Original SWAT Kats Story

Hero’s Song

By Javie Patag

  • 1 Chapter
  • 11,605 Words

Dr. Viper lets loose a mutant cricket upon the ever-helpless Megakat City, and the only one who can stop him is . . . a homeless musician?

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Author's Notes:

Glossary Notes:

Pusa* – Filipino (national language of the Phil.) for “cat”.

Baritone** – If you’ve ever seen a tuba, this instrument is definitely its little brother.  Imagine a frame of metal pipes shaped into a rectangle, with a large brass opening at one corner.  It has a bassy, rich sound perfect for the blues and jazz.

Smokescreen Missiles*** – My contribution to the SWAT Kat armory. It is a concussion missile, just like the usual stuff the SK deploy, but its warhead contains a compressed gas tank.  Upon impact, the thing releases enough gas to blanket a small city block.

Barong Tagalog**** – It’s a polo-type shirt made of very fine fabric, with elegant embroidery.  It’s very airy.

Legal notes:

Now for the legal stuff: SWAT Kats created by Christian and Yvon Tremblay, owned by Hanna-Barbera, all rights reserved, 1994-1995.

“And stay out!”

The clash of overturned and spilled garbage cans filled a back alley of Megakat City.  A large bouncer, giant-sized and muscular, stepped into a doorway on one wall and slammed it shut, a message to the kat just thrown out to suspend all thoughts of reentering.

That kat slowly picked himself up and dusted the dirt and trash off his none-too-clean body.  He was of medium build, though kind of thin.  His fur was a patchwork, meaning he was a half-bred kat.  His clothes were old, dirty and a little torn, but strong and comfortable.  Black fur covered his scalp, and bright brown eyes shined on his face.  His whiskers were a little in disarray.

He slowly rummaged the trash for an item the bouncer threw out with him.  Desperation crossed his face for an instant, then he smirked a relieving smile:  before him lay an ancient, battered case, the size of a small chest.  He picked it up, opened it, and examined the contents.  Smiling, he closed the case, satisfied that the thing inside sustained no damage.

He started walking.  He frowned that he just lost another chance at helping his unemployed condition, but, hey, that was what the blues are all about.

The Turbokat was snugly back in the underground hangar of the SWAT Kats’ headquarters.  Two kats stepped out of the jet.  They smiled at each other.

“May I have the honors?” asked Razor to T-Bone.

Chance, who had just removed his mask, replied with a fanged, happy grin.  “Certainly.”

As Razor removed his helmet and mask, he reached for a stamp. Pressing it lightly on the stamp pad, he raised it, positioned it carefully as a painter does, and pressed.

Both looked at Razor’s work, as well as all that accompanied it on the wall.  Chance began, “Another kill mark for the SWAT Kats…”

Dr. Viper slowly stalked his lab.  Another plot to conquer the city foiled and he was not pleased.  Not at all.

“It’ssss not fair!”  He swung his tail and smashed into one of the tables in his lab.  Usually a plantanimal or another creature of his creation would be the on to catch the blow, but for once, he was alone.

“Those meddling SSSSWAT Katssss have ruined another plan of mine!”  He tried to relax himself by resting on a surviving table. He thought and analyzed his situation.

He had used up all his remaining creatures.  His plan was to bomb the city with his creations.  The monsters would run amok, doing untold damage and causing people to flee, leaving the city for his taking.  They were almost beyond the touching of the Enforcers.

But not the SWAT Kats.

“Curses!”  Another table was smashed aside.  Thinking back, he knew it was a straightforward plan not worthy of his genius, but the situation demanded it.  The Enforcers had just tangled with an assault led by the nefarious Pastmaster last week, so he knew that the Enforcer arsenal was a little below standard.

A chirping sound broke his reverie.  He looked around and spotted a single creature in his lab.

Contained in a jar,  a cricket was singing the lonely song all crickets sang.  He was a mix of brown and green.  And he seemed to be paying attention to Viper’s mood.

“Ssshhhut up!” Viper demanded.  He was not in good spirits today.

Besides this, Viper noticed a single chemical container besides the cricket.  It was labeled X71.  It bore the subtitle Revolutionary Adaptation Catalytic Enhancement, or RACE.  When he got the chemical, he didn’t have the time to test its capabilities.

Viper frowned.  All his other catalysts were used up in the past assault.  He had used them all up to create the large quantities of creatures to raid Megakat city.  All he had now, was this promising, yet experimental catalyst, still totally untested (he had “borrowed” it at the Megakat City docks, from a shipment outside the city).  It would take him weeks to mix up and replace the used up catalyst.

But wait.  Viper was inspired.  It would also take the same amount of time for the Enforcers to build up their lost defenses. And the SWAT Kats did sustain a little damage from their last tangle with him.

“Yessss…”  Viper smiled his snake’s smile.  He would launch another immediate assault on the city.  No intentions to conquer, just damage it as much as possible.  The Enforcers would be hard-pressed to stop this plan with their weakened forces, and if the plot failed, Viper would have had enough time to build up another force of catalysts and creatures.

Besides, modern psychiatrists recommend this form of relaxation: dishing out your frustrations on a symbol of it.

He smiled and hissed away to work.

Javier (hispanic for “Xavier”) Pusa* marched down the wet streets of Megakat City.  It was raining; that sure didn’t help him and his situation.

He was without a job.  A poor, illegal immigrant in Megakat city, he had no proper papers.  He left his homeland to find work elsewhere.  The country he left behind was filled with poverty and crime; he had no future there.  Arriving secretly in Megakat City, he and his only possession wandered to find some hope for the future. Sure, he had finished high school, plus a little music in college, but other than that, he had only his musical instrument.

Sitting in a dry alcove formed by the main entrance of a dilapidated apartment, he rested his weary legs and rubbed his paws together to warm them.

“Sigh,” he thought.  “I was always looking for inspiration for my music and here it is.  This place is almost as bad as the place I left.  Well, now I know what the blues masters meant by being ‘down’.”

His sharp ears caught the sound of a TV being emitted from one of the occupants of the apartment he was taking refuge in.  “…Today, the SWAT Kats and Enforcers fought with Dr. Viper, the mad reptilian scientist bent on the conquest of Megakat City.   Viper had released a horde of mutant creatures around the north-eastern commercial portion of the city.  Millions of dollars of property damage was recorded, but our two mysterious vigilantes and Megakat City’s finest were able to repulse and destroy the attacking swarm.  This is Ann Gora, Kat’s Eye News.”

Sardonically, Javes (as people called him) whispered to himself, “At least someone’s having a good day.”  His bitter facial expression was slowly replaced by a sad smile.

He gently opened his carrying case and took out the brass wind contained inside it.  It was a baritone** , a mini-tuba.  It was a brass wind instrument, much larger in mass than a trumpet and trombone.  It was a little large and bulky, but its tone and sound quality was rich and impressive.  Painful and sad memories entered his mind as he handled it.  His poor family had sacrificed a lot just to buy it for him, but they endured  it, since Javes’ talent was their hope of a better life.

