Original SWAT Kats Story

The Case of the War Drum

By Tom Wilder

  • 1 Chapter
  • 9,804 Words

Things are looking up for the SWAT Kats as they and Feral finally settle their differences. But, as they make new allies, Dark Kat has also joined with several fellow villains in a plot involving an ancient war drum… and a dash of Shakespeare. (Oneshot – Complete)

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T-Bone and Razor were just returning from their current mission when a call came on Razor’s pager.

“Oh, gosh!” he exclaimed. “Do we have to take care of another problem?”

“I don’t know, buddy,” T-Bone replied. “Either that or she’s just calling to congratulate us. Besides, there she is.” He motioned down to the runway where Mayor Manx and his loyal but overly suspicious deputy, Calico Briggs (better known as “Callie” by her peers) were standing with Commander Ulysses Feral, in addition to Ann Gora, Jonny K., and some other news crew staffers. Al Gorshon, the helicopter pilot, was there to act as a witness.

When the SWAT Kats landed the Turbokat inside the secret area below the scrap yard they worked at after having been expelled from the Enforcers (by an error really to the fault of Ulysses), they returned to the area where everyone was. Callie was the first to speak after T-Bone acknowledged her.

“What’s your problem now, Miss Briggs?” he asked. “We got your signal.”

“Sorry about that,” Callie apologized. “I accidentally hit it that time. False alarm.”

“I see. So, what’s the occasion?”

“I think Commander Feral should answer that.”

Everyone turned towards the commander, and Jonny began to roll tape.

“This is Ann Gora for Kat’s Eye News,” Ann began. “We’re here at the scrap yard that is now headquarters to the SWAT Kats and where Commander Feral has made a shocking decision that no one, not even Deputy Mayor Briggs, expected. So, what is the choice, sir?” (Over two billion viewers were watching this, by the way, and were soon applauding the commander.)

“SWAT Kats,” Ulysses began, “the decision is very simple. My attitude towards you has changed. You two really are righteous, and I am wicked. I wanted you arrested and unmasked for the sole purpose of being angry over how many times you have made me and my Enforcers—except for my Sergeant and my niece, Felina—look incompetent. Now we also had Lt. Commander Steele doing a terrible job, but that is a different story. No longer am I going to attempt to do stuff like that. I finally have mustered up enough courage to respect you for who you are and what you do. Besides, I was tired of arguing with Miss Briggs about it anyway because the general public did side with her after all. And to think I thought you two were troublemakers.”

“But, you were the only one in the whole city thinking that,” said Razor sympathetically.

“Yeah, well, I get that now. Oh, gosh. I have to undo what I did. But how?”

“Well, Razor and I forgive you for everything,” T-Bone replied. “There must be something you can do.”

“I must say myself this is the best thing that’s happened to me and the whole city since my last game of golf!” interrupted Mayor Manx. “We finally have a truce on this deal.”

“I’ll second that,” echoed Callie. “The mayor and I officially pardon you for any charges we ever pressed, that is, if we ever pressed any charges.”

“I don’t remember you ever doing that to me, but at least we can now focus on other threats more intently,” Ulysses replied. “I know for a fact Dark Kat is still at large, and the Pastmaster is dead. But, what about the others?”

“I’m not quite sure, but I know for a fact that Hard Drive lost his surge coat while investigating a dumpster and has since surrendered,” Razor replied. “I know. Awkward!”

“Yes, it is awkward,” said Ulysses. “I must admit Hard Drive was the only villain I couldn’t contain, though most of the time it was Dark Kat’s doings, since his hideout was found to be directly underneath the very cell I imprisoned him in. This last time marks the fourth time I have had to call a technician/floor expert to fix the floors. But, don’t despair, citizens; all the Creeplings of Dark Kat have been exiled to Siberia.”

After making her closing remarks, Ann began to pack up. She, Jonny, and Al drove the van over towards the entrance to the salvage yard, where the SWAT Kats were about to make a startling announcement. For their sake, everyone promised to keep it a secret. And, believe me, these cats were always true to their word!

“Okay,” came Razor’s voice from the room he and T-Bone were changing clothes in. “Commander, as a way of satisfying you, you are now going to, as you put it, find out who we SWAT Kats really are. Are you ready?”

“Yes, I am,” Ulysses replied.

“You sure you won’t tell a soul?” T-Bone added.

“I’m sure. If the word got out on your identities, it is because the Metallikats know about it. But, they are dead since I killed them off, so it’s a safe secret.”

“Okay, buddy, let’s show him,” said Razor.

The two walked out and revealed themselves as Jake Clawson (Razor) and Chance Furlong (T-Bone), the two pilots who were expelled after disobeying Ulysses’s orders to back off and let him handle Dark Kat when they were already locked on target and could have killed him off. A sign of anguish was soon apparent on Ulysses’s face.

“Oh, no!” he exclaimed. “Clawson! Furlong! What have I done? What have I done? Oh, what a wretched cat that I am, releasing you from my squad of soldiers/policemen when I should have been the one in trouble!”

“Well, don’t y’all remember?” Al interrupted with that Texan style of his. “Y’all did get punished, by all them media staffers anyway.”

“At least you got to keep your job,” Callie added. “More cats in this town will appreciate you even more now that you have given up.”

“I guess so,” said Ulysses. “It was nothing more than me being the most stubborn cat around. And, personally, Clawson, I hated David Litterbin for the way he made jokes at yours and Furlong’s expense, since I do not consider you two something to joke about.”

“That I can respect,” Jake replied. “Everyone has their own opinion. Besides, the only other well-known one besides you who hated him was Lenny Ringtail, while he was insane, of course.”

“Now that that’s settled, let’s take the picture,” a newspaper press reporter spoke up.

“For what? This was a secret,” Jonny replied, very confused.

“No, I mean for that story of the two mechanics finally getting all that debt paid off,” said the reporter.

