Title: H2Oh, No
Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date Completed: March 1, 1997
Warnings: May contain slightly more than average violence for a children's cartoon.
Disclaimer: "SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron," its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
The first fanfic of my regular series. More or less completely canon to the show and a somewhat standard plot type. No sweeping epic here. Nonetheless, even I still like it. Which says something as I tend to hate anything a month old.
— September 2000
Drenching rain poured from the sky onto the dark, streets of nighttime MegaKat City. Winds drove it in sheets that pummeled buildings and beat noisily against windows. The air was filled with ominous rumblings and sharp cracks of thunder that seemed to shake the very ground. As a brilliant bolt of lightning flashed across the sky, Jake Clawson glanced up and around the hood of the car he was tinkering with to see out the window of the garage where he was working.
"I wish Chance'd hurry back. I'm starved and there's nothin' in the fridge," he muttered, watching as a second flash of lightning lit up the salvage yard outside as though it were daylight.
Pulling a rag from his back pocket and wiping his greasy hands, he walked into the garage office. As he entered the room, there was a loud crack of thunder and the outside door opening to the garage flew open with such force that it slammed heavily into the wall and bounced back. Wind rushed into the garage, bringing with it a fine mist that immediately dampened everything in the room. Jake whirled around upon hearing the sharp crack from the door.
"I thought I locked that, " he said to himself, eyeing the door as he reentered the garage to be sprayed with the fine mist that was steadily being blown into the garage.
"Whatta storm," he commented as he walked over to the door, still flapping back and forth in the wind that gusted through the opening, and closed it firmly. Then, he stopped and, turning, scanned the room nervously. He had a funny feeling – like he wasn't all alone.
Cautiously, he stepped away from the door, every muscle tensed. As he moved, a large figure detached itself from the shadows beside the door and stalked after him.
Jake stopped, feeling the hairs along the back of his neck beginning to raise.
"I don' like this," he muttered.
The shadowy figure pounced, grabbing him roughly around the neck.
"Waahh!" Jake yelled, trying vainly to break free.
The arm holding him in a tight head-lock only tightened its grip. Jake felt the figure's hot breath close beside his face mingling with the odor of wet fur as a low, threatening voice whispered in his ear.
"Chance!" Jake gasped out as the arm released its grip on his throat. With a sound that was somewhere between a snort and a gruff laugh, Chance backed away from Jake and gave into a fit of loud laughter so violent that he was shaking.
"You shoulda seen your face," he gasped between chuckles as he backed up against the car Jake had been working on earlier and slid to the floor looking up at Jake, who was now glaring at him, hands on hips, tail swishing angrily.
"Thanks for scaring me out of five of my nine lives, Chance," snapped Jake. "Didja get anything to eat?"
"Sure, I brought back a pizza and a six-pack of milk. Right here," said Chance, standing up and reaching to pick up the pizza box he had set on the car. Still chuckling, he opened the box and offered Jake a slice.
Jake accepted the pizza. No sooner had he taken one bite than their alarm went off.
"It must be Callie," said Chance, his face immediately sobering as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a triangular communicator. "Yes, Ms. Briggs?" he said as he pushed the large, red button in the center of the communicator.
"SWAT Kats, I've got a problem," came the voice of Calico Briggs, MegaKat City's Deputy Mayor. "My apartment building's flooded. Everyone's trapped on the roof."
"Flooded?" questioned Jake, leaning over to be heard on the communicator.
"Yes, flooded. There's water surrounding the building, and the first through third floors are already submerged."
"How'd it happen?" asked Jake incredulously.
"No one knows; it all happened in minutes. Me and everyone else here could sure use some help."
"No problem, Ms. Briggs. We're on our way," said Chance.
After a quick clothes change Chance and Jake, or rather T-Bone and Razor, the SWAT Kats, were ready to go.
"All set, Razor?" T-Bone called back to Razor from the pilot's seat of the TurboKat.
"Affirmative, " came Razor's reply around a mouthful of pizza. He wasn't about to miss supper completely. As he said this the platform that the jet sat on slowly lowered to another level beneath the garage.
"Then, let's rock an' roll," said T-Bone, swiftly pushing several buttons and then slamming the throttle forward. The TurboKat's engines roared to life and the jet shot off down the underground tunnel that led out of the hangar and rocketed skyward.
"Can ya' pick up Callie's signal?" T-Bone asked.
"Just barely, the storm's causing interference," returned Razor as he switched his pizza to his left hand and adjusted the controls.
"No kiddin'," T-Bone muttered as a bright flash of lightning caused him to roll the TurboKat to the left. "Hey, don't get pizza on anything back there," he called, his tone only a half-playful threat.
"Yeah, yeah," returned Razor. This was quickly followed by a softly muttered, "Ah, crud."
"Raa-zor," T-Bone growled.
"It's just a little tomato sauce on the— Ah, naw – it's startin' ta' spark. Just a minute, T-Bone; I'll get it under control."
T-Bone moaned softly.
Hearing the almost inaudible sound, Razor let a sneaky smile play at the corners of his mouth as he made the motions of cleaning the phantom pizza from his control panel, the last bite of the real one safely in his mouth. When it came to the TurboKat, T-Bone was as fussy about it as people are over expensive sports cars. Hearing another faint groan and the sound of quiet, whiny grumbling, Razor found it harder to hide his amusement. Desperately, he clamped his jaws together, determined not to laugh out loud, which would not only alert T-Bone to his joke before he was ready but would also result in pizza really getting all over his control panel.
T-Bone was still muttering to himself when the pent-up laughter inside Razor finally erupted, taking the only exit available and exploding through his nose as a thunderous snort.
"Razor, what is—?" T-Bone started, but was drowned out by Razor's sudden, loud chuckles.
"Gotchu ….baa…aa..ckkkk," Razor gasped between chuckles, laughing as much at his own snort as at T-Bone.
