Retroactive note added in November 2016: As this was written in mid-2001 all of the Sonic the Hedgehog Continuity doesn’t include anything that occurred after Sonic Adventure 2, which even 15 years later I still think has one of the greatest video game soundtracks (all of which were heavily listened to at the time this was written).
As this is a Sonic the Hedgehog crossover there may be a few things that a SWAT Kats fan might not recognize and vice versa. Here’s a little summary to give you guys a little insight into both. (I know the information is not 100% accurate; it’s just there to give you a feeling for the characters) Another minor warning to the Sonic fan, this fic does contain spoilers for SA2.
Sonic the Hedgehog:
Sonic, a blue hedgehog capable of running at EXTREMELY fast speeds, has been part of a group known as the Freedom Fighters that existed to resist Robotnik’s tyranny of the city Robotropollis and its surrounding areas. Mostly revealed in the recent video games, Sonic has achieved the goal of the Freedom Fighters and lives a life more of adventure than that of a resistance movement. Ever cocky and eager for fun this super sonic hedgehog laughs at danger, often to the dismay of his friends.
Knuckles the Echidna:
Given that name for the physical feature of the same name, Knuckles is able to punch through almost anything. The last of his race and the assigned protector of the floating island, this Guardian’s job is to protect the Master Emerald and keep it from harm. At first being enemies with Sonic due to some misleading from Dr. Robotnik, the two have since patched up their differences and are now friends of sorts. Naturally able to climb almost any surface and glide long distances, Knuckles is very versatile and his empathic connection with the Master Emeralds and the Chaos Emeralds makes him a useful friend indeed.
Dr. Robotnik a.k.a. The Eggman:
Genius extraordinair, this scientist decided to use his powerful mind to satisfy his own needs for power and destruction. Termed as ‘eggman’ for his unusually shaped body, Robotnik embraces the term as many of his inventions are based around such ‘egg’ concepts. Formerly ruler of Robotropolis this now defeated tyrant has gone back to his old ways of evil by attacking the planet as a whole in occasional uprisings of power featuring his latest brilliant plan. He has since mellowed out somewhat due to recent personal incidents, but he is still an extreme threat nevertheless.
The SWAT Kats:
Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson, former pilots in the Enforcers, were kicked off the force due to a controversial incident that resulted in the destruction of Enforcer Headquarters. Ordered to work in a Salvage yard to pay off the debt, the two feared they would lead a meaningless existence for the rest of their lives. Then one day they had an idea that would reshape the city forever. They decided to build their own jet, weapons and technology from the materials at the Salvage Yard and took to the skies as the SWAT Kats, vigilante protectors of Megakat City.
As Commander of the Enforcers, Ulysses Feral takes his job *very* seriously and considers the protection of the city his own personal responsibility and detests the SWAT Kats for their ‘reckless’ ways. Doing things by the book, Feral is tough, efficient, and single minded in his job. However, due to the unusual incidents that occur in Megakat City. the Commander is not always able to handle a situation, thus involuntarily having to depend on the SWAT Kats to resolve the matter.
Evil to the core, Dark Kat is a criminal mastermind with nothing but destruction on his mind. Power is his goal, and he’ll do anything to reach it. Utilizing vast resources and his even more vast intellect this large purple megalomaniac is the SWAT Kats number one nemesis.
And the rest is self explanatory. So, sit back, relax, and hopefully enjoy.
“You do realize just how dangerous that all was, don’t you?” Sally Acorn asked incredulously with one hand on her hip. “You were this close to becoming a smear,” she said, gesturing with her thumb and index finger.
“I’m still standing here,” Sonic replied with a grin. “And, I’m all in one piece too.”
“Yeah, but for how long?” she asked, crossing her arms in mild annoyance. “That last one was too close, Sonic, you should really tone it down or else you’re gonna be the world’s fastest *dead* Hedgehog.”
“Hey, I had no real choice, it was either go up into space or let ‘Buttnik blow up the planet,” Sonic stated.
Sally sighed, knowing she’d never be able to get her point across.
“Just be careful.”
Just be careful, Sonic thought to himself. It seemed like an eternity since he had heard those words from Sally Acorn, Princess of Knothole. It’s not like I have much of a choice, the blue hedgehog thought to himself. Dr. Robotnik had managed to unleash a threat that even he couldn’t control, a threat known as the Ultimate Life Form. At first Sonic and his friends had assumed that the mysterious Shadow the Hedgehog was their primary nemesis, but events had unfolded that neither side could have anticipated.
Orbiting in space was the ARK, a prototype satellite colony that had been hi-jacked by Robotnik. Scientists had been using the facility for decades to develop projects that would have been prohibited planet-side, but in the freedom of space there were no restrictions. The ‘Ultimate Life Form’ as it had been dubbed, was one of those projects.
Artificially engineered this prototype would be unmatched by anything and everything, a super creature of unlimited power. Shadow was thought to be this life form, but even he soon discovered that he did not know the full story. The black hedgehog was merely a pawn in a larger scheme that was more sadistic and evil than even Robotnik could handle.
Gerald Robotnik, Dr. Robotnik’s grandfather, had taken it upon himself to seek revenge on all the world for the wrongdoings directed at him. Developing Shadow to carry out his plans, Gerald’s revenge would be carried on even beyond the grave.
Due to a complex series of events Robotnik once again acquired all seven Chaos Emeralds, which were then in turn used to power the ARK’s prototype laser array, which could in theory destroy an entire planet. Gerald had other plans in mind, however, and installed a program in the station’s mainframe that would cause it to plummet into the earth, and use the Chaos Emeralds as a fuel that would guarantee planetary Armageddon.
Then, to make matters worse, the real Ultimate Life Form had been awakened in the process and was working in tandem with Gerald’s plans, merging with the space station and setting it on its kamikaze course. After numerous battles with one another, Sonic and Shadow came to a mutual respect for one another, a friendship of sorts that neither had expected.
Who would’ve guessed, Sonic thought to himself. Now everyone was bound together for a common cause: survival. There was only one way to stop the Ultimate Life Form from completing its master’s legacy, and only Sonic and Shadow were capable of it. All Seven Chaos Emeralds were on the station, and two knowledgeable hedgehogs as well.
It was ugly and it was powerful. It had nothing but evil programmed into it, and Sonic and Shadow knew what they had to do.
The Ultimate Life Form, the Biolizard, was relentless, somehow remaining alive after taking control of the space station, leading it on a crash course with earth. Shadow was trying his best to prevent that from happening, but, even with help from Sonic the Hedgehog, he was uncertain if they would be enough to stop what seemed to be inevitable.
Both of them were in the cold vacuum of space, their super forms generated by the Chaos Emeralds allowing them to survive in the harsh environment. Sonic had attacked first, targeting numerous weak spots on the Biolizard’s exterior, causing damage but also further agitating it. The creature returned the favor, and knocked Sonic aside with an artificial energy beam provided by the station’s power supply.
It was at that moment that Shadow took the opportunity to attack, aiming straight for a vital opening in the life support system. The chaos emeralds enhanced his attack, turning him into a temporary energy ball that sliced into the opening. The Biolizard howled in pain and soon lost power as its energy had depleted.
“Sonic!” Shadow called out as the two Hedgehogs caught up with one another and zoomed forward to get in front of the plummeting space station. Space was becoming less vacuum and more atmosphere as the friction of the planet and the pseudo-satellite began to come into contact.
“We gotta stop him now!” Sonic warned as the two got close enough to combine each other’s power. The station was now a fireball, flames engulfing it entirely with the two brightly glimmering Hedgehogs in the front. They both momentarily concentrated as they directed the energy into another form, one that was still relatively new to the both of them.
“Chaos, Control!” they said in unison. They could both feel what was happening as the Chaos Emerald’s power began to refocus and replace the flames engulfing the station with pure energy. Shadow felt what was happening, and soon realized that one of them would have to remain in order to keep the energy focused. He dropped back, allowing Sonic to shoot forward.
“Shadow!” Sonic called back as the energy trapped him. The station became as bright as a star as it disappeared and took Sonic, along with
the Chaos Emeralds, with it.
“It is done…” Shadow verbalized, exhausted beyond belief. No longer protected by the energy of the mysterious stones, he returned to normal and plummeted back to the planet far below.
The station flashed into existence once again, at a safe altitude far above earth. Sonic felt himself collapse onto a corridor inside. He landed with a thud as he felt himself return to his normal, blue, hedgehog self.
“Sonic!” a number of voices called out, all apparently happy beyond belief.
Knuckles, Tails, Amy, and even those two unlawful characters Dr. Robotnik and Rouge’ were present. It was really an interesting story how they had all come together, and it hadn’t been for a quiet family picnic either. The circumstances had forced them to unite and for the moment their differences were still put aside.
“You did it, you kept the planet from being destroyed!” Miles “Tails” Prower said, his face beaming with relief. The others were in a similar state, even Knuckles in all his seriousness was cracking a smile.
“Good job, hero,” the red echidna said with a smirk.
Sonic usually would’ve replied with his own personalized remark, but not now.
“Hey, where’s Shadow?” Amy Rose, a pink hedgehog accomplice of Sonic’s, asked.
Sonic sighed, a clear indication of what had happened. The corridor got abruptly quiet as the reality sunk in. Shadow had given his life to save the rest of the world. He’s the hero, not me, Sonic thought. The blue hedgehog got up from the floor and began to walk away, leaving a silence behind him.
Dr. Ivo Robotnik, known to many as the “Eggman” sat at his expansive control panel pondering what course of action he would take. It had been years since he had taken control of Mobotropolis, his reign overthrown and his exile from the region still in effect. He had retreated back to the rest of the world, seeking refuge in the many areas that the planet had to offer.
His most recent plans had been of a larger scale, seeking to take over the entire planet, no longer content to ruling only a small portion of it. In the process he had met up many times with his arch nemesis, Sonic the Hedgehog, and just as many times the blue creature had managed to thwart his plans.
However, with his most recent incident involving the orbiting space colony ARK he had begun to rethink many ideals that he had held in the highest regards. His grandfather, Gerald Robotnik, had shown him just what could happen when one went insane. He shuddered at the memory, remembering how close the planet had actually come to being destroyed.
Deep down inside he knew that he wouldn’t destroy the planet, even if he had the ability to do so. All that he had used the mega-laser for was to threaten the world’s leaders into submission, having them hand over the planet or face certain destruction. But Gerald was different, he had intended to use the weapon to seek his revenge on all life.
“Perhaps I need a change in scenery, something to take my mind off all that has happened,” he thought aloud to himself. He got up from his console and walked over to a nearby holographic monitor. Keying in a few buttons he brought up a star chart display, showing the known galaxy, with a few little personal additions that he himself had added. In his decades of being a “mad scientist” he had uncovered many things that no one else knew about. One in particular was other habitable worlds that supported life similar to that of Mobius.
“My old friend, we haven’t spoken in years,” Robotnik said to himself as he activated the long range transmission system that he had personally developed. Typing in a message he pressed the ‘send’ key, causing the monitor to light up as the transmitter powered up.
“Maybe it’s time I sought counsel with someone who understands…”
The irony of the ‘I told you so’ situation was incredibly overwhelming.
Sally Acorn sat on a tree branch in Knothole village, contemplating just what had been told to her. She had missed out on the latest world threat derived from the one and only Dr. Robotnik once again, and she regretted it. She hated having stood by helplessly as the giant laser device on the space colony ARK had destroyed part of the moon. Thankfully, Sonic had been there to stop him, and the world was safe because of it.
She had experienced many things in her position as leader of the Freedom Fighters, but none of them had ever been quite up to the scale of what had just recently happened. Sonic had always been the cocky one, ever positive and able to keep on going no matter what had happened. But now the blue hedgehog was not himself.
Sally remained where she has been for a few hours now, watching a lone figure doing the same half a mile away. Sonic hadn’t moved from his spot in the forest for days, and she was beginning to worry.
Perhaps he felt guilty for what had happened. She always knew Sonic to be the one who wanted to take the spotlight, to be the one who would go out in a blaze of glory. Sally wondered if Sonic had been prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice so that those he cared about could live. She glanced at him again, and knew instantly that he would have, but Shadow had made the first move and done it himself. She sighed.
“I hope he’ll be alright,” she whispered to herself.
The transmission was hazy, with bursts of static occasionally interrupting the images displayed, but considering the distance of which the communication was occurring the overall transmission was doing extraordinarily well.
“It’s been a long time, Doctor,” a deep ominous voice said, seemingly flowing with evilness as it did.
“Yes it has,” Robotnik replied, his tone still not quite up to its usual confident voice.
“You seem troubled, how has life been treating you?” the voice asked.
“Life has been complicated, but it hasn’t been what I’d call out of the norm,” the master robotics engineer replied. “How has Megakat City been?”
“It too has likewise seen its ups and downs since we last met, but nothing out of the norm either.”
“The SWAT Kats still giving you trouble?” Dr. Robotnik asked, cocking an eyebrow.
The creature on the other end of the line visibly shifted his weight at the notion.
“They are a minor annoyance, nothing that I should concern myself with too often.”
Robotnik sighed, knowing full well that he was being lied to. It wasn’t a lie that he would consider serious, just one that was hiding the truth. But, Robotnik dismissed it.
“I’ve called you to ask you a favor, Dark Kat,” Robotnik said, revealing his intentions.
“Really? What sort of favor?” Dark Kat replied, his interests perked.
“I have recently been part of… an incident, and it has caused me to do some serious thinking about many things, and you’re the only one whom I can seek counsel with.”
Now Dark Kat was beyond being having his interests merely “perked.” He leaned forward, anticipating something very important to be disclosed.
“I’m all ears, Doctor.”
Knuckles sat atop the highest peak of the Floating Island, the sanctuary for the Master Emerald. His legs were crossed and his eyes were closed as he began his daily meditation which he had just recently picked up. So far he hadn’t found too many things that could be referred to as “practical” that pertained to the ritual, but he found that it helped him relax.
He breathed in a sigh as he let his mind wander, his heart rate slow, and his consciousness slowing dwindle to a bare minimum. Just as he was about to reach that comfortable spot in his mind he heard the snow being walked on, and he quickly jumped to his feet and spun around.
“Who’s there?” he called out, assuming a defensive stance.
“Whoa, Knuckles!” a juvenile voice replied. “It’s me, Tails,” the familiar two-tailed fox said as he stepped forward.
Knuckles relaxed as he saw that it was one of his “friends.”
“What do you want?” the red echidna asked, skipping any formalities that might have taken place.
Tails returned the favor, knowing that Knuckles wasn’t really keen on conversation.
“It’s Sonic, he’s…”
“He’s what? hurt?” Knuckles asked, raising an eyebrow in moderate amusement.
“Sort of, he hasn’t been the same since, you know…” Tails said, his head drooping a little.
Knuckles knew very well what he was talking about. Death worked differently for those it affected. The red echidna was no slouch in that department, most of his race ceasing to exist for mysterious reasons.
“You don’t think that you could, you know, talk to him?” Tails asked hopefully.
“Look, Tails, I don’t know if I’m the one who should talk to him about that, we’re not really that close of friends,” Knuckles replied. Heck, it was more than that, he thought. They had both tried to kill each other on numerous occasions before, and they had managed to put it behind one another. But, there was always that minor aura of tension whenever they were around one another.
“I know that, but Sonic *listens* to you, regardless of being friends.”
Knuckles thought about that, and knew that that much was true. They both respected one another, and on that level maybe he could do something.
“Alright, I’ll see what I can do,” Knuckles said as he began to head down the mountainside. “I’ll let the rest of the Chaotix know that I’m going on a little ‘vacation’.”
Dark Kat listened intently, recording the communiqué digitally for later reference. Here was a certifiable genius before him, telling him that he was beginning to experience doubt in what he did. The purple kat had played many roles in his career as a destroyer, but therapist was new to him. He did the best he could, knowing full well what a man like Robotnik was capable of when unstable. However, it was Robotnik’s instability that fascinated him. A man with so much knowledge, resources and skill, to that degree, could be VERY powerful.
Robotnik finished saying what had happened, all the details of taking over the world, Project Shadow, and the ARK’s planet destroying laser array all tucked away in Dark Kat’s hard drive.
“That is quite an interesting turn of events indeed,” Dark Kat pondered as he scratched his chin. “Your Grandfather truly was a genius.”
“Yes,” Robotnik replied, his tone somewhat depressed.
“So, all that has happened, this has in turn caused you to reject your ways then?”
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far… I mean… I’m…” Robotnik began, at a loss for words.
“Don’t worry, my friend, we’ll take care of this one step at a time,” Dark Kat said, giving what comfort he could offer. Yes, one step at a time, Dark Kat thought to himself. Who knows what else is in that incredible mind of yours…
It had taken a few hours to reach Knothole, even in Tail’s modified bi-plane the “Tornado.” But, he was here, and he didn’t waste time. Walking into the grove where Sonic was sitting on tree stump, staring forward.
Wow, he’s worse off then Tails said, Knuckles thought as he approached the blue hedgehog.
“Sonic,” the red echidna said.
Sonic nearly jumped out of his skin, caught completely off guard by Knuckle’s silent approach.
“Don’t do that again,” Sonic said as he calmed down a little bit. Knuckles gave him an awry glance. He’s definitely not himself, Knuckles thought.
“Listen, we all know what happened, we were all a part of it, but you have to move on,” Knuckles clearly said, his tone at its maximum seriousness. Sonic sat back down on the stump, taking his former position back.
“I know I do, but, I still can’t believe that I let that happen, it should’ve been *me* who got left behind, not Shadow,” Sonic said, his composure becoming more angry. “It should’ve been me…”
“Look, I know how you feel, there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think the same thing about my family and the rest of my race,” Knuckles replied.
“Yeah,” Sonic said as he turned to face him. “How do you deal with it?”
That one caught Knuckles off guard as he wasn’t expecting to have himself questioned. He paused as he thought about, and came to a conclusion.
“I don’t,” he replied. “I merely accept it and use it as a reminder for what it is that I have to do, for what my purpose is and how to pursue it.”
Sonic sighed as he once again resumed his position, facing away.
“You’re lucky, Knuckles, you have your purpose etched out for you, I’m still looking for mine.”
“Hey, I don’t have a choice, my duty is to guard the Master Emerald, and there are times that…” he began, trailing off.
“Times that what?” Sonic asked.
“Times that I…*occasionally* envy you…”
Now it was Sonic’s turn to be surprised. That was the first time that he had heard Knuckles make any sort of personal comment about himself. It was with that statement that Sonic realized the severity of the situation. Knuckles was currently endangering his own personal duty by leaving the Floating Island, just to see how he was doing. Even with the Chaotix, Knuckles rag-tag band of friends, guarding the island, the red echidna was notorious for keeping it as his personal responsibility.
Sonic laughed as he stood up.
“You envy me?”
“I said occasionally,” Knuckles replied, his expression turning stony as he gave extra emphasis to ‘occasionally’.
“Still, even you can’t help but envy me,” Sonic said with a grin, in his trademark ‘less than serious’ manner. Great, he’s starting to get back to his old self again, Knuckles thought. Then, to his even greater surprise the blue hedgehog embraced him in a friendly hug. “Thanks Knux!”
The embrace was brief, but it still served its purpose as Sonic quickly ended it and sped off into the forest, leaving a still standing and quite stunned Knuckles in his wake.
“So, it all involved the Chaos Emeralds?” Dark Kat asked, still giving his “therapy” session. In just the past hours Dark Kat had accumulated more data than he ever thought possible from Robotnik.
“Yes, it did,” came the reply.
“What became of them after the incident?” Dark Kat inquired.
“The government confiscated them and is currently devising a way to destroy them,” Robotnik said, not really caring anymore.
This is too perfect! Dark Kat thought, contemplating just what he could do and how he could do it.
“Well, you can’t let that happen,” Dark Kat said coolly. “After all, the Chaos Emeralds run deep into your past as well as your current situation, you can’t allow them to be destroyed.”
“It matters not to me anymore, all they have done is bring me pain and suffering.”
“Perhaps, but only when they are used against you, whenever you have had them you were unstoppable!” Dark Kat said with enthusiasm, trying to get the Doctor’s confidence back up.
“Unstoppable…” Robotnik repeated, tempted once again by the power, but he shrugged off the idea. “I’ll be stopped, the forces on this planet are far greater than they once were.”
“Doctor, if I may say so in my own professional opinion, you don’t necessarily need to conquer your own planet…”
Robotnik blinked at the cryptic comment.
“What do you mean?”
The day had gone by relatively fast, and everyone was happy to see Sonic back to his old self yet again. When asked what brought him out of his funk, Sonic replied with a simple “Knuckles has a way of persuasion” and left it at that.
Although Sonic was still feeling a little off, the whole experience still in the back of his mind. He decided a little rest and relaxation would do him good. Heading to his ‘home’ in Knothole he grabbed his walkman and placed the headphones over his ears.
Knothole, in a way, was his own personal refuge when he wanted to get away from the rest of the world. Very few even knew of the village’s existence, as it was deeply concealed in the forest. Sonic had many memories of things that had taken place here, mainly during the time Robotnik was in control and the Freedom Fighters were just starting out.
He sat there, headphones over his ears as he listened to a high intensity rock album while he leaned back in his recliner chair. In most cases he would rather have been out running, but right now he felt the need to just “chill out” and relax. It didn’t last long as there was a knock on his door.
“Come on in,” he said, still listening to his headphones, tapping his foot and waving his index finger in the air to the beat. To his surprise, it was Knuckles again. Sonic leaned forward, taking off the headphones.
“Back so soon?” the blue hedgehog asked. “What’s up? Didya get another case of envy and want my autograph?” Sonic asked with smile. Knuckles, in all his serious manner, didn’t reply to the remark, instead going straight to business as usual.
