Initially Finished: 02/10/2002
Version 1.0, 04-10-2002
SwatKats © and all associated names are copyright Hanna-Barbera and used without permission, although since no defamatory material is contained herein, I doubt I really need to elaborate much further.
This script is Copyright © Kevin Chow 2002. All Rights Reserved.
The first part of three, this story is less of a short story and more of a ‘novella’ in the way I have ended up writing it. Although not completely based around SK main characters as such, this is more of an aside set in the SK universe, with a couple of my own ideas in the way. There are a lot of scene changes, like a bad TV program because of my priority to keep this short (Hell, I could make this a hundred pages if you want) so try and keep up.
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it (ALL 44 SIDES OF A4 – yes, I did hand-write this previously from a Sunday night to a Tuesday night) and please be tolerant of any glaring mistakes in terms of characters and/or equipment – the last time I saw Swatkats on TV was approximately 6 years ago and I only caught up with it about a month and a half ago.
Oh, yeah, and try not to grin cheesily like I did whilst thinking about what to write about at work :o)
If you have any comment(s) whatsoever, negative, positive, (preferably not) defamatory comments or anything to say, feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Heck, spambots do, so why not eh?
Rain drizzled down lazily as Glen sauntered through Fur and Mane. It had already been a long morning as he had woken a while earlier in order to prepare himself for the day ahead. In the long sports bag he carried were airspace flight planning maps for MegaKat City and the surrounding areas, as well as a datablock containing test and input data for the computer.
As the smell of breakfast wafted past his nose, Glen walked on a little further before going into the café he visited every morning on his way to work. As usual, he was greeted by the proprietor, who passed under the name of Danny.
“Mornin’ mister Catten,” Danny said cheerfully, his alto voice sounding above the crackling of frying food. “The usual?”
Glen sat down by the counter, carefully lowering his bag to his feet where he could feel it – he didn’t want to lose that just yet. Weary, he rubbed his eyes and stretched his tail in a vain attempt to dispel the morning hangover from the previous night. Nevertheless, he would be awake soon enough.
“Here you go,” Danny said, passing a plate of fresh-smelling grub under his nose. Glen shot a grateful smile before handing over the usual change and digging into breakfast. Danny went off to attend to another customer before coming back.
“So, what happens today?” Danny asked as inquisitively as ever.
“Big day today,” Glen answered offhandedly between bites. The bacon was slightly burnt today. “Weapons integration testing – we get to shoot things today if the ground software checks go okay.” In the corner of the café, through the steam and smoke, the TV flashed as Ann Gora talked through another news story.
“Wow, sounds like fun,” Danny said grinning, his missing fang oozing exuberance.
“Oh yeah!” Glen replied with a full grin.
AeroKat Research Facility
The start-up sequence was a quick one – once the turbines ran up to initial idle RPM, the electrics came online. Inertial navigation, GPS from the KatSats high above, as well as self diagnostics all began automatically. Glen clipped on his oxygen mask with one hand whilst dialling in the radio, TACAN and taxi-lights with the other. In less than thirty seconds, he was ready to roll.
“Tower, Cat Flap, comms check,” he said into the mask. A few seconds later, he got a reply.
“Good morning Major,” came the smooth silky voice. “Ready for some flying already?”
“Sure thing Robbins. Point the way and I shall fly.”
“Roger that. Cleared taxi-way 2-A, hold short runway twenty two right.”
Glen clicked his microphone twice in reply before knocking off the parking brakes and advancing the throttle to 70% for a few seconds. As the wheels began to roll, he knew he was in business.
The SkyKat, as she was dubbed, was an experimental aircraft designed with intent to replace the ageing Enforcer jets. With twin engines mated to a delta wing, triangular canard foreplanes just behind the cockpit and twin outward-canted tailfins at the rear, she was a sleek design to rival the SwatKats own TurboKat on performance and power. However, the SkyKat had the benefit of brand-new avionics and mission systems.
“SkyKat cleared takeoff, winds zero knots, visibility twenty NM, handoff to Test Control at five miles on one-twenty-two point five. Have a nice flight, Glen; over and out.”
Glen didn’t acknowledge the message. He simply sat in the ejection seat like a king in his castle, looking out across the runway and flight line, his gaze then shifting to the skies above.
He could feel it – the moment was almost upon him. As a wide smile grew on his face, Glen took a final look at terra firma before grabbing the throttle stick and throwing it forwards into final-stage afterburn.