T-Bone glared at him in the mirror that allowed him to see Razor.
"Heeey, one good trick deserves another," returned Razor, controlling himself.
In spite of himself, T-Bone smiled and then, unable to contain himself any longer, let out his own prodigious snort before laughing along with Razor.
"One good snort deserves another," he joked back.
Razor chuckled even harder. Suddenly sobering, he said, "Hey, we should be almost to Callie's apartment by now. There it is," Razor announced as a schematic outline of the building appeared on the dimensional radar screens in front of each kat.
"Not that we can see outside of the radar view," T-Bone commented as he slowed the jet and lowered the VTOL engines, putting it in hover mode.
"No problemo. I'm switching on the spotlight I installed on the bottom of the fuselage," said Razor as he flicked a switch.
Instantly, there was a sudden bright light emanating from the underside of the jet, revealing a sodden group of kats huddled on the roof of the medium-sized apartment building and staring upward at the jet. Several cheers went up at the sight of the TurboKat. To the left of the huddled group, the light illuminated murky water surrounding the building's lower floors.
"Holy kats! Where's all this water comin' from?" asked T-Bone in shock.
"Well, the building's built in a slight depression in the ground, and according to the dimensional radar's readout the depression extends all the way to the bay, so it's a natural flood plain. Still, even with all the rain we've had there shouldn't be this much flooding," said Razor thoughtfully, surveying the scene below and the computer screen in front of him.
"We'll have to figure it out later, right now we have to get the people off there."
"Roger that," said Razor. "And, much as you're gonna hate it, we're gonna haveta' call the Enforcers to do it."
Meanwhile, Callie Briggs had heard the jet approaching and was digging in her purse for her communicator.
"The SWAT Kats'll take care of it," she assured her fellow tenants, pointing to the bright light from the hovering plane. She then pulled her communicator out of her purse and cut it on. "Hey, guys, glad to see you could make it."
From inside the TurboKat, the two SWAT Kats gave her a thumbs up.
"Don' worry, Ms. Briggs," said Razor over the communicator. "We're gonna call the Enforcers to come airlift everyone to safety. We'll keep an eye on things 'til they get here."
T-Bone made a grumbling noise that he hoped only Razor heard. He hated to think of what the Enforcers would say when they got there. He didn't mind the fact that the SWAT Kats couldn't handle this one on their own, the TurboKat simply couldn't carry loads of people. He did mind the fact that the Enforcers would see it as a golden opportunity to make fun of the SWAT Kats, who so often did the jobs they couldn't handle. He could already hear the taunting as they laughed at the fact that the "mighty SWAT Kats" had to call them for help.
Ms. Briggs somehow seemed to sense T-Bone's feelings.
"Good thing I had my communicator," she said over the radio. "The water knocked out the telephone lines."
T-Bone smiled, if only at her thoughtfulness. "Better call the Enforcers, buddy," he called to Razor.
Razor reached for the radio switch.
"So what do you think is going on?" Ms. Briggs asked the two SWAT Kats, her long, blond hair blowing in the wind as they stood together under a sheltering overhang just outside the school gymnasium that was serving as a shelter for rescued kats. Since the episode at Callie's apartment, reports had been pouring in from across the city as flood waters rose. Already, hundreds of people had had to be evacuated from low-lying areas. A flash of lightning illuminated the TurboKat sitting behind them on the grass by the driveway, its sleek metal glistening in the rain. Not far from it, an Enforcer chopper was just landing with another load of people while another was taking off to go rescue more.
"Actually, we haven't got a clue," replied Razor, watching the choppers.
"Yeah, but don't worry, Ms. Briggs. We're flyin' out to the bay to see if we can tell what's goin' on there," assured T-Bone.
"Yeah, there's somethin' unnatural about this flooding business," added Razor.
"Good luck," called Ms. Briggs as the two turned to run to the TurboKat through the driving rain.
Seconds later, the TurboKat's engines roared to life, and it slowly lifted into the air vertically. Then, its rear engines cut on and it took off to fly away over the city. In a matter of minutes, the SWAT Kats were flying over MegaKat Bay. The water below tossed and churned, spraying froth high into the air. Flashes of lightning illuminated the city beyond, silhouetting the tall skyscrapers against the sky. The thunderous booms of thunder that seemed to vibrate the jet completed the ominous effect.
"It almost looks like the bay's overflowing and flooding the city," said Razor.
"But what could make it do that?" questioned T-Bone. "This's a bad storm, but it's no hurricane."
"Y'know, it almost looks like—T-BONE! The water's not rising – the city's sinking!" gasped Razor.
"Well, believe it or not, buddy, it's the truth. Just watch."
Switching the TurboKat to its VTOL engines, T-Bone watched the city and water for several minutes. Suddenly, he saw the effect Razor had seen; a movement so gradual it was almost unnoticeable, like clouds drifting across the sky. He gasped, "It is sinkin'! Recovering from his shock he asked, "What'll we do, partner?"
"I'll use the x-ray beam and see if I can find any caves along the beach," returned Razor, pushing a button.
A panel slid open on the underside of the TurboKat, allowing the strange, round gadget to lower out of the hatch.
"Maybe there's a way to get under the city and see what's goin' on."
"See anything, Razor?" questioned T-Bone.
"Not yet…wait a minute— Bingo! There's an underwater cave just below that cliff. It has a tunnel leading under the city and it looks like there're some fairly large caverns connected to it," announced Razor, looking up from his screen and toward the large cliff that jutted out over the water along the beach. He looked back at his screen. "There's an entire system of caverns under the city! Never heard of those…" He let the sentence trail off.
"So, what's the plan?"
"I'm gonna call Callie and tell her what's goin' on so she can alert the city and then we need to go back to the hangar and get the HydroKat."