“It’s the Chaos Emeralds, GUN has them and they’re going to destroy them,” Knuckles stated. “I caught the news on one of Tail’s transmission interceptions on the way home.”
“GUN’s gonna destroy them?” Sonic asked. “But how?”
GUN was the newly instated policing force, made in the wake of the many attacks and temporary occupation of Robotnik’s “Eggman Empire”. They were a force to be reckoned with, armed with the latest in weapons technology, utilizing *fleets* of aircraft carriers controlled by legions of robotic policing drones, armed with all forms of transportation and engagement equipment.
“I don’t know, but I think it’s something we should look into,” Knuckles replied. Sonic nodded. Neither of them knew what could result from the destruction of the Chaos Emeralds. Nothing at all could happen, or something drastic and horrible could result.
Sonic smelled adventure, and he decided it was just what he would need to get himself out of his funk.
“Then let’s go!” Sonic said, as he sped out the door.
“Yeah, I’ll be right with you,” Knuckles sighed as he hurried to catch up.
Dark Kat explained his plan, and he could see Robotnik’s face brighten in response.
“Yes, that sounds good, very good,” Robotnik snickered, then paused. “But, how will you do it?”
“I have my ways, just sit back and watch.”
At that moment the interior of Dark Kat’s headquarters lit up brightly as what sounded like a lightning and thunder clash filled the room.
“As a matter of fact, here he is now,” Dark Kat said as he rotated in his chair to see a kat of medium height walk toward him. He was wearing a greenish blue coat, interfaced with numerous wires and other technology that was attached, surrounded by a light blue electrical aura. The mohawk of the wearer stood rigidly as brief currents of electricity could be seen randomly going up it.
“You called?” the kat said with an obvious hint of confidence.
“Dr. Robotnik, meet an associate of mine,” Dark Kat said as he panned the transmission’s video camera. “Hard Drive.”
It was a decent sized trip from Knothole to Prison Island, but it was made easier by the fact that the whole facility was undergoing some hefty reconstruction due to one of Robotnik’s not so recent attacks. Sonic was the first to arrive, skidding to a stop just outside of the perimeter fence. Knuckles then landed right beside him, using his gliding ability to barely keep up with the hedgehog.
“Next time, let’s take a different mode of transportation,” Knuckles said, a little out of breath.
“Hey, I was going slow just for you,” Sonic replied.
“Slow?” Knuckles said. “You call going nearly 200 miles an hour slow?”
“I was *only* doing 200?” Sonic asked incredulously. “Jeez Knuckles, I didn’t know you were that out of shape,” the hedgehog replied with a smirk. Knuckles only rolled his eyes.
“C’mon, it can’t be long until they destroy the emeralds,” Knuckles said as he began to make his way over the fence, landing quietly on the other side. Sonic followed as well, both of them doing their best to be unnoticeable.
GUN Headquarters was one of the last places on the planet that anyone in their right minds would try to sneak into. But, then again, neither Sonic nor Knuckles had ever been accused of being 100% sane. Avoiding the detection systems, the two made it around the perimeter with relative ease, making sure to stay out of the way of the hovering attack drones and humanoid policing robots.
Both managed to make it to the main building without incident as Knuckles popped open a ventilation grate on the side of the structure.
“Hope you’re not claustrophobic,” Knuckles said as he hopped in. Sonic snickered as he followed without hesitation, not noticing the silhouette watching from above.
Dr. Robotnik waited patiently as he cut the vocal transmission and boosted the power levels to the space bound communications array. If what Dark Kat said was true he’d have to increase the receptors to beyond maximum, risking a possible overload. As he did, his control panel lit up brightly, electricity surging in all directions. Robotnik raised a hand to cover his eyes as he heard what sounded like thunder and lightning encompass his secret lair.
“Whoa, that was…freaky,” the voice of Hard Drive said as he materialized before the mad scientist. Now it was Robotnik’s turn to be impressed with Dark Kat. The giant purple kat had managed to send one of his own across thousands of light years via a hyper-light speed carrier wave.
“You’re…” Robotnik began.
“Hard Drive,” the electrified anthropomorphic “kat” said, his voice cool and calm. “I take it you’re Doc. Robotnik, right?”
“Yes, I am Doctor Ivo Robotnik, leader of the Eggman Empire,” the scientists said. Hard Drive cocked an eyebrow as he looked at the mustached mad scientist, wondering if the term “Eggman” had something to do with his ’round’ form. The kat decided it better not to ask.
“I’m on Dark Kat’s payroll at the moment, and he told me to listen to what it is that you want done,” Hard Drive stated as he began to walk around, looking about. “I take it you two are in the same business?”
Robotnik watched the way the kat behaved, and noticed a few things. He didn’t have much of a respect towards authority, was overly confident, and seemed to be adept in electrical systems, most likely computers as well.
“You could say that,” Robotnik replied as Hard Drive looked over a nearby computer console. “But, all formalities aside, Dark Kat sent you here to complete a task, not play 20 questions.”
Hard Drive looked up from what he was playing with to meet the Doctor’s glance. Obviously, he wasn’t a very patient person, but Hard Drive didn’t really care. Dark Kat was hardly what he would call agreeable, but the professional thief wasn’t sticking around because of the atmosphere. Payment would be in great amounts, as it always was with Dark Kat. It was because of this that Hard Drive did as he was told.
“Yes, he did,” Hard Drive said, becoming professional once again. “And I’ll need to access your computer databases in regards to maps, locations, and system configurations; I’m new to your planet after all.”
Robotnik smiled, his teeth glimmering in the poorly lit hidden base.
“Take what you need.”
Knuckles walked with a stealth that few creatures could ever even come close to attempting. Ever so carefully he snuck behind the backs of many security guards that were positioned everywhere in the building. It had been almost ten minutes since he had first entered through the outside vents, managing to stay unnoticed the entire way.
He then felt a tap on his shoulder, and the red echidna nearly shouted in surprise, just barely keeping himself from doing so. He spun around to see Sonic standing behind him.
“You know, we could go with the stealth ‘Mission Impossible’ routine and never get there, or, we could do it my way,” Sonic whispered. Knuckles sighed.
“Alright,” Knuckles whispered in return, deciding to let the blue hedgehog do what he did best. Crossing his arms and stepping aside Knuckles watched.
“Hey, do me a favor, time me,” Sonic said with a cocky grin as he instantly went super sonic, speeding forward, his feet literally leaving burn marks and brief trails of flames that jetted around a corner.
Knuckles, with his arms still crossed, walked forward as he heard the sounds of gunfire, people shouting, and explosions. The red echidna followed the path of destruction, seeing multiple drones in pieces, parts still rolling down the hallway. Knuckles then casually walked through a security door that looked like it had been cut trough with a buzz-saw, stepping over the still red hot ridges of the hole.
This same scene repeated itself over a few times as Knuckles took his time, stepping aside occasionally to avoid the sparking “corpse” of one of GUN’s security drones. Finally, Knuckles reached the end of the corridor where he found Sonic leaning against a wall, arms crossed.
“Well?” Sonic asked.
“I’d guess 2 minutes,” Knuckles replied as he walked by and entered the large room which they had both entered. Separated in different containers that resembled transparent “bird houses” the Chaos Emeralds glowed in the dim light, arranged in a circle.
“I think this part involves more of your skills here than mine, Knux,” Sonic said, gesturing to the complex array of wires, cables, and machinery. Knuckles looked and gave a slight smile.
“I’ll see what I can do,” he answered, taking a moment to crack his “knuckles.” It was because of his naturally spiked fists that he had earned the name, and he knew how to use them to a very skilled extent. He walked up to the first, and realized why Sonic hadn’t done it himself. It was sealed with a super composite alloy that couldn’t be opened forcefully by the abilities that Sonic had.
But, that’s not a problem for me, Knuckles thought as he drew back a fist, and punched the container, causing it to explode open. He then reached up and retrieved the emerald.
“That’s one down,” Knuckles said as he tossed Sonic the emerald. The hedgehog easily caught it, and followed Knuckles up to the second one.
“This is too easy,” Sonic commented as Knuckles released another emerald. Both could feel the power emanated by the mysterious stones, a power that had been part of both their lives on many an occasion.
As Knuckles continued to release the rest of the emeralds, another thought came to Sonic.
“Hey, what do we do with these now that we have them?” Sonic asked, his arms getting full as he held five of the seven Chaos Emeralds. Knuckles drew back his fist, and released the sixth as he answered.
“I’ll take them back with me to the Floating Island, that way I can keep an eye of them and the Master Emerald at the same time,” Knuckles replied as the two walked up to the final container. Before Sonic could agree or disagree the lights in the room abruptly dimmed.
“Whoa, what was that?” Sonic asked. As soon as he did, the room illuminated with a bright flash of light, and Sonic had to turn away from the flash so as not to be blinded. Once the light had cleared, both Knuckles and Sonic saw a figure standing before them, a cat in what looked to be an electrified trenchcoat.
“Have no fear, Hard Drive is here,” the cat said as he stepped down from an elevated platform that was in the middle of where the Chaos Emeralds had been arranged. Both the echidna and the hedgehog had a perplexed look on their faces as the cat came closer to them.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I’ll be taking those,” Hard Drive said as he reached forward and took one of the Chaos Emeralds from a still surprised Sonic. The blue hedgehog snapped out of his phase and quickly turned away, preventing the cat from taking any.
“Hey, back off Cat-man,” Knuckles warned, clenching his fists. “I don’t know who you are or what you’re doing here, but those emeralds are under our protection now.”
“Yes, how very touching, but I got someone who’ll pay big bucks for this fancy rock collection. Now, if you please, give them to me,” Hard Drive said, then added in a more threatening manner, “Now.”
“Alright,” Sonic said, exchanging glances with Knuckles. “You want em’, come and take em’!”
Hard Drive laughed at the arrogance, and raised an index finger at the two.
“If that’s your preference,” Hard Drive stated with a toothy feline smile as he released an electrical burst of energy at the two. Sonic, utilizing his super speed avoided the attack. Knuckles wasn’t so lucky as he was hit with the release and let out a shout of pain. He landed to the floor with a thud, slightly smoking as the Chaos Emerald he had been holding fell from the red echidna’s grasp and skidded to the floor.
Hard Drive knelt down, and picked up the emerald.
“One down,” Hard Drive said aloud, turning to face Sonic, “Six more to go.”
Sonic watched in horror as his friend had been hit with the blast, and now lay motionless on the ground. Knuckles was still breathing, so he was alive at least. For now anyway, Sonic thought, and brought his attention back to the trench coat wearing energy flinging thief.
“You creep!” Sonic shouted. “You’re gonna pay for that!”
“Cash or credit?” Hard Drive asked rhetorically as he charged up and shot more blasts at the blue hedgehog. Sonic set the Chaos Emeralds down as he dodged the blasts at super sonic speeds. Hard Drive frowned as he tried to lead a target, but the hedgehog was too fast.
“C’mon, why don’t you just hit me?” Sonic asked as he stopped a few yards away, mocking a yawn. Hard Drive began to get a little bit angrier, but paused as he let himself calm down.
“Tell me, hedgehog, do you like it medium well, or extra crispy?”
Before Sonic could reply Hard Drive placed the palm of his hand on the metallic floor. Realizing what was about to happen the blue hedgehog started to dash in the other direction, but was too late. Hard Drive released a high voltage current into the floor, shocking everything that was on it. Sonic froze mid-step as the current shot up his foot and into his body, flinging him upwards and knocking him unconscious.
“You’re good,” Hard Drive said aloud to no one in particular as he walked forward and picked up the seven Chaos Emeralds. “But I was better.”
The bright light flashed again as Hard Drive dematerialized and shot upward into the network of cables, taking the Chaos Emeralds with him, and leaving two unconscious forms behind.
Robotnik sat at his control console, tapping his fingers impatiently. Just as he was about to try and call the one known as Hard Drive via a radio transmission the trench coat clad cat appeared before him in his trademark flash of light and thunder.
“You’re late,” Robotnik said immediately.
“Perhaps, but not empty handed,” Hard Drive replied as he placed the seven Chaos Emeralds on the console in front of the “Eggman”. Robotnik’s eyes widened, as the familiar feeling of power and ambition returned to Robotnik’s mind.
“I see that Dark Kat hasn’t misplaced his trust in you,” Robotnik said as he greedily reached forward, grabbing the Chaos Emeralds in the same fashion a child would clutch a teddy bear. Hard Drive cocked an eyebrow at both the remark and the action that had followed.
“Sonic, wake up!” a voice called out as Sonic’s eyes slowly opened to see Tails. The blue hedgehog sat up, groaning as he rubbed his head.
“How’d you get here?” Sonic asked, as he began to stand up. Knuckles was already up and walking around the room, seemingly looking for something.
“I was listening to the police band hoping to try and see if I could find some bad guys to test out the Tornado’s new non-lethal weapons system with,” Tails explained as he helped Sonic up. “But instead I heard that GUN headquarters had been broken into, so I came to check it out.”
Sonic nodded, then drew his attention back to Knuckles.
“You okay?” Sonic asked.
“I’ll be alright, what I want to know is how that cat creature got out of here without a door,” Knuckles pondered aloud, still looking around for clues.
“Well, if it helps, I picked up a strange electrical disturbance in the city grid with the Tornado’s tracking system,” Tails piped up.
“So that means that whoever this guy is he can travel through electrical stuff then,” Sonic said.
“Can you still pick up the disturbances?” Knuckles asked Tails
“Sure!” Tails replied. “All we have to do is get back to the Tornado and track the residual trail left over from his traveling through the grid, he’ll show up like a…” Tails began, then paused, lacking a proper analogy.
“Like a termite in a piece of wood,” Sonic finished, getting awry glances from everyone as he did. “Hey, you try thinking up something cool to say after you’ve been knocked unconscious by a freak in a suit that looks like a Christmas tree.”
Dark Kat sat patiently in his secret concealed lair. It had been a few hours since he had sent Hard Drive across the galaxy, and he was beginning to wonder if all had gone well or not. He didn’t have to wait long as his transmission screen came back up, the face of Hard Drive filing it.
“It’s about time, what took you?” Dark Kat asked as he leaned forward.
“Just some minor difficulties with the natives, nothing I couldn’t handle,” Hard Drive responded.
“I take it you have succeeded in your objectives then?”
“Oh, you could say that,” Hard Drive replied as he stood aside to show Dr. Robotnik presently embracing the emeralds. Dark Kat blinked, realizing just how much those stones meant to this human. Dark kat chuckled, as he prepared to tell Hard Drive what to do next.
Sonic was silent as Tails piloted the Tornado, sitting in the newly added passenger seat next to the echidna. Once again he had nearly lost someone, this time Knuckles. Sonic glanced at the red echidna, trying to take his advice to heart. Once again someone almost died because of me, Sonic throughout to himself. Thankfully Knuckles didn’t, but it had been a close call never the less.
“We’re homing in on the point of origin,” Tails said as he glanced at his radar screen. He then looked down to see an abandoned factory below. “And it looks like this is the place.”
“Then let’s take a look then,” Knuckles said, eager to get back at the guy that had knocked him out.
“You got it,” Tails returned, as he switched the plane into its VTOL mode and set it down on the rooftop. Both Sonic and Knuckles jumped out, and started heading for the door. Tails was about to follow, but the blue hedgehog stopped him.
“Just a second Tails, things might get pretty bad in there, and we might need some back up,” Sonic said. Tail’s shoulders slumped, but he grudgingly agreed.
I don’t need to get you killed too, Sonic thought as he followed Knuckles inside.
Hard Drive watched as Dr. Robotnik worked on something at his computer terminal. With a glance the techno crook could see that it was nothing that concerned him, and wasn’t worth the energy used to look over the scientist’s shoulder.
Look at him, Hard Drive thought. He seems so happy now that he has those emeralds. Too bad Dark Kat has other plans in mind. But never the less, he had been instructed to follow the guys orders until Hard Drive’s “boss” told him otherwise.
As soon as he finished the thought, the sound of footsteps reached his ears. Robotnik heard it too as he rotated 360 degrees in his chair to face where the sound had come from.
“What was that?” the ‘Eggman’ asked. Hard Drive’s eyes narrowed as he looked off into the distance. This fool keeps so much junk down here it’s impossible to see if there’s anything hiding in it, Hard Drive mentally said to himself.
It was at that moment that Hard Drive felt a presence behind him, and before he could do anything he felt an unusually large fist hit him square in the face. Robotnik’s face turned to that of delight to one of rage.
“Better, huh?” Knuckles asked as he dropped down from his place on the ceiling. Sonic zoomed up next to him.
“You!” Robotnik shouted, his voice partially echoing in the immense chamber.
“I see you’re up to your old tricks, Buttnik’,” Sonic teased. “So I’ll tell you what, you just give us the Chaos Emeralds back, and we’ll make sure that you get a nice first class jail cell.”
Robotnik smiled in his usual sadistic way as he gave his reply.
“Oh, I don’t think you’re in any position to be making demands,” the mad scientist said with confidence as he began to laugh.
“Is it just me, or does he get weirder every day?” Knuckles whispered. Before Sonic could make his own personal remark about just how weird Robotnik was the Eggman made his move, slamming his fist down on a button on his computer console.
In the blink of an eye a small squad of SWAT Bots, Robotnik’s signature robotic flunkies, descended and stood between the opposing sides.
“SWAT Bots, attack!” Robotnik ordered. The robots responded with mechanic efficiency, bringing to bear a deadly assortment of projectile weapons.
“Let’s see, one, two, three…” Sonic began, counting with his finger. “Six of em’, I take it you want a few extra?”
Knuckles grinned, and proceeded to attack the first.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Sonic said as he went the other way, going after his own target. Knuckles may not have been the fastest creature on the planet, but in close quarters hand to hand combat it didn’t matter.
The first SWAT Bot opened up with a barrage of laser blasts that the red echidna easily dodged. Without mercy he drove his fist into the center of the robot, crushing its control center. It collapsed to the ground, sputtering and leaking oil.
Sonic was already on top of the second one as it hopelessly tried to shoot the blue blur that was literally running circles around it. Sonic then increased his speed to the maximum, and rolled up, turning his normally inactive quills into a deadly buzz-saw blade. In half a second Sonic was on one side of the robot, and then on the other.
It turned to face the hedgehog, then froze in place, split in two down the middle the respective parts fell from one another.
Robotnik decided it was time to take advantage of the situation, and proceeded to try and revive Hard Drive. Shaking him with both hands he tried to awaken the thief.
“Ugh…hey! stop that!” Hard Drive yelled, causing the Doctor to cease his shaking.
“I believe that it’s time for a quick exit,” Dr. Robotnik said as he glanced over his shoulder to see another SWAT Bot get destroyed. Hard Drive saw it too, and got back to his feet.
“Is the array ready?”
“Yes, everything is in place,” Robotnik replied as he grabbed the Chaos Emeralds. Hard Drive smiled as he charged up.
“Good, I was beginning to get tired of this place,” the techno crook said as he grabbed Robotnik’s arm and began to convert the two into electrical energy. The process always took longer for more than one occupant of the ‘surge coat’ that Hard Drive used.
“Hey!” Knuckles shouted, smashing another SWAT Bot as he did. “They’re leaving!”
Sonic looked up and saw what was happening, and without a word grabbed Knuckles by the shoulder as they both shot across the short distance. Hard Drive’s eyes widened as he saw what was happening, and tried to speed up the process, but to no avail.
Sonic and Knuckles hit the retreating criminals just as they were engulfed by the familiar electrical energy that the latter used to get around. In a flash all four disappeared, leaving only the totaled remains of the SWAT Bots in their wake.
Both T-Bone and Razor had been perplexed by what had seemingly barreled out of Megakat University, standing at nearly two stories. It was large, it was robotic, and apparently it didn’t like SWAT Kats. That was how it had all began, the device created by Dr. Greenbox, the microbrain repair unit, it had turned evil. Although not independently, the Metallikats had managed to lend a claw or two in its “evolution”, the device had become Zed, an assimilating mechanical mass of unstoppable potential, that was literally eating the city.
After teaming up with Dr. Greenbox, and also an unlikely ally Molly Metallikat the four had infiltrated the now skyscraper sized monstrosity and were in the process of trying to destroy it from the inside. Not much to the SWAT Kat’s surprise Molly turned on them, forcing Razor to counter attack and remove her protective force field band, a device that prevent Zed from assimilating them. The end result was Molly no longer being alone, quickly joined with her previously assimilated robotic husband inside the twisted array of joined technologies.
That hadn’t surprised the SWAT Kats, what followed next did.
Dr. Greenbox, consumed by all of his pride and sense of self accomplishment, also turned on the SWAT Kats, destroying the deactivator that he had brought specifically to stop Zed’s destructive rampage. Greenbox merged with his creation, and the two reassured one another’s purpose, deciding world domination was in order. Naturally, the SWAT Kats couldn’t allow this to happen, and they were forced to “take both of em’ out” if necessary.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t as easy as they had hoped. Greenbox used his own personal knowledge to alert Zed of the protective bands, and the robotic entity proceeded to disarm Megakat City’s vigilantes of them, then restraining them and removing all of their weaponry.
It was at this time that Zed had reached the Pumadyne research facilities, and had proceeded to assimilate the Megabeam Laser Satellite, a device capable of stopping earthquakes from orbit. Wanting to “test” its effectiveness, Greenbox had it fired at Megakat Mountain. The affect was unbelievable, as the laser charged up and released a blast equivalent to that of a nuclear bomb. The mountain was completely wiped off the face of the planet.
T-Bone had seen enough, and as Zed targeted the center of Megakat City counting down from ten, the larger of the two SWAT Kats, summoning a will from deep within broke free of the restraints. Grabbing one of the now broken mechanical tendrils he used it like a bullwhip, knocking the “heart of Zed” from Greenbox’s hands, causing it to shatter on the floor plating.
