Title: Nuke It! – “for David Lee Moore”
Authors: The Seeker and Kristen Sharpe Date: 3/28/97
Seeker created by: “The Seeker” (I, Kristen, am just the rewriter/ idea-suggester person – there, bro, you have yer credit – is yer ego satisfied?)
Author’s Note: For those of you who may wonder and who may not be familiar with the character, Lt. Kristen Sharpe, this story is supposedly written by her, a young Enforcer recently assigned to be Lt. Feral’s weapons officer (and this author’s pen name). No, she doesn’t know the true identities of the SWAT Kats – the scenes at the garage and so forth are included as they would have been on a television flashback episode: the audience sees and hears all but realizes that the narrator does/did not. The usage of Kristen to tell the story is purely just for the fun of it. If anyone has any comments about the misuse of jet terminology, feel free to contact us. To clear up confusion: there is a second author’s note – the fictitious one.
Any questions, comments, complaints, etc. to: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
This follows H2Oh,No in my regular series. And is, in fact, the start of the series proper. Combined from it’s original four-part cliffhangers.
How I came to be writing this is a rather puzzling story. Feeling even more hyper than unusual late one night after a long day at Enforcer Headquarters, I decided to undertake a monumentous task – cleaning my, perpetually, filthy locker. While working, I was approached by a strange, shadowy figure with a bizarre request. Should I call it *request*? No – it was an order, with a threat behind it. Why a mysterious figure like him would have ever come to a near-rookie Enforcer whose only writing credits were a few letters-to-the-editor printed in “The MegaKat Times” to write his….biography is the best word….is beyond me. A floppy disk was shoved in my hand that night and with it my writing “career” was born. The disk held all the information I needed to recount a story that many in MegaKat City had heard on the news not long ago. *I*, however, was the first to hear all the details, schemes, thoughts of one who it seemed wanted to destroy the city. Was that his purpose? Perhaps not…. Though offered, I have never accepted payment for this writing – I dread to think where or from what *his* money comes. I merely write as ordered (though I sense the threat diminishing as I seem more willing to comply) and learn what I can about this mysterious kat.
Lt. Kristen Sharpe
Sand blew into the air, twinkling like some form of magical dust in the moonlight as the midnight black jet landed on the beach at MegaKat Island, its powerful VTOL engines blowing the sand into a dense cloud. As the roar from the engines died, the canopy slid back and a massive feline form leapt out. Surveying the debris that littered the beach he scowled a bit, his features obscured by the settling sand cloud.
“Looks like they’ve destroyed the old MegaKat Tuna Factory since I was in town. I’m sorry I missed it – it would’ve been a great explosion. Of course, not quite up to *my* standards,” he added. Ah, well, perhaps these “SWAT Kats” I’ve heard so much about will provide worthwhile entertainment,” he said to himself as he began to walk through the debris.
The bright moonlight that shone down on the now-barren, flat beach illuminated his features. His dull, gray-brown fur, visible only on his face, served to blurred his features in the uneven light. His clothes seemed to merge with the darkness of the night; the black flight suit with its complimenting gray gloves and boots camouflaging him in the shadows. Yellow eyes gleamed from the black mask that covered the top of his head. A huge, bulky backpack was situated between his shoulder blades.
The tall kat strode confidently through the strewn remains of the factory, one arm raised into the air. A faint, red light flickered on the glove he held aloft. Suddenly, the flicker increased as the glove emitted a high beep. Smiling, the kat kicked aside the charred timbers on the ground before him. He seemed none too surprised with what he found.
“Titanium alloy,” he muttered, bending down and studying the metal door that had been hidden under the debris closely. “Hmm…an alloy not destroyed by the common bomb – but then, since when do I build the common bomb?”
He reached into the prodigious backpack he wore and removed a tiny, metal cylinder. Carefully, he set the cylindrical device down on the door and pressed a button on its side, stepping back swiftly in the same motion. The cylinder and the metal flared red in a flaming glow that vanished in seconds, leaving only a gaping hole and a few wisps of smoke. A metal stair glinting in the moonlight hinted at the stairway that wound down into the depths of the hole.
The huge kat smiled as pressed a button on his glove, cautiously stepping onto the first stair as a bright light flashed into being from some compartment on the glove. The light illuminating his path, the kat descended into the abyss. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he was met by a huge metal door with a grotesque facade comprised of a metallic, kat-like face. Looking at it, illumined eerily by his light, the kat scowled.
“Dark Kat, Dark Kat,” he muttered, shaking his head. “You really should work on the decor.”
He stepped up to the door and flashed the light across it. Seeing the computer access panel he sought, he walked to it, pulling yet another small device from his backpack and placing it on the computer panel.
A tiny digital screen on the square device lit up as a series of numbers and letters flashed across it. The tall kat watched the process, each number and letter of the access code instantly burned into his mind as he saw it for only a tenth of a second before it vanished. The tiny screen’s glow faded abruptly simultaneous with the start of a grinding noise as metal bolts slid away. The massive door swung inward soundlessly.
Light flooded the cavernous room beyond as the kat stepped in and his searching hand found the switch. A veritable control room surrounded him, complete with gigantic computers, row upon row of machinery, strange electronic equipment and a huge chair that could have easily seated two kats.
“Hmmm….dark, dank, gloomy – Dark Kat, tut tut….You will just never make it as an interior decorator. Your mother had hopes – you were always such a talented young kat,” smirked the gray kat, surveying the room. “Still, this will do nicely – it needs but a little remodeling.”
With this, he spun on his heel and walked back outside the door. Carefully, he raised his left arm and took aim with the laser-like device that perched atop his glove.
“Let’s see this doorway is just lovely. It just needs a little off here, here, and here,” he said, firing at the face surrounding the door.
As he spoke, the hideous likeness of Dark Kat was blasted into oblivion, leaving only the bare, metal door.
“I never was much for fancy architecture.”
The massive kat walked back into the control room. Striding across the room, he swiped a finger over one of the computer terminals. He looked at the finger, now coated with a thin layer of dust.
“I will have to see the maid about this. I wonder if she does windows as well as she dusts….”
Spying the massive chair in front of the largest terminal, he settled himself into it.
“Hmmm…..roomy, comfortable,” he muttered. “Hmmm…*really* roomy – looks like the previous owner was gettin’ a liiitle chubby.”
Casually, he leaned back and thumped his gargantuan-sized boots up on the computer panel in front of him.
“I can *definitely* work with this. Get ready for some fun MegaKat City – the Seeker is back in town!”
“I’m up by twenty points, bud – prepare to eat my exhaust!” announced Chance Furlong triumphantly, as he leaned over excitedly. His eyes were focused on the T.V. screen before him, his hands tightly clutching his joystick. Two digitized jets chased each other across the screen. The black one, his, was pursuing its red counterpart, firing on it relentlessly.
Jake sighed. Best six out of ten really was taking the game a bit far and his hands were starting to cramp from holding the joystick so long. Still, it *was* the tenth game and they *were* tied. The thought of victory so near his grasp spurred him on. Besides…he had an idea – he’d been rather observant in all his years of flying with Chance, and though he would never try to fly recklessly like his friend in reality,….well, this wasn’t reality was it?
“Don’t count your jets before they’re shot down, bud,” returned his friend, Jake Clawson, jerking his stick to the right suddenly.
The digitized, red jet fighter on the screen shot up into a loop, flipping upside down and coming up behind the black one.
“Hey!!” Chance shouted as Jake’s fighter opened fire on his.
Despite Chance using every maneuver he knew, Jake quickly shot his fighter down. The black jet exploded in an orange burst and vanished from the screen only to return as a flickering ghost of itself. It solidified in seconds, with Chance now down by one man.
“Alright!” shouted Jake. “Yer lead’s slippin’ away, Chance!”
Suddenly, the screen went black; the entire building was plunged into silence, broken only by Chance’s loud, “Aww, crud! – the power’s out! We lost the entire game – even the all-time high score I made today!” he groaned.
“Yep,” replied Jake, standing up and shaking his head to clear away the image of the blue screen that was still floating across his field of vision, “sorry, bud. We’ll have ta’ rematch later.”
The blare of their alarm suddenly broke the silence.
“Well, the new, hangar backup generator’s workin’ properly,” said Jake.
“Sounds like trouble,” muttered Chance as the two went to the back of their garage and climbed down a ladder into the underground hangar. To the left of the ladder, their jet, the TurboKat, shone in the dim lighting with a new coat of wax, thanks to a hard afternoon’s work by Jake. Gadgets and missiles in various stages of repairs or development lined the walls and cluttered the floor of the right half of the hangar. Hardly the equipment of two mechanics, but rather perfect for the two SWAT Kats, the crime fighters of MegaKat City.
Chance walked up to a telephone above which the alarm was still blaring, its red light flashing. As he picked up the receiver, he pushed a button that cut the alarm off.
“Yes, Ms. Briggs?” he asked.
“SWAT Kats!” the worried voice of Calico Briggs, MegaKat City’s Deputy Mayor, called over the phone. “Some maniac calling himself the Seeker’s taken over MegaKat Nuclear Power Plant. He’s cut the power to the whole city, and he just channeled a blast of energy into two office buildings, causing all kinds of electrical explosions! No one’s been hurt yet, but it’s just a matter of time. He says City Hall is next! I’m at Enforcer Headquarters where he just called – he’s not making any demands, just threats that he seems to have every intention of carrying out! The Enforcers are heading to the nuclear plant now, but I figured they’d need your help.”
“We’re on our way, Ms. Briggs,” said Chance, giving Jake a thumbs up. He slammed the phone onto the receiver. “Sounds like we gotta interesting maniac this time!” he announced enthusiastically. “Maybe we’ll get a change from the ol’ routine,” he added, bounding toward the lockers where they kept their flight suits.
Jake followed. Reaching the lockers, they flung open the metal doors and yanked out their blue flight suits, pulling them on in a record time achieved through long habit. Racing to the jet, they leapt first onto the nearest wing and then into their seats. Only seconds later, the TurboKat roared out of the underground hangar and into the sky.
“All you have to do is make this one shot,” Mayor Manx muttered to himself, concentrating on the golf ball before him; it was inches from the cup on the indoor golf set. He pulled the club back, ready to swing. The phone’s sudden ringing distracted him and he hit the ball far harder than he’d intended. It ricocheted off the wall on the other side of his office, bouncing back and hitting him in the shin.
“Next time I play, I’ll have Callie disconnect this thing,” he grumbled, rubbing his shin with one hand and picking up the phone with the other. “Hello?”
“Mayor,” said Miss Briggs, “Some maniac has threatened to blow up City Hall! You…”
“What was that, Callie? I can’t hear you for this blasted static…Yaaah!” Manx yelped, flinging the phone away as it erupted in a shower of sparks. Beside him, a light switch exploded from the wall and hung by its wires, sparking, until it caught fire and turned black.