"Roger that. Let's get movin'."
Some time later, the HydroKat's periscope surfaced from the churning waters of MegaKat Bay.
"The cliff should be straight ahead," Razor reported, looking at his view screen with difficulty as the frothing water was continuously splashing and spraying the periscope's lens.
"And there's the cave dead ahead," said T-Bone as the opening to the underwater cave loomed into view on both of their screens.
Razor lowered the periscope so that the square submarine-like vehicle could go on into the cave.
"Hopefully, we'll find a cavern that's not completely submerged," he commented, watching his screen as the light on the front of the HydroKat illuminated the pitch-black darkness of the cavern.
The murky water reflected the light, illuminating it far ahead of the HydroKat and giving the SWAT Kats a view of the churning underwater world. Rocks loomed into their view periodically, sometimes appearing so suddenly through the gloomy, turbulent waters that T-Bone had to make swift, violent turns to avoid the obstacles.
"Whew," he muttered after one such close encounter. "Hope this trip'll help the city, bud," he muttered. "Hate ta' think I came through this nightmare for nothin'"
Though better than he had once been, the thought of being underwater, let alone underwater in a cave, made T-Bone uneasy. Suddenly, he saw something that took his mind off his worries.
"I think you got your wish but it's a dead end," he called to Razor as the HydroKat's searchlight revealed a large cavern only half-filled with water. Solid rock walls surrounded them.
"I'm using the x-ray beam again," said Razor. "Okay, there's another tunnel right on the other side of that wall," he said, indicating the rock wall directly in front of the HydroKat.
"Looks like we need a way through that wall," remarked T-Bone dryly.
"Way ahead of you," said Razor as a small-scale missile launcher folded out of the top of the HydroKat. Launching mole missile – Now!" he announced as the missile shot out of the launcher. As it flew through the air, two metal blades with wickedly pointed serrated edges unfolded from its sides and began whirling around like a helicopter's rotors. Hitting the wall, the blades burrowed through the solid rock, sending sparks high into the air. Seconds later, the SWAT Kats had a clean path through to the tunnel.
T-Bone maneuvered the HydroKat up to the hole the mole missile had created and stopped it there, switching off the light as he cut the engines. The cavern was again in darkness as the two prepared to climb out of the hatch on top of the HydroKat.
"Alright, let's go," said T-Bone as he got out, reaching up to depress the red triangle on his helmet. As he did so the triangle lit up, illuminating Razor as he climbed out of the hatch. Sliding his glovatrix over his hand, T-Bone climbed into the hole.
Razor followed suit, cutting on his light as he got out of the HydroKat wearing his glovatrix and carrying a small rectangular device.
"What's that?" T-Bone asked upon turning to face his partner, seeing the gadget for the first time as his light swept across Razor and he caught the glint of metal in Razor's left hand.
"It's a more portable version of the x-ray beam. This way we have some idea of where we're going," replied Razor. "There's a large cavern right at the end of this tunnel. We just have to follow the tunnel."
As the two walked down the tunnel, T-Bone asked, "Just what are we lookin' for anyway? I mean, if the city's collapsin' inta' some huge underground cave or somethin', what're we gonna be able to do?"
"Well, that depends on the problem. We just have to wait and see what's goin' on," Razor replied sensibly and optimistically.
"Yeah, well, let's hope the Enforcers'll evacuate the city if things get too bad."
"And you're sure there's no real problem, Feral?" Mayor Manx asked as he sat at his desk in his office. Outside, the storm continued with unabated fury. Rain pummeled the windows of the office.
"Nothing my Enforcers can't handle. However, I'd advise we evacuate the remaining low-lying areas and that everyone get to higher ground," returned Commander Feral, the head of the Enforcers, as he stood in front of the Mayor's desk pulling on one of his thick, black whiskers. "As for this idea of the city sinking," he added, looking directly at Ms. Briggs, who stood beside the Mayor, "it's the most preposterous thing I've ever heard."
"Commander, the SWAT Kats said they saw it sinking. Have someone check into it if you don't believe them, but don't just ignore it. The water's getting higher and higher!" demanded Ms. Briggs.
Before Feral could reply, his niece, Lieutenant Felina Feral, burst into the room, sodden and out of breath.
"Uncle, I was just out at the bay with my chopper looking at the situation there. The water's not rising – the city is sinking!" Felina gasped.
"You're sure of that, Felina?" asked Feral incredulously.
"Positive," returned Felina, nodding her head.
"I guess you'd better get the word out to evacuate the city," Feral said, turning to face the Mayor and Ms. Briggs with a scowl on his face. "I'm going to have a look for myself and see what to do about this mess. Come on, Felina," he said before he left the room.
"Right, Uncle," she returned and followed him.
A group of kats huddled on top of a building in the driving rain waiting for an Enforcer helicopter to pick them up suddenly looked up in surprise as a huge television screen on top of a nearby skyscraper flickered to life.
"This is Ann Gora for Kat's Eye News. A state of emergency has been declared in MegaKat City. It has been confirmed that the city is actually sinking, amazing as it may seem. Residents are asked to evacuate the city at once. This is a mandatory order," announced the newswoman on T.V. screens all over the city.
The results of the announcement were immediate. People gathered belongings, pets, and family members and headed out of the city as fast as they could. As the first cars headed down the freeway and out of the city, the ground began to quake violently. Above the sounds of people yelling in terror, an ominous, earth-shaking rumble emanated from below. Without warning, huge, vine-like plants burst from of the ground, showering crumbled asphalt on the cars before them as they rose higher and higher into the sky. In a matter of minutes the entire city was surrounded by a towering, impenetrable wall of plants.
Feeling their nightmare was over as the rumbling ceased, the kats on the freeway slowly got out of their cars and walked up to stare at the wall of vines. They drew back in horror as they met water swiftly flowing in through tiny holes between the vines.
