Isn't there anything we can do in this city?"
"Plenty, but something we can both enjoy? … I'm running out of pages."
Groaning with a roll of her soft green eyes a thirteen-year-old white-furred she-kat with short dark hair sat up from her reclining position on the couch and laid her portable game on her lap. She wore green printed pajama pants with a matching tank top. Her sister was similarly dressed in a light blue variation and sat across from her in a chair, looking through a local guide book. The white-furred she-kat laid her peach ears against her head and swished her equally peach tail, giving her sister a mild scowl. "Why do you have to be so boring? Almost everything I think is fun you think is noisy and/or dangerous."
The sixteen-year-old sister sighed, closing the guide book she held. Her fur was peach all over, her long and light blonde hair tied in a ponytail, and she shared her sister’s soft green eyes. If not for the beauty mark under her right eye, hair style, and slight color differences she could pass for a younger version of her aunt. "Well, excuse me for not liking wrestling, almost all sports, or motorcycle stunt shows."
"Nope! You're not excused." The dark-haired she-kat laid back on the couch and resumed playing her portable game. "You, Skylar Briggs, are a stick in the mud."
The blonde she-kat, named Skylar, scoffed as she rolled the guide book into a tube in her paws. "And you, Maggie Briggs, are a psychopath." Skylar narrowed her eyes as Maggie gave a short, sarcastic laugh in response. "Well, no one in the family has your wild side."
Maggie gave her a smug grin. "That just makes me original, unlike you who can't step outside in this city without someone doing a double-take."
Skylar was silent for a moment, an irritated glare directed right at Maggie, and then she sighed to herself. "If I knew I was gonna draw so much attention I would've brought a hat."
"If it makes you feel any better, Sky, there are worst kats you could look like, and Aunt Callie's very pretty." Skylar gave a small smile and unrolled her guide book, looking inside once more. Maggie sighed and saved her progress before turning off her game. "Mom and Dad are gonna be gone all day, so let's agree on something to do with Aunt Callie. Why don't we see if she'll take us to a movie? The Kat Kommandos is playing nearby."
"Normally I'd go for it, but we came all the way to an exciting city like Megakat City and you wanna do something we can do at home?"
"Aww, but we can't do I-KATX 3D at home!" Maggie defended with a slight whine.
Skylar shook her head as she adjusted the small pillow she was leaning on. "Ohh no. The last time I went to a 3D movie I spent the rest of the night laid out in my room motion sick."
Scoffing, Maggie rose from the couch and started to walk around it, passing an end table with a lamp and her aunt's purple purse resting on it. "It's not my fault if you can't stomach 3D CGI overload."
Annoyed, Skylar threw the small pillow at Maggie, who ducked to the side to avoid it. Instead of Maggie the pillow smacked into the purple purse on the end table, knocking it onto the floor and spilling its contents. "Aw, crud!" Skylar's fluffy peach tail puffed up as she realized what just happened.
Maggie grimaced as she looked at the mess. "Oops. ... Well, it's better than the lamp, right?"
Skylar walked past her and knelt down to pick up the purse. "Only if she doesn't keep an extra pair of glasses in there."
The younger she-kat cringed. "Ooo, good point." Maggie knelt beside her to help her clean up, depositing items back into the purse. She took a moment to open a compact mirror and checked inside. "Seven years good luck," she sang cheerfully with a grin, dropping the compact into the purse.
"It didn't crack just now when you looked into it, did it?" Skylar teased as she placed a wallet back inside the purse.
"Oh, shut up..." Maggie gently sneered as she picked up a gray triangular device with a blinking red button in the center. She was about to put it into the purse when the blinking light caught her attention, and she stared at it curiously.
"What is that?" Skylar asked, tilting her head as she stared at the device.
Maggie blinked as she turned the device over in her paws. "Umm... a MP3 player... without a headphone jack?"
At that moment their aunt Callie Briggs stepped into the living room, wearing a pink bathrobe and rubbing a towel over her damp hair. She looked up as she placed her glasses back onto her muzzle with a smile. "Alright, girls, have you decided what you--?" She gasped and widened her eyes as she saw her two nieces sitting on the floor with her purse and the device with the flashing button in Maggie's paws. "What are you doing?!"
"... She did it!" both Skylar and Maggie exclaimed, pointing a finger at each other. They exchanged dry looks, then alerted ones as the device in Maggie's paw gained a voice.
"Yes, Miss Briggs?"
Surprised, Skylar yelped and leaned away from the device, her fluffy tail puffing out again. "Turn it off!"
