"Nothin' like a desert test run!" yelled T-Bone jubilantly in the cockpit as they flew towards Megakat Canyon. "We should do this more often, buddy!"
He liked getting out of the salvage yard, where he too often felt cooped up, confined, even in their secret underground hangar. So he relished any excuse to get out and stretch his legs, so to speak, and keep his piloting skills good and honed. Always hungry for action, he preferred fighting villains, but a trial run of the new missiles Razor had developed recently would have to do on a quiet, beautiful day like this with nothing interesting happening... even if T-Bone had serious doubts about these latest missiles. As they approached the mouth of Megakat Canyon, he flew the jet around around some; up, down and all around, refusing to fly in a straight line, grinning ear to ear.
"T-Bone," said Razor behind him, a touch of indignant impatient in his voice, "may I remind you we're here to test my missiles, not your flying."
Razor could be such a party pooper! T-Bone pretended to pout, but couldn't supress his smirk. "Aw, but I'm havin' fun!" he pretended to protest, but he was already righting the jet and getting it back on course for the canyon which was dead ahead.
"You can do tricks after we're done!" Razor chided, sounding like a schoolteacher scolding the class clown, which, he had to face it, pretty much described Chance Furlong's personality. The bigger SWAT Kat was a born showoff and risk-taker and loved goofing off.
"Yeah, after we prove these things are duds!" T-Bone said, his mood souring slightly, though he continued grinning.
Razor grumbled. T-Bone hadn't been quiet about what he thought of his latest inventions. From the drawing board to the final prototype phase, he'd made sure his partner knew that he thought these latest missiles were over-the-top, even for Razor.
"What?" demanded T-Bone, his smile faltering a little. He glanced over his shoulder, then back ahead. Razor's grumble meant his friend was annoyed, but the pilot refused to back down. "Come on, Razor," he insisted, pleading his case, "I know you're real..." he struggled for the right word which wouldn't bruise Razor's ego any further, "'creative' when it comes to missiles, but I got my doubts about these babies. 'Specially the screamin' ones." The Banshee Missiles. He stuck his pinky into his ear and wiggled it around inside, grimacing. "My ears still hurt from that noise they make."
Razor chuckled, brightening a little. "Sometimes creativity is our best weapon. Not everything can be solved with just a regular missile that goes 'boom.'" T-Bone was about to protest that he liked things that went "boom" when Razor added, "I think Feral proves that every day."
Okay, T-Bone thought. Now Razor had him convinced up to a point. But the missiles still needed to prove themselves. Which was what they were here for, after all. If they succeeded, he'd eat crow and admit he was wrong, or at least try to; if they failed, he'd get to gloat about how he was right all day long. He flew into the entrance of Megakat Canyon. It was a long, deep-throated canyon with natural stone arches over it are irregular intervals. Flying through the crevasse, which was wide enough to admit the jet's wings; where it wasn't, T-Bone turned the Turbokat on its wing and flew sideways through tighter spots. He was beginning to enjoy himself again, unable to resist showing off despite Razor's protests, intentionally picking areas of the canyon that were more difficult to navigate in such a fast-moving aircraft as a jet, the better to showcase his impressive skills, the walls of the canyon a blur beside them in the cockpit as the jet rocketed past.
Razor just sighed and shook his head. Noting their position, he turned serious and got down to business. "Okay, now, get ready, 'cause the first set of drones is comin' up!"
"Roger," replied T-Bone, getting his head back in the game.
Set up on a natural arch a few yards ahead were a trio of tank robot drone vehicles, each armed with a top-mounted laser cannon. Razor had specially designed them as fodder for his missiles, and he had to admit that for what they were, they were impressive little gadgets. He'd even given them an extra flourish, painting them in the distinctive SWAT Kat color scheme of red and blue despite the fact they existed solely to be taken out in this test run. They opened fire as the Turbokat approached. Explosions filled the air. T-Bone was momentarily alarmed, and Razor smirked, allowing himself to savor his cocky friend's surprise. When they'd set the drones up, Razor had neglected to mention they'd actually fire at the Turbokat. A little extra something to spice up T-Bone's fun.
"Razor, I thought you said no live ammo!" said the startled T-Bone, tightening his grip on the steering mechanism as he weaved and bobbed to avoid behind hit by the surface to air explosives.
Razor's smirk widened. "Just keepin' you on your toes, buddy! Besides, it wouldn't be a real test without some danger!" He leaned forward slightly and consulted the Turbokat's weapons panel. In addition to the main buttons for the jet's usual arsenal, each one neatly labeled, there were two newly-added buttons with handwritten temporary labels. Razor pressed the one marked "Slicer Missile." "Deploying Slicer Missiles!"