While the people couldn't get out, the water could still get in.
"What'll we do?" asked Ms. Briggs, as Commander Feral and Felina walked back into the Mayor's office.
"I'll get my choppers ready and start flying people out," he replied, the sour expression on his face deepening.
"Good, then I'm ready to leave any time," said Mayor Manx.
"Will there be time to get everyone out?" Ms. Briggs questioned, worry and concern obvious in voice and face.
"We can hope so," was Feral's only reply as he turned and left the office.
"I'd better get everything ready to leave," said Mayor Manx as he picked up his golf bag from where it was sitting against the wall and began to stuff in several golf clubs that had been propped against the wall beside the bag in preparation for his next indoor game.
"Maybe the SWAT Kats've found out what's going on," said Ms. Briggs to herself as she watched the Mayor. Turning away from him to face the window, she pulled out her communicator and held it up to her mouth.
Felina, who had lingered behind Feral, was watching Ms. Briggs.
"SWAT Kats. SWAT Kats?" Ms. Briggs called into the communicator, but was only answered with static. "The storm must be messing up my signal. Or they're out of range," she added dismally, lowering the communicator.
"They'll come through," said Felina, walking up to her.
"I hope so," returned Ms. Briggs.
"Ah, there's my lucky ball," said Mayor Manx, as he picked a golf ball up out of one of the indoor golf sets in his office.
"Guess no one's ever told him that the captain goes down with the ship," Felina whispered to Callie.
"Definitely not," returned Callie with a smile.
The Mayor overheard them.
"G—go down with the s—s—ship?" he stammered, looking at them in horror. "Then, I resign!"
Felina and Ms. Briggs almost laughed aloud, then Callie's face grew serious again.
"Do you really think there'll be time to get everyone out?" she asked.
"I seriously doubt it," Felina returned, shaking her head.
"Then, it's up to the SWAT Kats. And if they can't find out what's going on and stop it, half the people in the city are doomed," Callie said softly. Then, she turned to look out the window at the furious storm, murmuring a silent prayer. "Good luck, SWAT Kats – wherever you are."
"This is really weird – what're all these plants doin' down here?" Razor wondered aloud as the two SWAT Kats walked down the tunnel, its walls now lined with strange plants clinging to the rocks and hanging from the ceiling. Some of the plants lit the tunnel with an eerie, green glowing.
"Got me, but I don't like the looks of some of 'em," returned T-Bone, eyeing the plants distrustfully.
"Me neither," returned Razor. "They look like some of Dr. Viper's doing."
"Might've guessed sinkin' the city'd be one a' his plans," muttered T-Bone darkly. "How close're we to that open chamber you mentioned?"
"Well, it should be just—" Razor started, looking around at T-Bone in the process. "T-Bone!" he suddenly yelled in warning.
"What on earth!" gasped T-Bone as he realized that one of the weird-looking vines had wrapped around his foot.
He started to pull away but, without warning, another vine shot out from the wall and wrapped around his left arm. A third vine wrapped around his other foot with lightning speed. In seconds, T-Bone was lifted off his feet and held in the air, struggling violently against the gripping vines.
"Hey! What is—? Razor!" he called out as he struggled to get free.
Razor had started to run to T-Bone's aid when he heard a sound that made him drop to the ground. He lay there as what appeared to be foot-long, cactus spines whistled over his head, embedding their wicked points in the rock wall next to him.
"Hang on, buddy!" he called to T-Bone as he stood up. Suddenly, feeling the pressure of something wrapping around his leg, he twisted around to face a huge venus flytrap-like plant. It had a vine wrapped around his right leg.
The plant opened one, huge hinged leaf revealing teeth in the place of a flytrap's usual stiff bristles. It gave Razor's leg a rough jerk and he was yanked off his feet onto his stomach as it pulled him towards the gaping leaf.
"I get the hunch you eat more than flies," commented Razor raising up and twisting around again. "Well, eat this," he shouted as he raised his glovatrix, and fired a glob of sticky tar into the deadly leaf. The flytrap began thrashing from side to side violently, trying vainly to fling the goo out. In the process, it released Razor, who leapt away.
Meanwhile, T-Bone was getting out of his predicament too. He twisted into a position where he could take aim at the vine holding his left arm. He fired a metal blade out of his glovatrix at the vine, severing it and freeing his arm. Then, deploying a buzzsaw blade that flipped out of the top of his glovatrix, he neatly sliced through the vines holding his legs. He fell to the floor of the tunnel, landing on all fours, and lunged forward out of range of the other vines that were now reaching for him.
"Which way, buddy?" he asked as he landed beside Razor and stood up.
The two now stood in the midst of seething vines; each one reaching for them.
"That way," returned Razor as he pointed down the tunnel.
"Aw, crud," groaned T-Bone as he realized that the tunnel was lined with cactus-like plants and more vines.
"I've got a plan," said Razor. "Deploy shields."
Two metal shields folded out of their glovatrixes. The SWAT Kats held them in front of their bodies.
"Ready…Set…GO!" yelled Razor, and the two took off down the tunnel.
Cactus spines bounced off the metal shields as the SWAT Kats dashed to the end of the tunnel. A vine flipped out in front of Razor. He jumped over it, somersaulted in midair, kicked out at another vine that tried to grab him, and, landing on his feet neatly, kept going. Without warning, another vine grabbed his ankle as he ran past it. Razor fell flat on his face, hitting the hard-packed earth with a grunt of pain.
"Razor!" bellowed T-Bone, skidding to a stop and whirling to see Razor's fall.
Razor raised his head to see five cactus spines hurtling toward his face. He gasped, but before he could move T-Bone's shield was shoved in front of his face. The spines buried their needle-sharp tips in the metal shield. Razor looked up at T-Bone, who stood beside him, holding the shield in front of Razor.