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" Maggie panicked, pushing the flashing red button repeatedly. Callie rushed over to Maggie and swiped the device out of her paws, fumbling with it briefly in her own.
"Miss Briggs? Do you copy?"
"I'm here!" Callie finally answered as she held the device close to her mouth, slightly out of breath. "I’m here, T-Bone. Sorry, it's a false alarm. It looks like my nieces knocked my purse over and set off the communicator."
Skylar and Maggie blinked as they sat on the floor and watched their aunt talk into the strange device as if it was a phone... and then they stared at each other in disbelief. "T-Bone?"
"Ohh, I see." The voice on the other end sounded amused. "I'd better have a talk with Razor about altering the sensitivity settings on the communicator." The sisters' jaws dropped in unison. "The fewer butt dials we have the better."
Callie gave a small chuckle and fluffed her damp hair, turning away from her bewildered nieces. "That's a good idea. But for now I need to go and explain a few things to the girls."
"Roger that, Miss Briggs. T-Bone out." And with that the device deactivated.
Callie softly sighed as she turned back to Skylar and Maggie with a small frown on her face, only to be taken aback as the teenagers began to crowd around her excitedly. "T-Bone and Razor?!"
"As in the SWAT Kats?!"
"Holy kats, Aunt Callie! You talk about them all the time, but you actually talk to them?!"
"Can we go see them?! I promise not to touch anything that might explode... more than once."
"Skylar, Maggie, please, calm down!" Callie placed a hand on their shoulders and gently pushed them aside. She then walked over and knelt down to collect her purse, placing the communicator inside it. "No one can know about this. The SWAT Kats trust me to keep communications a secret except for unavoidable emergencies."
"Then that really was a SWAT Kat?!" Maggie let out an excited squeal and bounced in place. "Ohmigosh, you’re officially the coolest aunt ever!"
"Take it down a notch, Mags." As much as she wanted to join Maggie in geeking out Skylar decided to try keeping a leveled head to maintain some maturity. "So that thing is like hotline phone for the SWAT Kats? That is so cool. Who else has one?"
"And where can we get it?"
Callie stood and looked through her purse, rearranging it to how it was before it was knocked over. "The last time I checked it’s just me. It might make sense to give one to the enforcers but Commander Feral is often too 'By-the-Book' and proud to accept help from the SWAT Kats. And I doubt any enforcer who would accept one would be able to hide it from him. Besides it’s their job." She closed the flap on her purse and set it back on the side table. Picking up the pillow that had been sitting on the end table Callie turned to her nieces and weighed it in her paw. "Now, about how this got started..."
Skylar and Maggie exchanged quick glances, and then shifted their eyes back to Callie. "Uh..." Skylar began, rubbing her paws together nervously.
"Uh, yeah, how did this get started?” Maggie spoke up with a nervous smile, trying to change the subject. “How'd you end up with a SWAT Kat pager?"
Callie narrowed her eyes and arched a brow at the dark haired she-kat with a slight pout to her lips, causing Maggie to recoil slightly. Skylar put an arm around Maggie’s shoulders and gave one shoulder a squeeze. "I threw the pillow at Maggie and she ducked out of the way of it,” the elder sister confessed. “We’re sorry for knocking over your purse and activating the hotline, Aunt Callie. But we didn't actually break anything and we did clean up the mess. We also can't agree on an activity... other than wanting to know how you ended up with a SWAT Kat pager. ... So..."
Callie looked between the two teenagers for a moment, and then she sighed, taking off her glasses to rub the bridge of her nose. "Well, it's not like I can make you forget what you saw..." Her eyes narrowed ever so slightly as she looked at their eager smiles. "... If I tell you how it happened will you promise to keep it a secret? Not a word to anyone, not even your parents?" The pair beamed and nodded in unison, crossing their hearts. Callie gave another sigh as she turned around and walked towards her bedroom. "Give me five minutes; I'm not telling the story in a bathrobe." Skylar and Maggie looked at each other and squealed in delight, rushing into their room to get dressed while they waited.
"A butt dial?" Razor looked up from his work station, soldering tool in hand.
"Well, more like a bump dial," T-Bone said as he pulled up a seat next to his partner, sitting with the back of the chair facing him. "Her purse was knocked over with the communicator inside and the bump activated it. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to tighten the sensitivity at little bit. You can do that, right?"
"Sure, but maybe I should whip up something more compact for her. That communicator's pretty big and, well, you've seen her purse."
