Original SWAT Kats Story

The Challenge

By Mark Johnson & Scott Johnson

  • 1 Chapter
  • 3,060 Words

A response to a fanfic challenge on the SWAT Kat fanfic mailing list.

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Author's Notes:

Hello all you SWAT Kat fans out there! This is Scott, and this is my first SWAT Kat fan fic. You all probably know my brother Mark, who has written a few stories. Well, he’s asked me to try and write a dogfight scene. So, here goes…

Night has fallen on MegaKat City, and (for once) it was relatively quiet. No disasters, invasions, or crime sprees. It was so quiet, it was frightening.

Chance, Jake and Tim Hunt were sitting down at the dinner table, relaxing after polishing off a huge meal. As usual, when pilots were together with nothing to do, the conversation naturally turned to flying – an exercise in seeing who could tell the biggest lies while performing the greatest flying feats, with sound effects and arm movements thrown in for good measure. At a distance, it looked like some sort of martial arts display, sitting down.

“So,” Chance explained, “there I was…”

“There WE were!” Jake interrupted for the hundredth time. “Stop forgetting it’s a two seater. I’m always there right in the thick of it EVERY TIME!”

“So, there WE were,” Chance corrected, giving Jake a sideward glance. Hunt just smirked. “We were down low in the weeds, pulling about 600 knots. This rogue aircraft had already trashed four of those worthless police choppers, and was trying to get away. But he had to get through me-”

“US!”

“.. first!” Chance went on, ignoring his partner’s interruption and poisonous look. “He was coming at us-

“Thank-you!”

“- head-on! Our threat receivers lit up, and he launches a missile at us. Long range radar guided. I jink up and try to evade it.”

“While all this was going, on, I was doing my best to jam the missiles’ radar systems,” Jake put in.

“And it worked. The missile must have been bad, ‘cos we lost it right away,” Chance continued. “He had turned away, and was below by about 2000 feet. I turned to get onto his six, but he must have seen me – US-” he hurriedly corrected, “and turned inside us.” He mad the appropriate hand and arm gestures, which showed the TurboKat overshooting, and the bogey easily turning inside of him.

“Got a little cocky, eh Chance?” Hunt commented.

A slight grimace. “Yeah, well, I thought I could get the drop on him, “Chance confessed. “I just didn’t know he had such excellent eyes. Anyway,” he put his “mission face” back on, “he slips under us, and all of a sudden, he’s on OUR six!”

Jake picked up when Chance paused for breath. “The threat receivers lit up again, and he opened up with cannons at about 500 yards. Stitched a line down the starboard engine. It caught fire immediately, and I quickly slapped the fire button.” He demonstrated with his hand, like he was swatting a fly. “Now we were in deep crud. Down an engine, and the bandit was still on our six. What could we do?” he asked with a shrug.

“I’ll tell you what we did,” Chance replied. “When the engine went up, I rolled her to starboard, and pulled down. Lost about 1000 feet of altitude.” That made Hunt wince. Pulling a Split-S at 2000 feet required very skilled hands, or complete madness.

“I complete the roll, and jump on the brakes” Chance continued. “We went from 550 to 250 in the blink of an eye. That bandit must of wet his pants, ‘cos he only missed us by a couple of feet. He tried to pull away, but he made his only error. He tried to climb away to starboard.”

Hunt nodded in agreement. With the starboard engine out, the aircraft’s trim would have been knocked out of alignment, and the fighter would yaw towards the damaged engine’s side. Starboard.

“Jake locked on an Octopus Missile, and blew his furry butt away!” Chance accompanied the statement with a punching motion in the air. “Never found out who he was, or what aircraft he flew. Never seen it before, or since. But he was no match for me!”

“US!”

“Yeah, right, us,” Chance replied apologetically.

“But our troubles weren’t over yet,” Jake added. “As we were making our way home, the low oil pressure light goes off. A shell must have severed it. We just made it home. Another 15 seconds, and the other two engines would have seized up and blew. Just in the nick of time!”