The hulking mass of Zed began to destabilize, and the resulting shock knocked Greenbox unconscious. T-Bone scooped up Greenbox as both he and Razor scrambled to find a way out. Leaping from a recently opened port the two engaged their Delta Packs, gliders that allowed them to fly away from the massive destruction that was occurring in their wake.
Zed literally fell to pieces, as the two SWAT Kats touched down.
“I suppose you’re responsible for all of this,” Commander Feral said, seemingly coming out of nowhere. T-Bone sighed, and really didn’t feel like taking any verbal abuse.
“Hey, don’t try to pin this one on us!” T-Bone replied. Feral’s face seemed to change.
“Actually, I was thinking about thanking you,” the highest ranking officer of the Enforcers began. “But I’ve changed my mind.”
Both T-bone and Razor exchanged glances, both with perplexed looks.
“Gotta love this job,” Razor remarked with a grin. T-Bone laughed as they handed Greenbox over to the Enforcers and proceeded to make their way back home.
Commander Ulysses Feral, chief officer of the Enforcers of Megakat City, drove his sedan down Main Street, commuting to work as he did every day.
The week had passed with a relatively grateful sensation experienced by many in Megakat City. Reconstruction was in wide demand, as was an idea in the Commander’s mind that had been stewing for quite some time. They had the resources, they had the technology, they even had the money. The incident with Zed was just what Feral needed to get enough public support.
He paused at an intersection as the light turned red.
Already he had proposed his plan the High Command, and they seemed to think it was a good idea. They’ve had their chance, Feral thought with a scowl. Many chances, more than they deserved.
The light soon turned green and he rounded a corner and found himself stuck in traffic, cars backed up for what seemed to be a few blocks. He craned his neck out of his window to see what was happening, and blinked when he did. A nearby power distribution junction was being evacuated, and fire department and EMT’s were quickly arriving on the scene.
An explosion soon followed, and a full scale blaze erupted from the building. It was in that moment that the Commander saw something all too familiar; a brief surge of unnatural electricity emanating from the interior. Thoughts of his ‘project’ soon vanished as his years of training came into effect.
“This is Feral,” the Commander said into his radio. “Get me troops at Megakat Power Junction on the double!” he ordered as he turned on his siren and made his way through the traffic.
“…and that’s how little Timmy saved the life of a thankful senior citizen,” Ann Gora said as she turned to face another camera. “In other news, project Exile has received final approval and was deployed earlier today. Its construction kept secret for security reasons, this space station will be the first stepping stone in a new age of technological achievement. As many katizens already know, project Exile was inspired directly by Commander Feral, and researchers at MASA space center have worked diligently over the past few years to make this idea a reality. In record breaking time the facility has been constructed, launched into orbit and is now awaiting the final element; the prisoners that will be held in the inescapable prison.”
Jake Clawson switched off the TV, interested by the topic at hand but not at the cost of his job. He Chance still had a debt to pay off after all.
He headed for the garage, grabbing his red baseball cap as he did. Turning it backward the skilled mechanic made his way to the garage. His best friend, roommate, and co-employee Chance Furlong was under the hood of a car, most likely souping it up beyond the recommended safety limits. “Hey Chance, did you here about this Project Exile?”
Chance looked up from his position at the engine, gradually tinkering with a wrench.
“Yeah, something about a new prison,” he replied, more concentrated on the work at hand. “Hey Jake, can you hand me that screw driver over there?”
Jake nodded as he reached into the nearby toolbox and rummaged around, looking for the desired tool. Finding it, he tossed it to Chance who caught it easily without looking. After a few more moments the larger kat took his head out of the hood.
“There, all finished,” he said, a sense of accomplishment in his voice.
“Great, I’ll go get the replacement engine ready,” Jake said dryly.
“Hey, I got it perfect this time,” Chance said as he closed the hood with a resounding clank. “This baby is gonna purr like a kitten.”
As Chance prepared to enter the car to prove his point the sound of a klaxon reached both their ears.
“Heh, looks like you got saved by the bell,” Jake said as he walked over to the corner of the room. Sliding aside a dirty old rug he gained access to a trap door and climbed down through the opening.
“Yeah, we’ll see who’s laughing when we get back,” Chance returned with a smile as he followed. The SWAT Kats, vigilante defenders of Megakat City, were known throughout the world. Little did anyone suspect that they were actually a pair of grease monkey garage mechanics stuck on a salvage yard as punishment for a controversial incident within the paramilitary policing force known as the Enforcers.
Jake hit the lights as he reached the bottom, illuminating a massive underground hangar housing all of the SWAT Kats signature gadgets, weaponry and vehicles. Neither of them knew where the hangar had come from, but they didn’t pass up on a good opportunity. Not wanting to be out of the law enforcement scene the two constructed their own jet out of the salvage in the yard, the Turbokat, and proceeded to enforce their own brand of justice.
“Razor here Ms. Briggs, what’s the problem?” Jake asked, reaching the klaxon communicator first. Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs was among the very few that had a direct way to communicate with the SWAT Kats, and with good reason to. Being the highest ranking public official that the two vigilantes could trust she proved to be a highly valuable source of information.
“Razor, something strange is happening at the Megakat Power Junction, and Feral is heading in with a heavily armed squad. I’d feel a lot better if I knew you two were around to keep an eye on things,” Callie said, her voice showing concern.
“No problem, we’re on our way,” Jake replied as he hung up the receiver. “Looks like we got another ‘mysterious’ power failure, buddy.”
“Aww crud, and we just finished fixing the jet,” Chance complained. “Who is it? Dr. Viper? Dark Kat? Madkat? Who?”
“Nopes, all of them are taking an extended vacation in Alkatraz, and Zed’s totaled. All of them are taken care of, all except for one,” Jake stated. “Hard Drive.”
“Well, let’s go and show sparky the exit then,” Chance said with a grin.
Both kats walked over to a pair of vertical lockers, each one with a ‘T’ and ‘R’ scratched in respectively.
In seconds perfected by years of practice the two changed into their SWAT Kat ‘uniforms’ which consisted of blue jumpsuits with red equipment harnesses, black bandanas with eye holes and custom flight helmets. The two then leapt up into the awaiting cockpit of the Turbokat, which descended on its hydraulic lift and positioned for take off in the underground runway.
Chance, now “T-Bone” sat in the front seat as pilot. He reached forward and slammed down the throttle as the engines roared to life, sending the jet rocketing forward. At the end of the tunnel a concealed door opened and the Turbokat rose out of the salvage yard and ascended into the sky.
Hard Drive groaned as he opened his eyes. He turned his head to see that he was in some kind of power plant, with Dr. Robotnik lying unconscious next to him. However, it wasn’t just Robotnik; the hedgehog and the echidna were there as well. Hard Drive groaned again, this time out of anger. He slowly got up to his feet, still dazed by what had happened.
My surge coat must have overloaded from the strain, and dropped us in a random point in Megakat City, Hard Drive thought. He checked the status of his suit, and activated the backup power cells as he once again became electrified.
Finally regaining his full sense of balance Hard Drive walked over to where the two adversaries were. The techno crook raised his hand as he charged up a high voltage energy discharge.
“Nice knowing you, send me a postcard from wherever you go,” Hard Drive said, merely for his own amusement. Just as he was about to fire the blast he heard a weapon cock behind him as he spun around.
“Hold it right there, Hard Drive,” Commander Feral said, aiming his gun at the criminal known all throughout MKC. “Put your hands up and don’t move.”
He wasn’t alone either, a small squad of Enforcers in full SWAT gear had accompanied the Commander, and were all taking aim at him. Seeing that his options were somewhat limited, Hard Drive decided to choose the one that would keep him alive in all respects.
“Yes, of course Commander,” Hard Drive replied as he put his hands up in the air, and at the same moment released the discharge upward into the power plant’s inner workings. The result was quick, as the entire room was engulfed in electrical discharges, causing the Enforcers to take a step back or risk being fried by the chaotic energy.
Hard Drive wasted no time as he picked up the Chaos Emeralds and grabbed onto Dr. Robotnik as he immersed the two of them into his electrical form.
“Stop him!” Feral ordered as his Enforcers opened fire, but were too late as the techno thief had vanished.
Knuckles awoke abruptly as he felt the feeling of utter chaos around him. He opened his eyes just in time to see a support beam falling in his direction. He reflexively rolled out of the way as it impaled the place that he has just been occupying.
“Evacuate!” a voice called out in the distance, and judging by the buildings current situation the red echidna decided that it was probably the best course of action. He picked up the still unconscious Sonic and ran up to a nearby wall. Giving it his best punch he shattered it, creating an exit. He jumped out just as an explosion erupted from the interior, sending flames shooting outward. He landed in a not so graceful manner with Sonic plopping down next to him.
“Ugh…what happened?” Sonic asked, awoken by the fall. Knuckles was about to reply but the building’s collapse prevented him from doing so. After a few moments the explosions ceased as the power fueling it depleted.
“I don’t know, but we’re not in the same place,” Knuckles said as he looked about. The building wasn’t the abandoned warehouse that the two had last remembered, but was what appeared to be a burning power plant of some kind.
“It’s more than that, we’re not even in the city anymore,” Sonic said as he stood up, not recognizing any structures. It was then that the two heard voices that seemed to be directed at them, and they both turned to see a number of anthropomorphic cats wielding weapons looking at them.
“Uh…we come in peace?” Sonic said a little bit perturbed. Knuckles didn’t say anything as he observed what was happening.
“What the?” the larger of them said in surprise. “What are these things?”
Sonic was just a little bit annoyed at being termed as a “thing” and stepped forward to try and communicate.
“Hey, we’re not things-” Sonic began, but froze as they brought their weapons to bear and aimed them right at him.
“Hold it right there, we’re taking you in for questioning,” the tallest one ordered, obviously the voice of authority. Sonic had had enough, and decided that it would be best to give up on verbal communication. Using his mind numbing speed the blue hedgehog rushed up to the first of the armed cats and took the weapon away as he spun the cat in a miniature tornado, causing him to fall to the ground disarmed.
“Enforcers, open fire!” the tallest one ordered. The “Enforcers” took aim and fired.
“Whoa!” Sonic exclaimed as he dodged laser blast after laser blast, running around just barely keeping ahead of the barrage. Knuckles decided to use the distraction to his advantage and ran up to the nearest Enforcer and knocked him down, taking the weapon and breaking it in two.
“This is Feral,” the tallest said into a hand held radio. “Bring me chopper backup!”
Sonic dodged the fire, and decided that it would be best to vacate the premises. He grabbed Knuckle’s arm as he zoomed down the nearest street.
“Hey!” Knuckles blurted out as Sonic raced the two of them out of the vicinity in a hurry.
“Sorry about that, but I was in a hurry,” Sonic said as he stopped, making it across five blocks in mere seconds.
“You know, you could’ve handled that better,” Knuckles remarked as he looked around.
“They were pointing guns at me, what do you expect?” Sonic asked incredulously. “Besides, they didn’t seem like they would be very helpful anyway.”
“Helpful or not you shouldn’t have aggravated them, we’re in a strange place with strange occupants,” Knuckles stated as he heard the sound of engines. “And here come a few of them now.”
Sonic looked up to see a small squadron of what looked to be attack helicopters zoning in on their position. Sonic was about to grab Knuckles and start running again, but the echidna stopped him.
“No, this time, we do it *my* way,” Knuckles stated as he reached down and removed the opening to a manhole in the street. “We stay hidden, we find out where we are, and we find out what happened to Hard Drive and the Chaos Emeralds.”
Sonic didn’t have time to reply as the choppers zeroed in and opened fire. Knuckles grabbed Sonic as he jumped into the manhole, taking the hedgehog with him.
“Looks like we’re too late,” T-Bone commented as they flew to the scene. All that could be seen was a few Enforcers knocked unconscious and the smoldering remains of what used to be the Megakat Power Junction station.
“Yeah, but whatever it was sure got Feral steamed,” Razor remarked as he looked out his canopy to see the Commander yelling at his squad. Abruptly one of the Turbokat’s alarms came online, one that Razor had made for a specific threat. “Well, looks like someone forgot to mask their energy signature,” Razor said with a grin as he activated the jet’s electromagnetic disturbance detector.
“Where’s he at?” T-Bone asked over his shoulder as Razor zoned in on a target.
“He’s heading south on the main grid, towards Pumadyne,” the smaller SWAT Kat reported as the larger hit the throttle full force, sending them rocketing forward.
Hard Drive re-materialized inside of a vacant office in Pumadyne; one of his many preset hiding places that he had prepared in case of emergency. Robotnik materialized with him, still unconscious and falling to the floor. The techno crook sighed as he nearly threw out his back hefting the large scientist to a sitting position against a wall.
“Why do they have to be so fat?” Hard Drive asked rhetorically as he walked over to a nearby computer terminal. He booted it up quickly, and linked himself to the terminal so as to provide maximum efficiency.
“What’s going on?” the voice of Dark Kat asked as his image soon came up on the nearby monitor. “What happened?”
“A slight problem, but don’t worry, your playmate is here,” Hard Drive said as he maintained the secure connection. Dark Kat’s location was kept incredibly secret, and as far as Hard Drive knew he was the only other person to know of it. “He’s in one big fat piece…unfortunately. You do know that the greater mass I have to carry slows down the conversion process, don’t you?”
“Yes I know,” Dark Kat said, not amused. “Did you get the data I wanted you to collect?”
“Yes, I did,” Hard Drive said, almost as if he had been insulted. “I’m transmitting now, this could take a moment or two.”
The techno crook had many talents, one of them primarily being with computers and how to manipulate them. Starting out with simple ATM raids, Hard Drive eventually moved up to the next level; stealing highly sensitive government files and then selling them to the highest bidder. It was these skills that had caught Dark Kat’s attention, and the purple megalomaniac had “recruited” Hard Drive for his own personal means.
“There, the transfer is complete,” Hard drive stated as he finished the upload. Dark Kat smiled as he spoke.
“Good, now, send Robotnik to me,” Dark Kat ordered. Hard Drive sighed as he approached the still unconscious mass. “Remember, I need him alive, he must not be…” Dark Kat began, but was interrupted as Hard Drive cut the connection abruptly. The door behind him had opened, and Hard Drive spun around, only too late as a black sticky substance exploded onto him, restraining him against the nearest wall.
“You’re getting sloppy, Hard Drive,” a voice said, one that the techno crook knew all too well. The SWAT Kats came into full view, and the smaller one, Razor, was addressing him. “We could’ve seen your energy signature all the way from Megakat Springs.”
Hard Drive mentally cursed. In his hurry to escape the Enforcers and transport Robotnik he had neglected to change the frequency of his surge coat to that of the main power grid. Once again that fat man is breaking my back, Hard Drive growled.
“Watch it sparky, there’s more where that came from,” T-Bone warned as both of the SWAT Kats aimed their glovatrix’s, wrist-bound devices that utilized a vast array of weapons, at the criminal. “Just sit tight until the Enforcers get here. Then you can go back to your nice comfy cell in Alkatraz.”
“I don’t think so SWAT Kats,” Hard Drive snickered. “In case you didn’t realize, you’re in *my* house.”
The two SWAT Kats gave each other a look as Hard Drive quickly reestablished his connection to Pumadyne’s mainframe. In the blink of an eye he accessed the menial subroutines of the complex, and activated the door control program. T-Bone didn’t see it coming until it was too late as the mechanized door slammed shut right into his back. The larger SWAT Kat was thrown off of his feet, taking the smaller one with him in the process.
Hard Drive laughed as he powered up, the heat of the electrical force around him elevating until the black, tar-like substance that imprisoned him melted away.
The effect the door had on the SWAT Kats didn’t last long as T-Bone was already back on his feet. The larger kat raised his glovatrix and fired a bolo reflexively. Hard Drive easily blasted it mid-air, causing it to land on the ground in flames.
It was then that Hard Drive remembered Robotnik, and not wanting to risk the wrath of Dark Kat, he decided not to pursue the conflict any further. He dove behind a cubicle where Robotnik was, and quickly began the energy conversion process. Hard Drive paused as the other SWAT Kat, Razor, dove around the corner as well, firing what seemed to be some sort of grenade.
Hard Drive knew better, having experienced the device before. The techno crook desperately continued, hoping against hope that he could be faster. The grenade exploded, sending water in all directions. With great effort Hard Drive transmitted himself, along with Robotnik, but was too late. The water made it’s near deadly effect as Hard Drive shorted out. He let out a brief moan of pain, and fell to the ground unconscious.
“Nice shot,” T-Bone commented as he approached the still sparking criminal.
“Terrible shot,” Razor muttered as he looked around the office. A few things were on fire and an even greater were blackened by burns. “Feral’s not gonna like this.”
“No, he’s not,” a voice said from behind. The two turned to see Commander Feral along with a small squad of Enforcers behind him. “Vacate the area, the Enforcers will handle it from here.”
T-Bone made a face of disgust, but knew better than to argue right now. Feral had non-verbally allowed them to leave, something he didn’t do very often. Rather then aggravate the assigned protectors of the city any more than necessary T-Bone and Razor made a quick exit.
Feral eyed them as they left. He had always despised vigilantes, no matter how ‘noble’ they might be. He then supervised as Hard Drive was lifted up and out of the room, still unconscious. What he didn’t see was the power outlet near where the techno crook had fallen. It was still sparking slightly, covered in minor burns; all signs of travel by dematerialization…
“Alright Knuckles, your way stinks,” Sonic said as he pinched his nose. “Literally.”
The two walked in the dark pipes of the sewage system of the city, being careful to watch their footing so as not to take any bad steps.
“Trust me, a little stench is far more preferable to having an army shooting at you,” Knuckles replied as he made his way forward. Sonic rolled his eyes, not really eager to be reminded of recklessness or bad decisions.
“So, where do you think we are?” Sonic asked, changing the subject. Knuckles didn’t reply for a moment.
“I…don’t know, it’s weird, not only can I not sense the Master Emerald, but I can’t get my bearings straight either,” the red echidna said. “It’s as if we’re not even on the same planet.”
“You might be more right than you think Knux,” Sonic said. “If that Hard Drive guy is any indication then ‘Buttniks been doing some dealin’ on the extra terrestrial front.”
“Maybe,” Knuckles said as he paused. He touched his hand to his forehead as he took a moment to concentrate. “I can still sense that the Chaos Emeralds are here as well, but my link to them is far weaker than that of the Master Emerald.”
“Well, if they’re here then we’ll find them,” Sonic said, determined to get some payback. The blue hedgehog then turned to see a ladder just around the corner, and decided that it was time to leave the sewers. “I’ll have a look up top to see where we are,” Sonic said as he hastily climbed upward. Knuckles followed, not exactly eager to remain where they were either.
Robotnik found himself in a different place as he regained consciousness, a place that didn’t look entirely welcoming to the average person. But then again, he wasn’t the average person, and the gloomy darkness and cold metal infrastructure of wherever he was seemed more welcoming than anything he had experienced in the past few weeks.
“Good morning Doctor, I trust that you slept well?” a large booming voice said from behind. Robotnik turned around to see Dark Kat face to face for the first time in years. The scientist smiled as he spoke.
“Always good to see you in the flesh, or is it fur?,” Robotnik said. Dark Kat returned the smile as he turned around.
“I hope the journey wasn’t too excruciating, Hard Drive’s surge coat had a little bit of a mix up, but nothing overly extreme,” Dark Kat spoke with a level of self confidence that bordered on both arrogance and intellect at the same time.
“I remember being attacked at the last moment by the hedgehog,” Robotnik recalled, disdain heard clearly in his speech. “I can only hope that he was incinerated by the resonance burst that the electrical field caused.”
Dark Kat didn’t reply right away as Robotnik mentioned the hedgehog.
“That’s probably a little too much to hope for…”
“What do you mean?” Robotnik asked. Dark Kat turned to face the man once again.
“Apparently when Hard Drive phased both you and himself into an electrical form the hedgehog and his companion managed to interrupt at just the wrong moment, becoming part of the energy field and…”
“And, bringing them to this planet,” Dark Kat finished. Robotnik’s mood visibly changed as his face turned a shade of red and he gritted his teeth. He turned away for fear of doing something he might regret as he clenched his fists.
“I don’t believe that they’ll pose much of a problem,” Dark Kat said as he attempted to brush the matter aside. Robotnik nearly exploded as he turned to face the large purple kat.
“Don’t EVER underestimate that hedgehog!” Robotnik said, a little bit more harshly than he intended. “He has caused me more suffering than I ever thought possible, if he’s here then he should be considered an EXTREME threat!”
Dark Kat blinked at the outburst, and briefly considered setting the human in his place, but the professional terrorist decided that it was best to go along.
“Very well, Doctor, you’ve clearly stated your point,” Dark Kat replied as he headed for his control room. “I’ll dispatch my forces to take care of the threat, by this time tomorrow, the hedgehog and the echidna shall be no more.”
“For yours and my sake, you’d better be right.”
The SWAT Kats had taken to the skies once again in the Turbokat, flying above the city in a ‘patrol’ fashion. The Enforcers could handle the task at hand, and the two vigilantes didn’t really have anything more to contribute to it. However, something had bothered Razor.
The whole situation with Hard Drive at the power junction didn’t make any sense. Usually the techno crook was more careful with his method of travel.
“This whole thing stinks,” Razor commented.
“What does?” T-Bone asked over his shoulder from the pilot seat. Razor replied as he scratched his chin, pondering.
“Think about it. You’re a professional thief with added abilities and skills. Why would you just arrive in the middle of a power plant with no purpose in mind and leave in so big of a hurry that anyone with a surge detector could track you?”
“Maybe Hard Drive’s been up to more than just simple theft,” T-Bone suggested.
“Knowing him you’re probably right. I’d also bet that-” Razor began, but was interrupted as a beeping reached his ears as he looked up at the radar screen. “We got incoming!”
