Now You See It, Now You Don't
It was almost two years since Hard Drive stole the secrets Enforcer H.Q. through use of his surge coat. While all the secrets had been returned and he was now working as an Enforcer, he still felt the urge to surge. Yet he had no reasons to. Not if the SWAT Kats were to be on his tail again. Crime did not pay in Megakat City, and it certainly was not going to pay if Hard Drive were to turn traitor. But the temptation of it still entered his thoughts every once in a while.
Shortly after Commander Feral hired him as assistant Enforcer detective to Lenny Ringtail, Hard Drive had also revealed his real name to be Gerald Hemmingway, whose father was the late ex-criminal Harvey Hemmingway (friend of Dark Kat and the city's most notorious bank robber), and whose brother was Johnny Hemmingway, whom the Enforcers and SWAT Kats had captured several times, once even helped by the C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa. He knew his twin was never to going to repent of his sins, and it was too late for his dad to do so.
Today, Hard Drive was with Lenny on a case in which the SWAT Kats actually needed the Enforcers' help for once. "Now you see it, and now you don't," T-Bone explained as he played a videotape Razor had shot of the villainous actions. "This villain, whoever he is, and it isn't Hard Drive's twin, has the ability to appear and disappear. It took all my cunning to defeat him and scare him off, but he'll be back."
"Pause it when he comes up again," Feral suggested. T-Bone did so.
Lenny looked hard at the villain. "Hey!" he exclaimed. "I've seen that face before!"
"Of course you have, Ringtail," Feral put in after recognizing the face. "It's always the last thing you see after Hard Drive—uh, when you were a villain—disappears in his surge coat. Either yours was stolen, or someone else has a surge coat just like it."
"It's not stolen. I got it right here," said Hard Drive, pulling out his surge coat.
"That's definitely Zed," said Razor. "He helped the Metallikats try to give us a taste of our own medicine."
"Haven't seen him in over five years," Feral replied. "Wonder what he's up to with that surge coat? I hope our secrets haven't been stolen again because they're under maximum security now that Hard Drive has returned."
"Maybe he's stealing something else," said the Sergeant.
"You might be right, Sergeant," Feral replied. "And we've got to stop him."
Just then, the power went out. The lights came back after about eight seconds. "What?" Razor exclaimed. "What was that?"
"I don't know," said Felina nervously. "Luckily, the lights came back on."
The group ran to the hangar to see if the Turbokat had been stolen. Fortunately, it wasn't. What was stolen was the lockers T-Bone and Razor used to store their uniforms in when in their work clothes. "Our lockers are gone!" Razor exclaimed. "That's where we keep our uniforms when in work clothes or our karate or band uniforms if Konway's Korps is to meet."
"I see, but the only one that's been drumming a lot is me," said the Sergeant. "This is a monumental crisis from that perspective."
"Better get going, then," Feral spoke up. "We'll keep in touch."
Soon the Turbokat blasted off at breakneck speed, and Feral and his posse rode in his sedan. Hard Drive watched with intensity as Felina took a camera and filmed the surge going through the lines (for security reasons). "Whoa, déjà vu," said Hard Drive. "I hope the SWAT Kats don't cause another blackout."
"They won't," said Feral. "Their newest weapons prevent that from happening. It was the only to stop you from your actions when Dark Kat forced you to team up with him, but that was years ago."
T-Bone flew the Turbokat closer to the telephone wiring where the surging was happening, being careful not to come in contact with the wires. "Looks like we got another tricky one, buddy," he said to his partner. "What do you think?"
"I think we ought not to fire a chainsaw missile of mine," Razor replied. "It'd made the whole town black out."
"Come to think of it, there's a wanted villain listed on that APB I just read the other day, whose name is Blackout. But we know this is actually Zed."
"Guess he learned how to do it from Hard Drive."
Razor proceeded to fire one of his other missiles that was able to cut the wiring without making the power go out. There was no sight of the villain as he turned invisible, having seen it coming. Yet he dropped to the ground. "Oof!" he exclaimed as he hit the pavement, prompting Feral to slam on the brakes so he wouldn't run the villain over.
Zed got up and ran for his life, but the forces of good kept pursuing him. He led them all the way out of town into a deserted area of desert the Sergeant referred to as the "Forbidden Zone" because no officer ever dared to go in there. At least, nobody ranked underneath the Commander threatened to go there. "Oh, no!" Felina exclaimed after seeing the zone come into view. "Look where he's going."
"The Forbidden Zone?" the Sergeant added. "No one goes through there! At least no one under you, Commander."
"Well, this is going to be a first, then," said Feral. "Snap to it, men! Uh, and Felina. We're going in!" He drove on into the desert.