T-Bone shrugged as he leaned forward over the back of the chair to watch his partner work. "Well, it's not like we had a she-kat in mind when we designed it. We were only going to use it for ourselves."
“Yeah, I remember.” Razor smirked as he shifted his eyes over to T-Bone. "And I’m still amazed we only gave her the communicator. I almost thought you’d give her your name and number, too."
With a small smirk and a flick of his tail T-Bone replied, "Now why would I do that? I already gave her both when we first met…"
"Just how many of those are you going to make, Jake?" a younger Chance Furlong inquired, dressed in his mechanic's overalls and looking over the shoulder of his similarly dressed partner Jake Clawson. Jake was hunched over his workbench with a soldering tool and magnifying glass to put together an electrical triangular device, one of three that laid on the desk in front of him.
Jake raised his goggles and looked to Chance with a smile. "Just enough to get us started, Chance," he said, picking up one of the completed devices. "The comlinks in our helmets are going to be our primary form of communication, but these are for in case our helmets are lost or damaged while we're separated."
"And you're sure they're not feeding into any other military feed?"
Jake smirked as he turned back to his work. "Have a little faith in me, buddy. The communicators are two-way, but the Turbokat will have the radio feed we need for everyone else."
"Good," Chance smirked, punching his fist into his paw. "I can't wait to get back in the air. This time I'll tell Feral what I'm really thinking." He looked over his shoulder at the jet that would become the Turbokat, lacking half of its paintjob and some plating. "We just need a few more parts."
"Well, Burke and Murray should be dropping by today," Jake stated with a noticeable scowl in his voice, taking his goggles off as he has finished his work. "Maybe they'll drop off something we can use."
Upon hearing those names Chance shuddered, his ears pressed against his head and a growl in his throat. "That's the only thing they're good for. What I wouldn't give to use 'em for target practice."
"You and me both." Jake turned over the new communicator in his paw and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "... Y'know what we could use?"
"Pest control on speed dial?" Chance mumbled as he looked at the blueprints for the jet, trying to make sense of Jake's work.
"Stop thinking about Burke and Murray for a minute, will ya?" Jake turned around on his bench to properly look at Chance, weighing the communicator in his paw. "The tandem feature in the Cyclotron is ready to go, so we can technically make our debut now if we’re needed."
Chance grumbled with a sourpuss pout, "I'd rather make our debut in the jet..." Sighing, Chance rolled up the blueprints and set them down where he found them. "Why are you bringing it up, Jake?"
"Well, we're mechanics now; we can't be having the enforcer scanner running up in the shop 24/7. And most of what they radio in is regular robberies and stuff, which the enforcers can handle without us. We wanna be involved in jet missions or something the enforcers can't handle or get to fast enough, right?"
"Right," Chanced folded his arms over his chest and raised a brow. "So, what are you getting at?"
Jake held the newly created communicator in his paw, showing it to Chance. "I’m thinking… we need some eyes and ears outside the cockpit."
"Well, think about it: someone out in the city who could alert us to when trouble happens, maybe even before the enforcers know what's going on." Jake turned the device back to himself and rubbed his chin again. "The problem is finding someone trustworthy and capable enough who will not only call us first but will actually trust us enough to get the job done right and fast."
"And it wouldn't hurt if they had a high authority. It works great in comics and movies, but where are we gonna find someone like that?" The phone began to ring, leading Chance to walk over to it. "It’s a good idea, Jake, but I think we'd be better off leaving the news on and waiting for an unofficial invitation." He answered the phone. "Jake and Chance's Garage, Chance speaking." Jake grimaced as he set the communicator on the table and flicked the corner with his finger, causing it to move a finger’s length away from him. The communicator is not a good desk toy. Chance sighed as he hung up the phone and turned back to Jake. "C'mon, partner, we got a job to do."
The Megakat Auto Club had called to inform them that a vehicle had become stuck in the ditch and flattened a tire, leaving the driver stranded. Chance was hardly ever excited about driving the beat up tow truck they had been supplied with, but it ran and it did the job. Sooner or later, he decided, they would turbo charge it. Jake would be satisfied if they had just fixed the rattling sound it made. "So, what are we looking for?" he asked Chance, who was driving as usual.
"A dark green sedan in the ditch. I think that's it coming up." Chance pointed to a vehicle matching the description he was given in an upcoming ditch with its flashers on. He squinted his eyes as the driver side door of the sedan opened, and a shekat wearing pink stepped out. She waved to the tow truck, leading Chance to stick his arm out of the window and wave back. "Although I think the driver would've been easier to spot. That pink's hard to miss." Chance began to slow down as they approached their destination, the shekat stepping back to avoid being in their way.