“A better life.  What nonsense,” he sarcastically said to himself.

Slowly and gently oiling in parts and feeling the three valves, he began to feel the notes in his mind form.  He knew what he was going to play: the song of a harsh life, his own,  contrasted with the glory of victory, of both the SWAT Kats and the Enforcers.  He gently blew into the immense thing, closed his eyes, and let the sweet, rich sound fill his mind…

Jake and Chance were working in the garage.  Callie’s car needed repairing (again!) and both were giving it a fine tune-up.  It was raining outside, and both were comfortable in the warm grease pit.

“Jake, hand me the wrench, willya?”  Chance was immersed in his work and had his elbows up in grease.  He felt Jake pass him something in his paw, but immediately realized it was too light to be a wrench.  He looked up, his face a comical sight since it was all dirty with black tar and oil, and found a screwdriver in his grasp. He looked at Jake who was not paying attention and looked as if in a pleasant daydream.

“Say, buddy,” Chance sarcastically began, “forgotten what a wrench is?”

Jake instantly snapped out of it.  “Whoa.  Sorry, Chance, I was just…”  There was  wistful quality to his eyes and voice, “…listening…”

Chance put on a confused, scrutinizing look.  “To what?”

“Oh, just the sweet blues.  C’mon, listen.”

Chance stopped working and did exactly what Jake told him to do. And he heard exactly what Jake meant.  A sweet symphony of rich notes was in the air and it was hypnotizing in its quality.

Chance began, “Say, not bad.”

Jake nodded, “Uh huh, the blues, Chance.  Rock and Roll may be the spirit of adventure in Megakat City, but the blues is still its sound and soul.”

Chance agreed with Jake’s poetry, and both began to quietly work again.

Viper was glad it was night.  His newest creation, a rapidly growing and shape-changing cricket was growing bigger and meaner by the minute.  It was already the size of a large automobile and was still becoming bigger.  Good thing for the darkness, or else Enforcer chopper patrols would have spotted them instantly.

He noticed its carapace seemed much thicker than usual and knew it was becoming tougher and tougher.  Also, he couldn’t help recognizing that the creature was becoming more restless and violent as it grew and changed.  It almost attacked him after the first few minutes of the infection, but he was fast (or lucky) enough to get a mind control collar on it.  He had to be careful though; the collar would probably run out of power soon.  Besides, the creature was growing and growing, and soon the collar would break.

But, he didn’t care.  He already was in the darker portion of Megakat City’s south-western industrial area.  Soon, he would release the cricket.

He knew what its animosity would do.

Javes was a little happy.  His playing had actually charmed the landlady of the apartment to let him stay at one of the flats for the night.  She said he could have free heating and that she’d fix him up a meal for the night.  He didn’t have her elaborate on tomorrow, though.  He knew not to push the envelope.

Still, this was an improvement.  He had a home for the night, a dinner consisting of a sleazy, yet delectable tuna and beans soup and a warm place all for himself.  Also, people passing by heard his playing and decided to give the talented musician some cash.  He had actually accumulated a good hundred bucks.

He sat on the bed provided in the flat.  Taking out a music notebook, he began to compose a new work.  He entitled it “Tomorrow’s Dawn”, symbolizing hope for a better day.  Slowly fingering the baritone, he played softly to himself.  The beautiful notes wafted through the room.  No one heard, except those near his flat and outside the apartment’s window.

Viper was once again angry.  His newfound pet had suddenly ceased being restless and began to chirp.  Fortunately, they were located near the abandoned industrial areas, so no one heard.  But the fact that his new creation had suddenly changed its mood was no good for Viper’s intentions.

“My precioussss, what’s the matter?  You’re ssuppossed to be angry, violent, exssstreme!”

Of course, Viper could do nothing to change the mind of a pet the size of a small house.

“Kat’s alive, it’s three AM.”

Javes had been playing and composing all night.  He was tired, despite his incredible stamina, but the he had somehow managed to give him energy for his composition.  He looked down on his notebook and read through his new selection.  Satisfied, he closed it and placed it in his case.  He took his instrument and then loaded it into the container, then closed it.

He yawned and quietly rested on the bed.  He was filled with optimism since things began to become better for him.

Slowly, his eyes closed.  Javes soon fell into a quiet, dream-filled sleep.

Viper had calmed down.  His creature was once again restless and angry.  Whatever fit it had earlier had left no trace.

“Yesss, my preciousss sssinger…  Enrage yourssself!!!”  He adjusted the control knob of the creature’s collar and increased the pain setting.  The cricket howled in agony and got madder.

“Yessss…  Sssoon, the anger will totally overcome you and you will deliver it upon the ssccity…”

He chuckled a totally chilling laugh and waited.  He would strike at dawn…

“All Enforcers, to your posts!  Man your engines!”

An alert had been raised around Enforcer HQ.  It was past six, and only a few early kats and the tired night shift were there. Still, as vigilant as ever, massive numbers of Enforcers moved to their tanks, choppers and jets (a big portion of the choppers were under repair or being scrapped since their last battle).

Feral stood wide awake in the control center of the tower. Reports had just come in that a giant, mutated cricket had just attacked the industrial areas of Megakat City, and that untold havoc was being wrought.

“Is my chopper ready?” he asked a mechanic as he traveled to the hangar  of the HQ.  The tired mechanic yawned an affirmation, which Feral didn’t exactly like.  Enforcers should always be alert…

“And where is my niece?”

“Right… here… uncle…”

Feral turned to see a drowsy, shabbily dressed Felina.  She appeared tired and totally lacking sleep.

“Hmph.  Felina, I thought you were a model Enforcer.  Just look at yourself,” he criticized Felina.  He was happy though, since her condition would keep her out of danger for today.

“I’m not… a morning person… like you, uncle,” she replied sluggishly.

“Very well.  Stay here, while we handle this.”  He coldly turned and went for his waiting chopper, which had just again been refit since its last crash.

As his chopper began to move, Felina suddenly realized something. “Waitaminit!  He’s going to leave me in the boring dust again?”

Felina suddenly was active.  She barked orders to the technicians to get her a chopper pronto, which was no easy task since most of the remaining choppers were under repair.

“I’m no kitten, uncle…”

“Get up, Chance!  A giant cricket is tearing up the industrial area of Megakat City!”

Chance was asleep.  It had been a long night fixing Callie’s car and he was totally worn out.  He snored loudly, then rolled over on his bed, turning away from Razor.  Jake was already dressed up for the mission, but Chance was still definitely out of it.

“Maybe a little psychology…” Razor thought.  He bent over to Chance’s ear and quietly whispered:

“The thing’s heading off in the direction of City Hall and Enforcer HQ.  Callie and Felina live nearby.  They’re in danger…”

Suddenly, Chance was up and running off into the hangar.  Razor was left in the dust.  All he heard was a simply cry:

“C’mon, sleepyhead!  Callie and Felina are danger!  Let’s kick tail!”