“Where?” T-Bone asked, looking from his radar then out the canopy in all directions. He didn’t have to search long as what appeared to be flying robots flew towards them. “I see em’!” the larger SWAT Kat reported as he brought the jet around, preparing for an attack.
“I’m bringing the weapons online,” Razor said as he shoved all of the video equipment out of the way. After another half second the weapons panel came to life as the radar began to lock onto the targets. “We’re locked and loaded, ready to engage.”
“Alright, here they come,” T-Bone said through gritted teeth. The robots were traveling at a fast rate straight at them. As Razor prepared to fire, something unexpected happened. The robots flew right past the vigilante’s jet, not bothering to change course to attack.
“Huh?” T-Bone thought aloud as the blips on the radar began to go farther away.
“Something’s not right,” Razor pondered. “You don’t just see a couple of heavily armed automations fly by us and not say ‘hello’.”
“I’m on it,” T-Bone reported as he brought the Turbokat about and increased the throttle, causing the afterburners to hit, sending them shooting after the mysterious objects.
Sonic pushed the manhole up and out as he clambered out of the sewer access port with Knuckles right behind him.
“Fresh air,” Sonic sighed as he took in a big whiff of it. Knuckles couldn’t help but be relieved too, the smell of sewage wasn’t all that appealing to an echidna’s nose either.
“So, here we are again,” Knuckles said aloud as he took in his surroundings. “It doesn’t look like we made it very far.”
“I don’t know about that, this city seems to be pretty big,” the blue hedgehog surmised. “We could’ve traveled a few miles and not known it.”
“Maybe,” Knuckles replied, but then stopped. Something wasn’t right. His senses were tingling, and he looked up just in time. “Run!” he shouted as he dodged out of the way. Sonic looked up too, and momentarily froze as he saw a missile bearing down on him. He quickly ran as fast as he could, the projectile impacting the place in the street he had just been standing on.
“Phew, that was too…” Sonic began, then looked up again. More of the projectiles were heading his way. He quickly accelerated, shooting down the street as the missiles impacted behind him, leaving a trail of fire in his wake. “What’s going on?” he asked no one in particular as he took a sharp right turn at an intersection, another missile exploding right behind him.
“I think that someone isn’t too happy that we’re here,” Knuckles replied, as Sonic looked up to see the echidna gliding above him. But that wasn’t the only thing he noticed. Three heavily armed robots were trailing after the two, apparently firing the missiles that were currently remodeling the street in an effort to kill them.
Sonic did his best to avoid the cars on the road, purposely leading the missiles away so as not to harm any innocent bystanders. It worked for the most part as the explosions still followed after him.
“Alright, I think it’s time we show these flying trash cans who they’re dealing with,” Sonic said as he turned around a full 180 degrees to face his opposition. One of the robots landed with a loud metallic clank as it brought its weapons to bare. Sonic didn’t waste any time as he rocketed at the robot and rolled into a ball, hoping to apply his buzz saw attack. He impacted the side of the machine, and much to his surprise bounced off, and fell to the side.
“What the heck is that thing made out of?” Sonic asked incredulously. Knuckles was having a similar problem as he engaged another of the robots mid air, landing on top of it and pummeling his fists with great force. The robot twisted sideways, causing the red echidna to go flying to the ground where he crashed next to Sonic.
“Well, that’s not good,” Knuckles muttered under his breath as he got back up. Sonic did the same as he faced the three adversaries, all of them landing on the ground and slowly moving inward, so as to surround them from all sides.
“Do you think Robotnik sent these things?” Sonic asked as he backed into Knuckles. The red echidna faced the other direction as he clenched his fists.
“I don’t think so, there was nothing that Robotnik ever made that I couldn’t punch through.”
The lead robot brought its main weapon to bare, targeting Sonic. The blue hedgehog tensed as he considered his options, none of which seemed too appealing.
However, he didn’t have to think as the robot in front of him abruptly incinerated in a huge fireball, knocking both Sonic and Knuckles to their backs. The other two robots turned and looked upward, just in time to see a black jet barreling down on them.
“Scratch one robot,” Razor said as he reset his targeting systems.
“Two more to go buddy, and they don’t look like they’re gonna stay still,” T-Bone warned as one of the other robots took off in a flurry of afterburner, headed right at the vigilantes.
“No prob, this one’s toast,” Razor replied confidently as he slid down his targeting visor from his helmet over his eyes. The robot was seen clearly as the crosshairs in the visor quickly joined together to form a blinking red lock.
“It slices, it dices, it’ll make a fruit slushy in two point five seconds,” Razor began as he pressed the firing stud on his control stick. Multiple blades shot out of the Turbokat’s wings, soaring off in unison at their target. The robot shuddered in midair as the blades sliced through its exterior, causing it to fall to pieces. “Turbo-blades, available at your local SWAT Kat depot,” Razor finished.
“Watch out, there’s still one left, sure-shot,” T-Bone cautioned as a few laser blasts seared within inches of the canopy. The larger SWAT Kat looked over his shoulder to see the final automaton in pursuit, firing its weapons at them. He hit the afterburner as he pulled up on the joy stick, sending them into a wide loop and zooming behind the robot. “Shot’s all yours Razor.”
“Let’s see how this thing likes electricity,” Razor said as he targeted and fired. “Spider-chain missile, away!”
The custom made missile shot forward at it’s target, exploding into a web of chains that tightly wrapped around the robot and sent a high intensity electrical current into it, overloading its systems and causing it to explode in a fiery plume.
“Whoa, where’d that jet come from?” Sonic asked as he watched the mechanical carnage occurring before him.
“Why don’t you ask them?” Knuckles asked. The jet slowly came about and hovered in the air for a moment before landing about 20 yard away.
“Well, maybe I will,” Sonic declared as he walked over to where the jet had landed. The wind generated by the engines slowly subsided as the aircraft powered down. The canopy opened up, and two of the natives dressed in blue flight suits wearing black bandanas over their eyes hopped down.
“What the?” the larger one said aloud, raising what looked like a wrist attached weapon. Sonic sighed, not wanting to have to go through that again.
“Hold it T-Bone,” the smaller one said, placing a hand on the other’s shoulder.
“Were you the guys that took out those robots?” Sonic asked, deciding to try talking again. Both of the cats gave each other a look, apparently not expecting Sonic to be able to speak.
“Um, yeah, that was us,” the smaller said.
“What’s going on?” Knuckles whispered, and from Sonic’s viewpoint he could see the larger cat asking the smaller one the same question.
“Alright, you can cut the tension here with a knife,” T-Bone stated as he decided to go out on a limb. “I take it you guys aren’t from around here?”
Robotnik slammed his fists on the nearest console in rage as the last energy signal from the final robot winked out of existence. He growled in a near animal like manner as he thought of what he could destroy that was in easy reach.
“Calm yourself,” Dark Kat said as he too saw what had happened. “It’s only a minor set back.”
“MINOR SET BACK???” Robotnik shouted in astonishment. “You’re efforts to eliminate the hedgehog have failed!”
“My technology is more than equal to the task of eliminating those pests, however an unexpected element has been added,” Dark Kat responded, pondering aloud.
“It seems that the SWAT Kats, in all their civil servant glory, have given aid to your adversaries.”
“So?” Robotnik said. “Just get rid of them so that way we can crush the hedgehog!”
“That, Doctor, is what I have attempted many times,” Dark Kat replied as he scratched his chin. “You can’t expect to win against the SWAT Kats by merely attacking them head on, believe me, I’ve tried. What this situation needs is finesse and ingenuity, traits that both you and I specialize in, Doctor.”
“That’s quite an interesting story there,” T-Bone said as he crossed his arms. “But I’ve heard better.”
“Hey, we’re telling the truth,” Sonic returned. “We’re from a planet called Mobius and we were brought here against our will by that electrical freak Hard Drive.”
“And why was that again?” Razor asked, still a little perplexed.
“To get the Chaos Emeralds,” Knuckles spoke, slightly annoyed at having to explain their current situation. “What I want to know is what were those things that attacked us?”
T-Bone looked over to Razor and gave his fellow SWAT Kat a glance that told the other that he obviously wasn’t believing a word that was being said.
“Well, this looks like technology that Dark Kat would use,” Razor pondered aloud as he briefly dug through the rubble. “But he’s incarcerated…”
“Dark Kat?” Sonic asked.
“Yeah, Dark Kat, big, scary, purple kinda guy with this annoying habit of trying to destroy the city,” T-Bone described.
Sonic and Knuckles gave each other glances as well.
“Alright, we’re getting nowhere with this,” Razor said, trying to rush the explanation as certain urgent matters had just been revealed. “Look, we have a sort of unofficial job of protecting the city, so we can’t stick around too long,” Razor paused as he withdrew a triangular device from his jumpsuit pocket. “So, if you find yourselves attacked by robots again call us and we’ll help.”
Sonic took the device and looked it over, seeing that it was some kind of radio device. The two SWAT Kats turned and got back in their jet as the sounds of Enforcer sirens could be heard in the distance.
“I think that’s our cue to leave too,” Knuckles said as he began to head in the opposite direction. Sonic began to leave too, but stood for a moment to watch the SWAT Kat’s jet lift up into the sky and shoot out of view.
What kind of weird place have we wound up in? The thought stuck in Sonic’s mind as he turned to follow Knuckles, both leaving the scene as the Enforcers arrived.
“Hard Drive is no longer available, so any errands you were going to have him carry out you can give to me,” Dark Kat said as he approached the ‘Doctor.’
“Very well,” the Eggman said, not turning to face the megalomaniac. He didn’t really care either way. “That idiot was getting rather annoying anyway.”
Robotnik analyzed the specifications given to him, and he smiled with evil glee. These parameters are far more simple than I expected, the mad scientist thought to himself. These SWAT Kats will be no match for what I have in store for them.
As he began to enter data into a nearby computer console, a silent alarm signified by a blinking red light came online.
“What’s that?” Robotnik asked. Dark Kat stood up from his command chair and hurriedly walked from one end of the room to the other.
“Ah, I have failed to mention just where it is that we are,” Dark Kat stated as he briskly made his way to a locked door.
“And, just ‘where is it that we are’?” Robotnik inquired, not really caring either way. The large purple kat had granted him access to all of the resources that were available, and Robotnik was not going to let such an opportunity go to waste.
“Technically speaking, I am incarcerated, and it is at this time that I must make a brief public appearance,” Dark Kat explained as he entered the doorway. “This shouldn’t take too long,” the kat said as he closed the door behind him.
Commander Feral followed the warden deep into Alkatraz Island, a prison sealed off from the outside world. The incident earlier in the day had left him uneasy, the strange creatures proving to be too difficult to detain. Thankfully his men had managed to catch Hard Drive later in the day during one of his predictable ventures to Pumadyne. Currently the techno villain was being brought back to Alkatraz to serve out his sentence.
As for the other creatures, he would need to keep a closer eye out for them in the near future, the Commander thought as he continued to walk. But right now that’s not what I’m concerned about.
The warden stopped at a junction, removing a key card from his pocket and inserting it into the locked door, causing the red status light to turn green, unlocking the barrier. Two armed guard followed in Feral’s wake, both there for security reasons. Now at that moment Commander Feral was entering a zone which was only reserved for the most dangerous of convicts.
The lighting was dim, and the air slightly moist as the island prison’s natural condensation lined the walls. Deep underground it was a maze of concrete tunnels, designed to give those unfamiliar with their surroundings a special disadvantage. After a few more minutes of travel, the warden approached another door, this one much heavier in design.
“This is our star line up, Commander Feral,” the warden said as he removed multiple keys from his pockets. He inserted them in their respective slots, and typed in a few key codes. He then placed his hand on a pad that read his fingerprints and looked into a lens that did a quick retinal scan. A few moments passed as the red status light turned to green, and the mechanical sound of gears cranking inside the door could be heard.
“Welcome to Level 6,” the warden said as the door opened and he stepped inside. Commander Feral followed, the two escorting guards still trailing them. “Here you will find the most dangerous criminals this planet has to offer.”
Commander Feral walked silently as he continued to follow the warden. Individual cells with more security than Fort Knox lined the sides, with little 1 foot by 1 foot viewing plates that were in excess of 2 feet thick. Out of curiosity Feral peered into one of them, and saw Dr. Viper inside, sitting at a small table writing down notes. The mutated biochemist turned to see that he was being observed, and snarled in anger.
“A star line up indeed,” Feral muttered as he moved on. More and more cells followed, and Feral individually checked each one. They’re all here, finally captured, Feral thought proudly. Dr. Viper, The Pastmaster, Madkat, The Metallikats, Turmoil, Rex Shard, Hard Drive, Chop Shop, Harley Street, all of them here.
He passed by Madkat’s cell, still amazed by the ingenuity of the Pumadyne Scientists who had managed to design a cell that could contain the magical menace. The court jester kat merely smiled in his usual insane manner, while sitting on the ceiling. Feral quickly moved on, and saw what he had come for.
“So,” Feral sneered as he walked down to the final cell at the head of the chamber. “The most wanted kat in the world, isolated in a cell,” Feral said softly to himself as he walked up to it. The cell seemed more impenetrable than the others, specially made to contain the creature that was kept inside.
Feral looked in through the observation window, to see Dark Kat sitting on his cot, staring right back. The Commander pressed a button on the side of the door that allowed for a two way communication.
“How’s your cell, Dark Kat?” Feral asked, doing his best to contain a smile.
“It’s quite luxurious, Commander, I see that you really put your check book into this one,” the purple kat said, gesturing to the small room that he was enclosed in. “I’d recommend it to any of my counterparts…oh wait, I don’t have to, they’re already here.”
“Don’t try to get sympathetic, you’re serving a dozen life sentences without chance of parole. The courts are still considering giving you the chair for your latest acts,” Feral said, almost enjoying his gloating.
“Ah yes, the courts, they do make things so easy for me,” Dark Kat smiled as he folded his arms behind his head and leaned back into his cot. “With any luck, I’ll be out of here and seeing you in person very soon, Commander.”
Feral finally let his smile show as he spoke again.
“That’s what I’m here to tell you, you’re not ever going to see me in person again, because where you’re going there’s no coming back.”
“Oh really?” Dark Kat asked, faking surprise. “Well, if it’s a transfer I’d prefer some place with a little more sun, it gets awfully chilly down here.”
“Where you’re going Dark Kat is colder than anything else on this planet,” Feral said as he turned away. “Prepare to be welcomed to Exile.”
Dark Kat waited for the entourage to leave before he pressed a concealed button on his cot. The sleeping surface quickly reversed itself and deposited the occupant into a secret compartment. Dark Kat felt himself over turned as he landed on his feet. He quickly put his traditional robes back on, covering the orange prison jumpsuit. He walked through another door and found himself back in his command center.
“What took so long?” Robotnik asked, still working at a computer terminal.
“Prepare to depart, Doctor,” Dark Kat said as he stepped into the room. “We have a rendezvous with destruction.”
The day had passed much easier than it had begun, and the hedgehog and the echidna had managed to find a deserted building to spend the night in. It adequately served their purpose, and Sonic found himself actually having a decent night’s rest.
Knuckles was already up, staring out a fractured wall, gazing at the massive city that was before them. The sun was just rising, and it cast a golden glaze across the skyline.
“Well, no matter where you are, a sun rise is still beautiful,” Knuckles said thoughtfully as he watched. Sonic watched momentarily, taking a respectful glance as well.
“Yeah Knux, that’s great and all, but last time I checked the ‘where you are’ was the problem,” the blue hedgehog stated, bringing their current situation back into view. Knuckles closed his eyes, deep in thought. After a moment he spoke again.
“I can feel them, they’re near,” Knuckles said. He then leapt out of the broken wall, head first as he used his gliding ability to soar outward. Sonic, raced down the stairs of the building, reaching the outside in mere seconds, following Knuckles.
“How close?” Sonic called out.
“Not far, the Chaos Emeralds can’t be more than a few miles away,” Knuckles replied as he adjusted his course. Sonic did the same, avoiding pedestrians and moving vehicles.
In a rather abrupt manner, the city began to recede as a lone road leading to what looked to be some sort of complex in the distance came to view. Knuckles landed, and looked at a street sign. Sonic did the same.
“M.A.S.A Space Center, 2 miles,” Knuckles read. “That’s where the Chaos Emeralds are.”
“Then what are we waiting for?” Sonic asked as he sped ahead with Knuckles following behind.
Razor sat at his computer in the underground hangar while T-Bone did some minor work on the Turbokat. The smaller of the two vigilantes accessed the Megakat Correctional Facility files, and bypassed the security code to gain access to the Alkatraz monitoring system.
What had worried Razor earlier wasn’t the fact that strange aliens from a different planet had arrived unexpectedly. They didn’t concern him, what did concern him was that technology of Dark Kat’s was being used and the megalomaniac was supposedly detained in Alkatraz. He quickly skimmed through the files and found the one he was looking for.
“Well, let’s see if you’re there,” Razor said to himself as he selected the file. An image came on screen, black and white, showing the interior of a cell, and a lone convict lying on the cot. One look told Razor that it was Dark Kat and he cut off his connection to the facility. “If he’s there, then who’s controlling his equipment…” Razor pondered.
“Hey Razor, come check this out,” T-Bone called from across the hangar, watching an incoming news broadcast coming in through the main monitor on the far wall. Razor stopped what he was doing to go and see what his partner was talking about.
“This is Ann Gora Kat’s Eye News…”
“…live from M.A.S.A. Space Center where history is about to be made. Soon to be assembled before us are the most dangerous kats on the planet, complete menaces to society with no redeeming hope of redemption. They are the worst of the worst, the baddest of the baddest. It is for them that this special project has been put into play, Project Exile,” Ann Gora said, M.A.S.A Space Center seen clearly behind her.
“Many observers have arrived to witness this event, and the Enforcers have had to take extra measures to keep the crowds back. Many are eager to see what has been termed as ‘the scum of the planet’ taken into space where they shall no longer pose a threat.”
Abruptly the sound of sirens was heard as multiple Enforcer squad cars being flanked by Enforcer issue tanks came down the street. Choppers armed to the teeth flew escort as well, prepared to deal with anything that might possibly arise. Commander Feral stood near the entrance to M.A.S.A., wielding a radio as he barked orders to his Enforcers.
“And it appears that the first scheduled convicts are arriving on the scene,” Ann Gora said, microphone still in hand. Johnny, her camera-kat panned the view to show the incoming armada, surrounding a single reinforced armored vehicle that was the size of a bus. “Every precaution has been taken in this transfer. Only the most deadly and ruthless of criminals taken directly from Alkatraz Island have been selected for this relocation. Names such as Dr. Viper and Dark Kat are among them, as are many others.”
The Armada came to a stop at the entrance to M.A.S.A., where an elevated platform surrounded by high tech machinery and jeering crowds was in clear view. The bus continued toward the platform where a squad of heavily armed Enforcers stood, rifles aimed and at the ready. The bus arrived at the platform, and a door on the side opened.
“It appears that the bus carrying the convicts has successfully arrived, undaunted and ahead of schedule,” Ann observed, still completing her duty as a reporter.
Then, paws and feet chained, they stepped out, one at a time, closely followed by a pair of Enforcers each armed with tazers. Chop Shop was the first to exit, a devilish smile on his face. He laughed without reason as he was escorted out of the bus.
“Chop Shop, professional technology thief in the business of stealing advanced weaponry. Caused severe damage to the city as a whole that endangered hundreds of lives,” Ann recited professionally.
Turmoil exited next, shackled in a similar manner. She composed herself in a calm manner, and walked forward without incident.
“Turmoil, professional terrorist and leader of a secret organization that provided her with the means to construct a floating air craft carrier containing destructive weaponry which she did not hesitate to use on Megakat City.”
Another inmate walked out of the bus, and just as quickly shoved an Enforcer aside in a desperate attempt to get away. The gathered Enforcers raised their rifles in response as the closer ones withdrew their tazers and shocked the kat until he stopped struggling.
“Rex Shard, currently serving a nine-life sentence. Also charged of attempted mega-cide after deriving unusual crystalline powers from a sentenced labor mining trip,” Ann said as the Enforcers got Shard under control and escorted him up the platform next to the previous convicts already there.
Another inmate exited, this one with a face muzzle. His eyes glowed from within the darkened bus, giving him a menacing presence. He was enclosed within a full body restraint, being pushed forward on a wheeled device that looked more useful for moving crates than convicts.
“Dr. Viper, formally known as Elrod Pervis. Mutated by Viper Mutigen 368 he became the reptilian hybrid that he is today. Charged with numerous accounts of murder by mutation and city wide endangerment, Dr. Viper used his vast biochemical knowledge to form armies of mutant plants and animals with aspirations of transforming Megakat City into a swamp domain from which he plans to rule all.”
“Foolssssss!,” Viper snarled, his trademark hiss clearly evident. Nearby Enforcer tensed as the mutated biochemist did his best to intimidate from under the muzzle, and muttered something about painful revenge as he was wheeled up onto the platform. The next convict was much smaller, short in stature. Shackled at the wrists and feet he was led forward.
“The Pastmaster, allegedly 800 years old, this Dark Ages Sorcerer has used his time based powers to wreak havoc on the city, summoning creatures from both past and future to do his bidding.”
“Curse you wretched mortals, you shall all feel my wrath!” the Pastmaster shouted out to the crowds. They shouted in return, some yelling and screaming. One threw a rotten piece of fruit which hit the vertically challenged necromancer square in the face. “Argh! You will regret-” the Pastmaster began, but was shoved forward up to his place on the platform.
“Whoa, this is some pretty major stuff,” T-Bone said, staring at the TV screen. Razor did the same, taking into account what was happening. Something wasn’t right, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
“Hey, this is all happening live isn’t it?” Razor asked, and answered his own question by seeing the ‘Live’ icon in the corner of the screen. “We should head over there and keep an eye on this thing personally.”