The mayor backed away from the exploding circuitry toward the window in terror. Hearing the roar of a jet engine growing ever louder behind him, he turned around just in time to see a sleek, black jet open fire at the window. Amazingly, the bullets sprayed around him, leaving him untouched – almost as if that was the intention. Manx decided not to push his luck. With a yelp of terror, he dove onto the floor and crawled under his desk.
“Aaah, nothing like giving someone a heart attack before you blow them up,” cackled the huge, gray kat almost reclining in the cockpit of the jet. “Now, I’d hate to see this building just sit there and go to waste – what does the Mayor do anyway? – so why not just level it?” He cocked his head to one side as though in thought. “The question is: do I remotely blow it up with the power station or use the old-fashioned method? Decisions, decisions…” He ran his finger across the firing button on the stick he gripped tightly. “I know – I’ll just press a button and see what happens!”
He pressed the button. Two missiles streaked out of his plane toward the towering building. Seconds from impact, they were met by another pair of missiles coming in from the right. The four missiles exploded in a fiery burst that blew out several floors worth of City Hall’s windows. Manx quivered under his desk as glass and debris showered around him.
“So,” said the Seeker, looking toward his right to see the other missiles’ origin, “The SWAT Kats…a challenge at last.”
The TurboKat hurtled toward his jet from above. Deftly veering his plane to the side, the Seeker avoided two more of Razor’s missiles.
“Well, well – we meet at last SWAT Kats,” he announced over the radio. “Let’s see if you live up to your reputations.”
“This guy’s good, T-Bone – not to mention fast!” exclaimed Razor as he tried to line up another shot.
The other jet rocketed away behind the building. T-Bone followed. On reaching the other side, there was no sign of the Seeker’s jet.
“Hey! Where’d he go?!” shouted T-Bone, switching the TurboKat to VTOL engines and eyeing a dense cloud bank above them distrustfully. Nothing was showing up on his instruments and that worried him. “Can you get ‘im on radar?” he called to Razor.
“Negative…nothin’! This guy’s either got a cloaking device or a *really* good RAM coating!”
T-Bone frowned; this Seeker was tricky, but ol’ T-Bone knew quite a few tricks himself. “My guess is he’s in that cloud bank waitin’ for us,” he said, switching back to the rear engines and sending the TurboKat into an steep vertical climb. “Well, he’s not the only one that can play games!”
They shot above the clouds, abruptly rolling to plunge downward into the thick mass of clouds. Razor grit his teeth; T-Bone’s maneuver was crazy – they had no idea where the Seeker was. Granted, the move might surprise him and give them the advantage….or they might slam into the other jet at T-Bone’s insane speed.
As they came out of the roll and leveled off, the Seeker’s plane appeared through the clouds, directly in front of them.
“There he is!” yelled Razor.
“Hah, hope that showed him who he’s dealin’ with,” said T-Bone, a triumphant ring to his voice.
The Seeker *was* surprised…and a bit impressed. Still, he made it a point never to let an opponent get the upper hand.
“Well, SWAT Kats, perhaps you will at least give me a workout,” the kat taunted, rolling his jet out of the way, microseconds before Razor could get a lock. Razor had more important immediate concerns, however. Two round, metal globes fell from the Seeker’s jet as it dove downward. Rockets igniting, they locked onto the TurboKat.
“T-Bone! Those two globes’re locked on us!”
T-Bone rolled the TurboKat out of their path. The two, metal spheres followed the jet.
“Crud, they’re heat seekers!” exclaimed Razor. “Well, do something about it, Sureshot!”
“No problemo – slicer missiles…AWAY!” announced Razor, pressing a button on his control panel, firing two missiles. The two slicer missiles opened up as they flew through the air, rows of four, razor-sharp blades folding out of the square projectiles. The two missiles collided with the globes, throwing a brown, sticky goo over the TurboKat and the Seeker’s jet.
“Razor! That crud’s clogging two of our engines!” yelled T-Bone, opening the afterburners ever wider in the hopes that he could burn the goo away even as he strained to see through the half-coated canopy.
The goo clung to the engines despite T-Bone’s efforts, finally causing both to flame out. The remaining engine, half-clogged itself, could do little to keep the TurboKat aloft. The jet began to plummet.
“Switching to auxiliary engines,” T-Bone announced. He was starting to get desperate.
Four additional engines folded out of the TurboKat from compartments situated beside each stabilizer and roared to life. The TurboKat lifted back above the clouds as T-Bone and Razor both released huge sighs of relief.
The Seeker had already gotten his plane under control and was streaking off into the distance.
“Guess we know who’s the better pilot, SWAT Kat,” the Seeker’s voice crackled over the radio, his comment clearly aimed at T-Bone.
“Switching to Speed-of-Heat, NOW!” yelled T-Bone, his voice a growl as he flicked the switch; he recognized a challenge when he heard it.
The four engines roared even louder, launching the TurboKat forward at a fantastic pace. In minutes, the extreme speeds had flung most of the remaining goo from the canopy, allowing the SWAT Kats to see the Seeker’s jet growing ever nearer as they swiftly cut away at Seeker’s lead. The two jets were now several miles outside MegaKat City, flying over the barren desert beyond the salvage yard.
“Take ‘im down now, Razor. Should be a perfect shot – we’re away from the city,” said T-Bone, as the distance between the two jets decreased.
“You got it. Turbo blades…AWAY!”
The two, razor-sharp blades streaked out of the TurboKat, and found their mark. One clipped off the tip of Seeker’s right wing while the other sliced away the top of one of his stabilizers. The jet wobbled crazily and went into a dive.
“Bingo!” Razor yelled in triumph.
“Let’s go down and finish off this Seeker guy,” said T-Bone.
In a matter of minutes, the TurboKat’s landing gear was gently touching down on the desert floor as T-Bone landed using the VTOL engines. The Seeker’s damaged jet was several feet away, surrounded by a cloud of dust from its own, infuriatingly smooth, VTOL landing. The TurboKat’s canopy slid back and, sliding on their glovatrixes, the two kats leapt from the jet and cautiously headed after their quarry.
As they approached the other jet, a panel beneath the cockpit lowered, stopping with its tip touching the ground, slanting downward to form a ramp. The Seeker strode down the ramp. As he stepped out into the light the SWAT Kats got their first good look at him.
T-Bone and Razor both eyed the huge, smirking figure.
“A little over-confident is he?” thought T-Bone, noting the Seeker’s confident, strangely dangerous smile. “Not ta’ mention bein’ the size of a bus…. Well, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
Razor noted the smirk also, but with apprehension.
“He’s up ta’ somethin’ – this guy’s been pulling tricks from the start, and I don’t think he’s through yet,” he thought warily, taking in the Seeker and the challenging light in T-Bone’s eyes.
“You didn’t think you’d take me that easily, did you?” asked the Seeker, sounding hurt.
“Just try somethin’,” dared T-Bone, aiming his glovatrix at the massive kat.
“I think I’ll take you up on that offer,” said Seeker, and with that, he pulled a black box from his huge backpack and threw it towards the two kats. It unfolded in mid-air, mechanical legs whipping out to wrap around the two startled SWAT Kats before they could react. No sooner did the SWAT Kats find their arms and legs firmly pinioned to their bodies, than a powerful electric shock shot through the device, electrocuting them. With a yell of surprise and pain, both kats were plunged into unconsciousness.
As the world faded around him, Razor caught a fleeting glimpse of the Seeker standing back and admiring his work with a pleased grin. Then, the sneering kat’s black flight suit merged with the blackness that was filling Razor’s field of vision and he lost consciousness.
“Uhhhh…..,” Razor groaned as his eyes slowly fluttered open. Weakly, he tried to move, finding quickly that he was tied firmly.
“Aaah, you’re awake. I was afraid my electroleech had gotten the best of you,” an only vaguely familiar voice addressed him. Looking upward, Razor met the Seeker’s gaze as the other kat looked over his shoulder from a control panel. “Glad to see that you finally woke up too. I *really* didn’t wanna lose *you*.”
Squirming to a sitting position with his back to the wall, Razor looked to his left and saw T-Bone, tied and gagged glaring at the Seeker. Quickly, he let his eyes sweep around his surroundings. He was sitting on a linoleum-like tile floor in what appeared to be some form of computer control center. A huge screen loomed above the console where the Seeker was working. Red and green lights blinked intermittently from points on the schematic-like outline that dominated the screen. The console encircled the round room, glowing screens and strange lights emanating from various points along its length.
“After our first encounter, I felt that your friend here needed a gag,” the Seeker continued, gesturing to T-Bone as he turned to face them. “You’re a very outspoken kat, and I like that,” he said, smiling evilly at T-Bone, who glared in return, wishing fervently that looks *could* kill.
Abruptly, the smile slid from the Seeker’s face and he sighed.
“I was hoping you SWAT Kats would be a challenge – I overestimated you. I really can’t say much about your flying,” he said, looking at T-Bone. “I’ve seen plenty of daredevil, hotshot pilots – none could beat me. But, I *was* impressed by your shooting skills – you did shoot me down fair and square,” he commented, turning his gaze toward Razor and studying his face. “I’d intended to let you shoot me down a few miles further out – no major inconvenience with my plan that I was taken down a bit early, but the fact remains that you *did* take me down.”
“I get a lotta practice.”
“No doubt,” returned the Seeker, smiling again. “I could use a partner with that kind of skill….interested?”
Razor stared at him with a disbelieving, are-you-crazy? look.
“C’mon, ditch the loser pilot and join me – what do you say?”
“I say, go cough up a furball,” snapped Razor.
“Ah, well, your loss.” The Seeker leaned back on the console behind him and let his eyes run over both SWAT Kats, smiling with a wicked joy. “Now, to business.” He walked over to T-Bone and reached down to yank the gag off, being sure to put enough force in the pull to jerk T-Bone’s head up painfully.
“Owww…..,” T-Bone yelled, glowering at Seeker.
“Didn’t want to miss any of your gasps of surprise and horror as I relate my plans,” Seeker explained. “Welcome to MegaKat Nuclear Power Plant,” he announced grandly. “We are currently in the main computer center that runs the entire plant,” the smirking kat mimicked a tour guide. He then turned back to the console and pressed a button. The screen above the console glowed to life. Both captive kats stared at the screen. It appeared to be a schematic of the nuclear plant, complete with three red lights glowing at certain points.
“Each light is a bomb placed at a very *strategic* point in the plant,” Seeker explained, studying the image. He punched the button again and the image on the screen faded. He turned to face his ‘captive audience’. “Within three hours the bombs will detonate – you’ ve got an hour for each bomb. Of course, I’ve had some time to prepare, so there will be some ‘obstacles’ for you to navigate.” He let his smile widen. “Hope you memorized the bombs’ locations – of course, we can’t *all* have photographic memories.”
“If those bombs go off, MegaKat City will be a pile of radioactive litter!” gasped Razor.