"Thanks for keepin' me from becoming a pincushion," said Razor with relief as T-Bone helped him to his feet.
"Ready for some more fun?" asked T-Bone as they repositioned the shields in front of their bodies.
"You got it," returned Razor as the twosome charged down the tunnel again.
As they neared the end of their gauntlet a huge, trunklike vine snaked out to bar their path. The SWAT Kats leapt over it simultaneously. They landed on the other side and dove, T-Bone first, into the narrow crevice that the tunnel had become.
Breathing heavily, they inched their way through the crevice, stopping for a few minutes once they felt safely out of range of the mutant plants.
"Look!" said Razor suddenly, pointing beyond T-Bone toward a faint yellow-green glow that loomed just ahead of them.
"Let's go," muttered T-Bone, resuming the slow process of inching his broad frame sideways through the narrow crevice.
At last, the twosome reached an opening and stepped into a vast cavern. Stepping into the huge chamber was like entering another world. Low along the outer edge of the room, the ceiling swiftly rose to a soaring height of nearly forty feet. Thousands of mutant plants and vines, similar to those the SWAT Kats had fought earlier, filled the vast space, hanging from the ceiling and clinging to the rock walls. The cavern resembled an eerie rain forest, complete with a humid, sticky climate. The chamber was lit by the eerie light the SWAT Kats had followed, emanating from hundreds of the same plants that had lit the tunnel.
"Whoa!" gasped the two SWAT Kats simultaneously, surveying the incredible and yet bizarre scene.
Directly in front of them, surrounded by large, trunklike vines, was a table, but one unlike any they had ever seen. It appeared to be little more than vines growing out of the ground, intertwining to form a near-solid surface. Test tubes filled with strange bubbling liquids and strange apparatus cluttered the surface of the bizarre, living table.
"Guess we've found Viper's lair," commented T-Bone as they walked into the room.
"Yeah, now where—?" Razor started, but was broken off abruptly as two bizarre fungi standing like guards on either side of the cavern entrance reached out and grabbed the twosome around their arms, yanking them off their feet.
The SWAT Kats were held tightly despite their struggling. T-Bone vainly dug his claws into the fungi trying to rip it apart, but it was no use. An evil cackle echoed off the rock walls of the chamber as two glowing yellow eyes appeared through a curtain of vines across from the SWAT Kats. A short, strangely reptilian green kat with a tail that seemed to be at least five feet long walked into the light, still cackling as an evil smile played on his lips. As he walked into the light, his eyes stopped their eerie glowing.
"Greetingsss, SSSWAT Katsss," the strange kat hissed as he walked up to them.
"Ah, Dr. Viper, I presume?" joked T-Bone wryly.
"You pressume correctly. I sssee you've disscovered my sssentinel fungussss," hissed Viper as he walked over to the vinelike table.
"Oh, yeah, we've gotten acquainted," returned Razor. "Now what're you up to, you little snake?"
"I think it'ss quite obviousss. You know I've tried for ssome time to make your cssity part of my ssswamp," said Viper as he took a vial of something from the table and walked back toward the SWAT Kats. "Well, now with the help of my new acssid fungusss I've causssed the ground under the cssity to be ssso riddled with holesss that it isss now collapsssing."
"You've created a giant sinkhole!" gasped Razor.
"Precisssely. And as the cssity ssinksss the water of the bay iss flooding it. By now the plantsss, whosse rootsss you sssee there," with this he pointed to the SWAT Kats' left where giant roots blocked off part of the room, "will have created an impenetrable wall around the cssity; oncse all the people are gone, I will fill your ssstupid MegaKat Cssity with plantsss like thessse around you and finally have my own Megassswamp Cssity," finished Viper, a triumphant ring to his voice.
"Even if you have to kill half the people in the city," added Razor, his voice full of a quiet, controlled fury.
"Sssurely you know by now that we villainss care only for ourselvesss," replied Viper as he poured the contents of the vial he was holding on each of the fungus-like vines holding the SWAT Kats. Almost immediately, the fungi grew thicker.
"No duh," remarked T-Bone, watching the fungi and Viper with a wary look.
"I have to be going now. I have pressing bussinesss – watching your cssity sssink."
He cackled madly at that last phrase, gloating in his victory. Then, he looked over his shoulder as a huge fungus-like creature half walked, half slithered into the room and headed towards them. Supporting itself on four tentacles that protruded from under its body, it advanced. Its bright red eyes that matched the mottled red, purple, and green of its slimy, shapeless body gleamed evilly. Twin arm-like appendages with scorpion-like pincers in the place of hands protruded one on each side of its body. The creature opened its mouth to reveal rows of sharp, pointed fangs.
"Goodbye, SSSWAT Katsss – I hope you enjoy meeting my little pet," said Viper as he turned to leave. "That formula ssshould have made that fungi ssstrong enough to hold you. And even if you do begin to work your way free, my pet will finissh you."
With an evil cackle, Viper left the room.
"You've got to get me lower," Felina shouted up to the Enforcer piloting the helicopter that held her suspended in a harness above the frothing water.
Below, a tiny kitten huddled on top of a car, the roof of which barely protruded from the raging waters, which threatened to engulf car and kitten both at any second. The soaked kitten shivered, looking up at the helicopter as its bright searchlight illuminated his wide, terrified eyes. With a whimper, he buried his face in the matted, wet fur of the dingy stuffed animal he held tightly in his arms.
"Okay, I'm gonna try to bring you in again," the helicopter pilot yelled to Felina above the combined roars of the helicopter, the storm, and the turbulent waters.
Felina waved a hand to indicate she had heard him, her eyes never leaving the kitten. The helicopter maneuvered inches closer to the car, simultaneously dipping downward. With a gasp, Felina was plunged into a sudden wave. The cold, salty water slapped against her, soaking her to the bone before the helicopter again rose into the sky.
