Swamp Thing: K. Croc
Disclaimer: I do not own "Swamp Thing" or any of the series characters or concepts. Swamp Thing and Killer Croc belong to DC comics and the Swamp Thing animated series is property of DIC Entertainment. This story is a work of fanfiction. No profit is being made from it.
The sun shone down upon the swamp, light sparkling brilliantly off the surface of a lake. Birds cawed to each other as they flew from tree to tree.
An egret perched upon a fallen log abruptly took flight as an alligator emerged from the water and climbed up upon the rotting wooden surface. It was an adult male, a little over three metres long with dark scales and a broad snout. It clambered onto the log and lay still, unaware that it was being watched.
Hidden in the nearby undergrowth was a red vehicle resembling a modified airboat with added caterpillar tracks. Dubbed the Bayou Blaster, the vehicle was the creation of the evil scientist Dr. Anton Arcane. Aboard it were his three henchmen, Dr. Deemo, Weed Killer and Skinman.
"The creature basks in the sun. We must be careful, walk don't run" said Deemo.
"Yeah we know Deemo" Skinman grumbled.
They hopped to the ground and approached the gator cautiously on foot, Weed Killer carrying a bulky rifle-like weapon. Once they were close enough Deemo hissed "now!"
"Got it" Weed Killer replied. He took aim and fired. A weighted net flew through the air and landed right on top of the gator, pinning it to the log. The creature hissed in fury and tried to break loose but the net held.
"Quickly Deemo, get the tranquillizer!" Skinmann yelled as they rushed forwards. He and Weed Killer pounced on the struggling gator and tried to hold it. Deemo quickly pulled a dart pistol from his pocket and ran up to the creature. He jammed it against the creature's scaly hide and pulled the trigger.
The gator hissed again and increased the intensity of its struggles. Deemo joined in and all three held on with all their strength. They wouldn't risk returning to their master empty-handed. Fortunately the tranquillizer Arcane had developed was faster-acting than normal. Within just a few seconds the gator lost consciousness and went still.
Skinman wiped his brow as they were finally able to let go. "That was close. Now let's get this thing back to Dr. Arcane's lab."
The gardens around the back of the Arcane plantation house were a wondrous sight to behold, with trees, bushes and beautiful sweet-smelling flowers. Abigail Arcane, or Abby as she preferred to be called, had loved the gardens since she was a little girl and had dedicated herself to caring for them. Her stepfather by contrast had no interest in the gardens at all, much to her relief. She didn't want that evil man setting foot in such a special place.
Abby was currently watering the flowerbeds. Her beautiful white hair gleamed in the sunlight as she diligently went about her task until it was completed.
She set the watering can down and smiled at the flowers. "There you go little guys. Isn't that much better?" she cooed.
She turned her head as she heard the sound of a propeller. Peering through a gap in the bushes she saw the Bayou Blaster driving towards the concealed hatch that led to Arcane's secret lab. Aboard it was an unusual passenger.
"Whatever my stepfather wants with that alligator it can't be anything good" Abby mused. "I'd better check this out."
The underground laboratory resembled a dungeon with its stone floor and walls. The scientific equipment it housed looked decidedly out of place, except of course for the transducer. That machine, with its sinister coffin-like design resembling a torture device, fit right in.
The sleeping alligator had been placed on a wooden bench. Arcane studied it intently while his henchmen watched.
"Yes, yes this will be sufficient" said Arcane.
"What do you want that walking suitcase for anyway?" Weed Killer asked.
"It's simple you fool!" Arcane snapped. "Swamp Thing has always beaten you before because he knows the area and that gives him an advantage. If I am to capture him I need a creature as well adapted to the terrain as he is. Something that can hunt him wherever he goes. And what better choice than the apex predator of the swamp?"
Abby had crept into the lab through a secret passage and was listening from behind a bank of machinery. "This is very bad" she whispered.
Arcane pointed at the gator. "Put it in the transducer" he ordered. "It's time for this mere beast to become a creature worthy to serve me."
