Murray, half-asleep slouched in a shabby office chair, opened his eyes and yawned, stretching. The mini-TV in his lap rocked gently as he did so, but he managed to get it steady again. The female reporter on the screen continued. "The notorious techno-crook known as Hard Drive has taken the building hostage, having overwhelmed all of the security guards. The Enforcers are just now arriving on the scene."
Murray shifted, reaching into a white plastic cooler. He retrieved a can of beer, popped the top, and took a swig. He belched loudly. On the TV screen, behind Ann Gora, he could see Enforcer cruisers and tanks arriving. Suddenly, a figure appeared on the roof of the building, and launched a volley of yellow electrical bolts down on the Enforcer vehicles.
"Hard Drive is attacking the Enforcers!" Ann went on, ducking down, the view becoming wobbly as her camerakat did the same.
"Duh," Murray said, letting loose another belch. Another swig from the beer was taken. Onscreen, the Enforcer vehicles that were hit exploded in showers of sparks and molten metal, the gathered Enforcer commandos ducking and running. A few managed to leap from the tanks before they exploded.
Obviously, Murray thought, this Hard Drive character had amped-up his powers since his last appearance the previous year, when he tried to rob the Megakat Mint high-speed railway. Murray had caught that on the news, too, and the whole thing amused him. The short kat watched the Kat's Eye News coverages of various villain attacks with all the attention he would give a fictional action show.
"Things look bad for Megakat City, if only-" Ann stopped, and looked offscreen. The sound of jet engines approaching could be heard faintly. "It's the SWAT Kats!"
Murray's eyes lit up. "Yeah, now we're talkin'!" he said.
Things always got going when the SWAT Kats arrived. Murray looked forward to seeing them pummel the tar out of yet another villain. He loved nothing more than seeing such chaos and destruction on TV. But, just as the SWAT Kats' sleek black fighter jet, the Turbokat, flew into view, a voice from outside interrupted Murray's TV time.
"Murray! Hey, Murray!" It was Burke. "Where are ya?"
"In here, Burke!" he yelled back.
"Come out here I wanna talk to ya!"
Murray growled, and shot back "I'm watchin' TV!"
"It's important!" Burke returned.
Sighing, Murray turned off the TV, just as a big explosion occurred. Whatever his big brother wanted had darn well better be important enough to make him miss what he considered quality programming. Setting the TV on the table beside him, Murray hopped out of the chair, tossing the empty beer can into the nearby trashcan.
He stepped out of the small, two-room building that was the main salvage yard office. Unlike their wards, ex-Enforcer pilots-turned mechanics Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson, Burke and Murray didn't live at the yard. The two brothers worked there, however, and spent most of their time lounging in the office. They only ever went out for pizza or when Commander Feral sent them to collect scrap.
"What is it?" Murray yawned, stretching some more. "It had better be important! I was watchin' the SWAT Kats fight that electric guy on the news!"
Burke, his older, taller, fatter brother, was standing outside. "I can't find those two hotshots Furlong and Clawson."
"So what?" Murray said.
"So, they got a customer who's expectin' to get her car fixed," answered Burke. "And she means business!"
Wondering what Burke was talking about, Murray followed his brother as they walked around one of the yard's many piles of junk. They approached the modest two-story brick building that was Jake and Chance's Garage. A blue four-door car was parked out in front, and standing next to it was a little old lady.
"Well it's about time!" she said, her shrill voice carrying a hint of a Southern accent. "Where are those two young mechanics? I'm gonna complain to the Megakat Auto Club!"
Murray blinked. "See?" said Burke.
The old lady focused her hate-filled gaze on the brothers. "Can you two fix my car?"
"Uh, sorry lady," said Murray. "But we're not just deliver scrap."
Murray realized he'd said the wrong thing, when the seemingly harmless old woman, who was obviously cranky after waiting all day, didn't like that answer. With a growl, she brought her large purse down onto the smaller kat's head.
"Hey, you old battle ax! Don't hit my brother like that!" Burke said.