The jet didn’t just roll forwards – it jumped. Within moments, he was past a hundred knots; One-ten, one-twenty…straight past rotate velocity. He should have pulled the stick back by now and become airborne, but he didn’t – he kept going.
One-seventy, one-eighty, one-ninety…
Major Glen Catten jerked the flightstick back – hard. Instantaneously, the canards pointed upwards, lifting the nose up. As the delta wings bit the air, the plane leapt from the ground with such force that the air over the wings condensed, leaving in his wake two pure white streaks of cloud arcing up into the embrace of the open sky.
In the cockpit, Glen howled in ecstasy as the g’s pushed him into his seat and the afterburner roared in fury. He only released the stick when he was pointing 80 degrees nose up. In half a minute, he was above 20,000 feet, levelling off, accelerating. The dreary morning haze had lifted and he was beginning to enjoy himself when an austere voice came onto the radio.
“That was a totally unnecessary manoeuvre, Major! I suggest you stick to the book before you break something,” the voice scolded. “Proceed to the test range properly. You should acquire the first drone in about ten seconds, if you remembered to turn your radar on!”
Glen double clicked his mike to signal his understanding before turning to the right multifunction display – a tactical TV screen – and tapping his claw on a button, bringing it into Air-Intercept mode. A few seconds later, as promised, a blip appeared.
“Cat-Flap, engage target one, BVR only.”
Instinctively, Catten pressed two buttons on his flight-stick, telling the flight computer to arm a missile and set the radar to single-target track (STT). Finally, with a final judgmental move, he mashed the fire button – eat this!
A single slender object detached from a rail on the left wing, falling freely from the aircraft for a quarter of a second before it’s rocket motor fired an instant later, accelerating the missile to over Mach five. Glen watched out of the cockpit the white trail left by the missile as it streaked away. On the Heads Up Display, the time-to-intercept counted down… three… two… one…
He caught sight of a small flash in front of him, far in the distance.
“Good job Catten, target has been destroyed,” came the condescending voice. “Now, we’ve launched another target. Since telemetry is still good, I want you to mix it up with this one.”
Glen smiled as the hunter became him.
Somewhere in Area 35-39-B
Felix Leitnen had slept rough all night. It was cold and damp, but he slept well anyway, curled up in a furry ball inside the sleeping bag.
He was in the middle of an engrossing dream when he was awakened by a loud beep-beep-beep from his pager. Irritated, Felix clawed for the cursed thing before remembering what he was out here for. When he found it, there were two words on the pager -“Look Up”.
Coming to his senses, Felix launched into action, quickly discarding the sleeping bag and running out to a small campsite dominated by two large rectangular canisters pointed skywards. Pulling a small blue remote control from his pocket, he aimed it at the installation, pressed two buttons and then ran for cover.
Seconds later, the campsite was immolated with flames as two missiles shot up through the clouds, one after the other.
Glen had felt drained by the dogfight with the second drone, but filled with pride as he had watched the thing crash to earth in flames after it took a missile up the tailpipe nicely. He was en-route to the next waypoint when a lamp lit up on the caution panel on his left.
At first, he was confused – this was an experimental airplane over an uninhabited and patrolled military testing area – but his instincts kicked in anyway. He craned his head around just in time to see a bright object pop through the cloud off oh his 4 o’clock, coming right at him.
He threw the SkyKat into a vertical turn into the missile, pulling seven, eight, nine g’s as the centripetal force pushed him into his seat. He painfully managed to turn back just in time to see the light falling away behind him – he had managed to out turn the missile, just in the nick of time. Filled with immense relief, he released his death-grip on the stick rolled back left so he could take a proper look around.
The airframe jolted so violently Glen’s head banged into the ejection seat at an odd angle, knocking him out as he was turning his head. He didn’t feel the wounded airplane enter a fatal spiral dive, nor did he see or hear the warning horns and flashing caution lights in the cockpit. Somewhere in the aircraft the self-diagnostic reviewed the damage, quickly understanding it’s impending demise. In a last brave act, the computer ejected pilot Glen Catten away from the burning wreck.
Still belching thick black smoke, SkyKat plunged down through the clouds, wreathed in flames. As the damaged fuel-lines fractured, spilling volatile jet-fuel into the burning engine, SkyKat disappeared in a giant flash of white light.
MegaKat City Dump
It had been a very slow morning, the drizzle only making his job more miserable as Jake tried to scrounge enough metal panelling to replace a cracked tail-fin on the TurboKat.