Jake leaned towards the window a bit to get a better look at the shekat and blinked. "Hey, isn't that the deputy mayor?"
"Beats me," Chance yawned as he put the truck in park and unbuckled his seatbelt. "Let's just get this over with."
"Your devotion for your work is inspiring, Chance," Jake sarcastically remarked as he narrowed his eyes and unbuckled his seatbelt. He looked out the window towards the she-kat and smiled. "Yeah, I think it is her."
"Whoopee..." Chance mumbled unenthusiastically as he hopped out of the truck and moved around the back. He took a deep breath and prepared himself to pretend to be happy about doing his job as he came face to face with the she-kat in distress. "Good after...noon... ma'am..." Chance's voice drifted off as he finally gave the she-kat a proper look. When he didn't focus on her slender pink business dress suit he could see her green eyes behind her clean black rimmed glasses and her long bouncy blonde hair framing her peach furred face.
“Thank you for coming,” the she-kat smiled, brushing a bit of her hair away from her face, which only caused Chance to stare more.
Jake stepped around Chance to meet with the she-kat, a bit stumped as to why Chance suddenly clammed up. "Good afternoon, ma'am, we received your call from the Megakat Auto Club. I'm sorry about my partner; apparently the kat got his tongue. Are there any other problems besides the obvious?"
The she-kat sighed softly and folded her arms over her chest as she looked at her car. "No, I’m pretty sure what you see is what you get. I saw something run across the road in front of me and I just barely missed hitting it. But now I'm stuck and I got a flat tire."
"Don't worry, we'll have you on your way in no time," Jake smiled to her reassuringly. "My
name’s Jake Clawson, and my partner--"
Chance suddenly stepped in front of Jake so that he was in the she-kat's direct line of sight, suddenly without any hint of resentment to his job and acting as if he was the most suave tom in town. "Chance Furlong, ma'am, of Jake and Chance's Garage. Happy to be of service to you."
The she-kat blinked as the blonde-furred tom held out a business card to her. She took it, reading that it belonged to their garage and that it had their names and phone number on it. She then took his offered paw and shook it with a friendly smile. "Calico Briggs, deputy mayor. Will this take very long, Mr. Furlong?"
"Please, call me Chance," Chance smiled as Jake pulled down the tow winch cable and hook and pulled them along to the sedan's front bumper. "And no, it shouldn’t. Jake will hook 'er up, I'll pull 'er out, and then we'll see about fixing the flat."
The deputy mayor looked at her watch with a worried frown. "Uh-oh. I really don’t want to be a pest and complain, Chance, but I'm suppose to be at City Hall in 10 minutes..."
Jake returned, dusting his paws off as he finished hooking the cable to the sedan. “In that case, we’ll just drop you off there, Miss Briggs."
"Could you?" she smiled.
Chance looked back as he sat behind the wheel of the tow truck with the door open. “Sure. Rather than rush perfection we'll tow your car to our shop and fix it up with the spare or a new tire if we got it. We should have it parked outside City Hall by the time you're done."
"And it saves you a trip back to our garage," Jake added, opening the sedan's driver side door for her. "I'm afraid there's no room for you up front, but you’ll be fine riding back here."
The she-kat smiled again as she stepped into her car and buckled in. "I really appreciate this, guys."
"We're happy to help, Miss Briggs."
"It’s Callie, Jake."
Once the car door was closed Jake stepped away from the car, allowing Chance to hoist the vehicle up onto its rear tires and pulled it out of the ditch it was trapped in. Jake moved around to the passenger seat of the tow truck and got inside. Chance drove on with the windows up, Jake looked back at Callie from the sideview mirror. "I think we’ve got a returning customer, buddy," he said, turning his gaze over to his smittened partner.
"I know I wouldn't mind seeing her again," Chance replied with a kind of dopey grin. "When was the last time we rescued someone like her?"
Jake sighed as he leaned against the passenger door and looked out the window. "Indirectly, before we were kicked off the force. Directly? It's been too long."
Chance frowned with a grumble, tapping his fingertips on the steering wheel. "Yeah, I can't remember either." He glanced over at the sideview mirror to look at Callie, then back to the road... and then he grinned. "Y'know something, Jake? She seems like the kind of she-kat who appreciates the job being done fast and right."
"... Well, yeah, who wouldn’t?" Jake leaned away from the window and looked at Chance. Suddenly it clicked for him, causing his eyes to widen. “Oh, wait a second! Chance, you don’t mean--?”