“Yes, that’s the primary side effect of blowing up a nuclear plant,” returned the Seeker. “What of it?”
“You psycho!” growled T-Bone. “I suppose you’re leaving as soon as you set us free to go through your little “obstacle course”? Going somewhere safe to watch the explosion? – maybe with a bucket of popcorn?”
“It’s already sitting in the microwave, waiting for me,” returned Seeker. “But I won’t be too far away. Well, I have some things to attend to – hope you enjoy the entertainment I’ve prepared.” He turned to walk out the door, calling over his shoulder, “I *do* hope you’re at least talented enough to get yourselves free with that Swiss Army Knife of Razor’s – it’s still in the compartment on his glove,” in response to the SWAT Kats’ shocked looks as he’d turned to leave. “And those *fascinating* glovatrixes are on the console – hope you don’t have a copyright….I just *had* to take a few ‘notes’.” With that, he was gone.
T-Bone turned his gaze from the Seeker’s retreating back to Razor who had set to work on the task of working his knife out of the glove and into a position where he could cut the thick ropes binding him.
“Just call me MacTyger,” he said, giving T-Bone a quick grin.
“That’s twice he’s slipped past our defenses!” growled Commander Feral, slamming his fist down on top of his patrol car and watching the black jet fade into the distance amid the smoking debris of the Enforcer jets that had tried to stop it.
The Sergeant stepped up behind him.
“We’re not making a dent in that force field of his, Sir,” he told Feral.
“And he controls the electricity so we haven’t got a prayer of shorting it out,” muttered Feral, voice growling.
There was a sudden crackle of sound from the security intercom situated in the guard house.
“Sir, you should see this – we’re getting something from inside!” shouted an Enforcer in the guard house.
Feral and the Sergeant both turned and walked into the building to look at it.
“Hey, Commander – look I’m on TV!” called T-Bone, his trademark, cocky smile abruptly filling the screen.
“*You*…?!! What are *you* doing in there?!” yelled Feral.
“Me an’ Razor thought we’d get a nuclear tan in the reactor core,” returned T-Bone sarcastically. “What do you think we’re doin’? – we’re stuck in here tryin’ ta’ disarm Seeker’s bombs.”
“The Seeker’s placed three bombs on and around the two reactors, Commander,” said Razor, his face coming into the screen as T-Bone moved aside. “We have three hours to disarm them or he’s gonna nuke MegaKat City. If the Enforcers can get us any information on the plant….”
“Exactly,” the Seeker’s voice suddenly purred from the intercom speaker, interrupting Razor. “That will be quite enough – thanks ever so for handling the explanations for me.” Then, he added, “I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to sit this one out, Commander. This is the SWAT Kats’ test – no cheating.”
The intercom in front of Razor suddenly exploded in sparks.
“CRUD! He’s still controlling the power!” Razor gasped. “Maybe I can override it,” he muttered, turning and walking to the computer console. He sat down in the chair and began typing rapidly. “CRUD! Access denied on pain of explosion’!!!”
“What’s that?” asked T-Bone, leaning over the back of the chair.
“Seeker’s little warning – if I try to hack the system, I could end up detonating the bombs!”
“CRUD!” growled T-Bone, slamming his fist down on the console beside the keyboard. “So what’ll we do? – we can’t even get information on the plant layout from the Enforcers now.” “Hmm….there’s one file I can get into on the hard drive,” muttered Razor, eyes focused on the computer screen as his fingers flew across the keyboard.
The schematic of the plant appeared on the screen. Only this time the tell-tale red dots were missing.
“Well, we gotta layout,” he muttered. “Remember where any of those bombs were planted, bud?” he asked as he opened a panel on his glovatrix.
T-Bone stared at the screen for a few seconds.
“Maybe here,” he muttered, pointing to the left side of the number two reactor. “I’m pretty sure about *that* one, but the others…..,” he broke off shaking his head.
“We’re just gonna haveta’ rack our brains on this one,” agreed Razor, pulling a disk-like device that trailed a thin, red wire from the compartment on his glovatrix. “At least I can upload the schematic into the Mini Kat Tracker,” he said as he slid the disk into the computer’s disk drive.
“Needs real butter,” muttered the Seeker as he pulled another handful of popcorn from the bag. “This imitation stuff just doesn’t cut it. Well, maybe I’ll get some in a minute – can’t believe Dark Kat didn’t have a fridge down here….making me drag one down into this hole…. Well, at least the fun is about to start.”
He was reclining in Dark Kat’s chair in the underground base, feet once more up on the console before him. Above his two, giant boots he could see the SWAT Kats making their way down a corridor in the power plant on the massive screen before him.
“Y’know maybe he was just tryin’ ta’ psyche us out about the obstacles – whadya think, Razor?” asked T-Bone as they made their way to Reactor 1.
“I think….LOOK OUT!!!!” Razor hurled himself into T-Bone, throwing the two of them flat on their faces in the floor. The air over their heads crackled with electricity as a blue bolt shot over them.
T-Bone looked up to see a flying drone of some form approaching. It resembled one of their own test target drones.
“Party time,” he muttered, raising his glovatrix.
The drone abruptly disappeared.
“What in the….?!” gasped Razor. It hit him suddenly. “Duck!!!”
Again, he flung T-Bone to the floor. Again, the electric blast narrowly missed them.
“Deploying infrared visor,” announced T-Bone, pressing a button on his helmet. The red visor immediately slid down over his eyes. Razor followed suit.
T-Bone cautiously scanned the hallway from his crouch on the floor.
“Where is it?” he muttered.
“It’s cloaking system has nothing to do with infrared radiation,” growled Razor, pressing the button on his helmet again to raise the visor. “There’s no way to…”
His comment broke off in a yell of surprise as a red beam flashed above him. Somehow either sensing or hearing it, he managed to dodge out of the way at the last second, the beam tearing the sleeve of his flight suit. He landed nimbly on his feet and fired a mini-turbo blade in the direction of the beam. He was rewarded with a metallic clang as the blade bounced off his target.
In the precious seconds while Razor was setting up his next shot, T-Bone took hasty aim at where the turbo blade had connected. In a split second decision, he adjusted his aim a little to the right and fired a miniature missile. There was a small explosion and pieces of suddenly visible metal showered down into the hallway.
“That takes care of that,” muttered T-Bone, pressing the button on his helmet again and raising his obviously useless visor.
“How much ya’ wanna bet there’s more?” asked Razor, walking up to the smoking pile of debris that was all that remained of the drone.
“Isn’t there any way to destroy that field?!” demanded Feral.
The shortish scientist before him ducked a bit as Feral shouted over his head. Straightening up, he adjusted his glasses and Puma-Dyne ID badge, which read Moore, David L.’.
“Well, we could just drop a bomb on it and nuke the place for Seeker, but I don’t think you want that, Commander,” he returned dryly, looking up at Feral and eyeing him over his glasses. “There’s nothing we can do. We’ve checked into overriding the plant’s computer systems so he can’t control the power…. – no way – we hack the system and he’ll nuke the city. We destroy the field by dropping a nuclear bomb on it: *we* nuke the city. The SWAT Kats don’t get those bombs disarmed: they go off, the city gets nuked. Pretty much – this city’s toast. Frankly, Commander, I’d feel safer in Hiroshima before they dropped the bomb.”
The two SWAT Kats trudged down the hallway, warily looking through the many windows into control centers. Normally, one could see workers busy about their tasks in the rooms. Now, all the twosome found were Seeker’s drones ready for the attack.
“I’m gettin’ sick a’ Seek’s little ‘toys’,” muttered T-Bone. “We’ve already hadta’ take out a dozen or so!”
“Yeah, he knows exactly where to have ’em waiting. They keep popping out of control rooms and gettin’ the jump on us,” Razor returned as he cautiously peered around the edge of one of the windows.
“I hear ya’ buddy. They seem to be able to come from anywh…aah!” T-Bone yelled, shoving Razor to the floor as a drone suddenly burst through window of the room they were passing in a shower of glass.
Straightening, T-Bone fired a mini-matchhead missile at it. Twisting into a sitting position, Razor fired seconds later. The two shots hit their marks, destroying the drone.
“Thanks T-Bone. That thing almost took my head off,” Razor muttered as he stood back up.
“Hey, we need two heads for this one, buddy,” T-Bone said as he helped his partner up.
Razor consulted his glovatrix as he got to his feet.
“This *should* be near the first bomb….if we’re right,” he muttered. “The generator room is near here – sound like a good place to start an explosion?”
“Sounds like his style,” agreed T-Bone.
“The door should be on our right.”
“How’s that one?” asked T-Bone, gesturing towards a huge, steel door.
“Looks right,” Razor murmured, walking forward to study the small panel beside the door. “It’s gotta computer access.”
“Be careful, buddy. We don’t wanna cause any more power surges,” T-Bone muttered as he watched Razor begin to pick at the computer access panel with a small probe appendage on his glovatrix.
Razor cautiously removed the panel and studied the jumble of wires underneath. A small black box with a tie wrap securing it around a group of wires caught his attention. Razor leaned forward to look at the box more closely. A small red light in its center began blinking. The light accelerated, blinking faster and faster.
“I wouldn’t touch those wires if I were you SWAT Kat!” Seeker tauntingly warned as he leaned back in the chair. “Oh, forget it, – the suspense is killing me – I’ll go ahead and do it myself!” the huge kat announced as he flicked a switch on the arm of the chair.
“Whoa!” Razor gasped, jumping away from the panel as it exploded with a small ‘whump’ sound. Smoke began to curl out of it.
Assured it was safe enough, Razor advanced on the panel and looked in at the cluster of wires. The wires were now hopelessly melted into a lump of metal and plastic coating.
“We have a slight’ problem T-Bone,” Razor groaned as he turned to face his friend. “The psycho melted the wires together – I can’t do anything with them!”
“Crud! What are we gonna do now?” demanded T-Bone, glaring at the door.
“Can’t risk setting the bomb off firing our mini-missiles,” muttered Razor. “We’ll have to find another way to get in there.” He searched the area around the door. “Ah, hah!” He pointed upward to a ventilation shaft above the door. “Gimme a boost – I’ll check it out.”
“You’re not going in there alone!” protested T-Bone.
Razor looked from the broad-shouldered T-Bone to the shaft.
“T-Bone, *I’ll* be lucky to get through without needing the Jaws of Life – there’s no way you’d fit!”
“You got me,” T-Bone grudgingly admitted, bending down slightly and cupping his hands to make a step for Razor. “Radio contact at all times,” he admonished.
“Roger,” Razor replied as he stepped into his partner’s huge hands and balanced there while he used a screwdriver appendage from his glovatrix to remove the grate across the shaft. Letting it drop to the floor, he pushed off T-Bone’s hands, jumping up to catch onto the edge of the shaft. He scrambled into the hole, finding himself compelled to lie on his stomach and squirm along the shaft.