“Oops. Sorry,” Jonny apologized.

The picture was snapped, and Ulysses requested a copy to be given to the Sergeant and to Felina. The deal was made, and soon the group gathered around the TV set to watch “Make Sense of Those Cents.”

*****************************************************************

Not long after the ceremony of unmasking did the Aquian Mothership return to Megakat City, making its landing at the same beach it did before. This gave some citizens and the lifeguard on duty the idea that Mutilor was back, but sighs of relief insured when several Enforcers, including Ulysses, Lt. Felina Feral, and the Sergeant, arrived on the scene. More signs insured when memories were triggered thanks to Felina’s help that the blue-furred tribe of Aquians were naturally nonviolent and peaceful.

There was one little difference, however: Mutilor’s death had an effect on Captain Grimalken, the leader of the Aquians. No longer did he sound elderly. His youth had been restored to him (although his face did not change) by means of Mutilor’s accidental firing of his anti-aging ray gun that he intended to use on himself, since he was almost 900 years old. Grimalken now felt energized and ready to rock-and-roll (since his newly regained British accent gave him the voice of a rock star).

When the ship landed, everyone braced themselves for the impact it had on the water. The ship soon made its way over to the shoreline where the doors soon opened, a ramp descended, and Grimalken emerged, dressed in rock star clothing and wearing sunglasses. Everyone clapped quietly and resumed their business afterwards as Grimalken made his way over to where Ulysses, Felina, and the Sergeant were standing. Another Aquian helped bring out his electric guitar and amplifier before boarding the ship again. Everyone waved goodbye as the ship launched itself back into space.

“Ah, look,” Felina exclaimed with a smile on her face. “If it isn’t the peaceful Aquian leader.”

“Nice to see you again,” Grimalken replied, shaking her hand. “My tribe and I have come here to make peace with you all after the Mutilor incident as proof that we had nothing to do with it. If it was not for you and your two warrior friends, we never would have been released from the cell Mutilor was holding us prisoner in.”

“I’m just happy to see you are okay,” Ulysses added. “If you’re wondering, she’s my niece. I’m Commander Ulysses Feral, and this is my Sergeant.”

“Pleasure,” said the Sergeant, tipping his hat.

“I’m pleased to make your acquaintance as well,” said Grimalken. “If you’ll look to your left, you’ll see that the ship is taking off now, since Mutilor did force me to flee my tribe. This was due to my anti-aging.”

“Why would you have to flee your own tribe?”

“They were afraid I’d promote violence. After hearing about how I kicked that one henchman in the head to protect the ship, they elected a new leader unbeknownst to me until now. Despite this terrible wrong that I have committed, they found time to thank me for my deeds, and vice-versa. Now I have officially been excommunicated by Aquian laws, and I have nowhere to go but this crazy town. This is actually a blessing in disguise, since I find this place much more exciting.”

“I’m glad to hear that. After all, great heroes don’t grow on trees.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“It was a figure of speech. Actually, the SWAT Kats informed me of you, since they found out you were coming while on air patrol.”

“Oh, you mean those two warriors?”

“Yes. In fact, we’ll take you there right now.”

Ulysses was soon driving Grimalken over to where the salvage yard was, explaining everything that happened. Grimalken promised to keep the secret a secret as well, saying, “Do not worry; my lips are sealed with a seal of approval.”

“Any other news to report on whom to tell, Sergeant?” Ulysses asked.

“Nope,” replied the Sergeant. “Everyone is secured. There is one extra, however.”

“Who’s that?”

“Fango. He listened in on the conversation.”

“Why would he want to do that?”

“Don’t know. He still sometimes engages in those criminal habits from his smuggling days. One of those habits is eavesdropping. I had to add him to the list as an emergency procedure.”

“Oh, I see. Well, Fango is someone I can trust. He may have been a criminal, but at least he was honest when I questioned him. Now that all charges against him have been dropped, I had him somewhat doing work for me in case we needed a secret agent.”

“When was that?”

“Since last November.” Ulysses pulled up in the parking lot to the salvage yard, where Ann, Jonny, and Al had just finished doing more broadcasting on both Grimalken’s story (since they covered it as it was happening) and asking the SWAT Kats more questions. Ulysses could hear their conversation.

“Wow. Pretty freaky, ain’t it?” Al commented in his new Texan-voice habits.

“You said it, cowboy,” replied Jonny. “First the Commander surrenders. Now the return of this now-young-again Aquian leader.”

“I must say,” said Ann, “this is the most exciting thing that has happened to me since I last covered that boring Mayor Manx Invitational Golf Tournament that the mayor himself won. How stupid is that?”

“Very stupid.” Jonny perked up at the sight of Ulysses’s approaching police squad car. “Uh-oh!” he exclaimed. “We got company.”

“It’s probably Grimalken,” Al spoke up.

“I think you’re right, Al,” said Ann. “Let’s go to a close-up on this one.”

The three made their way over towards the squad car only to realize Al’s instincts were correct. (Needless to say, to mark the occasion of celebrating his ancestors, Al was wearing a cowboy hat and outfit, explaining why Jonny called him a cowboy. He was even armed with two revolvers, though they weren’t loaded. Jonny, however, was still wearing his signature red baseball cap, purple sweater, mirror sunglasses, blue jeans, and boots, and Ann was still in her usual dress clothes.)

“Well, here is it, sir. My salvage yard,” Ulysses announced when he and Grimalken got out of the car.

Felina and the Sergeant quickly followed suit.

“Are you sure you own this place?” Grimalken asked in his skeptical habits. “The sign doesn’t have your name on it.”

“Trust me, it is.”

“I hate it when he says that!” Felina winced.

“Okay, I’ll take your word for it, but forgive me; I do have a tendency to be skeptical.”