Viper was very pleased.  Very, very pleased…

His creation was doing better than expected.  Evolution and adaptation are two very powerful biological forces.  He watched them both at work as his cricket rapidly mutated according to the need. If it was to tear down a building, the RACE in its blood system gave it extra large forelegs to batter it down.  When the Enforcers arrived and attacked it, it mutated to have the deadly claws of a praying mantis, a larger, more powerful muscular system, as well as enhanced carapace.

As Viper watched from his sewer sanctuary. He laughed as the thing tore Enforcer jets, tanks and choppers apart, throwing them aside.  He laughed his trademarked hissing laughter as the thing did incredible amounts of destruction.

“My ssscheme is working better than I thought…  Perhapssss I may turn Megakat Cccity into Megassswamp Cccity yet!”  He marched off back to his lab to prepare for his future assault on the city.  All that followed him was hissing laughter.

“Mr. Pusa?”

The knocking on the flat door woke Javes up.  He rushed to the door, recognizing the voice of Mrs. Coon, the old landlady of the apartment.  He opened it and saw a worried old woman.  Behind her, several kats, all occupants of the apartment rushing to and fro with packed bags and luggage.

“What’s happening?  Mrs. Coon, what’s all the commotion about?” asked a tired, sleepy Javes.

“A giant monster’s tearing up the area.  According to the news reports, it’s headin’ here!  Everyone’s being evacuated by the Enforcers while there’s still time!”

Immediately, Javes dressed himself and packed his most precious possession, his baritone.  He escorted old Mrs. Coon to her flat to help her and the other occupants move out.

“Man, that’s one ugly cricket, if I ever saw one,” T-Bone muttered, as the Turbokat got visual contact.

“Affirmative buddy.  According to the police band, it’s totally ripping apart the Enforcers there,” replied Razor, listening in on the comm. lines of the MCPD.

“Then, it’s up to us!”  T-Bone pushed the overdrive in the Turbokat.  The roar of engines filled the air.

“Lt. Feral!”

Felina looked behind her and saw Dr. Konway approaching her.  She was about to board the chopper the mechanics scrapped up for her when Konway came.

“I’ve got good news and bad news, lieutenant,” Konway said, concern in his eyes.

“I’ll have the good news first,” said Felina.  She was rushing to get down to business since the Enforcers in the field were being kicked around.

“The creature is not moving anywhere.  Your uncle’s Enforcers are keeping it at bay…”

“And the bad news?”

“Your uncle’s down and his units are being eaten up.  He just requested chopper backup.”

Felina sighed.  She knew her uncle would need her.

“Let’s go, Mayor,” urged Callie.  She was at the Mayor’s residence.  She was able to wake up when the news reports flowed in about the behemoth cricket and had rushed to pick up the Mayor.

“But Callie, my best clubs are still inside my kondominium,” pleaded a desperate Manx.

“The thing’s already on its way here!”  At that moment, both heard a monstrous roar.  Both turned to see the approaching giant insect down the street.

“What’re you waiting for, Callie?  Let’s get out of here!” Callie was surprised to see the Mayor already in the limo.

T-Bone and Razor approached the giant cricket, swiftly but cautiously.  Another Enforcer chopper had just taken a mighty beating and was performing an emergency crash landing.  Fortunately, backup had just arrived, under Lt. Feral’s command.

“Razor, you got something to take this thing down?” T-Bone asked. He was wondering what they could use against such a giant menace.

“Roger.  I wonder just how tough its carapace is,” Razor answered.  He flicked on a switch.  The Turbokat’s targeting computer showed a lock on the thing’s shoulder, right above one of the Mantis’ claws.

“Away, Slicer Missiles!”  Two slicers launched simultaneously from the jet.  As they approached, the SWAT Kats watched as the safety panels flew off and the missiles’ claws deployed.

The cricket had seen the advancing missiles but it was too late. It desperately defended itself, shattering one missile before it hit, but the other dug deeply into the shoulder.  It didn’t slice through, but stuck deeply in the wound until its fuel was used up.  The cricket screamed in pain.

“Bingo!  It may be tough, but not tough enough!” Razor exclaimed.

Felina cheered quietly as the SWAT Kats hit the cricket.  It was their first successful attack on the thing.  Analyzing the situation, she realized that to avoid getting hit by the cricket, the Enforcers could just simply stay out of range of its claws and just use their missiles and guns from afar to take the creature apart from afar.

She tuned into the Enforcer band.  “This is Lt. Felina Feral. Chopper B, search and rescue my uncle.  Chopper C, follow me in long-range attack formation.  All Enforcer units!  The SWAT Kats have just revealed the thing’s weakness.  Stay out of range and just hit the thing with everything we’ve got!”

The Enforcers quickly complied.  The tanks below stopped their approach and just fired from their distant positions.  Helicopters swung around the things, fire blazing from their dual machine guns and missile launch pods.

Down below, a bruised Feral boarded an Enforcer helicopter.  He realized that his niece, despite her stubbornness, had the stuff that made good commanders.  Still, some of the choppers were too close to the thing and the cricket was still able to slash one even with Felina’s tactic.  He frowned, immediately took control of his rescuing chopper, and piloted it to the assault.

Above, the SWAT Kats watched as the Enforcers batted the thing down.  The cricket looked in pain, and Razor was moved to pity. “Crud, look at that cruelty…”

T-Bone responded.  “Don’t forget, buddy, that the thing was tearing up the city…”  He was down-to-earth, but still realized Razor had a point.

Razor suddenly reacted.  “T-Bone!  Something’s happening to the cricket!”

T-Bone looked out and saw that the cricket’s carapace was suddenly melting and bulging.  The Enforcer units had ceased all their fire at the spectacle.  T-Bone was sickened as he watched, but the thing, as well as healing all its previous wounds, seemed to be growing stuff all around its body…

“What the…” T-Bone asked, mesmerized.  “Spines?”

The cricket’s carapace had suddenly grown segmented spines.  They were spread out like a porcupine’s but were insect-like.  They waved and moved like vile animated hairs.

And suddenly, they straightened up and pointed in a myriad of directions.

And they launched through the air.

Felina narrowly avoided having her chopper being skewered by a spine.  She saw other Enforcers units doing the same, but others weren’t as alert or lucky.  Several choppers were impaled by the spines, as was the heavily armored tanks down below.  She watched as her uncle gracefully avoided all the spines hurled at him, though his chopper was still scratched and damaged, one machine gun being rendered inoperative.

She turned her attention back to the chopper and triggered her guns in return fire.  The bullets smashed into the thing, but she could only watch as the shells were pushed out of the wounds by the creature’shealing abilities, and that the holes in the carapace were covered up by new keratin.  Also, the spines that had been fired off were growing back.  And very quickly.

Horrified, she watched as the thing pointed its mantis claw at her.  All the spines there suddenly straightened up and fired at her.

Her chopper jarred as one spine tore her rotor engine open. Another opened the side of the chopped like a tin can.  She rushed off her seat as a spine smashed through the windshield and impaled the chair were she was seating earlier.  She rolled in the cabin and felt the entire thing shudder as more spines hit it.