“This is gonna be *real* tight,” he muttered, voice echoing off the metal walls surrounding him.
“Just don’t get stuck, bud, cause I can’t get you out,” T-Bone called, hearing him.
“I can see the headline in the “MegaKat Squaller” now,” called Razor. ” Kat Trapped in Ventilation Shaft for Past Twenty Years Discovered’.” He heard T-Bone chuckle but said no more – with Seeker’s track record for booby traps, he needed to concentrate on what he was doing. A faint, metallic scuttling reached his ears. Razor awkwardly worked his hand around to deploy his infrared visor again, twisting a tiny knob to modify it to night vision mode. His kat’s eyes were serving him well in the dark shaft, but one could never be too careful. Cautiously, he studied the shaft before him. It appeared empty, save a few cobwebs. There was a faint light at the end of the shaft where it opened on the generator room. Just ahead, he could see an intersection where another shaft bisected his.
Razor moved forward slowly. Carefully, he craned his neck forward to look down the intersecting shaft, muscles tensed for any sudden moves he might need to execute. There was nothing in either direction. Razor made his way to the grating at the end of the tunnel unmolested. Oddly, that worried him.
He raised the visor as he encountered the florescent lighting from the generator room. One good shove succeeded in removing the grate.
“This is *way* too easy,” Razor muttered as he dropped down into the massive room, somersaulting in midair to land on his feet.
No sooner had his feet hit the floor than they flew out from under him. Razor hit the floor with a thud.
“What in the….?” he gasped, sitting up and finding himself lying a pool of brown liquid. The pungent smell of gasoline reached his nose. “The lunatic covered the room in gas!” Razor gasped as he carefully stood up.
The puddle he’d fallen in was only one especially deep part of the pooled gas that covered the floor.
“The *psycho*!!!” T-Bone’s growl reached his ears through the radio.
Centered in the aisle between the humming generators was a bomb; the black box with the blinking timer could be nothing else.
“Seeker’s got all this planned,” muttered Razor, advancing on it and shaking his head.
The shaft being the only entrance, the ease with which he’d gotten through and out of the shaft, the pool of gas awaiting whoever jumped out of it, and now, this – a bomb he didn’t even have to search for. It was all a set-up….and it worried him.
“What kind of bomb am I gonna haveta’ disarm,” Razor groaned, bending down to study it.
He cautiously opened a panel. The working was normal enough – with one noticeable difference. A giant red wire dominated the area inside.
“What on….?! More tricks!” growled Razor.
“What is it, partner?!” shouted T-Bone.
“There’s this great, big red wire here just screaming, Cut me!’!”
“Oh, come on! He’s gotta know we’re not *that* dumb – high and mighty as he thinks he is!”
“I dunno, T-Bone,” Razor returned, studying the bomb’s workings.
T-Bone heard his musings from his helpless position outside the room.
“It looks right….none of the other wires run to the right……I’m cutting it.”
“Razor! Isn’t that what he wants?!” T-Bone shouted.
“We’ll see in about a half-second.”
T-Bone prayed silently, hearing his partner quietly do the same over the radio. Seconds passed in silence. Nothing. It was quiet. T-Bone realized that he could hear his own heavy breathing.
“Razor,….?!” he called.
“All clear, buddy, – I’m headin’ back.”
What Razor didn’t say was that he’d known it would most likely be that easy. He mulled the situation over in his mind as he crawled back through the shaft.
“This is the SWAT Kats’ test….”
Seeker’s words rang in his head. Test! He was testing them. The bomb wasn’t the test…..
The metallic scuttling reached his ears again. Razor tensed, trying to locate the sound. The shaft’s tendency to echo even the faintest noises made it impossible. Without warning, he felt a prick in his left arm, like an injection. He drew the arm back as close as he could and then slammed it into the wall. He heard a sharp crack. Turning his head, he saw a smashed egg-shaped contraption lying on the floor of the tunnel. Its spider-like legs curling up like a real spider. A thin needle protruded from one side.
Razor looked back at the shaft ahead. It was suddenly a dark, gray blur. T-Bone watched as Razor’s head appeared from the ventilation shaft. Abruptly, Razor slid out of the shaft limply, falling. T-Bone bounded forward and caught his partner.
“Razor! What is it?!” he asked urgently, setting Razor down on his feet as Razor swatted at him to do so. No sooner had he done it than he had to reach out and steady the other kat as Razor lurched forward, losing his balance.
Razor grabbed his left arm with one hand as T-Bone supported him.
“Somethin’ poked me – sho’ me wi’ somethin’….,” Razor murmured weakly. “I……knew….was comin’…..He sti’….go’ me……”
He collapsed before finishing the garbled explanation.
“Razor!” T-Bone, gasped, catching him and gathering him into his arms.
His helmet radio crackled with static. The hated growling purr reached his ears.
“Don’t have heart failure on me, you overgrown baby,” ‘soothed’ the Seeker. “Are you a tomkat or a mother hen?”
T-Bone snarled in response.
“It’s only a *relatively* mild drug – he’ll be up and around soon enough. Let’s see what a lone SWAT Kat can do – you’d appear to be the brawn end of the team, but I’m guessing there’s some germ of a brain floating around between those ears. Let’s see it work.”
The transmission crackled out of existence.
“Seeker!” T-Bone snarled vainly, tail lashing in fury. “Whether you’re listening or not – when I find you, you’ll pay! Just keep pushing me!”
“I’dve thought you’dve been here sooner,” said Felina as Callie quickly climbed out of her car.
The fact that the car wasn’t exactly in a parking space showed Callie’s obvious hurry. Of course, a quick glance around revealed that Callie was right in style with the multitude of Enforcer cruisers parked randomly across the power plant’s parking lot. There were few civilian cars; the technicians had been evacuated. They went quite willingly. Beyond the cruisers was an open area for helicopters as Feral brought in anyone who might be able to help the Enforcers crack Seeker’s barrier and enter the plant.
“I know,” replied Callie, turning to face Felina. “The Mayor was hysterical when I got to City Hall. He hyperventilated and passed out a few minutes after I got there. I’d finally gotten him awake when the paramedics arrived and took him to MegaKat Memorial Hospital still stammering….and clinging to this golf club they couldn’t make him put down.” She shook her head at the memory. “So, what’s going on? I keep hearing things about bombs and the SWAT Kats trapped in the plant!”
“That’s about the size of it – Seeker’s placed three bombs within the plant and challenged the SWAT Kats to disarm them in three hours,” returned Felina. “We don’t have any contact with them – Seeker’s barrier has blocked all our transmissions. Maybe you….” Felina stopped; she knew that the fact that Callie had some form of communication link with the SWAT Kats was supposed to be a secret. She’d just taken the time to pay a bit more attention than others.
“I’ll try,” Callie returned, digging in her purse. She produced the triangular communicator. “I don’t know what kind of range it has – or what broadcasts the signal, but…here goes,” she said, pressing the button with a silent prayer.
T-Bone padded quietly down the empty corridor; the only sound was his muttering and the click of his claws on the floor. He shifted Razor in his arms and tried to see his glovatrix. He studied the layout on the Mini Kat Tracker.
“Razor, you smell, buddy,” he muttered, crinkling his nose at the odor of ‘eau de high octane’ emanating from the still-damp kat before turning his attention to the tracker. “What would be a good place ta’ start an explosion?” T-Bone murmured, studying the plant’s layout.
His helmet radio abruptly crackled with static.
“SWAT Kats………okay?” Were the only intelligible words.
“Miss Briggs? Are you there?” T-Bone called, recognizing the voice despite its garbled, distorted quality.
Loud static answered him. There were obviously words in it, but they were distorted beyond recognition.
“I’m okay,” T-Bone shouted into the receiver, not knowing if his words could be heard at all. “Razor’s been knocked out, but he’s fine too. We’ve disarmed one bomb.”
There were several loud pops and the transmission dissolved in static. T-Bone fervently hoped at least some of his message had been heard on the other side.
“He said they’ve disarmed one bomb already?” asked Felina.
“That’s what it sounded like,” returned Callie. “You better tell the Commander.”
“Well, they’re two minutes ahead of schedule,” Felina muttered, checking her watch; it had been fifty-eight minutes since they’d talked to the SWAT Kats. “C’mon, I’ll get you up front where you can see the…uh….’action’ – or lack thereof,” said Felina, heading toward the plant’s main entrance with Callie in tow. Callie followed Felina, worried for the city….and the SWAT Kats.
Razor mumbled softly in his sleep. T-Bone looked down at his friend and checked him again for any signs of infection on his arm, fever, anything. He wasn’t taking any chances; the Seeker may have said the drug was harmless, but T-Bone wasn’t trusting *him* for a second. Razor seemed okay, but he was mumbling again.
“Test……wa’…..test……..fire…..everythin’…..fire….. .” Razor’s voice trailed off and he was quiet again.
T-Bone looked at his friend, wondering if the words had meaning or were simply confused mutterings. Something rang a bell. Test. What was it the Seeker had said about a test?
“Said he was testing us,” T-Bone murmured. “Then, *this* – the bombs….everything’s a test! He wants to see how good we are! Said he hoped we’d give him a challenge!” Quickly, he turned to Razor’s second comment, for it was obvious now that Razor was saying something important. “Fire?” He puzzled over that part, but came up empty except for one thought – Seeker was definitely a pyromaniac. A second thought hit him – with the chances of explosions, killer drones, and everything else, Razor was in a distinctly dangerous position with his gasoline-coated fur.
T-Bone checked his watch. They still had almost two hours. Well, he needed to think on where the next bombs could be. He could do that while he cleaned Razor up. Wandering aimlessly down the unending corridors wouldn’t get him anywhere anyway. He consulted his glovatrix. Noting a pair of adjoining small rooms down the hall, he guessed they were restrooms. Not the ideal place to give somebody a bath. Well, they’d have to do.
T-Bone hurried down the hall to the tomkat’s restroom. Stepping inside, he was met with a welcome surprise. In the back of the room was a tiny shower. He guessed it was some sort of emergency wash down.
“Well, Razor, I won’t have ta’ dunk ya’ in a toilet after all,” he commented, setting Razor in the shower. He removed Razor’s glovatrix and helmet. “Hear ya’ go,” he muttered, strapping Razor’s oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. “Don’t want ya’ drownin’ while I’m gettin’ ya’ clean.”
He stepped over the rim of the tiled shower and reached back in to turn on the water.
“Maybe a cold shower’ll wake ya’ up, bud,” he muttered, twisting the cold knob.
The icy water streamed down on Razor. It didn’t seem to be waking him up or really getting the gas off either. T-Bone groaned loudly.
“Aw, Razor,…..,” he moaned as he slid his glovatrix and helmet off. “You better thank me for this one, bud,” he muttered, adjusting the water so it wasn’t freezing and climbing into the shower area with his friend. “Uhm…..” He awkwardly scruffled the fur on Razor’s face, trying to scrub the gas out of it.