He had just finished checking an old rusted car when he heard it – a low, slow distant boom reverberate through the sky like thunder. Surprised, Jake whipped around in time to see a small cloud of debris at the end of a corkscrew trail of black smoke fall lazily to the ground. Curious, he took out a pair of binoculars he had found earlier and looked closer at the scene. His eyes widened when he saw a white cloud appear out of nowhere with a small black speck dangling down from it -a parachute!
“Chance, getcha’ tail out here on the double – you won’t believe what I just saw!” Jake cried into his radio.
“What is it, you found your long lost brother?” Chance joked in reply.
“No, I… someone just got shot down!” Jake stammered incredulously. Unconvinced but intrigued, Chance decided to investigate.
“Okay Jake, hold your tail, I’ll be right out.”
Commander Feral was starting to feel the effects of a long day at the office – he had been awake all night sorting through forms of various dubious origins – finance, requisition, even the odd request for promotion. The only things the mugs of coffee had done were to sharpen his temper. So, when the phone rang, his temper let loose.
“WHAT?” he yelled into the phone.
“Uh, sir,” came the timid voice in reply,” there’s an alert at the AeroKat complex, sir.”
“What sort of an alert?”
“Uh, well, apparently they’ve lost track of one of their planes, a very important one.”
Feral’s fur stood on end – he knew exactly which plane that was. As frustration filled him, he rammed his paw into the table, almost through it.
“Send out an investigation team you dimwit! Find the pilot and find out what happened!” Almost as an afterthought, he concluded; “And try to exercise that grey mass you call brains for once!”
The phone clattered loudly back down onto the handset.
For several long seconds, Feral sat looking out across the office before thinking what the hell am I doing?
He shot up, kicking the chair out from under him and grabbing his coat on the way out – Steele couldn’t be trusted with anything.
Somewhere in Area 35-39-B at the same time
Felix clambered over the last steep ridge on all fours, finally emerging over the edge after a short climb. As the smell of burnt oil and jet-fuel began to fill the air, he emerged from the last rocky outcrop and looked into the valley a little way below. In the middle was a large white parachute canopy tied to an injured figure at the far end.
The chestnut-furred pilot was face down, his flight suit torn in several places. Good – the less resistance the better.
Making his way down the side, Felix withdrew his sidearm. As he approached, the body was still, making the next move even more surprising – as Felix turned the body over, he was confronted by a very angry pilot aiming a blaster right back at him.
“Drop the gun, Major,” Felix threatened, pushing his gun closer, “or I might be forced to use this. Your puny weapon is no match for me.”
If there was any doubt in his assailant’s face or voice, Glen didn’t notice it. He knew his position was bad – he faced a superior enemy with a broken gun, and his attacker knew it. He couldn’t run either – his right leg had been badly cut by shrapnel and his other arm hurt like hell.
“Who the heck are you?” Glen shouted, trying to keep the fear out of his voice.
“Lets just say I know who you are,” his captor said, “and I know who you work for. Suffice to say, I’ve been given the task of getting you out of the equation once and for all. You may as well discard your gun – I can see it is about as damaged as you are.”
Glen watched helplessly as his attacker powered up his blaster. Still, he kept his aim true.
“As you wish.” The gun was pointed squarely at his head now. “Goodbye, Major Glen…”
Suddenly his attacker let out a ferocious scream as a bolt of light struck him in the shoulder, toppling him forwards. When Glen opened his eyes again, he could just see a figure in a blue flight suit in the distance, aiming his arm at the falling kat. Then, another blue-suited kat jumped down beside him.
“Are you okay?”
Glen flopped back onto the rock behind him and breathed a sigh of relief.
“I can’t walk. My leg is cut badly and my arm hurts like hell.”
“Razor! Get over here, he’s wounded.”
Glen took another look at his bleeding leg as he cradled his arm.
“So, you guys must be the Swatkats, right?”
“Yeah, that’s us. I’m T-Bone.”
“Ah, the fabled pilot of the TurboKat, right?”
“I’m Major Glen Catten, Seventy-First Test Squadron.”
They shoot paws and exchanged silly grins.
“Ouch, that looks bad,” Razor said as he jumped down. “Let me see if I can do anything.”
As Razor applied a mild painkiller, T-Bone carried on conversing whilst keeping an eye and an ear out for trouble.
“Seventy-First huh? You test the SkyKat right?”
“Yeah, we did. Now she’s spread out all over the range. If she had a full kit, I would never have been nailed by that second SAM.”
“Any idea who shot you?” Razor interjected.