Hunt nodded his head, and paused to take another drink. Chance’s story was fairly consistent with most engagements. Most dogfights last only a few seconds, and the winner is usually the guy with the best position, or the guy who makes the least mistakes. As it was with the Unknown Bandit in Chance’s story. In reality, he made TWO mistakes. The first one was not putting the TurboKat down during his first gun pass.

Then Hunt was hit by a thought. He mentally kicked himself for not thinking about it sooner.

“You know, guys, we’ve been sitting here for hours, and we’ve swapped a few good engagements. But how ’bout we try it on? Personally, I’d love to put my plane and skills up against the TurboKat and you. What do you say?”

Chance and Jake looked at each-other, then looked back and Hunt. “Mate,” Jake mimicked Hunt’s Australian accent perfectly, “I’ve been waiting for this for ages. If you’ve got the fuel, I’ve got the time!”

Hunt pulled a sly grin. “How ’bout 0900 tomorrow? Over the Eastern Desert region. With all the canyons? That suit you ‘Kitty’?”

“You bet!”

The time was near. Hunt awoke early, and hurried down to the hanger. After the challenge had been made, the ROE, or Rules Of Engagement, were agreed upon. Obviously, no live weapons. Paint ball ammo was to be used for cannons, and missile lock was necessary for a missile kill. And no VTOL or repulsor lifts were allowed. Only pure flight. That meant Hunt to think about his stall speed for the first time in ages. Oh well.

Hunt closed the last maintenance hatch on his aircraft, the prototype F-22C Raptor. It was an exact copy of the F-22 Advanced Tactical Fighter, which has just started mass production. Stealthy design, advanced avionics, fly-by-wire controls, and powerful, supercruise-capable engines. But Hunt’s F-22C had a few “optional extras” added. For starters, it was damn near indestructible. The fuselage and wings were made of a molecular bonded material, which was completely bulletproof, sustain 20mm anti-aircraft fire, and withstand a near miss from an AIM 54C Phoenix, which had the largest warhead of any air-to-air missile.

The other main feature was the repulsor-lift engines. These were fixed to the undercarriage, and using a complex mathematical formulae (and heaps of electricity), was able to generate a magnetic field that negated the planets gravity. He could come to a dead stop 10,000 feet in the air, hover, spin around 180 degrees, and start up again. This gave the F-22C enormous combat potential, with plans to replace the US Army attack helicopter fleet sometime in the future.

But because the ROE called for no hovering, Hunt would simply disengage the repulsor lifts engines one he had gotten into the air. The performance of his plane would decrease slightly but he had flown without the repulsers before. He just couldn’t let his airspeed drop below 170 knots. Otherwise, the plane would stall, and drop like a stone.

After securing the hatch, Hunt started his walk-around, the pre-flight inspection all pilots performed before engine start up. His eyes zeroed in on every nut, bolt and screw, every hose and lead, tire and strut, looking for leaks, cracks or loose ends. Ten minutes later, he was satisfied. Pulling on his helmet, the flicked the three switches that initiated the start-up sequence.

BATTERIES TO POWER TURBINES TO SPEED INTERNAL POWER TO ENABLE STARTING INTERNAL POWER ANTI-GRAVS ENABLED ANTI-GRAVS ENGAGED TARGETING SYSTEMS TO ENABLE DOWNLOADING NAVIGATIONAL DATA…..DONE UNDERCARRIAGE RAISED HAVE A NICE DAY!!

He pulled on his helmet, and plugged in his radio lead and air hose. After about 30 seconds, the needles and dials were all in the green, “safe” areas. He clicked open the radio channel to the tower.

“Tower, this is SWAT Kat 2, requesting taxiing instructions. Over”

At about the same time, the TurboKat was already over the exercise area, doing a little pre-fight recon.

“Man,” T-Bone breathed as he banked the plane to the left for another pass, “I’ve been waiting for the moment for ages.”