Before he could move to Murray's defense, the handbag came into contact with his left knee. Yelping, Burke clutched his leg and hopped up and down on his other foot. She then whacked Murray on the head again, his green baseball cap flying off. Ducking to avoid another blow, he retreated into the open garage. Burke opened his mouth to speak again, but this time he took a hit in his large stomach.
"Jeez, lady!" said Murray from his hiding place behind Furlong and Clawson's tow truck. "Calm down!"
"Calm down? Calm down?!" she snarled, whacking Burke a third time as he, too, ran for cover. "I'll calm down when I get some service!"
"Well that ain't gonna happen until Furlong and Clawson get back!" Burke reasoned.
"Who?" she said.
"Uh, the mechanics, ma'am."
"Oh." She huffed, then turned and walked to her car. "I'll be back at noon, and those two had better be here!" Getting into her car, she stepped on the gas and sped right out of the salvage yard like a professional race car driver, leaving Burke and Murray gasping and dumbfounded.
"Holy kats!" Murray exclaimed after a minute or so. "What was her malfunction?!"
"I dunno," said Burke. "But when I find those two slackers I'm gonna beat their faces in!"
"Yeah," added the shorter kat. He walked back outside to pick up his baseball cap, then stopped, blinking. "Hey wait a second," he said, turning around. "The tow truck's still here!"
Burke looked at the tow truck that Clawson and Furlong often drove about in, in addition to using it to actually tow cars. "Hey, you're right. Maybe they took the other car?"
After picking up his cap and replacing it on his head, Murray went with Burke and they walked around to the back of the building, where the two-ex-fighter jocks usually parked their only other vehicle. To their shared surprise, however, the green four-door sedan was still sitting where it always did.
"That certainly is strange," said Burke.
"Where did they go if they didn't take either the tow truck or the car?" Murray wondered aloud as he and Burke walked back to the front of the garage.
"I'll bet you anything they're inside watchin' TV or somethin'," said Burke.
"Yeah, 'cause otherwise I can't see where they'd go by walkin', the only thing within walkin' distance is that oil refinery," added his brother.
Balling up their fists, the two junkyard kats walked into the garage and went inside the living quarters through a side door. First, they spent a good few minutes calling Clawson and Furlong's names. When that got no results, they started to actually worry whether something had happened to the two. They split up and searched the place. Murray went upstairs, but found it deserted.
"Hey, Murray!" Burke suddenly called.
"Get down here!"
Murray hurried back downstairs. He found Burke in what could obstensibly be considered the living room; there was a couch fashioned from the back seat of a car, a fridge, and a TV.
"Ya find 'em?"
Burke smacked Murray on the top of the head. "You chowderhead! Does it look like I found 'em?"
"Well then why were you yellin'?!" Murray said, rubbing his head.
"'Cause I found this."
Burke knelt down and pulled back a ratty-looking rug, revealing what appeared to be a kathole cover or a hatch of some kind. Murray blinked.
"It looks like a hatch."
"I know," Burke replied. "What I don't know is what it's doin' in the middle of the floor here in their pad."
Murray scratched his head under his cap, thinking. He suddenly snapped his fingers. "I know what it is!"
"What?" asked Burke.
"This place used to be a base or something like that back in Mega War II, and it had a big underground bunker and stuff like that," his brother said. Burke's eyebrows furrowed under his cap. "I used to ta' have the skematics of the place from the city hall of records, but I lost 'em."
"So you're sayin' there's a whole underground complex under our feet that nobody's been down to in over fifty years?" There was wonderment in Burke's voice.
"Yup," said Murray. "And I'll bet ya two cans of tuna that that's where those jerks Clawson and Furlong are hidin'!"
"Yeah!" added his sibling. He opened the hatch, revealing darkness below. The brothers expected a musty, old smell, but surprisingly the air below smelled crisp and clean. "Huh," said Burke. "They must go down there alot."
Murray nodded and leaned over, peering down into the blackness. "There's a ladder. I'm goin' down," he said, and then started down backwards. He paused to look up at Burke. "You stay here," he added. "You're too fat to fit!"