“No. Good chance it’s the same guy you just shot, but I don’t know who he is,” Glen said thumbing the unconscious body. “I bet Mayor Manx will be happy though. He’s got no reason to continue funding the project now.”
“And so another design falls by the wayside,” Razor muttered. Tying the last bandage, he slowly stood up. “Well, I’ve done all I can here, but you need to get to hospital. I suppose…”
They all heard it at the same time – whup-whup-whup! It was just on the edge of hearing, but slowly getting louder.
“The Enforcers! Crud, you can bet Feral will be with them too,” T-Bone said.
“Yeah, we’d better high-tail it outta here. Us and the Enforcers don’t exactly get along.”
Glen scanned the sky and could just discern the bulbous fuselage of an Enforcer troop-helicopter closing the distance to them.
“Okay, sure. I’ll be fine until the Enforcers get here.” Once again, they all shook paws. “See ‘ya round!” Glen called to them as they egressed the area.
It took another five long and lonely minutes before the Enforcer chopper touched down, though Glen was lucky enough to see the TurboKat power away back to its base. Flying that must be one heck of a fun job.
As the Enforcer militia deplaned and secured the area, Commander Feral stepped down from the chopper. Spotting Glen beside the open parachute, Feral made his way to him.
“So, Major, we meet again, though I wish it were under better circumstances.”
“Yes sir. She was a very fine plane.”
“What happened?” Feral asked.
“I was en-route to the third test area when I got an IR launch warning. I managed to out-turn one but I didn’t the other. SkyKat wasn’t fitted with proper countermeasures sir – only telemetry.”
Saddened by the loss, Commander Feral turned away, a sense of profound loss washing over him before his iron resolve returned.
“Who is that?” he said, pointing to the unconscious body being examined by the militiakats.
“I have no idea sir, but he threatened me with a gun.” Glen thought for a moment before continuing. “He confronted me after I came down; there was a gunfight.”
“Well, I’m sure we can find out later. We’d better get you fixed up. Sergeant!”
“Give Major Catten a paw.”
“Well, hey Mister Catten!” Danny called from over the counter. “What the heck happened to you?”
Glen shot a lopsided smile as he limped over to his usual seat in the old-style café.
“Oh kat…” Danny looked at Glen for a long moment before turning to the TV in the corner. Glen turned around just in time to catch the start of an Ann Gora exclusive.
“…I am standing in the middle of the AeroKat military test range and behind me is the burning remains of an elusive new test aircraft, dubbed the SkyKat…”
Danny leaned closer. “That was you?” Glen nodded solemnly. “Hahah!” Danny clapped his paws in excitement, drawing a few confused looks. “Ahhh… You are a very, VERY lucky kat, Mister Catten.”
“Lucky?” Glen laughed. “My fur is singed and cut, I have a hairline crack in my arm and I have the biggest bruise on my head too.”
“…It is unknown what caused the crash of the experimental aircraft…”
“What the heck happened?”
“C’mon Danny, this is a military investigation now; you know I can’t say anything.”
“…Officials were not available to comment on the incident…”
“Not even a little hint?”
“Well, hey, you always got Ann Gora right there.”
“…rumours of a surface-to-air missile was launched at the SkyKat…”
“Anyway, is there anything I can get ‘ya?”
“I thought you’d never ask. Some warm milk. If you please.”
“Comin’ right up.”
“…and as the story unfolds, I, Ann Gora, Kat’s-Eye news, will be here to give you the latest as we hear it…”
As he waited, Glen tried awkwardly to reach past his fractured arm into his left pocket to get the right change. His arm stung like hell in return. Danny passed him the glass of milk as he fished for change.
“So, what happens now?”
“I,” Glen said after downing the glass of milk in a single swig; ”am going to go home and sleep. I’ll see you around.”
With that, Glen got up and left, leaning heavily on the crutch as he exited the café back out onto the busy street, mingling with the kats on Fur and Mane, all going home after a mundane day at work. It was much more difficult without a properly functioning leg, but, some twenty minutes later, Glen opened the door to his apartment – and went straight to his bedside drawers. In the bottom draw, he took out a small, black cube with a red button on the side and a grating on the top. He pushed and held the red button for a second before letting go.
“I’ve been compromised,” Glen spoke clearly into the box. ” Someone is onto me.”
“I noticed. Planes don’t just crash, spreading debris in a ten-square mile area. Do you remember the extraction location?”
“Be there. And burn this thing.” The line clicked and went dead.
Glen’s back was against the wall now.
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