Megakat City was asleep. It was one o’ clock in the morning and there was almost absolutely no life at all, on the streets, in homes or in any other building.
Somewhere, in a back alley where a small ATM tended to those in quick need of cash, stood a kat. This was no ordinary kat nor was he doing anything ordinary. Any casual observer would notice the small sparks of electricity jumping and zigzagging around his electronically shrouded body.
It was Hard Drive and he was stealing money from the teller machine.
“This is kinda low for a kat of my capabilities, but what the hey. It’s a living,” he whispered to himself. Inside, he knew that to arouse the attention of the Enforcers, which would immediately catch the presence of the accursed SWAT Kats, would be disastrous to his criminal career. Too many times has he been thwarted and caught, by both, though he knew it was mostly because of the SWAT Kats’ intervention.
Thus, he decided to lie low for awhile, doing small, insignificant jobs that didn’t match his electrical modus operandi, such as stealing from banks instead of military defense firms. Thus, he would be able to avoid alerting the Enforcers of his activities.
Before attempting to access the money stored in the ATM, he took precautions against the security systems guarding the bank. He had tampered subtly with the security camera so that it only showed a loop of film, instead of revealing his presence. He accessed the ATM’s computer with his famous Surge Suit so that his withdrawal would not appear on the computer’s records. He even set his Coat on low power so that the power surge that usually accompanied him would not turn up on any type of scanner used by the Enforcers…
Or the SWAT Kats.
But he was currently having no problems whatsoever. He had bypassed the bank electronic security system and was reaping the rewards in the forms of big bills being released into a sack he had held out, catching them and sealing them.
So far, so good.
“Good grief,” yawned an Enforcer.
The companion of the Enforcer, an older, more grizzled police officer, smiled. “Get used to it, sonny. While you’re new to the force, you’d best just try getting used to sleeping early morning and waking up in the evenings.”
“For goodness’ sake!” complained the younger Enforcer, “I thought joining the Enforcers would bring me to a life of adventure! I mean flying through the air in jets and shooting down bad guys like Dark Kat! Or maybe even low-down techno-freaks such as Hard Drive! Right now, I’m just stuck here in this old, rotten cruiser doing night patro-” A hand had caught his mouth. The older Enforcer put up an index finger in front of his mouth, telling him to be quiet.
“You here something? Sounds like an electrical dynamo… It’s coming from the Megakat Trusts and Securities bank up ahead… From the alley…”
The younger Enforcer became quiet and acknowledged his partner. They started up the cruiser and began rolling quietly towards the bank. They stopped a few meters before reaching the bank.
The older kat took out his blaster and his small personnel radio. The younger brought out his rifle. The older kat barked into the radio. “HQ, this is Officer Maine. We got a disturbance here on Froll Street, right in the vicinity of the Megakat Trusts and Securities Bank, over.”
HQ replied. “Officer Maine, please describe the situation.”
The Enforcer replied. “Officer Tyre and I are checking it out. It seems electrical. It might be Hard Drive. Please send backup when we confirm, over.”
The younger Enforcer heard what he said. “Speaking of the devil! Hard Drive!” he whispered, but in obvious shock.
“Shush!” the older officer rebuked, when the radio called back.
“Officer Maine, please confirm if Hard Drive is the suspected perpetrator.”
With a hand signal, Maine called to Tyre. They began to move quietly by the alleyway, taking cover from the corner of a building. Both peeped quickly and quietly. Maine turned to his radio.
“Suspect is confirmed, over. He’s wearing that suit of his.”
“Do not attempt to apprehend perpetrator Hard Drive until back-up arrives on scene, over. Hard Drive is considered armed and dangerous.”
“Gotcha. Over and out.” Maine clipped his radio onto his belt and readied his blaster. He whispered to the rookie’s ears of their orders. A cross expression ran onto the younger Enforcer’s face.
“We can’t do that! Hard Drive’s ripping off thousands of dollars of cash! We have to stop him!”
The older kat verbally restrained him. “Don’t be a hot-headed fool! Hard Drive’ll fry you like roast fish!” The younger kat stopped trying to push forward, but still peeped in and found Hard Drive sealing up his sack full of cash.
“He’s about to go!” Immediately, he ran into the open and aimed his rifle right at Hard Drive. “Freeze!” he shouted in threat.
The young rookie felt proud. Here he was about to arrest Hard Drive, who was one of Megakat City’s most wanted criminals. He continued his threat: “Drop the money and slowly put your hands behind your head.”
Hard Drive faced the Enforcer. “Well, well. If it isn’t an Enforcer here to arrest me…” he chuckled. At that moment, the older officer joined his partner in the confrontation.
Officer Tyre was beaming with pride. “Look, Maine! I got ‘im! I got ‘im!”
Hard Drive chuckled out loud. “So, there’re two of you, eh? Good.” His figure suddenly began to crackle and glow with the blue of lightning.
Both Enforcers were surprised. “What the…”
Suddenly, the two officers were flying in the air, their bodies painfully being electrocuted by megavolts of electricity. The landed, their bodies and uniform smoking and scorched from their encounter.
“Ooh. I’m so sorry. I accidentally fried you. Oh well, I have to get going. Ta ta.” Hard Drive’s form melted into pure lightning and shot into the nearby electrical wires.
Tyre was out cold and Maine was slowly losing consciousness. With the last of his strength, he quickly called for help. “H… Q… suspect Hard Drive is… fleeing the premises… Tyre and I… down…”
At that, he blacked out.
“Tyre and I… down…”
The band signal wasn’t just heard in Enforcer HQ. Flying above the midnight skyline in a sleek, black jet were two masked vigilantes.
The SWAT Kats.
“Hear that, Razor? Hard Drive’s come out of hiding.” T-Bone smiled to his partner, the way a predator does.
“Yeah, I hear you. I already got a lock on his signal. He must’ve managed to keep the power signature of his suit down somehow. I didn’t pick up his signal earlier.” Razor replied, examining the screen in front of him. “Anyway, its stationary at the moment. We’d better check up on those two wounded Enforcers.”
“We’re passing over the area already buddy and the paramedics are already there. C’mon! We’d better stop Hard Drive now.”
The Turbokat banked to the right, like a hawk diving towards its prey.
“Blast it!” Hard Drive cursed. In front of him was a small radar screen, the glowing outline of the Turbokat fast approaching his location. “The cursed SWAT Kats are coming in faster than expected!”
He kicked the gas pedal of his fast attack armored car. The sleek, blue and black machine swiftly smashed through the aluminum gates of the warehouse he had temporarily hidden in and raced off into a main street.
“T-Bone! Hard Drive’s began moving again. I’d say he’s riding in some sort of armored car instead of the telephone lines and I don’t like the readings being given off by his new toy.”
“Why, Razor? Afraid of a little lightning?” teased T-Bone.
“Heh. Funny,” replied Razor. “He’s on a main street.”
“I’ve got visual confirmation! Ready your stuff, sure-shot!”
Hard Drive looked in his left side mirror and saw the Turbokat descending on him like a black panther on its next meal. He grinned wickedly. “Let’s see what my new car’s features are…” A small lightning bolt flew out his hand and landed right on the sophisticated dashboard.
The whirring and sparkling of mechanical motors and electronic machinery was heard from the back of the sleek vehicle. A small display popped up from the ceiling. It read: LIGHTNING CANNON ONLINE. READY TO FIRE.
From the cockpit of the Turbokat, T-Bone and Razor watched as the back of the armored car opened up like the flaps on a box. A large, thick cylinder on a turret emerged, two crackling lightning coils crackling with electrical life jutting out and stretching from it.
Suddenly, the electricity from the two rods jumped at each other. They met, and a dazzling lightning bolt streaked out to blast the Turbokat.
“Evasive maneuvers!” cried T-bone as he swerved the jet, being missed by the lightning bolt by a few inches. Just as T-Bone was settling the jet in a new position, another bolt flew from the lightning cannon, again narrowly missing the Turbokat. A few seconds later, another streaked out and T-bone swerved, but the bolt clipped the edge of one wing.
Inside, both SWAT Kats felt the hit as their panels lit up with damage signals and sparks.
“Aarrgghh! Razor, deal with this lightning bug!” shouted T-bone.