“Well, why not?” Chance counted his reasonings on his fingers, keeping one paw on the wheel. “She’s just a step below Mayor Manx in authority, she’s very pleasant and she seems to have a pretty leveled head, she’s gotta hate how the big bads like Dark Kat slip under the radar… and it doesn’t hurt that she’s very easy on the eyes.”
Jake furrowed his brow slightly and folded his arms over his chest. “Well, the last thing isn’t necessary but I’ll admit those are valid points. I guess I could modify the communicators around a bit, but we’re still gonna have to earn her trust so she’ll accept our help.”
Chance only grinned as he turned down the street that lead to City Hall. “Well, you know what they say: ‘Good things come to those who wait’…”
A week later the first sightings of the Turbokat gracing the skylines of Megakat City were reported. The enforcers, military, and Puma-Dyne denied any prior knowledge of the black jet nor any involvement with it. Even though the jet had only been seen flying over the city and beyond Commander Feral promised to keep enforcer patrols on high alert in case the jet posed a serious threat. Surely, its pilot is just biding his time. Some citizens remained skeptical, however; if the jet hasn’t posed a threat after two weeks it probably won’t. Anyway there were other things to focus on.
The casino ship, the Chartreux Treasure, had left port at 6:00pm, carrying along with it special passengers. Tonight the Chartreux Treasure is holding a special benefit: all proceeds will be donated to the Megakat Damage Repair fund, which is kept for destruction to structures such as Enforcer Headquarters caused by criminal masterminds such as Dark Kat. With the mysterious black jet that had appeared recently government officials felt it best to add a few coins to the purse. Among the attendees are Kats Eye New reporter Ann Gora covering the multi-hour event with her camera kat Jonny K.; enforcer commander Ulysses Feral dressed in a formal Enforcer uniform remaining on high alert; Mayor Manx who has hopes of collecting investors for upcoming projects and possibly votes for future elections; and Deputy Mayor Calico Briggs in a pink evening dress who was to finish the mayor’s celebratory speech for when the million dollar goal was reached.
Finally, an announcement was made over the PA system. “Ladies and gentlekats, this is your captain speaking. We are now twelve miles from shore and have just lowered the anchor, which means we are open for business. We will weigh anchor at 11:00 which will signify the end of the casino games. Thank you for participating in our benefit event and we hope you have a wonderful evening.”
With that the patrons began to scatter among the slot machines and tables. Mayor Manx smiled as he purchased a martini and turned to a few kats in expensive looking suits. “I’m surprised I don’t ventured out onto the water more often,” Manx began as he took an olive with a toothpick out of his glass. “There is a touch of sailor’s blood in the Manx family, and dare I say I already feel quite at home. Yes, these hours will just fly by.” He took a small sniff of the olive and instantly turned green. “... In fact I think I will take in some of that salt air right now. Excuse me.” Manx sat his drink and olive back on the bar and began to casually walk towards the exit… and then he ran, holding his toupee in place with his paw until he made it outside to the stern of the ship and leaned over the side, vomiting.
Callie was sitting nearby with a pencil and notepad, cringing as Manx’s seasickness interrupted her train of thought. She sighed to herself as she reached into her purse and pulled out a bottle of ginger pills, tapping two out into her paw. “Here, Mayor,” she offered. Callie had attempted to have Manx take them before boarding but Manx was certain that he wouldn’t need them.
Without lifting his head Manx held his paw out for the pills and popped them into his mouth, sliding off the railing onto the deck with a groan. He then climbed into and laid back on one of the lounging chairs set out and sighed. “The Manx family is more well known for their flying than their sailing, but I still think that was a rotten olive,” he groaned. “I’ll be along shortly, Callie, but leave the bottle.” Knowing there was nothing more she could do to help Manx Callie left the bottle of ginger pills beside him, collected her belongings, and walked inside, past a pair of sunglass-wearing security guards by the doors. The two guards checked their watches, noticing that it was 6:45.
Callie navigated her way through the lower level of the casino trying to find silence, but the constant chiming and general chatter was too random to keep her head clear. The next level up held the dining area, but a birthday party was in full swing so it would not be any quieter. The upper most level was off limits to civilians, as it was set up for launching fireworks once the final tally was announced. All other areas were off limits as well. It seemed the only place she could find quiet was in the casino level restroom. She sighed to herself as she stepped into a stall, leaving the door ajar, and put the top down on the toilet before she sat down. “At least if I ever become mayor I’m prepared to do my own paperwork…” She balanced the notepad on her knee and began writing the speech anew, grateful for the muffled silence.