An overhead speaker suddenly crackled to life.
“Ahhh, Mommy giving baby a bath.” Seeker’s voice oozed from the speaker. He laughed as T-Bone, growling with ears laid flat against his head, free to move now without his helmet, jumped up and searched the room. “Big brother is watching you,” he teased. “Don’t panic, T-Bone – I’ve got my ways of keeping tabs on you. Have fun….and remember – the clock is ticking.”
With a click the speaker silenced. T-Bone eyed it, still growling softly. He stepped from the shower, throwing water across the bathroom as it streamed from his fur, and stomped to the soap dispenser. Water wasn’t going to do a thorough enough job on Razor. He punched the plastic tab to release the soap several times. With a handful of soap he climbed back in the shower and returned to washing Razor. He clamped down on his anger and tried to focus on where the next bomb could be. Seeker was right, time was running out. Snarling at the evil kat wouldn’t get him anywhere.
Twenty minutes later, both kats smelled lemon fresh and looked like drowned rats. T-Bone had a tremendous scowl on his face as he hauled first himself and then Razor out of the shower, feeling fifty pounds heavier with his wet fur and flight suit. His sopping shoulder harness alone had to weigh twenty pounds. Razor wasn’t exactly getting lighter either. Soaked to the skin, T-Bone’s face bore the look wet kats are famous for. That he hadn’t gotten anywhere in pondering the bomb’s location wasn’t helping his mood.
As T-Bone propped Razor against the wall and reached to turn off the water, he thought back to Razor’s comment about fire.
“What’s fire got to do….?” He let the sentence trail off. Nuclear reactors, bombs, gasoline, even the drone’s electricity – electricity burned like fire alright – he knew that all too well – all of it tied into fire if you thought about it! Something flitted through his mind.
“…though it be tried with fire,….”
The quote was a Bible verse, he was sure. He’d heard it….he didn’t know when – church, his mother before…. No time for searching the memory – it was there. The phrase, “tried with fire,” echoed in his head. The test! Fire! ‘That’s what Seeker’s doing!’ he screamed inwardly. ‘Tryin’ us by fire!’
“Razor’s right – it all ties to fire!” he shouted. Quickly, he scooped up his glovatrix and slid it on, cutting on the Mini Kat Tracker. “Gotta be fire,” he muttered, studying the schematic. The blank, unmarked grid of rooms wasn’t giving him any clues. He turned to take off Razor’s oxygen mask. He stopped, holding it in his hand. “Fire….liquid oxygen!” he gasped. Quickly, he searched the schematic.
Just outside the main building, against its back wall, were two massive tanks. “That’s it,” he muttered. “Sorry, buddy,” he said to Razor as he slid his helmet and glovatrix back on, “neither of us gets to dry off – we got work ta’ do.”
Only three drones molested T-Bone as he made his way to the oxygen tanks. Like Razor, he was beginning not to like the controlled, planned way everything was happening. But, for the moment, he was just grateful that none of the drones had had time to cloak even with his working around Razor’s limp body to shoot.
Opening an outside door, he blinked as he stepped out into the bright sunlight which streamed down on what little of the back parking lot was inside the field, apparently unimpeded by Seeker’s force field. T-Bone looked to his right, according to the diagram where the tanks were supposed to be. Seeing the massive tanks rising around a corner of the irregular building, he hurried towards them, his bare pawpads smarting a little from the hot pavement even as wet as they were. On reaching the tanks, he spied the bomb quickly enough. Again, it was blatantly obvious.
T-Bone set Razor down, propping him up against a wall of the building, and walked up to the square, black object set between the two massive tanks. He sat down on his knees and cautiously opened a panel on top of the bomb. A multitude of red wires greeted him.
“‘Course,” T-Bone muttered darkly, “give Razor the easy bomb to see if he could figure out the trick, give me a tough one to see if I have the brains ta’ figure it out. You couldn’t wake up now, could ya’, buddy?” he called to Razor before returning his attention to the bomb.
T-Bone studied the wires. First, he looked at those running to the timer. Then, he looked toward the trigger mechanism. Holding onto a wire, he ran his hand down it, from the trigger to where it met the timer. A careful study of the other wires leading to the trigger confirmed that only the one ran to the timer.
“Wish they taught all the Enforcers how ta’ disarm bombs – not just those that almost got inta’ bomb squad or weapons development,” T-Bone muttered, glancing back at Razor. “This’s my best guess though……I don’t know what else…..”
A whirring sound caused him to jerk his head up quickly. Two drones zoomed down from above, lasers targeting the big kat. T-Bone dove out of the way as the red beams burned holes in the pavement where he’d been sitting.
“So I *am* right, huh, Seek?!” he shouted triumphantly, regaining his feet in a crouch and taking aim at the drones.
“Yes, folks, you heard it here first! – T-Bone the SWAT Kat really *does* have a brain!” Seeker proclaimed loudly from one of the plant’s outside speakers. “But can he use it before my drones set off the liquid oxygen *and* the bomb?”
The drones were ignoring T-Bone now and circling the oxygen tanks…..and Razor! One turned its attention to the prone kat. The orange-brown kat was a glow of red heat energy in the drone’s targeting sensors.
“Hey, you freaky UFO, pick on someone who can shoot back!” bellowed T-Bone, his voice strange and distorted to the drone’s audio sensors, but it recognized the tone as distinctly threatening. Its three hundred and sixty degree view allowed it to watch both kats simultaneously. Now, it focused its attention on the second, larger glow of heat. There was a sudden flash from his extended arm as a new heat source flared into being. The drone’s reaction was microseconds too slow. T-Bone turned to the second drone, assured the other was a pile of scrap metal. The second drone was gone. T-Bone tensed. It had cloaked. He waited, ears searching for any trace of sound. The whirring sound! Closing in behind…..
‘No,’ he thought, stopping the involuntary reflex to jump away. ‘Let it think it’s got the drop on me.’
The sound got closer and closer. It also got easier and easier to pinpoint its location. At the last second, T-Bone whirled and fired. The drone exploded, its shattered form becoming visible and falling to the pavement.
“Yesss! Hasta la vista, Sucker,” shouted T-Bone. Now, ta’ play bomb squad,” he added as he raced to the bomb. Quickly, he cut the wire, muttering a prayer that he was right through clenched teeth. The timer flipped off. “Whew!” The sigh escaped his mouth loudly as he swiped a hand across the sweaty fur of his face.
“Uhhhh…..T-Bone? Wha’s goin’ on?” T-Bone jerked his head toward Razor. The other kat was sitting up straight, rubbing his arm. Razor looked up at T-Bone as his friend ran up to bend over him. As he leaned over close to Razor, T-Bone could see his friend’s blurry, slit yellow-orange eyes through the mesh in his mask. Razor opened his mouth in a cavernous yawn, showing off his full set of pointed teeth.
“*Now*, you wake up!” T-Bone mock growled, assured Razor was fine. ‘Fine! He looks like he just woke up from a good katnap!’ he thought.
“I’ve been tryin’ ta’ figure out where the next bomb is and disarm it, cartin’ your lazy carcass around, givin’ ya’ baths…..,”
“Bath?” Razor knew he wasn’t quite awake yet – now, he was sure he was dreaming.
“It was that or risk your becomin’ a feline candlestick! And, I’m still soakin’, by the way. I think somebody owes me at least a week’s worth of nights unchallenged over the clicker.”
“T-Bone, what’re you carryin’ on about?” asked Razor, yawning again and regaining some alertness.
“I’ll tell ya’ the whole story later. C’mon, we got another bomb ta’ disarm!”
T-Bone bounded toward the door to the power plant.
“T-Bone,…..?!” Razor was still disoriented and T-Bone’s barrage of comments hadn’t helped any.
“C’mon! Ya’ think I’m carryin’ ya’ again?!”
“That would be nice actually.”
“*Nice* my achin’ back!”
“Okay, guys – bombs are startin’ to bore me,” said Seeker, watching the two kats reenter the building as he clicked the cigarette lighter in his left hand. He clicked it again and stuck his right pointer finger in the yellow flame, playing with the fire. He pulled the finger out unscathed. “All in the wrist,” he muttered with a grin. He returned his gaze to the computer terminal before him. “It’s time to HEAT THINGS UP!” he announced, holding the flame out to one side as he grabbed a spray can from beside the terminal. With a flourish, he sprayed the can’s contents across the open flame, creating a tremendous fire ball.
“So that’s the answer to the puzzle!” gasped Razor as T-Bone explained his findings. “Trial by fire…..leave it to Seeker,” he added, shaking his head. “I didn’t even know what I was hittin’ on when I was mutterin’ all that fire business…..I just had this vague idea about all the fire-related stuff floatin’ around in my head.”
“Glad you did, bud,” returned T-Bone. “Now, where do we find the next bomb?”
The two stopped in the hallway and studied the small screens on their glovatrixes.
“Oh, guy-hi’s,” Seeker’s voice teased in their ears via their helmet radios, “I think you’ve got it a little too easy – let’s make things a little tougher.”
As his chuckle faded away the florescent lights overhead flickered off. There was the sound of everything powering down, and then all was quiet in that eerie stillness that modern-day people hear when all their electronics are silent.
“He cut the power!” growled Razor.
A faint whirring sound reached the two’s ears.
“Run!” shouted T-Bone, recognizing the unmistakable sound of Seeker’s drones.
The two ran down the hallway blindly. There were no windows to the outside in this part of the complex, they were in near-total darkness.
Without warning, T-Bone slammed into something, skidding it across the floor and falling with a thud. He found his face in a puddle of vaguely disinfectant-scented water. Inches away he could just barely distinguish the word ‘Cuidado’ emblazoned in red across a bright yellow background. Just above it was a second word – ‘Caution’. T-Bone could feel the water seeping through his flight suit as he realized just how dry it had gotten. The whir of the oncoming drone reached his ears seconds before Razor’s shout.
With a snarl, T-Bone jumped to his feet, snatching up the cleaning bucket before him. The mop that had been in it clattered to the floor as he hurled the wheeled bucket in the direction of the drone. There was a sharp crack and then all was silent but for an electric crackling.
T-Bone lowered his visor and switched it to night vision mode. He surveyed the sparking remains of the shattered drone growling from somewhere deep in his chest.
“Temper, temper,” Seeker taunted from an overhead speaker.
T-Bone whirled to face the speaker in the ceiling behind him, raising his glovatrix.
Even with the night vision, Razor could see the fire in T-Bone’s eyes as it died to smoldering embers. The big kat lowered his glovatrix, glancing at his partner a bit ashamedly. Rarely did Razor see T-Bone in such a fury. From the start Seeker had found how to push all the right buttons on T-Bone. Now, Razor was sure he was just trying to egg T-Bone on. He wondered just how long T-Bone could control his temper.