“You got it! Scrambler Missiles, away!” Razor triggered the launch of two of his specialty missiles. The pair of red projectiles quickly bolted towards Hard Drive’s armored car.
The two were surprised however when the Scramblers suddenly exploded right before connecting. A small barrage of electricity had leapt from the car and wrapped the two missiles in megavolts of power.
“Razor, what happened?” asked a shocked T-Bone.
“Crud! I think his armored car’s protected by some sort of electrical field!” replied a frustrated Razor.
Hard Drive laughed, having watched the spectacle from his side mirror. “That’s right, SWAT Kats! You can’t touch me while I’m protected with my Flux Field!” He chuckled, enjoying the victory of the moment. A light from his radar stopped his laughter.
On the screen, he saw the familiar blips made by certain common air vehicles coming up in front of him. They were Enforcer choppers, two of them.
A wide, sadistic grin spread itself on his face like a grimacing mask. “Goodie… More ducks to knock down…”
As the two SWAT Kats watched, the turret of the Lightning Cannon swung around in a blurring arc. A crackle smashed through the air with the awesome peal of thunder. The sight was incredible, as the bolt hit one chopper and leaped into the other, effectively killing two birds with one stone. In the distance, T-Bone and Razor watched in shock, anger and frustration, as the two scorching Enforcer choppers plummeted from the sky.
The cannon then swung around and fired, narrowly missing the Turbokat once more. T-Bone was straining to avoid the electrical blasts from Hard Drive’s gun.
“Crud, Razor!” T-Bone complained loudly. “Don’t you have something high-tech to deal with this electromaniac?”
“I’m working on it!” retorted a beleaguered Razor. “That short-circuit force field of his nulls out anything with electronics from coming close!”
Behind them, four Enforcer choppers had caught up. The small debate was suddenly interrupted by a loud, imposing voice from the radio. “This is Commander Feral, SWAT Kats! Stand off; the Enforcers’ll handle this!”
“Good luck, Feral! This is one hot firebug! But if you want your whiskers burned off so much…”
Feral grimaced. “So! The famous SWAT Kats are backing down, eh? Choppers, move in!”
Feral locked his crosshairs onto the back of the speeding armored car. He had positioned it right on the large, strange, turret-mounted device on the back. Slowly, he began to press on the trigger…
Before him, there was suddenly a bright, powerful, electric flash. It blinded him temporarily, but he was able to look away in time. All around his body, he could feel strange tingles.
Instinctively, he swerved the stick to the left as fast as his reflexes could go. As he did, his eyesight slowly returned and what he saw angered him.
Two of the choppers accompanying him had burst into flame, smoke steaming from the machine gun hard points and the engines. The pilots barely made it out when the choppers exploded.
“What?!” he cried in surprise and rage.
T-Bone chuckled over the radio. “Told you, Feral.”
A female voice broke in. “Uncle, why don’t you try to cooperate with the SWAT Kats more?” asked Lt. Felina Feral from the other remaining chopper.
An angry voice answered her. “Felina! Didn’t I tell you to stay at HQ?!” asked an angry Commander.
Razor cut in with a chuckle. “Commander, why don’t you listen to your niece more?” His small laugh was cut short suddenly as another bolt blazed through. In response, the SWAT Kats launched a missile, but all that was revealed was the Flux Field’s power, as the missile was negated, blown up in mid-air.
“Well, I see you SWAT Kats haven’t been able to cut Hard Drive down to size,” sneered Feral, “even with all your sophisticated and complex gadgets…”
Razor was brooding over the failure of the second missile, when he suddenly realized something. “T-Bone! I’ve figured out how to get through to Hard Drive!”
T-Bone smirked. “Well, get to it sure-shot!”
“Not yet! I’ve got to time this just right…” Razor’s eyes narrowed to slits as his targeting computer locked onto the armored car.
“Felina, I’m moving in!”
“Don’t, uncle!” warned Felina, but Feral had already moved in. Commander Feral triggered his machine guns to life, spewing hails of bullets onto the armored car. He ground his teeth in frustration as the bullets bounced of the armored shell the way drizzling rain does on an umbrella.
At that, the Lightning Cannon struck once more. Feral barely had time to swerve, when the lightning bolt grazed his chopper. All around him were small electrical explosions and shattering glass and circuits. He swerved to the left, taking the chopper out of the line of fire in a split second. On the radio, he heard his niece cry out for him, “Uncle!”
Miraculously, he somehow survived with his chopper intact, smoking and reeling as it was. He looked on his panel and saw that his weapon systems were all dead.
He looked up and noticed the SWAT Kats.
Razor triggered a missile launch. From underneath the Turbokat, a most common missile fired.
T-Bone was shocked. “Razor! You’re going to hit him with just a normal missile? A plain, ol’ missile?!”
Razor simply smiled. “Bingo.”
To everyone’s amazement, the missile streaked forward, undeterred. Small, tiny bolts of electricity leapt from the car to the missile, but nothing else happened.
The missile made impact right on the base of the Lightning Cannon.
It exploded with the power of thunder. Electricity stormed all over Hard Drive’s armored car, temporarily sending it out of control on the highway.
Razor smiled. “Bingo!”
Hard Drive could not ignore the fact his high-tech armored car was losing both speed and control. Cursing the SWAT Kats, he fought to control the small, but painful, electrical fires around him.
He cursed once more. He knew that his weapons and his shield had all been destroyed and that he had no other option but to make a brake for it.
He made a sigh of relief. Turning on his radio, he released a challenge into the airwaves:
“I don’t know how you got through my Flux Field, but you still can’t catch me, SWAT Kats!”
“Yeah, Razor, how did you get through his shield?”
Razor quickly replied, but smirked as he did. “Simple. I guessed that the field worked mostly by attacking electronics. The more electronics, the more likely the missile would be destroyed before impact, so I sent in the simplest missile we had. Also, I noticed the cannon needed to recharge after firing, or else we’d practically have an electrical storm. I figured that it was recharging and that the electrical systems’ power was down. So, I figured that the Flux Field was done, too.”
T-Bone was amazed. “You mean you only need some good timing and an ordinary missile to knock him out?”
Razor smiled once more. “Well, yeah. We’re so used to using those high-tech missiles that we tend to overlooked the basics.” He turned his attention to the smoking armored car, which had somehow managed to get back in control. “Still, Hard Drive’s not down for the count, so let’s wrap this up, buddy.”
T-Bone agreed, a grin on his face. “Roger that, buddy.”
At that, commander Feral’s voice broke in once more. “Back off, SWAT Kats. You’ve done your job, now let the Enforcers do theirs.”
T-Bone saw Feral and two fresh Enforcer choppers come in. “Hey, this is our catch, Feral!” he growled.
“You two are just vigilantes. We’re the police.” His voice trailed off from the radio. His voice was then heard through a megaphone: “Slow down and peacefully exit the vehicle, Hard Drive! This is a warning! If you resist arrest, you’ll leave us no choice but to use force.”
The SWAT Kats watched as Hard Drive defiantly began to accelerate his broken car even further. What happened next was obvious. From beside them, machine gun fire was heard, loud and ominous.
“Do not aim directly for the driver’s seat, Enforcers!” Feral radioed to the accompanying chopper units. He checked his radar and noticed that the Enforcer ground units had arrived. As the Enforcer choppers fired their guns, Feral radioed to the ground units. “Enforcer tanks and cruisers! Prepare to intercept Hard Drive at the intersection of Parade Avenue and Branch Street.”
Without even checking the distance between his chopper and the Turbokat, Feral swerved his heavily damaged, but maneuverable chopper into the middle of the street, forcing the SWAT Kats to evade. Beside him, the two newer choppers came and opened fire on Hard Drive’s vehicle. He slowly watched as the shells began to slowly eat up the shattered armor of Hard Drive’s vehicle.
“Gaah!!!” Hard Drive ducked and swung his body around the driver’s seat as bullets tore through the car. “No ‘Forcer’s gonna get me!”
As he tried to avoid the hail of shots, he glanced into his cracked, but functioning, radar screen and saw several blips up ahead blocking the highway. “Blast it!” He knew what they were: tanks and cars lined up to block his path.