At least until 7:00 came.
The sounds of weapons being fired and kats screaming caused Callie to rush out of the stall and towards the restroom door. She opened the door just a crack to look out, seeing nearly all the security guards bearing laser guns and herding the passengers into one area. Any enforcer on board who attempted to unholster their weapons would have them shot out of their paws, be knocked down to the ground and restrained. Commander Feral attempted to radio for help before he was greeted with a gun butt to the back of his head, knocking him out before he could get a word out. The Kats Eye News team had their equipment confiscated as a green-faced Mayor Manx was pushed inside. Callie quickly closed the door when she noticed one of the hijackers approaching the restrooms.
Callie hid behind the door as the hijacker walked inside and made a beeline for the stalls, not noticing the startled she-kat. The hijacker checked inside the stalls, finding no one inside. All he saw was stars when Callie picked up a stainless steel trash can that was in the corner and clubbed him over the head with it. He landed face first into the toilet bowl, knocking him out. Callie sighed to herself, tossing the trash can aside and checked outside of the restroom again. The hijackers’ attention was on the hostages and their backs were to her so she took the opportunity to slip out of the restroom and into the hallway. With the enforcers on board incapacitated she needed to find another way to signal for help. There was only one thing she could think of. Callie removed her shoes so that her heels would not give her away as she made her way to the upper level…
The Turbokat soared through the early evening air, painting the sky with its vapor trails. Chance was in front seat, piloting, and donning his new hero attire of a blue and black flight suit with accents of red, as well as a matching helmet and black mask. Jake sat in the seat behind him with the weapons panel, dressed in a similar attire. “Well, Razor, we’ve gone through all the basic and advanced safety precautions, fixed anything that needed fixing, tested out all of your missiles and gadgets...” Chance addressed Jake with his new codename.
“And the Turbokat handles like a dream, T-Bone,” Razor replied with a grin, addressing Chance by his new codename. “I’d say we’re ready to crash our first party.”
“Any idea where we can find one before we run out of fuel?”
Razor frowned slightly as he looked at his radar screen. “Hmm, nothing’s ringing up in this sector, so if you--”
“Hold that thought, buddy,” T-Bone interrupted. “Take a look out towards the ocean and tell me you’re seeing what I’m seeing.”
“Huh?” Razor lifted his eyes from his radar screen to T-Bone’s line of sight outside the cockpit. On the ocean’s horizon miles from the shore were colorful flashes of light, burning brightly and then fading out quickly. Razor furrowed his brow as he squinted his eyes. “... Are those fireworks?”
“Yeah… but it’s not dark enough for fireworks. And who would be setting them off out in the middle of open water?”
Razor stroked his chin as he thought about it for a moment. “Well, if I remember right there’s supposed to be some kind of benefit event on a casino boat tonight. If they’re setting off fireworks this early there might be a problem. We’d better go check it out.”
T-Bone smirked as he turned the Turbokat towards the ocean. “I was actually kinda hoping we’d be given an invitation to our first party.” He engaged the thrusters and flew towards the source of the fireworks.
Callie knew that as soon as she began setting off the fireworks she would draw the attention of the hijackers so she wasted no time. As soon as she found the ignition switch on a computer on the upper most level of the ship she set them all to go off in rapid succession, set on a thirty second delay to start so that she could get her tail out of there. She raced down to the bow of the ship and desperately scanned the skies for any signs of rescue, but all she could make out was smoke from the fireworks and a few stars. “... Of course, we’re miles away from shore; if they saw it no enforcer jets or choppers are fast enough to get here now,” Callie lamented to herself, turning away from the bow and gasping. Before her stood a dozen hijackers dressed in security guard uniforms, each carrying burlap sacks filled with valuables. One just finished locking the door leading inside with a chain and padlock, trapping the passengers inside.
One of the hijackers, a slim tom with dark gray and ruffled fur, smiled and removed his sunglasses, revealing a scarred right eye that remained shut, his other eye a dark amber. “Well, boys,” he began as he drew a laser gun that was tucked into the back of his pants, “it looks like we missed a mouse during our initial sweep.” He looked up at the fireworks that were still exploding and gave a mild frown. “And look at all the trouble she’s caused. I told you before, one little mouse can make a lot of difference compared to none.”
Callie frowned as she backed all the way to the bow of the ship, gripping onto the railing. “Who are you? Why are you doing this?”
