THE CHRISTMAS THAT NEARLY WASN'T
A/N: Time for another Christmas story for this year. I thought to try for something amusing on this very frazzling of holidays. Hope you enjoy the mayhem.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the characters from the SWAT Kats show, I just like to use them for a bit of fun.
"Crud! What a night, seems as if every omega decided to wish us an unMerry Christmas, buddy," T-Bone grumbled, peeling his sweat soaked g-suit off and tossing it into the laundry basket in the corner.
"I believe it," the slimmer of the two vigilantes growled, pulling his own dirty g-suit off.
"Well it's Christmas Eve, hope to hell they stay in for the night. I'm bushed."
Jake grimaced as he tugged on a tennis shoe, "why stop when they're ahead?" he said, sarcasm dripping in his tone. "I mean, we've seen nearly all of them this week finishing up with the Pastmaster a couple of hours ago."
"There's still Dr. Viper. He hasn't made an appearance," Chance sourly reminded him.
"Ohhh, that's right. *sigh* Wonder what he's cooking up for the main event," Jake snorted, disgust and exhaustion warring on his face.
"Whatever it might be, I want to eat and take a nap before it happens."
"Good idea but first we need to reload the Turbokat."
A groan was all Jake heard but his tired friend dutifully headed to the munitions stash, grumbling all the way.
Over his stolen enforcer scanner, Viper was working in his secret lab hidden in the vast reaches of the area known as the Megakat Swamp.
"Blast those other fools! They've set the enforcers and those meddlesome SWAT Kats on alert. No point going to the Bio Chemical Labs for that katalyst I need right now. Best wait until after the New Year...might have better luck then," he muttered, bitterly to himself.
He worked for a couple of hours when, suddenly, a loud commotion was heard from outside his hidden lab. One of his plantimals came hurtling into the room squeaking something at him. Frowning in surprise, Viper hurried up the long, rough hewn stairs that ran from underground to the inside of the huge tree that formed his home. The living mutant tree opened the side of itself smoothly at a command from its master revealing the swamp lapping at his 'doorstep'.
There, held firmly by his sentry tree that used long vines to capture prey, hung a sleigh with eight reindeer being supported in other vines. Held by yet another vine and hanging just inches from the ground by his booted foot, up side down, was a Kat dressed in a Santa suit.
Gaping upward, it took Viper several long seconds to truly grasp what he was seeing. Like many adults, he didn't believe in Santa but here was the evidence captured by one of his minions that told him the legends were true.
"Let me go! How dare you stop me from delivering my toys!" Santa Kat spluttered, shocked and indignant that someone would do this.
Grinning evilly and rubbing his paws together, Viper ignored the old elf's complaint. A wicked plan had bloomed in his mind. He would blackmail the city and get what he'd been trying to acquire for years...turning the city into a swamp and ruling over it as supreme leader.
"What a coup! I'll finally get my revenge on those miserable SWAT Kats and the enforcers without having to put myself or my lovely creatures at risk," he chortled. "Bring him and his pets down to the cages," he barked to his minions.
Santa cried out in growing fear and anger as he was handled none too gently and dragged underground by a bunch of grotesque creatures. His reindeer bawled in terror as they were summarily hauled one at a time after him. His sleigh remained hanging from the vines of the odd tree like some weird Christmas ornament.
As he stared through the bars of his cage only a short time later, Santa was panicking. Time was passing quickly and he'd never make his deliveries in time if he didn't get out of here. But how? Nearby, in a similar cage only larger, his reindeer were huddled together bawling loudly as their noses and eyes filled with the nasty scent and sight of mutant things that shouldn't exist in this world.
Viper gave the animals a glare of annoyance but didn't do anything to end the racket as he fussed with a video camera, focusing it on Santa and the reindeer.
"Easy my friends, I know you're scared but this noise is only making things worse," Santa murmured softly, soothing his poor team.
Shivering, eyes round and showing white with fear, the deer heeded Santa's words but it still took a while for them to calm enough to be silent.