“Oh, I forgive you, no doubt about it.” Ulysses turned towards the Kat’s Eye News Three (as they were collectively known by the public) and asked in confusion, “What are you guys doing here?”

“We were gathering more information for our sub newscaster in the studio tonight, since I have the night off,” Ann explained. “They answered all our questions and even offered to take us to a restaurant for lunch. They saw you coming and invited you as well.”

“Well, tell them we accept, will you, Al?” Ulysses replied.

“You got it, partner!” Al replied, running off to give Jake and Chance the news.

When he returned, Jake and Chance came with them, albeit not in their usual uniforms. (Jake was wearing a black sleeveless tank top and Chance had a white one; both wore army pants and boots.)

“Sorry we’re not in our usual clothes,” Jake began. “We were running on the obstacle course. At least this time Chance didn’t drown, since he can’t swim.”

“Is that a fact?” the Sergeant replied in shock.

“Yes, it is,” Chance replied, “but don’t make a big deal out of it.”

“Remind me again. Why didn’t you ever tell me?” asked Jake.

“You never asked!”

“Hey, no sweat. I’ll teach you to swim.”

“Don’t bother, Jake. Fish swim. I fly!” Chance snarled.

“That’s what he said the last time I asked that!” Jake exclaimed to no one in particular. “Why did I go through that routine again?”

“Well, we came here to reunite you two with an old friend who’s not-so-old anymore,” Ulysses announced as Grimalken stepped forward. “He was also informed and has sworn to secrecy.”

Removing his sunglasses, Grimalken asked, “Do you two remember me? You helped me fight Mutilor.”

“That’s right, we did,” Chance replied. “What happened to you?”

Quickly, Grimalken told the whole story behind his tribe excommunicating him although applauding him in the process for his heroic and brave deed of violence towards being able to stop the henchman from going for a blaster. Then he asked, “Do you two still fight like that?”

“Yes, we do,” Jake answered quietly. “We’re still the SWAT Kats. He’s T-Bone, and I’m Razor.”

“Yes, I thought so. I just hope it does not get crazy enough with the citizens that I will have to move to the United Kingdom just because of my accent. Somehow I acquired somewhat of a British accent, probably of Glasgow dialect.”

“They’ll understand,” Ulysses assured him. “The citizens saw you on live TV anyway. Such a devoted news crew and metropolitan amount of citizens!”

“Top of the line, three years running!” Al replied. “And, we’re still going strong.”

“Why the cowboy outfit?” Felina asked.

“I wear cowboy clothes in remembrance of my ancestors who were cowboys, which explains why I started talking like a Texan. I even carry two guns.” Al paused to draw and show his gun handling skills. “Don’t worry; they ain’t loaded.”

“I didn’t think so,” said the Sergeant after Al withdrew his two guns. “And to think I only carry one gun, and it isn’t even a revolver. Then again, who uses those anymore anyway?”

Everyone got into their respective vehicles (with Grimalken again riding in the police car) and headed to the steakhouse Chance had selected to eat. When they got there, the mayor and Callie were waiting for them, since Callie had paged and asked to join them, and Jake and Chance said yes.

As soon as Grimalken had exited the squad car, the mayor exclaimed in delight, “Ah, yes! Captain Grimalken! The greatest peace-lover in the whole city!”

“He’s just excited to see you again,” said Callie.

“Yes, I can see that,” said Grimalken. “You must be his deputy.”

“I am, and I must say I’ve been busy,” Callie replied. Then she leaned over and whispered in Grimalken’s ear, “To tell the truth, Manx hasn’t done an ounce of paperwork in years!”

“Whoa. You certainly have your hands full. Does the public know of this?”

“No, but it’s better that way.”

“I see.” Grimalken turned back to his newfound friends and said, “Well, let’s eat. I’m starving.”

“Good idea,” said the Sergeant, and they all walked in to eat.

The employees reserved a circular table for the large group, although taking into account multiple tickets. Jake and Chance shared a ticket while the rest had separate tickets, though Ulysses graciously agreed to pay for Grimalken when informing the server of the orders while drinks were being taken.

Though the table normally only seated eight, two extra seats were made room for when Fango and Lenny Ringtail entered.

Lenny, now sane again, had been working for the Enforcers as a police detective and did secret agent work when Hard Drive or Fango was unavailable. Lenny was wearing his police uniform (though without the hat) and Fango wore a green marching band uniform (unlike humans, cats, especially in Megakat City, wear band uniforms on a regular basis to signify their love of music, and Fango was no exception).

“Fango! Ringtail! What a pleasant surprise!” Ulysses exclaimed.

“How crazy seeing you guys here!” Fango echoed.

“Same here,” echoed Lenny.

“So, what brings you two here?” asked Jake.

“We just happened to run into each other here, that’s all. Then the employees recognized us and decided to add us to your party of eight, for a party of ten.”

“I see,” said Jake. “I take it you remember Captain Grimalken?”

“He does. I don’t,” Lenny confessed. “This is the first time I’ve seen him in person, and what a pleasure it is.” He and Grimalken shook hands.

“Glad to see you, too,” Grimalken replied. “Are you the comedian-turned-asylum patient-turned-detective?”

“Yes, that’s me. You forgot the part where Madkat inherited my soul, well, sort of. He was using me as a puppet.”

“I meant to ask you about that,” Ulysses put in. “What motivated you to steal it? And, does Katzmer have it back by now?”

“Yes, Katzmer has it back. The fact that the box had a jester with my face on it was the most eye-catching part. Now that I look back at it, history has repeated itself. If I competed with David Litterbin and lost, and the jester that was an ancestor of me competed with another jester and lost and went insane like I did, then the winning jester must be an ancestor of David.”

“That’s a logical conclusion. Have you confirmed it to be true yet?”

“No, but I have to assume it is true.”

“I see. Are you positive about Madkat being sent to hell?”