“Blasted crud!” cursed Hard Drive once more. He knew that they were blocking the only way out of the main street, the only intersection in the area. It was too risky to try and drive into the narrow alleys on each side. His car would barely fit and it would be impossible for his barely controllable vehicle to make it through.
“Blasted! No choice!…”
Feral spoke once more into his megaphone. “Hard Drive, this is your last warning! Slow down and stop!” As Feral ended his threat, he smiled, marveling at the tactical maneuvering that he had done. Hard Drive had nowhere to go; he’d have to stop or else ram right into the Enforcer blockade.
But what he saw severely surprised him. Hard Drive went on straight. The blockade was already directly in front of him. His armored car was already heavily damaged and there were heavy tanks up ahead; it couldn’t possibly make it through.
Hard Drive sped away. Feral couldn’t believe it. The armored car was already a few yards away from the blockade. Enforcers on foot were already getting out of the way.
Then, he saw it. Hard Drive suddenly made a steep turn to the right, avoiding the blockade, but it was crazy; the armored car would never fit into the alley it was headed for…
Suddenly, the SWAT Kats dove in.
“Crud! What does Hard Drive think he’s doing? Is he some sort of suicidal freak?” T-Bone growled in shock.
“I don’t know, but I’m ready to make sure he doesn’t go where he seems to want to go, T-Bone,” Razor said, watching the image in front of him while adjusting some controls.
“I read you. Hang on!” T-Bone banked the Turbokat to the right in a tight angle. They were now on the same path as the car, heading straight for a narrow alley. Underneath the Turbokat, two large, mechanical grapplers emerged. T-Bone aligned himself quickly with the swerving armored car and accelerated.
Razor watched as Hard Drive’s armored car ran directly underneath. He locked the grapplers onto the back of the car. “I got him, T-Bone! Pull up!”
T-Bone reacted as soon as possible. He righted the Turbokat then pulled the stick as far as it could go. The Turbokat then lifted upward and headed straight into the night sky, narrowly missing collision from the building that formed the alley, the armored car being held in its talons.
T-Bone cleared the roof of the building. Making a loop in the night sky, he dove downward. Slowly righting the jet, he set it into VTOL mode, slowly hovering over the street. The grapplers then lifted the car a little, then slammed it into the pavement, smashing open the engine and making sure it was incapacitated. It then gently lowered it onto the street and released it. T-Bone and Razor watched as Feral and some Enforcers began to approach the vehicle to apprehend Hard Drive. They lifted off, knowing their job was done, but did it slowly to watch the spectacle of Hard Drive’s arrest.
Feral confidently walked towards the wrecked vehicle, armed and ready Enforcers surrounding him, including his niece, Felina. He approached the driver’s seat proudly, walking with a military strut. Stopping a few meters before the vehicle, he shouted: “Hard Drive, you are under arrest! Come out with your hands up!”
The car door slowly opened. A groggy, bruised Hard Drive emerged, his Surge Suit in tatters, sparks flying off here and there, like his wrecked armored car. He stood up and faced Commander Feral.
Feral beamed with pride as he watched Hard Drive. However, Hard Drive’s retort did not please him.
“You ain’t gonna get me, ‘Forcer.” At that, Hard Drive pointed to the car’s dashboard, a miniature lightning bolt lashing out to touch the dashboard. Suddenly, the control panel came to life, lights flaring and flashing. From the shattered wreck came a distinct and humming electrical sound.
Feral then began to move forward with his Enforcers, but Hard Drive just stood there. He laughed. “No way am I gonna rot in some cell. I’m not gonna be caught.” In the background, the humming sounds slowly began to sounds higher and louder, slowly rising. Sparks began to fly from the vehicle.
Feral didn’t like what was happening at all and it was clear on his face. Hard Drive just chuckled.
The sound was deafening. Lightning bolts were already forming, touching one end of the wrecked armored car and then leaping to another. The control panel inside was flashing.
It dawned to Feral what was happening. He shouted as he turned to run, “Enforcers, move away!” At that, the Enforcers turned and ran, though Felina hesitated for a while.
Hard Drive just laughed.
All of a sudden, the car burst into flame and lightning, exploding, sending chunks of twisted and burning metal flying in all directions. It consumed everything nearby in a thunderstorm, blinding anyone who looked. Lightning streaked out, touching, charring and smashing everything in its path. It was like a lightning storm was brewing all of the sudden.
T-Bone quickly tried to raise the Turbokat up as high as possible, dodging the main blast of the explosion. However, the sleek black jet rocked as smaller, lighter piece pinged and scratched the jet. Suddenly, the whole Turbokat shook violently as something big hit their bottom. T-Bone just took the brunt of it, but Razor cried out, “Aaarrgghh!!”
As soon looked behind his seat, in anxiety. “Razor! Are you alright?” He was relieved to find that Razor was okay and conscious.
“I’m fine, buddy,” Razor slowly answered. “But from the readings I’m getting, we just ruptured our forward vector jet. It’s getting unstable, so we’d better get back to base.”
T-Bone nodded. “Roger that.” He faced forward, prepared to turn the jet around and head home when his eye caught something.
Down below, he could see a small, strongly built female form. It was lying down on the ground surrounded by wreckage and small burning fires. The helmet had been knocked off, revealing flowing black hair on the head. The figure was bruised, bleeding and unconscious.
It was Felina.
To T-Bone, it was like he had rammed the Turbokat right into a wall that was made of industrial strength steel. “Felina!” All of a sudden, he swung the Turbokat around.
“T-Bone, what’s wrong?” Razor blurted, concerned at the sudden shock of his best friend.
“Razor, look down there,” said T-Bone bluntly. Despite the unstable hovering of the Turbokat, T-Bone struggled to land the jet right next to the crumpled form of the female Enforcer.
When Razor saw the body, he too was hit by a slug between the eyes. “Crud…” he murmured.
As soon as the jet landed, the cockpit blasted open and the two SWAT Kats quickly jumped out. They rushed to the crumpled form of Lt. Felina Feral, eager and anxious to check her condition. T-Bone rushed to pick up his female friend’s head, gently cradling it in his large paws. Razor’s mechanic’s hands dashed to seize her neck, two fingers moving along her throat, checking for a pulse. They kneeled down around her blasted form, surrounded by the still burning fires of the explosion.
Through the smoke, marched the form of Commander Feral, his gaze swaying from side to side, searching for his niece. When he looked past the haze, only one frank word escaped his lips: “No…”
He suddenly charged ahead, moving to meet with the two SWAT Kats around Felina. His rage and shock knew no bounds. As he approached, he stated, “If you SWAT Kats…”
T-Bone responded with the same anger. “We didn’t do this, Feral! We’re here trying to save your niece’s life!” He glared at the large form that made up Commander Feral.
“No! If you don’t do something for her now…” Their eyes met, lightning seeming to leap from their eyes into each other.
Their heated exchange was cut short by Razor, quickly looking up in reaction to his first aid and the almost inevitable fight between the vigilante and the commander. “T-Bone! Feral! She’s still got a pulse, but it’s weak and still weakening! We’d best bring her to a hospital, pronto!”
Commander Feral reacted first. “Load her onto a chopper. She’s my niece, so…”
T-Bone and Razor had already picked up the female Enforcer’s body. “No!” replied a preoccupied Razor. “The Enforcer choppers are too damaged and too slow! Your niece’s only chance is through us! She’s fading fast, and only quick-thinking and speed can save her now!” He turned to T-Bone who was quickly, but gently, loading her into the sleek, black jet. “I’ll stay with her in the hold. Maybe I can give her a better chance.”
Feral stood by as the Turbokat lifted off, carrying a cargo precious not just to the Enforcer commander, but also to the ones carrying it. As he watched, the Turbokat, quickly switched from VTOL to full jet capacity, making with a speed that could only have brought by desperation.
Somewhere, a lone figure walked through some, dank, badly lit alley. Despite the heavy trenchcoat he wore, the thick clothing could barely contain the smoke and mist rising from the suit he wore inside. He walked quickly, but stealthily, making sure that not one sleeping soul in the city heard the rapidly paced footsteps he made. Behind him, on some main street in Megakat City, rose a mighty, black, pillar of smoke, small fires obviously at its base. The presence of the authorities was obvious there, with wailing firetrucks moving towards the place and Enforcer vehicles lighting up the place with their sirens. Somewhere, a sleek, black aircraft flew, away from the place, and towards a destination unknown to this kat.
