omega was, it didn't seem right there wasn't at least some kind of warning system in place to prevent his enemies from sneaking in. Or was he just so arrogant that he never dreamed anyone would find him or dare to invade his sanctum? That seemed to be the way of it but it didn't feel right to him. However, he couldn't scrub the mission. Which was either kill the omega or chase him from his hidden base and into the paws of the prepared Enforcers.

Coming to a decision, the leader signaled them to continue on. Some ten minutes more the team emerged into a well lighted workspace filled with all kinds of tech equipment. The team were still hidden from those inside so kept to cover, waiting their leader's signal to attack.

Their leader crouched behind a huge piece of machinery, peering around it cautiously to get the lay of the land. To his surprise, he saw dozens and dozens of creeplings flying, hovering, or clinging to the many stalactites from the ceiling as they watched Dark Kat while that evil mad Kat focused on some kind of device he was working on. Behind him were a pawful of ninja soldiers. They looked unhappy and nervous by the violent twitching of their tails. At least this explained why none of them had been guarding the entrance to their hideaway. Whatever Dark Kat was doing it held everyone's attention.

Nodding to himself, the leader shrunk back and signaled his team to gather close. Utilizing hand signals, he gave them their orders. The team again spread out and prepared to fire on their leader's command.

The paramilitary leader went back to his post. Watching and listening intently, he tried to determine what was going on before he ordered the attack. He crouched suddenly, trying to make himself as small as possible when Dark Kat abruptly whirled around to face his minions.

"I want you to go into the city and put your ears to the ground. I want to know who set me up! No way should the Enforcer been aware of my attack plans. Bring that fat fool of an arms dealer to me. He has much to answer for in failing to deliver the final piece for my world killer. Go!" Dark Kat roared.

Instantly, a large group of ninjas hurried for a side tunnel, vanishing within. Hissing mentally, the paramilitary leader quickly signaled a part of his team to go after the ninjas the moment he began their attack. None of this nest could be allowed to escape, those were their orders.

Raising his weapon he began to lay down a deadly hail of bullets. A detachment of six hunched over and raced for that side tunnel while their team mates fired lasers, grenades, gas, and mini-missiles at the rest of the enemy. The air was instantly filled with the sounds of screams of dying and terrified creeplings, the roar of weapons fire, and the furious shouting of Dark Kat who had immediately dropped and rolled out of range when the gunfire began.

Despite taking hits to one leg, arm, and side, DK didn't seem fazed. The paramilitary leader cursed as he continued to fire at any moving targets and continued to try and pin the omega down. Obviously, DK wore body armor under that blasted flowing hooded cloak he favored wearing. It didn't matter. The omega wasn't getting out of here alive even if they had to drop the whole mountain down on him. Which was the end plan anyway but if the slippery creep did get away, his orders were to make sure DK didn't have a single weapon along and was herded toward his demise by way of Turmoil or the Enforcers.

As he took out creeplings and heard weapons fire where the ninjas had disappeared, he could hear the big omega's voice shouting orders to his minions as his own voice faded into the distance. As much as the leader wanted to follow he was hampered by the numerous creeplings dive-bombing him and his fellow. Despite the creeplings attempt to fly up and come in behind their attackers, the invaders were too well prepared.

With a shouted command, the team switched weapons. Firing a new mini-version of the vertical beam, the team swept the ceiling and floor, disabling the creeplings and ninjas who had escaped the group in the side tunnel. Now helpless, the team ruthlessly finished off Dark Kats minions until the floor wept blood, pink and red.

With no one else to stop them, the team rushed into the main chamber and searched the area for Dark Kat but there was no sign of the omega.

This was exactly what the leader had hoped to avoid but there was nothing he could do about it except to move on to the next phase of the mission.

"Were done! Set charges and let's get the hell out of here."

While some guarded, the specialists among them as they set some special munitions within the cave, their leader took quick pics of the interior for evidential purposes. He noted a strange weapon, partially completed and standing over 10 feet high near where Dark Kat had been working. He wondered what it was supposed to do but dismissed the thought as moot because whatever it was, it would be disposed of shortly.

As soon as his specialists were done, he lead them out of the cave at a run. Reaching the ledge, grappling lines were tossed down and all went down with the speed and ease of monkeys. At the bottom, they ran as far as they could before the roar and thunder of an immense explosion knocked them off their feet. Rock and debris belched forth from the cave opening chased by a loud roar of sound before the top of the volcano blew off spectacularly then the whole mountain collapsed upon itself. When the dust settled and the sound faded away nothing was left but a sunken hill.

Rising to their feet, the group hurried toward an arriving heavy crew chopper summoned by the leader. As they lifted away and headed off into the growing dawn, the leader send a message off to their commander warning of Dark Kat's escape and the success of destroying the omega's compound. The leader was informed that other teams were already harrying their quarry toward the battle just beginning between the city forces and Turmoil.