“That has been confirmed to be true after Katzmer did a thorough investigation of the jack-in-the-box I returned to him.”

“Okay. What did Katzmer ask from you for stealing it?”

“Nothing. He claimed it was a case of me not being guilty by reason of insanity. I do know for a fact that some others who tried to use this method of defense have failed depending on the crime, but in my case, it had to be forgiven, because I had no choice; Madkat just sucked me right in.”

“I’m just making sure so that I don’t press any charges on you.”

“Okay, good.”

The conversation continued throughout the meal. All in all, everyone was happy to see that Grimalken was enjoying his new life and was ready to move into a new home with help from his peers.

**********************************************************************

The big problem about Lenny’s statements towards Ulysses was that he had no idea that Madkat’s spirit had been revived (by Dark Kat’s spells) as a separate entity, for it, Dark Kat, Dr. Viper (the mad scientist obsessed with mutants) and the Pastmaster gathered one stormy night to begin Dark Kat’s latest plot. Dark Kat had discovered what was thought by the public to be an ancient drum that was last used back in the days of Megalith City. It looked like any typical military snare drum as it was.

Instead of sticks, Dark Kat used two tympani-like mallets when playing the drum. He also took into account how the drum was mostly used for drum rolls in execution ceremonies and how the drum was thought to be cursed because the drummer was forced to beat the drum nonstop for 10-12 hours prior to the execution, and because storms always happened the night before the execution. No one but Dark Kat knew that the Pastmaster was actually the one causing the storms; the drum had no powers, but being the villain he was, he fixed up the drum as good as new.

In the middle of an open area, Dark Kat, Madkat and the Pastmaster met to set up a large cauldron. The cauldron set up was proof of his idea: Dark Kat was destined to conquer the city by forcing people into the belief of the false conspiracy that the drum was cursed, when in truth, the Pastmaster was causing all the storms. Dark Kat had also tried to force his fellow villains to brush up on Shakespeare’s speaking style for this event and had memorized parts of Macbeth to help him out.

Dark Kat began the ceremony by saying, “Thrice the bended half-cat mewed.”

“Thrice I have baked mutant creatures,” said Dr. Viper with his infamous hiss.

“Only once have I dealt with those nefarious so-called SWAT Kats, who work with the king, queen, knight, and jester!” Madkat exclaimed, not understanding why Dark Kat was saying what he was saying.

“Many times those fools from the present—well, now; I always thought of the SWAT Kats as fools from the future—have messed up my past. It is time,” the Pastmaster echoed.

Dark Kat paid no attention to Madkat’s remark and began drumming, saying, “Round about the pot we go. As you mention items, to the pot you are to throw. The ancient drum of Megalith I beat to simply put, but tarry not with the pot, for I have lived my life barefoot.”

“Whatever,” hissed Dr. Viper in disgust. “Let’s get this over with! I have more mutant creatures to mutate!”

And so, the spell began. Just like the witches in Macbeth, the three chanted, “Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and caldron bubble,” to put emphasis on the Pastmaster’s powers in cooking up the storm.

Madkat’s solo line was: “Eye of wolf and toe of fox, disgusted and retrieved from a box, may you curse this place with rum, to the beat of Dark Kat’s drum.”

The Pastmaster’s was, “Saxon, Saxon, hear me now, as I give you a raccoon’s brow. Accept this sacrifice, I pray, or I will surely die today!”

And, Dr. Viper’s was: “Mutagen, mutagen, hear my cry; do me a favor bye and bye; work to create a tiger’s chaldron for the ingredients of our caldron.”

Dark Kat ended the ceremony by saying: “Halt, men! Halt! I commend your pains. Nonetheless, it will soon rain. Thunder crash and snare drum roll, off to our homes we now must go.” He was still drumming by this point, and continued to when the Pastmaster activated his chained watch, which normally activated time vortexes, summoned extinct creatures such as a Megasaraus Rex to enter the current time zone he was in, or worked to transform modern cities into the medieval state he preferred, thus also potentially altering the current year in history from 2009 to 1109 (which also would’ve meant literally history repeating itself with a few modifications).

***********************************************************************

Several days later, the evil group did the same thing. At the hangar, Jake said to Chance and some others who were playing Trivial Pursuit™, “Hey, Chance. The weather’s getting nasty out there.” (Specifically, Fango, Dr. Leo Konway—his first name was Leo—Grimalken, Callie, Ulysses, Felina, and the Sergeant were with Jake and Chance.)

“I see that,” said Chance. “Let’s try and get this place covered up.” The two began to work on doing all they could to protect the junkyard’s windows and other safety precautions they had used.

“Let me give you a hand there, Furlong,” Ulysses offered as he and the Sergeant began nailing wooden panels to the windows.

There you go,” the Sergeant added.

“Thanks, guys,” Chance replied when everything was finished. “Now let’s see if there’s any weather reports.” He began channel flipping, but found no reports.

He and Jake then informed the group of their necessary duty to quickly patrol for any unusual activity, and were soon flying their beloved Turbokat high in the sky as T-Bone and Razor, the SWAT Kats!

“That’s odd,” Callie exclaimed as the Turbokat blasted off. “No weather reports.”

“Oh, no,” Grimalken exclaimed. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Why is that?” asked Fango.

“Do you remember what happened the last time we had bad weather but no reporters bringing up the scenes?”

“Oh, no! The Pastmaster!” Callie and Felina exclaimed in shock.

“Oh, brilliant! I should’ve known that sicko was behind all this!” Ulysses shouted in disgust.

“At least it’s only raining right now,” Leo spoke up. “It could’ve been worse, like the worst thunderstorm the city has ever experienced. Besides, if it was a real storm emergency from Mother Nature herself and not the Pastmaster, the news crews would be on top of it by now.”

“No worries. We can take them on!” Fango encouraged everybody.