Before either kat could speak, the familiar whir reached their ears.
“One thing I forgot to tell ya’, buddy,” said T-Bone, recovered, as he ducked behind a trash can in readiness for the incoming attack.
“Being?” asked Razor, joining him behind the dome-topped metal can.
“Seek’s watchin’ us somehow so he knows to send out the boys just when we’re gettin’ somewhere.”
“Terrific,” replied Razor sarcastically. He looked up quickly to see a drone heading down the corridor.
Neither kat was exactly hidden, but both waited for the machine to make the first move, uncertain if it could see them or not. Apparently, it could. The drone fired on the trash can, leaving a smoking hole from which liquid metal ran in a small stream.
“NOW!!!” The shout came from two throats, each voice indistinguishable, as the SWAT Kats leapt into the hallway, glovatrixes at ready. Two matchhead missiles connected with the drone simultaneously. It exploded in a shower of debris. The largest piece hitting the floor still smoldering.
The kats were about to congratulate each other on the ‘kill’ when a second drone hurtled down through a ventilation shaft, blasting through the grate and zooming into the hallway. Its next action was a surprise. It blasted the flaming remains of the other drone!
“Great, a drone with a mental problem,” muttered T-Bone, taking aim at the flying attacker. “No! Fire! Of course! They’re heat seekers!” exclaimed Razor, watching the drone. A sound like a swarm of tremendous bees reached his ears. “More company! C’mon, I’ve got an idea!”
Without waiting for T-Bone’s response, he ran down the hall and raced around a corner. T-Bone followed, coming around the corner in time to see Razor shooting a stream of fire from the blow torch that folded out of his glovatrix into a metal trash can. The garbage inside, mostly paper, caught fire quickly.
“Decoys,” said T-Bone, smiling as he caught onto Razor’s idea.
The two proceeded down the hallway, setting every trash can they came to ablaze. As they had almost reached the control center for Reactor 2, T-Bone ran down a side hallway to set up some decoys that would lead the drones off their trail. As he ran back to Razor he suddenly found himself running under a spray of water.
“Hey!” he yelled.
“Looks like we set off the sprinkler system,” commented Razor as water ran down his still-damp fur. “Well, it’ll keep the fires under control – since they’re in the cans they’ll keep burnin’.”
“Here,” called T-Bone suddenly. “Maybe we can get our bearings and stay dry for a few minutes.”
Razor looked to see him holding open a door to a computer control room. A quick glance at the Mini Kat Tracker confirmed that this was the control center for Reactor 2. The sprinkler system in the room wasn’t activated yet. Razor followed T-Bone into the dry room.
No sooner had they stepped into the room than alarms began screaming urgently, causing both to jump. Flashing red lights illuminated the control room. The main computer terminal was on, showing an outline image of the reactor chamber. Razor looked at it in horror.
“The psycho’s playin’ with the reactor!” he gasped, yelling to be heard over the blaring alarms. His second gasp was louder. “He’s pulling out *all* of the control rods!! There’ll be a *totally* uncontrolled reaction – that’s the same thing as a…..!”
“Nuclear bomb!!” T-Bone finished. “Whada we do, buddy?”
“I’ve got to try to override his control again,” said Razor jumping into the chair at the nearest computer terminal and pressing the button to raise his infrared visor so he could see the screen properly.
“Bombs or no bombs the place’s gonna blow anyway if you don’t,” agreed T-Bone, taking up position at the doorway lest any more of Seeker’s toys’ find them.
“C’mon, c’mon…..” muttered Razor, typing furiously.
Seeing a vague shadow in the hallway, T-Bone focused his attention on it.
“Come to ol’ T-Bone,” he murmured, seeing the flying drone, green through his visor, make its way down the hall soundlessly. It paused at the intersecting hallway where T-Bone had started the last fires. After a few seconds it moved on towards the control room. T-Bone groaned inwardly. These things were smart – they’d caught onto the trick.
“We’re gonna haveta’ scram,” said Razor from behind him, his face tense as he accessed the command codes.
“Doesn’t sound like a bad idea,” joked T-Bone.
“I mean scram’ as in jamming in all the control rods really fast – like that movie we watched the other night.”
“Hey, I saw the movie too, Razor – just tryin’ ta’ lighten the situation.”
T-Bone refocused his attention on the drone – it was almost within range. He had to take it out fast – before it saw him and signaled the others. The tip of his tail twitched as his muscles tensed. T-Bone made a conscious effort to still the twitching, but the instinctive movement persisted.
The drone saw the movement. With an inaudible click it registered the faint twitch. This particular movement was one of the movement patterns it was programmed to recognize. Seeker knew the weaknesses of kats well. The drone approached more cautiously.
“Oh,…,” T-Bone began, somehow sensing that the jig was up, “CRUD!!!” he shouted as it began firing, diving into the hallway, glovatrix at ready. His miniature missile found its mark quickly. The drone exploded in a shower of metal.
T-Bone gave himself a few seconds of triumph. Then, he saw the images of five more drones swarming down the hallway.
He dove into the control room and slammed the heavy metal door shut.
“Razor, you better hurry – my tail has a death wish and we’ve got trouble!”
“Your tail?! T-Bone, that’s the first thing they teach in the Enforcers – not to….!” began Razor, sparing a glance at his partner.
“I know, I know – it got the better of me this time.” T-Bone looked out of the small glass window in the door. “Hey! They’re backin’ off!”
“Knowin’ Seeker, I’d say that’s not a good sign.”
“Hmm….haven’t seen that movie they mentioned – I’ll have to some time. Wonder if the reactor blows up in the end…only way to end the movie properly,” commented the Seeker as he watched the scene unfold before him. “Hmm….T-Bone even knows about as much about the reactor as his partner. Big mouth….but there *is* some intelligence in that thick skull. Very nice, SWAT Kats – you *do* surprise me.”
He frowned momentarily, studying the screen. “This is an exceptionally nice view…..just wish I could see what Razor’s typing in over there.” Thoughtfully, he put his feet down and leaned forward to press something on the console. The image zoomed in on the terminal before Razor. Seeker smiled. “Very good! You did find the proper override and the command codes too! Let’s see if you’re up to this next one,” he purred, pressing a button.
“YESSS!!!!” shouted T-Bone triumphantly as the diagram on Razor’s screen showed the control rods sliding back into the reactor.
He was leaning over the back of Razor’s chair, taking a second to see how his friend was doing before returning to watching the drones. The flashing red lights in the room quieted as he finished the exclamation.
“Chalk one up for the Techno Whiz!” T-Bone announced, giving Razor a pat on the back that nearly sent the smaller kat’s head through the computer screen. “Oh, Great Computer Guru, teach me your ways,” he said, twirling Razor’s seat around and making an exaggerated bow before his friend. His face was so low that his nose practically touched Razor’s feet.
“Grasshopper,” began Razor, reaching to grab the computer’s mouse from its pad and extending it toward T-Bone in his right hand, “Snatch the mouse from my hand.”
“No prob,” said T-Bone, grabbing Razor’s hand in a death grip.
“OWW!! Hey, I said snatch the *mouse* – not the *hand*!” yelled Razor as T-Bone released him. “Glad that’s my glovatrix arm or you’dve broken my fingers!”
There was loud beep from the computer terminal. Razor whirled to see the screen.
“No applause just yet,” he moaned. “The coolant’s draining!” He typed rapidly. ” And I can’t stop it!!” Razor yelled as the computer ignored his commands. He pointed to the computer diagnostic which showed an image of the reactor chamber. The blue area around it was rapidly disappearing. No sooner had he mentioned it than the alarms renewed their urgent buzzing. “The reactor’s still too hot! It’ll have a meltdown if we lose that coolant!”
“And, for some real entertainment…..” With demented glee Seeker picked up a remote control-like device sitting on the console and pressed a button on it.
A sudden explosion shook the room. It was instantaneously followed by another, so close to the first that they were almost one.
“WHAT WAS THAT?!” yelled T-Bone.
“CRUD!!!” gasped Razor, looking at his screen. “One of the coolant lines just ruptured!!”
“It makes that kinda noise when a water pipe ruptures around here?!”
“It’s not *water* – this’s a breeder reactor. It’s reactions’re so hot they’d evaporate water in microseconds – that was liquid sodium.”
“CRUD!!!! That stuff’s poisonous *and* explosive when it hits air!” growled T-Bone.
“Now, this’s action!” Seeker leaned forward in his seat, eyes alight. “Eat yer heart out, Spielberg!”
“Okay, we still have one coolant line,” muttered Razor, studying the computer screen, taking a deep breath to try to calm down, “We just need it to start pumping into the reactor again.”
“And we get meltdown if it doesn’t?” asked T-Bone, leaning on the back of Razor’s chair and watching the screen too.
“Meltdown or worse.”
“Worse?! We can get *worse*?!”
“If the fuel gets too hot, *it’ll* melt down – *way* down….like through the reactor, the building, and into the ground. And, the indicator is headin’ for the red,” Razor added, pointing to a steadily rising temperature gauge to the right of the screen.
“That looks sorta like my blood pressure would look if you monitored it right now,” muttered T-Bone.
“You and me both,” sighed Razor. “We’re gonna have to get that coolant back….manually.”
Razor studied the schematic on the Mini Kat Tracker. His glovatrix was the only thing that remained outside the heavy, protective suit he wore. They were already in the danger zone, heading for a maintenance access to the coolant lines. The heavy boots he and T-Bone wore thumped loudly in the empty corridor. He pressed a button and the image zoomed in.
“Here,” he said, tapping a spot on the schematic, his voice muffled by his oxygen mask. “We can access the coolant lines just up there.” He pointed down the hallway to a doorway.
“And get *this* mess over with and get back ta’ the bombs,” growled T-Bone. “I still wanna know where those drones that were waitin’ on us back there got to – I don’t like not knowin’ where the flyin’ pests are.”
“That makes two of us,” agreed Razor.
As the two stepped up to the doorway, a faint hissing sound could be heard from the other side.
“What’s that noise?” asked T-Bone.
“The system’s sucking all the air out of the room to put out the fires and keep more from starting,” explained Razor. “We better wait a few minutes.”
Minutes later, the two stepped from an air-lock into the smoking area where the coolant line had ruptured. Persistent fires burned weakly in several places. The air was filled with smoke and gaseous residue. To their left, a mound of charred and twisted metal was all that remained of the ruptured line.
“According to the computer there’s a manual control for the coolant line,” said Razor, his voice strange emanating from the suit.
“Great. Let’s find it and get outta here,” said T-Bone. “Hey, Razor, listen to this.” He started breathing heavily through his mask in an imitation of Darth Vader. “Luke, I am your father,” he intoned, lowering his voice.
“Don’t use up all your oxygen, buddy, – this could be a while,” muttered Razor, worry filling his voice. “There’s about to be a hole – at least one – in the other line.”