“I don’t think it will matter to you, ma’am, but I am Emil Lynx,” the scarred tom said as he stepped closer to Callie. “And you may think this is unoriginal but my boys and I enjoy the thrill we get by playing Pirates on the open sea. What can I say, I’m a sucker for the classics.” He produced a remote control with a simple button on it from his shirt pocket. “We’ve already collected the loot and once we set sail on the lifeboats I’ll activate my bomb and everyone on this ship will be bobbing for barnacles.”
“If you think you can get away with this--!” Callie hissed, pausing with a grunt as she stared down Lynx’s gun barrel.
“It’s a little late for that cliche, don’t you think?” Lynx smirked as he tucked his gun back into his pants and the remote control into his shirt pocket. “Boys? Toss the wench overboard.”
Callie gasped as three of the hijackers approached her. She began to kick and scream as they grabbed onto her and lifted her over their heads. She looked down towards the water, which was at least a twenty or thirty foot drop. Callie continued to struggle to get out of their grip, but to no avail. “Let me go!”
“If you insist!”
With one upward chuck Callie was thrown out and away from the bow of the ship and she began to plummet towards the water below. All she could do was scream… until she suddenly stopped falling mere feet above the water. She found herself surrounded by netting and dangling above the water, safe. She blinked, and then looked up, seeing that the netting was attached to a line that lead to the bombay doors of a hovering black jet. “... Is that the same jet…?”
T-Bone and Razor peered over the side of the cockpit to look down at the she-kat in the Spider Missile netting, confirming that she was safe. “That was a little too close, Sure Shot,” T-Bone sighed softly in relief… and then he widened his eyes in shock. “You gotta be kidding me. It’s Callie!”
“Good, because that means we just made an excellent first impression,” Razor smirked, pushing a button to raise the line back into the bombay doors with Callie in tow. He got onto the PA system to address Callie. “Don’t worry, Miss Briggs, we’re here to help!”
“... You are?” Callie blinked as she drew closer to the jet’s bombay doors, and then she yelped as the kats on the deck began to fire their laser guns at the jet.
“What kind of enforcer jet is this?” Lynx grimaced with a tightly clenched jaw, noticing the lasers were only ricocheting off the jet. With an annoyed growl he shouted to half of his men, “Get what you can to the lifeboats! The rest of you, cover us!” Half of the hijackers followed the command, each carrying at least two burlap bags full of valuables.
Callie was raised into the cargo hold of the Turbokat and gently lowered to the floor once the bombay doors were closed. She grunted softly as she tried to wrestle herself out of the netting alone, stopping once she noticed someone dropping down beside her. Razor helped her out of the netting with a quick swipe of his claws and offered a paw to help her stand. Callie hesitated in taking it but she did accept it. “Who are you?”
“I’m afraid we don’t have time for introductions, and you’ll have to share my seat.” Razor helped Callie up to the cockpit, allowing her to sit in his seat first before he got in front of her to access the weapons panel. “We’re all here. What’s happening, T-Bone?”
“Half of ‘em are making a break for it, half of ‘em are still shooting at us, and the last few fireworks keep throwing me off!” T-Bone replied as he maneuvered the jet sideways to avoid the laser fires.
Callie leaned to the side to look past Razor’s head and to get a better view of the blonde tabby pilot in front. “Sorry, I just wanted to make sure there was a chance someone saw them.”
The two SWAT Kats looked at her, a bit surprised. “You did that?” they both asked in unison, leading Callie to nod once with a faint blush.
T-Bone suddenly smirked. “I like your style, Miss Briggs,” he said, silently giving Razor a “told ya so” look in his eye. “Alright, Razor, you know what to do.”
“Yeah, it’s time to wrap things up with an encore performance. Launching Spider Missile!” Razor targeted his sites to the group of six kats on the deck and fired another Spider Missile at them. This time the netting detached from the line and landed over the kats, trapping them all in one very crowded and squirming net that became pinned to the deck. “Bingo!”
“That’s pretty impressive,” Callie admired as she looked at the video feed from over Razor’s shoulder. “But the other half are getting away.”
“Not yet, they’re not,” T-Bone sneered as he maneuvered the Turbokat to the starboard side of the ship where Lynx and the rest of his men were loading the lifeboats with their ill gotten gain.
Razor pushed a few buttons on his weapons panel with Callie watching curiously. “Octopus Missiles, deployed!” Razor pressed a button, launching three Octopus Missiles which opened their mechanical arms and clamped onto each of the three lifeboats to the hull of the ship, pinning them in place and preventing escape.