“Yes, we can!” said Callie. “I’m surprised the Kat’s Eye News crew hasn’t done anything on this. Where are those guys, anyway? They should’ve been here by now. We invited them.”

The Kat’s Eye News van was on its way, but Al was having a hard time driving through the pouring rain trying to reach the scrap yard. “Ack! I can’t see anything in this cursed rain!” he exclaimed.

“Everything safe back there, Jonny?” Ann asked, keeping an eye on important equipment that Ulysses had asked to view based on the case of the Pastmaster’s spells.

“Safe and sound, Annie. I wish I knew what was causing this rain, because there isn’t any single report on it,” Jonny nodded, keeping his right hand on the package containing the necessary discs.

“Do y’all think it could be that there menace, the Pastmaster?”

“That’s a possibility,” said Ann. “If I knew for sure, I’d be doing a story on this right now.”

“I just hope we can find the junkyard. Oh, no!” Jonny shouted, realizing Al had taken a wrong turn and was approaching obstacles that Madkat had secretly placed after purposely causing a flat tire. “Tree!” Jonny shrieked, and Al swerved to the right to avoid it. “Cabin!” Al swerved to the left. “Clothesline!” Al didn’t have time to avoid the clothesline, which, fortunately, had no clothes on it. The line snapped, and the van kept going. Jonny shielded his eyes.

“What luck!” Ann gasped. “There’s the junkyard!”

“Watch out!” Jonny screamed.

Al slammed on the brakes, and the van stopped just in the nick of time before it could make contact with the building.

“Oh, man!” Al managed to spit out after panting for air. “Too close for comfort!”

“Oh, I thought… oh, never mind what I thought!” Ann mumbled, still trying to catch her breath before turning and seeing Jonny still shielding his eyes. “Jonny, you can open your eyes now,” she consoled.

“Are we damaged?” Jonny asked, opening his eyes.

“Nope. It’s okay. Y’all are safe,” Al added.

Seeing as how the van was so close to a collision, Ulysses ran out and shouted, “Are you guys all right?”

“We’re fine, Commander,” Ann reported.

“Oh, thanks for getting here so fast.”

“What’s the matter?” asked Jonny.

“It’s all on the discs,” Ulysses replied. He led the three staffers into the living room area, where T-Bone and Razor had just returned from their mission and were holding the recording device Dark Kat was using that they grabbed from Dr. Viper, unbeknownst to the half-cat, half-snake.

“We were just happy to have gotten the recordings,” T-Bone reported. “Gee, that’s the first time I ever flew the Turbokat in a downpour. At least we could see, thanks to Razor’s high-quality windshield wipers.”

“I can see why you love to fly,” Grimalken commented. “It might even be safer than driving a car with all the crazy cats out there!”

“Okay, Leo. Play it,” Razor instructed as Leo hit the PLAY button.

The small screen showed the Pastmaster and everything that was happening; though no sound of drums was heard. The Pastmaster seemed to be telling Dark Kat that everything was working perfectly.

“Who’s he talking to?” asked Callie.

“Dark Kat,” Razor replied. “I couldn’t get him in the picture. It was too rainy.”

“I must say, for a group of villains, they sure know how use percussion to keep in tempo,” said the Sergeant, indicating his love of patriotic music the U.S. was famous for.

“You can say that again, Sergeant!” Ulysses replied, nodding his head.

“How do you think we should stop them, Uncle?”

“I’m not sure, Felina, but I think Hard Drive can help us with this one.”

He then took time to indicate to the group that he was holding the villain known as Hard Drive prisoner. After capturing him with help from the SWAT Kats, and to a lesser extent, the detective acts of Lenny Ringtail, he sentenced Hard Drive up to a maximum of three years in jail for his last attack on Enforcer HQ in assisting Dark Kat. However, since it was obvious that he had planned to work alone and had no intentions of helping Dark Kat whatsoever, and that Hard Drive had truly repented of his sins for the remainder of his nine lives (as it was his first and he was only in his 20s, having been born into a family of criminals although getting a basic education), Ulysses had all charges against him dropped and hired him to the Enforcer staff, first to return all information, then to assist Lenny in the detective department. (Only in special emergencies where theft of a villain’s belongings or otherwise secret agent work was necessary did Ulysses ever call Fango in for duty.) This also led to Hard Drive revealing his real name: Gerald Hemmingway, son of the late Harvey Hemmingway, Megakat City’s most vile bank robber, and friend of Dark Kat. Up until now, Hard Drive had no knowledge of this, since the arrest was only five days prior to this very day I am speaking of now.

“Hard Drive!” Ulysses bellowed as Hard Drive entered the room. He had been watching the weather outside.

“You called, Commander?” Hard Drive replied.

“Yes, I did,” Ulysses began. “Even though you were serving time in prison, I have arranged for you to instead do computer-type work and spy radar stuff for us Enforcers in addition to returning everything you stole, while you finish the prison term. Are you up to it?”

“I’d be happy to,” Hard Drive nodded. “It beats eating all that gross prison food I was eating.”

“I also decided that you could have this back,” said Ulysses as he pulled out the very coat Hard Drive was known for wearing when doing his dirty deeds. “You might even use it for good instead of evil.”

“My surge coat!” Hard Drive exclaimed. “Where did you find it?”

“It was in Dark Kat’s lair. I had Felina grab it while the Sergeant and I were escorting you to jail. For whatever reasons, all those marching bands started playing tunes.”

“Well, that was actually because John the Tiger was in town.”

“Oh. That explains it then. I swear that cat is single-handedly putting an end to all other genres of music, especially rock.”

“He’s not putting an end to it, Commander,” T-Bone spoke up. “The humans and cats of this world are being sympathetic to him and his planet. That’s why his band gets 15 times as many loyal followers as the average rock band, which still attracts on average about 4.3 million people and animals total.”