A grunt of satisfaction made the deer jump but didn't bawl again, as they watched the strange, ugly Kat move away from the camera setup and go to a radio sitting on a bench covered with various bubbling chemicals on Bunsen burners.
Viper keyed the stolen enforcer radio and spoke into it, "thisss isss Dr. Viper...get me Feral or your city isss going to regret what I'm going to do to sssomeone very ssspecial to the whole world!" he demanded.
"You have accessed an unauthorized frequency. This is against the law...identify yourself immediately!" a self important voice demanded.
Viper glared at the radio in his paw. "I have no time for minionsss with no brainsss. Contact Feral now or sssuffer the consssequencesss," he snarled, angry some idiot was wasting his time with rules.
The dispatcher on the other end blinked in angry dismay. He hadn't been trained to handle something like this so quickly summoned a supervisor. The night shift duty officer came hurrying into the room and listened to the message on a headphone when the tech replayed it for him. He paled the moment he heard that familiar voice. Swallowing head, he quickly had the tech switch to the Commander's frequency.
A couple of miles away, in a sixth floor apartment, the tired Chief Enforcer was drying his hair as he sat on his bed and watched the news in his bedroom. He was only dressed in a pair of Christmas boxers his niece gave him last year and a white tee. A tiny Christmas tree, twinkling with lights and small ornaments sat on the table next to the TV.
On his dresser behind him were his keys, watch, wallet, badge, and radio, the last item began to tone urgently. He looked over at it with a sour look. Sighing he stood up, tossed the towel in a nearby basket and swept up the radio.
A frantic voice relayed the terrible news in quick, brief words, "sir, we've received a threat call over our open frequency from Dr. Viper!"
"What? Repeat the message!"
The officer did. "Kat's Alive! Send a chopper for me ASAP. Meanwhile switch me to his frequency, stat!"
"Yes sir!" The officer reached over and changed the frequency.
"This is Feral!"
Beneath the salvage yard, Chance and Jake had just completed their self-imposed task and were heading across the hangar to the ladder leading upstairs when they heard the open message from Viper over the filched enforcer radio they had on Jake's workbench.
They froze in midstep as they listened intently. When silence fell as someone got Feral they stared at each other in dismay.
"What the hell is that mutant up to?" Chance growled, walking toward the bench.
"Don't know but we'll be ready to go the moment that creep tells Feral whatever it is," Jake said, angry they wouldn't be getting any rest tonight.
Then they heard Feral respond and they listened closely as the sibilant tones of Viper filled their ears.
"Feral, follow these instructions..." Viper proceeded to tell the Commander to go to his computer and call up a certain address.
"I'm not at headquarters. You'll have to wait until I get there," Feral reluctantly told him.
"Then I suggest you hurry to work, Commander," Viper hissed then cut the connection for the moment. It galled him he had to wait but patience was everything right now when the prize was so great.
While Feral hurried to headquarters via the chopper that had arrived to pick him up, Jake was calling up the addy Viper gave on his own huge mainframe computer. What they saw on the screen had them both speechless.
"Is that who I think it is?" Chance finally managed to say, stunned.
"It certainly looks like him." Jake was equally stunned as he stared at the impossible.
As soon as his chopper set down, Feral climbed out, ran across the flight line, into the building and catching an elevator car, arriving moments later in the comm center. As he dashed in, he saw a small group of techs and his night supervisor standing and staring in shocked disbelief at something on the computer screen.
"Move!" he barked. Instantly everyone scattered, leaving only the tech manning the system and the duty officer standing nearby as their superior stalked up to them.
Feral blinked in shock. What the hell was he looking at? The more he stared the more he just couldn't believe what his eyes were showing him. Holding his radio up, he barked, "what kind of game are you playing here Viper?" he demanded.
"It'sss exactly what you sssee, Commander. It ssseemsss SSSanta managed to run afoul of my pet asss he wasss sssailing passst and wasss sssnatched. If you ever want to sssee this jolly fool ssstill alive, you'll do exactly what I demand."
"And what would that be?"
"Hand over the city!"