With a lot of effort his henchmen managed to pick up the gator and pack it into the transducer. With an evil grin Arcane pulled a lever and the lid lowered. He then poured in a beaker of mutagenic chemicals and activated the machine. Electricity crackled and coloured lights flashed for a few moments and then ceased as the process was completed. The lid raised.
"Un-man, arise!" Arcane commanded.
The mutated gator climbed out of the transducer and stood perfectly still. It was now bipedal, with humanoid arms and legs and a broad chest and shoulders. However it retained the head and scaly skin of an alligator while its hands and feet each ended in four sharp claws. It stood over two metres tall with a powerful tail as long as its body and ridges running down its back.
"Whoa, that thing's a regular Killer Croc!" Weed Killer exclaimed.
"It's an alligator, not a crocodile" Skinman scoffed.
"But still part of the Crocodilia order and thus fitting" Arcane mused. "Yes, Killer Croc is a fine name for my creation."
"Ha, told ya" Weed Killer gloated. Skinman glared at him.
"Killer Croc, I am your master" said Arcane. "You will obey me."
Croc opened its jaws, displaying its sharp pointed teeth, and let out a bellowing roar. Arcane and his henchmen all jumped back in alarm.
"I didn't expect this" Abby muttered to herself from her hiding place.
The new Un-man snatched up the bench it had previously been placed on and hurled it at them. They barely dodged in time, Skinman and Deemo tripping over each other in the process.
Weed Killer fired a jet of toxic chemicals from his spray-gun but Croc dodged it with surprising speed. It then dashed forwards and spun, slamming its tail into Weed Killer and launching him backwards through the air. He crashed into Skinman and Deemo, the three of them going down in a heap.
"Enough! You will obey me!" Arcane screamed. He raised his cane and red energy radiated out from the skull-head. Croc hissed and backed away but then lifted up a table and threw it at him. He managed to dodge and the table hit the ground. Several bottles of flammable chemicals broke and their contents ignited with a whoosh. The table caught fire, sending up clouds of noxious smoke.
Croc hissed again and ran past Arcane, intent only on getting away. Abby ducked behind the machinery as Croc charged past her. If it noticed her it didn't react. It merely ran up to the concealed hatch and punched a hole in it with a few blows. It clambered through the hole and fled into the swamp.
"Quickly you fools! Put that fire out before it destroys my lab!" Arcane howled.
While his henchmen scrambled for the fire extinguishers Abby carefully snuck out of the lab.
Meanwhile in his hidden tree-lab, Swamp Thing was peering through a microscope at a sample of his cells he had treated with his latest attempt at a cure for himself. He sighed unhappily.
"Another failure. Still, I'm narrowing it down. If I keep trying I'm sure to find one that works eventually."
Just then the lift came up and his friend Bayou Jack entered the lab carrying a large sack.
"Here is your order sir" he said with a grin.
"Thanks Jack" said Swamp Thing as he walked over. "No problems getting it I hope?"
"None at all. I just told the butcher it's for some dogs" Jack replied. "He was glad to be rid of it."
"Good. I know something that'll be glad of this."
They went to the back of the lab. In the corner was a giant Venus flytrap with a green stalk four metres tall and a yellow head the size of a car with large green teeth. Swamp Thing had bio-engineered it to naturally filter out mutagenic agents and while it couldn't cure him (since the Venus flytrap didn't recognise the growth formula as harmful), it could return those mutated by Arcane's chemicals to normal.
Jack stared at it in amazement. "If it hadn't been for that thing I'd still be a giant praying mantis."
"That's why I came up with it" Swamp Thing commented. "I hope we won't need to use it again but we have to be ready just in case. And that means keeping the flytrap well-fed."
Jack opened the sack. Swamp Thing reached into it and pulled out several pieces of various types of meat. He then extended his arms out over the flytrap and dropped them into it. The jaws snapped closed.
"There we go. It won't need to be fed again for a week" said Swamp Thing.
"That's a relief. I wouldn't want to get too close to that when it gets hungry."
As they walked away from the flytrap the lift rose up from the ground floor. Abby hopped off of it looking very worried.
"Alec, Jack, we've got trouble" she said.