"You okay, Lieutenant?" called the pilot.
Gasping from the shock of the cold water and spitting out what had splashed into her mouth, Felina replied, "I'm fine. Let's try again."
Again, the helicopter lowered toward the car. This time Felina swung up beside it, only a few feet from the tiny, huddled figure.
"Okay, kid, just come over here, and I'll get you out of this," Felina called gently.
The kitten only whimpered, glancing at her before again burying his face in the well-worn stuffed animal. The few seconds had given Felina only a glimpse of the creature he held so tightly, but it was enough.
"Hey, is that a SWAT Kat?" she asked softly.
The kitten raised his head.
"Uh, huh," he whimpered almost inaudibly.
"Looks like T-Bone," Felina continued. "Y'know, T-Bone wouldn't like to be out in this either, but he'd find the courage to handle it."
The kitten looked at her.
"C'mon, be a brave little SWAT Kat," Felina urged.
In on swift movement the kitten crawled towards her, still clutching the bedraggled stuffed kat. Felina scooped him up and held him tightly.
"Let's get out of here," she called to the pilot, who smiled down at her and nodded.
In a few minutes, Felina was being helped out of the harness on top of Enforcer Headquarters, having handed the kitten to Callie who was carrying him over to one of the large, cargo helicopters devoted to carrying people to safety outside the city. Wearily, she turned to climb into the pilot's seat of a waiting helicopter, glancing quickly out across the city.
"It's not over 'til the fat kat sings," she muttered her defiance of the hopeless situation, a grim, set look on her face.
"Any ideas?" asked T-Bone, as the mutant creature neared them, snapping its pincers menacingly.
"Distract it while I think of something," said Razor.
As the monster came up to them, T-Bone kicked out with one foot, scratching it across the face with his claws and jerking his foot away before either of the vicious pincers could catch it. The creature backed away, roaring with pain. Opening one of its pincers to its fullest extent the monster squirted a blob of green liquid from somewhere inside its tentacle at T-Bone.
"Heyyy!" yelled T-Bone, jerking sideways as the foul-smelling slime hit the wall next to him leaving a smoking hole.
"Something tells me this is Viper's acid fungus," commented Razor, "Which gives me an idea."
"I think I know what you're gettin' at," returned T-Bone. Then, he yelled, "Hey, Ugly, you wanna come back for more?"
As the creature advanced on him, T-Bone lashed out again, his slashing claws leaving three, dark green gashes across the beast's face. Roaring in fury, it hurled a huge glob of acid at the source of its misery; thanks to T-Bone's fast maneuvering, hitting only the fungus holding his arms. As fungus began to disintegrate, T-Bone swiftly wriggled free of the decaying vegetation and dropped to the floor.
"Eat this," he yelled, raising his arm and aiming his glovatrix at the ceiling above the creature. A miniature missile rocketed out of the glovatrix, exploding on contact with rock above and sending a shower of dirt and rocks onto the fungus, burying it.
"That takes care of that," muttered T-Bone.
"That won't hold it for long. Get me down so we can get outta here," said Razor.
"You got it," returned T-Bone, firing two blades out of his glovatrix that neatly sliced through the fungus holding Razor.
Razor dropped to the floor beside T-Bone and stood up, quickly wiping away the fungi still clinging to his arms with his lip curled in disgust.
"So what're we gonna do about this mess Viper's created?" T-Bone asked.
"Let me use the x-ray beam again," returned Razor, pulling out the small gadget. "Hmmm…. Bingo! There's a pocket of lava right under us…and we're directly under the city," he added thoughtfully, looking upward.
As he did so, a trickle of dust showered down on the two from the hole T-Bone had blown in the ceiling. Razor blinked as it filtered through his mask and into his eyes. Without warning, an avalanche of dust and debris from above suddenly rained down on the two kats, simultaneous with an echoing roar that seemed to vibrate the very rock walls.
"Deploy shields!" shouted T-Bone, raising his glovatrix over his head as the metal shield folded out from it.
Razor followed suit, and the two stood, crouched, waiting. In seconds, the deafening roar died away into faint rumblings from above.
"The city's gonna sink all the way down here!" gasped Razor, lowering his shield and allowing it to fold back into his glovatrix.
"Yeah, looks like Viper really outdid himself this time," added T-Bone. "He's fixed it so good, he's not even gonna get what he wants."
Razor shook his head in agreement. Glancing back at the gadget he held in his hands, he muttered a thoughtful, "Hmmm, looks like we're gonna have to try that crazy plan after all."
"What 'crazy plan' ?" asked T-Bone.
"If we blow a hole into that chamber beneath us the lava will probably shoot out. If there's enough of it, it'll fill this cavern and the others. When it hardens, the city'll be sitting on solid rock."
"What about the fact that it's already partially sunk?"
"Well, there is the chance that all the geothermal energy will push it back up – of course, if it backfires we could all be toast," Razor returned with a wry shrug of his shoulders.
"Let's get to it. It's the city's only chance," said T-Bone with finality.
"And you haven't been able to blow a hole in that wall of plants?" Feral questioned the Enforcer pilot who was sitting before him in a helicopter on the roof of Enforcer Headquarters, shouting to be heard above the dual roars of the helicopter and the still-raging storm.
"No, Sir, we've hardly made a dent in it," replied the Enforcer, looking down at Feral.
"Then how about the airlifting?"
"It's going well, Sir, considering this weather, but at the rate the water's rising, there's no way we'll ever get everyone out in time."
"Well, I'm ready to leave, Feral," called Mayor Manx as he ran up to the helicopter, carrying his golf bag over his head, trying to keep from getting wet. "Coming, Callie?" he asked, turning to Ms. Briggs, who stood under the overhang that stretched out from the door to the helicopter and jet landing strip. She walked away from the door and out to the helicopter.