The kat was Hard Drive and he was fleeing the scene, ASAP.
He cursed softly to himself. The entire evening was a failure to him. He had failed to secure a substantial amount of money. He had failed to eliminate the SWAT Kats. The only thing he had done was wreck his new armored attack car, his Surge Coat and all the money he stole. The explosion he had activated against the SWAT Kats and the Enforcers’ impunity had failed when the SWAT Kats intervened.
The consolation was that he had survived the encounter. At the last moment, when the sparks and fire had detonated, he zapped away amidst the explosion itself. Off course, it was painful… His transformation had done little to prevent the heat wave from singing him. Just as he transformed, the fires scorched him. Had he not disappeared on that moment, he would obviously be dead, fried to ash and dust by the explosion.
What little he had of good news was that the worst effect was that his fur was burnt. His suit was wrecked, though- it was what protected his body from the fire.
But it was not the time to think of such. It was time to go home, repair and heal, and plan for tomorrow. That was Hard Drive’s plan, until…
The ground beneath him suddenly gave away. He wasn’t even paying attention to his surroundings, when he just fell into some hole. However, he was sure that there was no hole in front of him- it was solid ground. All he saw was a manhole coming up- and it was covered by a heavy, iron lid.
He landed with a thud and cursed once more. “Blasted…”
He looked up and didn’t like what he saw. He could only gape in wonder and awe.
Before him stood a living legend in Megakat City. It was a kat known for total infamy and evil, a master manipulator of Machiavellian plans of ultimate terror and deceit. He stood there, larger-than-life, a giant of a kat, with a voice cold with hatred, cowled in a black hood and gray robes, holding a cane with hands big and mighty. A shield and chain decorated one of his shoulders with a stylized “D” on it. Beside him floated two pink, miniature gargoyles like demons from some bad dream, cackling evilly at him.
Of course, this was not the first time Hard Drive had met Dark Kat.
Hard Drive quickly recovered from the awe made by the imposing figure. He had met the overlord of crime before, he had even struck a deal with him to claim money from Megakat City and destroy the SWAT Kats. But since then, since his defeat from the SWAT Kats, he had vowed to never again deal with the great crime lord.
Dark Kat put out a massive hand in a gesture of camaraderie. “Might I help you?” he asked in a voice too evil, too cold, to be called cordial.
Hard Drive picked himself up, without even accepting the hand of help Dark Kat extended. He quickly turned away, releasing a massive “No!”.
Dark Kat did not move from his spot. “I know of your earlier escapade. Perhaps I can be of assistance? I have great plans, you know…”
At that Hard Drive turned to face Dark Kat. “Look, you big, purple freak, the last time I teamed up with you, you shot me with a bazooka!”
Dark Kat’s voice seemed to grow more inviting. “But I assure you, this time will be different. We both shall gain the entirety of the wealth of Megakat City and the destruction of the SWAT Kats.”
Hard Drive was unmoved in conviction. “Forget it, you big slob! If your plan failed before, it’ll fail again! ‘Sides, I heard from the others that backstabbing and double-dealing is second nature to you. No deal!” Hard Drive began to move away once more.
Suddenly, he was grabbed from behind, something great pulling him back and up. A snarl was in the air, and he couldn’t stop it. In a split second, he was facing Dark Kat’s face, the crime lord’s skull face facing him with unrepressed anger and furiously burning eyes. His two massive fists were holding him up by the collar, more than ready to strangle the life out of him in a second.
“I insist,” was all he said, in a threatening and fearsome tone.
At that, Hard Drive slid back into the state of awe and shock he was in earlier, or even when he first met the massive overlord of crime. He could only weakly whimper. He soon found himself submitting to the crime lord’s offer. “Uh… Okay… Deal…” he said in trembling fear.
At once, Dark Kat’s hands released Hard Drive, the anger on his face disappearing- however, the threat remained. “Excellent.” He turned to his two creeplings. “Take Mr. Drive’s coat here. He is our guest.” The creeplings obeyed, flittering and scampering. They took off Hard Drive’s steaming trenchcoat and smashed Surge Suit.
Dark Kat then urged the still awed Hard Drive. “Come. I shall show you my latest plot and we shall plan the downfall of Megakat City…” He paused.
“… And the SWAT Kats,” Dark Kat continued.
“… Lt. Felina Feral is currently in hospitalization due to an incident wherein the authorities and SWAT Kats confronted Hard Drive after the techno-criminal robbed Megakat Trust and Securities. She suffered from some minor wounds, a broken rib and arm due to the blast, as well as a concussion. She has recently stabilized but is still unconscious and will remain off duty until she has fully recuperated. This is Ann Gora…”
Chance turned off the TV. He turned slowly, his head swimming with thoughts and reflections. He put down the remote control on a table and headed towards one side of the gym he and Jake had built in their garage. He was in his training clothes, namely a tank top, military pants and combat boots. When he stopped walking, in front of him stood their punching bag. With a grim expression on his face, he attached a small picture onto the bag, cut out from a newspaper.
It was Hard Drive’s face.
Like lightning, he set upon the hapless punching bag. He gave it blows, punches and kicks that roared like thunder upon smashing into the bag. His flurry of blows rocked the thing, causing it swing, shake and shudder under the strain. The chains suspending it squeaked loudly, like some poor soul. He went at it for several minutes, just bashing and beating the bag almost oblivion. The intense workout quickly put fatigue and sweat on Chance, but he carried on.
Inside, a fire of hatred burned. The exercise was designed to allow him to let off some steam over what had happened to Felina. Instead, the more he punched the effigy that stood for Hard Drive, the more it seemed that he was throwing logs into a fire. It soon came to a point wherein, at the end of his attack, he just stored up all his angst in a single punch. And let it fly.
Jake had just stepped into the room when Chance’s blow struck right into the picture. For a moment, small pieces of the ceiling fell, then, as cracking was heard, the entire punching bag fell, collapsing into a heap of misshapen canvas, scattered chains and pieces of cement and plaster. Chance stood there, hovering above it, brooding with hate, his anger seemingly taking the form of the heavy beads of sweat pouring from his brow.
Jake dropped his drink at the sight. He had come out of the gym to grab some milk from the ‘fridge, thirsty, but quite calm. He had come back to find himself in a state of shock.
He moved towards Chance, who still stood brooding. The lighting seemed to avoid his face, making his feature dark and ominous. He put his hand on his partner’s shoulder, half-concerned for his welfare and state of mind, half-afraid of Chance’s rage exploding.
“Chance, Felina’s okay. She’ll get better; the news report just said so. And I know we’ll get Hard Drive for this,” Jake said as calmly as possible.
Chance brooded on, but responded. “Yeah. We will.”
“… but is still unconscious and will remain off duty until she has fully recuperated. This is Ann Gora…”
Hard Drive chuckled as he turned off the TV.
It seemed that his little stunt didn’t go off as a total loss, after all. He had knocked off a good Enforcer, a very able-bodied one, in fact. The sweetest part of it was that it wasn’t just any Enforcer. It was Lt. Felina Feral, Commander Ulysses Feral’s own niece.
He just chuckled some more.
The techno-criminal turned to face his partner. At the other end of the gigantic room was a giant computer console, wires, cables and hardware scattered and linked-up to it. At the control seat sat Dark Kat, typing and checking the computer screens in front of him. Apparently, the large crime lord was tired of working his part and also need Hard Drive’s expertise.
Hard Drive slowly got off the seat he was reclining in and strode over to Dark Kat, yawning. His arrogant strut annoyed the overlord much.
“I didn’t make a deal with you to watch TV, Hard Drive,” threatened the irritated crime lord.
“Tut, tut. I’d be a little more considerate with my words, Dark Kat. Remember, without my help, you’d never have gotten your little satellite plot into play,” answered the boastful cyber-criminal.
“Very well, very well. But recall that it will not be easy putting my plan into completion.”