Burke growled as Murray continued down, laughing. The shorter kat's feet came into contact with a concrete floor a few feet down and he stood there, squinting in the darkness. To his right, he spotted something.
"I found a light switch!" he called up to Burke.
"So turn it on, you idiot!" his brother shot back.
Grumbling, Murray did so. The flourescant lights flashed alive, revealing to Murray something that made his eyes pop wide open and his jaw drop. He stood this way for several minutes, until Burke called down.
"Hey, Murray, you okay?"
"Yeah, Burke," he said. "You make yourself fit down here 'cause you have to see this to believe it."
Burke compromised, leaning over and sticking his head in through the hole upside-down. His reaction mirrored Murray's.
"Wow!" he cried.
Commander Ulysses Feral grumbled to himself as he entered his office, removing his overcoat and throwing it at the coat rack, missing. The coat fell to the floor as he went to his desk, slumping into his office chair. He had been humiliated by the SWAT Kats...again. The Enforcers had been all but wiped out by Hard Drive in the battle at the Megakat City Main Power Grid. Although there were few casualties, the vehicle loss was incalculable as always.
It was at this point in his thoughts that Sergeant Talon entered the room. He frowned, picking up Feral's coat and hanging it on the coat rack.
"Sir?" he asked, approaching the desk. "Are you all right?"
"No, I'm not all right!" Feral snapped, making the Sergeant jump. "Those annoying SWAT Kats do everything I can't, everything we can't! Sometimes I wonder if the city really even needs the Enforcers..."
Talon looked at Feral like he was crazy, and the Commander sighed.
"Sorry about that, Sergeant," he said. "The SWAT Kats have an uncanny knack for bringing out the worst in me."
"It's okay, sir," said the Sergeant. "Anyway, I have an update on the situation involving Hard Drive. That is, if you're in the mood for it."
Feral sighed, rubbing his temples. "Fine."
Sergeant Talon cleared his throat. "The SWAT Kats were unable to capture Hard Drive just yet, and he is currently leading them on a chase through the entire city, with a few of our chopper units in pursuit."
"Sounds like the usual scenario. Watch them pull some magic trick out of their hats and beat that annoying techno-weasel."
Feral leaned back in his chair, then looked at Talon.
"I'll say this for them, they come through. Though of course you'd never catch me saying that to their faces. I have my pride to think about. And someday, I'll catch them, and into prison they'll go! I know I've said that hundreds of times in the past, but I will do it someday!"
Talon nodded absently. "Shall I get the aspirin, sir?"
"Yes, please..." Feral said, feeling himself smile at how well the Sergeant knew him and his constant headaches.
The Sergeant left the office, leaving Feral alone. He wondered to himself if he should really go through with these constant vows he had made to arrest the SWAT Kats, since they did help save the city all the time and had even saved him once or twice, in spite of their mutual hatred for one another.
But then he shook away the doubts. When he had taken the job as Commander of the Enforcers, he had sworn an oath that he would rid Megakat City of any and all criminal element. And despite their constant heroics, the SWAT Kats were criminals. Vigilantism, taking the law in one's own paws, was illegal. It was his duty to arrest them and bring them to justice like any other criminal in the city, or so he kept telling himself day after day.
His thoughts were interrupted as Sergeant Talon returned with a bottle of aspirin and a glass of water. He nodded in thanks and popped two of the pills, swallowing them down with a quick gulp of the water.
"One of these days I need to take a vacation," he said. "I pop these things like Tic-Tacs, for crying out loud. If I don't get some rest and relaxation soon the stress is going to kill me."
"Well, your niece is capable of running the Enforcers in your absence," Talon ventured. "Perhaps she could take over for you while you vacation at Anakata Island, sir."
Feral nodded, and drained the rest of the water, setting the empty glass on his desk along with the bottle of aspirin.
"All right, that sounds like a plan, Sergeant," he replied. "But not just yet. I still have a week's worth of paperwork to do, not to mention detaining Hard Drive when the SWAT Kats finally catch him."
He leaned back in his chair once more, folding his hands across his lap.