“That is a relief, then. I have no musical taste, though; I was busy being a cop. Now that Dark Kat has that drum in his possession, I will have to start having a musical taste, since I may need it to beat him. Uh, no pun intended there.” Ulysses stopped to cough.

“Frankly, I’d never thought I’d get my surge coat back.”

“Well, not to worry, Hard Drive,” Felina replied. “You’re one of us now. If necessary, we’ll let you put your surging ways you used against us before to work for us.”

“And, we promise to never attack you again like we did before, causing blackouts,” T-Bone added.

“Sounds good. Dark Kat never let me have the best parts anyway, up until he had me drive the Turbokat.”

“I remember that,” Ulysses spoke up. “I thought you SWAT Kats were menaces after all, but then Miss Briggs pointed out to me that it was Dark Kat and Hard Drive. And, what was this about them taking you hostage again, Miss Briggs?”

“They took me hostage because I told them to,” Callie explained. “I was helping them to get their names cleared and to prove to you and to the billions watching via Kat’s Eye News that Dark Kat and Hard Drive were responsible for the actions of the Turbokat doing villainous-type damage to the city. Don’t you remember all those money sacks that fell out?”

“Now that you mentioned it, I do. I’ll never doubt you SWAT Kats ever again.”

“That’s good to know,” said Razor when suddenly he caught a glimpse of his and T-Bone’s evil look-alikes from an alternate dimension, known to the public as the Dark SWAT Kats. “Oh, here come our evil look-alikes!”

“What are those two doing here?” exclaimed the Sergeant.

“They converted to our side,” explained T-Bone. “We’re now officially the SWAT Kats Fab Four. Sorry we didn’t tell you Enforcers that.”

“That’s okay,” said Ulysses. “I’m just glad to see evil repenting of its sins, sort of.”

The Dark SWAT Kats, who had arrived from an alternate dimension, had been wiped clean of their evil memory. Now, in this present age, they had signed up to work with the SWAT Kats to become the SWAT Kats Fab Four. Since they still had memory of the dimension they came from, they first told Commander Feral everything.

Dark T-Bone explained the whole story behind their arrival and permanency in the current dimension, finishing by saying, “And, the evil version of Callie was using some kind of mind control on Dark Kat’s Creeplings, so that we would be unstoppable in our ways.”

“You Enforcers were just barely holding us off before some bomb located in a suitcase wiped us clean of our memory as criminals and sent us to this dimension,” Dark Razor added.

“Well, flip my pancakes!” Ulysses exclaimed, making that his new catchphrase.

“Are you positive you can never return to that parallel dimension from whence you came?” Grimalken asked.

“We are. Though we cannot hide our evil looks, we informed the town of our repentance, as one news reporter called it,” said Dark T-Bone, turning to Ann. “I don’t think it was you, though.”

“Nope, it wasn’t me,” Ann confirmed.

Turning to the Dark SWAT Kats, Ulysses continued his duties. “I take it you two have heard the stories of your bright counterparts? I say ‘bright,’ as opposed to ‘dark.’”

“Yes, we have, Commander,” Dark Razor replied, nodding his head. “Also, we used to be a really horrible pilot and marksman, but now, we are just as terrific as they are.” He motioned to Razor while saying this.

“I was not sure if I was supposed to do the same thing to you two or not, but we need all the help we can get.”

“Well, we have nowhere else to go, to be quite honest,” Dark T-Bone put in.

“Then it’s official,” Ulysses declared. “All four of you are to work in the scrap yard. Your bright counterparts have actually finished their official community service hours and are out of debt, but they continue to work here for posterity, since this is their HQ and home, sort of.”

“We have living quarters, yes, but in houses connected to the basement of this place,” Razor explained. “The basement area is also where we store our Turbokat, and there’s plenty of room for yours as well. I don’t have enough room for four seats in ours, only two.”

“That’s fine,” said Dark Razor. “We have our own Turbokat.”

No sooner had those words come out of Razor’s mouth when the sounds of a drum could be heard. Fango was the first to notice and spoke up with his Australian accent (he didn’t really have an Aussie accent, but made it a habit to talk with one to confuse villains or do comedy routines at police banquets).

“Crikey!” he shouted. “A drum, mate! Judging by that video, I think Dark Kat’s coming!”

“How do you know he’s been playing a drum?” asked the Sergeant.

“I spotted him doing so on the way over,” Fango replied. “He’s playing some marching drum with a weird top that has a lion’s face and paw on the front. I think the drum’s top came from a tribal drum. Not only that; he ain’t using sticks, mate. He’s using timpani mallets.”

“You might be right, Fango,” Ulysses nodded. “But, what does he want coming here?”

“I don’t know,” said Dark T-Bone. “Maybe he thinks my buddy and I are still evil.”

“Does he want to see you?” asked Razor.

“Nope. He’s just gone insane,” Dark Razor reported after looking through a pair of binoculars.

“Let’s nab him!” Ulysses suddenly shouted.

“Or at least see what he’s up to,” the Sergeant added.

It soon became evident that in the same way Lady Macbeth lost her sanity in Act V of Macbeth, Dark Kat had lost his. In the midst of the pouring rain, Dark Kat continued to beat the drum, saying senseless things and seeing hallucinations. He was heard to say, “Yet here’s a spot. Out, spot! Out, I say! One, two, three, four; my feet will tread your paths no more! Who would have thought that the cat’s ancestors could have so much blood in them?”

“Do you mark that?” exclaimed Dark T-Bone, not realizing he was quoting lines from the play word-for-word.

Dark Kat did not hear the remark. He continued his monologue. “The ghost of Madkat had a victim. Where is he now? Will my feet never be free of his paths? Show! Show! Show! No more of that, my lord; no more of that, I say! I am barefoot for a reason! You mar at me with all this! Away! Away!” On and on he went.

“Go to! Go to! You have known what you should not!” Ulysses exclaimed.