"What's wrong Abby?" Swamp Thing asked.
"My stepfather has mutated an alligator into a new Un-man. He wanted to use it to hunt you Alec, but it went berserk and broke out of his lab" she replied.
"Then we'll have to capture it. We can't let a mutant gator run around the swamp, innocent people could be hurt" said Swamp Thing.
"Plus Tomahawk's out patrolling right now. We've got to warn him" Jack agreed.
"I saw tracks on my way here. We can use those to find it" said Abby.
"Then let's get going" said Swamp Thing.
Tomahawk was having a good day. While patrolling the swamp he had caught and arrested several poachers and disabled the snares set by others. As much as he appreciated Swamp Thing's help it was still gratifying to know that he could perform his duties as a game warden himself.
At the moment he was cruising along a riverbank on the Bog Rover, a vehicle Alec Holland had created before becoming Swamp Thing. Despite looking like an oversized toy it was perfect for navigating the treacherous terrain.
He brought the vehicle to a stop as he spotted something odd. Picking up his crossbow he jumped down and went over to take a closer look.
"Strange. These look like gator tracks but they're far too big and too deep" he mused as he crouched to examine them. "Also from the space between them it would need to be walking on two legs."
He quickly stood as he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. With a loud splash a creature resembling a humanoid alligator burst up from the surface of the river, sending water flying in all directions. Startled, Tomahawk tripped and fell backwards as it lumbered ashore.
He raised and fired his crossbow but Killer Croc caught the arrow in its jaws, snapping it as if it were a toothpick. One swipe of its tail knocked the crossbow away. Tomahawk could only look up helplessly as it loomed over him, jaws open wide.
Croc paused as the sound of a propeller split the air. The Marsh Buggy, a six-wheeled vehicle also created by Alec Holland, came roaring out of the undergrowth and came to a halt. Aboard it were Swamp Thing, Abby and Jack.
"Leave him alone!" Swamp Thing called as he jumped out of the vehicle. He raised his hands and transformed them into vines that grew out towards the Un-man. Before they could entangle him Croc seized the vines and yanked hard.
"Whoa!" Swamp Thing exclaimed as he was pulled off his feet and hurled through the air. He came down with a heavy splash in the middle of the river.
"Alec!" Abby cried.
Bayou Jack had also jumped to the ground. He aimed his Bog Blaster weapon at Croc. "This ought to cool you off!"
He fired a jet of water that hit Croc right in the chest. A regular man would have been bowled over but the mutant didn't even react aside from an angry hiss. It merely walked forwards, the onrushing water stream barely slowing it, and then swung its tail. The blow launched Jack through the air to crash into Tomahawk who had just gotten up. Both of them were knocked down to the ground and lay stunned as Croc approached.
"I have to help them" said Abby.
She ran over to the Bog Rover and climbed aboard. Taking careful aim she fired the grappling missile. It flew through the air, trailing a length of cable behind it, and hooked around Croc's ankle. She immediately threw the Bog Rover into full reverse.
Croc bellowed in fury as it fell face-first to the ground and was dragged backwards, away from Jack and Tomahawk. With an angry snarl it twisted around enough to reach out with one clawed hand and seize the grapple. It pulled hard and at once the Bog Rover halted. Croc stood, still holding on and pulled harder. Abby responded by pulling harder on the control levers, resulting in a tug of war between machine and mutant. The engine screamed in protest.
"Hold it right there big guy" said Swamp Thing as he emerged from the river. Once more his hands became vines that extended forwards. This time they wrapped around Croc, pinning its arms to its sides and its tail to its legs. The vines also wound around its snout to keep the Un-man's jaws closed. It toppled over and hissed furiously as it writhed around. Despite its strength it couldn't get sufficient leverage to break loose.
"Great work Abby" said Swamp Thing as he walked over.
"Thanks Alec" she replied.
Just then they heard a loud screech accompanied by the whirring of a propeller. Swamp Thing realised at once what it was.
"Arcane" he said darkly. "Quick, hide."