"Well, I'm hungry. Why don't you run out and get us some sub sandwiches?"
Talon smiled. "Yes, sir."
As the Sergeant turned and left the room again, Feral massaged his temples one last time and, praying the aspirin would work fast, began to start going over the aforementioned paperwork.
Mere moments later, Sergeant Talon returned. "Commander," he said.
"That was quick," Feral said jokingly. "What is it, Sergeant?"
"Those two junkyard kats are here to see you," Talon replied.
Feral arched a brow. "Burke and Murray?"
The Sergeant nodded. "Yes, sir. They say it's urgent."
"Very well," Feral said. "Send them in."
Talon stepped aside, allowing the gruesome twosome that was Burke and Murray to enter the office. They had unusually sly smiles on their faces, and seemed to be very anxious about something.
"Hiya, Commander," said Murray, grinning toothily.
"You'll never stop me now, SWAT Kats!" Hard Drive cackled as he flung another bolt of electricity toward the vigilante duo. "With the power I absorbed from the main electrical grid, I'm badder than ever! Take your best shot!"
T-Bone dove out of the way was the electricity hit the ground near his feet, landing on his shoulder and somersaulting behind a concrete divider. Razor was already hunkered down behind an abandoned car to his right.
After a grueling chase through downtown, Hard Drive had chosen to situate himself in the middle of the Megakat Freeway, bringing traffic to a halt as the katizens abandoned their cars and ran away. T-Bone had to land the Turbokat several yards away in an empty field, and after twenty minutes, this was as close to Hard Drive as either of the SWAT Kats had gotten.
"Razor!" T-Bone yelled over to his partner. "Got any ideas?"
"You've asked me that five times already!" Razor shot back. "And no! I still can't think of anything. This guy's reached a whole new level of dangerousness."
Giggling evilly, Hard Drive advanced towards his foes' hiding places, electricity sizzling all around his Surge Coat-clad form. "Come out, come out, where-ever you are, SWAT Kats! Hard Drive wants to play zap-the-heroes!"
"Nah, we're too shy, besides we're already playing a game," said T-Bone. "It's hide-and-seek."
"Aww, well then, let's play!" Hard Drive snarled.
He lifted up his arm, firing bolts of electricity at the empty car Razor was hiding behind. The bolts hit the vehicle, shattering the glass and melting the metal. Razor jumped out from hiding and dashed over to where T-Bone was. Hard Drive noticed, but wasn't fast enough. His electrical bolts scorched the ground seconds after Razor was behind the divider with his partner.
"You're fast, SWAT Kat," he hissed. "But sooner or later you're both going to slip up, and that's when you die!"
He fired on the divider, sending chunks of concrete in all directions and blowing both SWAT Kats backwards several feet. Razor landed flat on his back, but T-Bone managed to land with his palms touching the ground and flipped back over right-side up and land on his feet. He looked at Razor, who didn't get up, and growled.
Amused, Hard Drive crossed his arms.
"Impressive acrobatics, SWAT Kat," he said. "But I think that the game, as well as your pointless and annoying life, is over!"
Once more Hard Drive lifted his arms, electricity sizzling on his fingertips, and T-Bone had nowhere to run. Suddenly, a volley of laser fire hit the ground near Hard Drive's feet, and he stopped and leapt aside to avoid being hit, yelping in surprise. T-Bone looked up in time to see a trio of Enforcer choppers hovering in the sky above the freeway, their side-mounted laser cannons blasting away at Hard Drive, he danced aside again and let fly another of his deadly bolts.
The electricity struck the chopper, and T-Bone thought it must have hit the fuel tank, because instantly the chopper exploded in a huge fireball. The other two choppers veered left to avoid both the explosion and Hard Drive's electrical bolts, as flaming debris showered down onto the freeway.
"Puny Enforcers," Hard Drive sneered. "You never learn, do you? Oh well, if the beating I gave you at the main power grid wasn't enough, then by all means let me give you some more!"
As he prepared to fire again, T-Bone realized this was his chance. He brought up his Glovatrix.