"I'm not leaving until everyone else is out," she replied with finality, crossing her arms, ignoring the drenching rain.
"But they said that— Feral, you talk to her," said the Mayor, appealing to the Enforcer commander.
"I don't think it's her I need to talk to," Feral returned, eyeing Manx with scorn.
"Okay, we got a barrel of acid, now what?" questioned T-Bone, who was standing beside the large barrel, holding it in preparation for Razor's instructions.
"Alright, let's see," said Razor, looking into the barrel. Immediately, he took a few steps back, gasping. "WHEW! What kinda crud is Viper using!" He stepped up to the barrel again, careful to hold his breath this time, and examined its contents. "Good, it's about half full. That'll be plenty for the explosion we need."
"Why not just use Ugly here?" asked T-Bone jokingly, gesturing with one foot to the pile of rock next to him where one of the fungus's tentacles was vainly trying to work its way free.
"Naaah, too messy," returned Razor.
"Course not. Ugly here'd love to go up a in blaze a' glory."
"He told you that?"
Rolling his eyes with an amused grin at T-Bone's shenanigans, Razor turned away, his face growing serious. "Now, let's see," he muttered, turning his attention to the x-ray beam. "Alright, there's a tunnel up there that should lead us back to the HydroKat. We can use the missiles in our glovatrixes to set off the explosion from there. That should be enough to blow a hole to the lava. But when we do, we'd better scramble through that tunnel and get outta here – fast."
"Then, let's go," said T-Bone, pointing his glovatrix straight up and firing a grappling hook to the ledge of the tunnel. Razor did likewise. As soon as the hooks caught, the lines began reeling in automatically, pulling the SWAT Kats upward. Once on the ledge they turned to look down at the barrel, some thirty feet below.
"Ready?" asked T-Bone, his voice muffled by the oxygen mask he had just strapped on.
Razor nodded as he finished donning his mask, focusing his eyes on the barrel far below.
"Okay. Launching matchhead missiles – NOW!" he yelled.
Simultaneously, the two missiles were launched at the barrel far below. It exploded in a fiery blaze. The two SWAT Kats ducked back into the tunnel. From there they watched as a stream of gas, steam, and red-hot lava shot into the air past them.
"Bingo!" gasped Razor. Then, he looked down to see the lava rapidly filling the room and a dense cloud of superheated gases that could burn the fur off their hides boiling upward towards them. His eyes widened.
"QUICK! We gotta get outta here!"
T-Bone needed no urging. The two wheeled and ran into the tunnel behind them, scrambling wildly down it. The light from their helmets bounced crazily off the walls. Abruptly, they rounded a bend to be met by a wall of rock.
"Dead end," gasped Razor, skidding to a stop. He glanced back over his shoulder. Boiling gases were already filling the tunnel behind them.
"Up there!" T-Bone yelled, pointing to a shaft above their heads.
"Firing grappling hook – NOW!" shouted Razor, as the two simultaneously shot their grappling hooks upward to catch on rocks far above. The lines grew taunt and jerked them upward swiftly, seconds before the cloud of dense gases and the first waves of lava rushed into the very spot where they had been standing. Without warning, T-Bone's cable jerked to a stop.
"My glovatrix's jammed," he groaned after hitting the gadget several times to try to restart it.
As he stopped his own glovatrix to wait for T-Bone, Razor glanced downward beyond his friend anxiously. The boiling gases were gaining on them.
"Razor, you'll have to go on without me," said T-Bone suddenly, looking up at his friend intensely.
"No way, buddy. We've come this far together; I'm not gonna leave you," returned Razor fiercely.
"Razor, there's nothin' you can do!"
"Yes, there is. Let out the rest of your cable and jump on my back; the glovatrix'll hold two people."
"But you can't!"
T-Bone stared at Razor. He was easily twice Razor's size. It would be an almost impossible effort for the smaller kat to support both his own weight and T-Bone's entirely with the one arm on which he wore his glovatrix.
"I can try, T-Bone. It's either both of us or neither of us."
As he said this, Razor reversed his glovatrix, letting it lower him down to T-Bone.
"Alright, buddy," returned T-Bone, recognizing the unrelenting tone of Razor's voice and releasing his cable, leaping to Razor's back.
Razor started his glovatrix again. The two were pulled upwards as the superheated gases churned only several feet below. Razor groaned as T-Bone's weight, added to his own, began to take its toll on his arm. He reached up with his left arm and grabbed the cable to help take some of the weight off the other arm.
"Hang in there, Jake," encouraged T-Bone.
Miles above, Dr. Viper watched his triumph from the safety of a hill on the outskirts of MegaKat Swamp.
"Yesss, my planss are going perfectly. SSSoon MegaKat Cssity will be part of my beautiful ssswamp," he hissed, an evil smile on his lips as he watched the city's slow, but now obvious sinking, flashing into view through the rain with each new bolt of lightning.
Then, a magnificent flash lit the sky, illuminating the city and the mutant vines that towered around it. To Viper's surprise, the vegetated monstrosities began to wilt, collapsing into the water.
"WHAT! It'ss not possssible!" Viper gasped.
Even as he spoke, the whirring sound of helicopters filled the air as and two Enforcer choppers flew over the trees behind Viper. With the roar of the storm and his own shout, Viper failed to hear them.
"That's one more load of people out," said Commander Feral wearily, with a certain hopelessness as he refocused his eyes on his flying.
"Don't give up yet, Uncle," urged Felina over the radio, her helicopter close behind his. As she finished saying this she let her gaze wander to the ground below. "Uncle!" she yelled into her headset. "Down there! It's Dr. Viper!"
"Viper, I'll bet he's behind this," growled Feral as he began lowering the helicopter toward Viper.
"Take the controls," Felina shouted to the Enforcer flying with her before running to the door of the helicopter and sliding it open in one swift motion.