T-Bone followed his gaze. Above them was the remaining, massive coolant pipe. A piece of shrapnel from the destroyed pipe protruded from it.
“Guess the blow torches are out,” T-Bone murmured, eyeing it.
“The cement in our guns *might* be air-tight enough,” said Razor quietly.
“Well, up ya’ go,” said T-Bone, bending down and cupping his hands to make a step for Razor. “And be careful…..if any of the air that’s still in here gets into that pipe and hits that sodium,…..”
Razor nodded as he used the boost and climbed to T-Bone’s shoulders; he knew the risks. T-Bone got a firm grip on his partner’s ankles and stood up. The coolant pipe was now in line with Razor’s chest. The mini-cement launcher folded out of his glovatrix.
“This’s gonna take a minute, bud,” Razor murmured. “I gotta make a few modifications to the launcher so it’ll come out slowly. Think you can handle it?”
“No prob – it’s not like I haven’t been cartin’ you around all day anyway.”
Razor opened a panel on top of the cement launcher. Deploying one metal claw from the glovatrix to reach into the tiny space, he pressed a button. He heard a hiss as the air in the chamber decompressed, effectively disarming the cement launcher. The cement launcher was little more than an advanced air rifle. Then, holding the barrel of the launcher down to where the twisted metal met the pipe, he fired it. The cement dribbled out as he’d hoped. Carefully, he poured the wet cement around the piece of shrapnel, hoping it would act as a seal.
Hearing a faint sound, T-Bone looked down the service corridor. Even with his night vision visor seeing was difficult. The still-smoldering debris created eerie shadows, and the room was still thick with smoky haze. This, coupled with the difficulties of seeing through both the visor and the plastic-like shield, made seeing almost impossible.
“Think we got company,” he muttered to Razor.
“Just a few more seconds.”
Without warning, a mini-squadron of drones zoomed through the smoky cloud above the smoldering debris to T-Bone’s left, blasting at the two kats. T-Bone held Razor’s ankles tightly and dodged to one side. Razor dug his claws into T-Bone’s shoulders painfully, trying to maintain his balance. T-Bone grit his teeth at the pain.
“Go easy, buddy,” he muttered, releasing his grip on Razor’s right ankle and taking aim at the drones as the mini-cement launcher folded out of his glovatrix.
T-Bone fired at the drones, hoping his aim wasn’t too far off. His shot hit the first squarely more by luck than any skill of his and sent it spinning into another behind it. The two slammed into the far wall and hung there, pinned in the fast-drying cement.
T-Bone suddenly felt Razor push off him, the force of Razor’s thrust nearly knocking him down. He wondered what his partner was doing but couldn’t take his eyes off the incoming drones to see. He lined up his next shot as best he could. Without warning, he felt something hurtle past his ear. Then, he saw two more drones downed, pinned to the floor in cement. T-Bone looked up sharply to see Razor perched on a pipe overhead, aiming his glovatrix at the three remaining robots.
There was an agonized metallic groan from the pipe Razor was crouched atop as a section of it tore away from its supports, sending Razor tumbling to the floor with a yell of surprise and releasing a torrent of water that swept the remaining drones away. T-Bone dove to one side as everything tumbled down on him. He felt something heavy hit him in the small of his back just as he landed in a crouch, slamming him flat onto the floor. Water filled his view through the shield.
“You okay, bud?” came Razor’s concerned voice from the direction of that weight on his back.
“I’d be fine if somebody wouldn’t use me for his trampoline.”
“C’mon,” said Razor, getting up and offering T-Bone a hand, “let’s find that manual control and get outta here.”
“That it?” asked T-Bone, pointing to a huge valve handle beyond Razor below the pipeline as he stood up.
“Yeah, that’s it,” affirmed Razor, walking up to it and studying it.
“This one’s mine,” said T-Bone, grabbing the wheel and turning it with only the slightest of difficulty.
There was a rushing sound from the pipe above them. Razor focused his attention on the general area of his rushed patch job, praying the patch would hold. They stood in silence for a few moments, listening to the whoosh of the liquid sodium through the line.
Razor released a huge sigh.
“Let’s go find that last bomb, bud,” he muttered. He glanced at his watch. “And, we’ve only got thirty minutes left!”
“No prob – bombs – we can handle bombs,” returned T-Bone.
Razor headed toward the airlock. T-Bone suddenly grabbed his arm.
“Wait, trial by fire, remember?” he asked. “What’s more fiery than this liquid sodium?”
Razor gasped. “You’re right! It’s in here!”
“Exactly, SWAT Kats,” announced Seeker’s voice as an invisible monitor suddenly glowed to life from the dark recesses of the pipe-lined wall. The two kats could see Seeker reclining comfortably in a huge chair in a control room of some kind on the glowing screen before them. “Time for Round Three. Only this time I’ll let you work together, but…..you have to play against *me* now.”
His spasm of chuckles sent chills through both kats. Just *what* did they have to play?
“What do you mean, ‘there are no flights leaving MegaKat City within the next thirty minutes’?!” the short Puma-Dyne scientist, Moore, demanded loudly into the phone in the guard house. “Look, Lady, I’ll fly ValuKat! Just put me in a seat directly over the oxygen tanks – at this point I really don’t care!”
“Get your tail back over here and make yourself useful!” Feral bellowed, snatching the diminutive scientist up by the back of his shirt collar and whirling him around.
“What do you want me to do, Commander?!” Moore demanded. “Would you like me to stand in front of you when the bomb goes off and take the force of the blast?!” he bellowed, his voice edged with an angry sarcasm.
“Uncle, he’s right,” said Felina, stepping up behind Feral and laying a hand on his shoulder. “There’s nothing any of us can do at this point.”
“The game is ‘Nuclear Submarine’,” announced Seeker from the screen before the SWAT Kats. “Basically, it’s the same as your average, boring game of ‘Battleship’* – the stakes are just a *bit* higher.”
As he said this, a second screen lit up beside the first and a keyboard folded out of the wall. Beside it, between the two screens, a panel opened, revealing the hidden bomb, its timer slowly counting down.
“Your board and controls,” Seeker explained as Razor stepped up to the keyboard.
“Man, Seek, the power plant officials are gonna be *really* happy with your remodeling,” said T-Bone dryly, joining his partner at the keyboard.
Seeker shrugged and went on with his explanations.
“You know the game, boys – or you should. First to sink the other’s nuclear sub wins. Select your sub’s location and we’ll begin – I’ve already placed mine.”
“Hey, it’s your computer! Howda’ we know you can’t see exactly where we put our sub?!” demanded T-Bone.
“Do you have a choice? I guess if you don’t mind being blown to ashes and taking an entire city – plus a nice chunk of real estate around it – with you…..”
T-Bone growled and clenched his fists in pent up fury. Razor glanced at him worriedly – steam was practically coming from his partner’s triangle ears.
“Simmer down – we gotta keep cool and play along – it’s all we *can* do,” he murmured as he bent over and fingered the controls for placing the ‘sub’ on the numbered grid on the computer screen.
“Right,” T-Bone growled, turning from Seeker’s smug face to look at Razor as his friend used the arrow keys to position the sub just above the lower right corner on the grid. He nodded as Razor looked at him for assent. One place was as good as another in this farce of a game, wasn’t it?
“All set?” asked Seeker.
T-Bone glared at him and snarled softly.
“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’,” the gray kat muttered. “Quite the conversationalist, isn’t he?” he asked, addressing the question to no one in particular beyond his own personal, fancied audience. “So, T-Bone, how does it feel to be one of the few surviving members of the Neanderthal kat?” he asked. “I go first, by the way,” he added, putting his feet down and leaning forward to punch a number/letter code into the keyboard before him.
T-Bone dug his claws into his own hands as he tightened his balled fists, the razor-sharp weapons sliding out unconsciously. Razor nudged him and gave his partner a stern glare. T-Bone returned it. Razor shot an intense, fierce plea at his friend, catching the other kat’s green eyes, faintly visible through his mask. The eye contact lasted only a split-second, but it was long enough for T-Bone to back down, slightly abashed. Whatever mysterious communication passed between the two had a noticeable effect on T-Bone, who visibly relaxed, his lashing tail calming until only the tip twitched unreadably.
Seeker watched the fleeting incident between the two with interest. Here was something fascinating.
Razor abruptly broke away from the contact and watched his screen to see if the code Seeker had typed in would hit his sub. He heard a negative beep from Seeker’s computer seconds before his own did likewise.
“Ah, well – your turn,” Seeker commented coolly.
‘Sure, be cool – you’re not the one who’s gonna get blown up in twenty minutes,’ Razor thought as he racked his mind for ideas as to the location of Seeker’s submarine.
Hesitantly, he typed in M-7 – as good as any he figured. Razor paused as he reached for the ‘Enter’ key. He didn’t have time for mistakes….or a lot of thought.
“Fire already,” T-Bone hissed in his ear.
Only one of his words really registered in Razor’s head. Quickly, he deleted the code he’d been about to enter and replaced it with F-1, slamming the ‘Enter’ button as soon as the code was typed.
He waited tensely. He could hear T-Bone’s quick intact of breath. His partner had figured out his strategy as soon as he’d started his furious typing.
The negative ‘miss’ beep sounded from both computers.
“Too bad – my turn again,” Seeker chuckled, typing in his next code.
The next pair of beeps from the computers was discordant – one positive, one warning.
“Crud!” T-Bone snarled under his breath as the computer flashed a red explosion symbol on the far right end of their sub- I-9.
“Okay, we *gotta* hit ‘im this time,” Razor mumbled through clenched teeth.
Seeker’s guesses as to their location had just been narrowed to three – one for each direction from the first hit – the rest of their sub had to be at one of those points. Once he found the right code, he’d won. Omitting the possibility of Seeker stupidly entering a wrong code when he knew exactly where the sub was, they could never catch up, even if all of their following guesses were right.
Razor racked his brain. He’d hoped Seeker’s sub was positioned somewhere so that its location spelled a word – like fire – F-1, I-2, R-3, E-4. Of course, it could always start at F-2…or F-3….the possibilities were tremendous. Maybe it was another word…..it had to be four letters – that was the number of hits the sub could take. But what…?
T-Bone’s voice was less than a whisper, more a throaty growl than anything else.
Razor looked up at his partner. T-Bone’s face was strangely calm and confident.
Trusting his partner’s intuition, crazy hunch, whatever, he typed in the code N-1 and pressed ‘Enter’.
Both waited with baited breath.
Seeker also waited tensely. This was it! The final proof. Could these SWAT Kats hack it?
The discordant beeps sounded again – this time in the SWAT Kats’ favor.
“YES!” the two shouted, giving each other a high five.
“We’ll see, boys,” purred Seeker, a strangely pleased smile on his face. He typed in his code. Two negative beeps sounded simultaneously.