“I agree.” Hard Drive paused for a while, smirking. He continued, “But I do admit, your latest little gig is impressive. Planning to override Pumadyne’s quake-stopping laser satellite is pure genius.”
Dark Kat faintly smiled, but the tone of his voice would easily make one thing he was not smiling at all. “Yes. When the mechanical monster that certain doctor and the Metallikats released attempted to obliterate the city, I saw the potential of such a device,” said Dark Kat, enjoying his words. Even though the device was destroyed with that behemoth computer, I knew that Pumadyne would still give their project a second go, having tested its capabilities.”
Hard Drive finished the story. “So, you waited months until they launched it last week. You knew that you didn’t need to wait for long- Pumadyne would rush the replacement.”
“And now, I shall once more have the power to obliterate or conquer this city,” concluded Dark Kat.
“Along with the SWAT Kats,” smiled Hard Drive.
The Turbokat swung through the Megakat City skyline, gracefully and speedily, like some hunting hawk. Down below, there was not one disturbance. Nothing exciting or dangerous occurred, except, perhaps, the gazing and staring of the citizens up at the sleek, black jet.
Above, however, there was a little disturbance.
“C’mon, Razor!” pleaded T-Bone.
“But, Razor! What if there’s a crime happening while we’re out?” retorted T-Bone’s partner.
“But she needs us! She’s still comatose from that explosion!” begged T-Bone.
“I’d think you were the more practical and stronger side of the team, T-Bone,” answered Razor. “Sides, Hard Drive’s still out there somewhere. Anyway, she’s already stable. Don’t worry; I’m sure she’ll do fine.”
T-Bone suddenly stopped pleading and his voice grew into a harder tone. “She’s a friend who’s helped us several times, Razor.”
Razor then yielded, thoughtful of both his best friend, T-Bone, and the Enforcer on their side, Lt. Felina Feral. “Okay. You’re right.”
The Turbokat swung from side to side through the Megakat City skyline. Turning to one side, it swept towards the direction of the hospital Felina was in.
“Are the systems all set?” asked the ominous Dark Kat.
“With my expertise? Of course,” answered a confident Hard Drive. “Yesterday’s test showed just how easy it was to bypass Pumadyne’s control network.”
“Excellent,” commented Dark Kat. He then continued, his voice suddenly threatening and grim. “Are you ready?”
Hard Drive paused from his work for a while, turned, faced Dark Kat from his seat, and looked right into his eyes, an arrogant and mischievous grin on his face. “Me? Am I ready?” He turned to the console and pressed a single button, instead of using his trademark lightning bolts.
“Sir, we have some sort of interference running through the control link up with Megabeam Laser Satellite.”
The technical supervisor in charge of controlling Pumadyne’s powerful laser satellite quickly marched up to the technician monitoring the satellite. Bending over the technician’s shoulder, he fixed his glasses on his nose then glared at the computer screen. “What’s wrong?”
The technician kept typing in controls before answering. “Some sort of signal’s breaking into the control net. This happened yesterday…”
The supervisor recognized what the technician was referring to. “But that little takeover ended right on the spot, yesterday. Didn’t we recognize it as some hacker’s signal?”
The technician didn’t answer the question. “Sir, the signal’s in. We’ve lost control of the Megabeam,” he said, beginning to sweat.
The supervisor turned to another technician. “Get me the Enforcers. Get me Feral.”
The monitoring technician’s eyes grew wide. “Sir…”
The supervisor turned to the technician. “What?”
“The Megabeam’s charging up… It’s prepping itself to fire.”
“What are you two doing here?!”
T-Bone quickly answered the Enforcer commander in a harsh, challenging tone. “We’re visiting.” The two marched into the room, but Feral and two armed Enforcers barred their way.
“My niece is still comatose,” replied Feral.
“There’s no sign saying we can’t visit. And doctors always say that visitors always help heal,” retorted a fiery T-Bone.
Feral grumbled for a while. Momentarily sulking, “Alright, but don’t you dare disturb her,” he said, letting the two in.
Though Razor was the faster one, T-Bone rushed to see her. As soon as he found her, he paused, stopped. Razor saw conflict in his eyes and face, but he seemed to stand resolute and glad.
Felina was lying on a white hospital bed, wearing an immaculate white hospital gown, peacefully asleep. There were bandages around her head and torso and one of her arms was in a cast. A spaghetti tube ran into her mouth from a machine.
Feral walked into the room. T-bone turned to him and asked him, “Is she alright?” His voice lost all hostility towards Feral.
“Yes. My niece has very strong constitution,” spoke Feral regally but solemnly. “The doctors expect her to wake up anytime soon.” After a moment’s reflection, he turned and faced T-Bone sternly. “SWAT Kat, is something going on between you and my niece?”
T-Bone then began to grit his teeth in anger. Razor replied coldly, ‘She’s a good friend who’s helped us a lot of times.”
Suddenly, an Enforcer ran into the room. “Sir!” he called out to Feral. “You’d better see this. On channel 17.”
Feral replied with a slight tone of annoyance. “There is no channel 17.”
The Enforcer turned on the TV and set it on the channel.
On the screen was Hard Drive and Dark Kat.
T-Bone quickly reacted. “What’s this? The Midday Horror Show?”
Dark Kat spoke darkly and in a commanding voice. “Citizens of Megakat City! I, Dark Kat, with the help of my business partner, Hard Drive, have taken control of Pumadyne’s Megabeam Laser Satellite.”
Hard Drive leapt right in front of the camera, projecting a distorted and twisted image that seemed to match him. “Oh, you know, the one that blew up a mountain and nearly blew up the city when Zed the robot tried to conquer everything.” He leapt back and revealed Dark Kat.
“For those of you who don’t remember, we shall be giving a demonstration fifteen minutes from now. We shall destroy the Megakat City Golf Club, right outside the city limits.”
Hard Drive then leapt back into the center of attention. “So, stay tuned to this channel, kat fans!”
The screen went dead.
Feral quickly turned off the TV. The same Enforcer that brought the news then handed him a telephone. “Pumadyne,” he said.
Feral picked it up grudgingly. “Yes, I’m already aware of what just happened. I’ll be on my way there to see what can be done about the situation.” He put the receiver down.
When he turned around, he was surprised.
“Now, where did those blasted SWAT Kats go?”
The Turbokat sped through the skyline with roaring jets. Inside were a hotheaded pilot and a calm weapons operator.
“Nuts! Those two megalos! First, it was what happened a few days ago. Now this!”
Razor tried to calm him down. “Don’t worry buddy, now we’ll get em!”
Suddenly, a beeping sound was heard in the cockpit. Both recognized what the signal meant and turned it on. “Yes, Ms. Briggs.”
Calico Briggs’ voice broke into the cockpit. “SWAT Kats! Hard Drive and Dark Kat have just gained control of Pumadyne’s laser satellite. They’re threatening to blow up the golf course!”
“We copy, Ms. Briggs. No need to worry; we’re on our way to stop them. Razor will lock onto their signal and we’ll then go…”
Callie’s voice persisted. “You don’t understand! The mayor…”
Puzzled looks came on the SWAT Kats’ faces. “What about the mayor, Ms. Briggs?”
A concerned, yet embarrassed voice revealed the true severity of the situation. “He’s not here in City Hall. He’s on the golf course, again.”
“C’mon, just to make a birdie, now.”
Mayor Manx stood on the green, a putter swinging from his arms, preparing for what he felt was an all-or-nothing shot. His eyes squinted and focused on the small, white ball in front of him. A few meters away lay the 18th hole.
“Just the right tap…” the mayor pleaded to himself. He made tiny, little swings in anticipation of shooting the ball into the hole.
He was ready now. He swung the putter back in one perfectly smooth arc, ready to bring it down again and knock the ball into a roll and into…
Suddenly, in the air erupted a loud boom, a roar of jets.
The surprise made the mayor miss the ball completely.
In rage, Mayor Manx looked up and saw the Turbokat heading towards him. “Why, those vigilantes! Those SWAT Kats don’t have any respect for us sportsmen! Maybe I should give Feral that arrest warrant he’s always wanted!”
As he looked on, the Turbokat still continued on its way towards him. It began to fly lower and lower, as if to skim the ground.