“I hear you pal,” replied Razor from the back seat, glancing casually at gauges. Yep, all three in the green. Still had about three and half-hours worth of fuel, full load of dummy shells in the cannon, and four ‘blue shots’ in the bomb bay. Blue shots were dummy missiles made out of wood and iron, designed to simulate weight and air drag. These would be fired, and home in on the target, but they would turn away at the last second, and fall to the ground.

“We’re gonna kick his furry be-hind,” he added. He looked at the chronometer. “About 10 minutes before starting time, T-Bone. Time to get to our corner.”

“No worries,” T-Bone replied, banking hard and increasing thrust. The rules hammered out the previous night said they were to go to their own ‘corners’ of the practice area, and come out fighting at 0900.

“This is going to be fun,” Razor continued. “How should we do this, buddy?”

“Well, I think we should head towards the canyons up north, and light him up with our radar. It’s got a longer range then his, and we’ve got longer ranged missiles, too. We’ll nail him quick and easy,” T-Bone finished.

“Sounds pretty good to me.” Razor looked at the chronometer again. “OK, its ShowTime! Lets show him how a SWAT Kat does it!”

T-Bone pulled the TurboKat around and pointed it north. Razor powered up his radar, and they raced eagerly towards the canyon.

“Ah, there you are,” muttered Hunter, as his ESM gear started to beep. Hunter had decided to take a different method, and stay “silent”. That way, he could let his ESM (Electronic Surveillance & Monitor) find the Turbokat’s radar long before the TurboKat could find him.

He was flying the Raptor through the canyons, and was rather surprised to see T-Bone coming after him so soon. According to the direction finder on the ESM, T-bone and Razor were closing in on his “six”, just out of radar range. Hunter pushed the Raptor down lower into the canyons, and started a long, wide U-turn, dodging the spires and rocky outcrops as he went. His plan was to avoid the Turbokat’s radar, and sneak up behind them. Nudging the throttle forward, he started his turn.

“Ahrr, where the hell is he?” T-Bone muttered. They were nearing the end of the northern sweep, heading towards the boundary of the exercise area. They’d have to turn in about 10 minutes.

“Maybe he’s hiding from us,” Razor replied, his eyes locked on the radar screen. “Don’t worry pal, he’ll have to come out soon.”

“Crud!” T-Bone shouted out. “I know what he’s doing! Quick, shut down the radar!”

Razor responded quickly, and flicked the power switches to STANDBY. “What’s he doing, pal!” Razor asked, confused.

“He’s homing in on our radar emissions. He’s avoiding us! Quick, check our six!”

Razor twisted around in his seat, and chilled at the sight. He saw the deadly looking Raptor powering out of the canyon, it’s needle nose seemingly pointing right at his head.

“Crud! He’s right behind us!”

“Tally-ho,” Hunter spoke into his radio mike for the benefit of the recording. “Closing into gun range.”

His ESM suddenly stopped beeping. Oh well, he thought. They couldn’t have stayed dumb too long. He pushed a button on his flight stick, and the aiming gunsight appeared on his HUD, as did CANNON ARMED – 720. He gently nudged the rudder to the right, to better lead his target, and closed the distance. When the range to target clicked down to 800 meters, he grinned to himself, and spoke again.

“Fox fire!”

Just as he started to squeeze the trigger, the TurboKat suddenly came to life. The engines flared into high power, and the aircraft rolled onto its back, and Split-S’ed away. 75 rounds of paint-ball ammo flashed into the space the TurboKat used to be. Hunter watched the TurboKat speed away, banking hard to the right to engage him.

“Shit!” Hunter cursed, pulling the Raptor up while shoving the throttles all the way forward. So much for surprise.

The two combat aircraft started to circle each other, but Hunter realised the TurboKat had the jump on him, and would get onto his tail first. He pushed the stick in the other direction, reversing the Raptor’s turn. The TurboKat had greater speed and power, but the Raptor had the better handling. If Hunter could get into a turning dogfight, he would win, eventually.