“Yes,” T-Bone breathed as Razor typed in the next numbers – U-2.
The computer affirmed their guess again.
“Two more,” Razor muttered, eyeing the counter on the his glovatrix. Their were only twelve minutes left.
“What is it, boys?”
Seeker’s sudden question confused the two kats. Both heads turned to stare at the other computer screen.
“C’mon, what’s my code? You’ve won – you see how the game works – the mathematics simply won’t allow me to win at this point,” the gray kat continued. “Here,….as a show of faith….”
He pressed a button on the arm of his chair.
Razor heard a click to his left. Glancing quickly at the bomb, he saw that the timer had flipped off.
“What….?” he started.
“You passed the test, simple as that – you think I wanna blow up a whole city for no good reason….or good money?” Seeker replied calmly. “Good opponents are hard to find.”
“ALL OF THIS WAS JUST SO YOU COULD TEST YOUR SKILLS!” T-Bone bellowed in fury, denied even gloating over Seeker’s loss of the game.
“Yes. You’re free to go.”
“So that’s it – you’re done for the day! We can just go home and wait for the next time you summon us to give you some entertainment!” T-Bone snarled. “You put millions of people’s lives on the line…..”
T-Bone’s sentence broke off as he sputtered in fury. Razor laid a warning hand on T-Bone’s shoulder. T-Bone shook it off.
“Want to settle it, T-Bone?” Seeker purred, leaning forward towards the screen, eyes lighting.
“Name yer game! Just so long as it’s personal – me an’ you – no innocent bystanders.”
“Meet me outside in five minutes.”
With that, the screen flipped off.
Snarling, T-Bone whirled and stormed toward the exit to the service corridor.
“Well, let’s break out the marshmellows,” suggested Moore dryly, glancing up at Feral as the Enforcer Commander eyed the seemingly extinct barrier suspiciously. “If he took down the field, then time’s up – let’s barbecue!”
“Will you shut up!” snapped Feral. “Men, move in,” he ordered into his handset, striding forward to the plant’s main gate.
Felina bounded after him, leaving Callie with Moore, who was muttering to himself something about nukes, a bright flash over the plant, and how he had hopes of living long enough to see the tremendous mushroom cloud.
Callie reached into her purse, searching for her communicator as she stepped a few feet away from Moore. She hit the red button in its center as she yanked it out.
“SWAT Kats, is it….?” she started.
“It’s over, Miss Briggs,” Razor’s voice returned. “Basically,….”
Callie was about to ask what he meant by that vague second statement when she heard the roar of jet engines overhead. Looking up, she was stunned to see two black jets circling the power plant.
“Guys, I think the Seeker’s back,” she murmured, watching the jets and then glancing to see Feral poised in mid-stride glaring up it.
There were several minutes of seemingly silence from the other end of the transmission.
“Roger that, Miss Briggs – we’re on our way out,” Razor returned.
Callie frowned as she lowered her communicator. Something about Razor’s voice worried her.
“I can handle this by myself,” T-Bone growled, racing down the now-lit hallway with Razor beside him, both now out of the protective suits.
“You gonna shoot him down by yourself?” Razor asked as T-Bone slammed one huge hand onto the bar that opened the fire door at the end of the hall.
The two burst out into the bright sunlight. T-Bone took long enough to look up and find the black jets. Then, he sped out into the open back parking lot.
Growling, “Alright, but he’s mine,” through clenched teeth, he skidded to a stop, gazing upward. “How am I supposed ta’ fly when he’s got my jet?!” T-Bone added with a snarl as he realized that the second jet was the TurboKat, trailing Seeker’s as though on auto-pilot.
Razor lifted the top of his glovatrix and experimentally tapped a button.
The second black jet immediately left its position and flew towards them, lowering its VTOL engines and stopping to hover over the two SWAT Kats.
“I was gonna give it back already,” Seeker whined over their helmet radios, his voice almost inaudible over the TurboKat’s VTOL engines as the jet lowered itself to the ground.
Growling, T-Bone leapt to the jet’s wing as soon as the landing gear touched the pavement, diving into the cockpit and strapping in. Razor followed him. He was just reaching for his straps when the jet began to ascend. Quickly, he snapped the safety buckles, clicking the final one only seconds before T-Bone switched to the rear engines, ramming the throttle forward viciously.
“Take it easy, buddy,” Razor muttered as he was slammed back into his seat.
There was no response from the front of the cockpit as T-Bone sent the jet in pursuit of Seeker.
“Let’s see if you do better this time, guys,” Seeker purred, heading his jet back towards the city.
T-Bone followed him.
Seeker reached the heart of MegaKat City with T-Bone right on his tail. Seeing the MegaKat Freeway, he sent the jet into a plummet, pulling out of the dive after hurtling past several layers of raised highway. He skillfully weaved through the maze with only inches to spare. He glanced at the monitor before him.
T-Bone was following as he’d known he would.
Seeker shot out of the tangle of highway architecture and angled his jet between the MegaKat Trade Towers. The TurboKat was just behind.
The two jets rocketed around skyscrapers, weaving in and out among the imposing structures. The aerial chase constantly circled, never once did Seeker leave the safety of the buildings, dodging among them, never giving Razor a clear shot.
Abruptly, he dove down among the buildings, leveling out to fly just above street level. T-Bone sent the TurboKat into a dive after him, leveling out just above a crowded intersection. Glancing down, Razor knew that the jet’s stabilizers could only be inches above the tangle of telephone and street light cables. As they followed Seeker, weaving around the bases of buildings, Seeker’s voice suddenly came over the radio.
“Oh, guys – I saw this in a movie – let’s see if it really works.”
“What is he….?” T-Bone started and broke off with a gasp as he caught a flash of bright red ahead.
The landing chute shot out of the back of Seeker’s jet, whipping back and wrapping around the TurboKat’s nose, covering the canopy.
Knowing there was a skyscraper just ahead, T-Bone jerked back on the stick, sending the TurboKat into a vertical climb.
“Get the dimensional radar up!” he shouted to Razor.
“I’m…tryin’!” his partner shouted back with difficulty. “It’s…not…working!”
“CRUD!” T-Bone growled. He could feel the powerful g-forces pressing down on him. If he didn’t break out of the climb soon, Razor would pass out. Without Razor, the chances of getting the radar up and running were nil.
Thinking fast, T-Bone estimated the time it should take him to get above skyscraper level. With a fast prayer, he leveled the jet off.
The chute whipped away abruptly, leaving T-Bone with a beautiful view of the gorgeous stained glass window that a rich eccentric had installed in the penthouse of MegaKat Tower upon buying the accursed monolith. The glance was all T-Bone had time for before the glass shattered in a rainbow explosion as the TurboKat’s nose smashed through it.
Gripping the stick with all his strength, T-Bone held the jet steady and willed it not to touch the floor of the penthouse.
On the street below, people suddenly looked up in shock to see the TurboKat thundering through the opposite side of the penthouse, multicolored shards of glass showering down.
From his large, single room in MegaKat Memorial Hospital with the ‘nice view of the city’ Mayor Manx watched the spectacle with a long drawn gasp of horror. Frantically, he reached for the call button, pushing it repeatedly.
“We’re gonna be on the news tonight,” Razor muttered when his voice came back. “Flyin’ with you is *never* dull,” he added.
There no reply. Razor frowned. T-Bone was really mad this time. Dangerously mad.
“That was great, T-Bone! Do you do parties?” Seeker’s voice suddenly cooed.
Razor looked out of the canopy to see Seeker’s jet hovering not far away, waiting for them.
“Just keep jokin’, pal,” T-Bone growled, slamming the throttle forward and taking up the chase once more.
There was a crackle of static from the alternate radio ban Razor kept tuned to the Enforcer frequency.
“All available units……emergency….Old MegaKat Bridge….”
The signal sputtered into static.
T-Bone growled at the distraction.
“Could be serious,” Razor commented, wincing as the TurboKat’s wing nearly went through a window on the skyscraper they were circling.
“Yeah, and it could be a speeding ticket,” T-Bone snapped back.
Razor shrugged and waited.
They shot out of the skyscrapers into open sky. Seeker was at last heading away from the city, taking the aerial battle out over the desert. Razor flipped the cover off his firing button distractedly and waited.
“S’your call, bud,” he muttered quietly.
T-Bone eyed the jet ahead. He wanted this guy *so* bad.
“Let’s go check it out,” he said finally, banking the TurboKat sharply and heading back toward the city.
“Maybe another time….,” Seeker called after them via the radio as his jet vanished into the distance.
There was complete silence in the TurboKat’s cockpit as they headed toward the bridge. T-Bone headed around several buildings and took the jet out over the broad river that wound around the city. The bridge approached swiftly, towering out of the water.
As they got closer the two kats could see a charter bus teetering on the edge of the bridge, its front smashed where it had apparently crashed through the cement guard rail. Enforcer cruisers formed a road block, keeping cars off the bridge as Enforcers frantically tried to hook cables to the rear of the bus even as its weight shifted and the end lifted into the air.
T-Bone said nothing as he quickly got the TurboKat into position so Razor could lower the magnetic lock-on to the bus’s roof.
The two SWAT Kats leapt from the jet to the floor of their hangar and headed for their lockers to change clothes. At the lockers Razor reached out to lay a hand on T-Bone’s slumped shoulder.
The big kat had been silent the entire trip home, lost in his thoughts. He suddenly looked at his friend and smiled.
“Guess Somebody else thought I needed a trial by fire,” he said, glancing upward.
“Well,…I think you passed,” Razor returned with a smile.
The end of Seeker’s notes says, “I got what I came for and more. The SWAT Kats are going to prove a wonderful challenge. I’ve now studied their moves and personalities. What’s more they dropped me a few interesting tidbits – they were in the Enforcers? *Very* interesting.”
That last fact I may have to check on myself. Still,….I’m undecided. I probably couldn’t keep my big mouth shut if I ever did manage to figure out what former Enforcers the SWAT Kats are. Whatever *I* do, I worry about what Seeker knows. I can’t stop him without revealing what I know….and probably couldn’t anyway….
It’s getting late. I can hardly see what I’m typing. And I’ve got two more disks here to go over. Well, it doesn’t matter much – I have strict orders not to publish any of this until the Seeker tells me to. I’m dying to know what’s on the other disks, but it’ll have to wait – I have work tomorrow. This is Kristen Sharpe, signing off.
Roll end credits as Seeker and the real David Lee Moore (there is such a person) sing a duet to the tune of “Duke of Earl”: “Nuke, nuke, nuke, nuke the world” “Nuke, nuke, nuke the world” etc, etc……
All nuclear reactor information – “No Nukes” by Gnogy (sorry, can’t remember the author’s first name) All jet terminology – “Fighter Wing” by Tom Clancy “Battleship” – copyright by Milton Bradley 1982 Movie reference in end dogfight – “ID4”
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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.