“Now what are those ruffians up to?” asked the Mayor to himself. The Turbokat was close now, just less than a hundred meters from him.
All of the sudden, the undercarriage opened up and out flew a missile. It was aimed right at the mayor.
“My goodness! What are those…” said a suddenly frightened mayor. He was frozen on the spot, paralyzed at the sight of a missile heading straight for him. He closed his eyes in fear.
Suddenly, a small concussion was heard and he just found himself tangled in a net, connected to the Turbokat. And very soon, with a scream, he found himself flying in the air, being carried by the net and being pulled up into the Turbokat.
“Kidnapping! Shanghaiing! Abduction!” he screamed as the hold’s doors closed from underneath him.
A voice from above answered him. “No, Mayor. We’re saving your life. Someone’s threatened to blow up the golf course,” replied Razor.
Mayor Manx was in shock. “What?!”
T-Bone cut in. “Don’t look now, Razor, but Dark Kat’s fifteen minutes just ran out.”
Before Hard Drive and Dark Kat, the large computer screen in front of them showed a timer quickly running out. As numerals flashed and disappeared, a blinking sign began to flash faster and faster: MEGALASER: CHARGING…
Soon, only ten seconds remained. Soon, only five. And at last, time ran out.
Hard Drive smiled evilly. “Here come the fireworks.”
On the screen, the message had changed. MEGALASER: FIRING.
Miles above the breathable atmosphere, hovering upon the very edge of earth and space, a satellite hanged motionless in orbit. It appeared almost lonely, set amidst the cold void of space, its neighboring satellites nowhere to be seen.
If there was sound in space, one would’ve heard the humming emerging from the satellite. The electrical sound was slowly becoming louder and louder, like some super-powerful dynamo reaching capacity.
Suddenly, the cylindrical disk at the base began to glow in a blue light. Blue lightning crept up all around the satellite as the machine began to condense bright, azure rays within its disk.
Then, the light suddenly beamed directly downwards, a giant, intense blast of pure energy reaching down like a wrathful lightning bolt.
“We’re nearing the edge of the golf course, Razor. The Turbokat’s at max thrust!” T-Bone stated to Razor as he fought to apply maximum velocity.
“T-Bone! I’m reading a massive energy surge in the atmosphere! It’s massive! The readings are off the scale!” said a wide-eyed Razor in reply. He turned around and was overcome in shock. He could see the high cirrus clouds beginning to burn as the very peak of the atmosphere began to glow a bright, powerful blue. He quickly turned and reexamined the screen in front of him, manipulating through several of his programs. Finding it, he typed in a few instructions. “Crud,” he cursed as the onboard computer followed his instructions.
“T-Bone! The concussion wave of the explosion is as powerful as a concentrated hurricane! We’ll be torn apart by the winds of the blast!” Razor said in total apprehension of what will happen. Below, in the hold, the whimpering of Mayor Manx could be heard, the mayor himself catatonic at Razor’s words.
“Then we’re hitting the speed of heat!” T-Bone secured himself in his seat, preparing the jet for transition into an ultrasonic form of travel. He shouted to the mayor, “Mayor, get yourself strapped in the hold! We’re gonna try to get away!”
The blue glow was already enveloping the Turbokat. Both SWAT Kats knew that the blast was already hitting the ground. Heat was building up all around them.
T-Bone activated the Speed of Heat system.
Four boosters popped out of the Turbokat. A thick barrier emerged around the cockpit and around other vital spots on the jet. At that, the blast reached them.
Inside, the occupants of the Turbokat felt a heavy shaking as the heat built up and the concussion blast began to engulf them.
Then, the boosters kicked in. All the thrusters on the Turbokat flared up in massive blasts and the sleek jet was off. The SWAT Kats were pushed into their seats as the jet dared its escape maneuver. They soon broke through the expansion wave. However, the blast followed them, bathing the golf course in lightning and fire. It trailed behind them almost as fast as they were going, consuming everything in its way.
Even within the shelled cockpit of the Turbokat, the SWAT Kats attempted to cover their ears form the massive, thunderous explosion following behind them. It drowned out everything: the roar of the Turbokat’s many boosters and thrusters, the beeping of the dashboard as systems handled the ultrasonic flight of the Turbokat’s escape, the whimpering of the cringing mayor in the hold.
Then, it stopped.
As the Turbokat came out of the speed of heat, the SWAT Kats checked their scanners if the danger was gone. It was.
But as they looked out of the jet, they saw the remains of the golf course. It was nothing more than a blasted wasteland. Grey, wispy dust blew around them.
The golf course that was the Megakat City Golf Club was no longer there. All that remained was a massive desert of ash and sand.
T-bone barely contained his shock. “The golf course… It’s gone…”
From the hold, the SWAT Kats heard the dropping of a body. Mayor Manx had fainted.
The Turbokat landed in front of City Hall. Standing on the steps were Deputy Mayor Calico Briggs, Enforcer Commander Ulysses Feral and a squad of armed Enforcer. Paramedics stood by, ready to check up and help the Mayor (and the SWAT Kats, to Feral’s displeasure).
As the SWAT Kats jumped from the cockpit, the mayor ran out of the Turbokat’s hold, gibbering and shacking. He ran to Callie. “Those fiends destroyed my golf course!” he whimpered pathetically.
“Yeah, and the fiends are still out there, somewhere,” added T-Bone.
Callie walked up to the masked vigilantes. “SWAT Kats, Dark Kat and Hard Drive have demanded an ultimatum. They’ll blow up the city in less than an hour, unless we surrender arms and control to them,” she said pleadingly.
Feral responded, “We’ll find them, Ms. Briggs. The Enforcers will handle this! We’ll find them before they can even do anything.” He waved, the Enforcers around them moving along with him. Just before he stepped into his cruiser, he pointed at the SWAT Kats. “Stay out of this!” He left.
Razor, defiantly, answered the deputy mayor. “We’ll find them and stop them.”
Callie seemed relieved hearing these words and remembering the many times the SWAT Kats had saved the city from peril. She moved closer to them both, taking Razor’s hand in her right, T-Bone’s in her left. She looked at them, her eyes seeming to plead for mercy. “Please, SWAT Kats. This is the first time Dark Kat has ever unleashed a truly destructive force with threats to destroy instead of conquer. Before, he’d just wish to capture, but now…” Her eyes shined with fear. “He’s ready to destroy. All the citizens are afraid and many are already evacuating Megakat City. He broadcasted the threats on public television, and everyone knows about it.” She looked into Razor’s eyes for what seemed an eternity of helplessness, then T-Bone’s. “We’re all at risk.”
Both SWAT Kats clenched her hand in theirs in reassurance. “We’ll find them.”
The Turbokat lifted off. Callie watched them hover in VTOL mode, then speed off.
“She’s relying on us. She knows Feral won’t find them in time,” Razor commented as he looked back.
T-Bone didn’t reply. He pondered on Callie’s words. “We’re all at risk.” He paused, thinking, then continued. “Felina’s been put through that already.” He upped the speed of the Turbokat.
Razor’s voice broke through T-Bone’s reverie. “I’m scanning for TV signals. Maybe it’ll lead us to Dark Kat and Hard Drive.” Razor then cursed his trademark “Crud!” He looked at the screen. “Nuts! They’re too many radio signals! How could I forget there’re art least over thirty TV stations in this city!”
T-Bone was still in his reverie. Inside his mind, he was going through the events that lead to Felina’s hospitalization. He remembered the high-tech, speeding car chase with Hard Drive…
Behind him, Razor was fidgeting with his devices. He was desperately trying to lock into the signal made by the criminals.
T-Bone saw in his mind the sight of Felina’s body lying strewn on the burning street. He could hear Razor explaining how he had gotten through the Flux Field. “… we tend to overlook the basics…”
Razor ground his teeth in frustration and pounded on the dashboard. “Crud!”
As Razor cursed, it then hit T-Bone. “Razor! What TV channel did Hard Drive and Dark Kat broadcast on?”
Razor’s annoyance disappeared as he was surprised by the question. “What?”
T-Bone began to smile. “From what station did they broadcast?”
Razor, taken by the question, clumsily answered. “Uh, Channel 17.”