Smiling grimly, the leader felt the night had been a success. Now if only the Enforcers could finish the job Megakat City would finally find peace.

~o~O~o~

After briefing his squadrons on the new attack plans, Feral managed to snatch some needed sleep sometime after midnight so he was fresh and alert when the warning about Turmoil's fighters approaching the city sounded.

Up just after dawn, he went to operations and paced restlessly behind his techs while drinking some truly nasty coffee and devouring a breakfast sandwich his assistant shoved into his paws and insisted he eat. The Commander was already dressed in his flightsuit and anxious to get this thing over with.

Finishing the last bite and downing a healthy swallow of coffee, he nearly choked when the speakers mounted on the wall suddenly blared with the sound of battle and the voice of Razor. Somehow, he wasn't surprised the SWAT Kats had taken it upon themselves to do an early patrol adding to the ones he already had out. The Turbokat could reach altitudes his old jets couldn't get to but then the pair weren't aware that he now had new jets that could.

"Attack force coming in north by northeast ... over a hundred F-35 Lightning II's with a sprinkling of the new Falcon 2000's … no sign of Turmoil's air ship. She must be at a much higher altitude than last time. We'll go check it out but get your asses up here quick … LOOK OUT, T-BONE!" Razor interrupted himself with a warning to his partner just as a loud explosion was heard through the mic then communication cut off.

Only a second of silence followed before Feral was roaring orders, "Crews to your aircraft! Launch in T-5 mins. Notify the ground squadrons to gear up and head out! Roof cannons armed!"

"Yes sir!" his second acknowledged briskly. Feral left on the run, the sound of his second barking orders into the ops mic following him out the door.

Boarding his new Blue Manx, Feral yanked on his helmet, shoved down the shield, while the ground crew got him ready, and activated the engines and mic simultaneously. "Sound off!" Responses came fast and furious as his squadron revved up and prepared to launch.

"Now we'll see if we can wipe the air of these pirates!" He rumbled to himself as he prepared to launch. Bringing his weapons on line and enjoying the feel of power beneath him as the engines of the Blue Manx rumbled beneath him. "LAUNCH!" he commanded then shoved the yoke forward sending the fast little jet roaring skyward toward the approaching enemy, his fleet hot on his tailpipe.

Turmoil would be stunned to learn the Chief Enforcer had actually notified the SWAT Kats to be in on the attack force. She would have never credited the Enforcer to bend enough to work with the illegal pair but Feral knew, to win this time he needed all the help he could get despite all the new weapons, jets, and choppers he now had. There was no guarantee they would best the force facing them so wisely set aside his prejudices and invited his pains-in-the-tail nuisances to join the party.

When he'd called them the night before to give them a head's up, he hadn't been surprised to find they were already informed and ready to launch. He had a suspicion that same mysterious mastermind wouldn't settle for just arming the Enforcers but would insure victory with the vigilante pair as well. He was pleased to find he'd been right.

Something else Turmoil wouldn't be prepared for was the change in tactics Feral was planning to use. Instead of attacking head on with everything he had (as was his habit), the Commander ordered his chopper squadron to come in at a higher level and strike the enemy from behind as well as take down the strays while the Blue Manx's went head on. She would also be stunned to find out, Feral had ordered the SWAT Kats to go after her directly. He knew she would be directing the fight from somewhere above the battle and that the Sks were more familiar with her fighting techniques and her airship. Though it definitely felt weird working with the troublesome pair, Feral learned early on the pair could be relied on when the city was threatened and he used that fact now.

Pulling his thoughts back to the task at paw, Feral used his tactics computer to see his forces in real time. This was far better than waiting for call ins on the radio. The screen also showed him the situation the Turbokat was in. At the moment, the jet was trying to free itself from a knot of fighters that had it pinned down.

Though grossly out-numbered, Razor was showing they weren't helpless as a brace of new weapons spat out at the enemy taking down the new style jets Turmoil had pinned her hopes on. However, they were still being effectively prevented from finding Turmoil so time for him to jump in.

Grinning wolfishly, Feral raced into battle, firing his new vertigo cannon in a sweeping motion against the cluster surrounding the Turbokat. He grunted with satisfaction when several of them began to fall from the sky.

"Hey! Watch where you fire that thing!" a howl of complaint came from the Turbokat's pilot.

"Oh … so sorry," Feral said, not sorry at all. "Made them leave you though so high tail it out of here and find Turmoil."

"Yeah … yeah … sheesh Feral since when are you our boss ..." T-Bone groused as he pulled the Turbokat yoke back and headed upward with full engines roaring.

Feral ignored the comment, still smirking to himself as he turned his attention the battle around him. Switching weapons, he and his wingmen took out even more jets with their amped up mega lasers and cement guns. A few other gunners used the flash bulb missiles, blinding pilots which caused them to smack into each other. It was satisfying to win finally and they were making a significant dent against the enemy.