Feral could only glare at the radio in anger. The demand was no surprise but this form of blackmail was unlike anything that nasty creature had ever come up with. What did he do now?
"You know I don't have the authority to do that!"
"Then get that fat oaf of a mayor to do it but get moving or my patience will wear out and there won't be any Chrissstmasss for the kittensss thisss year," Viper laughed nastily.
Feral hissed and shut his radio off. As he tried to think what action he could take short of getting his honor up and giving into blackmail, the SWAT Kats were already taking action.
"Jake can you get a bead on his location?" Chance demanded as he went to his locker and began changing his clothes.
"Yeah, just give me a few minutes to triangulate the signal from the stolen radio," Jake muttered as he worked furiously on his computer. "Got it! Sending coordinates to the onboard computer."
When he'd finished, Jake raced to change as well. T-Bone had already run to the Turbokat and was starting the engines. Razor soon arrived and leaped aboard, the canopy closing after him as he strapped himself in and warmed up his console.
In minutes, the Turbokat was shooting out its hidden flight line and racing across the sky heading south for the swamps. It took some ten minutes to get there with all rockets flaring then T-Bone brought the jet down to a slower speed so Razor could get a fix on the signal they'd been following.
"Go twenty degrees south and east," he ordered. T-Bone turned the jet and headed in the indicated direction.
"We're here!" Razor shouted. T-Bone immediately went to VTOL and they both looked through their windows to the ground below. All they could see was an immense tree, the swamp and another weird tree but in it was a surprise.
"Crud! Is that a sleigh in those branches?"
"Sure looks like it. Guess this is the place alright. There's firm ground a yard away."
"Copy that!" T-Bone acknowledged and coasted the jet toward the spot and set down. After opening the canopy, they leaped down and hurried across the marshy ground toward their target.
They almost reached the tree when vines suddenly reached for them. Using their glovatrixes they cut, fried and burned the moving limbs that tried to prevent them from their goal. The smell of burning vegetation was nasty but they finally reached the back side of the massive tree trunk that wasn't under water.
"My instruments indicate this thing is hollow and there seems to be some structure beneath us as well," Razor said.
"Since I don't see a door, guess we make our own," T-Bone smirked as he used his mini-laser to cut through the bark.
The tree screamed, literally, and writhed in agony trying to escape its torment. Below, Viper heard his tree's cries and rushed up to see what was attacking it. He burst out the door he normally used and, at first didn't see the pair of vigilantes because they were out of sight.
Having heard the mutant come out, T-Bone went one way to attract the Kat's attention while Razor peered around the other side waiting his chance to charge the lizard.
Viper was shocked the SWAT Kats had managed to discover his hideout and furious. He leaped for T-Bone who shot a tarpedo at his face while at the same time, Razor followed the lizard and zapped him in the back with a vicious jolt from his amped up taser. The omega went down screaming and writhing, his skin burning from the tines of the taser before he finally fell unconscious.
"Fantastic! Got him out faster than he could think. How about that, the last omega caught by the end of the year," Razor said, grinning triumphantly.
"Yeah, just wish they'd stay locked up well into next year. Oh well, it's a nice Christmas present," T-Bone sighed, smiling broadly.
"Speaking of Christmas, we better save Santa quickly," Razor said, hurrying into the tree and down the stairs.
The two got to stare at the real thing moments later. It just boggled their mind...Santa...it was really Santa...in the flesh and there were his reindeer.
"Sir! Look! It's the SWAT Kats!" the tech shouted to Feral who was turned away, trying to think of a plan.
Feral whirled around and stared. On the computer screen he could see the pair freeing the person who was dressed up like Santa. He raised his radio to his mouth and shouted, "SWAT Kats!"
T-Bone turned and searched for the radio he heard Feral on. Quickly locating it on the bench, he clicked it on. "Yes, Commander."
"Out cold. Here's the coordinates..." T-Bone rattled it off. Feral copied it quickly. "We're going to help Santa get on his way again. Viper will be jailed in one of his cages for you to pick up. Watch for grasping vines around when you get here. SWAT Kats out!" T-Bone cut the connection.