"Mini-Turboblades, fire!" he yelled.
"Huh?" Hard Drive spun around. "What the-?!"
The small blades flew from T-Bone's Glovatrix straight at Hard Drive, who tried to dodge, but they hit their intended target. He yelled as his Surge Coat was slashed, cutting wires and rupturing the battery cel. Almost immediately, the suit began to power down, the blue electrical aura around him vanished, his mohawk sagged, becoming a shaggy mop. He looked disbelieving at T-Bone as pupils appeared in his eyes once more.
"No!" he wailed. "I was careless!"
"And this time it's gonna cost you!" T-Bone snarled.
Devoid of his powers, Hard Drive screamed and ran from the angry SWAT Kat. Before he could get very far, one of the two remaining Enforcer choppers touched down in front of him, and Lieutenant Felina Feral, flanked by a pair of brutish Enforcer commandos, hopped out, guns at the ready. Hard Drive skidded to a halt.
"Got to get away!" he squealed.
"Not this time, Hard Drive," Felina said. She leveled her gun at him.
Eyes wide with fear, Hard Drive threw up his arms. "I give up!"
"Cuff 'im," Felina said. The two Enforcer commandos came forward and slapped the cuffs onto Hard Drive.
T-Bone, meanwhile, was kneeling beside the prone Razor. As the commandos led Hard Drive to a waiting Enforcer cruiser, Felina ran over to T-Bone's side, holstering her gun. T-Bone was checking Razor's pulse.
"Is he okay?" she asked.
"Yeah, he's just unconscious," T-Bone replied. "That blast from Hard Drive messed him up good."
He gently slapped Razor's cheeks, and the smaller SWAT Kat blinked awake slowly, and coughed, sitting up. T-Bone smiled and patted his partner on the back and helped him to stand up.
"What happened?" he asked groggily.
"Well, I'd say you got knocked out by a blast of electricity and I took down the bad guy, but I don't wanna bruise your ego, buddy," T-Bone chuckled.
By now, a slew of reporters from Kat's Eye News, Inside Megakat City, and other newsgroups had arrived on the scene and were being held back by the many Enforcer commandos that had arrived. Cleanup crews were also on hand to clear away the debris so that the motorists could begin using the freeway once again. With all the commotion, the SWAT Kats seemed a bit uncomfortable.
"Well, Lieutenant," said T-Bone. "We'd better be headin' home before they start asking us for autographs."
Felina laughed. "All right, T-Bone, you two take care. And thanks for another job well done. Hard Drive's going away for a long time after this little stunt."
Laughing, T-Bone and a still-somewhat groggy Razor slipped away between the abandoned cars and back to the field where they had left the Turbokat. Felina watched them get in, and a few moments later the jet was all powered up, rose into the sky, and took off. Then, returning to her duties, she walked back over to where her fellow Enforcers were still quite busy. One of the commandos approached and saluted, Felina returning the gesture.
"Everything's under control, Lieutenant," he reported. "All that's left now is to clean up all this mess for those anxious motorists to use it again."
Felina nodded. "All right, I'll go and report back to headquarters."
The commando saluted and hurried off, while Felina walked back to her parked chopper and climbed back into the pilot's seat. flicking on the band, she brought the radio to her mouth.
"Lieutenant Felina Feral to headquarters," she spoke into it.
"Yes, Lieutenant," came the gravely voice of an Enforcer dispatcher.
"Patch me through to my uncle's office," she said.
There was a pause.
"I'm sorry, Lieutenant, but Commander Feral is not in at the moment," the dispatcher replied.
Felina blinked. "Where is he?"
"I don't know, but he and Sergeant Talon left here in quite a hurry about ten minutes ago with those two junkyard kats."
"Burke and Murray?"
"I dunno, maybe, I can't remember their names."
"All right, thanks, dispatch," Felina said at length.
"Any time, Lieutenant," the dispatcher replied, then he hung up.
Felina did the same, and leaned back in her seat, thinking. Where had her uncle and the Sergeant gone in such a hurry without telling anyone where they were going? And with Burke and Murray of all people?