But T-Bone was having none of that. He also knew the strengths and weaknesses of his ‘plane, and started his “slash and dive” method of attack. Using the Turbokat’s greater power and speed, he made several diving attacks, hoping to get a deflection gun pass or a heat-seeker missile lock. Needless to say, both aircraft were racing across the sky, the TurboKat powering along while the Raptor danced around, looking for a mistake to exploit.

It happened, eventually. T-Bone made another diving attack on the Raptor, powering in on Hunter’s “two o’clock” position. Hunter (who by this time was covered in sweat from all the g’s he’d pulled) saw his opening. Better take full advantage of this, he thought. Who knows when the next one will be. He eased the Raptor to the left with a slight bank, showing the undercarriage to the TurboKat.

“Now I’ve got him!” shouted T-Bone. He backed up on the throttle and drew five degrees of flaps to avoid over-shooting the target, and eased the TurboKat to the right, to line him up. “When he completes that turn, he’ll be all yours!”

But that was what Hunter wanted him to think. When he saw T-Bone follow his move, Hunter waited until the last possible moment before suddenly reversing his turn, and pulled the Raptor around into a 9g right bank. Hunter nearly blacked out from the intense pressure, but as the TurboKat flashed past, he threw the aircraft around into another hard left. When he completed the turn, the TurboKat was right in front of him, trying to speed away.

T-Bone, realising his mistake, opened the throttles up and retracted the flaps, trying to use the Turbokat’s superior speed ability to climb away. He knew all those hard turns would have washed off a lot of the Raptors airspeed. The Raptor would be barely above 200 knots, so he decided to pull up, and climb away.

But he was too late. Hunter armed a AIM 9L Sidewinder heat-seeking missile, and pointed the Raptor at the Turbokat’s engines. He heard the missile’s lock-on “growl” just as the stall warning alarm blared into life. He fired the missile, and pointed the Raptor down to regain airspeed. But he watched the missiles’ flight-path.

The AIM 9L Sidewinder is an updated version of the tried and true AIM 9 series, developed in the mid 1950’s. As with all Sidewinders, this one dropped down the moment it left the bomb bay. But the missile’s engine kicked in, and it rocketed to Mach 2 in the blink of an eye. T-Bone tried to ‘spoof’ the missile with magnesium flares, which burned hotter than the engines. But the missile was too close to be fooled. It homed in steadily, remorselessly, at the Turbokat’s portside engine, before it’s computer head noted the distance to the target. At the last possible moment, the missile turned away, and cut the motor. It deployed a small parachute, and floated harmlessly down to the surface.

“Fox two, and your dead!” Hunter shouted with glee. “Man, that heater would have plowed into your port and centre engines! You’re toast!”

“Crud!” was the reply, followed by several other choice remarks about Hunters’ parents and his legitimacy.

Hunter let them cool off a little, and joined the TurboKat on its starboard wing. “What’s your fuel status?” he asked after several moments of silence.

Razor looked down at his fuel indicators, and grimaced. Three and a half-hours of fuel had been burned down to thirty minutes worth in one furious dogfight. “About half an hour, Hunter,” he replied. “It’s time we headed back. How about you?”

“The same,” Hunter replied. “You take the lead.”

“Right,” growled T-Bone, still angry with himself. How could he have been so stupid? But as he turned for home, he realised he shouldn’t be too hard on himself. There were several times when he nearly had the Raptor downed, and Hunter WAS and test pilot, with combat time in F/A 18 Hornets over some place in his dimension, the Persian Gulf or someplace. And two confirmed kills. Luck, and a moment’s bad judgment, cost him the match. Oh well, he conceded. I’ll nail his furry ass next time!

“Yeah, I’ve got the lead.”

The End

———————————————————————–

Do not meddle in the affairs of certain dark furred gunner, . for he is a smart-ass and well armed. Do not meddle in the affairs of a certain Lieutenant Feral, . for she carries a bazooka and knows how to use it.

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