“Yeah, there’s something weird about this whole thing,” T-Bone thought aloud as the two headed for the Turbokat.
Hard Drive was shoved forward into his place on the platform, and he gritted his teeth, deliberately trying not to draw attention to himself. He had a ruse to maintain after all, a very important one that had both his and others freedoms in the balance.
“Soon, you’ll get what’s coming to you,” Hard Drive said under his breath as Madkat was wheeled up the podium, sealed inside a cylinder. The Metallikats were transported in a similar manner, both contained in nearly indestructible agracite binds. Due to their unique nature, the courts had ruled the Metallikats as sentient life forms, and also due to the fact that they were already dead it would be illegal to submit them to the same experience again.
The crowds abruptly grew quiet as the final convict exited the bus. Every Enforcer on scene visibly tensed, even Commander Feral took on a more grim stance. Hard Drive could hear Ann Gora’s description nearby.
“…he is known to everyone in the world. His is a terrorist, a thief, a criminal mastermind, a killer, a conspirator. An obsessed maniac with only the aspirations of destruction and misery to motivate him. His real name and unknown origin adds to the overall mystery and terror. The final attendant of Exile, is none other than Dark Kat.”
Dark Kat towered above all others within the vicinity, his over 7 foot tall posture giving him an intimidating image. His purple fur clashed in a gruesome fashion with the orange prison jumpsuit that he wore. The metal of his shackles could be heard clearly as the crowds had hushed to an eerie quiet. Dark Kat smiled, his horrendous face casting a fearful image, causing some of the kats nearest to take a step back.
Dark Kat took his place on the platform without incident, completing the already extraordinary gathering of villains. Commander Feral made his way up to the platform, flanked by his fellow Enforcers. He stood in front of them, and looked at each one in the way he would look at something stuck on his boot.
“You disgust me,” Feral said, his voice heard clearly to all. “And you disgust every other law abiding creature on this planet. They’ve made their decision, and I will be the one to carry it out. This world has decided that it doesn’t want you among them. You have all had numerous chances at rehabilitation, yet you abuse those opportunities and make it difficult for the system to work. No more,” Feral stated clearly.
Most of the assembled didn’t make much of a reply, the looks of scorn and dislike still seen clearly on their faces. Dark Kat, however, grinned in his ultimate fiendish manner.
“Impressive speech Commander, I’m glad that you’re here to see us off on our little jaunt into space,” the purple kat said in his usual highly calm manner. “But isn’t it a bit extreme to be using such costly resources to get rid of us?”
Feral growled, knowing that he would have to explain. It wasn’t the cost that had disturbed him, he’d be willing to spend as much as necessary to send them off into another solar system altogether. It was the fact that they were still alive and able to continue in their evil ways.
“You have a legal right to know what will happen to you, so I will explain it,” Feral said. “Currently you are all standing on a teleportation platform that will dematerialize your respective energy signatures and send them off into the orbiting Exile station. This is a one way trip. Once on Exile you will be greeted by the robotic Enforcers designed by Pumadyne, and you will be taken to your respective cells.”
The assembled criminals maintained their respective composure’s, with the exception of the Pastmaster who was seemingly seething with rage.
“I will not be put in some modern mechanical cage!” the red skeletal sorcerer shouted as he struggled in his restraints. The nearest Enforcer gave him a low charged shock from a tazer, and the Pastmaster calmed.
“You’ve all done this to yourselves,” Feral said vindictively as he scowled at all of them at once. “Now you suffer the consequences.”
Sonic and Knuckles watched the proceedings with interest as criminal after criminal was unloaded from a large armored bus. The two had made it to M.A.S.A. without drawing attention to themselves, able to go unnoticed in the large crowd that had gathered.
“Whoa, did you hear those charges?” Sonic asked as he listened to each of the convicts being announced.
“Yeah, apparently this world has more problems with injustice than ours to warrant this ‘Exile’ that they keep on talking about,” the red echidna replied. The two watched for a few more moments before moving onward towards the less populated regions of the complex.
“This place is huge!” Sonic said in awe as multiple rockets and space craft were arranged in massive underground silos. “If this is where the Chaos Emeralds are then it could take weeks to find them.”
“Not with me around it won’t,” Knuckles said confidently as he paused to close his eyes. After a few seconds of concentration he picked up the signal that only his echidna senses could detect. “They’re closer, over there,” Knuckles pointed at a nearby building. Sonic ran up to it and red the sign on the door.
“Master Control Room,” the blue hedgehog read aloud. “What could they be doing here?”
“I don’t know,” Knuckles said as he rubbed one fist inside the other. “But be prepared for whatever is on the other side.”
“Hey, I’m always prepared,” Sonic said with a cocky grin as he reached forward and turned the knob on the door.
T-Bone increased the throttle as he piloted the Turbokat out towards the outskirts of Megakat City where M.A.S.A Space Center was located. He shivered as memories of Ci-Kat-A aliens came to mind, creatures with a mutating bite that put the victim under its control. He shrugged the memory off as he brought his attention back to his flying.
“Yeah, there’s definitely something strange going on, I’m picking up weird energy signals coming from the site,” Razor said as he consulted his instruments.
“The fact that every major bad guy that we’ve ever faced is gathered in one spot doesn’t come to mind first?” T-Bone asked. Most of them were brought in by the SWAT Kats themselves, but the Enforcers had hogged all the credit. “I mean, if that’s too trivial a thing to consider.”
“Hey, that kinda creeps me out too,” Razor responded. “Especially with Dark Kat in the midst of all of them, and with these new energy readings detected…”
“Not to mention those aliens we saw yesterday,” T-Bone recalled. “I still say that we shouldn’t of let them go like that.”
“We had no choice, we needed to make sure that Dark Kat was still in his cell, that takes priority over a few harmless aliens,” Razor said as he brought the weapons systems on the Turbokat into standby mode. “But, just in case we’ll be on the scene to make sure that everything goes smoothly.”
“Roger that,” T-Bone replied.
Hard Drive stood patiently as the technicians prepared to activated the teleportation device. He smiled anew as he saw the familiar figure of Dr. Robotnik on the roof top of a nearby building.
“Yes, that’s it…” Hard Drive said under his breath as he watched, his patience growing thin. The Doctor hefted something onto his shoulders, and took aim. A loud almost explosive sound filled the area as Robotnik fired the projectile weapon. It was at that moment that Hard Drive picked the locks on his shackles and broke free.
“What the?” Feral blurted, spinning around to see Hard Drive free. The projectile that Robotnik had fired landed in front of the techno crook, and he rushed to it. Inside was his trademark surge coat, and he hastily put it on just as he was “dog-piled” by the Enforcers.
“Stop him!” Feral ordered as he withdrew his side arm, only to get shoved over by Rex Shard. Even though the felon was shackled he still proved to be a hand full as he took advantage of the situation. Others were following suit, using the distraction to their full advantage.
“Get off me!” Hard Drive ordered as he activated his Surge Coat. The Enforcers on top of him were thrown back as the electrical field activated. “Now, time to get this party started,” Hard Drive snickered as he charged up an energy blast and fired it at Dr. Viper.
“Hey!” Viper snarled from his muzzle, and closed his eyes expecting to be incinerated. Instead he found out the exact opposite was true as his restraints disintegrated. Hard Drive did the same for everyone as the Enforcers were dumbfounded by the melee that was erupting.
“This is Feral, I need more Enforcers now!” Feral shouted into his radio, trying to get the situation under control. It was then that he felt a shadow descend over him, and he looked up to see what it was.
“What is that?!” he asked no one in particular. Rising above the crowds was an spherical hovercraft of some sort, adorned with yellow and black caution stripes and a single occupant. Feral didn’t have the time to guess what it was as the craft opened fire on the Enforcer armada, causing several tanks to explode into flames.
Dark Kat felt his bindings release as Hard Drive sent a surge of energy in his direction. The purple kat smirked as he watched what was happening before him. It’s all going according to plan, Dark Kat thought to himself as he made a discrete exit into the now panicking crowd.
The Master Control Room had been deserted for some odd reason, with all of the equipment still running. Sonic looked around the area as did Knuckles, but both found nothing.
“Are you sure that sense of yours is working, Knux?” Sonic asked. Knuckles paused again as he closed his eyes in concentration, and he shook his head.
“No, they’re here, but they’ve moved,” Knuckles began, but was interrupted by the sounds of explosions.
“What was that?” Sonic exclaimed as he rushed up to a nearby window. The entire gathered crowd that had seemed so orderly minutes ago was now in a total frenzy. With another glance Sonic could see why. “It’s Robotnik!”
“Where?” Knuckles asked as he rushed over to the window too. The mad scientist’s trademark “egg” attack craft was hovering overhead and attacking the gathered Enforcer armada. Knuckles could now feel it clearly without having to concentrate. “He’s got the Chaos Emeralds.”
———————————————————————– Robotnik smiled as he fired another volley of explosives at an Enforcer Chopper that had attempted to get close enough to open fire. He laughed as he pressed another button that activated a narrow beam laser cannon on his craft, slicing an Enforcer Tank neatly down the middle. The two divided sections neatly split in two.
“Pathetic,” Robotnik commented. The crowds beneath him were in a full on frenzy, fighting to get away as the captured villains steadily took out the Enforcer troops on the ground. “Now, let’s see what my new little device can do,” Robotnik said to himself as he reached down and withdrew a Chaos Emerald from a lockable container.
Dr. Robotnik had been pleased to see that the resources available to Dark Kat paralleled his own, making it incredibly easy to construct whatever he needed. The ‘Eggman’ had in fact managed to re-create some of his earlier designs, one of them being a laser that utilized the power of the Chaos Emeralds.
The doctor laughed as he inserted one of the Chaos Emeralds into a compartment on his control console. A status light turned a bright green as the power levels on his laser far exceeded what they were designed to display.
“Perfect, and now to test it,” Robotnik said as he looked for a suitable target. He didn’t have to search for long as he saw the face of the kat that Dark Kat had specifically said to get rid of given the chance. “Ah, Commander Feral is it, well, we haven’t met yet and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get the chance,” Robotnik snickered as he targeted. Feral was currently occupied, working with his Enforcers to try and round up the released convicts on the ground.
Robotnik smiled as the target locked and he reached to press the fire button. Just as he fired his craft was rocked abruptly, causing the beam to fly off over the horizon. The scientist snarled as he turned his head to see a black jet opening fire on him.
Razor armed and prepared to fire more missiles as T-Bone led them on a straight dive at the unusual aircraft. It was like nothing either of them had ever seen, and its apparent ability to survive the first missile hit indicated that it wasn’t something cheaply made.
“Alright, criminals running rampant, Enforcer forces getting shredded, and a giant metallic egg-thingy is hovering in the sky shooting death beams,” T-Bone surmised. “What do you think?”
“Eh, I give it a 7 on the ‘weird-o-meter’,” Razor replied as he fired another barrage of missiles. The projectiles lurched from the bomb-bay of the Turbokat streaking at their intended target. The egg-craft was enveloped in explosions as T-Bone sent the jet careening about for another pass.
Dark Kat heard explosions, louder and different in nature than the ones that he had heard previously. He paused what he was doing to look up into the sky to see an all too familiar black jet open fire on Robotnik’s craft.
“Those infernal SWAT Kats are no matter,” he said to himself as he continued re-wiring the teleportation device. The fierce melee was still in full swing, but it wouldn’t be for long. With the arrival of the SWAT Kats and soon Enforcer backup squads, the recently free convicts would be eventually recaptured.
“Almost done…” Dark Kat muttered as he used his claws to sever one connection and replace it with another. A status light changed color in turn, causing a wide villainous smile to appear on the purple kat’s face.
Sonic was the first to arrive outside, almost getting knocked down as spectators, Enforcers and criminals struggled with one another. Without really thinking Sonic countered an attack by an above average in size kat that rushed at him. Recognizing the orange prison attire the blue hedgehog let his civil service sentiments kick in as he stepped out of the way and held out a foot, causing the convict to fall flat on his face.
“Watch your step,” Sonic remarked as he continued on his way, the convict being tackled by a pair of Enforcers.
The blue hedgehog soon found what he was looking for; Robotnik’s egg craft hovering in mid-air, exchanging fire with a black jet that was relentlessly attacking.
“Looks like the natives don’t like em’ either,” Knuckles said as he caught up with Sonic. “But at that rate I don’t know how long those SWAT Kats will last against Robotnik’s weapons.”
“Maybe we can even the odds,” Sonic thought out loud as he surveyed the surrounding area. Out of the corner of his eye the blue hedgehog saw something. A larger and definitely more purple kat was discretely exiting from the network of machinery that lay next to the elevated platform from which the convicts had been earlier standing on.
Sonic dismissed it as he redirected his attention to Robotnik.
“Jeez, what’s that thing made out of?” T-Bone asked, almost stunned. Razor was likewise getting frustrated; the egg craft was taking every attack the SWAT Kats launched with ease.
“I don’t know, buddy,” Razor muttered as he once again took aim. T-Bone brought the Turbokat into it’s trademark attack position once again as the smaller SWAT Kat watched his target from the targeting visor in his helmet. “Explosives don’t seem to work, let’s try something else,” Razor remarked as he pressed the firing stud on his control stick.
Slowly but surely Commander Feral and his Enforcers began to gain the advantage; their numbers seemingly being the only thing to their advantage. Feral assisted his troops in the apprehension of each, pulling out a pair of paw cuffs and restraining each personally.
It was then that Feral looked up to see what was happening, and a part of him was grateful for what he saw. There were few times the Enforcer Commander could honestly say that he was glad for help, but at the moment he was feeling just slightly more agreeable as the SWAT Kats kept the “egg” craft busy.
“Alright men, there’s only a few more left unaccounted for,” Feral stated as the action on the ground began to tone down. Then, out of the corner of his eye he saw something familiar, and he turned to see the red and blue creatures that he had seen only the day before.
Robotnik growled in frustration. The black jet was too fast and he couldn’t get a target lock.
“Curse these wretched animals,” the mad scientist snarled. No sooner had he finished the verbal description he was hit once more. Not by an explosive, but by some kind of tether device. He didn’t have time to react as he was thrown back in his seat, his craft being yanked forward.
Soon the viewpoint of the egg craft was filled with a large building, and Robotnik lifted his arms to cover his eyes as the inevitable raced towards him.
“Ouch,” T-Bone remarked as the egg craft collided head on with a M.A.S.A. storage warehouse. “That had to hurt.”
“Shark missile gets em’ all the time,” Razor said proudly as he drew his attention back to what was happening on the ground. “Looks like the Enforcers got the situation back under control.”
“Yeah, that’s not the only thing I see,” T-Bone warned as he leaned forward to look out of the canopy. “Looks like our extra terrestrial friends are back.”
Razor looked and saw them as well, both heading for the crashed air craft.
“Let’s check it out,” Razor said as he began to unbuckle his restraints while T-Bone put the jet into its VTOL mode and landed nearby the platform.
Sonic got to the wreckage first and started digging in it. It didn’t take him long as he found what they had been looking for.
“Alright,” the blue hedgehog said in triumph, holding up a yellow Chaos Emerald. “Hey Knux, looks like we got what we came for.”
“Whoa, hold it right there buddy,” a familiar voice said from behind. Sonic turned to see two of the kats that he had met only the day before. “Why is it that wherever there’s trouble you’re around?” the larger one asked.
“I told you guys before, we’re lookin’ for the Chaos Emeralds,” Sonic replied as he held up the one he just found. “And here’s one of them.”
The two SWAT Kats were unsure of what to do as they both gave one another glances.
“Where’s the other guy that was with you?” the smaller one, Razor, asked.
“Knux is right…” the blue hedgehog began, and then turned to look. “Well, Knuckles was here just a second ago.”
“I’ll tell you what, let’s just find your friend and we’ll get to the bottom of this,” the larger SWAT Kats, T-Bone, said. They didn’t get very far as an explosion reached their ears, and all of them turned to see the platform on fire.
Knuckles was knocked back by the impact and collided with a support beam. He had sensed where the Chaos Emeralds were and had gone off to find them, only to be cornered by a charred Robotnik and a large purple kat. The latter of the two had been the one to attack first, and had sent the red echidna flying.
“Quickly, finish him off!” Robotnik ordered.
“We don’t have time,” Dark Kat replied. “The bomb is set, we have to get moving!”
The mad scientist growled in anger, but reluctantly began to leave.
“Consider this a lucky reprieve, echidna,” Robotnik sneered as he ran after the purple kat.
Knuckles struggled to get up as more fires began to erupt, with electrical shorts occurring all over the place. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Robotnik and Dark Kat get on top of the platform, along with Hard Drive.
Before he could do anything, the platform lit up, and encompassed those standing on it in a bright light that shot straight up into the sky. The light only lasted a few seconds, and as it disappeared so did the trio that had been standing on it.
Sonic and the SWAT Kats watched the beam, none of them expecting it. Before they had time to comment the platform abruptly exploded, knocking anyone standing to their backs.
“Man, what was that?” Sonic asked as a large plume arose from where the platform had once stood. T-Bone and Razor got back up and dusted themselves off.
“I don’t know, but someone messed up,” T-Bone stated as he quickly looked around the surrounding area, checking for any injured. Razor did the same, both trying not to get too close to the burning blaze.
Sonic got back up, and out of the corner of his eye he saw Knuckles steadily hobbling towards him.
“Knuckles!” Sonic shouted as he ran up to catch the red echidna before he fell. Knuckles coughed, his red coat blackened and slightly burnt.
“Robotnik…got away,” he rasped.
“Where?” Sonic asked.
Knuckles didn’t verbally reply, but only pointed upwards toward the sky.
It had taken a lot of discussion, but T-Bone and Razor decided that they had no other alternative. Knuckles needed medical attention and the Enforcers probably wouldn’t be the best choice of care givers. So the two vigilantes did only what they could do, and that was take them home.
“Nice setup you got here,” Sonic said as he looked around the hangar. Various types of technology was strewn about from cars, boats, computers and a few other things the blue hedgehog couldn’t recognize. “Did you guys buy all this stuff?”
“Well, not exactly,” Razor began as he helped Knuckles to a seat over by a work bench. “We actually found most of it just laying around.”
Sonic nodded in reply. During the earlier days of his ‘career’ as a Freedom Fighter, technology was hard to come by, mostly due to the fact that Robotnik went out of his way to make it that way.
“Heh, we could’ve used a lot of this stuff back on Mobius…”
“Mobius? That the planet you’re from?” T-Bone asked from behind as he jumped down from the cockpit of the Turbokat.
“Yeah, well, that’s what we call it anyway, the humans call the place earth,” Sonic surmised as he continued looking around.
“Humans? What are those?”
“They’re another species that occupy the planet, the same kind that Robotnik is,” the hedgehog explained. “Not all of them are like him though, a few are actually pretty friendly.”
“That’s weird, here we only got one dominant species, and that’s us kats,” T-Bone said as he removed his glovatrix and placed it on the work bench. Razor nodded in compliance.
“Yeah, anyway,” Razor started as he finished putting bandages over the unconscious Knuckle’s burns. “What’s the deal with these Chaos Emeralds that you two are chasing after?”
“Well, it’s kinda difficult to explain,” the hedgehog said. He then revealed what it was that he had been holding. “It’s easier to kinda show you,” Sonic explained as he held the fist size jewel in the palm of his hand.
“That’s a nice rock you got there,” T-Bone commented as he watched. The light in the room slightly dimmed as Sonic closed his eyes and began to concentrate. The emerald, blue in color, began to radiate with blue energy as it engulfed Sonic in a flash of light.
“Whoa!” T-Bone exclaimed as Sonic disappeared. “Where’d he go?”
“Right here,” Sonic replied from behind the large kat. T-bone spun around to see the blue hedgehog standing behind him.
“How’d you do that?” Razor asked, his curiosity beyond perked by now.
“Well, like I said, it’s hard to explain because no one really knows. But what we do know is that the Chaos Emeralds contain large amounts of power within them, and one of the ways it can be released is through the Chaos Control.”
“Chaos Control?” T-Bone repeated. “You mean that stone let you warp from there to here?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” Sonic answered.
“So, how’d you learn how to do that then?” Razor inquired.
Sonic paused before he answered, memories returning once again of times gone by. He remembered how he had learned the Chaos Control, and it was Shadow who had shown him.
“Hey, you alright?” T-Bone asked.
Sonic snapped out of his momentary lapse.
“Oh, yeah, I’m great actually,” the blue hedgehog said more out of reflex than anything.
“Yeah, a great liar,” Knuckles piped up. The three turned to see the red echidna back on his feet and rubbing his arm.
“Hey, nice of you to wake up sometime this year,” Sonic returned with a smile.
“Anyhow,” T-Bone cut in rather abruptly. “We still got the current problem on our hands.”
“Very much so,” Razor continued. “Dark Kat and Hard Drive are still unaccounted for and judging by MASA’s report the teleporter actually worked, meaning that they could be anywhere on this planet.”
“Well, that bites,” Sonic said plainly. “And we were so close to catchin’ em’ too.”
“That’s not the only thing. This wasn’t just some random escape attempt, this thing was planned in and out, and I’m willing to be my call sign that Dark Kat was behind it.”
“Dark Kat, big purplish guy, right?” Knuckles asked.
“Yeah, that’s him, hard to miss,” T-Bone replied.
“Then I think the problem is worse than you guys think then. Those two are working together, that’s how they managed to ambush me.”
“Hrm…” Razor pondered. “It all makes sense now. The electrical disturbances at the power plant, Hard Drive’s retreat to Pumadyne, Robotnik’s convenient arrival at MASA…”
“Not to mention that explains why the Metallikats and Madkat weren’t released,” T-Bone thought aloud. “There’s no way Dark Kat would’ve been able to control them.”