T-Bone smiled some more. “Razor, if you were willing to blow up the city, broadcasting your threat via television, where’d you be at?”
Razor was slowly catching on. “Why, far away from the city…” He too smiled.
The Turbokat then sped for the edge of Megakat City. A kat could almost hear the simultaneous “Bingo!” from within.
“My, my, aren’t we defiant?”
Hard Drive watched the news reports as the Enforcers desperately searched for him and his partner, Dark Kat. There were only ten minutes left before the Megabeam blasted the entire Megakat City into oblivion.
“Give them time, Hard Drive,” replied Dark Kat. “They’ll give up their city to us.”
Hard drive turned, annoyed. “And what if they don’t?” he asked.
“Then we shall simply make true our threat. Whatever the case, we’ll arise the victor, ruling over whatever remains,” answered Dark Kat.
“Just make sure that I rule fifty-fifty with you! There’ll be no more business for me if the city is destroyed!” Hard Drive yelled.
“Oh, you will, partner. You will,” answered Dark Kat. In his mind, however, he had other plans. He would betray the cyber criminal upon the destruction of the city. Dark Kat paced around the room patiently, remembering Hard Drive’s words of “hitting him with a bazooka”. At the time, it was an accident, when he had really meant to hit the SWAT Kat, T-Bone. But in any case, he had hidden one in their hiding place for when Megakat City fell- and he wished to remove Hard Drive after using him.
Dark Kat thought on. The Enforcers will never find them, it seemed. And even the SWAT Kats, the only ones who could possibly stop them weren’t even here…
There suddenly was a loud explosion from the ceiling. Dark Kat, Hard Drive and Dark Kat’s creeplings had to dash out of the way to avoid the falling debris. Large chunks of concrete fell on them, some pieces hitting their equipment, smashing computer consoles and screens, but apparently leaving the main portion of it intact.
As Dark Kat and Hard Drive got up, two agile figures fell from the hole in the ceiling, obscured by the settling dust. However, the two criminals already knew what was happening.
The SWAT Kats had found them.
Hard Drive reacted first. He screamed angrily at the two raiders, “This’ll be the last time you meddle in our affairs, SWAT Kats!” He raised his hand and out darted a mighty lightning bolt. The two masked vigilantes leapt out of the way, covered partially by the dust.
“The gig’s up, Hard Drive!” shouted T-Bone. From amidst the clouds of dust, a mini-missile flew and entangled the cyber-criminal, knocking him down, as well.
Dark Kat called on his creeplings. “Attack them, my creatures! Stop them from interfering!” A small horde of them, laughing and giggling maniacally flowed forward to overwhelm the SWAT Kats.
Twin glovatrixes were raised as both SWAT Kats fired nets from their glove-shaped weapons. The small wave of creeplings were overcome by the tangling nets, but more swarmed from the dark parts of the room. Soon, both SWAT Kats were fighting the things in close combat. T-Bone punched one and sent it flying towards its buddies. Razor kicked one out of the way. However, more of them poured out of the woodwork and finally, the SWAT Kats were overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers. They were held down on the floor, the many creeplings burying and disarming them of their weapons.
Dark Kat approached the pair; Hard Drive followed him, getting up and tearing off the bola that had held him bound. Dark Kat spoke, “So, once again I have you both in my grasp, eh, SWAT Kats? A pity, since you almost managed to stop us from blowing up the city.” He turned to point at the large monitor, which read: COUNTDOWN 00:03:09 BEFORE FIRING.
Hard Drive stepped forward, his face an expression of surliness and anger. He motioned to Dark Kat. “Let’s put them out of their misery so as not to encounter any more trouble in the future.”
Dark Kat raised his hand. “Patience, Hard Drive. We might still learn from them and their crafty devices.”
Hard Drive was not swayed. “Let’s not mess around with them! They’re meat!” He raised his hand and prepared to fry the two pinned vigilantes.
Dark Kat reacted quickly. His massive fist lashed out and sent the techno-criminal flying into the air and landing against a wall. He turned, his skull face a menacing model of threat. “While I’m here, I’m in charge!”
Hard Drive slowly got up, feeling the pain against his back. “So, they were right! You are a treacherous megalomaniac!”
Dark Kat didn’t answer to this, but instead gave his own statement. “Looks like our partnership’s off, Hard Drive. And I had such plans for you.” From within his cloak, Dark Kat pulled out a small missile launcher and aimed it right at the cyber-criminal.
Hard Drive reacted with the speed of lightning. He attacked with the fullest potency of his powers, electricity dancing all around him, leaping angrily from his eyes, legs and arms. He unleashed twin lightning bolts that struck the crime lord in his chest. Dark Kat soon sailed across the air, the blasts knocking him to the wall, just as had happened to Hard Drive. As he blasted his former partner in crime, Hard Drive muttered, “Not again, Dark Kat.” Dark Kat did not react. He had blacked out from the blow.
Hard Drive walked towards the two figures. The creeplings had begun to panic, but Hard Drive silenced them, saying “If you don’t want what happened to your master happening to you, hold them down and don’t dare run away!” They obeyed.
As Hard Drive faced the SWAT Kats, his expression of anger changed from to that of malicious joy. “So, I now have the SWAT Kats ready to be fried.”
T-Bone was defiant. “You’re not getting away with this, you sicko!”
“Tsk, tsk, SWAT Kat. You have no power over what’ll happen to you. Like what happened to Lt. Feral,” he smiled.
T-Bone only growled.
“You don’t have any power to stop me from blowing up the city.” Hard Drive lowered his face right in front of T-Bone.
T-Bone only growled.
“And you’ll not stop me from killing you both!” At that, Hard Drive released lightning bolts into the vigilantes. Razor and T-bone writhed as volts of painful electricity began to cook them both. Strangely, he was also frying the creeplings holding them down, but they were too afraid and too stupid to disobey Hard Drive’s command.
As both Razor and T-Bone let out anguished screams, Hard Drive delivered one last taunt to T-Bone, “You’re as good as that poor Lt. Feral in the hospital.”
At that T-Bone roared in anger. Despite the pain that was frying him, despite the creeplings holding him down, he fought free. As Hard Drive watched in horror, T-Bone picked up a creepling and threw the singed creature right at Hard Drive. Hard Drive was struck in the face, the blow knocking him off balance and stopping the blasting he was giving the SWAT Kats. T-Bone followed up by delivering a punch to Hard Drive’s jaw. As Hard Drive fell unconscious, the creeplings who had survived scrambled away into the darkness.
T-Bone then rushed to the knocked-out Razor’s side. He shook him awake. “Uhhh… Whatta headache…” Razor commented.
T-Bone smiled at the resilience of his friend. “C’mon, we have to stop that satellite.”
Razor rushed to the console, T-bone at his side. The countdown read: 00:01:00.
T-Bone asked as Razor worked at the controls, “Well, can you stop it?”
“I’m trying!” was all a beleaguered Razor could reply. As he typed in commands and instructions, trying to bypass the program, both knew that time was running out. They both were right. The countdown soon read: 00:00:30.
“C’mon!” Razor whispered to himself as he tried to penetrate the satellite’s controls. Sweat ran down his face onto his chin. The same went for T-Bone, as he watched Razor feverishly work to stop the satellite from opening fire. 00:00:10.
With only ten seconds, Razor ground his teeth in frustration. Beside him, T-bone instructed him in a shout: “Wing it!” Only a few seconds remained.
“Ah, well, back to the basics!” Razor banged the console with his fist. Before them both, the timer read: 00:00:01.
As the clocked changed to 00:00:00. The SWAT Kats held their breath, expecting the laser blast to destroy Megakat City. The explosion would be thunderous and be heard hundreds of miles around.
Both looked up at the screen. They sighed in relief. The monitor only read one thing: MEGALASER: FIRING ABORTED.
Their relief was short-lived, however. From behind, they heard a groggy Dark Kat. “You meddling SWAT Kats!” They turned just in time to see him launch a missile from his bazooka. The
SWAT Kats rolled away as the missile smashed right into the central control console. A split second later, the entire machine exploded, the warhead detonating with ferocity. The giant monitor displaying the satellite’s status simply shattered amidst fire and glass. Slivers of steel and plastic flew off in rains of broken pieces. Smoke began to fill the room as fires sprang up where the console used to be.