The SWAT Kats were horrified at the sight of Felina’s chopper being hit by a hail of flying spikes, but it was T-Bone who took it worst.  He screamed and dived the Turbokat straight for the cricket. Razor was silent as T-Bone took control of the weapons systems.  As soon as the computer got a lock on the thing, he fired everything the Turbokat had, from the Cement Gun to normal concussion missiles. However, the spines on the carapace took the blunt of the attack. Even worse, the cricket was now very mad…

Razor was shocked.  His best pal was enraged and berserk.  And the cricket was turning to face them.

The Turbokat rocked and shook as a hail of spines tore it up. T-Bone had snapped out of his rage and had practiced evasive maneuvers, but the spines took their toll and the Turbokat was heavily damaged.  Razor watched as every warning light shined on the shattered damage control panel.  He looked out and saw several spines decorating a partially perforated jet.

As the chopper began to fall, Felina saw her uncle’s chopper move alongside her own.  The rope ladder was engaged, and she saw he uncle appear.  He shouted, “Felina, jump.”

As the chopper neared an abandoned building, Felina crouched close to the ground.  She waited for the best opportunity to escape. The building was getting close.

She soon was flying through the air, without even a parachute to save her if she didn’t catch the ladder.  She felt shock waves ripple behind her as her damaged helicopter smash into the building.

Everything seemed to be in slow motion.  She watched as the ladder slowly slip away from her.  She was hovering above so many floors of height…

Her paw grasped one of the last few rungs or rope and she managed to hold on.  Her other paw as well as legs were able to grab hold.  Feral swerved the chopper away from the cricket to safety.

Javes watched the Enforcers ferry out the evacuees and slowly turned to observe the battle.  He was at the rooftop, watching the battle.  He had decided to stay behind to make sure the apartment was empty.

As he looked on, he saw that the fight was not going well for the Enforcers and SWAT Kats.  The cricket had regained the upper hand once more and was fighting ferociously.

But Javes didn’t condemn the thing.  He sympathized with it. He knew that if he was also in that situation, he too would fight back viciously.  He knew the anger of the thing very well.

He was once again inspired.  He knew this was no time for a song, but he could barely contain himself.

He blew and pressed into his baritone.  Violent, harsh and moving notes filled the air.  As his “Rage’s Shout” filled the air, the cricket approached.


Razor was busy trying to manage the damage control systems on the Turbokat.  He barely had time to reply.

“I’m losing power!  The jet’s gonna crash!”  T-Bone was worried and so was Razor.  T-Bone had never ever admitted that the jet was about to crash before…

Razor didn’t have time to respond.  He was busy managing the jet’s systems.

“Razor…”  Razor felt the engines go kaput, and gravity beginning to grasp the Turbokat.

As abrupt as the engines going out, the Turbokat suddenly was back online.  T-Bone reacted and pulled it up from the ground.  Razor breathed a sigh of relief, then spoke: “T-Bone, I’ve manage to temporarily shut off the worst of the spine’s effects.  But we have to get back in the hangar to repair the systems.  Everything’s gone but some primary and secondary systems, the X-ray Scope, and some Smokescreen*** Missiles.”  He breathed deeply then continued.  “Also, if you’re sorry about going berserk, save it.  I understand how much you care about Felina…”

A tear went down T-Bone’s cheek.  He wiped it off and was once again his confident, tough self.  “Roger that…”

“Commander!  Lieutenant!”

Felina quickly responded to Dr. Konway’s voice on the radio. “I pick you up, HQ.”

“Commander, from the clips on TV, I think that the cricket is some sort of mutant, not some existing creature.  I think I can whip up an anti-mutagen, but I can’t recognize which chemical is at work here.”

“What do you need, doctor?”  Feral was anxious to get the job done as quickly as possible.

“I need a sample.  A sample of the creature’s cells.”

The Turbokat swung around the cricket.  The X-ray Scope was recording the cricket on a tape.  Razor had suggested filming the thing so that both could analyze and devise a method to attack the thing while avoiding the spines.

Felina’s voice came over the police band.  They were hailing the SWAT Kats, and their tone of voice betrayed some hope.

“Yes, Lieutenant Feral,” Razor responded.

“SWAT Kats, we need help.  Dr. Konway seems to have figured out how to knock out the creature, but we need a sampling of the creature’s system.”

Both SWAT Kats nodded.  A plan was discussed over the radio. The Turbokat flew around and rendezvoused with the Ferals’ chopper.

Javes felt the notes of his new composition as they filled the air.  He was reaching a crescendo, as the notes got higher and higher…  He was at the climax of the song…

Both could barely believe it.  The cricket just suddenly froze.  It just stood there and began to rub its legs together to make a song.  They were completely taken by surprise at the action of the cricket, wondering what it was up to.  A few seconds of shock passed…

“Now!”  T-Bone had awakened from his wonder and decided to seize the moment to his advantage.  The other snapped out of it.

At the command of T-Bone, both aircraft fired several missiles at the cricket.  The cricket parried the shots by launching some spines and simply swatting the projectile with its claws, but it didn’t notice all the gas covering up the scene.  It went into a tantrum, swinging and firing at nothing.  It didn’t notice the Feral’s chopper lining up for a shot at a distance, as the Turbokat swept in.

A salvo of gunfire and missiles blanketed the joint of one claw.  The bullets and missiles were able to get through since all the spines there had been released.  Thanks to Feral’s pinpoint accuracy, the joint was torn apart.  The claw fell top the ground below.  Two screams filled the air: the scream of an enraged cricket, and the scream of jet engines.  As the dismembered  claw neared the ground, two mechanical paws snatched it up.  Meeting up with the Enforcer chopper, both jet and helicopter left for the Enforcer building.

Javes was panting.  He had just finished his latest composition and was glad.  After recalling the notes he had just played and committing them to memory, he looked and saw that the SWAT Kats and Enforcers were bugging out of the fight, and realized he had better do the same.  He rushed off the roof, raced down the small apartment, and caught the nearest Enforcer patrol vehicle.

The Turbokat carefully dropped the severed appendage of the cricket onto the Enforcer HQ’s runway.  It wasn’t flying well and all that shuddering from the damage it carried wasn’t making it an easy job.  Down below, Felina, Callie, Mayor Manx and Commander Feral watched as the SWAT Kats proceeded with their work.  As soon as the sickening arm was safely onboard, the SWAT Kats began to position themselves to head home.

“We’ll keep in touch!” shouted Callie to the departing SWAT Kats.

“We’ll be listening.  That thing’s on a rampage and its good it’s still in the industrial sector of the city.  Good thing whoever made the creature apparently doesn’t have any direct control over it, or it would have picked off prime targets like Enforcer HQ.”  Razor waved.  T-Bone closed the canopy hatch and began to maneuver the damaged Turbokat home.

“Hmph!” mumbled Feral.  “Those craven vigilantes probably won’t return!”

Callie retorted, “They will!  They’ve saved the city a hundred times and they aren’t ready to quit yet!”  The two were at it again at the old Feral-SWAT Kat debate.