Three Slicer Missiles shot forward. There were five of them aboard in all, two more besides the ones Razor had just fired. He'd learned since the incident with the Megavolt Missile that when loading up on prototypes, always keep spares. The wedge-shaped projectiles unfolded into huge cutting blades like a trio of Swiss Army knives, blades so sharp that the three missiles passed through the tank drones like jelly. The tanks immediately stopped firing. After a moment, they collapsed into evenly cut pieces. The Slicer Missiles continued on and crashed into the canyon walls, splintering apart. Razor had designed each individual blade with a specific tensile strength so that it remained rigid only for the initial impact; after cutting through a target, they weakened and became brittle and the next thing they hit caused them to shatter like glass. This was to reduce damage for when the missiles inevitably hit something else upon passing through their initial target.
T-Bone raised an eyebrow, impressed with their performance. "Okay, I gotta hand it to ya, there, Razor, those things did pretty good." As for the Banshee Missiles, he remained doubtful. "Still not sure about the screamers, though." He grinned. "My turn to have some fun again!"
Razor didn't say anything. He simply grinned. He passed over the archway, blowing the sliced remains of the tank drones off with the jet's backwash, and did a barrel roll underneath an archway to avoid a huge outcropping. As the Turbokat zoomed past, some smallish winged flying target drones, three in all, arranged under a ledge, activated and rocketed off in pursuit of the jet. These targets he'd set up by himself and hadn't told T-Bone about. And unlike the tanks, they were mobile, capable of long range and very dogged pursuit.
In the cockpit, T-Bone was alerted to their approach by an insistent beeping sound from his radar screen. "Heads up, buddy, three bogeys closin' fast!"
"That'll be the other drones."
"What other drones?" T-Bone asked. "I thought the tank sushi back there was all that..." He trailed off, scowling. "You and your surprises!"
"On your toes, buddy!" giggled Razor. "On your toes!" Once more his finger hovered over the weapons panel and he selected the button marked "Banshee Missiles." "Banshee Missiles, deployed!"
As with the Slicer Missiles, there were five experimental Banshee Missiles on board. Three were launched facing rearwards from the jet and zoom towards the pursuing drones. These resembled ordinary missiles except for their modified front ends, from which high-pitched sonic waves emitted. These struck and shattered the foremost drone. It exploded in midair. However, they overshot the remaining two drones and crashed into the supports of the natural archway where the tanks had sat. The archway blew apart on impact and collapsed into the depths of the canyon, leaving just its broken off ends sticking out of the canyon walls on either side. The drones continued chasing the Turbokat, firing laser blasts.
Razor frowned. "Crud. One outta three. I gotta work on their guidance system."
"I told ya..."
Razor wasn't having his friend's triumphant jeering. He smirked. "They sound cool, though."
T-Bone glowered and rubbed his ear again, remembering. He hoped that was the last they'd seen - and heard - of those awful things, and that Razor junked the remaining two once they returned home. He pushed the throttle forward as he continued fleeing the drones. He flew up and out of the canyon with the pair in hot pursuit.
"Eh," he said, indifferent, "nothin' beats a plain ol' ordinary missile."
"Speaking of which...!" said Razor, and activated a third button on his control panel. This one was neatly labeled "Plain Old Missile." Sometimes ordinary missiles that just went "boom" were the right idea. Especially when the fancy ones failed to perform as expected. A pair of missiles that had "From Razor With Love!" stenciled on their sides fired back and hit the drones dead center, destroying them. Flaming debris rained from the sky.
"Woo!" he cheered. "Maybe sometimes the old-fashioned way is better, T-Bone."
"Come on, let's head home," said T-Bone, and prepared to turn around and head back towards Megakat City, several miles distant. "I got a craving for a tuna fish sandwich."
Razor stopped him. "But first, we clean up our mess!"
No sense leaving a bunch of junk to clutter up the perfectly nice Megakat Canyon, he reasoned. Besides, what if someone found the parts and turned them in to the Enforcers? Or kept them for themselves? Even from the busted bits and pieces, someone, like the lab guys at Enforcer Headquarters, could potentially reverse engineer the missiles and drones and produce their own versions. Razor didn't want to chance losing the edge they had over the Enforcers... or, worse, his weaponry falling into the wrong hands. The Enforcers were one thing, but Megakat City's criminal element with SWAT Kat weaponry was a nightmare he didn't want to think about.
"Ugh, fiiiiiiiine!" sighed T-Bone, then banked the Turbokat away and began heading back the way they came, looking for a place to land."