Feral watched the screen and saw the pair helping the Kat and the reindeers out of the place and putting Viper in the cage Santa had occupied. He turned away, shouting orders for alpha flight to scrambled asap and for his own chopper to be readied for immediate lift off.
It took some doing to get the sleigh down from the tree but they finally managed it and helped Santa hitch up his reindeer.
"I can't thank you two enough. I swear coming to this city is always a hazardous thing but I can't disappoint the kittens after enduring such mayhem all year long. I just hope I can get the deliveries done in time," Santa fretted as he climbed aboard and grabbed his reins.
"For someone who can go around the world in one night and do what you do, I seriously doubt you won't be able to make up the time easily," Razor assured him, grinning widely.
"That's certainly true," Santa laughed heartily at the reminder. He turned and reached for something in his huge sack in the sleigh. "Here, for saving me and Christmas. A small token of my appreciation." He handed each of them a brightly colored package.
They took it then moved out of the way as Santa shouted the names of his reindeer and they jumped skyward like a rocket. Santa waved and shouted, "Merry Christmas!" then vanished from sight.
The too tired warriors grinned like kittens at each other but held off opening their presents until they got home. Hearing the enforcer choppers approaching, they ran off to their jet and quickly took off for home.
Feral arrived and stomped across the soggy ground. He was prepared for trouble thanks to the SWAT Kats warning so wasn't surprised they had to fight off more vines before getting into Viper's lab. Taking the mutant lizard into custody, Feral made an usual command decision and ordered the tree and lab torched. He wanted none of what Viper was doing to be used again by anyone least of all the mutant lizard himself.
As the site was cleared out of mutant creatures and Viper was hauled off, Feral sighed and climbed back aboard his chopper, signaling a return to base. On their flight back, they saw a stunning sight. Leaving the city, Santa passed closed to Feral's chopper and waved a jaunty farewell and gave them a broad smile before vanishing swiftly out of sight.
Feral's mouth dropped as did his pilot's as they continued on their flight home. "Well I'll be! He does exist!" he finally said aloud. The pilot could only nod his head vigorously in agreement.
Tired but happy to have the last omega locked up, Feral went to his office soon after arrival to do the report on the incident though how he was going to say Santa was involved he wasn't certain. He was shocked to find on his desk a beautiful Christmas package waiting for him.
He approached it cautiously and studied it from all angles before daring to touch it. Reading the label he was stunned a moment then a huge grin crossed his face. The little tag said, "Merry Christmas Ulysses from Santa!"
Feeling like a kitten again, Feral couldn't resist opening the package. Inside his eyes gleamed as he pulled out a top of the line laser pistol, much better than his old one. Wow! Thanks Santa. He murmured checking his new weapon over. What a cool Christmas this turned out to be.
The SWAT Kats arrived home and happily stripped their clothes off, hurrying upstairs carrying their gifts from Santa. Taking a seat in their living room in the apartment above the garage, they ripped into the packages eagerly.
"Oh wow! It's the first edition copy of Kat Kommando's. I've been wanting one for ages!" Chance shouted for joy, already opening it with great care and beginning to read.
Jake grinned at his happy partner then looked inside his own package. His eyes widened at the new heads up display helmet nesting in the box. He pulled it out and whistled. It was streamlined and look like an ordinary helmet but once he put it on, he discovered just how advanced it was compared to the present one he wore as a SWAT Kat. He was floored. Before he could set the box down, he noticed there were schematics to the helmet in the box that would allow him to make more helmets. He grinned from ear to ear. "Chance look!"
His friend looked up and smiled. "Wow! That is soo cool. Can't wait till you build me one of those."
"This is the best Christmas ever, buddy."
"Yeah, it sure is and the weirdest."
"Merry Christmas, Chance."
"Merry Christmas, Jake."
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT! ULYFERAL (yeah I know its long but I just couldn't bring myself to make chapters and after stewing some time about this story and completely rewriting it, I finally was able to present you this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.)