Dr. Konway appeared, eager to examine the dismembered arm. He brushed straight through the crowd with words, saying “Excuse me,” and “I’m busy here.”  Enforcers came with him and began to carry the arm back into the building.

One of the Enforcers approached Feral.  He interrupted the debate and reported.  “Sir, we’ve evacuated the people of the industrial sector and relocated them down below.  We’ve also fortified Enforcer HQ and City Hall, though are units are mainly here and the surrounding area.  The thing’s still berserk downtown, but we can catch our breath since it doesn’t appear to be moving anywhere.”

Feral nodded in approval.  “Good!  Continue in your work, Enforcer!”  The young kat saluted Feral and went on to help the carrying of the insect arm.

Dr. Konway called the attention of the group.  “While I work, perhaps you all can help by watching the news reports and researching with me.  If we’re to save the city, we’d better do it quickly.”

Felina replied, “You’re right, Doctor.  Where do we start?” As she asked, the group went inside to the crime and chemical labs.

Jake and Chance worked hurriedly on the Turbokat.  The damage was extensive, but good ol’ ingenuity allowed the repairs to be quick, provided that they were not exactly state-of-the-art.  The two had to improvise a lot.

Over on one side of the hangar was a TV screen connected to the X-ray Scope.  It was showing the footage shot before the SWAT Kats and the Ferals left the scene.

Jake got up from his work, wiped his forehead and breathed deeply.  Both were boggled why the cricket suddenly stopped attacking them and gave them a chance to catch it off guard.  They realized that perhaps this was the key in defeating it.

Chance was inside the jet, doing internal repairs.  He stopped, suddenly gazed up and listened.  He shouted to the outside of the Turbokat, “Hey Jake!  What’s that music being played outside?”

“Music?  Chance, you’re hearing things!” Jake replied sarcastically.  He knew inside, though, that he had better listen. Whereas he was the intellectual, Chance was the perceptive one.

“No!  It’s part of the footage!”  Upon this realization, Chance launched himself out of the jet and in front of the screen. “It’s definitely from the footage!” he announced.

Jake reacted quickly.  He climbed into his seat, almost at the speed of thought. He quickly scanned for the Scope’s controls and found them.  Quickly, he rewound the footage.  He then turned off the visual feed and isolated the audio.

Both could now here the music.  Jake realized that by watching the video he was distracted and didn’t catch the sound. Still, the music they heard was weak.

“I’ll try isolating the sound…”  Jake went into his work.

Jake found himself in the audio menu.  He had the Scope’s computer separate the sounds.  He then isolated each one until both identified it as the music.  “Bingo!”  He had successfully segregated it.

It was definitely not the sound of crashing choppers, collapsing buildings, exploding missiles or enraged crickets.  It was moving, emotion-filled music and it sounded very familiar.

“Didn’t we here that kind of instrument before, Jake?” asked Chance, puzzled over where he heard it before.

“Of course!” Jake remembered.  “When we were fixing Callie’s car last night!  Someone was playing the blues on that kind of instrument!”

“Hhmmm…  Same style, same sound, just a different song.” He listened closely to the music and was moved by the violent playing.  “And it fits the bill, too…”

Konway was busy and quietly working in the Enforcer chemical lab.  Around him, Feral and Manx were hitting every book they found that had info on crickets, while Callie and Felina watched news clips of the attack over and over again.

It was hard work.  The books both Feral and Manx (who wasn’t serious about the research) read were about crickets, not about dealing with giant, rampaging mutants.  There was no evident pattern on the cricket’s behavior according to the footage.  The catalyst Konway was dealing with was totally new and unknown to him.  Everyone felt great amounts of frustration, despondence and fear.  Only Manx was unaffected since he knew that the SWAT Kats would do something… he hoped.

Konway’s assistant came into the lab.  He passed by the TV sets and tape decks Felina and Callie were watching.  As he passed, the clip showed the instant the cricket froze.

He paused.  He then turned towards the two girls.  “Say, I just heard all that a few moments ago.”

Callie and Felina turned towards the kat, puzzled.  “What?” Callie asked.

“That sound in the background.  You know, that instrument being played.  I think it’s…  Whaddaya call it?…  A baritone. Anyway, someone downstairs plays an instrument that sounds just like that, on the tape.”

Felina swiftly took to the audio controls.  She fingered through them.  As the sounds died one by one, only a single note could be heard: a bassy, rich brass wind sound.

Feral had been watching the events as they took place. “Hmmm…  I just read that the cricket’s mating call is done by music.”  He reached for an intercom line in the lab.  “Forensics, get me a tape of a cricket’s mating call and a sound synthesizer, on the double.  What?  I don’t care where you get the tape, just do it!”  He slammed the intercom back into place.  Turning to the lab assistant, he inquired,  “Where did you hear that?”

“Commander, one of the evacuees downstairs plays an instrument.  It produces a sound like the one on the tape,” he replied.  “I, uh, was visiting my mother downstairs.  She’s one of the evacuees and said that the musician is one of her new tenants,” he sheepishly said.  He was hoping that he wasn’t giving trouble to the cool kat who played the brass wind nor his mother.

“Felina, accompany this kat downstairs.  He just gave us a lead in this case…”

An Enforcer suddenly arrived to report to Feral.  “Sir!  The cricket’s begun moving again!”

Feral rose quickly to interrogate the Enforcer.  “In what direction?

“Sir, towards the heart of the city…  To Enforcer HQ.”

The SWAT Kats were flying towards the HQ.  They knew that they had the key to all this.  After hearing that the cricket was once again on the move, they rushed in, hoping they would arrive on time.

“So, you have the ability to control giant mutants, eh?”

Javes was sweating and worried.  Kat’s alive, what did this loony Enforcer commander want from him?  If the guy’s saying he was responsible, he must be out of his mind.

Of course, Javes couldn’t do a thing about it.  Here he was in the interrogation room of Enforcers HQ.  Feral and an Enforcer were in the room with him, ready to beat the crud out of his mangy body.  They had confiscated his baritone and had used their information database to find out about him.  They knew he was an illegal alien and he knew he was in hot water.

“Tell me, how do we stop this thing!?”  Feral had hoisted the poor beleaguered Javes up into the air and was about to whack him.

“Look…” he began.  “I don’t know what your talking about… I admit I’m an illegal immigrant, but I’m also just a musician.  I don’t have a thing to do with the monster…”  Perspiration ran down his temples and he braced himself for Feral’s punch.

Suddenly the door behind Feral opened up and in stepped Felina, Callie and Dr. Konway.  Felina stopped her uncle from hitting the poor kat and quickly told him of their findings.  “Uncle, we adjusted the sound of the cricket’s call as if it came from a building-high source…”

Feral was impatient.  “And…”

“It sounds just like Mr. Pusa’s instrument, though we’re not sure since no one else but him plays that kind of brass wind here. We also inspected his baritone.  It’s normal in every way.”

Javes’ eyes opened up wide.  “You took… it apart?”  He feared the worst.

Callie reassured him.  “Relax, Mr. Pusa.  We only ran it through an examination by probe, CAT scan and X-ray.  It’s okay.”