"Freeze, Viper!" she yelled at the top of her lungs, competing to be heard as she stepped into the doorway and aimed her gun at Viper.
"What!" gasped Dr. Viper, turning around to see the two helicopters, Felina silhouetted in the doorway of one, the other swinging around to surround him.
"T-Bone, get the x-ray beam out of my pocket and find the tunnel that'll lead us back to the HydroKat," said Razor.
"You got it."
T-Bone produced the x-ray beam, and aimed it over their heads with his left hand.
"Right there," he announced, pointing to a tunnel just a few feet above to their left.
No sooner had he said this than a blast of superheated gas shot into the air past them. The gadget in T-Bone's hand was in its path.
"Ahhh!" he gasped, releasing the x-ray beam, which had become too hot to hold. "Ohh, CRUD!" he growled as it vanished in the gaseous cloud below.
Letting his gaze follow its descent down into the boiling lava and gases below, Razor shouted, "T-Bone, it's gonna blow again any minute! We gotta get in that tunnel NOW!"
Adjusting his weight, T-Bone helped Razor swing both of them towards the tunnel. As the arc of their swing brought them close to its entrance, Razor released the cable. The two hurtled into the tunnel opening. Simultaneous with Razor's feet connecting with the ground, T-Bone let go of him and hurtled over his head to land several feet beyond.
The two were still crouched as they had landed when there was a thundering boom from the other tunnel. They watched in awe as superheated gases and lava rocketed past the tunnel entrance, blasting them with intolerably hot air.
Acting fast, T-Bone grabbed Razor, whose arm was obviously injured, and leapt away from the entrance.
"We gotta get movin'," he announced as he straightened up from the crouch he had landed in, setting Razor down. "And looks like we're goin' blind now," he added. "Is your arm okay?" he suddenly asked in concern, noting Razor's face contorted in pain as he gingerly tried to move his right arm, grimacing in pain.
"I think I've dislocated it, but I'll be fine. Now, come on. If I remember correctly we should go down this tunnel and it'll lead to the HydroKat. If the lava isn't there already."
The two ran down the gently sloping tunnel, trying to escape the blasts of scorching gas that were continuously enveloping them. The tunnel abruptly slanted sharply downhill. With a gasp of surprise, T-Bone and Razor tumbled down the shaft, skidding down the rough rock walls. Abruptly, it opened into a larger tunnel. The two slid to a stop in a pile.
"Look, that's the hole we came through," yelled T-Bone suddenly, pointing to the hole illuminated by his light as he got up, the light reflecting the metallic glint of the HydroKat on the other side.
"And here comes the lava!" added Razor, raising his head and looking back to see a faint, red glow emanating from down the tunnel to Viper's lair, a warning of the fiery inferno that was advancing on them. Then, he started to push himself up. "Owww," he groaned, realizing that he could hardly use his right arm.
"C'mon," said T-Bone helping Razor up. The two scrambled through the hole and into the HydroKat.
T-Bone swiftly cut the HydroKat's engines on.
"Here it comes," said Razor as he got into his seat and looked at his screen. The lava was almost to the hole.
"And here we go," returned T-Bone as he turned the HydroKat around.
"T-Bone, cut on the booster engines!" yelled Razor suddenly.
"You got it," returned T-Bone as he pressed a button on his control panel.
The twin jet engines on the back of the HydroKat roared to life and the small, submarine-like vehicle hurtled into the underwater tunnel just as the lava hit the water, filling the cavern with a huge cloud of steam. The HydroKat flew out into the bay, a blast of superheated gases and steam billowing behind it. The SWAT Kats had made it just in time.
"Whew, that was a close one," commented Razor with relief, pressing the button to raise the periscope so he could see the display as the HydroKat surfaced.
"Razor! Look!" T-Bone suddenly gasped.
Razor looked at the screen in front of him. The MegaKat skyline dominated the screen, hazy as seen through the monstrous cloud. Staring at it for several seconds, he saw again that faintest of movements, but this time, the city was slowly rising from the water.
"It worked!" he breathed, bowing his head for a moment in a silent prayer of thanks.
Just then, an alarm went off on his control panel. He reached over with his left arm and cut the communicator on.
"SWAT Kats, the water's leaving and the city's almost back where it's supposed to be! And I'm guessing you two had something to do with it. Dr. Viper sure thinks you do," came Ms. Briggs' voice.
"So the Enforcers caught that little snake," said T-Bone with a smile.
"Yes, and you two saved the city. Again. You're gonna have to tell me the story behind this one sometime."
The two SWAT Kats smiled, not noticing the disappearance of the dark storm clouds or the pink tinge in the sky as the sun began to peek over the horizon.
"So you think you can get my car fixed?" Ms. Briggs asked Chance, as he peered under her car's hood.
They were standing in Chance and Jake's garage.
"I don't think the water did too much damage. Jake an' I'll fix it," he replied, stifling a yawn. It had been a long night.
Just then, Jake walked out from the waiting room of the garage and up to Ms. Briggs and Chance, his right arm supported by a sling.
"Hey, Callie," he greeted Ms. Briggs.
"Hi. What happened to your arm?" she asked, pointing to the sling.
"Well, it—" Jake began, searching for an explanation.
"Jake just tried to lift something a little too heavy for 'im," replied Chance, rescuing Jake from his predicament.
"Yeah, really heavy," added Jake, giving Chance a malicious sort of smile.
The two turned to duck under the raised hood of Callie's car.
"Heavy as in solid muscle," Chance breathed into Jake's ear, his voice growling.
"Settle it with a little arm wrestling?" Chance teased.
Jake snorted in reply.
"We really gotta get those sinuses of yours checked, Jake."
Both fought to control their laughter as Callie stared at them strangely. For the time being, all was normal again, if MegaKat City could have such a thing.