“So, Dark Kat set up the whole prisoner riot so that he could use the teleporter to escape?” Sonic asked.
“No way, there’s more to it than that when it comes to Dark Kat. If he wanted to simply escape he wouldn’t need to go to such elaborate measures.”
“Well, let’s think about it, why would he need to use the teleporter for, and why would he want it disabled after he used it?” Knuckles suggested.
Razor’s eyes lit up as realization came to him.
“They’re on Exile.”
“Exile? You mean that space prison the Enforcers made a buncha hype over?” T-Bone asked.
“Think about it, if you were Dark Kat you’d want to hide in the last place someone would look for you.”
Memories flooded the two ‘aliens’ minds as similar situations in the past came to mind.
“Whoa, major deja vu,” Sonic stated. Knuckles nodded in agreement.
“What do you mean?” T-Bone asked.
“It’s a long story, so, to make it brief, Robotnik has a history of using space stations for his own evil reasons.”
“But the question is, what reasons do they have for taking the space station…” Razor asked no one in particular.
Dark Kat had many ingenious plans in the past, but this one is just plain brilliant, Hard Drive thought to himself. He spun around in his chair and leaned back, arms behind his head as he closed his eyes.
“Don’t you have something important to do?” Robotnik asked from across the room. The two were inside of Exile’s master control center, a large and spacious compartment with an ominous viewpoint that showed the planet just outside.
“Yes, as a matter of fact I do, and I’m doing it now,” Hard Drive replied, still leaning back in his chair. “I’m jamming and manipulating the status beacon so that no one suspects that we are here.”
Robotnik decided it would be best to ignore him, and returned his attention to the work at hand. The scientist had made sure that the materials that he would need would be aboard, thus allowing him to continue work on certain projects that Dark Kat felt would be of great use.
Unfortunately, during their ‘escape’ Robotnik had lost one of the Chaos Emeralds, leaving the remaining six left. He sighed and pondered just what it was he could do with only six.
“Oh well, they still have enough power to accomplish the upcoming task,” Robotnik said to himself. “In the meantime, let’s see how my latest creations are doing.”
Robotnik pressed a button on the control counsel and a nearby monitor showing a separate section on the station where several reprogrammed robotic Enforcer units were busy constructing two anthropomorphic frames, vaguely humanoid in appearance.
It was at that moment that Robotnik felt a presence converge upon him, and he turned to see Dark Kat looking over his shoulder.
“What’s our status?” he asked.
“The blueprints you gave me for the Energy Inhibitor were simple enough, the only problem was that you lacked a sufficient power source,” Robotnik explained. He then pressed another button on the counsel which caused a sliding drawer to open, revealing the remaining six Chaos Emeralds inside. “All I had to do was create an ‘adapter’ of sorts that would allow the Chaos Emeralds to power it.”
“Excellent work, Doctor. You are proving yourself to be a more and more worthy asset by the moment,” the large purple kat said, his words filled with a certain level of praise. “Soon the world will be under my control.”
Hard Drive snickered, but decided it best not to insult the boss with any comments at this point. He sat upright as he prepared to transmit another standard status report to the surface in order to maintain the ruse.
The hedgehog was bored, and with the four of them unable to do anything about the current situation they went about doing what they could. The SWAT Kats did have a job to maintain after all, and Knuckles did have to take time to recuperate after nearly being blown up.
Sonic leaned back on a dirty, aging old couch in an equally dirty auto body shop. He had been rather surprised to find that the hangar that they were staying in was actually beneath a junk yard, where piles upon piles of old cars, trucks, even air planes were seen for acres.
Although what had surprised him even more was the fact that the SWAT Kats actually lived and worked here as mechanics. Good mechanics, Sonic thought to himself as he watched T-Bone and Razor finish with another car, closing the hood with a resounding clank of victory.
“Hey Razor,” Sonic began, but the smaller mechanic shot him a look. “Oh right, sorry about that, *Jake*, what is there to do around here?”
“Well, we got the TV-”
“Nothing good to watch.”
“We got video games-”
“Well, we got about three other cars to work on-”
“Not good with machines.”
Jake pondered for a moment, then smiled.
“I think we got something that you’ll find fun,” Jake said as he nudged Chance with his elbow. The larger mechanic caught on and grinned.
“Heh, interested in a little ‘obstacle course’?”
Sonic’s ears perked at the mention of the two words.
“You got my attention.”
This is insane, Sonic thought to himself as he ran down a narrow metallic corridor that led deep underground. Mechanical tentacles lashed out from concealed ports as flame-throwers activated at random points. Sonic dodged what he could, a tentacle just barely missing him as a flame shot up from the ceiling in his wake.
He kept running and finally reached the end of it, veering sharply to the right. Ahead was a drop off and a vertically hanging rope. Sonic didn’t take too long to figure it out as he leapt onto the rope and swung across the mini chasm. His eyes nearly leapt out of his skull as he saw the bottom was lined with spear-like spikes that jutted upward in an evil fashion.
Sonic continued the swing and did a front flip in the air, landing on his feet. He saw that a large hydraulic door on the far side of the room was closing and he increased his speed. He dove, just barely making it under as it clanked shut.
“Phew, that was close,” Sonic said to himself as he wiped the sweat off his brow. He got back up and found himself in a darker environment made out to look like the back alleys of a city. Sonic finally took the time to look at a device that Jake had given him. It was some kind of score keeper that attached to the wrist and he saw that it read 985 points.
“985, not bad…for a novice,” Jake’s voice came over the sound system. Sonic snickered and started to move forward again. “This next part is a little different from the others, keep your eyes open and you’ll figure it out.”
Sonic didn’t have much time to consider the advice as something shot upward very fast from around the corner of an alley. It was humanoid in shape and with a brief glance Sonic could see that it was not friendly. He reflexively spin-dashed it, slicing it in two. The blue hedge hot was surprised to see it was a cardboard cut out of some kind of robot.
“Ah, I see,” Sonic grinned as he continued on his way through the course, being careful as he turned every corner. A few more popped up and Sonic easily dispatched him. Abruptly another one shot up, it was a cardboard cutout of Dark Kat and he was holding some kind of weapon. It started firing almost instantly and Sonic could see that it was a tennis ball launcher.
The blue hedgehog dodged from side to side with blinding speed as he ran up to the cut out and neatly sliced it in two. The cut out fell to the ground and ceased to move. Sonic looked at his score keeper and saw that it read 1095.
The blue hedgehog was about to proceed even farther when the lights abruptly went out, and the familiar hum of electricity ceased.
“Hey, what is this, another one of your little ‘exercises’?” Sonic asked. There was no reply so Sonic assumed that it was. He wandered around in the dark for a few minutes, unable to find anything.
Abruptly something grabbed his shoulder, and he spun around prepared to fight.
“Hey, take it easy there, it’s me,” the familiar voice of Chance said. “There’s something wrong, you’d better come up and take a look at this.”
The four of them had assembled back in the auto body shop and stood around the TV, not really believing what they were seeing. The all-too familiar image of Dark Kat filled the screen as he had managed to send a transmission into all channels.
“Attention Megakat City and the world, this is Dark Kat coming to you live from the space station Exile, and once again I have a special gift for you all,” the large purple kat said as he panned the camera to show the image of the planet in the one of the many viewpoints of the station. “Technology is something that we’ve all come to take for granted as of late. You see it everywhere you go in everything you do. It has become an essential part of our lives. It would be such a shame if it were to suddenly…stop working.”
“What’s he talking about?” Knuckles asked.
“I don’t know, but it doesn’t look good,” Chance replied, his eyes focussed on the TV.
“For those of you who don’t know, a few years back the technicians at Pumadyne developed a handy little device known as the Anti-Weapons Scrambler. This little piece of technology was capable of knocking weapon systems offline with a mere touch of a button. I’ve decided to take that concept one step further. However, if you wish to have your toasters, your TV’s, your cars, your computers and your cell phones then you will pay me for it. The world’s utter submission to my rule to be exact.”
“He can’t be serious!” Sonic nearly shouted.
“Oh, he is,” Jake said with a sneer.
“So, keep that in mind,” Dark Kat continued. “I will plunge the world into the Dark Ages once again unless my demands are met by midnight tonight. You have 7 hours to comply,” the megalomaniac said with an evil smile as he cut the transmission.
“How does he think he’s going to do that?” Chance asked.
“There’s no way he could shut down all technology on the entire planet, is there?” Knuckles asked in disbelief.
“I dunno, he said something about that Anti-Weapons Scrambler, Chance and I had a little run in with one of those a while back and-” Jake began, but stopped. Every electrical apparatus in the garage abruptly shut down, including the TV.
“This doesn’t look good,” Sonic mused as he looked out the window. Cars driving down the street just outside the salvage yard all abruptly stopped moving and slowly came to a halt.
Suddenly Jake’s face lit up in horror as something came to mind.
“Chance, we gotta get up in the sky now!” the smaller mechanic ordered more than said as he ran to the hangar. Chance followed as did Sonic and Knuckles down the steel ladder that led underground.
“What’s the problem?” Knuckles asked as he tried to keep up.
“There’s airplanes in the sky right now, and if they’ve been taken offline…” Jake said as he rushed by his locker, grabbing his flight suit and helmet with Chance doing the same.
“It’s a good thing we lined the Turbokat with that reflective plating,” Chance said as he hopped into his jumpsuit and pulled the zipper up.
“Reflective plating?” Sonic asked, trying to keep up with the two vigilantes as they suited up/ran for their jet.
“It’s a special element that I added in the paint. It deflects the energy put off by an Anti-Weapons Scrambler. I came up with it after we had our first encounter with one,” Jake explained as he hopped up into his WSO’s seat.
“I just hope it works,” Chance, now T-Bone stated as he hoped into the pilot seat. He hit the emergency cold start button on his control panel as the jet dropped down on its elevator into the runway. The engines instantly ignited, sending the Turbokat rocketing forward through the concealed door and out into the sky.
“Well that’s just great, what can we do?” Knuckles asked, feeling helpless just standing there. Sonic felt the same, and then smiled when an idea came to mind.
“I know just what we can do,” Sonic said smugly as he held out the Chaos Emerald. Knuckles eyes lit up in almost as much disbelief as they had earlier.
“No way!” Knuckles stated as he backed away a step. “What if you miss?”
“I never miss,” Sonic said as he grabbed Knuckles arm. The blue hedgehog held the Chaos Emerald in the air as he closed his eyes. “Chaos Control!” he shouted as the stone came to life, engulfing the two in a bright flash of light as they disappeared.
Commander Feral growled as he watched Dark Kat’s message. He was standing in the Mayor’s Office at City Hall discussing the recent events at M.A.S.A. when the large purple kat had interrupted with his evil demands.
“What are we going to do Callaaaaay?!” the Mayor exclaimed in his heavily accented voice. He was visibly quivering in fear as Dark Kat spoke. After the list of demands was given the power abruptly went out, sending the mayor into even greater convulsions of fear.
“Don’t worry Mayor, Dark Kat won’t get away with this,” Deputy Mayor Calico Briggs said, trying to reassure the politician. She gave Feral a look and the Enforcer Commander took out his radio, only to find that it was inoperable. He growled in anger.
“My radio’s disabled, that means Dark Kat can carry out his threat.”
Ms. Briggs took out a triangular shaped device and pressed the button on it, only to have the same result. Her SWAT Kat Communicator was disabled as well.
“If all technology is disabled, the world will fall back into the Dark Ages again,” Ms. Briggs surmised. “We’ll have no transportation, no medical equipment, no electricity unless…”
“Unless if we give into Dark Kat’s demands,” Feral growled. “I’ll see what I can do to keep the public under control, without technology there’s going to be a lot of panic,” the Enforcer Commander said as he briskly left the room.
Callie left the mayor where he was in his horrified state as she made her way to the massive window at the far end of the office. She was about to lose all hope when she saw something flying in the sky. With another look she confirmed it to be the Turbokat, and it was busily catching planes in midair using it’s magnetic claw.
The Deputy Mayor smiled.
“Maybe there’s hope after all.”
Dark Kat laughed maniacally as he watched the chaos unfold before him. Sitting in his massive control chair the equally massive kat viewed images being transmitted to him via satellite. The world was in disorder, and the purple kat reveled in it.
“Ah, how we all return to our primitive roots when our modern advantage is removed,” Dark Kat mused out loud, watching numerous riots and large panicking crowds form all over the globe.
“Indeed, and as soon as you are deemed ruler of your planet I can return to mine and use the device to bring it to its knees,” Robotnik said as he walked up to the large purple kat.
“Uh…yes, of course Doctor,” Dark Kat said quickly as he exited his chair. “How is that little side project coming along?”
“It is complete, the units are fully operational and at your disposal; as is their mode of transportation,” Robotnik reported. “As for the technology dampener, it is fully functional as well, the Chaos Emeralds
are providing enough energy for it to operate effectively.”
“Excellent work as always,” Dark Kat said as he placed a claw-like hand on the shoulder of the mad scientist and began to walk him down the corridor. “You’ve made all this possible.”
Robotnik followed, not exactly understanding what the kat was getting at.
“The Chaos Emeralds, the Destroyer Units, the power converters, all of it I could not have attained without your ever generous assistance.”
“Yes, I suppose not,” Robotnik replied. Dark Kat stopped as they reached the end of the long walk way.
“That is why it is such a true shame,” the purple kat said, shaking his head.
“What is such a shame?” Robotnik asked, still wondering what was going on.
“That your services are no longer needed,” Dark Kat said coldly. Robotnik’s eyes lit up, but before he could reply his body erupted into a spasm and fell to the ground twitching.
“I’ve been waiting to do that,” Hard Drive said as he cracked his knuckles.
“Yes, now dispose of this refuse,” Dark Kat said, gesturing to the still smoking Robotnik.
“With pleasure,” Hard Drive snickered as he grabbed the fallen scientist by the feet and dragged him away.
Deep within the dark recesses of Exile a bright light flashed, and in its wake it deposited two forms onto the deck. Sonic and Knuckles landed with a thud as they materialized mid-air.
“That was not cool,” Knuckles said as he rubbed his head.
“Hey, we made it didn’t we?” Sonic stated as he got up and looked around. “Well, it’s got gravity, lighting, and a hard metal floor. Looks like we’re here.”
“Or we coulda just popped right in the middle of a prison,” Knuckles muttered.
“Technically you’re right again, Knux,” Sonic remarked as he began to make his way forward. The red echidna followed as the two kept a careful eye out for any danger.
“Well, for a prison it sure has a nice view,” Knuckles commented as they passed by a view port that displayed the planet far below.
The two rounded a corner just in time to see Hard Drive drag an unconscious Robotnik into one of the many cells that lined the outer sections of a larger compartment of the station. Sonic and Knuckles ducked back, remaining unseen as they peered around the corner.
“I’ve been meaning to test out this invention that he calls a ‘Roboticizer’,” the one known as Dark Kat said. “It seems like such a wonderful device.”
“‘Roboticizer’?” Hard Drive asked as he closed the cell door, locking the scientist inside. “Where’d you find that?”
“In the good Doctor’s records that you provided me with, there really is a treasure trove of data in there.”
“Oh well, I’m sure that tubby over here will make a good test subject,” Hard Drive said gleefully as he rubbed his hands together.
“Indeed, but first, we have other things to attend to,” Dark Kat stated as he turned and exited through an opposite corridor. Hard Drive merely powered up and dematerialized into his electrical form as he vanished entirely.
“Well well, looks like Robotnik’s new friends aren’t such good friends after all,” said Sonic with a little bit of mild amusement.
“Yeah, so that just leaves sparky and that big purple one to deal with,” Knuckles surmised.
“Should be a piece of cake with Buttnik’ out of the picture,” the blue hedgehog said with confidence as he continued onward, Knuckles following behind. “Now we just have to figure out what to do.”
“Well, this technology ‘messer-upper’ that they’re using is powered by the Chaos Emeralds, so if we take those then the whole thing shuts down and everything is okay, right?” Knuckles said vocalizing his intended plan.
“Yeah, that should do it,” Sonic agreed. “Just tell me where they are.”
“Not far, maybe a few hundred yards that way,” Knuckles pointed. “They’re so close I don’t even need to concentrate to feel em’.”
The Turbokat strained slightly as it deposited its passenger at Megakat International Airport. The ‘passenger’ was a jumbo jet, about ready to plummet to the ground until the SWAT Kats managed to snag it out of the air with their magnet clamp.
“That’s the last one buddy, radar says the skies are clear,” Razor reported as they deposited their last save.
“Roger that, now we can concentrate on Dark Krud up there,” T-Bone said scornfully as he brought the jet about. Razor re-adjusted his harness as he prepared for what his partner was about to do.
“Do I even need to ask if you’d prefer the ‘direct approach’?” Razor asked as he held onto his seat. T-Bone only grinned as he put the throttle to maximum, sending the jet rocketing straight up.
One of the many technical innovations that Razor had put into the Turbokat was its unique ability to serve many roles. The specific role at the moment just happened to be the jet’s rarely used sub-orbital mode, a transition in which the Turbokat was able to be utilized as a space worthy vehicle.
“Engaging jet-boosters!” T-Bone declared as he pressed a button on his flight control console. Four concealed panels on the exterior of the jet opened, two on the top and two on the bottom. Out of the ports four full sized engines extended and locked into place as the wings of the jet took on an even more delta shape.
“You know, we haven’t used this in a while,” Razor warned.
“She’ll hold,” T-Bone said with confidence as he patted the ‘dashboard’ of the cockpit affectionately. “Always does and always will,” the SWAT Kat reassured as he adjusted a second throttle control. “Now, hold on to your lunch!”
The larger kat slammed the throttle down, causing the four engines to ignite simultaneously, throwing both occupants back into their respective seats as the black jet became a black streak, rocketing upward out of the atmosphere.
Hard Drive took his seat at his computer console and began to bring multiple systems online. Dark Kat wasn’t one to waste an opportunity, quite the opposite in fact as the megalomaniac wanted to take full advantage of the world’s current disability.
“Bringing the Destroyer Units online,” Hard Drive reported as he typed in a few key codes. Dark Kat had returned to his seat once as he prepared to view his brain child at work.
“Good,” Dark Kat purred. “Launch the attack.”
Hard Drive smiled maliciously as he pressed a button marked ‘Launch.’
T-Bone and Razor quickly put on their oxygen masks as the protective shield slid into place over the relatively fragile canopy, protecting them from any random piece of matter that happened to be whisking by.
“We’re comin’ up on Exile, keep er’ steady,” Razor guided the other SWAT Kat as he watched his radar screen. The view from the Turbokat’s external cameras was fantastic as the jet rose upward, the horizon gradually disappearing and transforming into a more globe-like shape.
“Uh oh, I think we got company pal,” T-Bone warned as he watched his scopes. Using the magnification properties of the viewing systems, the large SWAT Kat saw Exile up close and personal, and what he saw now was not something pleasant.
“Looks like Dark Kat’s built up a nice little air force,” Razor remarked as he began arming the jet’s weapon systems. “Perfect timing for him too, raid the planet while its defenses are down.”
“Well, he’s not gonna raid nothing, not on our time,” T-Bone stated as he increased speed and set a course for what appeared to be the robotic drones of similar design that they had only run into the day before.
Hard Drive gasped as he saw another blip on his screens, and he quickly referenced a nearby satellite to see if it was true. He gulped when he saw what it was. Dark Kat is not going to like this, Hard Drive thought to himself.
“Um…Dark Kat?” the techno crook stuttered.
“What is it, Hard Drive?”
“Uh, sensors detect a new incoming craft, traveling at high velocity straight towards our current position,” Hard Drive explained.
Dark Kat slammed his fist down on the arm rest of his chair in anger. He quickly regained his composure; however, and began to relax once more.
“It is no concern, just reprogram the drones to attack a new target,” Dark Kat said. “The Turbokat.”
“Right away,” Hard Drive quickly complied, not wanting to be the object that the villain would release his anger on. “Destroyer Units armed and on course towards new target.”
The swarm of craft expelled from Exile abruptly changed course in unison and began heading in the SWAT Kat’s direction.
“Well, looks like we got someone’s attention,” T-Bone observed as he prepared to maneuver the jet accordingly.
“Yeah, well let’s make it worth their time,” Razor said as he brought down his targeting visor. Multiple target lit up on the display as the gunner SWAT Kat locked in on the first wave. “Turbo-blades, locked, loaded, and fired!” Razor exclaimed as he pressed the trigger on his control stick.
Multiple un-motorized scythe blades shot out from the wings of the Turbokat, speeding forward at a great velocity made even greater by the vacuum of space. The first wave of drones had no time to maneuver as the Turbo-blades, heat treated for extra durability and cutting potential, sliced through the craft like a hot knife through butter.
“Nice shot, Razor,” T-Bone complimented as he threw the jet into a vertical cork screw, so as to avoid the retaliating discharge of laser fire from the drones. “Now, just take care of the rest!”
“You want it,” Razor began as he locked in two more blips. “You got it,” the smaller SWAT Kat said as he pulled the trigger again. A standard missile shot out of the jet’s bomb-bay as it zoned in on its target and incinerated two drones at once, causing them to erupt in a temporary fireball that quickly dissipated in the vacuum.
Dark Kat scowled as he watched drone after drone disappear off the screens, all being take offline as the signal of the Turbokat still shone brightly.
“Recall the Destroyer Units, and allow the SWAT Kats to board,” Dark Kat ordered as he got up from his chair. “It seems as though we will have to resort to the facsimiles after all.”
Hard Drive obeyed as he transmitted the command to the units.
Another missile shot out from the Turbokat as it incinerated another drone, causing it to spiral in a fiery plume back into the atmosphere. Razor quickly began to search for another target when he realized that they were moving out of range.