Javes breathed a short-lived sigh of relief.  Feral quickly questioned, “That doesn’t mean he’s innocent of controlling it.”

Dr. Konway cut in.  “Commander, according to my calculations and research, his music matching the cricket mating call is purely coincidental.”  Javes relaxed as Konway continued.  “Also, I’ve isolated the chemical mutagen.  It’s X71 or Revolutionary Adaptation Catalytic Enhancement.  It was made to rapidly induce physical adaptation in a targeted creature.  A shipment was sent in a few months ago, but it disappeared.”

“Hairballs, things don’t disappear by themselves,” said a frustrated Commander Feral.

“Yes, sir.  An eyewitness claims it was stolen, but we don’t have enough evidence to throw the book at anyone,” Konway explained.

“Who did the eyewitness say it was?” Felina asked.

“Dr. Viper.”

“Engines powering up…  Let’s rock!”

The newly-repaired Turbokat began its acceleration within the underground hangar of the SWAT Kats’ base.  T-Bone slowly increased power and thrust to the engines.  They moved quickly, as dozens of hangar lights passed above them.  Before them was the gentle sunlight of the afternoon, as the gantry doors opened.

Razor noted that it was a good thing they worked overtime.  The cricket had suddenly decided to assault the heart of the city, and their repairs had finished just in time.  They would be in the air just in time to catch the monster before it reached Enforcer HQ.

Feral led the ground force of specially-equipped tanks, while his niece led the few remaining choppers from the air.  Dr. Konway was at the verge of creating the anti-mutagen, but the distillation would take time.  The Enforcers had no choice but to attempt to delay the cricket, before it reached Enforcer HQ.  There was nothing between the HQ and the monster.

Feral was confident.  They had made a long, repeated recording of Javes’ playing and several tanks and choppers were carrying audio megaphones to project into the cricket.  If everything went according to plan, the cricket would find itself paralyzed by its own instinct- to follow the mating call of it’s species.

Felina, on the other hand, was not assured of this.  While her uncle had the military attitudes raised by being an Enforcer, she was more intuitive and adventurous, more independent and flexible, having raised a detective’s ideals within.  She just had the hunch something would go wrong…

Visual contact was soon made.  The giant was slowly rampaging through the main streets of Megakat City, firing spines and hacking with giant mantis claws.  Also, it had grown a barbed tail, similar to that of a scorpion’s, but it had more spines.  There was one main, large one in the center and its top had an opening of some sort…

Feral didn’t like that.  From what Konway could brief him regarding the RACE, he remembered that the creature will rapidly mutate to adapt according to its needs.  “Hairballs,” Feral thought, “I don’t need some insectoid wrecking ball to deal with along with the rest of the creature”.

Feral suddenly saw a salvo of spines being launched.  Felina and her detachment dodged quickly, not one of them being damaged, all of them wisely vigilant.  He didn’t relax however.  The thing was still at a distance when it fired its spines.  He realized that the creature now had heightened eyesight.

Ducking inside, he asked the tank driver, “What’s the maximum range of these megaspeakers?”

The young enforcer quickly replied, “Sir, about a few blocks, and it’s still loud at that range.”

Feral concluded, “Good,” then reached for the radio.  “All units prepare to activate your recordings on my signal.  Open up your megaspeakers and synchronize your timing with mine.”

As Feral looked up, he watched as the cricket began moving towards the Enforcers, claws stretching and animated, tail slithering and scintillating.  The spines were ready to launch, but Feral realized that it was itching to get into close combat with them.  It was bent low like a predator.

He looked back as he pressed a button.  The missile rack of the tank had been replaced by a large, rectangular megaphone, as was other tanks.  The choppers led by Felina had two smaller speakers attached to their sides.

Feral noted the distance.  The thing was a good five blocks and closing.  As they moved closer, the cricket seemed to move faster and faster…

“Now!”  Feral closed down the turret hatch as the megaphone behind him blasted to life simultaneously with others.  Felina had closed down the openings of her chopper, as did the rest of her squadron.  They activated their speakers with the rest of the ground force.

The large bassy sound filled an entire section of Megakat City; it was even heard way back in Enforcer HQ.  Feral and the driver saw through the tank’s view screens that entire city blocks were shaking and vibrating.  He gazed at the monster.

It was frozen.  It stood up, reared on its two pairs of hind legs.  Its claws and tails were held out straight and stiff, trembling with paralysis.  The plan had worked…

Suddenly, spines were launched and several choppers were shot down, several tanks were gorged.  Feral’s driver barely had time to swerve the command tank to avoid the barrage, but the tank was still hit.  Feral winced as he heard a loud, earsplitting explosion, much like the whine of a broken amplifier, and the explosion of a missile. The noise died down, as the driver informed him that most of the tank’s electrical systems had been disconnected.  Feral feared the worst.  He climbed up, opened the hatch and saw a shattered megaphone.

An enraged Feral commanded the remaining operational units to open fire.  As his tank went into battle formation, he prepared to fire the twin guns of the tank.

A volley of shells peppered the cricket.  A cannonade of missiles launched from the helicopters and covered the monster in explosions.

As the smoke cleared, the sight was not pretty, but quite heartening for the Enforcers.  Several spines were broken, much carapace was cracked or stripped away, and the cricket was wounded. Feral and his Enforcers cheered, but not for long…

The cricket was healing… regenerating…  New carapace suddenly replaced the damaged portions, spines grew back and the cricket was back on its four feet.  It didn’t look happy.

Spines were launched and Feral’s forces were badly mauled.  One tank was totally ripped up and covered in spines; its crew barely escaped its explosion.  Feral’s tank did no better; the right track was torn up and the tank, except its turret, was, ironically, paralyzed like the cricket earlier.  Feral ordered the driver to man the twin cannons while he radioed HQ.  “Send me chopper backup…”

Javes was seated at the control center of Enforcer HQ.  There, he would pose no trouble to the few Enforcers manning the tower.  He heard the communications kat talking to Feral and didn’t like what he heard.  Feral’s force was down and the ploy didn’t work.

Javes thought hard, wondering why the cricket attacked them when it should not.  He was no scientist, but no slouch in the knowledge department either.  Theoretically, the recording should have worked.  They were exact duplicates of his music and should have frozen the thing in the beauty of a mating call…

He then drifted.  What if science wasn’t the answer?  He thought again.

Bingo!  He suddenly realized what went wrong.  The necessary course of action was desperate, but he had no choice.  If he didn’t do something, Megakat City would be destroyed, along with his hopes for a better life.  He couldn’t allow that.  Even if most of the city dealt him harshly, like the bouncer at the nightclub, some were good kats and good citizens like the kind old landlady who gave him a place to stay.

He was a stealthy kat.  Silently, he took his baritone and walked towards the fire exit.  As quiet and as quick as a shadow, he was gone, and not one Enforcer realized his disappearance until it was too late.

“Sir, bad news.  Your illegal immigrant is gone.”