“He has spoken what he should not have spoken, I am sure of that, mate,” Fango put in. “Heaven knows that he has done a terrible thing.”

“How long has he been doing this?” Felina asked, taking out her notepad and pencil. She began to record everything that was happening, including Dark T-Bone’s response: “Ever since he discovered the drum and its unique tiny yet tympani-style mallets. I am almost positive that he is desperate to get the conspiracy trick to work.”

“To bed! To bed!” Dark Kat shouted. “There’s drumming at the gate. ’Tis the path my feet have tread! To bed! To bed! To bed! To bed, or fear my drum! The drum! The drum!” Dark Kat headed back to his lair, still saying, “the drum” in time to the beat of the drum.

“For a villain, he sure has perfect tempo,” the Sergeant commented.

“No kidding,” Al echoed.

“Is he going home now?” asked Ulysses.

“Directly,” Dark T-Bone replied.

“We can only hope so,” Dark Razor added.

“I’ll say,” said Razor. “I’m beginning to wonder if that drum can control minds.”

Dark T-Bone shook his head. “The drum doesn’t have any powers. Dark Kat has just gone crazy. If we could grab possession of that drum, we could use it for good instead of evil.”

“We might be able to donate it to the Megakat City Museum of History. Dr. Sinian will be so delighted,” T-Bone spoke up.

“She would,” Callie added. “She’s been desperate to add a new exhibit.”

“I couldn’t have said it better myself,” Ulysses replied. “Let’s get that drum out of his possession!”

“But, what if Dark Kat tries to get it back?” asked Grimalken. “What do we do then?”

“Don’t worry, Grimalken,” Ulysses assured him. “I’m sure we’ll think of something.”

“He won’t get the drum back,” Dark T-Bone spoke up. “If he tries to, I’ll pound him like a drum. I’ll pound him like a timpani or a bass drum if I have to. Then I’ll kick his butt so hard he’ll be sent all the way to Cape Susanna!”

“But, he’ll be back,” Felina said nervously. “With reinforcements!”

“Then we’ll kick his butt again!” Dark Razor proclaimed. “We’ll be right back!”

The Dark SWAT Kats soon ran off to grab materials in a master plan of theirs they waited until their return to reveal.

“Just be glad they’re on our side now,” Razor said to everybody. “We may be called into battle soon.”

“I’ll say I am,” Jonny replied.

“So am I, Jonny,” said Ann. “So am I.”

Everyone headed back inside to get out of the rain and hatch strategies of their own.

***********************************************************************

Dark Kat had just entered his lair and prepared to take his regular nightly hike he took while playing the drum, a habit he had been carrying on for six days now. He called for his Creeplings and lined them up. Pounding a drum roll, he bellowed, “Follow my feet! Quick march!” He pounded the usual marching drum rhythm of eighth-note, eighth-note, roll-into-eighth-note to establish the tempo, then began marching down the usual paths while drumming and shouting “Hut-2-3-4!” over and over.

The Creeplings kept in perfect tempo with his feet.

Meanwhile, using a special technology Razor invented, Feral had the junkyard moved closer to Enforcer HQ. When it was all finished, he, Felina, and the Sergeant resumed surveillance work on watching Dark Kat’s parade from a monitor in a main room where Hard Drive’s cell (which was soon to be his office thanks to a bit of remodeling to come when his sentence expired).

“Sir,” asked the Sergeant, “do you think he has repented of his evil ways and strictly wants to spend the rest of his life playing the drums?”

“That is a possibility,” Ulysses replied, “but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. In fact, I wouldn’t bet anything on it. My motto has always been, ‘Take no prisoners,’ when it comes to villains and trespassers.” He turned to Hard Drive and asked, “How’s the project coming?”

“Fantastic. I still have yet to enter the secrets in, as this is only 76% done.”

“That’s all right. Incidentally, I forgot to tell you that Felina snuck in and took your surge coat from Dark Kat while he was marching in his nightly parade that the Sergeant and I were watching closely.”

“Parade?”

“Oh, you didn’t hear about that, did you?”

“No, not recently.”

“Tell him, Sergeant.”

“Yes, sir!” the Sergeant replied with a salute. He turned towards Hard Drive in a marching manner and explained. “Dark Kat’s been drilling his troops by marching them in time to his drum, which, as you know, is really the ancient official drum of executions used back when Megakat City was Megalith City. He’s been using it to do his bidding, or, at least, that’s what he thinks. Could you open another file and look up the drum for the Commander and for me?”

“I’d be happy to.” He logged to the computer’s huge database of all history, news, and information necessary for the Enforcers and looked up the drum. When the article was found, a bell rang. “Oh. I found it,” Hard Drive announced. He brought up the page and began to read it. “It says here that the drum was used for executions and the marching leading to executions, but nothing else. The soldier playing the drum began a roll of the drums as the criminal’s head was placed in the guillotine slot and was required to cut off the drum roll sharply right as the chopper part began to fall. It was symbolic of evil mainly due to the fact that the drummer used mallets, not sticks.”

“So, that’s why Dark Kat was using it!” Ulysses exclaimed.

“Bingo!” Hard Drive agreed. “Apparently, its use was discontinued by the beginning of the modern age and other drums were used after rumors began to abound—though they were never substantiated—that the drum was cursed, due to the fact that every time a criminal was to be executed by the ceremony involving the drum, a big thunderstorm occurred the night before. In reality, the Pastmaster was causing the storms while forcing the drummer who owned the drum to beat it for the 9-12 hours prior to the infamous ceremonial roll of the drums that led to the death of a criminal by means of getting his head chopped off.”

“But, why would Dark Kat worry so much about owning the drum?”

“According to your spy program, Dark Kat was using it as a symbol of the thunderstorms while the Pastmaster, Dr. Viper, and Madkat—as a separate entity, not possessing Lenny Ringtail—were casting spells from a large caldron, like the witches did in that scene of Macbeth. He was foolishly drumming to honor the Pastmaster.”