Razor's radar showed where Zed's location was, prompting him to fire a spider missile. But to no avail; Zed kept running. "Still running," Razor announced. "I'll try again." He fired an octopus missile, but that didn't work. "Nope, didn't work," he said.
"Maybe I can slow him down," T-Bone suggested, activating the speed of heat turbine. Our heroes put on their oxygen masks as the Turbokat zoomed off faster than ever before.
"Unh? Where'd they go?" asked Lenny.
"They just vanished, just like Zed!" Hard Drive added.
"Must be their speed of heat turbine," said Felina. "They showed it to me as they were taking me back to Earth after we helped Captain Grimalken get his ship back from Mutilor. Of course, the ship would return with the fact he gained his youth back, and now look what he is."
"The world's mightiest guitar hero," Feral replied. "He deserves it; I think he's always had the rock star look, at least on his face."
T-Bone continued flying the Turbokat at strategic angles while Razor fired his weapons. It seemed they were getting nowhere fast. But Razor believed in Thomas Edison's quote, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." He kept on trying until he finally got the missile to cooperate with him.
The missile that actually managed to slow down Zed's progress and expose him again was a missile of Razor's creation that tracked down invisible objects yet appeared invisible to the object or villain. Thus, Zed didn't see it coming until it apprehended him. He dropped to the sand and gasped for air.
"BINGO!" Razor shouted triumphantly.
"Radical!" T-Bone congratulate. "You knocked him out!"
"Let's go," Razor replied. "Looks like Feral can handle it from here." Indeed. Feral stopped his sedan, and everybody (including Hard Drive) was pointing their guns at Zed, who had accidentally turned invisible again after nudging the button on his cloaking device that allowed him to do so. "All right, Zed!" Feral growled. "We know you're in there! Show yourself, and get out of that net!"
"I can hear you loud and clear from here!" Zed protested.
"You better do as you told!" Lenny snapped. "This is the law speaking!"
Zed revealed himself, but proved having difficulty getting out of the net. "Kill me if you must," he spit out, "but do it painfully. That cloaking device is giving me a headache."
"You're not going to die, but you are going to jail," Felina replied sternly as she helped him escape from the net with her laser fire. Zed knew better than to run away again, having bad experiences where previous officers who tried to apprehend him were shooting at him. No one bothered this time, so that the arrest could go smoothly.
Back at the hangar, T-Bone had added another skull-and-crossbones to the list of victories, which had recently surpassed 1,750. "Chalk up another one for the SWAT Kats!" he smiled as he added the mark.
"As usual, your flying was on top of the world!" Razor added.
"And your shooting is right on, buddy!" T-Bone replied as the two climbed their ladder and proceeded to don their work clothes again. At that point, Grimalken had arrived with his electric guitar and amplifier, as he, too, experienced a surge at a bad time. "T-Bone! Razor! Did it get you, too?" he asked.
"If the 'it' was the power going out, then yes," said Razor. "Is there a problem?"
"I was about to plug in my guitar to my amplifiers and rock out, but at the moment I put it in, the power went out. I just hoped I didn't plug it into DC instead of AC. I'm just lucky I didn't." Since he had his guitar and amplifier with him, he went ahead and struck an A chord.
"Rock on, Captain!" T-Bone replied, giving a thumbs-up. The two went to don their work clothes and listened to the Captain improvise. With Grimalken, however, nothing sounded improvised, but in rock-and-roll, that's a good thing.
The officers returned as Grimalken was finishing his number. They applauded when he struck the last chord and shouted "THANK YOU!" as if he was in front of a huge audience.
"Hey, Captain," Feral greeted. "You feeling supercharged today?"
"Do I ever!" Grimalken replied. "I also came by to check on the SWAT Kats. I heard the power surge happened here, too."
"It did. We witnessed it. Did you have a surge?"
"Earlier this morning as I was plugging in my guitar. I was hoping it wasn't because I plugged it into DC when I should've plugged it into AC. It wasn't, luckily, and I was able to rock my heart out again. When's our next show? I can't wait!"
"I'm sure you can't," Hard Drive laughed. "With you on the rock squad, who can go wrong?"
"Ain't it the truth, Hard Drive," Feral replied as Grimalken paused to calm down. "Ain't it the truth."
The group talked for a while before heading to the diner to eat lunch, determining when their next show was going to be, and when was the next time Sonic JAM or the Martian Freedom Fighters would rock with them.
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron © Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros.
Sonic the Hedgehog © SEGA
Biker Mice From Mars © Rick Ungar, Tom Tataranowicz, Tom Tataranowicz Animation, Brentwood Television Funnies, and whoever else owns the rights