Dark Kat, having seen the SWAT Kats evade the shot, quickly pulled on the handle of the missile launcher. Unlike other bazookas, the missile launcher he had could be quickly reloaded like a gun. Despite his anger, he maintained control and scanned the room for the pair of vigilantes. He was ready to open fire once more.
“Where are you, you craven SWAT Kats?” he called out. “Show yourselves and face me, kat-to-kat!”
T-Bone answered him. “Right here, you purple freak!” Dark Kat turned and saw the plucky pair standing cross-armed, challenging him be showing that they were not in any position to fire back. Razor continued the taunt, saying, “Hit us with your best shot!”
Dark Kat’s eyes glinted as he aimed at the pair with his bazooka. To his amazement and amusement, they stood still, sitting ducks for his weapon. He looked through the computer scope and watched as crosshairs aligned themselves on the two perfectly.
Dark Kat smiled. “My pleasure.” He pulled the trigger and watched gleefully as the missile sped through the air, aimed right at the two kats. They still didn’t move. Dark Kat then began to suspect treachery.
At the moment the missile was about to hit them, the two vigilantes split, dashing in opposite directions. Dark Kat didn’t like what was revealed to him: they had been concealing a groggy or semi-conscious Hard Drive behind them earlier! Dark Kat had once more opened fire on his partner.
Hard Drive was still dizzy from the blow and blacking out he had gone through. He wasn’t the least bit aware of what was happening- until the missile was right in front of his face. Before it impacted, he cried out, “Dark Kat, you miserable traitor! Not agaaaaaaaiiiiiiinn-!”
The missile exploded, sending a scorched (and knocked out) Hard Drive into the air, his fur signed and curling, his Surge Coat barely functional and burning. He landed on his back, rolled painfully over and over, and finally crashed into a cracked wall. He slumped and was out of action.
The fires and smoke around were obscuring Dark Kat, making tracking the SWAT Kats more and more difficult. He quickly pulled the handle and readied himself to finally nail the two intrepid vigilantes. He called out once more, “End of the line, vigilantes! I want to finally end this! It’s time for our final confrontation!”
“Bingo!” replied Razor. Dark Kat turned and found him to his right, ready and armed with an aimed glovatrix.
“Alright!” answered T-Bone. Dark Kat found him in the opposite direction, to his left. His gleaming glovatrix was armed and waiting.
Dark Kat was surrounded.
T-Bone spoke up. “Give it up Dark Kat! We’ve got you in a spot tighter than before!” He spoke confidently, his weapon steady and straight, ready to fire.
Razor added to this. “This is the end of the line, and you’re going behind bars.” His eyes were glinted, aiming right at the crime lord.
Dark Kat did not lose his composure. With the odds against him, he quickly reacted to his advantage. He suddenly aimed upward, at a support beam strained and fractured. The ceiling was already at the verge of collapsing; the shell detonated quickly, sending a miniature earthquake trembling through the entire structure. Chunks and chunks of steel and concrete fell, forcing the SWAT Kats to dodge quickly but carefully as the superstructure caved in. Dust filled the room, making it impossible for the two vigilantes and the crime lord to spot each other.
The shacking finally stopped. Razor called out, “T-Bone! Are you okay?” They were separated, and didn’t know of what happened to each other.
A voice answered. “Yeah, I’m fine,” replied a well-sounding T-Bone. “Can you find the creep?” he asked, referring to Dark Kat.
“Bad news, T-Bone. The Kat Scanner only shows three signatures: yours, mine, and Hard Drive’s. Dark Kat’s…”.
“…Gone,” replied a frustrated T-Bone.
Both soon heard the sound of helicopters landing on the roof above, carefully avoiding the devastated areas, while others landed right outside the complex. As they watched, Commander Feral, accompanied by armed Enforcers, entered via the roof using rope ladders. Upon stepping on solid ground, he turned and faced the two.
“You two let Dark Kat escape?!” he asked, furious.
T-bone snapped back. “Hey, at least we stopped them from blasting Megakat City into Litterbox City! Not like you Enforcer! You got here too late!”
Commander Feral didn’t back down. “Speaking of which, how did you find this place?” In his heart, he wished that the SWAT Kats were somehow involved with the crime, but he dismissed the thought as just a fantasy.
Razor spoke up. “Simple, Feral. T-Bone here used some basic detective work. He simply reasoned out that Dark Kat and Hard Drive were hiding somewhere outside the city, far enough as not to be reached by the blast. He pinpointed the exact place by figuring out just where Channel 17, the station they broadcasted from, used to be. He had realized that because there is no Channel 17 anymore, it’d have to be some abandoned studio, like this,” Razor explained. He didn’t like Feral much, but he knew he had done well by preventing the escalation of a fight.
Feral smirked. “That’s just how my niece figured it out.”
T-Bone was surprised. “What?!”
“My niece woke up from her coma this afternoon. Though she wasn’t allowed to leave her room, she pleaded to know about what was happening. She then pointed out just where Dark Kat and Hard Drive would be located, which is here, though the information was late,” smiled Feral.
T-Bone’s hostility had totally disappeared. “How is she?”
Feral’s face grew grim. “I’d ask if you had something going on with my niece, but because you did stop the destruction of the city, I won’t.” He paused, looked up as if reflecting, then continued. “Also because you did apprehend the one who put her in the hospital in the first place.” He motioned to the Enforcers who were escorting Hard Drive away. “She’s okay. The worst is over for her because she has just awakened.”
Inside, on hearing these words, T-Bone felt something warm flare up inside, but he did not allow it to go beyond his exterior. He simply looked at Razor and nodded.
At that, both SWAT Kat raised their glovatrixes. Two grappling hooks flew through the air and anchored themselves on the roof. The SWAT Kats then pulled themselves up. As Feral observed, they disappeared over the edge of the hole. Later, the sound of jet engines flared to life, and Feral watched as the SWAT Kats flew away.
Megakat City was asleep. It was one o’ clock in the morning and there was almost absolutely no life at all, on the streets, in homes or in any other building.
In quiet garage somewhere, located in a metal scrapyard, a hidden hangar door opened silently and mechanically. Running swiftly and stealthily, a black shape flew out and into the night sky.
It flew high and far, careful to avoid detection from anyone. Even the pilot flying it was avoiding detection from a certain sleeping kat, who also happened to be his best friend and partner.
It soon found its destination, a certain tall, gaunt and fortified hospital where a certain Enforcer officer was resting.
But not asleep. The light in her room was still on, the window open, which dispelled a few doubts in the perpetrator’s mind. Setting his sleek, black vehicle into a VTOL style hover, he activated his auxiliary weapons panel. Carefully selecting a missile, he aimed it right through the window. He pressed the trigger.
Felina Feral was awake and thinking. She was wondering about what she had missed out, while the city was in danger and the SWAT Kats, vigilantes and friends, were trying to save it. She had a cast on her arm and leg, while her ribs recuperated within her chest.
Suddenly, she heard a swooshing sounds, which she recognized was that of a missile. In horror, she saw one fly right through the window. She waited, within the few seconds her anxiety allowed her, for the explosion that usually accompanied such weapons.
Nothing. The missile fired some reverse rockets, slowed down, and landed right in her room. When the missile had finally settled, a panel slid open.
Though Felina walked using crutches, she was stealthy and careful, hoping that the Enforcers posted outside her room would not hear, hoping that the missile would not detonate on account of rough movement from her.
She stood before the missile. She could see its contents: a bundle wrapped in old, wet newspapers. Intrigued, she knelt down and picked up the bundle. The newspapers fell away, revealing beautiful, sweet-smelling roses and catnip. A single piece of clear paper was attached to the floral art. She picked it up and read: “To a certain Lieutenant,
I commend you for excellent detective work, despite being temporarily handicapped by injuries sustained in the line of duty. I commend you even more for waking up and living, for gracing us with your presence once more.
Felina fought back the tears that were growing at the edge of her eyes. She looked out the window and saw the retreating Turbokat flying away. Despite the darkness, she saw that only one kat was in the cockpit.
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Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.