Abby jumped off the Bog Rover and hid behind a nearby bush just in time as Skinman appeared overhead, now in his monstrous bat-like Un-man form. A second later and the Bayou Blaster drove out of the foliage with Arcane, Deemo and Weed Killer aboard. The other two henchmen had also been transduced into their Un-men forms, with Deemo's head replaced with that of a giant serpent and Weed Killer's head now resembled a giant centipede with a pair of stalk eyes and a large fanged maw.
"Well this is most fortunate" said Arcane with a mocking smile. "I came out here to recapture my wayward experiment only to find something better, Swamp Thing and his two friends both completely at my mercy. Surrender Swamp Thing or I'll blast them both with my mutation torpedo!"
Tomahawk and Jack had gotten up but at such close range they knew they'd never be able to dodge the torpedo. They exchanged worried glances. Abby also watched in concern from her hiding place.
Only one chance but I'll need to time it perfectly Swamp Thing thought.
"You need to lighten up Arcane. Maybe I can help with my bio-glow power."
A dazzling light shone from his body. Abby, Tomahawk and Jack were able to shield their eyes in time but Arcane and the Un-men weren't quick enough and were blinded by the light.
"AARRGGH! I can't see" Arcane cried.
Before they could recover Swamp Thing transformed his feet into roots which dug into the ground, anchoring him firmly while his arms extended and his hands grew to enormous size. He scooped up the Bayou Blaster in his giant hands and flipped it as if it were a toy. Arcane and his henchmen yelled in surprise and rage as they were unceremoniously thrown to the ground. Swamp Thing then lifted the still-struggling Croc and placed it on the Marsh Buggy's back seat.
Simultaneously Jack aimed the Bog Blaster and fired a jet of water that knocked Skinman out of the sky. He shrieked as he fell into the tree canopy.
"Now's our chance! Run!" Swamp Thing yelled.
Tomahawk and Jack boarded the Marsh Buggy and sped off while Swamp Thing and Abby got onto the Bog Rover.
"Hold tight" he whispered to her.
"I will" she replied, putting her arms around him.
He gunned the engine and they drove off into the swamp. By the time Arcane's eyes had cleared they were completely gone.
"No! You bunglers! You let Swamp Thing get away!" he raged.
"Uh that's not all boss" said Weed Killer hesitantly. "The Bayou Blaster is trashed. We're going to have to walk back."
Arcane howled in fury.
Back at the tree-lab Abby, Tomahawk and Jack watched as Swamp Thing lifted up the thrashing Croc.
"Easy there. Don't be afraid" he said.
"I don't think you have to worry about that" said Jack. "That thing doesn't look scared to me, just mad."
"Hopefully it'll settle down after this" Swamp Thing replied.
He extended his arms and lowered Croc into the jaws of his Venus Flytrap. They closed and the entire flytrap began to shake as a green light glowed from within. After a few moments the light disappeared and the jaws opened. Inside was now a normal alligator, fully cured of its mutation and returned to normal.
"Now that's more like it" said Swamp Thing. He once more enlarged his hand and picked up the alligator. He carried it onto one of the outer platforms and lowered it to the water behind the tree-lab.
There you go. Swim free" he said as he released the alligator and watched it swim away.
"I'm a little surprised you went to all that trouble" said Jack as they joined him on the platform. "I mean that thing tried to eat us."
Swamp Thing shook his head. "No Jack. That creature wasn't evil like Arcane. It was just following its instincts the same as any other life-form in the swamp. We couldn't just leave it like that."
Jack nodded. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
Swamp Thing stood on the platform and gazed out at the bayou. "The Earth is our home. As long as men like Arcane threaten it and its living creatures we must all do our part to protect it" he said solemnly.
"You can count on us Alec" said Abby.
"I know Abby" he replied appreciatively. "That's one thing I've never doubted. And that's what gives me hope for the future."
Nothing more needed to be said as the four of them stood together and looked out over the swamp.
Whatever scheme you try Arcane, my friends and I will be here to stop you Swamp Thing thought.
Author's Note: This is of course a different version of Killer Croc than the one in the comics. This is what I think he could be like in the "Swamp Thing" cartoon continuity.