“Heh, looks like they’re turning tail,” T-Bone remarked as he began to give chase. The drones quickly made their way back to the space station as the larger SWAT Kat continued to give chase.
“Now, let’s take care of Dark Kat so I can watch Litterbin when we get home,” Razor stated as he pulled on his glovatrix. T-Bone maintained the pursuit as the station came into better view. The two hadn’t had the time to see what they were up against, and it now came into perspective.
“Wow, that thing’s pretty big,” T-Bone observed as he kept the course steady.
“That thing is a fortress,” Razor stated as he looked at his display. “It’s at least the size of a skyscraper.”
“How’d the Enforcers manage to build this thing?” T-Bone asked, slightly awestruck by what he was seeing. The outer surface was a metallic gray, littered with numerous satellite dishes that lined the contours in its gradation. View ports could also be seen in many places as well, with bulges in the outer hull that appeared to be weapon housings.
“Well, that teleportation system they use, it must be how they got all the materials up here,” Razor surmised. “That way all they had to do was assemble it here in space.”
“Weird,” the larger SWAT Kat commented to himself. Exile was now filling the entire readout on their visual displays as the drones retreated into an open docking bay.
“Follow em’ in T-Bone, I got a hunch that we’re being expected.”
“Yeah, well, let’s not disappoint then,” T-Bone replied as he piloted the jet towards the docking bay and inside the space station.
Sonic and Knuckles carefully rounded another turn in the corridor, and found themselves inside what appeared to be the control room. Spanning two levels with numerous computer terminals and an ominous view port that started at the ceiling and ended at the floor it was hard to think it anything else.
“This is the place,” Knuckles said as he stepped inside further. “Up there,” the red echidna pointed. Suspended by an unseen force the remaining six Chaos Emeralds were hovering in the air, their respective colors of energy exiting visibly into different collection points around the room.
“Well, this shouldn’t be a problem-,” Sonic began as he reached up and grabbed one. An alarm instantly began to blare as all exits in the room sealed with large heavy doors, followed by the resounding clicks of locking mechanisms. “Uh-oh.”
“Welcome to my celestial safe haven of supremacy,” a loud booming voice said, sounding highly intimidating in the formerly silent room. Sonic and Knuckles spun around to see Dark Kat standing on the upper level, looking down over the protective railing.
“You!” Knuckles shouted. “We still have some unfinished business to take care of,” the red echidna declared as he stepped forward, referring to his earlier meeting with Dark Kat at MASA.
“Yes, and unfortunatly it will remain unfinished,” Dark Kat replied coldly. “I don’t see why Robotnik considered you two such a threat, I have witnessed nothing but idiocy from both of you.”
“Hey! Who you calling idiots fuzz ball?” Sonic asked. “As of right now you’re gonna see just how much of a threat we can-,” Sonic stopped as the floor under him abruptly disappeared as both he and Knuckles fell into it.
“Yes, please give my regards to oblivion,” Dark Kat muttered as he turned away. “Now, time to prepare for the SWAT Kats,” Dark Kat said with a smile to two other figures that followed him, making no reply as their eyes glowed an evil red.
Sonic found himself plummeting downward in a massive circular shaft, and its dangerous intentions soon became apparent as stars could be clearly seen. It had no bottom.
“Oh crud!” Sonic shouted out as he continued to fall. The opening widened in his view as he prepared for the worst. Suddenly he found himself ceasing to fall as Knuckles grabbed his arm.
“Hang on,” Knuckles said as he used his gliding ability to carry them to the wall of the chamber. The echidna used the skills that literally came to him naturally as he latched onto the wall in the same way a spider would.
“Whoa, thanks Knux,” Sonic stated, hanging on for dear life, the stars below still plainly visible. “Now, the question is, how are we gonna get out of here?” the blue hedgehog asked, noticing the lack of exits.
No sooner had the words escaped his mouth when the wall paneling near them erupted into sparks as a circular hole cut through it, the severed portion falling to open space down below.
“Are you sure that this is the best way Razor?” a voice said.
“Hey, if we want to get the drop on- Ah!” another voice began as an even more familiar figure walked out the opening and nearly found his demise as a larger figure grabbed the other by the shoulder.
“Whoa, you almost got the drop on yourself there Razor,” T-Bone stated as he pulled the smaller SWAT Kat back in, then noticed Sonic and Knuckles hanging on the wall nearby. “Let me guess, recreational activity?”
“Not exactly…” Sonic replied.
Dark Kat stood on the second level of the control room, glowering downward. It was only a matter of time until his plans came together. There was no doubt in his mind that the hedgehog and the echidna were still alive, most likely in league with the SWAT Kats in one way or another.
“Ah, to be ignorant,” Dark Kat mused. He had been watching the whole situation on the space station’s surveillance system. It was a prison after all, designed for only the most dangerous of inmates. “Such an irony that it will be actually serving those it was made to detain,” Dark Kat said aloud, taking in the humor of the situation.
Soon, everything would be-
The floor panels in the lower level of the control room abruptly exploded as four figures ascended from the now smoldering trap door. T-Bone and Razor carrying with Sonic and Knuckles with their jet packs landed in clear sight, taking on defensive postures.
“You’re finished Dark Krud!” T-Bone stated as he aimed his glovatrix.
“Yeah, this time you’re gonna *stay* in your cell like a good homicidal maniac,” Razor continued, also taking aim.
“And the Chaos Emeralds are coming back with us!” Sonic said, raising his hand and pointing at the large purple kat threateningly.
“Ah, so much bravado and so little force to back it up. I’m touched,” Dark Kat said, mockingly brushing a tear from his eye. T-Bone growled as both he and Razor fired mini-Octopus missiles from their glovatrix’s. Before the projectiles even made it half the distance they were seared by red laser lance, which in turned caused the missiles to explode.
“What the-” T-Bone began, but was knocked down by an unseen force. Razor spun around, looking for the assailant, but finding none. He too was knocked down as he saw something move mind bendingly fast behind him and knock him down as well.
“SWAT Kats, allow me to introduce you to a good-bye present prepared especially for the two of you by my former associate Dr. Robotnik,” Dark Kat said. The two unseen forces abruptly stopped in front of the quartet, and they blinked in amazement and horror at what they saw.
The two forms, one larger than the other, began to make their way forward, brandishing layers of weaponry and armor, all with a familiar design and colorization. The two were perfect replicas of T-Bone and Razor, with a metallic twist. Their black eyes and crimson iris’ gave a menacing look of evil.
“Meet Metal T-Bone and Metal Razor,” Dark Kat said with a sadistic smile, gesturing with his hand. “I’m sure that you’ll find them very interesting.”
“This is too creepy Razor,” T-Bone stated, not sure what to think as his Metal versions approached.
Razor began to speak, but was cut off.
“What a bunch of wimps,” the larger robot said in a mechanized voice that matched T-Bone’s.
“We’ll take care of them easily,” Metal Razor replied in a similar fashion.
“Hey! Those are our voices!” T-Bone shouted in outrage.
“Wrong-o, they’re our voices now,” Metal T-bone replied, raising his forearm. A mini-gun popped out of a concealed compartment as the pseudo SWAT Kat began to spray the area with a barrage of fire.
“Split up!,” Razor warned as everyone dove off in different directions. Dark Kat watched his “toys” in amusement as he laughed to himself.
Sonic ducked behing a control console just in time as the area that he had been standing in abruptly turned to scrap. The Metal SWAT Kats were relentless, destroying nearly everything in their path as everyone tried to keep from getting hit.
“Mini-Match Head Missile, Deploy!” Razor said, as he raised his glovatrix, the device responding to the verbal commands.
“Override,” the voice of Metal Razor returned. “Set Self Destruct, Activate Immediately.”
Razor’s eyes lit up in both amazement and shock as his glovatrix followed the command. The smaller SWAT Kat had specifically designed the weapons to respond only to his and T-Bone’s voice, allowing for quick weapon access without distraction. Now it began to quiver and shake, smoke coming out of its access panels, forcing Razor to tear it off.
“Get down!” Razor warned as he threw it away. T-Bone looked up to see what was happening, and just as quickly stopped what he was doing to take cover. Sonic had seen much of what the SWAT Kats carried on them in terms of armament, and he decided that it would be best to vacate the premises.
The resulting explosion as the glovatrix self destructed shook the very bulkheads of the station, even forcing Dark Kat to take hold of the railing for balance. The Metal SWAT Kats paused in their onslaught as they got caught in the force of the flare up, throwing them back into the far wall.
“What do you guys put in those things?” Knuckles asked as he poked up his head from behind a console.
“You don’t want to know,” T-Bone replied as the dust began to settle. Razor got up from his protected vantage point and walked over to where the Metal SWAT Kats were strewn.
“That’s just too creepy, they mimic us perfectly in every way,” Razor pondered as he leaned over.
“Be careful Razor, those things could still be dangerous!” T-Bone cautioned.
“Yeah, knowing Robotnik’s stuff it’s best to just not touch it,” Sonic said as he helped Knuckles get back up. The red echidna, now back on his feet looked up expecting to see their menacing presence still looming.
“Hey, Dark Kat’s gone!” Knuckles said as he pointed upward. The “balcony” from which the large purple kat had been directing traffic was now vacant.
At that moment Metal Razor became animate again, and quickly hand springed up to his feet and leapt into the air, delivering a high flying kick to Razor. The SWAT Kat was caught off guard but managed to correct his mistake as he did a backwards somersault and landed on his feet by reflex. Then a new sensation overcame the smaller SWAT Kat, pain.
“Ouch!” Razor shouted, nearly collapsing as he held his face. Sonic and Knuckles watched and prepared to act, but the larger SWAT Kat cut them off.
“I told you to watch out!” T-Bone stated as he brought up his glovatrix and manually fired a Mini-Match Head Missile. The projectile found its mark, hitting Metal Razor square in the chest, exploding and sending it spiraling back.
“I can’t feel my face,” Razor admitted. “They kick *hard*.”
“You gonna be alright?” T-Bone asked, keeping his eye on the fallen Metal SWAT Kats.
“Yeah, let’s just get moving, if Dark Kat’s not around here then he’s up to something bad.”
“Just a second, we have to get what we came here for,” Sonic stated, gesturing up to the Chaos Emeralds that were still levitated above. Knuckles didn’t waste time as he climbed up the side of the nearest wall and glided between emeralds, grabbing each as he landed.
“That’s all of them,” Knuckles said. Abruptly the lights dimmed as numerous systems started to shut down. A red light began to flash and the station began to quiver.
“What’s going on?” Sonic asked no one in particular as he braced himself.
“The Chaos Emeralds must’ve been what Dark Kat was using to power that energy drainin’ device of his. Without the Chaos Emeralds in place it’s probably gonna destabilize,” Razor theorized.
Sparks began to shoot out of control panels everywhere as the station creaked under the stress.
It was at that moment that both Metal SWAT Kats began to reactivate, standing up and taking aim.
“Aww Crud,” T-Bone complained, then turned to face Sonic and Knuckles. “You two get out of here and head back for the jet, we’ll take care of those cheap rip offs,” T-Bone ordered more than suggested.
Sonic wasn’t the kind to run away from a fight, but with the station facing imminent destruction and the SWAT Kats better equipped to handle it he knew that he would only get in the way.
“C’mon Knuckles!” Sonic said as he and the echidna headed off for the exiting corridor with the Chaos Emeralds in hand.
T-Bone and Razor watched as the two alien visitors left, leaving them along with their robotic counterparts. The SWAT Kats tensed up as the duplicates continued approaching, seemingly undaunted by their earlier explosive brush with death.
“Well Razor, they’re just like us huh?” T-Bone asked, still holding his stance facing forward.
“Yeah, you know what that means, right?”
“Yeah, I know,” T-Bone said, his face slightly grim. Razor leapt up at T-Bone instantly, and the larger SWAT Kat caught him, hands cupped as he heaved the smaller SWAT Kat into the air.
The Metal versions paused as Razor was lurched into the air, and came back down behind the impostors. They both spun around as Razor jumped up and kicked both of them cranium-wise mid-air, setting them off balance.
T-Bone rushed in at that point, tackling Metal T-Bone at full speed, sending the two of them crashing to the floor. Razor squared of with his own counterpart, delivering a punch and kick combination, trying desperately to catch the robot off guard.
Metal Razor countered each move perfectly with a block and offensive hit of his own. Where Razor would kick it would block and punch back, catching the biological version off guard. Razor winced as each of his own moves were countered and returned with a bone crushing blow that could dent steel.
T-Bone wasn’t faring much better as he took on a less graceful tactic, delivering lefts and rights into the torso and head of his mechanical double. Metal T-Bone blocked each punch, and caught T-Bone’s fist with his own.
“Ah!” T-Bone shouted in pain as his double began to squeeze the biological’s fist.
“Not so tough, are you?” the pseudo SWAT Kat stated, its artificial features grinning in delight. T-Bone used the grip that was placed on his paw to gain some leverage as he climbed up the side of his double with his feet, reaching head level and delivering a double drop kick in
The Metal version staggered, and began to simulate something similar to rage as it maintained the grip on T-Bone’s paw and hurled him across the room.
Razor saw a counter coming from his double, a low sweep and he jumped upward, the robot missing. Razor saw the opening and took it, spinning around to deliver the hardest hit that he knew. Mid-air he spun around a full 360 degrees and extended his foot. Developed by years upon years of practice the kick had enough force to know the head off someone’s shoulders. Metal Razor didn’t have time to move as it’s cranium was collided with, sending the entire robot flying to the side and landing in an unnatural fashion.
Razor landed on his feet, and limped in pain as his foot felt like it had been run over by a truck. Metal Razor on the other hand got back up, standing as if nothing had happened.
“Nice kick, let me show you a better one!” Metal Razor said, it’s mechanized voice still sending chills down Razor’s back. It leapt up in the air in similar fashion at incredible speed. The SWAT Kat’s eyes lit up as the same attack was returned. Razor barely had time to duck as the spinning kick missed and impacted a bulkhead, literally crushing it.
“Alright, this isn’t working,” T-Bone said plainly as he got back up, limping over to Razor. The Metal SWAT Kat’s red eyes continued to glow sadistically, their facial expressions matching that of T-Bone’s and Razor’s on a good day.
The station wasn’t doing well either as more control panels erupted into sparks and fires broke out all over the place. The flooring still vibrated as warning lights and klaxons blared everywhere.
“We have to do something, and fast, the station’s not gonna last much longer,” Razor warned.
“If we keep up this fight we won’t be around long enough to worry about it,” T-Bone returned.
“Why don’t you just give up?” Metal Razor asked.
“That’d be the smart thing to do,” Metal T-Bone chimed in. Razor looked around and considered their options. Control panels, fires, that giant observation window…
“That’s it!” Razor nearly shouted in triumph as an idea came to mind.
“What’s it?” T-Bone asked, holding his arm in pain. Razor pulled out an electronic detonator from his now tattered jumpsuit. T-Bone’s eyes opened up just a little bit more as he realized what was about to happen.
“Any last requests?” Metal T-Bone asked sarcastically as it took aim with the mini-gun.
“Yeah, stop making me look like an idiot,” T-bone replied. Razor took his cue as he hurled explosive device at the view port. The Metal SWAT Kats both stepped aside as the grenade flew past them.
Both T-Bone and Razor dived in different directions, grabbing hold of the steel vertical support beams that were grounded firmly in the station structure.
The Electronic Detonator hit its target and exploded on contact, shattering the alleged shatter proof transparent plastic. The effect was instantaneous as the pressure radically changed, the interior now being sucked out into space.
The Metal SWAT Kats were caught of guard as the force of vacuum sucked them towards the now very open gash in the side of the station. Resisting as much as possible, the pseudo T-Bone and Razor clawed the flooring as a greater force pulled them back.
T-Bone and Razor were hanging on for dear life themselves, clutching the support beams with an iron grip, neither wanting to meet an early demise in the cold of space.
At the last possible instant Metal T-Bone grabbed onto the rim of the gash as Metal Razor grabbed onto his legs. The real T-Bone and Razor looked on in disbelief.
“I don’t believe this!” Razor exclaimed, trying to think of what to do. The pressure loss wouldn’t be continuing for much longer. Soon the station would equalize and it would be to the Metal SWAT Kat’s advantage.
“Yeah, well then believe this!” T-Bone returned as he released one paw from its position on the strut. Dangling by one arm T-Bone took aim with the other, his glovatrix locking on. The Metal SWAT Kats both looked up, their facial expressions no longer displaying amusement. “See ya bolt brains,” T-Bone stated as he fired a pair of mini-turbo-blades.
The razor sharp projectiles found their mark, destroying the rim from which Metal T-Bone was hanging from. The pieces exploded outward under the force, and the Metal SWAT Kats flew out into space.
Sonic tapped his foot impatiently, wondering where the SWAT Kats were. Both he and Knuckles had made it to the Turbokat and were waiting for the feline vigilantes to return.
“Maybe we should go back for them,” Knuckles wondered aloud, still holding the seven Chaos Emeralds.
“Yeah, let’s go,” Sonic agreed, and began to head for the exit at the far side of the docking bay. It was at that moment that two figures approached from around the corner from that very same corridor. Sonic soon saw it was the SWAT Kats, only a lot more injured than when the blue hedgehog had last seen them.
“C’mon, we gotta get moving,” Razor warned, both he and T-Bone giving each other support as they limped as fast as they could.
“You guys look like you just took the scenic route through a blender, what happened?” Sonic asked, rushing up to help the two.
“Well, let’s just say our look-alikes didn’t go down without a fight,” T-Bone said with a wince, clutching his arm. They were both bloodied and battered, their jumpsuits in pieces, yet they still maintained that aura of cockiness. Sonic smiled, it reminded him of himself.
Not to mention Shadow too…
Sonic brushed away the thought, knowing that now was not the time to be having those kind of worries.
The three approached the Turbokat where Knuckles was still waiting.
“T-Bone, this station’s gonna short circuit then depressurize,” Razor explained. “Not to mention it’s still got all these drones lying around,” the smaller SWAT Kat said, gesturing to all of the inactive war machines.
“You got it, buddy,” T-bone replied as he tapped a few commands on the control pad on his glovatrix. The Turbokat came to life as a compartment underneath the jet slid open and a large cylindrical device lowered onto the deck of the docking bay.
It split apart into smaller cylinders as a rotating platform extended from the bottom. It beeped as it spun around, shooting mini-projectiles in all directions, missing anything organic and shredding every stock piled drone in the docking bay.
“Auto-Rotary Cannon still works wonders,” T-Bone said with pride, inserting some more commands on his glovatrix as the weapon retracted back into the jet. Both Sonic and Knuckles watched in slight awe, both feeling to make sure that they had no holes in their person.
“Alright, now let’s get out of here!” Razor said plainly as he hopped up into his seat in the cockpit, not without the occasional ‘ouch’ of pain. T-Bone hopped in as well, powering up the jet’s engines.
At that moment a loud screeching sound was heard from above, and Dark Kat’s trademark Fear Ship took to the air and shot out of the docking bay and into space.
“Well, looks like our job isn’t finished yet,” T-Bone said with a grin, then a wince as he massaged his arm.
“You two coming?” Razor asked.
“Heh, don’t worry about us, we have our own ways of getting around,” Sonic stated.
“Yeah, now that we have all seven Chaos Emeralds we’ll be able to help you out,” Knuckles stated.
“Alright, we’ll see you guys planet-side then,” T-Bone replied as he hit the throttle full force. The Turbokat’s engines roared to life as it shot forward at incredible velocity, charging after Dark Kat’s craft.
Sonic watched the Turbokat speed off, and returned his attention to the situation at hand. The space station was still in turmoil, the deck plating vibrating even hard as explosions erupted at numerous points around the structure.
“Okay Knux, it’s now or never,” the blue hedgehog said with a level of anticipation.
“You know it’s been forever since I’ve done this,” Knuckles returned as he lifted up the Chaos Emeralds which began to levitate around them.
“It’s like riding a bike, you never forget,” Sonic replied. Both of them looked up and faced the emeralds that were now beginning to orbit around the two, their speed gradually increasing. Both closed their eyes and clenched their fists as the most notable power of the Chaos Emeralds became active.
In a bright flash of light the emeralds seemingly disintegrated into both the hedgehog and the echidna. Sonic’s blue fur immediately changed to that of a golden yellow, a bright aura of energy surrounding him. Knuckles crimson fur flashed an even brighter red as a sparkling aura of energy surrounded him.
“Now, let’s take care of Dark Kat,” Knuckles stated as he punched one fist into the other.
“You got it!” agreed Sonic. The two now in their “super” forms shot out of the docking bay and into open space with unnatural speed and strength, augmented by the power of the Chaos Emeralds.
“Curse those wretched SWAT Kats!” Dark Kat exclaimed as he slammed his fist down on the arm rest of his chair. “This time we finish them off once and for all,” the large purple kat declared. “Hard Drive! Power up the Death Beam, maximum power!”
“Maximum, are you sure that’s…advisable?” Hard Drive asked as he sat at the controls of the Fear Ship. He instantly regretted speaking out of turn as Dark Kat got out of his chair and shoved the techno crook aside.
“Out of my way! I shall do this personally,” Dark Kat stated as he carried out his own orders. Hard Drive only stood back and watched.
“Alright, I got Dark Kat in my sights,” Razor reported as he slid down his targeting visor. The evil looking craft was sleek and metallic, jagged edges and razor sharp indentations wherever possible. It was easily displayed in Razor’s visor as the two crossovers moved together and locked on, a red bulls eye appearing over it.
“Better do it now Razor, we don’t know what he’s got up his sleeve this time,” T-Bone warned.
“No prob, he’s history,” Razor said confidently as fired a standard air to air missile. The projectile launched out from the jet’s bomb-bay and streaked forward, undaunted by the vacuum of space.