Feral slammed his fist down as he heard the news, the crunch almost as loud as the cannon volley outside.  “What do you mean he’s gone!?”

“Sir, he was quiet.  We didn’t notice him vanishing in the control center.  Later, we had a report that one of the evacuees stole a patrol car.  The description matches him, sir, down to his instrument.”

“Crud.  So he’s gone and with him our hope of saving the city.”

“Not exactly sir.  The car was reportedly going in your direction.”

Feral was puzzled.  He wondered what motive Javes had for doing such a thing.

His pondering was cut short as a deafening, screeching sound filled the tank’s interior.  The driver was soon down below, panting. Another loud reverberation filled the tank.  The radio went dead and Feral was horrified to find spikes piercing the tank deeply.  They had gone straight through the hull and even managed to smash the radio.  What frightened him more was that a few more inches and it would have gone through him.

The driver was almost catatonic.  “Sir, the guns are down! That last fusillade did it!”

Feral grabbed the two personnel bazookas in the tank, handing one to the frightened driver.  The driver almost dropped it in fright.  Disgusted, Feral shoved him aside to be the first one out. “This coward’s almost out of it,” he pondered, “I’d better cover him so that at least he can get away.”

Feral’s head poked out of the hatch when he saw it.  He yelled “Get down!”, pushing the driver down the ladder.  As he ducked, a thick, sticky, and pasty webbing covered the entire tank.

Feral looked up and saw the web covering the hatch.  He looked through the view screen and saw that everywhere on the tank was this sticky web.  He was trapped.  He pushed against it, but was soon stuck fast.  It took him a great amount of effort just to release himself from the web.

A sudden rumbling, followed by rapid movement of the tank, occurred.  Both Feral and his driver were disoriented, as if they were riding a runaway elevator.  They tumbled within the tank’s compartment as the thing was tipped to a side several times.  It was as gravity had gone wild.  Feral looked around and covered his ears as metal began to crush and bend around them.  He carefully, but swiftly,  rushed to an opening and saw the worst.  He first saw a spine-covered claw on the outside.  Behind the claw was the ground, about four stories below.

Suddenly, an entire side of the tank was ripped from it.  The driver went panicky, but Feral stayed calm, though he was really worried.  Before both driver and commander, a vicious, insect head reared, mandibles quivering.  It opened its mouth, pulsing with acidic saliva, which really sickened Feral.

“So, you’re hungry, eh?” asked Feral as he positioned himself, holding and setting his missile launcher.  “Chew on this, insect!”

The blast almost fried the two Enforcers since it was almost at point-blank range for a bazooka.  The thing screamed as the missile entered its mouth and detonated.  Smoke covering its head, the creature dropped the tank and its two passengers.  Both the commander and the driver were separated from the tank in the freefall, with the tank above them.  Though, as kats, they could probably land properly and avoid the worst of such a fall, the tank would probably crush them…

Viper had his TV turned on as he cheerfully worked to make more chemicals for the production of his creatures.  He was very pleased. His creature was tearing up the city in a performance far beyond his expectations.  He laughed as distant TV crew reported as the disaster went tearing up Megakat City.

“Ssssoon, the ccccity will be mine…”

The swoop of jets was heard, and a missile connected to a line dived down.  Its warhead safety panels were released and a dozen thick cords bond together in a net surrounding both Enforcers.  Feral knew what it was and to whom it belonged.  It was a Spider Missile, a retrievable rescue missile… developed by those blasted SWAT Kats.

He looked up and saw a black jet hovering above them.  A hatch opened and Feral saw the unwelcome, yet familiar faces of T-Bone and Razor.  “Need a lift, Feral?”

Feral smiled.  “You’ve come too late, vigilantes.  I’ve just knocked out the monster with a missile from my own bazooka.”

“Think again,” T-Bone said, turning to his controls.  Feral felt the jet move and accelerate.  He wondered why the SWAT Kats were fleeing, when he looked around.

He gasped.  The thing was still alive, despite the missile launched into its mouth.  It looked like at had smoked a giant cigar, but it showed almost no damage from the blast.  “Kat’s alive!  It’s inside must be armored!”

Down below, Feral saw several other tanks moving forward to cover the escape of their commander.  They were heavily damaged, but their crew did their best to slow the thing down.  Turning up, he scanned the skies for Felina and saw her leading a small band of damaged choppers.  As he did, a rapidly moving Enforcer patrol car sped towards the battleground.

Javes was rushing.  From what he already saw, the Enforcers were having their tails whipped.  He had to get there to save what was left.

Javes knew what had went wrong.  The answer wasn’t science, it was music.  Any good musician knew that synthesized music was never as good as the real stuff.  What the Enforcers had was a recording, not the genuine article.

Somehow, the cricket had found out.  Perhaps enhanced or ultrasonic hearing.  From what Javes heard of the reports, the thing was shaking and quivering when the Enforcers activated their recordings.  Though it was enchanted, it resisted its own instinct when it realized the stuff was fake.  It had developed thought and knew what it was up against.

Javes urged the patrol car to go on even faster.  He already had a view of the battle, and the Enforcers were not doing well.  Several Enforcer units were disabled, the crew trapped within the shells of their vehicle by the web the cricket’s tail launched.

It was even worse for the choppers.  All the cricket had to do was aim for the rotors with its web, and the thing would plummet to the ground.  The Enforcers on board attempted to escape via grappling hook and parachute, but as soon as they landed, they were glued to the spot by the web.

The patrol car was driven into a screeching halt.  Javes rushed himself and his baritone out and ran towards the cricket.  His heart raced as he thought of what to play to freeze the thing.  He then positioned his lips on the mouthpiece, set his fingers on the valves and blew.

The thing suddenly stopped activity instantly.  Its scorpion tail bent down and its claws lost all activity.  It began to move slowly, like in some form of trance, towards Javes.

Not all the Enforcers had been paralyzed by the web.  Some had evaded being hit.  Javes watched as these Enforcers rushed to their stuck comrades and freed them.  The few remaining choppers (all the tanks were knocked out) assisted the evacuation of the police Enforcers.  On foot, traveling by helicopter, the Enforcers rushed out towards the HQ, giving tiny thanks to him as they passed.

The Enforcers were a good distance from the cricket and Javes when tragedy struck.  All the wear and tear his baritone had gone through, since its life in Javes’ homeland, to the homeless living in Megakat City, to being thrown out of several establishments, to the Enforcer probing, had caught up with it.  As Javes pressed a valve, the rusted thing shattered, creating a blockage.  The baritone suddenly froze up in his hands, producing no more music.

Javes looked up as the giant cricket before him began to awake from the mating ritual.  It noticed Javes and several spines and the tail aimed for him.

Javes could only say one thing: “Oh, crud…”

The SWAT Kats landed carefully at the Enforcer HQ.  Feral and his driver were free.  Though the younger Enforcer was grateful, Feral was not.  “Don’t push it, SWAT Kats.”

All the SWAT Kats had to do was harangue him, which enraged and embarrassed him some more.

The T-Bone and Razor were about to leave when Callie and Dr. Konway arrived, running to stop them from their departure.  “T-Bone! Razor!”