“What did he want you to do for him?”

“Had I continued to work for him?”

“Yes.”

“I was to be a barefoot villain, like he is. In his case, he would have electrocuted the victims to death ahead of time after I came back with the info. I was to hold an axe, formally march to the dead body in time to the beating of the drum, and chop off the victim’s head, again announced by a drum roll of his doing. Then he would beat the drum as we paraded to a nearby hideout of Dr. Viper’s so that he could mutate the heads into his creatures. This whole thing was in cooperation with the Quarrelsome Quartet, who use hypnosis in almost everything. Once all the heads were in place, Dark Kat would make it storm continuously while all hypnotized victims, via the Quarrelsome Quartet’s Laser Beam 5000, would begin to serve the combined forces of evil and hail them as rulers of the whole world, and as you know, only the G-52s have been stopping the Quarrelsome Quartet. However, before we were even close to making all that happen, you caught me.”

“Well, flip my pancakes! Gerald, you are one aggressive yet impressive villain, if I do say so myself, and I do! I was mostly concerned with those SWAT Kats’ investigations on Dark Kat. But, if they are telling the truth, and I know they are, they and their former evil counterparts are willing to do anything to keep him from doing his evil bidding. Keep up the good work, Gerald!”

Ulysses and the Sergeant turned to leave the room to attend to other duties, those other duties being capturing Dark Kat and the drum according to the Dark SWAT Kats’ plan. Gerald opened another tab bar so he could listen to music while continuing his work.

Without realizing it, Dark Kat’s so-called parade had led him and his Creeplings right to the very spot where the Dark SWAT Kats had anticipated.

This led Dark Razor to announce his instructions to the others: “Okay, here’s the plan. As soon as his feet touch the trapdoor, I’ll pull the lever, thus taking another picture. You two then will grab the drum using your plane while we get Dark Kat.”

“Gotcha!” the SWAT Kats replied in unison.

“What a stupendous idea!” exclaimed Mayor Manx in delight as Ann and Jonny began catching the whole thing on tape. “Now I can golf in peace once more! Exciting, isn’t it, Callie?”

“Oh, yes, it is,” said Callie. “I’ve got to tell Dr. Sinian about this. She’ll be delighted.”

Callie jumped into her green sedan with the mayor following suit, and they drove off towards the museum. (Dr. Abby Sinian was the curator of the Megakat City Museum of History, always assisted on archeological trips by her assistant, Nathan Henson. She was always looking for new exhibits to fill into her newly-expanded museum, and she was always proud to find something of her interest. Since she knew everything there was to know about the Pastmaster and Megalith City, there was no doubt she was going to accept the drum.)

“This has to be most ingenious plan I’ve ever seen ever since Mutilor caused my tribe to separate me from them,” Grimalken smiled as the sirens approaching indicated that Ulysses and the Sergeant had arrived in the squad car. (As Ulysses would later explain, Felina was off on helicopter patrol at that very moment, working on another case.)

The plan worked to perfection. The very moment Dark Kat reached the trapdoor, Dark Razor pulled the lever. The picture was taken, and Dark Kat fell into the pit. The SWAT Kats, using one of Razor’s cable grabbing devices, grabbed the purple overlord while Al and Fango took a couple of fishing nets and scooped up all the Creeplings into one box Grimalken was holding for them. “Whoa. This thing weighs a ton now!” he said after all the Creeplings had been gathered first.

“I’ll get you all for this if it’s the last thing I do!” Dark Kat swore.

“You’ll have to break out of jail first,” the Sergeant sneered. “Now move it! Get in the car!”

“And, give me your drum, mate!” Fango added, talking with his fake Aussie accent just for show as he usually did.

Dark Kat handed him the drum.

Fango hung the drum around his neck and said, “I tell you, mates, all those marching band days in high school and in the military are really going to pay off.” He began performing drum roll after drum roll as Dark Kat was escorted off to jail, as if a bugler was about to play taps.

At HQ, as Dark Kat was in his cell, he noticed Hard Drive and questioningly reminded him of their old partnership.

“Sorry,” Hard Drive replied with authority. “I’m one of them now. And, now it is my duty to tell you that you have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in court. Have you understood everything that is to happen to you now?”

“I have,” Dark Kat replied regretfully. “Oh, my drum! The plan was so great!”

“I must say it was ingenious for someone like you,” Ulysses commented, “but it was not meant to be. Besides, you can’t succeed in anything. Not with us Enforcers and the SWAT Kats on the job!” Dark Kat was in tears. “And also,” continued the mighty Commander of the Enforcers, “your hideout has been destroyed by an underground bomb invented by the SWAT Kats so that you can’t escape anymore.”

More tears came from Dark Kat, though he dared not breathe a word or cry out loud.

And so, once again, another plot was foiled by the mighty SWAT Kats Fab Four, a force now respected by all. And, the greatest thing of all was that the drum was now safe forever in the Museum of History. The Pastmaster escaped to his own time zone to plot his next move in hopes of capturing Queen Callista, only to realize that she, too, had been forced to live in the present. He soon accepted his defeat and allowed himself to return to his previous undead state.

At the museum, Dr. Sinian had Ulysses seal off the drum and its mallets to be placed as an exhibit. “At least you got to play it once,” he told Fango.

“I’ll say,” Fango replied. “I was performing those drum rolls so formally, I was waiting for a trumpet to start playing taps, mate.”

THE END

SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron and its characters are trademarks and properties of Hanna-Barbera Productions, including Dr. Konway; I just gave him the name Leo. Also, I purposely portray Fango using an Aussie accent and Al talking like a Texan (by my viewpoints, anyway).
Trivial Pursuit is a trademark of Horn Abbot, Ltd. and is distributed by Selchow & Righter.

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