It was at that instant that the Fear Ship came about, doing a complete 360 degree U-turn now heading straight at the Turbokat. Without moving the Fear Ship ran into the missile, which exploded, covering the ship in a brief explosion that soon dissipated in the vacuum.
“What the?” Razor exclaimed, at a loss for words. The Fear Ship was unscathed and continued on towards the Turbokat.
“Hang on!” T-Bone shouted as he swung the jet in a lateral spin, barely avoiding collision. “That thing’s got some major armor!”
A bright green light seared through space, shooting closely past the canopy and nicking the nose of the Turbokat.
“And major fire power!” Razor concluded. “Keep us ahead of him until I figure out something…”
“T-Bone, Razor,” a familiar voice called over the radio. Razor answered as T-Bone concentrated on dodging green laser blasts coming from Dark Kat’s craft.
“Sonic, is that you?” Razor asked.
“Yeps, me and Knux are comin’ right at ya, so hang on!”
Razor raised an eyebrow in confusion, not knowing what to expect. Abruptly a bright yellow object flashed by, followed by a bright red object. The force and speed at which they traveled shook the Turbokat as they maintained their course, heading for Dark Kat.
“What was THAT?” T-Bone asked incredulously.
Super Sonic flashed past the SWAT Kat’s jet, dodging a lancing laser blast as he did. The hedgehog was at a loss to communicate with the feline vigilantes until he remembered the communicator that Razor had
given him days earlier.
“There’s Dark Kat,” ‘Hyper’ Knuckles pointed out, gesturing towards the menacing vessel.
“This is gonna be a cinch,” Sonic said confidently as his golden aura flared up. The hedgehog quickly accelerated to maximum speed, disappearing from sight momentarily as he briefly left the spectral plane. Rolling and spinning into his trademark buzz-saw attack Sonic collided with Dark Kat’s ship.
To his surprise the ship defended against his attack as he hit an energy field and bounced off, the speed of his attack sending him reeling for dozens of miles.
Knuckles attempted one of his own attacks with similar results as he was repelled in the same fashion. The Turbokat, seemingly out of nowhere also attacked, laying down a spread of missiles that harmlessly exploded on the energy field.
“Aww man, what’s it take to stop this guy?” Sonic asked no one in particular. The voice of Razor replied over the communicator.
“It’s one of Dark Kat’s trademark technologies,” Razor began, speaking in between shots. “A force field that can deflect any physical attack.”
“Well that’s just perfect,” Knuckles replied, dodging a green laser blast. “What are we supposed to do then?”
“Whatever you do, do it fast!” T-Bone urged. “I can’t keep this up forever!”
Physical attacks? Sonic pondered while staying “light on his feet.” Maybe a Chaos Spear would work then…
Sonic shook his head. The only one that knew how to use the Chaos Spear was Shadow, and he was dead. The hedgehog winced at the memory, and did his best to keep from being distracted. Now was the time for action, not hesitation.
“That shield’s amped way up there, I don’t think a Scrambler missile will be enough,” Razor reported. “We’re gonna need more power!”
Well, it’s now or never, Sonic thought to himself.
“I’ve got an idea.”
The past few day’s frustrations all seemed to wither away as Dark Kat vented his much pent up rage in the form of his relentless attack. The crosshairs on his scope quickly blinked red as they fell upon the Turbokat and the large purple kat quickly pulled the trigger once more.
The Fear Ship’s laser cannons released another high intensity burst of energy that seared through space at its intended target. At the last possible second the black jet swerved out of the way, causing the shot to barely miss.
“The station’s loss is a minor set back, but now at long last the SWAT Kats shall be destroyed and my revenge complete!” Dark Kat declared, taking more shots.
Hard Drive looked on with concern, not for Dark Kat but for his own well being. The laser cannon was taxing the vessel’s power systems, and when being used in conjunction with the force field there was risk of an overload.
He sat back helplessly watching, prepared to exit at a moment’s notice should he have too. Dark Kat may be willing to blow himself up, but I’m not, Hard Drive thought to himself.
“Are you sure you can pull that off?” Razor asked.
“Definitely,” Sonic said with more confidence than he felt. “You just do your half and I’ll do mine.”
“Hey, don’t worry about us,” T-Bone replied, while sending the jet into another dive. He then brought the Turbokat about and increased the throttle, sending the four external Speed of Heat Engines into maximum afterburn.
Knuckles took his place as the Turbokat shot past him, going head on towards the Fear Ship. Sonic didn’t pass up the opportunity as he clenched his fists and closed his eyes. His aura began to surge as he concentrated as hard as he could.
Dark Kat smiled, his jagged knife-like teeth glinting slightly. The Turbokat now fully filled his targeting scope, the crosshairs shining a bright red.
“It all ends here,” Dark Kat stated with finality in his voice. Laughing sadistically he pulled the trigger.
Razor watched as the distance on his proximity meter was spiraling at an insane rate, its destination zero. T-Bone tensed up as the Fear Ship loomed in the canopy, steadily filling up the view; both craft careening at one another.
“Just a little bit farther,” Razor steadily said, watching the numbers ticking down on his visor. “Get ready…”
T-Bone perspired as he slightly veered from left to right, the green laser beams flashing by dangerously close to the canopy. The Fear Ship was getting closer and closer and the larger SWAT Kat just kept on adding more speed.
Another laser blast came close and dinged the nose of the Turbokat. T-Bone compensated and watched in horror as the lance of green light zinged off the side of the canopy, millimeters from breaching it. Dark Kat’s craft was extremely close; T-Bone could see the individual rivets on the fuselage clearly.
“Razor, we’re gonna collide!”
The numbers descended into the single digits as Razor quickly fired his pre-selected weapon of choice. Half a dozen Scrambler missiles shot out of the Turbokat’s bomb-bay, their close proximity nearly detonating them before their own propulsion could activate.
“Break away!” the smaller SWAT Kat responded. T-Bone yanked on the joystick with both paws, the force of the maneuver slamming both occupants back into their seats. Both kats winced as the unpleasant sound of screeching reached their ears as the Turbokat brushed against the Fear Ship.
Sonic watched as the SWAT Kats made their suicide dive at the Fear Ship, all done so as to get six of their missiles in close enough to effect the force field of the craft. The black jet banked out at the last possible fraction of a second, the two vehicles sliding up against one another as each shot by.
“That’s my cue,” Sonic said to himself as the Scrambler missiles visibly shot millions of volts into the force field. Sonic raised his arm, palm pointed at the Fear Ship as he concentrated his energy. “Chaos…” Sonic began, directing the force of the energy mentally. “…Spear!”
No visible origin could be seen as Dark Kat’s craft was instantly engulfed in a fiery explosion of energy, working in tune with the Scrambler Missiles. The force field disappeared as numerous panels exploded and sheared off.
“I did it,” Sonic stated, not quite believing it himself. Once again Shadow had saved his life, even if it wasn’t in a direct way.
Knuckles took the opportunity, speeding forward fists first. The red echidna, protected by his super form, sliced in one end of the vessel and came out the other, tearing through the engines as he did.
Dark Kat slammed his fists in ultimate rage, his body quivering in utter wrath. Hard Drive watched as system after system on the ship failed, the structure destabilizing and throwing the techno crook off his feet.
“No!” Dark Kat shouted out in a near mindless fury. A support beam abruptly severed above him, and came crashing down. A loud “thonk” was heard as the cranium of the megalomaniac came into hard contact with the ungiving edifice of steel.
Hard Drive watched as the towering mountain of a kat collapsed to the flooring unconscious. Sparks flew as more panels exploded. The ship was coming apart and Hard Drive didn’t want to be around when it did. He powered up, his electrical ambiance surging all about.
Pausing as he turned away, he thought about leaving Dark Kat where he was. Considering for the briefest of seconds he decided that the reward was worth the risk.
Hefting up the large purple kat another seemingly reoccurring thought came to mind.
“Why do they always have to be so fat?”
Illuminating space brighter than the sun Dark Kat’s Fear Ship exploded in a massive eruption of metal alloys and overloaded energy sources. T-Bone, Razor, Sonic and Knuckles all raised a hand to block the brightness of the fire ball that was slowly beginning to dissipate.
“It’s over,” Knuckles sighed with relief.
Razor began to relax as well, then noticed his surge detector going haywire once more.
“No, it’s not over yet.”
Targeting the nearest possible object Hard Drive returned both himself and Dark Kat to Exile. Arriving in the docking bay he could see that the station was still in turmoil, barely holding together. The techno crook had forgotten about its current condition and he growled in frustration.
“Oh well, no matter. I’ll just retarget for the planet’s surface and-” Dark Kat’s right hand kat began, then paused as he heard laughter from behind him. He quickly turned around only to find his face being impacted by a large piece of metal debris. Hard Drive fell onto his back, the electrical aura surrounding him just as quickly dissipating.
The computer specialist gradually lost consciousness, cursing to himself as he saw who it was that had hit him. The person holding the piece of debris dropped it, satisfied with the accomplishment.
“Test my Roboticiser on me, will you?” Robotnik laughed.
The sounds of jet engines reached the mad scientist’s ears as the Turbokat landed followed by Sonic and Knuckles still in their super forms.
Exhausted by everything that had happened Robotnik raised his arms up in defeat.
“I have nothing left, take me away,” he said plainly. Both SWAT Kats hopped out of the jet, glovatrix’ at the ready. The tension in both the echidna and hedgehog ceased.
“*Now* it’s over,” Razor stated with finality.
With minor seating problems the entire group returned to the planet in the Turbokat. Thanks to T-Bone’s expert piloting skills re-entry went as smoothly as physically possible. Dropping by Enforcer Headquarters the group dropped off the still unconscious Dark Kat and Hard Drive on the roof top runway, where a still agitated, aggravated, and generally all around ticked off Commander Feral eagerly accepted the “guests.”
Not wanting to be in the Commander’s sights for long, especially in his current state, the SWAT Kats immediately took off and headed back for home, still carrying Sonic, Knuckles and Robotnik onboard.
Landing back in the hangar, the battered vigilantes, adventurers and villain exited the jet. The SWAT Kats without hesitation headed for the first aid kit, treating their respective wounds.
Sonic and Knuckles had long since returned to their normal forms as they took a seat on anything they could find, keeping an eye on Robotnik and the Chaos Emeralds.
T-Bone returned first, arm in a sling and numerous Band-Aids covering his face and upper body. Razor was next, the upper part of his jumpsuit open as he applied taping to his bruised ribs.
“Crud, this is gonna hurt in the morning,” Razor complained. A silence soon followed as the five of them looked at one another. Razor elbowed T-Bone, knowing that the large tabby had something to say.
“Well, thanks for your help, without you we wouldn’t of been able to stop Dark Kat,” the larger SWAT Kat admitted.
“That’s a big affirmative,” Razor agreed.
“Hey, no problem, glad we could help,” Sonic returned. “We usually get into this kind of stuff more often than we should.”
“Now there’s an understatement,” Knuckles responded, rolling his eyes.
For no reasonable explanation the four of them laughed, glad that everything was finished and done with…or was it?
“Hey, there’s still the matter of getting you guys home, Hard Drive’s the only one who can use his suit; and I highly doubt Feral will let us anywhere near him,” Razor inquired.
“Well, that’s easy, I can just use the Chaos Control and…”
“And what?” Robotnik spoke up from the other side of the hangar. “Mobius
is millions of light years away, in an isolated point in space. I needed a few supercomputer calculations at a minimum to pin point a trajectory that would lead from there to here.”
“He’s right,” Razor agreed.
“Hey, how about a little optimism here?” T-Bone asked, slightly imposing himself threateningly.
“We don’t even know where it is. All my calculations were aboard Exile. At the very least we’d need something that’s on Mobius that we could home in on,” Robotnik finished, then slumped back onto the crate.
“Well, thanks for the help, Mr. Wizard,” T-Bone said sarcastically.
“Wait a second…” Knuckles pondered. Everyone in the hangar directed their attention to the red echidna. “With the Chaos Emeralds I could boost my senses so I can pickup the Master Emerald.”
“Which is back on Mobius,” Sonic finished, his eyes lighting up. “Alright, we got a way home!”
“Good thing, with you guys around I don’t know if we’d last much longer,” T-Bone said half-jokingly as he rubbed his arm. Razor chuckled at the remark.
Knuckles got up and picked up one of the Chaos Emeralds, closing his eyes as he reached out with his mind. After a few seconds of concentration he smiled.
“There it is.”
Sonic got up to as Robotnik approached.
“Well, have a safe trip,” Razor said, extending his paw. Sonic took it and shook it. “Give our regard to Mobius.”
“Yeah, you guys turned out to be alright,” T-Bone commented, shaking paws as well. “And, if you’re ever in our side of the galaxy again, feel free to drop by.”
“Definitely,” Sonic replied. He then turned his attention to Knuckles who now had all the Chaos Emeralds around him with Dr. Robotnik at his side. “Well Knux, point me in the right direction and I’ll get us there in no time!”
“No way Sonic,” Knuckles said as he grabbed the blue hedgehog by the arm and pulled him in close. “This time *I’m* doing the driving,” the red echidna said with a grin. Sonic laughed and Robotnik merely sneered.
“Hurry up, I haven’t got all day.”
“Keep your shirt on, Eggman,” Sonic said. Knuckles closed his eyes once more, and lifted up the yellow Chaos Emerald.
“Chaos…Control!” the echidna shouted out. The trio along with the emeralds were consumed by a bright light as they flashed out of existence, leaving the two vigilantes.
Sally Acorn was worried sick. Sonic had disappeared seemingly overnight with Knuckles and they were nowhere to be seen. Tails had waited for the two to return from one of Robotnik’s secret facilities, standing guard outside. When they had taken too long the fox had gone inside and found the entire place in ruins with no sign of Robotnik, Knuckles or Sonic.
Sally had organized a search with members of the former Freedom Fighters along with Knuckle’s Chaotix. They had been searching for days and had found no trace of them. The Princess of Knothole sighed, sitting on a tree stump on the outskirts of the village. Nicole, her miniature supercomputer abruptly broke the silence.
“A large energy mass is headed this way,” Nicole’s synthetic yet pleasant voice stated matter-of-factly.
“From where?” Sally asked, her curiosity perked.
“The mass is on a direct vertical plunge from directly above, estimated time of arrival, nine seconds.”
Sally quickly got up, grabbing Nicole as she walked back a little bit. The air began to distort like it was heated, and Sally’s fur began to rise as if their was a severe case of static electricity present.
“Nicole, call all available Freedom Fighters and Chaotix, tell them to meet here,” Sally told Nicole. The computer replied in its compliment manner.
“Request acknowledged,” it replied. Sally now watched in curiosity as the distortion became fully active, as sparks of electricity and energy shot about. Abruptly a sound similar to that of thunder roared, and three figures stood before her.
“Man, Knux,” a familiar voice said in-between coughing. “What’d you do, take the scenic route?”
“I got us here, didn’t I?” another familiar voice replied. “Hey, is something burning?”
“Ahh!” an even more familiar voice shouted out. “My mustache is on fire!”
“Sonic?” Sally asked/called out.
“Sally?” Sonic replied, finally seeing the form of his girlfriend coming through the smoke. She rushed up to him and embraced the blue hedgehog as Knuckles quickly picked up a nearby handful of mud and slapped it in Robotnik’s face to put out his flaming mustache.
Soon more of Sonic and Knuckles friends arrived at the scene per Nicole’s summoning.
“Hey Knuckles my man, nice to see ya back!” Vector greeted his friend and “boss.” The crocodile was carrying his trademark headphones as he exchanged personalized handshakes with the echidna that would baffle an amateur.
“Yeah, where were ya Knux?” Charmy the bee, another Chaotix member asked. “Julie Su has been worried sick about you and says that she’s even sicker of watching the Master Emerald for you.”
Knuckles grimaced, and shuddered at the thought of having to explain just what had happened.
“Aww crud,” Knuckles muttered under his breath. “Let’s get going guys, I’ll explain everything on the way,” the red echidna said, then turned back to Sonic who was still “preoccupied” with Sally. “Hey Sonic, take care.”
“You too,” the blue hedgehog replied. Knuckles and the remaining Chaotix took the Chaos Emeralds and left the Freedom Fighters with Robotnik and their favorite resident.
“Hey shuga,” Bunnie Rabbot spoke up, holding onto Robotnik with her roboticized arm. “What do you think we should do with this ere’ scumbag?”
“Now see here,” Robotnik began, only to receive a death glare that could have silenced Godzilla from Bunnie. He quickly shut up.
“I’m sure that you guys don’t mind taken him on a little road trip back to Prison Island,” Sonic suggested, still hugging Sally.
“No problem Sonic,” Bunnie replied. “Consider it taken care of’,” the cyborg rabbit said, “escorting” Robotnik off the premises along with a few other freedom fighters. Tails stayed behind however.
“Sonic, what happened? I stayed there like you told me to and I only went in when you guys didn’t come back and…”
“Hey, don’t worry about it, little buddy,” Sonic said reassuringly. “You did alright; and, as for where I was, that’s a long story, which reminds me…”
Sonic broke the embrace.
“What’s wrong?” Sally asked.
“There’s still something that I gotta do,” Sonic replied as he ran off into the distance, leaving a bewildered Sally and Tails behind.
It was simple, and it served its purpose perfectly. A simple headstone that stood upright in a little corner of the forest that was rarely visited. On it was an equally simple yet perfect inscription: “Shadow, a true hedgehog and friend.”
Walking up to it, he faced it like he would be if he was talking to a person.
“Well Shadow, you’ve been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been wondering how to handle just what it is that you did. At first we were enemies, but then we grew on one another, kinda like the way Knux and I were,” Sonic chuckled.
“You gave your life to save all those you cared about, and you even saved mine too. What I guess I’m trying to say, is thank you.”
The headstone made no audible reply, but the blue hedgehog didn’t expect one. For some reason, he finally felt at peace. He had managed to overcome crisis yet again, thus proving to himself that he wasn’t inadequate and was still the best at what he did. The fear was no longer there, and was replaced by a warm and fuzzy feeling, that of the yearn for adventure. Sonic smiled.
“Sayonara’, Shadow the Hedgehog…and friend.”
The rest of the day had passed as normally as could be expected. The Turbokat would need a whole new heat shield fixture set up, and the gashes caused by Dark Kat’s laser would take a while to fix. Jake sighed in reluctance, knowing that it would take at least a week to repair. Chance on the other hand was busy with something else.
“Yes!” the larger mechanic said in triumph. “I have created life!”
Jake cocked an eyebrow as he walked over to see what his partner was doing. He only needed one glance to see that it was the car engine that he had been bragging about days earlier.
“Now, if I recall correctly, you said something about my engine upgrades being ‘unsafe’?” Chance asked as he hopped into the driver’s seat, wincing slightly as his arm was still in a sling.
“Among other things, but yeah,” Jake replied as he slowly began to take steps back.
“Well, put all your fears to rest, because this baby is gonna purr like a kitten,” Chance said with confidence as he turned the key in the ignition. The motor started up quickly, and for all intensive purposes seemed to be working.
“Whoa, you mean that-” the smaller mechanic began. Chance then revved the engine, and the once peaceful apparatus exploded into a fiery plume. “-nevermind.”
“Awww crud!” Chance howled, slamming his fists down onto the steering wheel, then turned in his seat to face Jake, pointing a finger vindictively. “Not *one* word Jake.”
“Well, I’d hate to say, I told ya so…” Jake began, but then saw Chance rushing out of the car. “Hey! Chance, you still got that broken arm, remember? Chance? Chance!”
Farmer McDoyle sat back in his rocking chair on the porch of his house, rocking back and forth gradually sending himself to sleep. It had been a long day on the farm, what with harvest coming soon. He’d need to hire more hands or else this year’s load might go to waste.
“Well, I reckon it’ll all be fine,” McDoyle said, chewing a strand of wheat. “Always does turn out fine-” the Farmer continued, and then stopped as he stood up and looked up at the sky. “Why, what do ya know? A shooting star, mighty big one too.”
The Farmer watched in amazement as the shooting star was soon followed by another and they kept on getting bigger and bigger in the distance. McDoyle watched in utter awe. These were the biggest shooting stars he’d ever seen.
He quickly switched from amazement to worry; however, as the celestial objects streaked visibly overhead with a loud screech and landed in his corn field. A large explosion of dirt and corn soon followed, and McDoyle cursed to himself, something he rarely ever did.
“Darn them shooting stars, just my luck they’ll turn out to be invaders from space or some such,” the Farmer stated aloud as he grabbed is shotgun and headed for the impact site. It was still hot as McDoyle approached it, keeping his weapon at the ready just in case.
It didn’t take long for his fears to be confirmed though, as the crater became active with two kat-like forms. McDoyle raised his shotgun as he took on his authoritative posture.
“Now seeya here, you two done trespassed on my here property. So unless you plan on seekin’ an employment with my here self you’d best be moving along,” the Farmer said plainly.
“Sorry mister, T-Bone over here kinda took a wrong turn,” the smaller one said, it’s features slightly charred.
“Hey, you’re the one navigating, Razor,” T-Bone replied, his state similar to his partners. “But yeah, sorry to trouble you sir, we’ll be moving right along.”
The two exited from the crater and began to look around. McDoyle saw a symbol patch on what remained of their jumpsuits and realized that he’d seen it somewhere before.
“Hey, are ya two the SWAT Kats?” the Farmer inquired.
“Yeps, T-Bone and Razor,” Razor said, raising his hand to give a quick little salute. The kat’s arm was virtually non-existent, all the fur burned away revealing a metallic structure underneath. The Farmer cocked an eyebrow, wondering just what was going on.
“You sure you two are gonna be alright?”
“Yeah, no problem,” T-Bone replied. He turned his head, his face no longer illuminated by the moon light. Two crimson sources of light emanated from his eyes. “Say, could you tell us which way to Megakat City?”
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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.