Callie was the first to reach them.  “Dr. Konway has developed an anti-mutagen.”

A panting Dr. Konway approached.  “Yes…  I have it in gas form…” he gasped.  “We have no more available units, so you’re our only hope of taking out that thing…”  He breathed deeply and continued.  “We have a problem though. We have no container to carry the stuff.”

T-Bone turned to Razor.  “How about loading it into a Smokescreen Missile?”

“Sure, but we’d better hurry.  The thing’s getting pretty close to this place.”

Razor got out of the jet and helped T-Bone unload a missile. Razor turned to Dr. Konway to get the anti-mutagen and a gas valve unit.

“Hurry, SWAT Kats.  Mr. Pusa went out to stop the thing from rampaging.  He’s a musician whose instrument can…”

“Stop the cricket?  We already know, Ms. Briggs,” replied T-Bone.

Razor continued, “We found out by shooting some footage of our first battle.  We soon found that some blues player could freeze the thing by his playing.”

“Besides, we’d like to thank the guy for providing some music to us while we worked at night…”

Callie smiled at the joke.  T-Bone and Razor were the two figures who held hope for the city.

The loading of the antimutagen was quickly done.  As the SWAT Kats left, Callie, Feral and Dr. Konway watched as they carried the only shot that could save the city.

Just as Javes watched the thing prepare to impale, web and catch him for lunch, he heard a humming noise.  He turned to one side and saw an Enforcer chopper with its rope ladder down.  A female voice shouted, “Grab hold!”  He didn’t need any command to do that.

At the moment he left, several spines and a net of webs covered and totally demolished the spot where he was just a few moments ago, as well as the patrol car behind him.

Javes climbed aboard and met a pretty, but tough-looking Enforcer onboard.  He recognized her from his interrogation.

“Sit tight, Mr. Pusa.  I’m going to try to evade the cricket as we make our getaway.”

Javes looked out and behind the chopper and watched as the thing prepared several spines.  “Look out!” shouted Javes as the thing fired.

He didn’t like Felina’s reply.  “The chopper’s too heavily damaged to move out quickly!”  Javes looked back and saw the hail of dangerous spikes.

A mighty roar filled the air.  Javes thought that it was the sound of the salvo of spikes about to get them, but when he looked back, he saw that the spines were shredded- pieces of keratin floating and falling here and there.

He looked up and saw a sleek, black jet flying overhead, ready to dive.  He smiled.

“SWAT Kats to Lt. Feral,” came a reassuring and familiar voice over the radio.  Javes rejoiced, and so did Felina.  “You take your passenger to safety.  We’ll deal with this overgrown grasshopper,” Razor continued.  Felina simply muttered, “And let you guys have all the fun?”, though a quickly protesting Javes rapidly forced her to take the chopper back to Enforcer HQ.

“The area’s clean, Razor,” T-Bone noted of the battleground. “Tell me what you need to whack this obese insect.”  He flew swiftly, but carefully.  He couldn’t risk nearly being shot down again.

However, Razor’s reply was not exactly welcome.  “Crud!  We have a problem, T-Bone.  The anti-mutagen’s  slightly heavier than the smokescreen gas in the missiles, and not in equal quantity.  The missile might fly inaccurately, totally missing the thing to cover it in the stuff.  I got careless.  I didn’t realize this back at Enforcer HQ to make the adjustments.  The only way to hit the thing is to get really close.”

“Great, sure-shot.” T-Bone sarcastically complained.  “Well, we’ll just have to make do.”  He urged the Turbokat forward, accelerating it, heading straight for the cricket.

“T-Bone, have you gone nuts!?  Don’t you remember what a charge like this did!?” Razor screamed.  The G’s were pushing him deep into his seat, and he could barely move, if not stop T-Bone.

T-Bone’s reply: “I sure do.”

The cricket watched as the jet came closer.  It new it didn’t need to really adapt to this tactic since it failed before.  It readied it’s web-launching, barbed scorpion tail, claws and spines. And fired them all.

The Turbokat dodged the hail of webbing and spines quickly and dexterously.  A few spines managed to graze the Turbokat, but the damage was minimal.

The cricket realized its mistake.  It had fired off all of its spines and its web.  It would take a few seconds to grow it all back, but the SWAT Kats needed only two.  It watched in horror as a small missile was launched from the Turbokat.  As it saw the Turbokat suddenly pull up and away, it saw the modified concussion missile smash straight into its body and release its gas.  It was totally covered in the stuff.

As the SWAT Kats hit the sky, Razor smiled at his buddy.  “That was great, T-Bone.  You learned from your earlier charge how to avoid getting hit and using it to your advantage.”

T-Bone smiled as well.  “Yeah.  Come to show that the cricket’s not the only one who can rapidly adapt.”

Javes sat in his dressing room.  He smiled as he looked at himself in the mirror.  No more was the ragged, dirty street kat. What replaced that was a neatly dressed hispanic-Asian, with neatly combed black fur.  He had fed well for the last two weeks, and looked much healthier.  Even though he couldn’t change the fact that his fur was spotted and a little multicolored, he looked neat, nice and sharp.  He was wearing a barong tagalog****, the native national dress of his homeland.

The only thing that betrayed his life as a homeless kat was his whiskers.  They were still in disarray (he tried fixing them up, but they kept bending themselves up).  He did like it, though.  A nice, mark of who he was.

He picked up his baritone.  It was nice and shiny.  He had it repaired and cleaned up, replacing the broken valve and shining it with the best polish Megakat City had to offer.

He walked out into the backstage hallway and reminisced.  After all that adventure, the city rewarded him with cash for saving lives when the cricket attempted to attack Enforcer HQ, as well as citizenship in Megakat City (despite Feral’s protests).  The press coverage of the event quickly helped him find gigs all throughout the city, and he earned a lot for an amateur musician.

He also got to meet the SWAT Kats.  He had a special surprise for them tonight…

The announcer introduced him and he went onstage.  People cheered wildly, calling out his name.  Javes was pleased the kats of Megakat City liked his music, and he was happy.  Here he was, inside the Kat’s Fence, a prestigious jazz club and music hall.  He had an occupation that delighted him, being a musician.

He sat down, and using his natural friendliness and charm, talked to the audience, introducing himself (as if he needed to, since he was so well known already), and preparing for the concert.

“Folks, this first song is a special creation I made for tonight. It’s gonna be the first time you’re gonna hear it.  It’s my little dedication to the heroes who helped me out.  This one’s for you, SWAT Kats.”

The crowd went wild.

Javes slowly played through his “Hero’s Song”.  The music was beautiful, reminding all the kats there about the glory of heroism. It was rich and truly inspiring, as if the SWAT Kats were there.

Javes’ disappointment was that he didn’t see the SWAT Kats there. He understood, though.  He knew that somewhere, trouble was brewing and that the T-Bone and Razor were needed.

What he didn’t notice were two cheering mechanics seated at a table at the back, taking the night off.  Nor did he notice that at one side of the stage was a happily singing cricket.

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