Lynx shouted in frustration as he glared up at the jet. “Where are the enforcers getting these ridiculous toys from?!” He pulled the remote control out of his shirt pocket… only to drop it when he suddenly became pinned to the wall by another Octopus Missile.
As Razor dealt with the remaining hijackers T-Bone got onto the PA system to address Lynx, “We’re not enforcers, pirate. Learn our names... we’re T-Bone and Razor, the SWAT Kats!”
The enemy had been apprehended, the bomb was disabled, the passengers and valuables were safe, and Kats Eye News got the exclusive story on the new heroes of Megakat City. Once the ship had docked at Megakat Harbor and he recovered his camera Jonny K. recorded Ann Gora’s interview with the SWAT Kats while the enforcers carted off the hijackers. Emergency vehicles checked over the passengers, including Commander Feral who was suffering from a minor head injury and Mayor Manx who claimed to have food poisoning despite not eating since lunch.
Callie sat to the side with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders and a styrofoam cup of coffee in her paws as she finished giving her statement to an enforcer. She softly sighed as the enforcer departed, relieved that the crisis was over but disappointed that the benefit would have to be postponed. It was a relief, in a way, because there was no way she could finish that speech tonight. She sipped her coffee, and then she noticed two shadows stopping in front of her on the ground. “... I never got to say thank you, did I?” Callie asked as she looked up to see her heroes standing before her.
“We’re the ones who should be thanking you, Miss Briggs,” T-Bone said with a smile.
Razor nodded in agreement. “We’d be in an enforcer holding cell by now if you hadn’t stuck up for us. So… thanks.”
Callie gave a small smile and a half chuckle. “After all you did for everyone on board, I couldn’t just… What you did for me… thank you.” She sipped her coffee again. “So I take it you’re leaving?”
“We’ve seen and heard enough about Commander Feral to know he won’t be a big fan of ours, so it’s better to go before he wakes up,” Razor gave a small smirk.
Callie chuckled with a nod. “That sounds about right. … Will I see you again?”
“Well, Miss Briggs, that depends…” T-Bone began as he looked over his shoulder briefly. “Do you want to see us again?”
For some reason the question caught her off-guard, causing her to blush a hair. “... Well… if you can do more than just handle a ship-load of hijackers--”
“Trust us, Miss Briggs, you haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg.” T-Bone pulled the triangular communicator out from his pocket and held it out to her. “Here. In case you don’t have access to anymore fireworks in the future.” He smiled with a wink.
Callie blinked as she looked at the communicator, and slowly took it out of T-Bone’s paw, looking it over carefully. Razor leaned towards her and pointed. “All you have to do is push that button. It’s got two-way communication and a tracking feature so we’ll know where you are even if you can’t talk to us.”
“And you might want to keep it to yourself,” T-Bone added. “If anyone found out about it--”
“I can take a guess,” Callie interrupted, sliding the communicator into her purse. “Someone could steal it from me and use it to set a trap for you, or track you down through it.”
“Among other things. Thanks for your assistance, Miss Briggs.”
T-Bone and Razor then turned around and walked back towards the Turbokat. Callie watched them until they entered the Turbokat and flew off out of sight. “... Thank you, too… whoever you are…”
“I kinda remember that story, Aunt Callie, now that I heard it again,” Skylar smiled as she sat in the front passenger seat of Callie’s sedan while her aunt drove.
Maggie sat in the back and leaned forward so she wouldn’t miss a word of the story. “I still don’t remember hearing it, but it was still awesome, even if it was just made up!”
Callie smirked as she looked back at her youngest niece while stopping at a red light. “I’m glad that my first near-death experience entertained you, Maggie. But I promise you that it was true, as well as any other SWAT Kats stories I’ve told you before.”
“Or may lightning strike you dead?” Skylar asked with smart aleck grin and holding her right paw up. Suddenly the three of them shrieked as a street lamp fell down into the intersection in front of them. They all looked out their windows to see what caused it. An large electrical surge traveled through the wires of the traffic lights, sporadically changing between red and green which would lead to an accident if the street lamp hadn’t been knocked over. The surge jumped into another street lamp, knocking it down onto a sidewalk, and then traveled up a power line down the street. Skylar gulped, “I swear, I didn’t mean that literally…”
Frowning, Callie reached into her purse and pulled out the communicator, pushing the button to activate it. In the hangar T-Bone and Razor looked up at the flashing and buzzing alarm on the wall and high tailed it to the Turbokat. Despite the urgency of the situation the three of them each had a small satisfied smile on their face, feeling that they did, indeed, make the right call those years ago.
~ End ~